Heads up you crazy people

A few months ago I had a moment of insanity and I decided to raise money in aid of Pilgrims Hospice, “hmmm”, I thought, “what’s the best way of doing this?” After much pondering I was inspired, “I know! I’ll run the risk of incinerating my feet!”
So I’m doing a firewalk, Yes you read that right, a firewalk! I will be taking a leisurely stroll on 850 degree coals,
So If I am willing to risk losing the soles of my feet, you can lose a few quid, So make a donation, it doesn’t matter how much, it matters because someone you love, or even you could find yourself in need of the support that The Pilgrims Hospice provides, so you know it makes sense.
Some of my friends are just as mad, so you’ll be helping them out too.

Follow the one of the links below, click the donate button next to one of the names, ideally the chap called Steve, he’s a sterling fellow! Make a donation.





An insight, sort of, well, more of a ramble!

Back in 2009 I was diagnosed with depression; I was prescribed an anti-depressant and advised to undergo a few counselling sessions. I went through a six week course of counselling and it seemed to help. Unfortunately the help was short lived, so were the benefits of the medication. My general frame of mind deteriorated and I began to seriously consider taking my own life. After eighteen months and no real improvement in my mental state I returned to the GP and asked if there were any other options that could help. He suggested a much more involved counselling therapy and a change in meds, after 8 months there was very little improvement in my mental disposition. I was continually visiting the GP and the new counsellor with little or no apparent benefit. This lack of improvement only seemed to make the situation worse. Eventually the counsellor suggested that I take another test, the results of this test indicated that I have moderate to severe bipolar disorder. This led to a significant change in medication, six months later there wasn’t much improvement so the diagnosis was now severe bipolar, oh joy! Another change in meds and I now have the occasional time when I’m not feeling pointless.
Living with bipolar disorder is difficult at best, there are times, albeit rare, when I’m bouncing off the walls and driving people crazy with my hypermanic state, and then there are times when it’s the exact opposite. During these times I feel as though all the motivation has been ripped out of me, I get no enjoyment from anything and I lose all motivation. I become a real pain to live with and my work is also affected. During those moments of hypomnia the worst thing to say are “cheer up”, “things can’t be that bad!” and “oh sort yourself out!” telling a person who is experiencing a hypomanic state is a bit like telling an amputee to grow a new leg. Unfortunately Bipolar doesn’t have any external symptoms; it’s all in the brain. So when people tell you to cheer up they have no clue as to how damning that simple phrase can be. It’s not a plaster that makes it better after a gentle kiss on the sore bit; it’s a full blown slap to the face, with a shovel. It’s not that I don’t want to, I simply can’t. Hypomania has such a detrimental, no pun intended, effect on my day to day life. I withdraw from the social things I enjoy, I want to shut myself off from the world and yes, I seriously consider taking my life. At the other end of the scale, hypermanic, most of my friends can’t deal with the constant barrage of stupid jokes, crazy comments and banter that is often perceived as offensive or insulting. In all honesty I don’t mean to upset my friends; I simply lose sight of all boundaries.
During my most recent drop into hypomania I’ve virtually removed myself from almost all social activities and circles. I now have to face the people concerned and try to explain the activity, those moments are very embarrassing as I usually feel quite ashamed over the rash decisions I’ve made. I’m not sure if they really understand what’s happening in my head, I don’t really understand it myself, so how can I expect other people to get it?
In a few days I will, no doubt, rise up into a better frame of mind and will return to the things I enjoy.

Cornwall, day 4

Another sterling brekky, prepared by a sterling chap, and the plan was to visit Land’s End. Personally I’m glad we left this until the last day. To say it was a bit of a let down is a bit of an understatement. Last time I visited here there was a really cool Doctor Who exhibition. This time there was a 4D animated movie with Dinosaurs that wasn’t too bad, and a thing called King Arthurs Quest, which wasn’t bad, although I suspect it’s aimed at a considerably younger audience. We milled about a bit, had a cuppa and then headed to Penzance for a spot of lunch and then a bit further along the coast for an ice cream opposite Saint Michaels Mount. Once that was done we headed back.

We spent the rest of the evening geocaching, Shhh! Then a spot of telly and bed so that we were well rested or the drive home.

Sunday was probably the quietest day.

Cornwall, Day 1

A few months ago it was suggested that I had a holiday, for 5 four legged reasons we can’t really holiday together so herself suggested that I went with a sterling chap who will remain nameless, he knows who he is, as do most of the folk that will be reading this drivel.

This is my version of the planning stage of the holiday, there is a strong chance that this version may differ, considerably, from the actual conversation.

Me: Do you fancy coming on holiday with me?

Him, Possibly, where?

Me: Dunno, we should have a think about it.

We had a look at the possibilities, the first choice was the Isle of Wight, there’s some historic buildings, some other interesting places and some good places to find fossils, sound perfect. There is, however, one small problem. First the crossing, we worked out that to get on to the isle would cost about fifty quid, the same to get off. The thought of paying £100 just to sail across a bit of water was very off putting, we then discovered that it takes about three hours to cross. THREE HOURS! It takes a cross channel ferry just over an hour to cover 21 miles, how does it take three hours to cross the Solent? We gave up on the Isle of Wight, one day I’ll get there. Next was Dorset, Lyme Regis, Charmouth, pretty much the Jurassic Coast. Sadly a certain someone wasn’t overly keen on the idea of a fossiling holiday, this led to the following question: “Are there fossils in Cornwall?” the answer to this was “no, the rocks are too old!” this was followed by “Cornwall sounds nice”. Actually this wasn’t a bad choice, I like Cornwall, I’ve been there a few times and really enjoyed it so Cornwall it was. A quick search on the interweb found a nice little caravan type thing a few minutes south of Truro and the break was soon booked. Then the months started to drag. March seemed to last forever, Pluto goes around the Sun quicker than April took to get though and don’t get me started on how the first two weeks of May seemed as though time had stood still.

Eventually the 13th of May ended and I headed to the start of my hols. The plan was that we would leave Folkestone at 2 am, this would have us get to Truro at about 08:30. We ate then showered, not together, then tried to get an early night. I was in bed by quarter to seven, wide awake and unable to sleep. I think I may have dozed for a bit but I didn’t get any good sleep.

Before I knew it the alarm was going bonkers and I leapt out of bed, I say leapt, I mean forced myself. A flask of tea was made and the car was loaded and we were off, almost. We needed a short stop to pick up supplies for the journey so we were on our way at about 02:30. We were travelling under a star filled sky and the M20 was virtually empty. 20 minutes later we had the first cuppa. We passed Stonehenge at 05:25, we ran into rain soon after.  We had talked for the whole journey and by about 08:40 we hit the outskirts of Truro, an hour later we were tucking in to a long awaited breakfast.

Since we couldn’t check in to the caravan until 14:00 we decided to have a wander around Truro and visit the cathedral. We manage to waste the hours and headed off to the caravan. Fortunately the rain had stopped and the caravan was perfect. By the time we had settled and faffed around we were knackered and decided that an early night was needed.

So day one of the holiday was mostly spent getting to Cornwall and milling around Truro. Spag Bol was the evening meal and some beer was drank. There may have been some Geocaching, Shhh!

Cornwall, Day 2

Well rested, I awoke to the smell of breakfast being cooked, oh lordy did it smell good! It tasted gooder. Once breakfasted we headed off to the town of Bodmin to visit the jail. This is not a working jail, I don’t think you can just turn up and wander round a working jail, unless that’s your job.

WARNING: The next bit is a little bit educational!

Bodmin Gaol was designed by Sir John Call and built in 1779 by prisoners of war, and was operational for 150 years, in which it saw over 50 public hangings. It was the first British prison to hold prisoners in individual cells.

The Debtors Act of 1869 abolished imprisonment for debt so the prison had spare space that was taken over by the Admiralty for naval prisoners. Eventually, the naval prison occupied an entire wing of the building, before it was closed in 1922.

During World War I the prison was deemed worthy of holding some of Britain’s priceless national treasures including the Domesday Book and the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

The first hanging was apparently in 1785, but the finishing date of the jail was in 1788. Executioners were paid about £10 a hanging. The last person to be hanged was in 1909.

The jail closed in 1927. Since that date, there has been no prison within the county of Cornwall.

Much of the jail remains in ruins, and presents a forbidding aspect when seen from a distance. Some parts have been refurbished and these now form a tourist attraction with exhibitions telling of the history of the jail and of offenders imprisoned there.

The exhibits are not lavish and are fairly basic in design, showcasing gory mannequins accompanied with plaques, describing the offence committed by particular persons and their sentence, in their respective cells.

The jail was actually a very interesting, if somewhat macabre, place. I think we were both pleasantly surprised by it.

With our visit to Bodmin done we set of for Falmouth and Pendennis castle.

Warning! More education:

Pendennis Castle dominates a high rocky headland on the south side of the Fal estuary, overlooking the English Channel close to where it joins the Atlantic Ocean, historically a vital sea route. The castle defences are a rich amalgam from an artillery fortress operating throughout the period 1539–1956, concentrated both inside Elizabethan ramparts and on the top and slopes of the headland around it.

The centrepiece of Pendennis is a circular four-storey tower which had a storeroom and kitchen in the basement, guns on two enclosed floors and an open roof with a lookout turret. Around the tower, an open circular platform also supported guns. Probably added during or very shortly after the initial construction, it made the ground floor of the tower suitable only for accommodation.

Most of the pentagonal perimeter of the Elizabethan fort survives, including five of the original six bastions and a steep rampart, faced in stone and dropping to a dry ditch, now partly infilled. The original plain entrance was given an imposing classical pediment in about 1700. Just inside are the twin Guard Barracks, solid Ordnance Office buildings in dressed granite of about 1700 and among the earliest barracks surviving in Britain. The northern barrack contains a guard room and cells (for unruly soldiers) of the early 20th century.

Inside the fortress the Elizabethan parapet was replaced in the 1730s. Parts of this later structure survive, for example at Nine-Gun Battery with its stone platforms, embrasures and smooth-bore guns providing a powerful image of a massed battery of the period.

East Bastion and Carrick Mount Bastion contain concrete emplacements inserted in 1902/3 for four 12-pounder guns to counter torpedo boats. In East Bastion, steps lead to underground magazines and a war shelter, converted in 1941 as a Battery Plotting Room from which all the guns of the estuary could be controlled.

Most of the pentagonal perimeter of the Elizabethan fort survives, including five of the original six bastions and a steep rampart, faced in stone and dropping to a dry ditch, now partly infilled. The original plain entrance was given an imposing classical pediment in about 1700.

Just inside are the twin Guard Barracks, solid Ordnance Office buildings in dressed granite of about 1700 and among the earliest barracks surviving in Britain. The northern barrack contains a guard room and cells (for unruly soldiers) of the early 20th century.

Inside the fortress the Elizabethan parapet was replaced in the 1730s. Parts of this later structure survive, for example at Nine-Gun Battery with its stone platforms, embrasures and smooth-bore guns providing a powerful image of a massed battery of the period.

East Bastion and Carrick Mount Bastion contain concrete emplacements inserted in 1902/3 for four 12-pounder guns to counter torpedo boats. In East Bastion, steps lead to underground magazines and a war shelter, converted in 1941 as a Battery Plotting Room from which all the guns of the estuary could be controlled.

To the north of the parade ground a plain brick storehouse was built between 1793 and 1811, one of three holding supplies for British troops fighting Napoleonic forces in Spain and Portugal. Alongside is the somewhat sombre barracks, erected 1900–1902 to house the 140 or so soldiers of the 105th Regiment of the Royal Garrison Artillery, and of the same period are bungalows on each side of the Guard Barracks, for senior non-commissioned officers.

Buildings at the south end include half of a much-altered shed built in 1805 for a field train of mobile guns, stored until needed in action. But this end of the fortress is dominated by gun positions and ancillary buildings begun in the late 19th century.

These include One-Gun Battery, for a heavy 6-inch gun. On firing, the gun barrel recoiled on pivoting steel arms, ‘disappearing’ into the gun pit through a steel shield under which the gunners reloaded in safety. The gun position is connected to its underground magazine, and nearby under its protective earth mound, a war shelter accommodated the gun crew.

The Battery Observation Post was built in the Second World War to control the 6-inch guns of Half-Moon Battery and has been restored to its wartime appearance. The battery itself, reached via a tunnel under the Elizabethan rampart, retains underground magazines and a war shelter of 1895, built for two more 6-inch ‘disappearing’ guns.

The current emplacements at Half-Moon Battery incorporate changes of 1909 and particularly of the Second World War, including camouflaged concrete gun houses that gave protection from aircraft, added in 1941. The guns on display are similar to those installed in 1943.

The castle was impressive and we had an exclusive tour of the main castle, exclusive because no other bugger turned up for the tour, which was well worth doing.

We also did the tour of Half Moon battery, given the history of the battery I did find myself in very familiar surroundings, Half Moon battery isn’t too dissimilar to St Martens battery in Dover.

If you ever get the chance a visit to Pendennis is thoroughly recommended.

We headed home, well home being the caravan, with plans of a walk to a nearby Table Table establishment for dinner and a couple of pints. Word of advice, DO NOT double stack the double stack steak burger, the meat sweats will kill you. Although I was lucky enough to hear a waiter being asked which is better, the standard beef burger or the steak burger? The reply was perfect, “I’m vegetarian” oh how we laughed.

We walked back to the caravan in the dark, and the mist, well, fog, are you familiar with Cornish fog? It’s so thick you can cut chunks of it off and chew it and it’s full of zombies, probably!

Luckily we managed to find our way back without incident and no zombies, although there was some rustling in the roadside bushes.

This ended day 2

Cornwall, day 3

A rainy a windy night, a branch on the tree near the caravan was scratching at the side, that or zombies, I’m going with tree, although I’m not convinced.

Despite the wind, rain and zombies, probably. I slept well and I was looking forward to Fridays excursion. Our first port of call was King Arthur’s Great Hall, in the village of Tintagel.

King Arthur’s Hall is a historic building in Fore Street, Tintagel, Cornwall, England. Built in the early 1930s by Frederick Thomas Glasscock it originally served as the headquarters for a social organization known as the Order of the Fellowship of the Knights of the Round Table. It contains some works of art relating to the Arthurian legend and is now a popular visitor attraction for Arthurian enthusiasts, and has a bookshop devoted to the subject at the front of the building.

Glasscock founded the Order of the Fellowship of the Knights of the Round Table in 1927 to promote Christian ideals and Arthurian notions of medieval chivalry. Glasscock was resident at Tintagel and responsible for the building of King Arthur’s Hall. The Hall was itself an extension of Trevena House, which had been John Douglas Cook’s residence and had been built on the site of the former Town Hall and Market Hall in Fore Street.

The 72 stained glass windows illustrating the Arthurian tales are by Veronica Whall. These tell the story of King Arthur and show the coats of arms and weapons of the knights involved. Whall designed 73 windows for the hall. As of 1997 it is considered to be the largest collection of stained glass panels of King Arthur made in the 20th century and a great example of Arts and Crafts workmanship.

There are also several paintings of scenes from King Arthur’s life by William Hatherell

The stained glass windows are beautiful and some of the most impressive I have seen.

A short browse of the gift shop and then on to Tintagel castle, having been there before I sort of knew what to expect, the walk down the hill, the climb up to the castle, oh god the climb. But it is absolutely worth it.

Spectacular views over the Atlantic and some of the most amazing granite formations I’ve ever seen.

The site of Tintagel Castle has been inhabited at least since the late Roman period, and probably earlier. Between the 5th and 7th centuries AD a prosperous community was based there. After a period of obscurity, in the 12th century Tintagel gained international literary fame when it was named by Geoffrey of Monmouth as the place where the legendary King Arthur was conceived. This may have been what inspired Richard, Earl of Cornwall, younger brother of Henry III, to site his castle at Tintagel in the 1230s. The castle had fallen into disrepair by 1330, but its associations with the Arthurian legend have helped to foster the site’s continuing international renown.

No conclusive evidence has been found that there was an Iron Age fort at Tintagel, although the site would have been similar to those of Iron Age promontory forts found on other south-western headlands, such as on Willapark headland, 1 mile east.

Similarly it is uncertain how much activity there was on the site in the Roman period. The two Roman road-markers from the area, one now in Tintagel church and one at Trethevy 1½ miles east, suggest some presence in the area in the 3rd and 4th centuries. Various small finds, including pottery and some late 3rd- and early 4th-century Roman coins, also suggest activity on the headland at this period, but this seems unlikely to have been significant.

The castle has a long association with Arthurian legends. This began in the 12th century when Geoffrey of Monmouth, in his mythical account of British history, the Historia Regum Britanniae, described Tintagel as the place of Arthur’s conception. Geoffrey told the story that Arthur’s father, King Uther Pendragon, was disguised by Merlin’s sorcery to look like Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, the husband of Ygerna, Arthur’s mother.

Having had our fill of the views and magnificent area we headed back to the village, via a landrover trip up the hill, I’d done enough climbing.

We agreed that it was at this point in the holiday that a Cornish cream tea was much over due. Two scones a pot of clotted cream, a pot of, rather yummy, jam and a generous pot of tea, each one would have fed an army let alone two chaps, but the climb up to the castle meant that we had earned it.

We soon left the village and headed to the seaside town of Perranporth. It’s a surfers paradise and full of surfer types with tans and surfer hair, definitely not the sort of chaps who would make short work of two scones with clotted cream and jam. We walked to the Watering Hole on the sands where I enjoyed a bottle of Sol, with a wedge of lime stuck in the top, sheer perfection.

Finally we headed back to the caravan to get dinner, pizza and garlic bread. A couple of bottles of ale some crap TV and bed.

The best day of the holiday so far.

Just a quick rant

Throwing my two pence worth in on the Clarkson thing.

There are other presenters that have been racist, bigoted, rude to their guests, made abusive phone calls, sworn on live TV, threatened people, in fact a fair few have been as “outspoken” as Jeremy Clarkson, if not worse, but this is Clarkson so let the witch hunt begin, Madonna has a fall at the brits, clearly Clarkson’s fault. Clarkson is used by the BBC when they want something controversial said, because that’s what he does best, when he does his thing the BBC clap their collective hands to their cheeks and act all shocked and surprised. Look at the history of complaints made about Top Gear and it’s considerably less than complaints about an idiotic East Enders storyline, as for the complaints about Clarkson in particular, compare them to the amount received for any other one person and they are considerably less. this year’s celebrity big brother received more complaints in three weeks than Top Gear has in 14 years, in fact most of the complaints were made by people riding the Clarkson hate bus, As if Joe public is going to drive a 4×4 across the arctic and drink gin, glamorises drinking and driving my arse, the majority of truck drivers found the change gear, check mirror thing amusing, people complaining about a tree should think themselves lucky that they have nothing more to worry about, Clarkson’s English, can every English person honestly admit the they haven’t had a dig at the French, the Germans or the Argentinians, I know have, and I will continue to do so.

Richard Hammond suffered severe injuries and was close to death due to a high speed crash, his friends dealt with their concerns the only way that good friends should, they took the piss, and Clarkson and May were so relieved that their friend was back with them that they hid their concerns with humour, a natural and human reaction.

So what if Clarkson can be a bit of a knob? Surely we are all guilty of that? Just because he appears on the telly doesn’t mean he isn’t human. We have come to expect our public figures to behave a certain way and when they behave like a person we blame Clarkson
If we continue to put these people on pedestals, we just give them further to fall.

Interstellar, a let down.








Tonight I chose to go to see Interstellar, having read some positive reviews and add to that it’s a Chris Nolan film, it seemed a good idea.

So off we set, first to Deal on an errand for astro club and then up to Ashford for the film, I have to admit I was quite looking forward to seeing the film.

We found our seats and settled in for the evening, we talked about the probe landing on the comet and how brilliant that was.

Then the room darkened and we sat through a good half an hour of adverts and trailers, the Avengers 2, the imitation game and the hobbit 3 were probably the highlight of the evening.

In the future, Earth’s natural resources have become so scarce that humankind has regressed to an agrarian society on the verge of failure. Cooper, a former NASA test pilot-turned-farmer, lives with father-in-law, son, and his ten-year-old daughter, Murphy. Murphy believes her room is haunted by a poltergeist trying to communicate with her. She and Cooper discover the “ghost” is an unknown intelligence sending coded messages through gravitational waves, revealing binary coordinates in the dust that direct them to a secret NASA installation led by Professor Brand.

Brand reveals that a wormhole, evidently created for humanity by extra-dimensional beings, offers a chance for survival on a new planet. NASA’s “Lazarus missions” have identified three potentially habitable planets orbiting the black hole Gargantua: Miller, Edmunds, and Mann, named after the astronauts who surveyed them. Brand recruits Cooper to pilot the experimental spacecraft Endurance to recover the astronauts’ data; once one of the planets is determined habitable, humanity will follow aboard space stations. On the mission, Cooper joins Brand’s daughter, biologist Amelia; physicist Romilly; geographer Doyle; and two artificially intelligent robots, TARS and CASE. His decision to join Endurance breaks Murphy’s heart, and they part on bad terms.

Endurance enters the wormhole and heads to Miller’s planet, but it is so close to Gargantua that the gravitational pull causes severe time dilation: each hour on the surface is seven years on Earth. Cooper, Amelia, Doyle and CASE descend to the planet, which proves inhospitable as it is completely covered by a shallow ocean roiled by enormous tidal waves. As Amelia attempts to recover Miller’s data, a wave hits, killing Doyle and delaying the shuttle’s departure. When they return to the Endurance, 23 years have passed there.

On Earth, the adult Murphy is now a NASA scientist attempting to solve a physics problem that has troubled Brand for years: how the gigantic space stations, too heavy to launch with conventional rockets, could be lifted via gravity. The dying Brand admits he already solved the problem and determined that the project is impossible without additional data from a black hole’s singularity. Concluding that humanity cannot escape Earth, Brand instead put his faith in a “population bomb”, which will use fertilized eggs to start humanity anew, sacrificing Earth’s population.

Now low on resources, Endurance can only visit one more planet before returning to Earth. Amelia believes Edmunds’ planet has more promising data, but Cooper and Romilly favor Mann’s planet, as Mann is still transmitting. Cooper accuses Amelia of letting her emotional attachment to Edmunds cloud her judgment, while Amelia argues both planets could be explored if Cooper would give up on returning to Earth. The team votes for Mann. When they land, they find an icy, inhospitable world; Mann forged data about his planet’s viability so that Endurance would rescue him. Mann breaks Cooper’s spacesuit visor and leaves him to die, and Romilly dies when he accidentally triggers a bomb Mann set to protect his secret. Mann flees to Endurance on a shuttle, intending to proceed with the “population bomb” project on Edmunds’ world. Amelia rescues Cooper on the other shuttle and they pursue Mann, arriving in time to witness him docking improperly with Endurance. The airlock depressurizes, killing Mann and causing serious damage, but Cooper uses the shuttle to get the Endurance under control.

With little fuel remaining, Cooper and Amelia plan to slingshot Endurance around Gargantua on a course to Edmunds. TARS and Cooper detach into the black hole, hoping to collect data on the singularity and propel Endurance by dropping mass. Cooper and TARS emerge in an extra-dimensional “tesseract” where time appears as a spatial dimension and portals lead to Murphy’s childhood bedroom at various times. Cooper realizes the extra-dimensional beings are future humans, and have created this space so he can communicate with Murphy as the “ghost” from her childhood and save humanity. Using gravitational waves, Cooper transmits TARS’ data on the singularity to the adult Murphy through Morse code, allowing her to complete Brand’s equation and evacuate Earth. Cooper awakes aboard a NASA station years in the future, where he reunites with the now-elderly Murphy. Murphy has prepared humanity to colonize their new home on Edmunds; on her deathbed, she convinces Cooper to find Amelia, who has begun work on the planet.

Thank goodness for that. This was not an enjoyable film for me? The plot was virtually non-existent, the acting seemed improvised for the majority of the film, Michael Caine spent a great part of it quoting Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas and the film seemed to go nowhere really slowly, the only time that nearly three hours seemed like seven.

Would I recommend this film to my friends? NO, unless the annoyed me then I would tell them it’s a brilliant film and a must see. Do I think it was worth the ticket cost? No, I should have gone to see TMNT.

 Out of 5 I would rate it 2, because there’s a beautiful CG shot of Saturn and it’s rings and some of the space flight sequences are quite good.

Granted my retelling of the story may not be spot on and accurate, but the general story is there, it’s a shame really because it is, after all, a Chris Nolan film, I have enjoyed some of his previous films and I had high hopes for this, I was very disappointed.

Still that’s my tuppence worth, I thought it was a bit rubbish, well more than a bit rubbish actually. Interstellar is the sort of film that you watch and need the loo really badly but you dare not go because you may miss something good or important that just doesn’t happen.

It hardly builds pace and just when you think it’s all about to take off it simply slows down a taxis along again, nowhere near the thrill ride that was Gravity, Sandra Bullock, phwoar! And slightly more enjoyable than the dire “be kind rewind” the only film I’ve seen that has made me want to leave the cinema and demand a refund.

If you haven’t seen interstellar and want to have a moan because I’ve ruined it for you, well you can’t because you should have read the bit at the top, you know the bit that says SPOILERS! If you have seen and wish to air your opinion feel free, but please, be polite, opinions are like bottoms, everyone has one.

Ta ta

I think I may be getting old!

With Trudes away in Texas I’ve made full use of her absence to do some of the stuff she doesn’t really like me doing, namely crawling around old fortifications and tunnels.

Back in at the beginning of July I took a few friends back to Lydden Spout to revisit the plotting rooms, magazine stores and the deep shelter, I did two of the sites but decided against the magazine store, firstly because I’ve done them a fair few times now, and secondly because I remembered that the last time we went it was something of a struggle to haul myself out again. I also don’t recall the climb back up from the deep shelter being quite so difficult, by the time I got back up to the top of the cliff I needed a full contingent of Sherpas to bring me oxygen.It also took me an extra couple of days to recover from the day.

the rest of the month has been filled with cinema trips to see Man of Steel and the usual gaming club night, I’ve been introduced to a new table top wargame called Flames of War, it’s a second world war themed game with tanks and stuff, the infantry models are about a third of the size of a 40k marine and are going to be a fiddle to paint.

Not much else has happened, getting lots of pup cuddles who have decided that I am a suitable surrogate whilst Trudes is away.

Today, Sunday 28 July was another day out, this time it was a second walk from Dover to Saint Margarets. I arranged to meets the group at the carpark behind Dover castle because it meant that they could just drive straight down the motorway to the castle. I got the bus from Folkestone to Dover and then from Dover to the castle. The rest of the party had already arrived at the carpark and we were soon on our way to the cliff top. One of the guys was a chap that I’ve known for as long as I have known Dave and Tina and it was great to see Steve, as we walked we chatted about comics and their tie-in films, collectible toys and what we would like to have in our collections. Being caught up in conversation we suddenly realised that the rest of the ramblers were actually nowhere to be seen, we thought that some of them were ahead of us so a quick call was made and we learned that they were still at the Langdon Visitors centre (oops). fortunately it didn’t take long for the group to be reunited and we were off again.

The last time we were all in the area I tried in vain to find a deep shelter referred to as Langdon Hole. Over the last year I have been scouring the internet to find info on the location of the shelter and eventually I found a fairly accurate location that I could program into my GPS, this came up trumps and it didn’t take long at all before we found something that resembled an entrance, albeit somewhat tenuous. being the stupid daring types we made our way in, oh dear! the first thing that was immediately clear was that several years of mudslides and rain washing mud into the entrance had now turned the stairway into a slope and this meant that we had to climb down very slowly and carefully to prevent one of us slipping and sliding to the bottom, which would have resulted in a rather nasty injury. once we reached the bottom of the slope we had a fairly impressive underground complex to explore. we found a slope that headed up to a different passageway. The slope was steep, very steep, so one of the other guys and me decided to throw caution to the wind and climb up to see where it went. looking back this was a bit foolhardy because of the incline either of us could have slipped and fell back to the bottom injuring ourselves badly on any number of metal stakes that were sticking out of the ground, I think they may have been retaining pegs for the stairway that was once there. After several minutes we made it to the top only to discover that our climb had been fairly worthless as the passageway was only about ten feet long before ending in a collapse. So we now had to face a treacherous climb back down, believe me I’m not exaggerating when I say treacherous, fortunately I only had one slight slip but no real tragedy occurred. Once we we safely down we headed off to join the others who were having a shot at exploring a small tunnel, two feet square is fairly small, I gave it a go but could quite get the right angle so I had to clamber back out, that was an effort in itself. Having explored the shelter we made our way out, a bit of a struggle, and settled down for a spot of scoff. whilst we were enjoying sarnies and soaking up the spectacular views across the channel it suddenly hit me that when we went into the shelter the weather was overcast and a bit dull, now it was clear blue sky and glorious sunshine. With scoff done we headed off to find another target, this being Fan Bay deep shelter, again I had set the coordinates into my gps, this time it wasn’t so big a pay off. Despite the device indicating that we were almost on top of the site, no entrance could be found. Dave and I had a bit of a wander in the hope of locating the shelter but we had no luck, well at least none finding the shelter. We did, however, find a hole that we thought could be what we were looking for so I headed off to bring the others over. when we all reached the hole Dave was already in the process of exiting, he’s bloomin’ keen that chap! I set about making my way in, what I didn’t realise was that the mud in the entrance was rather slick and before I knew it I was heading in rather quicker than I thought, as I fell I was extremely lucky not to hit my head on a rock or brickwork. I did end up flat on my back and winded, given the noises the others were making it must have sounded a lot worse than it actually was. I took a few seconds to get my breath back and compose myself before heading further in to what turned out to be a magazine store, one of three in fact. Once again I struggled to exit this tunnel and I was getting just a tad bothered. but I wasn’t going to be beaten by a tunnel and with a bit of help I managed to scramble out (phew). Just as we were heading away we stumbled across a second hole and in we went, another mag store. In one respect it may not have been a bad thing in failing to find the deep shelter as I have since learned that the stairway at the entrance is much worse that Langdons shelter and is pretty much an underground slide. Considering that we’ll take a sturdy rope with us for the third attempt.

We picked up our trail and headed toward Saint Margarets with a brief stop to consider investigating what may be an observation post but the “Keep Out” sign and the fact that we would have been easily seen from the house that sits on the land led us to decide to respect the privacy of the land owner and head up to the South Forelands Lighthouse. We didn’t visit the lighthouse, instead we went in search of a deep shelter that we had visited on our previous trip only to find that it now had some very sturdy looking bars across the entrance, curses to the health and safety nutters. We now headed to the plotting room that was also part of our last visit. The H&S bunch had also visited the plotting room but the locals had taken the liberty of removing the padlock. So with this being the last site on our tour we decided to give it a go. Dave was first in and I went second, unfortunately the recent addition of the bars had rendered the hole just a little bit to small for me. So, taking the sensible option and knowing my own limitations I gave it up as a loss. The others managed to get in, except for Steve who was happy to hold on to one of the two dogs that were with us, I held the other and got some lovely cuddles from the dog in return. Finally we were done and we headed into the village of Saint Margarets in search of a pub whilst we waited for the bus back to Dover.

Eventually the bus arrived and we were on our way home, everyone except for me got off the bus at the back of the castle, I stayed on and went into Dover to catch the bus through to Folkestone.

Aching, covered in mud and sore I realise that it may not be much longer before I won’t be able to do these explores, one incident of getting almost stuck worried me a little and as I write this the reality of what we would do if one of our numbers were to be badly hurt in these relatively inaccessible places, an ambulance crew would probably not be able to extract someone depending on their injuries, despite that I have no immediate plans to stop exploring completely, I think I will probably take a step back to better assess the situation before throwing myself in.

I have just over a week before Trudes is back from the US and I’m off to London to see Pacific Rim with the Mikeys on Wednesday, that should be fun

An insight

001. Real name → Stephen ******* ******
002. Nickname(s)→ Bear
003. Zodiac sign → Aquarius, for what it’s worth!
004. Male or female → Male
005. Primary School → Aycliffe Primary, Powell Primary

006. Secondary School → Astor Secondary
007. College/Uni → None
008. Hair colour → Brow
009. Long or short → Short now
010. Loud or Quiet → Um… a bit of both I think
011. Sweats or Jeans → Jeans
012. Phone or Camera → both
013. Health freak → Oh, do behave!
014. Drink or Smoke? → Yup, trying to quit the smoking though
015. Do you have a crush on someone? → well duh!
016. Eat or Drink → neither, I achieve nutritional sustenance via a process of osmosis
017. Piercings → yes, left ear
018. Tattoos.→ some, mostly on my arms, but I have a small paw print over my heart in memory of my little Molly Pops
019. Been in an airplane→ yus
020. Been in a relationship→ yup
021. Been in a car accident → yup
022. Been in a fist fight → yup
023. First piercing → left ear
024. First best friend → Stuart
025. First award →
026. First crush → Sharon J
028. First big vacation → Lanzarote
029. Last person you talked to → Trudy
030. Last person you texted → Trudy
031. Last person you watched a DVD with → Trudy
032. Last food you ate→ Spuds
033. Last movie you watched alone → I am number 4
034. Last song you listened to → Man who can’t be moved, the script
035. Last thing you bought → food
036. Last person you hugged → Trudy
037. Food → Cake
038. Drinks → Tea
039. Clothing → My “I’m Bringing Grumpy Back” t-shirt
040. Flower →
042. Colours → Purple
043. Movies → Sci-fi
044. Subjects → Ancient History, Astronomy, palaeontology
In 2013, I….
045. [x] kissed someone
046. [ ] celebrated Halloween
047. [] had your heart broken
048. [ ] went over the minutes/texts on your cell phone
049. [x] someone questioned your sexual orientation
050. [ ] came out of the closet
051. [ ] gotten pregnant
052. [ ] had an abortion
053. [ ] done something you’ve regretted
054. [] broke a promise
055. [] hid a secret
056. [x] pretended to be happy
057. [] met someone who changed your life
058. [] pretended to be sick
059. [] left the country
060. [] tried something you normally wouldn’t try and liked it
061. [x] cried over the silliest thing
062. [] ran a mile
063. [] went to the beach with your best friend(s)
064. [] got into an argument with your friends
065. [] hated someone
066. [] stayed single the whole year
067. Eating → nothing
068. Drinking → see above
069. I’m about to → go to bed
070. Listening to → nothing
071. Plans for today → work
072. Waiting for → the week end
073. Want kids? → done that
074. Want to get married? → not really
075. Careers in mind → plenty
076. Lips or eyes → eyes
077. Shorter or taller?→ shorter

078. Romantic or spontaneous → um..
079. Nice stomach or nice arms → WTF?
080. Sensitive or loud → can’t they be both?
081. Hook-up or relationship → Relationship
082. Trouble-maker or hesitant → heck if I know
083. Lost glasses/contacts → all the gorram time
084. Snuck out of your house → when I was much much younger
085. Held a gun/knife for self defence → nope
086. Killed somebody → seriously?

087. Broken someone’s heart → probably
088. Been arrested → yup
089. Cried when someone died → I say again, well duh!
090. Yourself → NO!
091. Miracles → NO
092. Love at first sight → Possibly
093. Heaven → NO
094. Santa Claus → Not any more
095. Sex on the first date → snerk!
096. Kiss on the first date → yup
097. Is there one person you want to be with right now? → Of course
098. Are you seriously happy with where you are in life? → is any body ever truly happy with how their life has turned out?

099. Do you believe in God → I believe there is not a god.