This is the post i thought i’d lost :-)

Couldn’t believe it spent the whole week trying to sleep off nights in the heat of a fairly good spell weather wise,woke up Saturday morning and shock horror, chucking it down with rain. Typical, my first of two rest days and it’s raining. To make matters worse Oliver stayed over and was looking forward to going to the beach but ended up spending the morning in the house. Which wasn’t to bad because at least we were together.
His reading is really good and I can’t believe he just sits and reads paragraph after paragraph and is also trying to pronounce the names of Dinosaurs.
Kelly was at work but had the next day off so Saturday was fairly uneventful but at least Kelly was off Sunday so fingers crossed for good weather.
Sunday morning, rain! Chilled all morning but then decided to go to the indoor climbing wall at Newton Aycliffe. We’ve been going there for quite sometime now and it’s a good work out. We’re not Adam Ondra by any stretch of the imagination and for a start I’m scared of heights which limits me some what,but we have a laugh and a good couple of hours trying to beat each other on different routes or problems on the Bouldering walls.
I used to climb when I was in the army but it was limited as I was away a lot and didn’t get chance to carry it on. Also I was once at the climbing wall in Edinburgh and had got to the top of a particularly trick route and was having a well deserved rest whilst my belayer had me locked off safely. I was preparing to be lowered down when I heard a ‘whoosh’ of fast moving rope and a sudden scream of pain from across the hall. I looked across and saw a bloke lying almost motionless on the deck and his belayer screaming looking at his hands. My buddy let me down a little bit too quick for my liking but once I’d untied myself we rushed over to the pair now both in obvious pain. Ambulance arrives and they’re both taken away. My SSM went with the pair (don’t know why) and tells us all later in the day of what had happened. Both the lads were accomplished climbers and had come to the wall for the day to train. The one who was climbing had reached the top and the belayer was preparing to lower his mate. However, the belayer had a moments lapse of concentration and in that moment, his mate slipped, plunging about 50 feet to the floor, and the wrenching ‘pop’ we heard when he hit the ground was his pelvis snapping in half. The belayer tried to grab the rope but the speed of the fall caused the rope to rip through his hands causing horrific friction burns to both hands. That incident slightly un nerved me to say the least.
Anyway, we have good days at the wall and normally go home knackered ready for a drink or two. Kelly is the better of us as she doesn’t have as much weight to lift as me ( that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it). We both prefer out door climbing but unfortunately we are at mercy of the weather and can’t always get there.
Kelly has informed me this blog is a bit dull as I haven’t uploaded any pics yet, unfortunately I don’t know how to so she’ll have to try when she gets in from work. Bye for now

At last our car is at the dealers…….

After picking up a courtesy car on Friday as mine was 3 weeks late, ours has arrived and the dealer is very apologetic and we get mats as an extra :-).
Anyway i took the weekend off and on Saturday we went out with the new camera to Durham city and Haswell.  First Haswell, it’s a small(ish) village not far from the A19 and about 20 minutes from Durham.  It was a thriving pit village but has changed a lot. 

The Haswell Colliery was sunk in 1835, and sent the first coals to Sunderland by rail in 1837. The seams  worked were the Five Quarter, at a depth of 558 feet; Main Coal, 663 feet; Low Main, 812 feet; and the Hutton, at a depth of 1931 feet. During the last few years, from twelve to fifteen hundred persons had been employed daily at the colliery, and nearly 400,000 tons of coal were raised annually. The colliery was held on lease by the Haswell, Shotton, and Easington Coal and Coke Company Limited, who possessed the coal royalties from the colliery to the sea, including the adjoining under sea coal.
One of the most fatal explosions on record in the north of England occurred in the “Little Pit” in this colliery, on the afternoon of Saturday, September 28, 1844, when no fewer than ninety five lives were lost, either by the explosion itself or by the after damp.
The pit closed 31 Dec 1896 as it was deemed ‘unprofitable’.

My mother in law shows me pictures of the village up until as recent as the 70’s.  Th village has changed so much and looks totally different.  She and Kelly tell me stories of when the Church Brigade was a major part of the village life, parades and annual camps in the lakes with local companies competing against each other in various sports and activities.  Now the camps are fewer than a hand full of people which is sad, as an outsider the commitment is still inspiring but maybe will finish in ten years.
I’m from Sheffield, mining was a major part of life but generally steel was the main employer.  There was Orgreave mine and coking plant which saw major trouble in the strikes in the 80’s. I can remember going to Orgreave and watching the fights between the striking miners and the police, miners rolling fuel soaked telegraph poles set alight at the police and the cops actually diving over them and then standing in rank once back on their feet.
Remember being in the local pub and blokes coming in with what we called ‘Pit eye liner’, this is the residue of coal on the eye lids which didn’t always come off with normal washing, i think most blokes were proud to sport it to show a honorable profession.  Wonder how that honour feels now after 30 November 1984 and the death of the taxi driver??!!
Anyway, i do seem to go off on a tangent but Kelly did get some good pics which she wishes to be kept unpublished until ready to show.
We had a walk up the side of the Wear in the heart of Durham, not many people out on boats etc but still a nice day.  First time i’d been to the cathederal and what wonderful place.  A massive structure which is still in good nick(ish).  Apparently it costs £60,000 a week to maintain but i reckon worth every penny as it is still a good attraction and there were lots of tourists there.  I did get to see the Haswell Miners Banner which is proudly displaid and heard so much of it from my mother in law who is passionate about her history and her village.

Newton Aycliffe climbing wall

On Sunday we managed to get to the climbing wall at Newton Aycliffe.  Rock Antics is situated in the leisure centre at NA.  It’s got numerous walls and a variety of grades from easy to ‘never could i climb that in a life time’.  There are also a few bouldering ‘problems’ which also range from easy to rock hard.  The staffing levels seem to change like the weather which means you don’t know who’s climbing or supervising but everyone has a giggle.  Kelly and me normally potter about on the bouldering wall as I’m actually afraid of heights inside the climbing wall but OK outdoors climbing, weird but true.  Anyway, Kelly’s recovering from a bad back so she decided to just get back into it with a bit of bouldering and belaying me on the climbing wall.  I’m not Adam Ondra by any stretch of the imagination but i love the climb.  Kelly is a lot better than me but i don’t usually admit it, neither does she but she does know it (bless her).  She has good arms and a light body, ideal for climbing, probably would have done well if she’d had kept it up but circumstances meant she didn’t carry it on after learning in the church brigade.  I did a bit in the army but as you’re never in one place for more than 6 months it’s hard to keep anything going where you need certain requirements.  I spent 6 months in Saudi in 1991 after the war had finished and had ample time time to climb in the Wadi’s (dried river beds) which was quite exciting.  But all things come to an end and had no chance when i got back. 

Try again….

The other day i spend an hour typing up my blog and then pressed ‘Preview’, only to see it vanish before my very eyes.  I was fuming and I’ve decided to type it up on the laptop instead of the IPad so i can add piccys too.  Kelly mentioned my blog is a bit dull without the pics, well i hope it was just the lack of pics and not the content.  Although reading about someone randoms ‘goings on’ must be slightly dull, but Ive read other blogs (not mentioning names) and its like watching paint dry, maybe that’s what some think of mine. 
Before I forget, I phoned i phoned the car dealer again today, 7 weeks since we ordered the new car and its still not arrived.  A different salesman answered the phone today so i picked his brains about the amount of time we’ve had to wait.  He sounded a bit embarrassed and said it was unusual the time it’s taking and said he’d speak to the bloke who’d sold the car to us.  About an hour later the bloke who had sold it phoned and he said it hadn’t even landed in the UK yet.  I did say i was disappointed and we’ve been given (collect tomorrow) a courtesy car until ours arrives.  Is it just me or does every carsales person sound like they’re bullshitting you all the time?!
So, after a busy week at work and a new way the system works, I’m glad for a bit of time to chill and look back.  Before we used to have an exclusive area to work and patrol, makes sense as you get to know the local ‘clients’ and normal people.  Now we are at the beck and call of the whole of the East Coast of Durham.  Considering it’s quite a big area we are now covering there’s a possibility we could actually have to ‘Blue Light’ for 15 minutes to an area we are not familiar with.  The jury’s out and we’ll wait and see what the outcome is.  But like everything the force does, it’ll probably change in 6 months.

On the run!

Decided to go out for a run even though the weather was a bit unsettled. Thought I’d do one of my usual routes through a nice little village called Castle Eden, famous for it’s old brewery amongst other things.
Set off through my relatively new estate which is smack bang in the middle of an old pit village in Co. Durham. I warm up through the estate fast walking until I hit a back dirt track heading east (ish) towards the Castle Eden walkway which connects Hart Village near Hartlepool to Haswell (Kelly’s home town). The dirt track has a couple of prefabricated bungalows attached to masses of land, a symbol of an area well liked by settled travellers. Impossible to throw a stone in this area without hitting a grazing horse. After a couple of hundred metres I pass a picturesque fishing pond which is surrounded by wildlife, which I do occasionally visit with my bino’s. Still, it’s hard to shake off the love of this area by travellers with a unfinished horse paddock opposite slightly taking the edge off the beauty of the pond. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the masses of land owned by the Didicoy population, stops the countryside been bricked over by housing developers and every now and again you get to see some quaint little traps up and down the main street.
Eventually hit the fields which are a mixture of Rapeseed and Wheat which line the track until I hit the walkway after about half a mile. The Dolimite track is quite well used by cyclists and walkers. It’s still surrounded by farmers fields which have had a good year so far looking at the healthy looking crops. After about another half a mile I go under the A19, maybe the busiest road through the North East. The tunnel is wide and high and surprisingly enough shields the noise of the traffic. However, reality check time as you can spend an hour reading the graffiti and the off road bike slowly creeps past, driver anxiously looking around him and his helmetless pillion passenger counting what appears to be money whilst on the move. At last, stone silence as I walk through the track lined with a mixture of Hazel and Silver Birch eventually hitting the main road through the lower part of Castle Eden.
This lane is scattered with houses old and new, all adding to the reputation of this sort
after little village.
After about a mile, passing the golf course and a very affluent housing estate populated by footballers and soap stars. The road drops down to the A19 again this time I go over the bustling traffic heading off up into the start of my village. Here I have two options, take a left and drop back down onto the walkway, or suffer the Gauntlet of dog mess, scrap wagons and ‘clients’ and actually go through the Front Street.
I drop back down to the walkway and head back to the quietness of the fields and the overgrown nettles. Eventuality rejoining the dirt track past the pond and the last leg home. Tried tonsprint the last couple of hundred metres but I’m brought to a walk as I have to squeeze passed two brand new off road pick ups , drivers chatting caring not that they block the track.
As I picked my way through the Rape and Wheat I think about my past in the army. Wether it’s the nagging pain in my right knee I picked up in basic training or the sound of Axel Rose blasting in my ear. I can remember going for my selection process proudly wearing my Union Flag shorts I bought especially for the occasion, only to have the Commanding Officer for the training centre take them from me after the test run to add to the already covered office wall, probably acquired from recruits before me, to which he also probably took with the same sentence of ” Don’t like to see my countries flag displayed on someone’s arse son!”
Then the nerve wracking train journey to Surrey to commence 6 months of getting beasted and learning life the hard way. Still I was, am and always will be proud to have served in the best army in the world.
I used to think I wanted my son to join up and follow in my foot steps, over the past couple of years and incidents in Afganistan I’m not to sure now. I think I feel how my mother must have felt when I told her I’d JOINED the army without consulting her. Although, when I look back I’d join again and go though hell and back again, friends and fear!!

Past few days

Whilst waiting for my new car to be delivered I’ve I’ve had a few ‘different’ days at and off work. I applied for the Animal Liaison Officer and actually got an interview. I did a lot of research to develop the role as it was a new post. I spent ages looking at figures and coming up with the main problems and some solutions. I was quite nervous going into the interview as I’ve not had many I settled and started to enjoy answering the questions, babbled on slightly but got my point across. I left the room feeling very confident. Got a call about 4 hours later to say I hadn’t got the job, found out later an officer who worked in the same office as two of the interviewers had got the got, should I feel bitter!?!? Oh well as my girlfriend says, everything happens for a reason.
On Saturday 9th July I had to work the Durham Miners Gala, traditionally a day for all the people from the collieries in the area to display their banners and play their bands. Now, it’s just an excuse for idiots to get pissed and fight between themselves, there’s not a lot of ‘pit pride’ left and whatever pride is left has been hijacked by left wingers who probably never worked in or even seen a pit. I didn’t enjoy the day and was glad when it finished.
However I did get to spend the evening with a whole bunch of lovely people at The Talbot pub in Bishopton. Great set of people who are my new family!
Sunday I went to Ridewell bike show at Preston Park Cleveland with Kelly and my son Oliver. Had a great day and apart from a couple of showers, the weather was fine. This event is set up by the police to encourage bikers to show off their bikes and set up stalls. The point is education and teach bikers and future bikers that the cops are not there to dish tickets out, they want to show bikers correct riding skills and encourage safer road sense. My brother and sister in law are both very involved with this and the event is well attended. Showing bikers and cops ‘hand in hand’ saving lives.
Kelly is getting to grips with the new camera, she’s a natural and is loving the new challenge. She has a wonderful enthusiasm that is infectious, a perfectionist I could only wish to mirror. I have no doubt she will be an excellent photographer and will be famous in the future. In fact we gave her first official print to members of the family for their 50th wedding anniversary as a present, they were over the moon. It was a cracking shot of Catbells over Derwentwater, amazing!
Ok that’s it for now, start of a week of night shifts. Catch you later.