19/5/2020 GB is 20!
Posted May 19, 2020
It's my 20th hootoo birthday!
During my time here I have written 279 solo edited entries (with more in my head, I just need to stop procrastinating), 97 collaborate entries, sub-edited 737 articles (not including those I've subbed under the h2g2 Editors account), curated many old entries (never attempted to count).
I've learned a lot of stuff during the last two decades and improved my computer skills.
But the most precious things are the friendships I have made here, and I hope to continue meeting up with as many as I can, as soon as circumstances allow.
Blessings and peace, keep well
Stressed and worried but not panicing
Posted Mar 19, 2020
I'm going almost insane with worry. The man I love is worried he's going to be laid off work. I have a pregnant niece and her sister has multiple health issues. Both are mothers. My two grandsons in Sheffield - their Mum and step-Dad work but one has special needs, the other doesn't. I feel impotent because I can't help due to the distance involved. I want to help but my health isn't great, I have a heart condition and take blood thinners. It feels like the weight of the world is on me, worry is stressing me out. My church has ceased services of worship but funerals and weddings are going ahead (as of today; this may change before the next funeral, which is next Wednesday). I intend turning up for work but half my job is providing comfort for the bereaved. I can't keep people at arm's length! I have elderly friends and neighbours and my partner's Mum is 84. My partner's brother-in-law is disabled and looked after by his wife, they're self-isolating. We'll be dropping off their shopping requirements (assuming we can locate things). Yesterday I visited my GP surgery for my repeat prescription and the pharmacy for my usual meds. I was shocked by the social distancing procedures in place but understand this is now the norm. I don't know when things are going to get back to normal - I suspect hand-shaking is a thing of the past now - but we can still smile and wave to each other. Thank goodness for virtual hugs and Goldie who carries on regardless Stay safe and wash your hands. Be kind to each other. Remember there is always someone worse off. I'm sorry this is a maudlin journal, I am trying to stay cheerful and put on a brave face but life's really tough at the moment
A conversation with the Peruvian mountains by GB's daughter, can you feel the force?
Posted Oct 21, 2019
Well that was a mare of a journey, I'm exhausted already, bagless, full of bloody cold and quite honestly feeling the physical ravage after 6 months of hard slog mentally at work and physically in training. All by my own hand of course! I poised myself on a rock counting the aches on my first acclimatising climb up to Humantay Lake. How did you allow yourself to get into such a state came a familiar voice in whisper. Let me catch my bloody breath I said, panting and trying to focus on how I was going to haul my ass up to the sacred lake at 3800m sitting below the mountain that shares the same name, I don't even have my hiking gear (that was in the bag). It's been a while since I had to acclimatise and I'm going straight in at the deep end at this height. We know this you said, and we wait to welcome you with wide wings at the top so take your time, forget your gear you'll get up as you are. This is a recovery from a marathon not a sprint and you know it takes a bit of work to come and be with us. Making it to the top I sat in awe of these wings at the crest of the lake so unassumingly still. Not asking for any attention but getting a lot of it. I ask again you said, now you've had the first gift I have for you, tell me how did you end up this way?
Same old same old, needs to keep going, needs to be strong and sort everything out, can't drop a ball. Really, so you have superpowers yes to sort everything? Well ok not everything but a lot of things for work and that. Ah, but then if you expel all your energy to keep doing, going or being whatever for the sake of these others what is left to sort yourself and what you need. I know I said, I guess that often falls by the wayside or just ends up on the long to do list I never get to. Or maybe I'm just not capable of it I said, maybe that's why I need you so often, for that replenishment and fulfilment that I can't seem to do myself? That's an interesting reflection you said, we will ponder that for a while. For now I'm going to send you to your next gift, you like dressing up and dancing don't you! Humm you've clearly been on my Facebook lately!
It was a fantastic afternoon with the community house by the lake project. Great laughs with the local Peruvians. How do they do those sandals all year round though. Their feet must freeze. Trying to do anything in that traditional dress was tough even feeding the Llamas and Alpacas (cute but stinky), let alone doing that dance that resembled the Hokey Cokey! Was fun though. And did you enjoy my next gift you asked? The sacred valley, oh yes, it was breathtaking I mean Wow! I wanted more time to gape and drool at it. You've no need to fret you said, I have plenty more where that came from and you have plenty of time on the trek you are going on with me to absorb the medicine I have for you. 3 days and 28km that's nothing I said it'll fly by in no time (a little too overconfidently). Ah but your perspective on time has become distorted, you said. It does not fly nor does it stand still it just is. I'm going to remind you what it is like to experience all hours of the day and even some of the night just so you know how long 24 hours can be. Now off to Ollantaytambo to get ready to join me where we will also revisit our earlier unfinished business.
It's a fantastic town I said, I'm not sure I can forgive you for the guinea pig thing although I do thank you for sending me the hummingbirds to watch over breakfast. I knew you would appreciate them your favourite bird, the guinea pigs is just the way of the Peruvian culture like all cultures have their ways you know this. Anyway, how was your first day on the trek? Bit random I said, the landscape is of course just astonishing, there are no words that do it justice it's just hill after mountain after hill. The waterfall was a real treat too. I wasn't so impressed with the dog that peed on my bag on the rest break! I struggled to manage all the food we were given in camp too, felt bad after the efforts of the cook I should have eaten all of it but I was rolling with what I had. Humm well these were lessons I sent you. You didn't quite stay on track with focussing on rejuvenating yourself did you? Look I only carried her bag for a bit until we got to the town I was fine and she needed help. And this is one of your good qualities but it is not why you are here, others could have done that and yes you are used to carrying heavier loads but you must lighten your load to rejuvenate not increase it. Okay okay but was the dog pee really necessary? Will you do it again? Fair enough....The food was also about carrying others loads, people will always try and give you more than you can handle, you need to learn your limits and realise saying no is okay. How many times did you wake? Loads I said, it's a long night yes? Yes but I wasn't stressed about it, more amazed at how much time there was during the night, I felt like I'd slept well in every micronap. Excellent, now day 2 is tougher, you have 2 mountain passes to do and a wish to make so off you go.
Okay I won't lie that was harsh. Harsh, how so? 16km, 2 mountain passes over 4400m, a 700m rocky track decent...oh right we see your point, we forget you visitors aren't used to our day to day terrain. I'm not complaining just saying it was tough. Well yes, physically it was a hard day, even had a nap on the mountain side before lunch didn't you. Yeah nosey, is nothing secret! Did you ever imagine you could just lay down on a tarp on the side of a 4400m mountain and go to sleep as trusting as if you were in your own bed? Well now you put it like that, no! So clearly you don't know all of what you are capable of. So what was the highlight of your day? Humm, I loved the special ceremony we did at the top of the first mountain, very spiritual and nice to be part of your cultural traditions in that way. Our mountain summits are very sacred places, they mean a lot to us. You made your wish? Yes and no I'm not telling. We heard it don't you worry, I'm sure that's something that will come to you. So what else? Well I guess it would be the Sungate at the end of the day, it was a fascinating place which, despite its age and redundancy of original purpose still seemed to hold a status as a guiding spectacle in an otherwise beautiful but consistently dormant landscape. It's kind of weird but it felt like music should be playing as you looked at it. There is something quite magical about the Incan architecture. Thank you for the gifts of today, the beautiful undulating landscape, the peace and the quiet, the manageable challenge, the crystal air, the water to drink. You experienced all that in a day? I know and it's not even over yet!
Good morning, how did you sleep you asked? Same thank you, enjoying the length of the night rather than fretting over it! Well today is the last day of your trek so enjoy the camp birthday party with the others and then soak in the day's offering, be curious today.
Now I know what you mean by that, those Incan remnants were fascinating, shame about the looting. Yes that is a bit of a problem but I knew you would like learning about the Incan culture and economy of working especially with this whole Brexit thing you are going through, let's not go there but yes I agree! I loved the rocks too, like natures playground.
What's with all the mozies too? Why are they so high up? That's climate change my friend, that is also why our snow caps are now more just glaciers. The Mother Earth is feeling the pain of the damage humans are doing, it's easier to see that up here. Well I guess it's only right I experienced some of that pain, my nose and lips are ravaged. Yes that's mountain life you know this already but only a drop in the ocean of her pain. Anyway, you have a train to catch so vamoose now!
Oh my gosh, I think that was one of the most mesmerising train journeys I've been on riding through the valleys to the cloud forest. All those hills, and all getting greener, bursting with life. Yes the climate is quite different coming over to Machu Picchu you said, lots more moisture so lots more life, I'm sure it's a nice relief from the relative dryness of the quarry trail. I do wish I was hiking up there now I'm here. You came here to rejuvenate not continue to ravage your body. You can enjoy something without the need to punish yourself first, everyone deserves to feel unearned enjoyment including you so stop itching to earn it and just be in it you said. Besides I have a different destiny in store for you.
OH MY GOD, you weren't kidding! I didn't mind the mist/clouds, I was just happy to be there but Ewan McGregor now that's just showing off! All I did was cross your paths you said. I know he's been an inspiration for you being also a traveller and explorer and not afraid to take the road less traveled. That was an inspiration for sure, I can't believe the coincidence, an awesome treat but not as incredible as that magic you promised on the parting of the clouds, now that really was showing off! Wasn't I the lucky one to be enjoying that majestic experience that day! I don't think I have stared at anything for so long with total and complete admiration and respect. Just beautiful. It's time to head back to Cusco now you said, your time here is nearly done. I know I said, with an accepting sigh. Don't be too sad, keep looking out the window on the way back I'm going to show you how you can see the sunset with all its angles and facets. One of the benefits of driving through a landscape like this at this time of day. I was awash with the amazing performance on that journey back. A celestially conducted choreography of all the elements coming together to celebrate their unity in ending the day, the stuff dreams are made of. Do you feel rejuvenated? I do, I said. I feel at peace again, settled and content, you have such a beautiful country thank you for sharing it with me. I can't wait to finish on Rainbow mountain tomorrow, back up to 5000m will be a challenge again but it will be worth it for that sight! Yes you said, remember what you heard earlier in the week, go well prepared and trust your instincts.
What was that as a day to finish me on I said somewhat bemused and frustrated. You're cross you said, yes and knackered, well maybe I'm more disappointed I guess. I didn't see the rainbow, all that hard work. That climb was such a slog and we saw nothing. You saw what Mother Earth decided she could gift you that day. She can fight off a snowstorm no better than you can but she saved a glimpse for you. I wanted more than a glimpse though. We know that but you don't always get what you want, this is life, wrong place, wrong time not everything works out how you want it to. But why put me through all that for just a glimpse on my last day. I mean that storm was dangerous we should never have gone up there. Yes that's why you reminded the guide of this and why you didn't go on to the red valley because it was not safe. You have good instincts and should always trust them, you know that what you see at the lower is never the same as the upper. I was also preparing you for going home. It's been nice to be able to offer you rejuvenation but you aren't returning to a peaceful settled life so it's a reminder to you when the shock of the return to normality hits you that you can get through anything just trust your instincts.
So you are at the end, you've climbed your mountains, eaten many potatoes, danced and soaked in the majestic beauty of this country. Do you feel fulfilled? No I said, I agree will all of your sentiment but I still have a longing/yearning for something. Then that my friend is something the mountains can't help you with and you must continue to ponder that dilemma yourself, as many people often have to do when facing the same question in their journey of life. I am sad to leave, I have enjoyed your company and our conversations. And we will always be here my friend when you need us. Wherever in the world you go the mountains will always listen and bring you peace. Sulpikee.
So yet again the mother of this awesome person heaves a massive sigh of relief that she spent last night in her own bed accompanied by her cat Rossi who is always pleased to see me as substitute food-giver and littertray-cleaner, but could never replace Mummy. And I wish I could ask that young Scottish man how he felt about meeting my famous daughter.
Coupled up (GB)
Posted Nov 20, 2018
I have acquired a partner, Andy We met at my astronomy club. I can honestly say I've never been happier. He's an astronomer, same age as me. He now spends more time at my house than his own, just 5 minutes away, and still working full time although I am badgering him to semi-retire. He's an astronomer All my life I have wanted a partner who shares my love of astronomy. He's an astronomer, can you believe it. I am still pinching myself. He's an astronomer.
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10156333166636185&set=a.10150525217216185 this photo is of my siblings and their spouses, with Andy and I cuddled up in the middle.
Harrison's goalkeeping debut
Posted Aug 20, 2018
My grandson loves football. He's chosen to be in goal. His debut, the team lost 11-0 and he was devastated. So my son, Harrison's daddy, edited his video to show his saves and uploaded it to Twitter for comments. The result was a "Twitter Moment" (on the day Aretha Franklin passed, that's some achievement). http://twitter.com/i/moments/1030333109282136065
The video has been seen over a million times and comments posted by famous goalkeepers among others, all encouraging and one even called him "champion", which is what I heard spiritually when I first saw him. Now the story is featured on their local BBC News website. Could I be more proud of my wonderful son and my amazing grandson?