Friday, 13 July 2007

Short Way Out

I've had a really interesting week or so! Are you you sitting comfortably? Good, because I'm not going to write about it..

I'm on a break from American drama, since the end of the Sopranos and had taken to watching foreign language films and some oldies that had been recommended. Also some stuff that had never risen to the top of my to watch pile. In here I found Long Way Round, Ewan Mcgregor and Charley Boorman's attempt to motorcycle around the world the 'Long Way Around in 115 days'. Taking in such places as Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. Innocuous and entertaining enough. Ewan and Charley seem like personable people and the series passed some time quite nicely.

Programmes like this always raise a bit of "Why don't I do something like that..." in me, although their adventure required months of planning, not inconsiderable amount of hardship with things like international borders to traverse and bandits. They also need hefty sponsorship and support crews.

I have no interest in motorcycles, and not much interest in travelling into bear infested wilderness, so probably a little unsuitable and ambitious...

Maybe I should consider something a little more achievable, perhaps involving water. I like water.

The thing is, I've done the scuba try-dive and made a commitment to get some lessons (unfulfilled- it's been eight years).

I've done the white-water rafting introduction at the National Water Sports Centre and made some initial plans for a more advanced longer trip down a real river (unfulfilled- six years).

I've done the step-up from Bodyboarding to Surfing and made a commitment to do the intense two-day training (unfulfilled - two years, although I was somewhat thwarted by the weather earlier this year).

I've window shopped a dog sledding trip through Sweden for charity this year, but have yet to get around to not fulfilling it..

Most of these plans were made with mate Z, who has a real enthusiasm for this kind of stuff. And he has kept ringing me over the years to try and get me to follow up on these adventure. He always rings in the middle of a good film though, or sometimes a bad one, so I'm usually too busy to commit.

It hasn't been completely adventure free, however. In the early nineties I became quite serious about off-road cycling and spent some great weekends in the Forest of Dean throwing myself down and around some seriously steep Wye Valley trails. Unfortunately an incident took me off one these trails and down an incline. I somehow ended up quite high in a tree sprouting from some lower ground. Saturday night in casualty and the following week off work, unable to move much, dampened my enthusiasm somewhat, and I returned to the life of a slacker.

Long Way Round has piqued my interest for a little adventure and opportunity has knocked today. A colleague of mine suggested two or three of us trek the quarter of a mile to another building across the campus on which we work, to make use of the canteen facilities and have a slap-up breakfast.

I'm in! *

*Weather permitting, obviously.

16 comments:

Gwen said...

Well I suppose you could quench your thirst for adventure by waiting until your route has become flooded (and what with the weather we've been having, that will be happening sooner rather than later I would presume) and white water rafting your way to the canteen. I'm sure Ewan and Charley would approve.

Ishouldbeworking said...

Make sure you prepare properly for this trek, VS. You'll need to grease yourselves in goose fat, add three layers of silk underwear, a ski-suit, four kagouls and wide-brimmed Drizabone hat (conditions can change rapidly at this time of the year and there are equal risks of frostbite and sunstroke). Take that Swiss Army knife in case your supplies run out and you have to take it in turns to drink each other's blood.
Then come back and write a book about it.

Or you could try the 'Hastings/Romney/Dungeness Tour', though there are a few tricky bus changes, and you might bump your head getting on the Light Railway ( the lovely Hastings B&B we stayed in gets a glowing write-up in the Gruaniad Travel Section today, btw...)

Ishouldbeworking said...

PS - Did you really end up in a tree?

Valentine Suicide said...

We at last have sunshine here Gwen, Hurrah! (sorry if it's still raining in 'sunny' Glasgow)

I never EVER go anywhere without at least three pairs of silk underwear! I have my reputation to consider..

Yes, I did end up in a tree. Not that remarkable if you imagine a forest trail with a 60 degree incline to my right hand side and about thirty feet below, a large tree sprouting from the forest floor. I ended up about level with the trail I had been on..but in the branches of tree about thirty feet up.

This post has brough back some painful memories. The most hurtful being 'What the fuck happened to my bike??' I used to REALLY love my bike. I can recall Mme saying something about throwing this 'metal bag of bones' away when she returned from a trip from our remote garage about 5 years ago.

I have to go. it's suddenly become the most important thing in the world!

Valentine Suicide said...

PS - Can you give me the name of that B&B, so I can file it. You never know...

Gwen said...

Actually VS we have had a rare sighting of some lesser spotted blue sky today. There has been no rain so far although last night we had a torrential downpour which lasted for most of the day. Last night I was close to aquaplaning all the way home. Perhaps by Monday it will be snowing and I can ski to work. The possibilities for excitememt and adventure are endless in our climate.

I hope you are able to regain your bike riding days although the tree incident does sound incredibly painful.

Ishouldbeworking said...

I hope you've retrieved that bike, and that there won't be any marital tension Chez Suicide. I got into trouble last week for having disposed of a pair of pink inflatable hands, that my Lemon suddenly decided he needed more than anything else.

The B&B is called 'Swan House'. They have a website, and you can also look them up on Tripadvisor. Absolutely lovely, and with loads of good pubs that sell Harvey's Bitter nearby. You could take bikes and go cycling. There are plenty of trees.

Gwen said...

The obvious question ISBW is just what was he going to do with a pair of pink inflatable hands.

Valentine Suicide said...

That's not the way the male mind works Gwen. If L had said to Melfi
"Where are my Pink Inflatable Hands? ", and she had replied "..they're in a drawer upstairs I think?" the matter would probably have ended right there.
When a man vaguely thinks about something and is told he cannot put his hands on it IMMEDIATELY, it automatically becomes the most vital something in the world.

A phone call to Mme (in Yorkshire visiting mother and sister) reassured me that the bicycle had not been disposed of...

If you're curious about what harm nearly ten years of neglect in a leaky old garage can do to a 1992 Kona Cinder Cone, the answer is...

not much! Hurrah!


I've been to Halfords today to buy the necessary restoration equipment and some snazzy hybrid road/trail tyres. A little work tomorrow, then I'm off to catch Bradley Wiggins...

Gwen said...

I must thank you VS for your explanation into the mysterious workings of the male mind. I will store that away for future reference. I now expect you to be appearing as a last minute addition to the Tour De France as competition for Bradley Wiggins. Do you have to injest an unborn twin before you start?

Ishouldbeworking said...

The wheels dissolved, then? Not to worry - I'm told you can buy spares. I bet Mme was delighted to get your plaintive phone call at her Mum's.

I'm ashamed to say that L wanted his inflatable hands so he could wave at Vinikourov and the other Lycra Lads a week ago, in Rochester. His day was not ruined however, as Vino's bike broke down 3 feet from where they were standing. I told him Vino would have thought far less of him had he been standing there with pink inflatable hands.

Rich said...

McGregor and Boorman are currently filming another road trip. Long Way Down takes them from John O' Groats to Cape Town.

Gwen said...

I think you may have been right ISBW.

Valentine Suicide said...

Noooo he'd have been chuffed to bits.

He'd probably have pulled a Slinky out of his Lycra and demonstrated it on Rochester Castle steps...

Five-Centres said...

What does Boorman actually do apart from go on trips with Ewan McGregor?

Ishouldbeworking said...

Is that a Slinky in his pocket, then? I thought he was just pleased to see Gary Imlach.

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