Letters to my sons.

Trying to explain the world to two very small children.

Archive for May, 2009

Newcastle United relegated.

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Dear Sons,

Today Newcastle United were relegated from the Premiership. 

I’ll write up fully where things went wrong but here are the main points:

  1. Money has continually been taken out of the club instead of being reinvested.
  2. Five managers in one football season.
  3. Denis Wise.


Mike Ashley didn’t know what he was doing when he took control, by the time he started to have a clue, it was too late.

Written by Administrator

May 24th, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Posted in Football

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Getting the mental side right!

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Dear Sons,

yesterday I removed the suspended wooden ceiling in the kitchen in preparation for the new kitchen being fitted. It was quite a job and took some inner resolve from me on a lot of levels.

First of all every part of my brain was screaming at me not to do the work and do something else instead. Lots of different negative thoughts were coming to the fore – your knee hurts, you have had a cold and need to rest, there is too much to be done by one person …. I was able to silence the thoughts by simply thinking of Sir Ranulph Fiennes having a heart attack on Everest in 2005 and returning 4 years later to summit.

The job was not that big but it was going to be a long day with lots of steps. First I had to load the dishwasher, put away the stuff already in the dishwasher and then put away the stuff on the draining board. This seemed to be the hardest job as my sub-conscience seemed to object to it most. The rails that the top draw of the dishwasher run on keep coming out and I had to mess around to get the draw out and then back in again. The vocal saboteur in the sub-conscience had a field day with this; why are you having to fart on with the dishwasher just to get the ceiling done? Well he over played his hand because we are getting a new dishwasher with the new kitchen – the sooner the ceiling is done, the sooner the new kitchen is fitted and the sooner the new dishwasher takes pride of place.

I packed the stuff that wouldn’t fit in the dishwasher up in a box and stored it out side and then moved the chairs and everything else that could be moved outside, outside. It didn’t take me long to have 95% of the wooden suspended ceiling down. The final 5% took far too long and was getting frustrating. My neck was aching from looking up. Also the guys who fitted the ceiling must have run out of screws because a few of the boards were nailed to the ceiling. I was able to smash the wood around the nails – I’ll grind them off tomorrow.

As I removed the wood I was throwing it out of the back door. When I looked out I saw a huge pile of wood that needed breaking up so it would fit in the back of car so I could take it to the tip. My first thought was “I’ll do this tomorrow”. The only problem being that the tip is closed on Sunday’s and I would only get the opportunity to dump the wood a week later. I didn’t want the back garden out of use for today and the rest of the week so I put my mental defeatism to one side and started breaking up the wood. After what had felt like an age I looked at the pile waiting to be broken up and it hadn’t gone down. Defeatism came back in swathes but I fought it again and this time indulged in some day dreaming; I was walking up to the Tete Rousse and looking forward to an omelette when I reached the top. Before my day dream was over the wood was broken up and in the back of the car.

Now all I had to do was clean up the kitchen. This I did and waited for Heather to come home with my lunch. It took another supreme mental effort to get myself geared up, sweep the floor and get the bits, handful by handful, into the bin.

The lessons from yesterday were clear – I am only constrained by my mental application. If I want to finish something then I need to get my head sorted first, then a make a list of what needs doing and then, most importantly, do it!

If I can apply the lessons I learnt yesterday to my Mont Blanc preparation then I’ll have no problems.

Written by Administrator

May 24th, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Posted in Family

Plans for 2010 and 2011

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Dear Sons,

I read about Sir Ranulph Fiennes climbing Mount Evest at the age of 65. This has spurned me on because I have harboured a desire to climb both Mont Blanc and The Matterhorn.

I attempted Mont Blanc in 2000 and I intend to attempt it next Summer but failed because I wasn’t fit enough. Some of the group went straight from Chamonix to the summit of Mont Blanc and then back to the Goutier Hut. I wasn’t one of them and got stuck in a hut when the weather came down and missed the opportunity to summit. This time I will not be missing out due to fitness. Although I trained hard last time it was the wrong type of training and I didn’t do enough hill walking before the attempt. Also the altitude didn’t do me any favours.

So this time I’m going to use my Power Breathe – bought many years ago but hardly used – twice every day. This should increase my lung capacity and help with the altitude. A few weeks ago I bought some dumb bells and a training book; I’m going to use these to build physical strength and muscle. By watching what I eat I’m going to loose some weight and haul 3 to 5kg’s less up the mountain. I’m also going to visit Chamonix and have a couple of walks up to the Tête Rousse hut over the course of two days and some weekends to the Lake District for some 10 hour mainly up hill walks.

On the nights when I’m not weight training I’ll be using a yet to be purchased elliptical glider. I’m thinking of getting some voice recognition software so I can still be creative while I’m spending two hours marching to no where. Or I could catch up on the documentaries that I have recorded and not watched or listen to an audio book or two.

The Matterhorn will be harder but I have longer to train. I want to climb this in 2011 as it will be 100 years since the death of Edward Whymper, the man who led the first successful summit of said mountain, a controversial event as 4 of the party dies on the way down. Whymper is buried in the grave yard in Chamonix and I have put flowers on his grave.

There is an amount of danger involved in both climbs but with the correct preparation and by keeping a cool head I will be okay. The main danger is on the way down as the exhilaration of getting to the top can leave the physical tank empty mixed with the joy of sumitting can lead to slopiness.

I’ll be updating on my progress.

Written by Administrator

May 22nd, 2009 at 9:32 pm