Thursday, 1 November 2012

Windy wintery wondering why

As winter is fast approaching in the Northern-Hemi I feel a tale of my backcountry adventure in the South is appropriate to satiate one's need for snow. Like the other few times I went for a shred we left Melbourne on a chilly 16 degree morning. We had a big drive ahead. Taking in many a wonderful sight of the Australian countryside, from Victoria to NSW, Melbs to Jindabyne. It was a long drive smoothly executed and expertly co-piloted, respectively, by Andy and myself. We busted through gumtree lined forests, open fields of grassland, past many dead wombats (never saw one alive), coastal wonders and into the mountains, where I saw a kangaroo in the snow. While the great expanse of the higher altitudes of Australia are double the altitude of Scotlands, they lack that looming presence you feel in places like Glencoe. But that is hither tither when what you want is snow, which this year Oz had seen an abundance of. 

Our plans were loose. We had our gear, food, splitboards, maps, whisky and a 'poop tube'. We had an area in mind we wanted to recce and the weather on the drive up and on our intial day was promising. Neither Andy nor I are really experts at our newly found sport of splitboarding. We can definately hold our own when the unit is together and we're shredding lines, having both been riding for over a decade. But split the board in two and turn it, essentially, into a set of skis, things get a little sloppy. Then put 30kg of gear on our backs and everything begins to creak ominously, boards and bones! However, we endured the slog, as our some what stubborn personalities, love for exploration and the ever enticing chase of some powder was at the fore front of our minds. As we pushed on through snowy lines of gumtress and out into the expanse of white hills ahead I began to appreciate the vastness of the area we were in.

Day one was all about getting in and setting up. Having a decent base allowing us to go find the steeps and a comfortable refuse to return to. I use the word comfort in a manner that some can appreciate and others will misconceive. When you tell most people that you are going to camp in the snow for 5 days and go snowboarding, you get the all to common response of 'Why?'. It's a good honest question that, unfortunately, if you have to ask  you'll never quite understand the answer. Going on these adventures you strip a lot back from what you would normally appreciate as comfortable living. For me comfort becomes about being warm, having something to eat and good company. When in the backcountry, if I have all those three things then I will always be comfortable.

As we pressed on, up to higher elevations, it became apparent the wind was going to be a factor. She was burly on that first day and had whipped away the snow leaving large patches of sheet ice, which were treacherous to pass over, especially if your new gear wasn't up to the conditions. (Luckily I'm not talking about mine!) Onward we pressed in a slippy-slidy ballet of balance and brotherhood. Camp set up, food in our belly the intial days exertions behind us we now had 4 days of snow exploration ahead or so we thought.

We awoke on the second morning to an epic sunrise. The wind had created a little discomfort during the night so a couple of pictures were taken and then it was back to sleep. At our actual rise the wind was still with us. We went out into the fercious howling domain and limbered up to make breakfast. Not able to hear each other unless standing side by side we were in the thick of an adventure. After warming coffee and museli we set out to try and shred some of the wintery landscape. As we moved it became ever apparent that the wind was going to be our mistress for the duration of the day, a fickle one at that too. When you enter the outdoors you are ever aware that you succumb to the mercy of the elements. No matter how good your planning or your gear you can be quickly schooled as to who is boss.

Apart from the wind playing havoc with the snow conditions, the other elements were on our side. Eventually we got up to one of our planned points. I went for a look see to try and get a line in for the camera. The first point I stopped I thought I saw a track leading into an entry point but being exceptionally icy and steep after that point I wanted to have a look from a safe spot before committing. Lucky I did, my 'track' was not so, it was a crack where an enormous cornice was just waiting for that external trigger to send it hurtling downward. It always pays to err on the side of caution in unknown and potentially hazardous conditions. So having cancelled that first drop point I went to the easier one. Skirting over the icy plateau with my blustery mistress whipping me from behind I found a safer spot to hit. Rolling in, the snow was good, a little further and one turn later it was gone! Back to skimming over ice trying to catch an edge to slow myself. As the gradient decreased and the ice gave way to snow again I came to a very ungracious halt. Definately was not one of my best lines but I was down. I started to head back out but first bootpacked (hiked to the non-snow people) up another steep pitch with a good snowpack to get a few turns. I hiked till it got too steep for comfort, strapped in, put in five turns on really nice snow and gave a little whoop as you do when you're happy. Man I love the snow.

Then it was back to getting out. My exit was a slow and comical escapade. Mostly with me trying to figure out the best kick turn strategem that would stop me falling back down what I'd just made it up. Then it was back across the icy, wind-swept nothing and down to camp. Then something really interesting happened: our mistress left us. Abondoned to the calm and stillness of a beautiful winters eve. That was a good time, a decent meal, some warming whisky chai and hearty banter about the trials of the day and the potential for tomorrow. How foolish we were to think she'd left for good. That night our mistress returned but this time she brought some latex clad dominatrix gusts and a vengence. Over night the space in the tent became smaller; Andy and I more like one symbiotic sleeping bag rather than two. The days break was a welcome of sorts. Andy ventured out for his ablutions and informed me the kitchen was gone. Overnight the wind had deposited about a foot and a half of lovely snow upon us. It had creeped up the sides of the tent, which explained the shrinkage. Our cooking area and food was buried, all was white.

So before breakfast we had an hour of digging to rediscover our goods. The viciousness of the wind and the soupy cloud we were in made it clear there would be no snowboarding today. Today would become a day of perseverance and poise. I'm not going to say much about the poop tube my Australian friend insisted was a necessity for back country travel in the National Parks. All I'm saying is that trying to poop into a plastic bag, with 80km an hour arctic gusts, blasting a brutal slap to your nether regions, was one experience I wouldn't wish upon many. After breakfast and digging we returned to our tent to listen to our dominatrix exert her authority. The tent billowed in and out like a minature set of lungs, the orange hue cast by the tent fabric giving our womb a warm glow, which wasn't matched by the outdoor chill. Not much you can do in the conditions but sit, then lie, then turn around, then doze, then sit. After 3 hours it was time to go and see what was going on outside.

More snow was the order of the day. Just to pass the time we built a wall that would have made the Chinese jealous, sort of. It kept us warm and away from the orange cocoon. Higher, bigger, larger was the best plan. Anything to try and deflect the winds harsh barbs. She gave us a run for our money but, like kids having constructed a monumental sand-castle,  we were proud of our efforts. Eventually we had no other option but to return to our cell for the next installment of being a prisoner of the wind. One might wonder how we felt at this point. I'll tell you we were in good spirits. Something about testing ones resolve will do that. For most people they'd be miserable and I can empathise with them. It's really not the life for everyone. However, for me, it was a pleasure. I love the snow, the outdoors, being away from it all, being reminded of how insignificant you are in mother natures eyes, it's all part of the fun.

For that whole day the wind was relentless. She strung us up, twisted our minds, chained us to one spot, lashed our being and we were grinning through it all. Even cooking our evening meal, while a challenge, was a victory against her brutality. However, it was clear we were beat. Our fuel was burning through much faster than expected and without it we had no way of making water. The weather gave no indication of breaking so we made the decision to pull out a day early. That night we slept furitively or not at all. I am proud of that tent standing up to one of the gnarliest nights I have ever spent under canvass. The following morning was to show little light. The wind had dumped more snow on us and before we could even pack up again we had to dig everything out. That was a cold and evil morning. That morning I was not comfortable. It was not the company nor hunger but the lack of warmth. My fingers groaning painfully under the damp gloves and an unrelenting battering wind. I packed mirthlessly, the small joy knowing that it was all downhill from there. Albeit, an icy, cloudy, windy, pack laden one at that. I did ride down with snow over a foot deep billowing under my board. The weight of my pack and the inability to see the icy patches making me dubious of putting in any serious turns.

Once down and out of the wind a sense of normality returned. We still had a solid skin out but that bitch was gone  for the best part. Three days later I saw some photos of people riding lovely powder where we had been. Little wind and great sunshine was to host their weekend. Jealous? Not really. Okay, it may have been fun to get the conditions spot on and drop some stellar lines. But, that would hardly be the adventure we had just come through and this blog would be even more dull! We can also return to that spot. Having endured a kicking from mother nature, perhaps, next time she'll open her welcoming arms and treat us to some of her sweet spoils. But that's the beauty of the outdoor life, you never can tell what she's going to give. Would I be horribly upset to go through that again? Not at all. It was a great learning experience and I will take away some important lessons from it. Chiefly, poop tubes are a cumbersome unneccessary burden and pooping in arctic blasts is not fun! So as many of my friends head into winters arms and hope for her to be kind, remember, it may not go that way. Just enjoy the experience whatever it may hold.

Ramble on........................

Monday, 3 September 2012

I have been internalising a complicated situation in my head

To say the Scottish can be stubborn is a bit like saying the sun is hot. It's a point of fact that if we decide that something is so, it better be ready to put up a bloody good fight, if it wants to be anything else. That's why when I leave Melbourne and it's 18 degrees, in the plus, I am somewhat beligerent that snow can't be within one day of driving. Technically I was right because we didn't get to the snowline till the following day. However, I did see a snow capped mountain on the drive so knew it must be possible. Now, I'm not daft enough to believe that Australia doesn't get snow. I know it does. I'm actually a little surprised, now, that I can meet Australians whom have never seen it. Or choose to fly half way round the world to Whistralia to get their first taste. It's on your doorstep!

I get the feeling that many have been softened up with endless summers. Making the thought of going somewhere cold, in their own country, more shocking than a warm beer. Luckily for me, I am bred from harsher climes and am more than happy to romp off to the mountains, in search of my frozen elixir of joy. This was merely a weekend sojourn to get the legs ready for a more serious adventure. It was also my first time shredding in the Southern Hemisphere and in a more typical resort style setting than I have become accustomed.

I spent a night in a sleepy ski town, which conjured up a heart felt reminisence to the seasonairre lifestyle. I'm a spoilt man I know. I've spent the last couple of years shredding some of the worlds best powder, for a few months at a time. It beats the hell out of a week here and there. It's a choice I've made and it's one I intend to continue following up on. But a season, in Gulmarg, is so far removed from what most people experience on a snow holiday that I forget. I love the feeling where everyone breathes the same excited air in hope of a fresh dump on your mountain. For it feels like your mountain, you know the rollers, you know the spots, you know your friends, you know you can cut loose, throw everything to one side and smash it.

I've lost that freedom where I ride in Kashmir. But I'm more free to ride. This, I understand, won't make much sense to anyone but it does to me. The mountains there will never be mine, I will never 'own that run' or feel 100% secure. Neither I should, complacency will be my undoing in a place like Gulmarg! That's the big difference when avalanches and a poor medical infrastructure are an ever present reality. So being back in a town where the vibe was one I know and love,  the beer cold and the snow close by I was a content man again. Even if my heart strings were being played like a Slash guitar solo, post GnR, now he's got little else to do.
I left any sense of disquiet on the frosty lawn, the next morn, to be melted away by the new day's sun. Once again I was full of the cildlike euphoria that always engorges my being when I'm off to the snow. I have a beanie that says it and so do some of you: 'I LOVE SNOW'! It makes me a giddy, silly, foolish man with a Cheshire cat grin. So when I got on the bus, to whisk me from carpark to lift, and was greeted by some of the most morose faces of impending doom I couldn't but help laugh at these misguided souls. When asked what was so amusing, I replied (in a manner also accustomed to the Scots) loudly that I'd never seen so many people looking so forlorn and miserable when they were off to do something so fun and enjoyable! This raised a few eyebrows but didn't turn any frowns upside down!

So I disembarked the bus, smiling for the lot of them, bounded up to the lifty, wished her a good morning and was off to ride my first groomed trail in 4 years. Ah the feeling of the cordury, the lack of gnarly steepness, the beginners, the ski school, the gromits, the gorbys, the grans and grandads; oh how I wished I was back in my magical, winter-wonderland of Gulmarg. Only kidding! I love the snow too much. It certainly made me appreciate it a whole lot more but overall much fun was had by all. Shredding in the relative safety of a Western ski resort is awesome, doing it with great friends, a billion times better, then throw in the sun and some might describe it as epic. I would go with stupendous that's because I'm not some, I'm me.

So all warmed up after my first snow experience down under, I had to wait a month to get my first backcountry snow experience of Australia. Where I was to be reminded that it doesn't matter how high, steep or extreme the mountains are, you are but a guest upon her side!

Ramble on..........................

Monday, 2 April 2012

Crochet Tale 5

This foray into northern India had a very loose plan. When I knew I had days to spare me thought a little bit of wilderness would do me good. Not that snowboarding in Gulmarg is anything but wild! So I had a look to see what I could do. I picked a trail based around visiting a few, well known, touristy haunts. Then found some spots where I hoped to escape that norm.
Having visited the Mecca equivalent for the Sikhs; being the golden temple in Amritsar. Using their unique and gracious hospitality I spent the night sleeping on the floor, near the temple. Now, this was a totally free offering, by them, as was breakfast too. Dinner and lunch are also available gratis. There are donation boxes and for all I got I gave them 100 rupees. It isn't a massive sum by western standards but was better than hee-haw.
As I was packing up my things another western guest was asked to sign the guest-book upon departure. 'I’ll sign but I’m not giving you any money!' was the indignant retort. At that point I felt quite embarrassed to have the same coloured skin as him. The Sikhs merely have to keep a track of who is coming in and out; there was no inclination of want of payment. It's the first religion I’ve come across that has welcome mats at the entrance to its major shrine. I made sure that I left a good ten minutes between myself and the scrooge before venturing off for my train.
On my way I bemused a cycle-rickshaw wallah by offering to pay him to let me ride his bike taxi. He looked old and that he'd worked hard for many years. He got many an admiring cheer from his fellow wallahs as whitey cycled him to the station rather than vice versa. The train bounced along to a place called Pandikot, where is switched to a bus for Dharamasala. If I thought the train bouncy, my next 4 trips, by bus, made the train feel like I was back gliding effortlessly through heavenly Kashmiri powder, on my snowboard. Himachal Pradesh local bus service got a flat tire on every trip. Even the short two hour one! But this tale is becoming more a volume so I will negate any more mention of these musings.
 From the home of the exiled Tibetans, I headed up to McLeod Ganj for a couple of days. Here I caught up with friends, went for a little mini-day adventure and kept bumping into Scottish people, seems we like it there! However, this stop was just a relaxing debut before my first proper excursion. I was to hike, from 1300m, from a village called Baghi to Lake Prashar, at 2800m. Then I'd need to find somewhere to kip, whether it is in the temple next to the lake or under the stars was, as yet, undecided. Before I could get started I needed to get some food and a pot to cook it in. having, moronically, forgotten my trusty mug I needed a drinking vessel too! For my supply stop I chose the town called Mandi. Not because my name rhymes with it but because it was the only place I could catch a bus to the trailhead. So another 6 hour whirly-gig bus ride deposited me late on a Sunday evening.
I was quite intrigued by Mandi as I approached. It had an old looking suspension bridge, which I later found out was named after Queen Victoria. Some nice looking stone Hindu temples and what looked like lots of other bits to go exploring. Unfortunately, as it grew dark, we pulled up to the bus station and I started to get the feeling that the vibe didn't quite match my first impressions. I guess Mandi is a town the tourist forgot! With such well known destinations nearby, like Manali and Shimla, Mandi has probably never been given the attention it could deserve by the western rambler.
Not to be taken aback, I find some lodgings and haggle a fairer price than he first offers me. Only after I agree to the room and get ready to wash of the layer of travel grime, which coats you on any long Indian bus journey, do I realise one of my windows is missing its pane of glass! At least it’s not cold so I’m none too perturbed at this point, which was until the morning-bell-ringing-Hindu-ritual began. I spent my two months in Gulmarg being woken up to the call to prayer, about 6am, every morning. Sometimes it was annoying, once or twice quite pleasant and on the best days slept through! But it pales into insignificance when you compare it to the unmelodic clanging of bells from about 5am, which lasts for eons. Now if you catch me on a regular day I’m not what you call a morning person. If you wake me up rudely and without warning I’m downright monstrous. I lay in bed cursing the Hindu gods, then realised I would be there a long time seeing how they have about 3 million incarnations, so decided getting up might be better!
The previous evening I had ventured out to stock up for my trip. I’ve checked and I can catch a bus out at 5.45am to the start of my trek. (Not even realising I was going to get a free alarm call, sans snooze function, from 5am!) as I try and get the 'hotelier' to tell me where I can get a pot from, he's way more interested in telling me the gate is locked at 10pm. 'no problem' I say. 'But what time do you unlock it in the morning?' I ask, with much pointing, gesticulating and no words he understands! Eventually I get a reply of 6am. Not much help for me making my bus.
Starting to feel that my plan is coming a wee bit unstuck, I strike out in search of my cookware and food. Mandi’s very much not a night town. It also doesn't do Sundays! Turns out, there is no chance of buying said pot till tomorrow. I couldn't find a kitchen or women willing to part with what I needed. Deflated, I returned to my room and set my alarm for a few extra hours sleep, which I never even got! So the next morning, grumpy and starting to feel a little bit of foreboding towards my adventure, due to last night’s setbacks; off I set again to try my luck.
Turns out I can get booze and a shave, in Mandi, at 9am, on a Monday but no pot. I opted for the latter but felt much more like the former! My shave was lovely. I opted to keep the slug of a moustache I’d grown for company and for you Dave! I finally got my hands on a shiny new pot and headed back, packed, then made for a bus. Informed I had a 1 and a half hour wait for my bus, I went from grumpyish to exceptionally irritable because all my ingenious planning was melting like the snow in Gulmarg!
I wouldn't say I’m a fastidious planner. Yet, when I have something in mind I like everything to run smoothly. Things, most definitely, were running like a Himachal Pradesh bus: if it wasn't broken down, it was on a very bumpy course! The slug and I had a little chat, over some chai, and he calmed me down. Just to remind one's self that you've got days to waste and you are, after all, trying to do this in India, starts to bring rationality back to your woes. The bus set off and a far calmer Sandy was aboard. About an hour towards my destination, this being the start of the trek, which I had a ranging time scale of taking anywhere from 1-5 hours, we got a flat! 'Bugger all this nonsense' I thought to myself. I came here to go walking so that's what I’ll do. So I donned my boots and started pounding the extra 10kms I’d just added by abandoning the bus.
It was early afternoon by this point and I was beginning to formulate an extra night into the trip. I had the food and time so why not? I managed to hitch a decent number of kilometers off the road section and arrived at the start of the trek around 2pm. I set off at a healthy, tall Scotsman’s pace and was past the non-existent trail head in no time. Three girls heading back from school, amongst much giggling told me where I should have gone. De-layering, I traced my steps back and was heading up, up, up in no time.
The walk through the forest and what I’m calling 'ladybird meadow', which invokes a far nicer image than 'power line pass', was very pleasant. (I must note that the majority of the ladybirds were fornicating. completely off the point, but, does anyone know why the P.C. crew haven’t got the ladybird renamed yet? seems a little unfair seeing how it's a police constable, lollipop person and all the other generic non-sexist titles we have now. I suppose personbird would take a little catching on!) It was a little overcast and the viciousness had gone from the sun. I stomped it out in a little under two hours. Words and photos never do the actual walk any justice so just go do it yourself!
I did a little research before I left McLeod Ganj and discovered, disappointingly, that you can actually drive almost to the doors of the temple. Turns out Lake Prashar is quite special to the Hindus. So I passed the nice forestry rest house, you can stay in, unsurprised by its presence. The big surprise for me was the 6 foot fence, crowned with barbwire, right around the lake and temple area. I questioned its need and was told it marked the temple boundary. Why the temple needed a boundary fence in such a sparse and remote location he could not answer. Perhaps the holy power of the temple has a range that can't go past the fence. Some things you just have to lay to rest and while the fence made me a little confused it didn't detract too much from the natural beauty of my surroundings. It’s quiet there, after the boys stopped playing cricket, and clean. I took a few snaps and just sat and mellowed. The sun was soon heading down and I still needed to find a place to crash.
There were more people at the lake than I’d expected. So I instinctively new I wouldn’t get the peace I was looking for by sleeping there. I wondered off over the fence and into the unholy yonder! Rounding a high point I saw a cluster of summer shepherd’s huts. They were next to the main single-track the locals, from the surrounding dwellings, used to get to the temple. I was hopeful they'd not be in use and started to make my way over. As I skirted round a gully my eyes were drawn down. There I spotted a solitary hut. It called out to me and I knew I had found my home for the night.
I dropped down into this enclosed space and the silence came with me. Out of the wind and away from prying eyes I knew I’d get the solitude I was after. It was so quiet and peaceful there that when I was conducting my absolutions, just before sundown, I became aware of an alien noise interrupting my serenity. I pondered its source only to have a hawk fly elegantly about 5 feet above my head. Realising the noise was the roar of the wind beneath its wings. I cooked a hearty meal, made some chai and used the last rays of the day to get more of hat 5 done. When it got to dark I retired to my sleeping bag and read my book. That night I slept the soundest sleep I’ve had in a very long time. With no alarm, utter silence and very little light in the hut I slept late. I arose to a beautiful day, heated up some more chai and sat outside to finish off the hat.
I momentarily misplaced my way when heading back down to Baghi! I didn't care. I was so relaxed and happy I just jumped from rock to rock down a river bed till I found the trail again. I was smelly and dirty so stopped short of Baghi for a swim and some lunch. A local shepherd appeared and we shared some chocolate as he tried to make sense of all my stuff. He also showed me a far more efficient way to clean my pot than I had known. Basically got it looking like new again. I sauntered all the way back to the main road and hitched and strolled back to Mandi. My next destination was picked by the proximity of the buses departure to my arrival. It ended up being Chandigarh, which was a crippling 8 hours but I was pleasantly sedated by the memories of the previous couple of days.

Ramble on...............

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Crochet Tale 4

Sitting on a very early train out of Delhi, having deftly tucked my pack under the seat, before the deluge of over-sized Indian luggage ensues, I get ready to finish off hat three. As I pull the necessary gear out of its bag, the clicking, clucking, babbling and curiosity of the surrounding women, whom I share the bench with, noticeably increases. As do the stares, pointing, nudging and general furore of my fellow carriage inhabitants. Anyone who has spent time on a general class and busy train, in India, will know, all too well, its seething possibilities of intrigue.
After the inevitable expressions of surprise have dispersed, the afore mentioned ladies, begin to take a keener interest in this strange looking foreigner, crocheting a hat. In my limited Hindi I gather they are all 'tika' (fine) and off for the Indian equivalent of a girl’s spa weekend. This is more meditation, devotion and yoga; than mani-pedis and cocktails. I’m sure, east or west; they'll share the same tendencies to gossip! Now the tables are turned and it's my turn. The one with the best English fields the onslaught of questions. What am I doing? Why? Where did I learn? Am I married to her now?! Can they all have one as gifts!?! These are just a small sample of the heavy question bombing I was being annihilated with. I struggle to reply to them all but the ladies are just getting the niceties out of the way!
Then the real lesson starts: supposedly I crochet all wrong or un-Indian. My polite nods and smiles are not enough to hold back these ladies! Before I know it, my tools are whipped away and the practical demonstration begins. Having been taught different methods, by different people, their way of crocheting was as alien to me as mine was to them. I eventually manage to coax my hat back and resume to incorrectly continue!
Funnily enough they are not the only members of India's female crocheting fraternity to try and explain the follies of my workmanship. Whenever I pull out my hook someone will try and show me the errors of my way. 'They began long before I could crochet', is all I try and convey to them
So after giving up my seat, to the lady that boarded the train whilst still on the waiting list, I take up residency by the open carriage door. Hat three is completed as the scenery whizzes by, the smells intermittently interrupt my concentration and the sounds, thankfully, are the beats coming from my headphones. Not the excruciating tinny Hindi noise blaring from a mobile phone! Hat four began on the same train journey but while its beginnings are here, its completion lays in another tale: one that deserves its own story to be told.

Ramble on.....................

Crochet Tale 3

Travelling in India is always one way to spur a person on, towards the ever blissful life, of what I'll call utter Indian insanity. A presence, where one's mind is forever at peace because you no longer have to make sense of anything!
This journey has been induced by a completely outside factor: the short falling of anot5her countries airline. While one of India's main airlines is failing to even get off the ground, my chosen airline, to return me to Perth, has decided I deserve better! More legroom, better food, free entertainment and not just to KL but all the way to Oz. Score one for Norval. They've also refused to change the date 'forcing' me to stay in India for 12 more days; score two!
I would love to make my way down to Kerala and visit young Vizzy. But 56 hours on a train, flying solo, there and back again, cuts into my stolen time quite drastically. Therefore, I'm going to Rambo it north. I owe a few people hats so south would have given me plenty of crochet loops. However, I'd probably be so hot I'd never have bothered my arse!
So North I go to Amritsar, I’m saying hat three could be accomplished on that journey. Possibly dossing around at the golden temple and the India vs. Pakistan border banter could yield number 4. After that I’m going wild. I found a temple by a lake, which looks epic and plan to hike up and camp there for a night. (I knew bringing a stove would be a good idea!)
Since I started writing this tale, the McLeod Ganj has made an unexpected appearance so my numbers could swell to 5 there. While I imagine the 6th could be made, under the guidance of the moon and stars, at the afore mentioned temple. After that I’m going to head south to the Fantasy Rock Garden, designed by Nek Chand, near Chandigarh, maybe a seventh! Then there's always my travel back to Delhi.
The reason this is 'Crochet Tale 3' is that I'm currently making the third hat. The first two tales are stand alone masterpieces yet to be written! The hats are, however, completed.
Ramble on..............

Prelude to the deluge.

So I've tried to be all techy and write blogs on my note app, on my i-phone. They're stuck there and i'm going to have to re-type them here. What is to follow is a series of 'crochet tales' based around a trip to northern india and my time expanding my hat empire. I'm currently needing to pick up a pair of blown out crotched jeans so you'll have to wait to read them! I will get them all typed up tonight so expect a long and loving morning reading the garble that you all know and love. Ramble on....

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Adapt, improvise and overcome.

Seriously, over two months since I last had the time or energy to try and sculpt some words into meaningful sentences, stick them together to form paragraphs and then rinse and repeat to make a new post. Seems that living in a tent saps it out of you! So the months of summer are in full swing and the Scottish rain and midge scene is growing rapidly. The tent is yielding numerous wildlife surprises but as there aren't any seriously dangerous insects in Scotland they're all welcome. All that is apart from the slug in my sleeping bag!

It's been a ponderous time these last few months. Ebbing and flowing through pools of clarity to the muddy waters of uncertainty. I mean what is dubstep? Apart from being all the rage with the kids, to me, it sounds like Rolf Harris got some serious jungle fever and went mental with his plywood sheet! In saying that though it's growing on me as a new form of music. It certainly has it's moments where I can accept, unapologetically, the skills and the talent needed to produce it. So I'm growing over the summer, allowing myself to open up, to experience something new, something that I thought was the milk for a special K diet!

It's been a summer of change, which is rapidly passing by. Soon it'll be the season of change and all things autumnal will see me head off into spring! Confused? Well I like to keep things as simple as what goes on in my head, so tough luck. But looking forward, I just realised I'm going to go from autumn, to spring, to summer, to winter, back to autumn and on to another winter. Go figure that out!

Change is an exciting prospect that many don't like. I relish it. The unknown is something that puts up considerable challenges. Constantly forcing us to make up new solutions to problems we've never encountered. It's a shame that so many people fight change. Fear of the unknown is rational enough. People like the comfort of the known world, the 9-5, the two day weekend, the bills, the relentless monotony. That is what I fear. Many people see my age as a turning point. Settling down time, time to make real plans, put down roots and start growing up.

Some might say "unfortunately" but I'll never grow up. I'll always be a kid at heart, fascinated by the unknown, taking child like glee in things that no one else finds amusing. It keeps off the wrinkles I tell you. I get such a pleasure out of mother nature and the great outdoors that I'll be bouncing around for a bit longer yet. Even living in one place for six months, through the medium of my tent dwelling, has allowed me to feel mildly nomadic! But to cliche it up, the winds of change are blowing strong and I'll be raising my sails soon enough. I've missed you blog and i'll try and lavish you with more attention soon. So for all those in the know guess I got my swagga back!

Ramble on....................