Is it going to be hard?

Well that is the question and I will be able to tell you in a few weeks. You see the trouble with being self employed is you can’t get into a routine. However that is what I have managed to do, with taking on a fixed term contract and then finding myself with little or no work at the end of it I was getting up, running, or going to the gym what ever I felt like doing on that day. But as I sit and type this prose I am finding myself booked up for the next 2 weeks. In a few hours I will be jetting of on the M6 where I will be in opening a show and then taking it on tour around the Northwest and North East. Meaning I will have no time to go running.

Now a few months ago I would gladly welcome this prospect but now I’m addicted to it. It makes me feel full of energy and good about myself and the idea of allowing myself to neglect the one activity that my body likes does not sit well with me.

Now I am unsure if it is because I feel I will get out of shape and not get back into when I finish in two weeks, or I fear that I will put on the weight that running has managed to shed. Two weeks with no running is a long time, especially when you are use to having a 30-40 minute jog five times a week and with the 10K just around the corner I really can’t afford to lose training time.

Now I am in no way comparing giving up running to giving up smoking, alcohol or drugs, but the bottom line is that running is a drug it makes you feel good, and I really notice it on the days when I don’t have jog. I feel sluggish and heavy so I am really quite concerned on how I may cope.

I could if I really wanted to force myself to keep it up, but my days would pan out to be very long. I would have to be up at 5.30 to go for a run, shower, then into the car to be at the venue for 10 o’clock, fit up and do the show. Out of the venue at 10.30pm drive back home, into bed at midnight, or 1 o’clock, and so on and so for two weeks. with my body being so tired I am not sure running will help, or I will see any improvement in my training. So it’s with this I will have to hang my trainers up for a couple of weeks and hope that my body can get back into the rhythm in time for the 15th May.

Needing a drink

Well, I have been running 11K, walking 12K eating veg, drinking water and I am loosing weight and becoming toned.

I have just been eating as I normally would, maybe some more veg and less fatty foods than normal but I have still be swallowing chocolate bars after chocolate bar and have managed to lose a lot of weight. The trouble is I have not been drinking booze. That is for one reason and one reason only as once I start I won’t stop. I will start drinking say today, and I will then continue buying drink until I get fat again. Not that I’m thin at the moment, but I am slowly getting rid of the gut and don’t want to see it back, but I am also missing getting pissed with my friends, and I enjoy the taste and effect of the booze.

Oh well What to do.

What to tweet?

Now this isn’t me just becoming a member of twittter. I have been tweeting all 7,000 tweets over the past two years. Tweets about what I’m doing, news stories that have made me laugh and cry, re-tweets, @mentions and basically me moaning about the world and his wife. I have tried giving it up, but like heroin you can never forget the first hit (the ones after and when your life is a mess you can forget) I until recently had not tweeted for some weeks, and while people had noticed and some were concerned the world carried on.

So I am not asking people what to tweet, I know what to tweet and I like it. I like the way that only a select number of people know who you are. As you don’t need to use your real name. The question is this, a couple of days ago, I tweeted “I no longer care about my job” and I got hounded by my friends, and other tweeters saying “Should you write that in such a public way?” So the question is this, who does or can twitter be censored. It’s no secret that I am getting bored with my job and dead-end career (just look at some of the tweets over the past year and my ambition to go to the NZ), and no doubt when something exciting comes along I may in deed get the buzz and feel for it, but at the moment I could not give a rats arse.

I might be warned or advised against this post, but at the end of the day I reckon that only 12 people know who I truly am, and what difference does it make if I say it to them in a pub, or on the web. I can think of worst stuff that people have put on the web, the amount of status’ on Facebook where people can see you in a picture and can work out who you are. People have lost their jobs because of Facebook status’ or lost friends and that is because your Facebook page is you, Harry Smith is Facebook, but on twitter Harry Smith can turn into Ungly_Manc and post what they like without people knowing who they are.

So to return to the finer point, was I wrong tweeting to the world that I could not care for my job, or were those friends who do know my twitter identity wrong to criticize me for my post??? In a way you do have to be careful of your online presence, as you can be tracked down, but it does involve a lot of websites and work. If you did want to find out who Angry_Manc was then you could if you really tried but at the end of the day twitter is mini blogging, its thoughts and off the cruft remarks. Should we read  literally everything that is posted I feel of course not, there has been stories of comedians getting into trouble posting jokes or comments, the same comments that when mentioned on a statical show would be laughed at. People need to see that twitter is an outlet of thoughts and expressions and we should not try to censor or police them, but the tweets do need to be put into context like that of the comedians. If I had posted it on my Facebook then people may have commented “Whats up” “Why” but twitter is different it seems.

Anyway I’m running out of things to say and have lost what my argument was. I thought it was something worth discussing, especially as I have posted worst things on twittter and have disguised them in a form of a story that no one complained about but rather enjoyed. So maybe next time when I become disgruntled with my career, I will post it like thus

“Damien was desperate to seek a new line of work, this one had become tiresome he thought”

 

What is too much?

Well what is the answer? As I don’t know. This week I have run a lot and yesterday did 9K and felt a little tired but fine, so I am now in the mind-set that the 10K is going to be a push over but I do fear that I may be over doing it as I am feeling the need to run every day.

Today I am giving my legs a rest as yesterday I did 9K followed by a 12K hike around Edale and my legs are feeling it today. There a bit like jelly, if you can imagine what your legs would be like if they were made of Jelly. Like lets face it… It’s a bit of a funny expression as jelly would not be able to support your weight and you wouldn’t  be able to move.  Anyway I’m driving down a different road so time to get back to the main road instead of this lane to nowhere.

So we end up back at my question. When is too much??? What is too much. Should I leave a day in-between my running?, should I do on the street running every so often and return to the gym and do other cardio exercise??? As today I have yet to leave the house and am feeling heavy and lazy. I like my morning jogs as they wake me up and get me ready for the day, but today I’m sat on my bed resting my legs and hoping they will be ready for a run tomorrow.

If any other runners or excercise freaks like to run out there and have training tips then it would great to hear what you thoughts are. Remember I have only been running on the street since after christmas, and running in the gym since October 2010 and love it, I am getting into it quite a lot so any tips or advice would be most welcomed as I don’t want to burn myself out and ruin or damage my legs preventing me from this excercise that I am hooked to.

I look forward to hearing what you all have to say.

Cheers.

Noah and The Whale

I love these. And love their new song. It is a teenage spring song. There are loads of them that i can recall like Dodgy, Blink-182, Greenday etc, but in the crisp March Sunny Manchester Mornings, having Noah and The Whale with L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N blaring out of the stereo is fantastic, and it is helping a lot with the running. I have now done 5k in under 25 minutes and am now running 7k comfortably and soon I will be running 8k.

As I said before there are lots of these summer spring songs. Songs that make you get up, and feel good about yourself in the spring mornings.Maybe they will make you feel good enough to donate to my charity. Hint Hint.

Anyway time to go, as I have instructed a new life after my Welsh holiday, involving going to bed before ten and getting up at 7. So far I am feeling good.

But I will leave you with the three tracks of Noah and The Whale that make me smile. 2 of their new album and one of the older one.

Finally the truth, So they claim!!!!!

My god, this has angered me so much that I was yelling to the customer service agent.

Yes my online account issue is still not resolved, so I phoned up again ready to explain the issue to a new member of the so-called customer service team. To recap I log on and get an email saying thankyou for registering, a couple of days later I am no longer registered and have to go through the whole process again.

Today I was told that the computer system at Vodafone would not de-register me, which I told the agent that was bollocks and read out the list of emails saying I had registered. She then informed me, and this was the first person who has said this ‘That you can’t have postal bills and have an on-line account” This was after a long frustration of explaining the situation with her come backs of “Well the system is showing you don’t have an online account.” I know; I would say that is because its keeps being deleted. “But we can’t help you as there is no issue to investigate.” The issue is I register and the systems takes it away after a couple of days. “I’m sorry Sir we can’t investigate as you haven’t registered for an online account.” And so it went on, until she finally realised that I was right when I returned back to the evidence of the emails saying that I did in deed register for an online account. Anyway she said I couldn’t have both….

Now if this is the reason for the issue then why has no one else said this before????

The fact that this is a lie, as I have been told I can have both, as the online account section also allows you to place or lift calling bars, or look at My Vodafone (Kind of App store) I decided to take this has the best offer of a resolve but I will be phoning up and questioning the reasoning for this.

What this now means is I can’t access my Vodafone At Home billing or emails as I need to log into the My Account section to get to the link of @Home. However the helpful person informed me that they @home could send me paper billing and I could just access my email through my 3rd party client I would just need the @home team to send me a new password.

So within 15 mins my seven month issue seems to have been sorted. Fair enough, it means I can’t have an online presence as their stupid computer system won’t allow it, but it now means I will get my paper bills and my emails, and I will never have to go online to do anything.

So we will wait yet another month to see if this issue has completely been cleared up. I think we all know the answer will be no. But we can but hold our breath.

The Holiday I Didn’t Want to End!

Right Stand by people here comes a big post. I will also make it a page, so it doesn’t get lost in all the other rubbish that I let rip on here. As you may be aware I have been on holiday. Yes that’s right. A holiday after eleven years of working I decided enough was enough and that a holiday was needed. Some where I could get away and not have contact with the outside world and I certainly chose the right location, although my facebook was on.

Snowdonia National Park was where I was going to base myself for the next five days in a lovely hotel called the Grapes. I had no network on my phone while in the hotel, or if truth be told when I was out and about. Apart from, the top of Snowdon did give a very good 3G reception 1000m above sea level.

So I set off at about 10.00 after my morning run, and plugged my Brothers TOMTOM in, to see which direction it would guide me. The IQ route said Wrexham and then the A498 and after two hours, where most of it was winding country roads I had arrived my hotel before check in. So time for the first activity of the holiday. Thats right, one my favorite past times… Castle spotting.

Harlech

Off I drove past my hotel and onward to a small village which I have fallen in love with. If and when I retire I am going to live in this sleepy suburb. On the way to my destination I suddenly discovered what people meant about the roads in Wales and I might as well say my piece about it here. I love them. 60 m.p.h along rolling bendy narrow roads I spent a lot of my time getting lost on purpose, just so I could ride the rollercoaster that was the A Roads of this peaceful pleasant area. They were also smooth, not pot hole or rough, they were a real joy to navigate and lets face it, navigation is easy in Wales. You only have two roads to choose from, the one towards Porthmadog and the other to Ffestiniog.

Anyway I was speeding toward Harlech for one reason and one reason only and that was the Castle. And it did not disappoint. It appeared as I came round the bend, looking down, like it was surveying the village. It was wonderful and is now one of my top five. The History is simple. Edward the I built it, then lost it four years later which even he has to admit it was a little bit careless. “Edward, you are a fool, how can you lose a big castle. You better not misplace Carnofen especially now I have the Kitchen the way I like it” Just like women not to understand Edward thought. In fact he had not lost it, more had it taken away from him by the Welsh uprising. The day was cold and dark, and one of his generals came rushing in “Sire the peasants are revolting” The general said. “I know I can smell them from here” Edward said sniggering. Before he knew it the Castle that had taken 7 years and had cost £8,000 (£3,000,000 in today’s money) had been snatched by the Welsh just after 4 years of completion. “Well you don’t have to worry about the leaky roof now Sire” his servant uttered as they packed up.

The Castle was only in the Welsh hands for a number years, but it was where Owain Glyndŵr held court decided to move in. The English soon regained control. The rest of the Castles troubled history saw it involved in the War of the Roses and as a hide out for Charles I during the Civil war.

The rest of this peaceful village was a joy to walk around, and is well worth a look. If you are going to relax, then you could do no better than walk down to the stunning beach, which is masked by impressive sand dunes where you navigate through the golf course to land on the golden sands and tranquil sounds of the Irish Sea.

The day was completed by me settling in to my hotel, which as I have said above was great. Wonderful pub food, and friendly staff. A real warm welcome, where the  manager would ask you about your day. I got into a little routine, of returning back to my room and feasting on the complimentary biscuits and drinking the tea that never quite taste like it should. Then I would slowly make my way down to select my tea from the vast menu, and retire to the privacy of my room. I would then take a bath to soak my legs and find myself falling asleep at 9pm, ready for the next day.

Snowdon

Oh boy, and what a day. The weather was sunny, the sky was clear. The BBC had informed me that it would remain like that, as did the Snowdon weather site. So of I set towards Snowdon. This is a great drive, for two reason. The scenery and the roads. I drove through Betwsy Coed, which I would later return to have a look, and unless you are starting a walk there, then I really would not bother. On my way to Snowdon, I had to stop off and start taking pictures of lakes and mountains being reflected in the water, and as I approached the start of my walk I had to make a quick decision to do Miners or Pyg track. I chose Pyg.

I thought overall without sounding boastful that the walk/climb was mild. I had been told it was challenging, and I was expecting to be pushed to my limited walking experience. But I wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong my heart was pumping and my legs had more of a workout than they do when I go running, but overall I found it to be a nice climb. I’m not for minute suggesting it was a stroll in the park but it’s not worth a 5 on the difficulty rating where 1 is easy and 5 is hard.

The way up and way down was glorious, and as with all summit climbs, the Mountain plays tricks on you. Just when you think you can see the path ahead, or the summit, the trail twist and snakes in a different direction. But with Snowdon, you could always see her icy snow-covered top. You would say hello to your fellow walkers, ask them if they had done it before, and if like me, would great them again on the way down. The sign in the car park suggested 6 hours, I did it up and down minus the sit down on the summit in about three and half.

I’m very glad I did it and enjoyed the walk and climb. Also liked seeing people running up it, and walking there dogs. The school Children who were climbing in font of me didn’t all make it. The teacher claimed that they went back to the bus. I don’t want to point fingers, but it was a long way down.

After Snowdon, I drove and went down towards the Keep I saw on my way to Snowdon. This was the 2nd castle I had on my list. Dolwyddelan Castle is just a dwarf compared to the others, but plays a large significance on Welsh history. I parked my car and walked up to the start of the path and saw a sign “Please pay at Farm House” I walked toward the house and saw nobody about, then from inside a stout woman pointed towards a door around the side of the house. Within a few minutes she unbolted several locks (Not that there was any one around) and instructed me that the castle was up that path and pointed to a field. ‘What about the pay’ I enquired. ‘No pay today, as it’s St Davids Day’ I rushed up the slope to the castle to be thankful that David had planted all those Leeks and Daffodils and got made into a Saint as even for a Castle lover like me, £3.80 is a bit much for a stone tower.

I drove onwards to Ffestiniog power station, which is part of the first hydro-electric stations. Here I walked for a bit and stood to look at the Narrow gage tracks, and decided that at 6pm I was a little tired and food and sleep was in order.

Portmerrion

This was a busy day. My plan was to drive far and work my way back towards the hotel. Instead I got so excited by seeing the Ffestiniog railway, with the train being stoked up I had to get out and watch it set on its way. By which point I thought the sun won’t be out for ever let’s go to the film set. So off I set from Porthmadog to Portmerrion. Now for those not in the know, I only know of this place, not because of the crazy man Ellis who designed and built it in the 1920’s and led the project till it had finished in the 1950’s or for its super importance as a site that no one can touch or do anything to without permission from the UK government, that includes Ellis himself.

The whole village was built to prove that towns could be built to look beautiful and to function, but the reason why I know it, is due to a big white balloon that prevented Number 2 from escaping. I am referring to the hit 60’s show ‘The Prisoner” Now as I walked around this populated village which Ellis describes as miniature… Everything is scaled down I found it rather creepy. Not sure if that was because of the ‘Prisoner’ of if the village gave of that vibe and that is why the producers picked it.

The woodlands that surround and mask the village are spectacular, quiet and peaceful they carry the same erriness as the fabrication they circle. Within the woods is a ghost garden that if excuse the English was hunting, and as the path down was more or less a tunnel that had been carved through the trees and hedges, to an overgrown area. Along the wood was also a sheltered space called ‘Dog cemetery’ where graves stones stood proud above the graves of loved dogs. This did nothing to calm the nerves but instead heightened the strangeness and peculiarity that this small area of Wales held.

I really do recommend anyone going to see this village. The whole thing is locked away and for those who live her, security gates are the norm, luckily they are not subjected to the £8.00 entry fee, but I feel it was worth it as I was absorbed into the surroundings and strange tranquility of the place.

Next on the list was another castle, and again luckily the cost did not burden my pockets, as the ticket booth was not open, but the gates to the castle were. This was still a nice castle to look at, but after the English invasion was over the castle was left to fall apart. The idyllic setting was yet agin on a mound over looking the sea at the edge of the town. The Town is called Criccieth, and there is not much else to do apart the castle, so I hastily drove to the final stop, a copper mine.

This was a self guided tour, and you would not believe how creeped out I was as I walked the steps of history. The plastic moulding of men in  fixed positions did not help, nor did the voices from hidden speakers and lets not get started when all the lights went out to show you how dark it would have been. But the sites of the underground lakes and caverns were spectacular, and the mountain walk afterwards was a good strong climb to amazing views. This got me energised and I wandered off to walk up Snowdon again. This time I only made it half way due to fading light and I’m no fool when it comes to climbing mountains in the dark. The path I chose was the Watkins path which Lloyd George opened on a rock in front of 2000 people.

After this I decided enough was enough and it was back to the hotel for me.

Cader Idris and Barmouth


Now without upsetting people, which I know will happen, but this mountain which is said to be the 2nd most visited, is truly amazing. I loved it. The climb up was not harder or easier than Snowdon, but seemed to use more energy. The end result was also more rewarding. The height of Cader Idris stands at just under 900 meters so is in no means a dwarf, but Snowdon some what has the lime light for one reason and that is its height. You get to the top of Snowdon and you have wonderful views of the other mountain ranges. You get to the top of Cader Idris and you see hills, valleys, Barmouth  and its bridge. Plus the last half a mile to the summit is so rewarding it’s untrue. I wanted to shout while I was at the top, but there was an older gentleman eating his lunch.

This summit also played on the mind, as you could never fully see your goal till the last moment, so just when youthought you were about to reach the top of the summit you had your eye on disappeared to reveal another mound.

Anyway who ever likes walking should do this, it is a mix of flat hill, steep crumbling rock climbing, large stone step walking and strong hiking.

This rather took the breath from me, both in the climb and the views the walk down was just as strenuous and if anything was slightly harder. It was broken up by chatting to a nice couple of Warkshire who were up for two days, and I had met in the car park where they had guided me through the walk step by step. Now we spoke about views and other walks, but I was to tired for any more walking today, so it was off to look at a train museum that ended up being a shed and was in fact closed. This was where I had to push my little car to the full, as the red petrol light illuminated telling me Marko was thirsty. This was the only time I got my brothers TOMTOM out, to direct me to the nearest station. 15 miles later Marko was watered so to speak and he had done over 400 miles on a tank. The best MPG yet.

With this I headed toward Barmouth to enjoy more sandy beaches but really to take a peak at the wonderful bridge that crosses the mouth. With that I retired to my hotel room to bath and change before my last evening in Wales.

The Last Day

This was a sad day. I didn’t want it to happen, but knew I had to leave if only because Simon had hired my room out to some one else for their holiday, and there was a small fact I could not afford it.

I knew I did not want to go back to Manchester til night fall, so what was there to do. I thought I could drive the coast road back on the A55 and take it in all my castles on the way back, but I certainly was not going to pay to go in side each one. My legs were tired from all the walking I had done and while not all of it is documented here I covered a fair few miles I can tell you. The only town I had not yet been to was that of Llanberis where the Snowdon railway starts for those lazy people who can’t be bothered to walk up, but it is also the home of Electric Mountain, the Hydro Electric power station buried deep into the hill-side. There were no tours this day, but there was a slate museum, which I took great interest in, and delight and looking at the largest UK mainland water wheel.

From here I decided to take a walk through the national park and the quarry. This was where I got lost. Walking my new hobby mixed with a quarry and Victorian engineering I was in some kind of fantasy or on a Dr Who planet. It was a deathly quiet place. The odd the bird of prey circled overhead as you paced through history that was left to decay. Old miners houses built into the hillside, the old workshops where they spilt the slate before loading into the wagon that were trucked down the incline on huge steel wires. All the buildings and inclines built from the raw material they had blasted from the hillside. In this desolate rubble, Snowdon towered above, keeping a watchful eye. For some one who was tired off walking, I managed another day of trotting around for several hours, in the quarry and the woods, trying to catch snaps of the Kingfisher but in the end finding myself taking pictures of a different bird entirely as well as Kid (goat)

The day was complete by paying a visit to another Keep, this was Dolbadarn Castle, a small but yet impressive feature on the landscape. I don’t know much of this history, but the English did not build this masterpiece.

With that, the time was getting close to six, and I was gearing up for bed. It was to the car, and the coast road for a lasting sight of the Castles of North Wales and a glimpse of my favourite bridge.

By the time I got home, I was ready for bed, I did almost drift off a few times and was glad to be home and secure. But am not happy about leaving the place I called home for a week. But some important decisions were thought about, and time will see if having a holiday is what people really need, or to be more precise what I needed.

Wales and Snowdonia Rule.