Good Moaning from Italia

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Where this then? Well keep reading and you’ll find out, lazy bum.

Oh the irony. I used to think one of the great benefits of moving to the UK was its close proximity to Italy, a place I’m going to be spending a lot of time soon (the reason for which you can read about here). How bloody ironic it is then that today it’s taking me thriteen hours to get from Edinburgh to Bari? Far out, if I was leaving Melbourne (on a plane), in thirteen hours I could be in Singapore, or Hawaii or… deep in the Antarctic. Well, not in the Antarctic, that’d be difficult (unless I had a submarine), not to mention a tad cold and wet.

Four of the thirteen hours has me stuck in Stansted Airport. Ugghh. To kill time I’m currently (that was a pun, but you’ll have to wait a few sentences before you can groan at it) getting my jollies rebelling against decent, law-abiding society. And when I say ‘decent’ and ‘law abiding’, I mean English.

Somehow I broke through one of the airport’s mysterious 700 million rules, and not only am I at my gate three hours early – at Stansted they expect you to wait in a not so huge ‘holding pen’ with all the other 6 million travellers, until they tell you half an hour before your flight which gate to run to, and I do mean run – but I’m also plugged into a random socket (aaaaaand groan) I found behind some chairs. Being London, I expect to be told off at some point because geez, there must surely be some kind of Health and Safety rule I’m breaking. Plus, being Ryanair, I also expect to be charged for the unauthorised use of airport electricity.

When I’m bored of typing, I’ll switch to being bored by people watching. I’m always fascinated by the the ‘fashionista’s’ at airports, the ones who seem to think they’ll be stalked by paparazzi at some stage so they better make a huge effort (if that’s the right word) in the wardrobe department. Apart from mismatching, faux-designer crap, they’ve always got some stupid hat on, a real ‘look at me’ monstrosity that nobody would ever actually wear on the street. Or anywhere. Well, maybe Ibiza.  Continue reading

There’s Nothing Like Nature to Show You Your Limits

That’ll teach me…

After the relative success of a day walking up a hill in the Trossachs in July, I got a bit cocky. I was just trying to be ironic by calling it a hill in my other post, when it quite obviously – to me – was actually a bloody mountain. But according to some bizarre rating system in Scotland, Ben A’An is indeed just a hill, as is anything else under 600 meters high. Well 609, but I’m too lazy to type the exact measurements.

In Scotland, you haven’t really gone for a walk up a mountain until you’ve bagged yourself a Graham (600 to 760 meters). You can also, if you’re one of those annoyingly fit people, try for a Corbett (760 to 914) or a Munro (914 and above). And it’s quite the thing to do here apparently. Even the girl who I returned my hire car to the next day told me she’s done five Grahams. Two in one day. Yeah, goodonya. Nobody likes a show off.

So this was how I found Ben Venue. At 729 meters, there’s no denying it’s a Graham. So I put on my proper walking boots, grabbed the Hungarian and the Pom and set off again a couple weeks ago thinking it would be a cinch.

I’m going to spare you the endless moaning details, but let’s just say as far as mountain climbing goes, I’ve learnt my limits. I’m too old and pathetically unfit or this shit. Six hours, one blister and two bloodied pinky toes later (and weather so dangerously windy up the top we only stayed for about 30 seconds before retreating to lower ground) tells me that I’m not gonna be bagging no bloomin’ Munro any time soon.

Which is a pity, because bloody hell, even in challenging weather, it’s so damn beautiful up there. See for yourself. But please excuse the rain drops all over this shot. I haven’t figured out how to use a camera in gale force winds and rain whilst shielding the lens yet.

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Maybe a lens hood might be a good start?