Archive for June, 2010

Personal challenge

Well, just a quick post-parish walk blog.

‘The Parish’ is a competitive event, run under UK race walking rules. The course is 85 miles, with a 24 hour time limit. Various checkpoints along the way have cut-off times.

The course weaves around the Island, calling at the primary church of each of our Parishes (some similarity to Sheadings in the UK, or Counties in the US but on a much smaller scale!)

Proper information can be found on

First, what I achieved: I made the Kirk Michael church, which is 39 miles, at 1740, or 9hrs40mins. That’s an average speed of just over 4mph, which is pretty much what I was aiming for.

Here’s what I set out to achieve: the Jurby church, which is 42.5 miles., at around 1830.

I’ve been training since September, from a position of little-to-no fitness and zero experience of walking, so in some respects I’ve achieved well.

I am disappointed with and angry at myself for having to retire when I did, a decision which was ultimately taken for me by an ankle injury.

There are no excuses to make, or reasons to placate myself, but I can take solace in my speed (on target) fitness (on target!) and recovery. Legs, feet, and non-existent blisters have been fine. This troublesome ankle will take longer to be fine…

So, the future is: couple of weeks rest and stretch. Followed by more stretch and back to training for next year- I will finish next year, injury permitting.

You can quote me on that.



Interesting times

This was a note I wrote back in March 2008, when I was packing to sell my flat, to buy a house.  Ultimately, I didn’t sell or move until July 2009, but I think the sentiment still stands, and I quite like the writing I did with this one…

“In ancient China, there was a curse:- “May you live in interesting times”. I used to believe this was particularly harsh.

However, I was walking around the flat this morning after a heavy weekend of packing stuff up, and I realised that at the moment, I was living in the place that I bought nearly six years ago, not the place that I’d made it over that time.

I had a wonderful helper on Sunday afternoon, which just goes to show that two pairs of eyes are better than one when you’re splitting stuff into ‘keep’ and ‘throw’ piles. That second glance over the “keep” pile, and the ensuing “Seriously, John – why are you keeping this?” does wonders for the relative size of said heaps.

I hadn’t realised how much rubbish I’d accumulated over time! Now to the next stage of selling my home and buying a new place for my life.

And the memories. Oh the memories. I found things that brought a lot of thoughts back. Things that had got buried brought back smiles, and also a few tears at happy times gone by. It’s memories that shape my every day without knowing it. I raised a glass to them (Dr Pepper, but a glass nonetheless!)

I’m in a great place right now of getting some whole new memories to carry with me forever. It’s a new chapter for JB, and I’m very happy about things. Looking to move out is finding a new place for that chapter.

Here’s to the future. May you all live in interesting times. In a good way.”


Breaking the silence

This weekend might be the weekend I make some guitar noise again.

I packed everything away at the close of last year, and I’ve only played three times since then (once at a party I didn’t even want to be at, once when I was tipsy the other weekend, and once for my friend Kathryn who happened to be round and essentially bullied me into it!)- a far cry from the 2 hours every night plus show rehearsals of recent times.

I still don’t appear to have missed playing though. It’s a strange feeling as it used to be the force that kept me going. This year’s events so far just seem to have broken me a little, and I haven’t felt the urge or the need.

At the very least I need to hope that my lovely Irn-Bru Gretsch has missed me and still sings like she used to. Even though it’s my newest guitar, it’s very much mine, almost as much as my first one, and we get on very well.

I’ll have to do it soon- it’s Mum’s wedding and I’m in one of the bands for the reception… No panic then!

I don’t see this as a band reunion, as I still intend that the rest of 2010 passes in a gigless manner. There’s a long booked gig in March 2011, so that year won’t be clear either, but for now, I have five weeks to re-learn a set that took 5 years to learn in the first place.

In closing, I’d like to apologise to my next-door neighbours…



O gem of God’s Earth

I’ve been doing a lot of walking this year (by which I mean 20 miles at a time). Not in a straight line, but in circuits so that I can replenish drink/food at home on the way by. It’s only a relatively small Island, so things can get repetitive…

This evening, as I came round the headland near my house (Groudle) I saw the familiar scene across the Bay (Douglas Bay) and I realised that after countless times of having seen it, it was still beautiful.

The rather trite phrase occurred that when I am tired of the stunning views and scenery that this little Island repeatedly offers I would be tired of seeing anything at all!

“Gem of God’s Earth” is a line from our national anthem, and it would do everyone who lives here some good to remember that line every now and then. We are truly blessed to be here, and I will make a conscious effort to remind myself of that.

We have all seasons here (sometimes all at the same time!), and in every season we have a beautiful view. Yellow gorse in summer haze, purple heather through autumn mist, every shade of green from trees and plants just now and snow topped hills in winter. Traa-dy-looar (manx for “time enough”, equivalent to ‘manyana’) seems to have disappeared- We should all raise our heads more and just look around.

Davey Knowles (local singer/songwriter now doing some very big things in America) summed it up for me with his line from ‘Roll Away’ which goes “I love this place with my breath and my bones, and I’ll always call this Island my home”.

Long may I be lucky enough to live where home is…


The view from here

It seems that the entire world is pregnant at the moment (starting with almost half the ladies in my team at work).

Not that it bothers me, as I don’t see fatherhood in or as my future (especially being single!), but I always feel like I’m underachieving and not maturing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-child, far from it!

I know that it bothers my mother, but that’s more of an aside than anything!

Since I started drafting this from a thought, I’ve met up with two other friends with little bumps and beaming smiles.

Maybe there is always this much procreation about, but you only notice when it happens for someone close to you.

Having said all that, I quite like not maturing, so I’m happy!

I’m also happy for wonderful people like my best mate Neil and his wife Emma who have a junior on the way. I can’t think of a pair who deserve happiness more than they do, and I’m looking forward to meeting their plus-1 in the summer… Let’s hope the littl’un has her looks and his legs, as the other way round would be disastrous!