September 2008

Sometimes it is time to sit down and ask yourself if you are doing the right thing.  You have to wonder if  you are in the right job.  Teaching might have seemed right at the time, but now years later I have to take stock and question if I am truly happy.  Today, after classes, I had to supervise an engineering project.  Basically it involved playing with lots of lego.  And I get paid for this.  So that answers the question, dilemma over.


and another good one


A few years ago a friend of mine told me about a website called alpkit.  He told me it was a bunch of guys getting mountain gear made and selling it for what it cost.  They were fighting the big guys.  A few years later and I feel like a regular customer.  The lovely Sharon is also sold on the quality and functionality of their gear.  An alpkit down sleeping bag is the only ever example of her consenting to opening a Christmas present before Christmas day.  There was no question or debate or discussion, she simply accepted that it was a necessity to use her present a couple of months before it was supposed to be opened.  This is very much out of character for someone who completely forbids opening any sort of present before it is due.  It was a winter wild camp and the sleeping bag is lovely and warm.

Last weekend she brought her alpkit pipedream and I brought a cheap thin bag instead of my own pipedream.  Mistake.  At 4:30 I woke up very cold.  At one point one of my balloons popped and my side rested on the ground, manifesting the cold as pain deep in my hip.  Alpkit is good kit, but only if you can make good decisions about when to use it.

The bike was wheeled out this morning after a month of being hidden away.  The spider webs were left on as I knew the wind would brush them off.  It was worth the effort seeing the sun creep over the horizon as I cycled beside the sea.  This was followed by porridge and strong black coffee.  Not a bad start to the day.

Today I released the notices about a school climbing team.  The NI Youth Climbing Team contacted us about a program of training for 12 students over a few months.  The notices went out in the morning and out of curiosity I asked in my classes if people are interested.  It seems I might be overwhelmed with candidates.  How will I get it down to 12?

I just learnt something I could have survived without.  The fact that when you burst a really large abscess on a cat it smells really very bad.  The cat didn’t like the experience either.  Poor thing.  She is now on a course of antibiotics for a week and has to suffer the indignity of walking around with a partially shaved bum (where the abscess was).

my wordle:

Just finished a book last week. A book I have read three times and bought many copies of. It is getting harder to get copies so once I found a hard copy online I bought it to treat myself.


by Gary Paulsen

This is the kind of book to read on a cold night curled up in front of the fire.  It makes me want to have a dog but that would be cruel as we are not in enough to be with it.  It also makes me want to read Woodsong, an equally brilliant book that goes hand in hand with winterdance.

We all randomly buy bags of coffee for the staff room and today someone brought in a bag of very very strong coffee ground for a machine.  When made in a cafetiere it makes for an interesting drink.  I am very awake.

The lovely Sharon and I have been busy. Every weekend we have been throwing ourselves into activities to keep us occupied. This is a good thing, you feel like you have actually done something with your weekends. They are an experience in themselves and not just something to live for. We have been constantly in the mountains supervising groups or taking part in crazy marathons. So far every one of them has been a little island of beautiful weather. Mini summers.

The last weekend was the Mourne Mountain Marathon. The lovely Sharon and I did it a few years ago with our only goal being to survive. This year we were pleased to have improved on our previous performance. I can’t really say it was extremely enjoyable at the time. It’s one of those things you just want to get over with but are really pleased you have done and would do it again at the drop of a hat (with a couple of days rest). And the atmosphere was brilliant with everybody having a laugh, encouraging each other and being friendly.

Near the end I passed a small lough at the base of Slieve Lamagan. The last time I passed this lough only a week before I was struck by its beauty. I thought, at the time, how it be a beautiful winter camp. I imagined a frosty mountain range and coffee and porridge at dawn. However this time, after stomping all over the mountains for what seemed like forever, i did not have such romantic thoughts. I just wanted to go home.

So it’s back to school after a summer that seemed to last for months and months. Don’t get me wrong! I wasn’t too long, it’s just that we seemed to pack a lot in.

Meeting the locals

Catching glimpses of the fairy land

Eating our greenhouse project produce

Sipping Italian coffee

Sipping French coffee

Gone fishing in Bangor

Ascending Helvyllen