19 August 2018

One climb Monday

We were going back to Holyhead Mountain. You never know what you will get if that happens! On the parking lot I met Glyn and Eifion. More people seemed to be on their way. We went ahead!

Glyn wanted to do a specific route and he immediately tried to rope me in as his wingperson. That should have sounded some alarms! If he wants me then nobody else wants to do it, and there may be a reason for it. But we just walked up. We started at the cliff with Glyn's desired route on it. It didn't look too bad! I suggested I indeed belay him and second the route, as Eifion wanted to go elsewhere and climb other routes with those coming later. That meant he should be able to scoot off when they would appear. Eifion was visibly relieved when I said that. Another sign on the wall!

Simon and his youngest daughter appeared, and together with Eifion they went to another crag. Glyn got ready to start!

It was clearly harder than it looked. He groaned and struggled! That would be interesting. He struggled over the crux and vanished from sight. The route went over an edge so we wouldn't be able see or hear each other for a while (except from when shouting really really loud).

I heard the 'I'm safe' call, and a while later I saw the rope be pulled up. Time for me to get climbing! I had put on my climbing shoes and slung a bag with our walking shoes onto my back. Then I started! The first two meters or so were OK. Then it got hard.

I got to something that wasn't even a crux and struggled. How to get past this bit? I figured I couldn't do it. And I was very low on the rope, so if I managed to get a few decimeters up the bounce in the rope would let me down straight again. Frustrating! But what was the alternative? I couldn't tell Glyn. The others were somewhere far away too. I had to keep trying! So moaning and groaning I tried it along the left, along the right, every way I could think of. And in the very end I managed! Then I was OK for a while. It was still hard, almost every step of the way, but I moved.

Then I got to the crux. By then my muscles were very tired. The same scene as before followed! A lot of moaning and groaning and a million attempts but in the end I got there. And when my head popped up above the edge I heard Glyn's voice. I could see him! And he said it was almost over. And it was.

I did the final (much easier) stretch and joined Glyn. It had taken me almost an hour! It was time to de-rig, change shoes and walk down. It was getting dark so we wanted to get over the boulder field quickly. Once on the path we would see if we could spot the others. But we didn't see anyone! We phoned Eifion and he said they had already buggered off to the cars. The cheeks! So if I really wouldn't have made it they wouldn't have been there to tell Glyn and sort something out. Oh well. I managed! We walked back too.

I was tired and bruised and smelly but I had managed! And Glyn had on-sighted this route he really wanted. So even though we had done only one route it had been a successful night!

Glyn just below the Crux

A tired smile at the first difficult bit

Over the crux! Glyn is in sight.

Glyn tidying up the rope in the sunset

18 August 2018

Another round in the garden

I had made a budget for doing up the house before I decided how much of a deposit to put down. But what did I know? The house needed much more work than I anticipated. So money vanished fast! When I had got the quote of the electrician I had immediately cut down my spending habits. He pretty much wanted all the money I had left! And I need to have some reserves for in case something unexpected happens. So I stopped spending on pretty much everything except the house and necessities such as (not all too fancy) food. The advantage, though, of all work folk vanishing for weeks at a time is that you can pay them a lot later than you thought! I hadn't seen coming the stove person and electrician etcetera would be so slow. But every month that passes without work being finished is one more monthly wage plonked on my bank account and making it less unready for what's to come.

My mother had noticed the house was eating money and was already trying to help. That was sweet! I did have to come over myself as she's a digiphobe and internet banking makes her go doolally. And not going digital has other disadvantages.

When my dad saw my house I think he was a bit taken aback by the state it was in. Loose electricity cables everywhere, bare walls, messy ceilings, and whatnot. He offered financial help too! And he has a bigger budget to work on. It was really nice of him. Now the pressure was off. So I went back to the garden centre and bought some plants! It's summer now, so this is the time to enjoy the garden; let's make sure there's something to enjoy! So I added to my prized succulents raised bed, added some plants to my somewhat improvised raised bed, and cleared out an empty bed that had only had weeds in. The weeds went onto the compost heap, and I loosened the soil. My dad had given me a new gardening tool which did the job excellently. That bed now has plants in too. And there was a bell pepper plant on special offer so that now lives in the conservatory! Success! I hope my plants survive whatever the rest of the summer has to throw at us...

The succulent bed

The slightly improvised bed

The bed that only had weeds in

Tidying up

The stove men had broken bits out of the wall. The neighbour had pulled the satellite dish off the house. The electrician had pulled bits out of the ceiling and the walls. My dad and his wife had pulled God-knows-what from the river bank. It was time to get rid of all they had produced as waste! So I did another trip to the recycling centre. It feels good to get rid of another car load!

14 August 2018


I had so optimistically sown lots of vegetables in what should be a vegetable patch! But hardly anything came up. The only thing that popped up after not too much time were the radishes. The seeds had been a gift from my niece! The small plants were soon eaten by (probably) slugs and I thought all was lost. But it wasn't! Then it got dry and the slugs vanished. The radish plants tried again! And succeeded. And a lonely carrot appeared.

When I was visiting my sister she said I shouldn't wait with harvesting the radishes; they get woody if you leave them too long. So I decided to harvest them when I got home! And I tried. But there were no radishes. Oh dear. I do have seed, though, so I can try again next year!

When I was harvesting anyway I pulled out my lonely carrot too. I ate it! The sole produce from my veg travails!


I suppose these slight bulges could have become radishes...

13 August 2018

Beam gone

When my dad was visiting I had tried to saw off a superfluous beam in my landing. It was awful work and I didn't finish. it. I didn't even get halfway! But then I decided that the situation asked for a wire saw. I ordered one! Which didn't come. I contacted the seller and another one was sent. And I tied it on a Friday late afternoon, before Phil would pop by to reclaim his steamer again (it's been going to and from several times). It didn't work! The wire jammed immediately. Oh dear. But then Phil appeared. He asked if he could have a go. And I had been trying to saw as close to the wall as I could, as I wanted to leave a minimum of stump sticking out. But Phil said the beam wouldn't be particularly strongly fixed to the wall, and it could just be cut in the middle and be pulled out. That made things easier! And he did the honours. Great! In no time the beam was out.

Beam gone!

 Dealt with.

In the meantime, the plasterer came to have a look. He was quite happy with what I wanted done, but he wanted 3-4 weeks of notice. Oh dear! I hope to have a room done before the winter. Best move on with the landing, get the stove sorted, and send the plasterer in. And then the painter (or do it myself). Then I finally have a room finished!

12 August 2018

Visit to mother

Everyone had been visiting me! So now it was time to visit my mum. The last time had been in spring. And coming back to see my mum meant I could also go and visit Monique in her new house. We had pretty much bought at the same time! But her house was in a better shape so she was already living in all of it. And I would pop by my sister too. I had tried a few more friends but these were away!

I drove up in my uncooled car, but that was OK as it wasn't very hot. The travel went fine. I went to my mother and it was quite warm but very bearable! We did some sitting in the garden with her friends. Very nice!

The Netherlands from the train


The next day I would go to see my sister. She had come back from holiday a bit early due to an unexpected event, and she was trying to make it a bit holidayish. Trying to do things on the fly can be a bit hard though, in the middle of the school holidays! We stayed in the garden, (in the shady part of it), playing a board game, but it seemed the children were starting to feel to old for that. We ended the game with only one under age person! But later we went for pizza picnic on the moors. That was universally popular!

The next day I first went for a nice long run; it was already quite warm but my standard route is rather shaded. So it was OK! And then I washed my hair. Later I went off to Drenthe; Monique had moved to the other side of the country! And it was a really, really hot day, but the trains were air-conditioned so I was fine. She picked me up from the railway station and, through the pretty rural landscape, drove me to her new home. It's a 70s house and I like mine older, but it was big and finished and had a big garden! For now we didn't want to be there; it was 38°C. The house was a bit obscured by her new dog though; she has a Stabyhoun (I think) these days and she's cute but also rather confused. She wasn't sure whether to kiss me or chase me away. She settled on the kissing!

The old (r) and new (l) dog! 

When I had seen the house (all immaculate!) we went to the shop and cooked a meal. Somewhere along the way her husband Mike came home. We ate in the garden; it was cool enough by then!

That night I was a bit tired; possibly because of the high temperatures. Monique and Mike had offered me a fan but I forgot! So I was too hot. And then a thunderstorm passed straight overhead in the middle of the night. Cue ear-splitting thunder, festooned with frantically barking dogs. I didn't sleep that well! But at least the next morning it was a lot fresher.

The next morning Mike worked at home and Monique and I went for a walk in a nearby nature reserve. It was all cloudy now, so quite nice! We walked over moorland and through woodland. It was great!

Heide op het Dwingelderveld.JPG
 Wikipedia picture of Dwingelderveld where we walked. Pic by Donarreiskoffer

Later I went back to Amersfoort. And the next day I flew back. A short visit, as quite often, but it was good to see my mum again! As always. And the others too, but my mum has priority!

Goodbye, Netherlands!

10 August 2018

Car issues

I drove back from work and wanted to switch the fan in the car on. It was hot! But nothing happened. Oh dear. I first only thought of the temperature in the car. Then I thought of condensation on the windscreen. If you can't turn the fan on, how do you get rid of that? A car with an opaque windscreen is useless. I would have to have it fixed! And the car also made some slightly funny sounds, but nothing so out of the ordinary I worried about it too much.

I drove to the garage on Monday. They told me to come back on Wednesday. I did! I told the bloke the fan didn't work and left. And got the phone call at the end of the afternoon the car was fixed. When I came to pick it up I didn't quite understand what the bloke was saying about the fan. Until it dawned on me he had fixed the fan of the engine. Not of the inside of the car! He said its switch didn't work. I must have driven around with the fan not working. That explains the funny sounds! And indeed, when I drove away the car sounded a lot better.

It was too late in the day for the chap to also fix the other fan. I had to come back the day after! And that day they still didn't manage to get it done. I would have to bring it back after my upcoming trip to the Netherlands! So that will probably be one hot trip to the airport. And back. But the day after I deliver it again, and expect the work to be finished. Once that's done I'll have a comfortable car again. Which, fortunately, is unlikely to overheat and bugger its engine anytime soon. This coincidence saved the car, in all likelihood!