Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Upping the Ante

Definitely not to be mixed up with a Sunday afternoon parlour game in Cleveland, this is a much used poker phrase used to scare the heck out of opponents. Anyone keeping up with this nonsense may have noticed my only child tendancies to look after myself on walks and kind of leave my pals to struggle up to the top at their own pace. This may be looked on as thoughtful in some circles, but not the circles taking place at a recent party where I was suddenly Dick Dastardly and a cad toboot. Well if it isn't ok to walk at your own pace only one thing to do...


And so, having had a 15 minutes conversation over the merits of sticking together we descended into light hearted mickey taking and Shads pretty good at this, to the point where the challenge happened.

Paraphrasing the conversation between Shad and me

Shad 'you are a selfish git who never waits for anyone'

Me 'and you are fat and slow'

Shad and Me 'RACE'

The Chrome Hill rematch was laid down, for weekend of 27th September, first to the top wins and loser buys lunch for anyone that turns up. I had this down as an absolute certainty until Shad appeared in lycra the next morning to profess

'I've joined the gym, got a personal trainer and a dietician' oh and ' I've bought a bike and all the girls in the office are my cheerleaders'. By any standards this was a work of genius in 24hours. Bugger. Updates to follow.

As ever the my life and that of my family and friends were on shifting sands this weekend, more like eel filled sands actually. The original plan was; quiet Friday, then Saturday I go to Teesside and walk near Osmotherley followed by a free festival by the river in Stockton featuring BSP and The Happy Mondays.

Rosie goes to The Big Chill Festival with her pal

Pam and Jess have an easy Saturday and go to Girls Aloud on Sunday.

Andy and family arrive Friday night, we get trashed. Saturday Pam and Rosie eventually call off going to the Big Chill and plan to join up with me in Teesside. Saturday traffic is a nightmare and now Craig has a three car shuffle to perform via airports and garages in various bits of the county....the Saturday afternoon walk is already looking a bit at risk.

I'm very happy to give anyone a lift anywhere as I can recall not having a car and relying on my mum , pals and hitching, it was also a great excuse to find a new shortcut to the airport....Vasco da Gama style. The facts about this 'explorer' are below, but the summary is that he only found a shortcut, which in anyones book should be a bit rubbish as exploring goes. He's got loads of statues for it in Portugal though.

It turned out I was more rubbish than even him as my shortcut turned into a longcut

and thus the Saturday walk was in real jeopardy. As Pam joined us in Craigs house and thoughts started turning to the pub, I recalled Shad sending an email to Craig which basically said ' make him eat curry and drink guiness all weekend'. Off to the pub it was then at 3pm. Joined my Tom and Beechy later, we'd started as we meant to go on.

All this would have been ok, 3 pints and back to Craigs ready for going down town, if it wasnt for the chilli vodka, which was a smooth as anything and not a bit chillified. So much so that quite a lot of it slid down Craigs neck quite quickly. So with Craig already slightly worse for wear we left the house in a cab 'bang on time for a cab - half an hour late at 8.15pm. Off to the bar for a few beers and down to the front just as BSP come on stage, perfect timing. BSP did a great set finishing with a frantic St Louise lasting 12 minutes, Pam declared them to be ok but a young blokes band- which I took as a compliment.

Great songs to finish a set with
St Louis - BSP
Killer Parties - The Hold Steady
Hey Jude - McCartney
I am the Resurrection -Stone Roses

Feel free to add to the list

and next we get the Happy Mondays. Or rather we don't! as Pam and myself head back to the chaps, there is a rather large empty circle around the pair of them and mud all up Craigs back....he did look very very happy though in 'the safety zone'

Suffice to say the next hour was quite fun, no names no pack drill, no Happy Mondays (Shaun sits down all the way through anyway), but plenty of memories, fish and chips and some extra cider for good measure.

Next morning 'up and at em' and ready for a walk, well I was, Craig declined ( I think lunch at his mums beckoned) and Pam needed to head back with the kids to make the Pop in the Park gig. This meant I could nip round and visit my nana. I guess all families have their Godfather figure, well nana Ivy is ours and you really wouldnt want to stay on the wrong side of her for too long. At 85 she's as sharp as a tack and really is the epitomy of the Eddie Izzard marching old ladies in their big coats.

I don't think anyone in the family is too big to get a clip off her if they were out of order. Brilliantly her only request is that I call more often and can I get her some shower caps. It is great to see her so enthusiastic at 85.

Well the print out says 'a four hour walk' around Osmotherly, I don't really have four hours and as the gauntlet is now thrown down I decide the only answer is to march it a double pace. Osmotherly is at the foot of the Cleveland Hills and less than a mile off the A19, so very bloomin handy indeed. Except it needs a multistory car park, ok it would be a tiny bit of an eyesore, but there are loads of hills around here they could build it in. Twelve minutes to find a parking space!!

Yomp yomp up the first hill passing people and causing them to stagger in my wake (hope you are paying attention Shad), I was somewhat distracted by a series of wooden crosses by the side of the path, with little wooden notices next to them with references to things Jesus 'did'. Now at least 3 of these just said Jesus trips, I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt that it wasnt a Happy Mondays reference, but even so, Jesus slays a dragon or slugs a giant would be better. Tripping up is the sort of thing I can do.

This is a slight aside but talking of rubbish things, there was a bloke on TV earlierat Craigs who was from ' the anti salt society' that really isnt a good thing to make your lifes work. Mind you you could do T Shirts

Saxa's gonna get ya. or even plain 'SAXA'D with a picture of the pot on it, bet Che is quaking in his boots.

The walk thankfully went past a small chuch (explained the crosses then) and downhill to Mount Grace Priory (I'd just walked up the hill!). Just for reference MGP is only good for school trips from Teesside when they can't afford to take you anywhere good...we went three times and its a ruin. Go to a good one like Fountains Abbey.

Then my slight mistake came to light as I turned to page 2 of the instructions, and I kid you not

'retrace your steps to the ridge of the hill' it took 20 minutes to get down.....aarrgh.

Slightly frustrated at myself I really marched 20 minutes up hill (passing more people - Shad) and then I marched a bit more uphill for 20 more minutes and the only people to catch me were a couple of fell runners. The views from the top were more impressive than last time and I could see right across Roseberry Topping and to the sea beyond. I managed to forget the detour of 30 yards to the SheepWash but I'll save that for the Swainby walk next time. Passed the Cod Beck Reservoir and downhill into Osmotherly all in 2hours 5 minutes and feeling fantastic.

I really like mad signposts and this one is winning so far.

So for the big race all I need to do is drink very heavily on the previous two nights and I'll be sorted

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