Saturday, October 7, 2017

Stop all the clocks...

Darren Holloway 1970-2012.
Why would one year be different to the next? Isn't it strange how we put significance to some numbers more than others, when, in fact, they are really just numbers?
Today doesn't feel like just a number.
The wind outside is howling through the trees. The sky, although not quite leaden, is brooding with the threat of rain; and yet, just occasionally, the sun pops through to briefly brighten the spirit.
It is five years today since Darren died.
It is one of those significant anniversaries, one of those significant numbers. Insignificant to all but those who knew and loved him, significant to me.
I'm being battered by that wind today, a hurricane of emotions cloud my every thought. A deluge of tears threaten to sweep me away at any moment. And yet, just occasionally, the sun pops through the clouds and saves me, a memory of Daz; a fleeting glimpse of a moment shared, to lift me up and remind me that, although he is lost to us, he is still with us every day in our hearts and minds.
Darren, my cousin, was a Fell Runner who fell, running, high upon the Fairfield Horsehoe on October 7th 2012.

You may have slipped the surly bonds of earth my brother, but the bond around our hearts grows stronger with each passing day. We love you DazH. Dig in.


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Consume less, live more. Plant more trees.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Less is more. Finding Nemo.

The Final Frontier.
Last year I awakened a whole new passion: singlespeed mountainbiking. I hadn't ridden a singlespeed bike for well over 20 years.
I brought a cheap, but good value, Vitus Dee 29er from Chain Reaction Cycles for commuting. it proved to be something of a personal revelation. I had been a bit of a sceptic when it came to singlespeed mountainbikes, partially dismissing them as ridiculous, and a hipster fashion accessory. I was wrong (well partially wrong, they're still a hipster fashion accessory).
After 15 months of regular use I decided to build myself something a bit more suitable to my all round needs, a bit more trail friendly if you like. Fortunately I have a shed full of components stuffed in boxes or just laying around so the actual build hasn't cost me an awful lot of money (well it cost me money once upon a time but not on this occasion).
Also considering the support I have had from Alpkit over the last few years I thought it was about time I stepped across one of their very highly regarded Sonder machines.
So my starting point was their new entry level hardtail frame & fork bundle - The Frontier - a bike they have designed as an all-rounder for everything from "campsite and crag" to "trail centre and bikepacking". It's sound like just the bike for me, plus I was particularly enamoured with the "Nemo" blue colour scheme, and the ability to run plus sized tyres should I wish to. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Fungi Factor.

With my recent incapacitation I've been forced to enjoy my wood as a spectator for a change. 
Thankfully most of the work takes place in the winter months so I haven't got behind with my plans.
I have been popping down quite regularly to keep an eye on it, and to enjoy the changing of the seasons. It's very nice to just wander around rather than spend my time working away like a demented beaver.
Long gone are the tumultuous swathes of spring flowers. The soil is becoming damp underfoot, the woodland floor is carpeted with a million acorns, and the leaves are started to change & fall.
August and September have seen a proliferation of fungi blooms, some of which, as you will see from the photographs, have been spectacular. I like fungi, a lot. It's fundamentally important to the health of the wood, and I seem to have quite a variety. I am, however, hopeless at identifying individual species, but I do enjoy spotting new ones.