Friday, February 29, 2008

The Diving Bell And The Butterfly

I just watched the film 'The Diving Bell And The Butterfly' (Le Scaphandre et le Papillon).

I read the book about 8 or 9 years ago and was deeply impressed by it.

It is the story of a French man who has a stroke and is totally paralysed apart from his left eye. He then managed to write a book about his experiences by blinking the letters he wishes to write.

It is a funny, sad, heart warming story which covers everything from the irony of being surrounded by beautiful women and being able to do nothing about it to seeing his children and knowing he will never be able to hold them.

It is an amazing story and I suggest everyone at least watches the film and if not reads the book.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

An Earthquake? In Dronfield? Are You Sure?

Yes, I am sure!!!

At 1am this morning Victoria and I were woken up by the bed violently shaking. We thought the chimney had fallen off or something but when I looked out of the window I could not see anything.

This morning the radio is reporting that it was an earthquake!!! The epi-center was in Lincoln apparently so god knows how violent it was there!

Alice and Amelia slept through it, lazy girls!!!

Did anyone else feel it?

What's to come next I ask? Hot Hail?

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Wisdom Of Alice part 8

Alice (To Victoria) : "I've got a pea stuck up my nose."

Victoria (Having a look) : "No you have not. It must have fallen out."

Alice (To Me) : "I've got a pea stuck up my nose."

Me (Having a look) : "I can't see anything. Are you sure?"

Alice (To Victoria) : "I HAVE got a pea stuck up my nose."

Victoria (Taking another look and spying some green) : "Blimey so you have!! What a silly girl!!"

Victoria the precedes to block the other nostril and tells Alice to blow. The pea is then expelled.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Operation Certain Death

Some of you already know this but my brother Justin and I as well as two others (so far) are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in October.

This was all decided over Christmas. It appears that my brother is having a bit of a mid-life crisis and in November was talking about buying a motorbike. He obviously realised that this was a stupid idea and instead came up with this African adventure.

At first I thought he was joking when he asked me if I wanted to come. While he is fit and healthy (although a bit of a wuss with bones you could break by staring at them hard) I have never been known for my physical prowess or level of peak fitness. This combined with my total lack of climbing experience made me initially think this was a crazy idea. Then Justin explained that climbing Kilimanjaro actually involved no climbing and it was a hike. A difficult one I'll grant you but a hike all the same. No climbing experience required!!

Now, as Kilimanjaro is the highest place in Africa the fact that getting to the top is 'just a hike' is no real comfort. It is almost 6000m (20000 feet) high and therefore altitude sickness is a real issue. The temperature can drop as low as -25C and you are walking up hill for 5 days in a row. It is no easy thing to do. I was still worried about me level of fitness. This is an expensive trip and I want to make it to the top!!!

By an amazing coincidence I have been taking my fitness much more seriously recently. I have been rowing between 5 and 10km 5 days a week since last September and have been eating very healthily, thanks to my excellent cook of a wife. I've not smoked for years and I don't drink a vast amount these days. My general level of fitness has therefore greatly improved. I was still not sure that the trip was for me but Justin convinced me that in 10 months I could get to the correct fitness.

So, it was decided. Tanzania here we come!!

This week we have paid the first part of the trip. There is now no going back. On October 5th we will fly out to Tanzania for about a week to 10 days and climb a mountain. There is much preparation to be done and there is loads of stuff to buy, all costing a fortune, but I think it will be worth it. I will also be stepping up my training as soon as the weather gets a bit more pleasant and Amelia is a little more settled. Lots of long walks are in order and luckily we have the entire Peak District to climb.

There are so far 4 of us on the trip. Apart from myself and my brother our step father David is coming and a friend of Justin's is coming too. We can have about a dozen in our group and can add people at any time until we leave so if you feel up to the challenge feel free to come along. :-)

I am really excited about this adventure. It is on a par with going to a Grand Prix which means I am VERY excited! I just hope my camera can handle the low temperatures.

Of course Phil has christened the trip 'Operation Certain Death' and I am sure that Victoria is worried that I might die, but I'm sure all will be well. Only about 15 people a year die getting to the top so how dangerous can it be? :-)

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