Well, here we are in 2014! I don’t know why but that still sounds a little surreal. Maybe it’s because I was a kid growing up in the 1980’s and anything with a 20 in front of it just seems odd. But you just can’t halt the march of time can you? And that old cliche seemed quite fitting for me and my 2013 experience, it flew by in a bit of a blur. I don’t want the same to happen this year, I’m determined to make good use of time rather than let it slip away.
Although I spent most of last year doing roped access work repointing a lovely church in Leeds, there were some highlights that didn’t involve lime mortar and pigeon droppings!
In June I was invited to Austria by Marmot Europe and met all the other European athletes. Although we had a lot of rain, we managed to have a good time in the beautiful setting of Zillertal. And the best bit for me was that I somehow managed to redpoint an f8a...in a day. After having 2012 off with injury and barely managing to climb much up to June, my muscles somehow remembered what they were supposed to do. It was so lovely for me to be on rock again and climbing, in fact writing about it now is making me yearn to be away climbing on sun-kissed rock... That was my only trip last year which for me is unheard of, so I hope to change that for 2014.
Another cool thing that happened was that Tim, myself, my sister Ali and my nephew Oli, all managed to buy elusive Glastonbury tickets for 2014. We were so lucky to get them, as hundreds of thousands of people apply but this time it was our turn. We don’t know the exact line up yet but I’m hoping that Mr. Bowie will make an appearance. It looks unlikely though, as Michael Eavis has announced that all the headliners are Glastonbury virgins. I am disappointed but just to get a ticket to the festival is great in itself. I mustn’t forget my wellies!
Something else that I’ve kept surprisingly quiet, is that in October we got another rescue dog (see image on left), so we are now a two dog family again. His name is Tayo (phonetic spelling for french version of Theo) and we think he’s a whippetXstaffie about one year old. He’s a cute little man and has settled in well. It was VERY hard work at the start and I did have some major doubts about taking him on but with perseverance it’s all worked out well. The great thing is that he and Buis are the best of friends and completely get each other, so it’s been lovely for her to get a playful brother- she puts up with a lot of abuse. One of the things on my list is to put up a little gallery of pictures of him. Most of them are taken on my iphone, so the quality isn’t great but you’ll get the idea.
Another highlight of 2013 was doing my talk at The Kendal Mountain Festival. Being the main speaker on Saturday night in front of 350 people was quite a pressure but to be honest it was a great incentive to put a lot of effort in and make it as good as I could. I don’t really go in for doing talks and generally avoid them, so this was a big deal and took a good few months of effort to prepare. I was really pleased with how it went and kind of enjoyed the whole experience...I’m not sure I’ll make it a habit though.
Having had a weird arm/elbow injury (yet another) since October, climbing has been low on my agenda. I am getting it looked at by a fantastic physio in Sheffield, who I’d never seen before but now really rate. She has diagnosed it as a nerve problem in my thoracic spine and I’ve got to say along with doing my exercises and her manipulations, it seems to be improving well.
Anyway, since I haven’t been able to climb much I’ve had more time to help Tim on his Sheffield Graffiti book. He’s working with Jimmy Roe-Parker and we’ve been having some interesting days out and about hunting Sheffield’s more underground venues. Jimmy is a font of all knowledge and it’s been great to see bits of my hometown that I barely knew existed. So progress on the book is going well and I’ll keep you posted on when it will be out.
See image on the left for Sheffield graffiti artist 'Phlegm'
So that’s about it for now, more to come soon on what I’m planning for the future.
Keep warm, stay psyched and keep on top of all those New Year’s resolutions.