Saturday, 16 October 2010

Directing Traffic

I seem to have been out every night for one thing or another. I did a lead climbing lesson on Monday (woo-hoo! I can change my membership card to read Lead Climber!), then I went to see Kenton Cool talk, which was fab. We are still looking at schools for Donny and Mel, and we went to see the fourth such high school open evening on Thursday.

It makes for some late nights for both me and the kids and consequently tempers have been a little frayed. Mel in particular has been hard work, refusing to sleep at night and refusing to get up in the morning. Hormones are kicking off all over the place.

I don't know how I kept my eyes open at work on Friday, but somehow I was still there at 5pm with a pile of stuff to take home over the weekend. :o(

I decided to take a different route home. It is a little longer, but every now and then I fancy a change. Just out of Worcester I had to stop because there was an accident. I was maybe the 4th person to arrive. A car had gone under a lorry and was totally mashed up. I was amazed the guy driving it was alive, let alone talking. He wasn't walking though and had concussion and shock. The lorry driver was OK, but his lorry now had seized brakes and was blocking the road.

There were three people fussing with the injured driver, so I made myself useful and directed traffic to turn around and go back the way it had come. An hour and a half later, I was still there, turning vehicles back and giving random directions to lost drivers. Police, ambulance and fire-engines had been and the chap had been whisked off to hospital, but no-one had managed to shut off the road. Someone lent me a fluorescent jacket as the dusk set in, as I was starting to wonder if I would be the next casualty ( standing in the middle of the road, wearing a black sweatshirt in the dark).

Eventually, back-up police must have arrived and stopped the traffic further down. Five minutes later, they got the lorry moved and opened the road again!

I took this naff picture just as I was leaving. You can see the state of the damage.

Cool Lectures

King's School in Worcester is putting on a series of lectures courtesy of their Himalayan Club. I went to see Kenton Cool talk last week. He lives up to his name, having climbed Everest eight times and lead Sir Ranulph Fiennes up both the North Face of the Eiger and to the top of Everest in various expeditions.

He was an entertaining speaker, too, regaling us with tales of Ranulph's eccentricities. Despite being an immensely successful polar explorer, Sir Ranulph, if you listen to Kenton's version of events, is joyfully clueless. His essential supplies allegedly include several packets of jelly-babies and hundreds of English tea-bags. Actually, I can sympathise with Ranulph about the tea-bags. I took tea to India too. An Englishman (or woman for that matter) can't cope without a proper cup of chai.
Kenton ended the talk by getting a member of the audience to clamber in to a down-suit, balaclava, hat and rucksack whilst inside a small tent set up in the middle of the floor. Needless to say the result was a semi-collapsed tent and a lot of laughter.

King's supports a school in Ladakh, which has recently suffered weather damage from a cloudburst. They auctioned off a couple of shirts and a lump of rock from the top of Everest, raising over £300 for the school in the process.

I enjoyed the evening, though I have no plans to climb Everest, or the North Face of the Eiger, for that matter. My trip up Cadair Idris was enough for me (see Gorillas in the Mist entry in my travel blog). That was quite chilly enough and a down-suit might have come in handy!

Sunday, 3 October 2010


Is anyone else bothered about warning signs aimed at people with less common sense than a toddler?

There clearly needs to be a 'idiocy law':

"Things that people generally work out before they learn to read, do not need signs."

I do not need jam jars labelled with "Open by hand"; I do not need to be told that things are "Slippery when wet"; I definitely do not need to be told that fireplaces are hot.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Fly on the Wall (OK, window, but you know what I mean)

The bathroom was all steamed up, as you would expect after a long hot shower, with vanilla scented shower gel and oodles of hot water. My bathroom has colourful virginia creeper dangling over the window, and the sun was shining straight into it, flashing all those gorgeous reds and greens right at me.

I noticed a fat fly crawling slowly across the textured pane, leav
ing a weird trail behind it in the steam. It took me a moment to work out what it was doing. It was making little round blobs and tiny footprints. I think it was wandering across the landscape of my window, slurping up the condensation.