Artists Impression

Artists Impression

Tuesday, 20 January 2009


That's right, I've bought a one way ticket to Grumpsville, and I'm bloody well staying there. Why? I'll tell you bloody why.

So, last night I decided that today I would run home from work. My training has dropped off significantly in recent months due to holidays, Christmas and illness, so I need to get back on it. I managed a couple of runs last week but they need to become more regular.

Inspired by Zooby running home, Vicks running the world, and Dave making himself sick through physical training, this was my chance to get back on the wagon - yet I failed...miserably.

How did I achieve this you may muse, well, through a combination of incompetancy and crap technology that's how.

My bag was packed and my stretches done and as I left my office on the North End Road I had hopes of getting home by 7:45pm, 5.5 miles in 45 minutes was not beyond me I thought, and yet I ended up boarding a train at Parsons Green at 7:50pm.

Those of you who know this part of London will know that Parsons Green is not particularly far from my work. I got lost.

After about 15 minutes of running I realised I had missed the turning for Wandsworth Bridge Road and was heading full steam down the New Kings Road. The reason for this is that the mapping system on my I-Phone was telling lies.

At this point I had my first sense of humour failure, but figured I could get round the problem and, rather than turning back, tried to work my way through the back streets to join up with where I needed to be.

Now, there's a reason I have not run home before, I have the worst sense of direction in the world. After another 15 minutes or so my sense of humour collapsed altogether and I tried to re-trace my steps to Parsons Green, which took about another 15 minutes.

I have now decided to stick to the Trim Trail, Richmond Park and the treadmill, as even I can't get lost when running on the spot.

Yours Furiously,


Sunday, 18 January 2009

Hanging With The Chef

It has certainly been a busy couple of weeks.

Last week alone I had five meetings in five days about this trip and, if it hadn't already hit home, I now really know just how big a deal this whole event is. Since I have taken on more and more and begun really working alongside Kirt and Wes it has really hit home how time consuming it all is and I am in awe of the amount of time those boys have put in and how much work is involved, so it's great when all that work starts proving worthwhile.

As was announced at the meeting on Sunday, we now have Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook and honourary captains of Team Tenzing and Team Hillary respectively. For that we can thank the Lord's Taverners, who are quite simply awesome and are so behind our project that sitting in a room with them can only boost your confidence.

On that note, as you can see, Kirt, Wes and I got to meet Alastair Cook(aka The Chef) on Thursday and signed him up for Team Hillary. I'm told that it's often a massive disappointment when you meet people you look up to, but in this case I can safely say that he was a really nice bloke and totally humble, which was awesome.

On top of that, we now have Stick Cricket making teams of us on their website. Seriously, check this link and you'll realise how goddamn cool this is:

They are also donating a trophy for the man who hits the most sixes on the mountain and will help drive traffic to our site. I am meeting their man Paul Collins(not Phil) some time next week and he, like everyone it seems, totally loves our project.

Along with that we've got our press launch to look forward to, thanks to Alex Rayner at Captive Minds on Tuesday 27 January which will hopefully get us the kind of media attention we need to find a title sponsor, so fingers crossed.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Kathmandu Christmas

Tom: "No can do I'm afraid"
Nick: "No can do, what's that, place near Kathmandu? Meet me halfway mate."

So goes the line from Lock, Stock and two Smokin' Barrels. Needless to say when I told people I would be spending Christmas and New Year in Kathmandu they immediately repeated the name of Nepal's capital back to me, to which I replied: "yeah, place near no can do".

Perhaps understandably, nobody got it - hence I am taking this opportunity to explain my gag - you will be pleased to know however that I persevered with it throughout the festive season, perhaps to the detriment of several friendships.

You may ask how it was, and those of you who have read Kirt's blog will know two things, it was busy and we got ill. To put into perspective quite how ill we seem to have got, I am still suffering now, and Kirt only went back to work yesterday - so the lesson to be learned here is avoid the burritos. We also met up with Charlie BN who was out there, which was an added bonus as it meant we could visit the Yak & Yeti.

I do have a couple of fairly amusing stories however. First of all, for those who don't know, Kathmandu is mental. Honestly, the place is full of motorbikes(which incidentally, drive where they please - so be careful on the pavements), you can't go two seconds without someone beeping their horn or someone offering you some form of smokeable product.

That is on a normal day, on Christmas Day at about 7pm when we arrived in Thamel, the craziness was increased ten-fold. We had to stop our cab a "five minute walk" from the guest house as the roads were closed off due to all the people partying. What ensued was quite an experience. I had no money in my wallet after some chancer persuaded me to pay him for doing nothing at the airport, so was very much in the hands of our guide Nir, and his mate Billy - who at this stage appeared to speak no English.

I soon found myself battling through what can only be described as the central line in rush hour - except in the middle of the street. I was also at the back of our team of four, which I decided to rectify as quickly as possible - particularly as Kirt and the guides actually knew where they were going and I had no idea, and no money to pay anyone to show me.

This proved a very wise move as Kirt and Nir soon vanished into the abyss and I was left with Billy, who simply uttered the word: "gone" after we had waited about 10 minutes. Fortunately we found the others swiftly enough and had a great night in a few bars with some wild boar curry and Everest Beer...obviously. After a few drinks it became evident that Billy spoke considerably more English that I thought, funny he chose to demonstrate this several hours after my moment of sheer panic, I have no doubt he was chuckling to himself the whole time.

My other rather amusing episode took place the following day. As some of you will know, I was fairly bearded by the time I left these shores, and as we discovered we would be meeting some fairly important people I decided to sort my face out with a beard trim – but got a little more than I bargained for.

There’s a barbers in the hotel – which is rather convenient, so in I went. There were about five people crammed into a tiny room and after rubbing my face several times the chap got the point. So he went to work and did a generally decent job – apart from the fact that he kept pulling the scissors away before closing them fully, thus pulling out a few hairs and making my neck bleed – but I guess you just accept these things.

Anyway, it was all going rather well and just as I thought he was done I went to stand up and he pushed me back down in my seat while saying something I didn’t understand. He then began rubbing some stuff into my red-raw neck which, let’s just say, burned. He then started giving me what was, I think, supposed to be an impromptu face massage. Without wanting to go into too many details – it was hell on earth. This burn-juice was rubbed into my neck three more times and he kept pressing his hands onto my temples and squeezing. Why I am not quite sure and I fail to see why anyone would enjoy such an experience. Still, he did succeed in waking me up before the meeting, so that was good.

As for the rest of the trip, you can see from the main blog and Yak Yak Yak that we were busy. Lots of meetings, all jolly good stuff but I won’t bore you with the admin side of things. The important stuff is that we managed to check out several bars and restaurants, hang out with several of the chaps who will accompany us up the mountain and learn a few new card games. I strongly suggest everyone gets well equipped with these games, the Nepali people love cards.

The illness that got us on New Years Eve made for an interesting start to 2009, and I genuinely hope that it’s not a sign of things to come. However, since coming back things have really gone into overdrive. There’s loads of really good stuff going on, most of which is courtesy of the Lord’s Taverners, but I cannot go into too much detail here. There’s actually a whole load of other things I could blog about but am aware this is getting a bit long so will tie it off now and save my other topics for a future date…by when I would have almost certainly forgotten them.

Thank you and come again.

The Everest Test