All 6 entries tagged Adventures

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September 23, 2006

Backdane

It’s a very scary thing to mix one’s friendship groups but I gambled, inviting various friends to the marvellous cottage of Backdane. It’s a place I’ve been to four times before for the winter solstice with my hippy friends in a completely isolated spot over a mile from the nearest village and about ten miles from Leek, the nearest town. This time a couple of my hippies came, five friends from Warwick, one of Wins’ friends, and a couple of Caroline’s climbing people. We spent the evenings eating, drinking, playing guitar, building fires and generally having fun, while in the day we went ‘swimming’ in the river and walked to Ludd’s church, where we climbed over lots of rocks and Caroline took us for a squeeze through a hole in one of the rocks that she found half way up the side of the chasm.
Backdane Stream

Anyway, to those of you that came, thankyou for a fantastic time and for getting on with each other so well, and for those of you that didn’t you’re very silly and should think again about being busy next time we’re having an adventure. Our entry in the guestbook reads as follows,

Oh Kempez man he was insane,
He said “why don’t we go to Backdane?”,
We had lots of fun,
And we drank lots of rum,
And we’re sure to come visit again.

Everyone At Backdane

July 31, 2006

Better Late Than Never

If blogs are meant to be a topical commentary on the life of the blogger and the world as a whole then I'm afraid this entry fails as the events described happened three weeks ago and while quite good they weren't earth shatteringly exciting. Nor are they particularly well related on this blog. In fact the only reason I'm posting this at all is because of the cool photo.

Many of my friends (well three in fact) wanted to go the Blessington Carriage for some 69p shots on Sunday night but I was reluctant because I was driving. The Bless is quite a smoky pub which i tolerate when I'm drinking because it has atmosphere, but when I'm not drinking i'd much rather go somewhere where I can hear my friends and where my lungs don't sustain too much damage. Consequently I suggested a road trip to Kirk Ireton to sit in the pub for a bit after a nice walk up 'the mountain', a hill that I've never been to but Caroline Northall runs up it and says its great. The pub at Kirk Ireton is very nice, apparently the landlady is so determinedly traditional that she kept trading in shillings well after they were no longer legal tender. We were kept in the pub for longer than we wanted to be because of a violent thunderstorm and when we finally got out it was dark so we drove north of Brassington and to a most excellent hill where we took the following photo.

Kirk Ireton Road Trip

As I said at the start it's really not that exciting a story but I hope the photo justifies the entry.


June 22, 2006

War

Your commander hardly makes a sound as he beckons you forward to take up position by the double doors. The acrid smell of gunpowder fills your nose, your mouth, your lungs, it’s a smell that will haunt you for the rest of your days. The air is heavy with sweat and blood, and on it a rich tapestry of anguished wailing floats towards you from all sides, a choir of the dying, friend and foe alike united in this their final song. Some think of their mothers, some their wives, some their God, all think of their pain as life seeps away and darkness descends.

You move down the corridor hot on the heels of the retreating enemy. Victory is almost a certainty now, those that flee will be cut down as they run, those that stay to fight slaughtered. But as you round the corner there are no retreating enemy, too late you realise your mistake as the trap is sprung and from behind you comes a short burst of machine gun fire. A bullet rips through your shoulder and you fall to the floor in agony. Game over.

Running

Well maybe that was going a little over the top but I just had to try and convey the true awesomeness of playing laser guns in the maths block last night. There were six of us playing and it was the craziest thing I've done all term, I think it might have to be done again on the eve of results next year.

P.S. If anyone from Warwick Security happens to read this please don't shout at us, I know there's probably some rule somewhere saying we're not allowed to play laser guns inside but for the last three years we've not done anything in the maths block more exciting than compute the homology of the projective plane and since half of us are graduating we wanted some relaxation. Maybe you could join in next time?


November 23, 2005

Dr. Karl

Its now approaching six months since i last went for a meal with a pretty lady, but rather than get down about still being single i decided to relive the magic that was Alan Fletcher (aka Karl Kennedy) in concert.

I met Naomi (the aforementioned pretty lady) at New Street at 5 and we got the train to Derby. Derby, which is my home town and is generally an awesome place, was very hot and dusty and there were lots of flies about, but that didn't dampen our enthusiasm because we knew that we were going to see the great man. We ate at pizza express which was very nice (I even tried olives and found that I quite like them), and then we went to meet my friends at Wetherspoons. This was the first time that i'd tried mixing my hippy friends and my christian friends, but they all got on very well. Paul had bought all the tickets for me in Derby, and when he handed them over I was excited to see that Dr. Karl would 'meet greet and mingle' after the gig. We moved on to Walkabout where Karl was about to perform and sat outside in the beer garden for a bit.

20 minutes before Karl was due to come on we went inside by the stage and joined the crowds chanting his name. There were two very old ladies at the front who were obviously avid neighbours fans. Eventually the band came on and sang The Proclaimers' 'I would walk 500 miles'. The crowd went wild. Karl was on lead vocals and guitar, there were two other excellent guitarists, and Karl's wife was on keyboard and drum machine. They played one of there own songs, which nobody knew, and also played Wonderwall, Living on a Prayer, Three Lions, Sweet Home Alabama, Hey Jude and lots of other covers. Karl was very sweaty.

The crowd was wild, Karl was awesome and at one point reached out to touch the crowd. Caught up in the hysteria, Naomi and I reached and managed to touch his hand. He played on his neighbours connection all night, asking us whether we preferred Sarah, Izzy or Susan. The answer of course was a resounding Susan. Unfortunately it couldn't last all night and at eleven o'clock after two encours the band stopped playing. The fun wasn't over however, Karl was signing autographs and having his photo taken outside. We dutifully queued for ten minutes for our thirty seconds with Karl, and his wife took a photo. Karl obviously didn't want to appear sleazy by putting his arms around everyone, and decided to look very stupid instead.

Finally it was time to go home, we went to Five Lamps Tandoori for some chips and then Kady drove me and Naomi back to my house. Naomi promised to come camping with us over the summer solstice but cancelled closer to the time. Still, this has to be one of the craziest gigs i ever went to, it was awesome stuff.


November 19, 2005

Jailbreak

So the days of pestering friends into sponsoring and wildly speculating about where we might get to were over, Jailbreak was happening. 34 teams gathered in the Piazza ready to get as far as they could from Warwick University in 36 hours without spending any money on transport. Andy and I had originally planned to try and get to Birmingham International and attempt to get a plane from there, or failing that to hitch down to Dover. However speaking to Jamie and Emma, another Jailbreaking pair, we decided head straight for Coventry and get the National Express coach to Dover.

We got a lift to Pool Meadow bus station with Jamie’s granddad, and spoke to lots of representatives of National Express, all of whom sympathised but were unable to help us, so we walked to the train station. The staff at Coventry station were again very sympathetic, but claimed they were unable to let us through the ticket barrier. We eventually got out of Coventry when a station staff member told us that she wasn’t allowed to let us on the rail replacement bus, but had something to check inside and the bus would be unguarded for a few minutes. We walked onto the bus and began the journey to Nuneaton, an impressive 9 miles from Coventry.

At Nuneaton things began to move more quickly, we went to Asda and managed to get given some cardboard and a marker pen in order to hitch, but then decided to keep going on the trains for a while. We caught the train to Leicester, and then to Cambridge, where Andy became very excitable and spent a happy five minutes “hiding in the bikes” at the station car park. Can you spot him?


We then caught the train to, Bury St. Edmunds, and then a bus to Ipswich, then a train to Manningtree, where we spent half an hour in the village pub which was attached to the train station, and then went on to Harwich International ferry port. We had decided to avoid London because we thought it would be a nightmare to get out of, as it turned out another Jailbreak team had arrived three hours before us via London. The port manager had gone home so it was very hard for us to get tickets, but eventually we had some success on the phone, and ten hours after Jailbreak had begun we were on the ferry to Hoek–van–Holland.

The ferry ride was fun and the first real chance for us to move around a lot on the jailbreak, Andy and I got several free shots out of a man who thought we were going to buy an overpriced bottle of vodka. We didn’t. The other two teams on the ferry had ambitions only to get to Amsterdam to “do things that aren’t legal in the UK”, but while we enjoy busking without a license, streaking, and carrying concealed weapons as much as everyone else, Andy and I wanted to get further than Holland.

After speaking to a few people who wouldn’t help us, I approached a man reading the Daily Mail and asked him if he was English, “I bloody well hope so” he replied in a south London accent, and told us his name was Steve and he could take us to Hannover. Steve had a very expensive car, paid for by the army apparently, and he drove us for about four hours to a service station outside Hannover where he told us we would be able to get a lift to Berlin in the morning with lorry drivers. We slept for a couple of hours at a table in the service station, and then started trying to hitch. Unfortunately because of German labour laws the lorry drivers weren’t allowed to drive on Sunday, something we learnt after four or five attempts to hold a conversation in German with varying degrees of misunderstanding.

Eventually we managed to get out of the service station with a crazy moustached German guy. I asked if he was driving to Berlin, he replied that he was going to Dresden, and I asked if we could come. The man (who’s name we forget) drove an incredibly expensive car at 150 miles an hour down the autobahn, this was by far the fastest either of us had been in a car before and was very scary. My ability to understand German has deteriorated a lot in the five years since GCSE, but from what I understood of the next four hours conversation the man earned lots of money from “closing down businesses”. He had also driven all the way from Spain in three days and was on the way to meet some colleagues who kept switching the location. After buying us a Burger King he left us at a service station about ten miles out of Dresden telling us he had to go and “do some business”. A couple of hours later we managed to hitch out of the service station to the centre of Dresden with a hippy in an old VW camper, he was an architect at Berlin University and was generally a dude.

Andy and I got to the centre of Dresden with about 9 hours left, but were very tired and thought that even if we did manage to hitch out somewhere we would probably fail to get back into a city and we didn’t want to spend another night at a service station, so we called it a day. It has to be said that despite popular belief Dresden is actually really beautiful, it has suffered from sixties architecture but the centre is lovely.

After a few hours exploring we caught the train to Prague, where we met three American backpackers
who said things like “I love writing philosophy when I’m really stoned man, like the other day I was really stoned and I was like what’s it all about man?”, and “Hey dude have you seen the film ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’? I was watching it the other day and I was really stoned and I was like this is awesome man”. On arriving in Prague Andy and I decided against furthering our acquaintance with the Americans and headed straight for the airport.

At the airport we realised that our cheapest flight would leave in 24 hours, so we booked it then slept on a large marble surface.

We woke up in the morning to find ourselves surrounded by a dozen Finnish girls using the marble as a table to fill out their flight details. Words cannot describe quite how surreal this was. Andy and I decided to spend the day in Prague looking around and trying to find some cheap tourist tat for Hazel’s and Ruth’s birthday. We didn’t find them anything, but did have a good time, and had lunch which was our first meal for 24 hours in a blues café. When Prague got dark cold and miserable we went back to the airport, got our flight into East Midlands, and then my dad drove us back to Coventry.

I think that Jailbreak (like the time I spent the night at Stonehenge) is one of those experiences that I have very fond memories of but wouldn’t want to repeat, particularly the lack of sleep and food was a bit annoying, but the good bits were awesome enough to make it a very happy experience overall. Plus we raised £200 for Cancer Research UK so it’s all good.


October 19, 2005

Maritime Blues

So I was sitting at home two weeks before term started attempting my ‘R U Ready for year 3’ questions (the answer was no I’m not ready), when my friend Ursie rings me and asks me if I want to go stay on Hilbre island for a few days. Hilbre is a fantastic place off the coast between the Dee and Mersey estuaries. You can walk to it at low tide but then is cut off from the mainland as the sea rises, and there are only three private houses on the island; the rest is a nature reserve. Obviously my answer was yes, and packing only a spare jumper, a pair of wellies and my copy of ‘Brideshead Revisited’ I went and caught the train to West Kirby.

Anyway we were sitting in the living room having just had treacle pudding with ‘red sea sauce’, a topping we invented consisting of melted galaxy chocolate and red food colouring, when Ursie asks if we want to go for a little row. The sea was calm and looked quite attractive so we decided to see if we could get to Middle Eye, an island about fifty metres away. We proceeded towards Middle Eye with ease and it was not until we tried to turn around that we realised, rather than good rowing, it was an incredibly strong current that had given us such speed. At this point the waves started to break over the causeway meaning that rather than being in a sheltered cove we were now on the open sea.

Over the next 90 minutes we drifted towards Ireland. Ursie was in charge of rowing, Sam was in charge of holding on to the rollocks which didn’t fit the boat, and I was in charge of making up physics to try and convince them we’d drift towards shore in a minute. Eventually three wonderful men from the West Kirby lifeboat station arrived and took us back to the island with our boat in tow. Having made sure that we were all ok and had warm clothes they left us enjoying a meal of sausages and soup as they braved the sea again in order to get home.

Moral of the story, lifeboat men are great people. That’s not really a moral is it but it’ll have to do. I won't be going out in a boat anytime soon anyway.


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