Bowery Mural

Looking Back To Be Able To Look Forward - a study of the year just gone

Thursday, 31 December 2009

2009. What a year! Looking forward to 2009 was the most excited I’d been about the dawn of a new year for quite some years. This was to be the year of BIG adventures!! Little did I know it would be a BIG adventure in more senses of the word than one.

It was the year I intended trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp in the Himalayas. It was the year I would scale some mountains here in the much loved homeland. It was the year that everything might fall into place. Now here’s what actually happened...

Yes I did trek in the Himalayas. Sadly no I never made it to Everest Base Camp but wow! What a journey. Although there was huge disappointment on that particular journey, I often think about it and hope that I will return there one day. Now too I can also see that I met some wonderful people in Nepal as well as my trek buddies some of whom have now become great friends. I don’t know what I enjoyed best about that trip. It was all so magical. Words cannot begin to describe seeing actual Mount Everest for the first, for yes, whilst I never made it to Base Camp I was faced with the sights of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam on a daily basis on the trek. It truly was the best thing I have ever done in my life so far. But I do not want it to end there. I hope to go back one day when finances allow. For now though I am excited to tell you that trek buddies Kate and Ruth have booked to go back and climb Island Peak with Saran our very brilliant trek leader. They are heading off to climb in November 2010 and I wish them all the luck, good wishes and love in the world. I know they will do it as they are two of the most determined people I have ever met... and I’m hoping some of that steely determination will rub off on me!

Yes I did scale some mountains here in Scotland but not as many as I’d hoped. But they’re not going anywhere so there’s plenty time for that. On that journey though and through the power of communication and via the world wide web I have met some good people and been to places I’ve never been before here on our very own doorstep. I thank them for letting me join their playtime in the hills.

Things never really fell into place in the way that I would have liked but they sort of got started on their journey. I’m not really one for resolutions and the like I just prefer to hope that the New Year that is dawning will be better than the one just gone. It’s got a lot to live up to cos 2009 was probably the best year I’ve had in a long time. I mean come on, I trekked the Himalayas for f**k’s sake!!! How many other people can say that? I am really proud of that journey and also all the fundraising that was completed in 2008/2009. £4000 is no mean feat in this day and age.

Here’s my mini-rundown of 2009, the best year I’ve had in a long time:

January: The post Christmas blues, back to work and more cake-baking to get my fundraising up to the target and beyond. This worked with the help of the loyal few and I am forever in their debts.

February: A weekend away with the OMC. It was then that I decided that this club thing really wasn’t for me. It was also more working, hitting the gym 3 or 4 nights per week and the final preparation for the trek. Jags, money, last bits and pieces of kit. Exciting!! It was also around this time I discovered outdoor blogs and asked for some last minute advice.

March: A gathering on my birthday (6th March) for family and friends. So I could say thanks for everything and goodbye before the trek. It seemed like the best thing to do. It was my 32nd birthday and I have to say I didn’t dread it as much as I’d done in previous years. Last minute prep for the trek. More fundraising – by now that target was well and truly met. Nerves, nerves, nerves about the long flights ahead....

April: The trek! 3rd-18th April to be precise. I spent about 2 days before I went crying saying goodbye to people who’d stuck by me, believed in me, sponsored me, sent me good wishes and who loved me. Highs, lows, ups, downs. But ultimately I wouldn’t have changed anything (except maybe the awful cough!). Then I was home. The space, it was un-nerving. I didn’t go into my bedroom for a good few hours as I felt too overwhelmed at all the stuff I had after living out of a big yellow kit bag for 2 weeks. It was the weirdest feeling for me! Even driving home from the airport, the road was so quiet I felt after the toot-toot, busy, busy, weird and wacky racing in the streets of Kathmandu. Strange... I never returned to work either when I was supposed to. My ribs ached, I still had the cough and I was completely exhausted – physically, and I’ll admit, mentally too. I think I still am... is that possible?

May: By now I was back at work but I still had a bit of the Khumbu cough. Ribs were still sore so I was laying off the gym by this point. What did I have to train for? My fundraising page was about to close and with one final donation of £13.65 from PTC I reached the total amount of £4000 for Marie Cure Cancer Care. Thanks again man. I ventured out into the hills around Crianlarich for the first time since coming home. We never got that far up as the day was minging. Claggy, grey, raining non-stop... after a couple of hours we headed home. It was the best decision.

June: I was feeling a bit better but felt there was something missing since returning from Nepal. I’m still not sure what it was/is. Then I was hit with some startling news that totally knocked me for six. It blew me away in a way that I thought my world was about to fall apart! But thanks to people I could trust I slowly came around to the idea. Heck to this day it is even the object of a good laugh with me and Linda in the office. Yeah you know what I’m talking about Linda – ‘fuck knows!!!!’... Midway through June I ventured out again for a proper walk up the hills since coming home, at night too. It was Ben Lomond and it was good. A wee tonic after the previous week’s events. I liked it a lot.

July: July was my annual 2 week holiday from work. I was never as glad to get it. But it rained a lot. Except for one Saturday where I went on my first solo hill-walk. Ok it was up Ben Lomond again but it was solo and I went for it. I was well proud when I got home that night. A night out at Hampden with my Da to see Bruce Springsteen. It was brilliant. 3 hours solid he played for – now that’s a turn for you. Lance Armstrong (my hero!) made his Tour de France comeback and did not too bad either. Bradley Wiggins’ 4th was also very special. End of July seen my first ever visit to London – another highlight of my year. To see Ruth and Kate as it was Kate’s 30th birthday. It was a great weekend and the hospitality I was shown was great. I thank you Ruth and Kate and can’t wait until you visit me here in Scotland.

August: Lance Armstrong posts a little 140 character paragraph in Twitter and I’m sent into a spin! He’s flying into Glasgow on 18th August, what do you do?? You go to work, that’s what you do if you’re me and you’re daft!! Then you sit whilst both your very brilliant office friends tell you to ‘go, go, go, get on the train and see if you can see him’. I do and it’s too late by the time I get there. It was Paisley and they’d taken off before I got the chance to leave Glasgow. I wasn’t going to go on a wild goose chase on foot around Paisley so that was a big regret. However, Andrew out great friend and work colleague was there and got a smashing picture!! Jealous, much, me? AYE!!

September: I became an aunty for the second time. Connor is his name. Yes I know he’s not been mentioned on here much. Well he has if you know where to look! It was a joyous time. It was also the start of a new semester and busy time at work. No hill walk’s this month but plenty of gym time – although somehow I wasn’t as committed as before. Then it was off to Hampden again to see Coldplay and, wait for this, Jay-Z!! Yes. Jay-Z! It was amazing. I just love Coldplay. I don’t care what anyone says, they are still one of the best live bands I’ve seen.

October: A quiet but good month. A night out at the Caird Hall in Dundee to see another of my favourites – Paolo Nutini. I have to say his album – Sunny Side Up has been one of my most played this year. Love it! The seasons were beginning to change, there was a wee nip in the air, and the leaves were turning brown. STILL no hill-walks but I did take the boy out to Loch Lomond for a wee day out. He loved it and we spent a few hours on the shore while he threw stones into the water. We ate Mars Planets and drank a Wee Bru. Just lovely. He also got to see ‘the boys on their bikes’.

November: A quiet month but busy at work. Work. It was really starting to annoy me before the Christmas holidays. I’m glad of this break. Hopefully people can start to... er... get on with each other, appreciate what they’ve got. After months of searching I finally chose and ordered my new bike. I am so excited about it and can’t wait for it to be delivered.

December: The month of preparation for 1 day - Christmas day. Really thankful for the holidays coming up. It was much needed for me. But I’m getting that itching feeling again. I feel again that it’s time I stood up and did something for the greater good. The feeling I got when I was first starting to think about doing the trek. Who knows what this means? I don’t even know but what I do know is that I’m going to do something else. It may not be as grand as the last adventure but it’ll be an adventure of one sort or another, oh yes, you better believe it.

2010: Well there are little flickers of plans that have been circling my head for a while. There are places to be seen/climbed/visited/marvelled at. There is a bike that will hopefully be delivered in the next few weeks. There are the twice weekly spin bike classes at The Peak with Elaine. She motivates me to go on and I thank her for that. There is a load more to come from me. For I am declaring that 2010 WILL be the year that everything is going to fall into place. There may be ups, there’ll probably be downs but you’ll hear about them all here for I’m not going to edit my life just because sometimes it may not be as happy as it’s meant to be all the time.

One last word about 2009. I’m calling it the start of my journey of self discovery. And I’d like to thank those who were there with me through the ups and the downs - you guys are really special. Mum, Dad, Karen, Ryan, Connor. My larger than life family. Linda. Brigitte. Dorothy. Ruth. Kate. Andy. PTC. Martin. Elaine. Chris. Donna. Bernie.

To BigBananaFeet, Bobinson, Henrik, Moggy, Bonita and Kristian from Oz I don't know if you still read here but I thank you for being the few who do on occasion comment on my (sometimes) weird posts. And to the other readers of this here blog - I know you're out there and I thank you too for reading my ramblings (even the crap ones!). 

Oops, I nearly forgot about Twitter and all the folks on there too who reply and those who keep me amused of a day with their '140 character' posts.  @sacca, @nksheridan, @AnnieBee, @craigzielinski, @stewyphoto, @csleight, @owenp, @theclimbergirl, @cupcakemafia, @kmanietta, @idmoore, @macrobert and finally a big massive shout out to @cyclingamericas - our very own Mr Mark Beaumont who has been Cycling The Americas since May and is about to start climbing Mt Aconcagua in Argentina after 10,000 miles cycling.  Awesome!

So... to end this post I’ll simply say Happy New Year. Have a good one whatever you are doing. Me? I’ve got a bottle of Irn Bru and a copy of Moon that the postie delivered today so I’ll be watching that when the clock strikes 12... See you all on the other side.

Ange xxx 

Something's Not Quite Right

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

I woke up this morning and something was just not quite right.  I was tired.  Partly due to not going to sleep until 2am as I was watching disc 4 of series 4 of Prison Break that had been delivered from LoveFilm and partly due to the fact i'd woken up at 6.23am and drifted in and out of drowsiness due to the strange ache in my calves, forearms, hands, head... all over aches really.  I got up went down stairs and Dad made a cup of tea.  I was feeling slightly sorry for myself and could barely speak.  My throat being clogged up too.  I seem to have caught some sort of achey, flu thing - probably from Ryan who's had it for about 2 weeks.

Mum came in from town and made breakfast.  Piece on square sausage and another cup of tea.  I couldn't get comfy on the couch, turning and twitching every few minutes as my old body ached away to itself.  I wondered if this was it's way of telling me something.  

I felt a bit better after a shower and put some music on the hi-fi.  Jees that's an old fashioned word in this day of iPods, laptops, iPhones isn't it?  A hi-fi!  But yes i put a CD on the hi-fi and wondered what i would do today.  You see i'm not very good at sitting still and doing nothing.  Well I can just about manage it for a day or two but when you're off on holiday from work I cannot stand just simply sitting in the house and doing nothing.  I read a few blogs on my iPhone and a few were sort of year-end reviews.  I have planned on writing one for here but just can't bring myself to do it at the moment.  2009 was after all meant to be the year where everything would fall into place.  Yes there was the highest of highs but there were also the lowest of lows and I'm sure you don't want to read about that so I'm leaving it for now.  You see New Year is probably my least favourite time of the year.  There's so much pressure to be 'doing something' for New Year when in actual fact you'll most likely find me sitting watching telly and probably going to sleep and then on 1st January hoping that it was the 2nd January and that no-one comes to our house for a party.  But that's just wishful thinking. 

So back to wondering what i'd do when not feeling 100%.  I've not a runny nose, nor am I being sick, i just have aching bones, a very stuffed nose and throat and that general run-down feeling.  I popped a couple of Sudafed tablets, got wrapped up in my cosy Rab down jacket and headed out in the car.  First stop the post office to post a birthday present to a certain someone in Londonshire! then a drive along the hillfoots and back into Tesco to stock up on my Hogmanay carry-oot: a 6 pack of Wee Bru's, a bottle of Lucozade, 2 packs of cheese and onion Kettle Chips, a Terrys Chocolate Orange (cos shock horror Santa never brought me one of those either!!) and a 4 pack of AAA Lithium batteries for my head torch.  Petrol station next and then home.  I was now feeling still achey but a bit better.

So i've just had more Sudafed tablets, i'm kind of composing a year end blog post, my shopping ban is kinda working (apart from my trip to Tesco today!) and i'm going to do some sewing as it's really relaxing.  So if i'm not on here before 1st January comes around I wish you all a good New Year whatever you may be doing.  And that's it.  Low-key.  The way i like New Year.  

Take care out there friends
Ange xx             

Plans are afoot - shopping ban

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Christmas.  So that was it was it?  Gone for another year.  Santa's been and gone too and I was right when i predicted he wouldn't bring me any bike stuff.  It is a shame as I was looking forward to it.  It seems he forgot where HMV in Stirling was too since i never got any DVD's or CD's (a usual guaranteed gift!).  What I did get though was a much need new purse (minus a shiny lucky penny though), slippers, a bright new diary with plenty room for my hand-written ramblings, facial and body products and my favourite perfume Eternity.  Amongst the gifts from others were jammies (3 pairs!!), more slippers, money and a HMV voucher (yay I can buy some stuff).  Oh and I nearly forgot... in place of my much needed bike gear I got a LCD tv.  Now this may appear to be a good present but 1) I have a telly, 2) I expressly told 'Santa' that I DID NOT WANT a telly and 3) I am never listened to...   I mean, I don't mean to sound ungreatful but the money that was spent on the pretty decent (and probably expensive) LCD tv could have got me a helmet, a lock, a set of lights (maybe) and a rucksack for using on my bike.  These are now things that i will have to go and buy - tut!!  I have toyed with the idea of returning the tv for a refund and buying the bike gear but then the VAT rises again in a few days time and such items as tv's will probably get hiked up in price by more than the 2.5% that VAT will rise by (heck i've even spotted on a online outdoor gear store that seems to have increased it's prices already!!!  crafty sods), but let's face it, was Marks and Spencer the only actual shop that gave us the 2.5% discount on marked prices??  Anyway I've not decided what to do with ths tv yet.  It's still in it's box in the spare room out of protest. 

All in all during this festive period, I've been doing a lot, no, I mean A LOT of thinking.  Thinking about lots of things!  I've been thinking that I need to start getting my life in some sort of order.  Start planning for my future! whatever that means.  Perhaps start saving for a house, but that'll be in vain because let's face it in the current climate and unless I win the lotto I ain't never gonna be able to get a mortgage but what I can do is be ready.  Have some savings for a rainy day.  I spend too much money on what can only be described as shite.  I have a lot of 'stuff' that you accumulate over the years.  I'm kinda glad I didn't get a lot for Christmas this year.  It would only mean I'd need to clear a space of which there is hardly any and find somewhere to stash this new 'stuff'.  So anyway whilst browsing the web at various blogs I came across one by a girl who stopped shopping for a year!!  Can you imagine that?!  But since I've found her blog I've sorta come around to the idea... slowly.  She saved loads at the end of the year.  I mean i'm not lacking in clothes, shoes, facial products, I have a box full of make-up, plenty books to keep me going, trainers, cd's, dvd's blah blah blah...

So that's what i'm going to do.  Stop shopping for things I don't need.  Only buy essentials when other things run out like shampoo or deodorant cos you can never run out of deodorant.  I'm going to try it for 3 months in the first instance to see how i get on.  Now as you know I have the bike coming soon (hopefully in the next few weeks) so the only things i will buy are stuff for that - helmet, lock, other essentials for it.  There will be no clothes shopping for shite, there will be no online browsing at lunchtimes and 'clicking here to buy' another shite thing I don't need, there will be no mid-week trips to Tesco and coming out with a bag full of shite when all I really want is a pack of bread rolls and a bag of salad leaves.  It is stopping.  Now!!  There will be no more trips to the shops at lunchtime and buying shite, shite, shite...  

This does not mean I am denying myself anything.  I rarely head out to the cinema etc so I am not denying myself these simple pleasures.  I really just want to stop buying things.  Unnecessary things.  Things that just clutter the place.  Things to hang in the cupboard only to go out of fashion as I haven't found the occassion to wear such things.  As far as kit is concerned - I still have my kit fund going and even managed to resist dipping into it over Christmas so i'm still keeping that going but it will only be for essentials.  Things I don't have and not a shiny new thing because the other thing might not be in the right colour.  

The reward i hope will be a little nest egg of some sort and also the self satisfaction of slowly decluttering my cupboards and also in turn decluttering my life and making it much more simpler.  Does that make sense?  I dunno but I'm going to try it.  In preparation for this clear out and save-athon I used some Christmas money and bought Foo Fighters greatest hits, Moon DVD, The Hangover DVD and some underwear in the Marks and Spencer sale!  That should keep me going for the next few months.  I have a supply of deordorant too, ha ha.  By the way the rules also state i am allowed to buy things for other people, for example i have a few birthdays and occassions in the next few months so I will be buying cards and presents for that but that's allowed eh?!

Sunday 28th March 2010 will be the end of my 3 month shopping (read: buying shite) ban.  I will let you know how I get on and if the experiment worked.  If you see me buying something stop me and say "Ange, do you really need that?"   Thanks.  That is all... for now.

Ange xx

Merry Christmas

Thursday, 24 December 2009

'Twas the night before Christmas and everything's done that needed to be done.  I'm now wondering with great anticipation (but not too much expectation) what Santa is bringing me for Christmas!  I know some stuff, heck i was there when it was bought but i wonder if he figured out i wanted new stuff to go with my bike - lights, helmet, ruckack a new jacket even?!?!  Nah... the Santa that visits this way isn't that imaginative and I don't like writing lists for him to tick off once he's got me it.  But hey we'll see.  I might get a few surprises!  Although i'm not great at surprises - yikes... 

Anyway, to everyone who visits here Merry Christmas.  Hope you all have a lovely day.

Ange xx

Advent Calendar - Door 19, a little bit different

Saturday, 19 December 2009

For today's offering there will be no pictures.  I thought I'd tell you something about myself.  I realised there may be some things that not a lot of people know about me so here are 50 odd things to know (or not!) about me.  I hope you like / enjoy / can copy and paste it and fill it in for yourselves.

Want to know more about me? Read on!

1. I live in Stirling, Scotland.
2. I love it here, it's right in the middle of the country.
3. But I’d love to live somewhere else one day.
4. I have no tattoos and only got my ears pierced when I was 25.
5. One of my earliest memories is being knocked over by a pack of dogs at our garden gate and them barking and fighting over the top of me when I was about 4...
6. ... needless to say I don’t care much for dogs of any kind. Come to think of it I don’t really like pets. Sorry!
7. I only eat Weetabix with a tiny sprinkle of sugar and hot milk and Cornflakes with no sugar and ice cold milk. Rice Krispies either hot or cold milk. These are the only 3 cereals I eat.
8. I last had a bath in April 2009 when I came home from Nepal. I’m not dirty I just prefer a shower every day.
9. I’m quite naive (in some ways). I believe things people tell me like ‘i’ll email you’ or i’ll phone/text you’... so I am really disappointed when they don't.
10. I wear glasses and once had 5 appointments at the optician for contact lenses but i couldn’t get them in. (It’s the poking your own eye thing I can’t do!).
11. I hate smoking and will moan and grump when anyone (including my parents!) smokes near me.
12. I really wish I could give up eating chocolate, it is my one serious downfall.
13. I love my mum’s home-made macaroni cheese and I have it for my dinner every Tuesday night!
14. I’d really like to be friends with Dave Grohl and Chris Martin...
15. ...And yes, I am a dreamer. I daydream all the time. It’s the Pisces in me.
16. I’m quite a quiet and reserved person and it’s one of my traits i wish i could..err... get over?
17. I still have a pair of Portside shoes i got in 1989, they’re in the box and the hand written receipt is in it too.
18. My least favourite time of the year is New Year. I’ll likely spend it watching telly. Then a walk on New Year’s Day to reflect on the year gone and the year still to come. Perhaps it’s this time of year I don’t like? Ach I dunno...
19. I currently have 5 bottles of cleanser ‘in stock’. That’s my facial skin care routine taken care of for the year then.
20. Gordon Ramsay is my favourite TV chef. Yes!
21. Vladimir’s Blues by Max Richter is one of my favourite songs of this year.
22. I have many favourite films including Once, The Bourne series, Blood Diamond, The Departed, Love Actually plus loads more and I can remember being blown away when I saw The Matrix for the first time. Ace!
23. I like having a bit of colour and so have been known to use fake tan. My fair freckly skin does not take the sun very well so I prefer to be safe and use high factor sunscreen.
24. I’ve got every episode of Dawson’s Creek on video from the late 90’, early 2000’s... Pacey was my favourite.
25. I love art, modern and contemporary art.  And things that are wonderfully colourful.
26. I passed my driving test first time on 11 December 1995 and have written off one car in year 2000.
27. Events have happened in my life that I think affected me more than I realised or wanted to admit. I really need to do something about it now.
28. I like baking and mars bar cake is my speciality. I’ve also taken up cross-stitching again after years of doing none. It’s quite relaxing and I like making things for people!
29. I often feel very alone.
30. I don’t like dark nail polish on me and prefer the natural look.
31. My favourite perfume is Eternity by Calvin Klein.
32. I’m not allergic to anything (as far as I know!).
33. I used to do highland dancing when I was younger. I was pretty good at it. I also loved going dancing every Friday and Saturday night at the under 18’s nights at a nightclub in Stirling. Them were the days!
34. I don’t like my teeth (although I am learning to like them). I wish I could get a brace to straighten them. It is the reason I may not smile that much or talk to you on a first meeting until I’m comfortable. It’s not that I’m ignorant.
35. I love walking in the hills and being in big open spaces but at the same time i love the buzz of a city centre.
36. I don’t like to impose on people, hence the reason why I fly solo with most things: shopping, hill-walking, cinema, gigs. I’m scared to ask you folks in case you say no!
37. I chipped a bone and tore ligaments in my left foot and ankle when I was 15. The plaster cast left me with a bent wee pinky toe.
38. I think there are only about 2 people that actually ‘get’ me. At least that’s how it feels sometimes.
39. I am the proud aunty to 2 gorgeous nephews, Ryan (3) and Connor aka Banksy (3 months). Yes by some sort of miracle (!) I ‘acquired’ Connor as a nephew on 09/09/09.
40. I buy a Radio Times magazine every Tuesday.
41. Sometimes I get sad that I don’t have many close friends.  But the few that I have, I am loyal to the end and love you all.
42. I’ve never read Jane Austen, Shakespeare or anything like that and don’t think I ever will.
43. History and English were my least favourite subject at school, but i loved Geography, Graphic Design, Maths and Chemistry.
44. It annoys me when the girls in WH Smith scan that god damned stupid voucher for whatever it is. Why?!? I DO NOT WANT IT. I’m only buying a Lotto ticket.
45. I can spend hours on the internet reading blogs and still get nothing done. I also like Twitter very much!
46. I drive a Ford Fiesta but only because I couldn’t afford a Volkswagen Polo GTi at the time.
47. When I have a fried egg I only eat the yolk! Boiled eggs... I eat the lot! Weird I know.
48. I love my curly hair especially since I discovered diffusers on hairdryers and hair straighteners for when I want a wee change of style with straight hair, it is great!
49. I currently own about 45 pairs of shoes including 3 pairs of Converse gutties, 2 pair of Dunlop, 2 pairs of Nike and a very 1990’s pair of Muddy Fox hi-tops plus numerous heels, boots and 1 pair of walking boots.  I take a size 3 or 4 by the way.
50. There are 4 books on my beside cabinet and they’ve been there for about 6 months. I’ve started reading them all but have yet to finish one. They are: Eat, Pray, Love (Elizabeth Gilbert), Born to Run (Christopher McDougall), Death of a Ladies Man (Alan Bissett) and The Man Who Cycles the World (Mark Beaumont).
51. I think David Tennant is so completely attractive. But Christopher Eccleston was a better Dr Who! And he is one of my favourite actors.
52. I’ve learned that I should always trust my gut instinct. I’m usually right! (in the good and bad way).
53.  In 5 years in my current job I've only been off sick for 3 days and that was this year after Nepal.
54.  Lance Armstrong is my hero.  But you knew that already. 
55.  I would say 2009, my 32nd year on this earth has been the best in my life so far.  The places I've been, the things i've done and the people I've met - I love you all.

And that has been a little bit about me.  Now, tell me something about you that I don't already know?

Ange xx

Advent Calendar - Doors 14, 15, 16, 17 & 18 (snow special)

Friday, 18 December 2009

Blah, blah, forgot, blah, yadda yadda.... no excuse really!
here they are

Door 14 - snowing you snowing me haha...

Door 15 - Enchanted forest

Door 16 - Snow hole

Door 17 - the beast awakes from its slumber...

Door 18 - no, i'm not smiling

ok, ok.... some bonus tracks...
sugar or snow?

my favourite ever snowy photo by Me!

The Self Portrait

Ange xxx

Advent Calendar - Doors 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13 - platinum edition

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Okay, okay so i might have forgotten again to post some more advent calendar doors but instead here is a few cool little Christmas songs to get us all in the mood for Santa coming!  Yay....

This one is a cool wee song and you'll all be singing it before you know it...

And finally the best Christmas song in the whole world ever!!

Woops.. nearly forgot this one... Christmas number 1?!?!

Ange xx

Advent Calendar - Doors 7 & 8

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

So doors 7 and 8 are going to be treats for me in the hope that Santa (or many Santa's) are watching and seeing what I want on my Christmas list.  They are also pretty cool!!

Door 7

A beautiful little website of really really cool illustrations and prints that you can buy!!!  It is called The Speakerdog Shop by Ben The Illustrator and it made me smile when i saw it yeserday.  I'd love to put the photos on here of the illustrations but I won't cos I guess that would be against the copyright law (or something) so I'm just going to list the links and you can pop along by there to see them...

Street Talk poster set (Santa, don't bring me this, I have already ordered it) but isn't it just great? 

Marshmellow Daze World Lovin poster - another cute pic!

Feast for the Senses World Lovin poster - fabuous colours... loves it!!

plus there are a few others that really caught my eye.  I hope you like them as much as I do and can say that this would brighten up my Christmas festive period of one of these came down the chimney...

Door 8

I adore this picture taken by Peter Aughton on our EBC trek.  I think it just totally captured my contemplative mood at that time when the rest of the group headed onwards and upwards and I headed backwards and down.  It is just above the village of Pherice which is famous for having the Himalayan Rescue Post/Hospital in it and is the first port of call for mountaineers with altitude related problesm when they are on the mountains.  It also featured on the BBC and Sky tv documentaries on Everest.  It was a nice place with an excellent lodge with the only 10 out of 10 toilets on the whole trip (ie not a drop squat, and actual toilet, ha ha).

Anyway I think the picture is wonderful.  I hope you like it too.

Ange xx

Adevnt Calendar - Doors 4, 5 and 6 (bumper edition!)

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Ok so I forgot to update the advent calendar over the past couple of days.  Things happen and you forget - oops!  but here goes...

Door 4

I call this the walk of pain.  A gully on Bidean nam Bian in Glencoe.  Took me hours and hours to walk down to that car park in the distance.  It teased me all the way down and never came any closer until the last few painful steps.  June 2008.

Door 5

That wonderful majestic looking mountain Ama Dablam in the Solukhumbu valley, Himalayas.  I love this picture that I took with my very own hands...  great!

Door 6

A cool place, somewhere up the hills...  I like it...

Ange xx

Advent Calendar - Door 3

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Behind today's door number 3 is the first wee dusting of snow atop the Ochils (Dumyat) seen this season.  Taken at work. 

Door 2 competition has now closed as the first one to comment (BBF) guessed correctly.  The answer was Loch Treig. 

Ange xx

Advent Calendar - Door 2

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

So for door number 2 we have a little competition give-away!!!!... Yes! I hear you cry ;o)

Take a look at the picture below and tell me if you know the name of the stretch of water in the background glistening under the daytime early winter sun?

First person to answer correctly in a comment below wins a prize (yet to be decided but it's a good one - honest!)   You have until 11am on Friday 4th December.
(Hint: you can click on the photo to make it bigger)

Happy guessing...

Ange xx

Advent - Door 1

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Gone are the days when I'd wake up and run down the stairs with great excitement at the prospect of what i might find behind door number one of my advent calendar.  Not your chocolate all singing all dancing type either just the plain and simple Santa Claus or Nativity scene types.  I don't think I ever had a chocolate advent calendar come to think of it.  Anyway, I used to love the wee pictures that were inside; a drum; a spinning top; a Christmas tree or a doll.  Retro they'd be called in these days of chocolates or mini toys inside the little doors.  Or if you're lucky a fun size Milky Way.  

So I thought what better thing to do than create my own Advent Calendar on here each day.  I don't know what form it will take but there'll be a treat here each and every day from 1st to 25th December.  There might even be a give-away along the way too!!...

Door Number 1

Taken from the summit of Beinn Teallach, 27 November 2008

Ange xx

Happy Birthday Pappy

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Today is my Pappy's birthday.  I wished him happy birthday this morning and wondered if he's up there or out there somewhere looking after on me.  He would have been 95 today but he died 1996.  He was a great Pappy - my Dad's dad.  He could turn his hand to most things but in his day he was a carpenter.  He made lots of different things and that's probably where my Dad has inherited his jack of all trades skills.  He stayed in a village called Law which is not far from Wishaw and Carluke.  We used to spend about 2 weeks most summers there and then went to visit him when my Da eventually got a car.  When we were wee it was a great adventure going all the way "through to my Pappy's" but in reality it only took about an hour in his orange Austin Maxi car complete with faux leather seats.  We'd stop in Newmains at the chippy and get a packet of Tudor Gammon flavour crisps and a Texan bar each.  We thought this was great fun.

My Pappy was a great raconteur and before you knew it he'd go from one story to the next to the next with such ease that you didn't realise you'd been sitting transfixed on these stories for hours.  He loved going to the dancing too!  My Gran died when I was very young and she had both her legs amputated from her thighs down due to an illness that i don't really know exactly what it was, so he couldn't really take her dancing.  But every time he came through to our house my mum and dad would take him over to the local welfare club and he'd dance the night away with my mum and various others.  He wasn't a drinker and as far as I know he never smoked either (I'm more like him than i realised!).  He loved to go walking up the Old Road in Law with Sparky the black lab and a few of his friends.  He loved his dancing and he loved his baking.  We'd get a tupperware tub full of pancakes, soda scones and wee coconut balls every time he came through.  As well as a fiver pocket money when he left.  

When Ryan was born a few people remarked how much like my Pappy he was and I like that cos if he grows up to be half the man my Pappy was then he'll do just fine.

I remember the night we were told he'd died.  I'd been to see Seven at the cinema and came back in and my Dad told me.  We cried a little as it was unexpected but by all accounts he just fell asleep in his chair and never woke up.  Afterwards we decided to put on a video (no dvd's in 1996 - not in this house!), it was Dumb and Dumber and we sat there laughing and crying at the same time cos it's what he would have wanted.  His funeral was small but very fitting for he wasn't a showy type of person, instead quiet and kind and funny and steady.  Like a rock.  He was great my Pappy.

This is me with my Pappy at his house in Wildman Road, Law - good times!

Ange xx       


Monday, 23 November 2009

...ah dunno!

It's strange.  Peculiar even.  Funny. 

It's a cross between this....

And this...

Ange xx

It's been a while

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Doodoo dododoo, bzzzzz... text comes through.  It's from Linda who's busy sunning herself in all inclusive luxury at a resort in Egypt having arrived there yesterday safe and sound.  As I sit here and daydream what that must be like I get roused by the wind and rain battering off the window and i watch as one by one the raindrops hit the window and slowly make their way from top to bottom whilst randomly heading off in different directions, but always down....  

Today's soundtrack on iTunes is Snow Patrol.  I'm not hitting shuffle cos I've never listened to the new album yet.  They are familiar songs but in a different order.  I like that though.

I decide a new blog post is needed as it's been a while I feel.  Not that there's too much to report so I'll just fill you in with what's been happening around my life that is Project Everest.  Jees that sounds so lame now because when you think of Everest you think giant, grandness, amazing... you never really think small do you.

So alas there have been no outdoor activities apart from trying out my new wheels in a car park at the Uni last Sunday morning!!  It appears I'm in the process of buying a very cool bike courtesy of Freeflow Bikes and Flying Fox Bikes.  Why 2 bike shops you may wonder?  Well i've been thinking of getting a bike since I came back from Nepal in April.  You see I go to the gym and I like it but i'm not really a gym bunny.  I now also go yoga and to Spin Bike classes at the new leisure facility in Stirling called The Peak.  It's a brand new sports centre with state of the art gym, swimming pool, curling rink, ice rink, a few studios, a large sports hall and a few climbing walls.  It's a great place and Stirling was well overdue something like this.  Anyway back to the bike!  Work has started the Cyclescheme which entitles you to a bike and equipment up to the value of £1000 and you can get some sort of discount via tax and NI payments (or something like that!) through a salary sacrifice scheme.  Anyway when I enquired about it I was told that the University only runs the scheme in 2 months of the year - April and November.  This meant I had to wait until November before I could get the bike.  Why wait you may ask?  Well simply you end up getting a pretty good discount on a decent bike which for me equates to about 31% off a brand spanking new bike.    

After asking people I knew about certain bikes it came down to a choice of a few.  I mean I just thought bikes were bikes unless you spent a fortune.  Don't ask me about hydraulic disc brakes, forks, seats, bottom brackets...  These are things I've heard my dad talk about in the past few months since he started his new job.  But it seems there are a load of different variations of bikes out there so best to ask some experts.  I set about posting a question on a forum and got a shed load of advice and recommendations.  Initially I put a price ceiling of £500 on my spending and then folk tell you if you're going £500 you may as well go a wee bit further and get a whole more of a decent bike.  A nice girl gave me good advice, she was a novice mountain bikers who'd got into it a few years ago and had just taken delivery of some carbon featherweight bike but she'd rode a Cube Access for a few years beforehand.  Her other bike was a Kona Lisa for 'running about'.  Now these bikes don't come cheap.  No siree.  I toyed with the idea of other cheaper bikes and visited a few shops locally.  In one establishment I waited for over 20 minutes pawing the bikes and stuff and no-one came near me.  This instantly put me off from giving them my custom.  Other places were trying to palm me off with pink or pastel shaded colour schemed bikes - do I look like a pink kinda girl!?  No!  I know that sounds silly but let's face it, how a bike looks has a lot to do with my purchasing it.  In fact that goes for anything I buy really.  Doesn't everyone think like that?  Function is good but how it looks is also important.

Anyway via the magic of Twitter I 'follow' a local bike shop called Flying Fox Bikes.  In fact it's local and also very, very new - the shop just opens this Saturday.  After a few exchanges I asked if they stocked Cube.  (I think there's only one other place round this way that does).  He said he did and will have more in March but all demo bikes were sold but his wife and sister have Cube's and I could have go and try them out if I wanted.  

After a few weeks exchanging emails and info on all things bikes, I met Pete from Flying Fox bikes in the car park at the University to try out this new beast!  He'd brought the two bikes.  A Cube Access WLS SL and a Cube AMS WLS Pro.  To be honest, they both looked very smart indeed but I knew the Pro would cost a fortune and was a full-sus which honestly would just be wasted on me.  I tried them both and the Access SL was instantly rideable.  WLS in the names means Woman Like Series - built for women's geometry basically.  I'd been told by men in bike shops that I could get a small size men's bike if I wanted but it's subtle things like narrower handlebars and a seat for women' 'geometry' that i thought i'd stick with a woman's bike.  Anyway after my test drive my mind was pretty much made up.  It was to be the Cube Access WLS SL.  

Now for the business...  Since Flying Fox Bikes are a fairly new business they don't have the Cyclescheme up and running yet but he pointed me in the direction of Freeflow Bikes of Glasgow.  He recommended Freeflow as a good place to buy your bikes and gear from.  So that's what I've done.  The bike is on order (hopefully) and the Cyclescheme voucher is being processed by work but I'm not sure when my maiden journey on my new bike will take place.  You might hear of it here first!!

Anyway Flying Fox Bikes opens it's doors on Saturday 21st November.  Drop by!  Details here.

Last Thursday saw me, Susan and Chris make our way to Glasgow to see Sir Chris Bonington do a lecture about how he got started and his early climbing career.  It was a great wee night once it got started - albeit a bit later than we expected.  It was great to hear him talk about his early days and still his enthusiasm for mountains and climbing and nowadays walking and trekking.  He spoke of people he climbed with such as Doug Haston, Don Whillans, Mick Burke and Hamish McIntosh.  It was great to hear the stories and see pictures of places such as Patagonia and Nepal from back in the day.  Their gear was pretty basic but was probably the best of their day and they seemed pretty fearless.     

What else?... hhmmm... Well work has been somewhat strange recently.  I don't know what's happening to the place but people seem to be... changing (?), that or going a bit daft.  I'll put their selfishness and mentalness down to the dark nights fair drawing in...  Cos nothing else can really explain the strangeness about the place.  You know, you think you're doing a good thing but it ends up being the excess water dripping off the end of an as yet uncooked chip and into the chip pan and you just end up with spitting chip fat in your face!  We've decided, in our wee oasis of calm office, just keep our heads down and get on with it.

Mountains and hills.  Yes I see some everyday but haven't ventured up them in anger for ages.  Not likely to be this weekend either - have you seen the weather?!  And KIT.  Well I cheered myself up the other day with a purchase of the kit kind.  It'll be quite useful I'm sure and I'm just waiting on delivery of it now.  Bridgedale and Smartwool PHD socks - yes they are very cosy and keep my feet warm at yoga class.  They're also useful in that the bottom of my too long trackie bottoms can be tucked into them so they don't get wet!  Genius, but can attract some strange looks as I wonder through the aisles of the supermarket on my way home.  Mountain Equipment Chamois trousers - yes they were comfy when I went for my bike test drive.  I still can't get over that wee bits of fluff (pooly wool) have gathered at the back though and can't be removed.  I didn't think the material would do that.  They're also comfy and free moving when I'm lounging about and as is sit here and type this story.  Mountain Equipment Astral softshell jacket - again kept me warm on the test drive.  Light enough to wear around the house when my mum refuses to put the heating on early and I'm freezing.  So there you go.  Not your normal kit reviews but kit's not just useful on the hills you know!  Oh aye, and I'm hoping I might have 'won' a pair of red down booties - get that competition going Bobinson!!  (mind don't tell anybody though!)  :o) 

Decorating... that's what's happening in our house just now and it always seems to be that 2 weeks before Christmas our house is a tip because they're always decorating then!  this year is a major one.  The spare room has been transformed with a lick of paint, new carpet and new furniture.  It's great as I've bagged half a wardrobe and set of drawers in there for my kit.  Yay!  The stairs have had a lick of paint and are awaiting the fitting of a new carpet.  And The Boy is scared to go down them now after stepping on a carpet gripper nail that was sticking up - wee shame.  The living room will likely get started next week.  And the front door lobby is currently having tiles laid by my Dad who has been using an electric saw thing to cut the tiles all night and the noise is going through my head into my toothache!  ouch!  Can you hear it??...  Why oh why do they wait til now to decorate every year?!  Also, in thinking about this... does anyone else clean the house from top to bottom on 31st December each year? or is it just us???.. Don't know if it's a tradition to start the new year with a clean house and a huge pot of home made vegetable soup?!  Ah it's those wee quirks that I love.

Soon it will be Christmas and I can't wait.  For the holiday.  2 weeks off work - nearly.  Bliss!  Went shopping with mum today as I had a day off.  We went for stuff for the boy(s) but his Fireman Sam scooter was out of stock.  It's ok I can write this here cos he can't work the computer yet to read this, ha ha.  So we got another thing for him that he'll love.  And when he gets it and uses it I'll post some of the results on here.  It'll be interesting to see things from a kids viewpoint.  He loves photies...  So then mum asked what I wanted for Christmas and whilst i like this it also pains me too cos I end up not getting any surprises for my Christmas presents.  I mean I don't really like surprises as such but I'd prefer if she just went and got me something rather than me being there when she buys it.  So for Christmas this year I'm getting a ....  nope not telling.  I will put more on my list to Santa and hope he delivers, I've been a good girl afterall. 

Time for me to go.  This has been an epic update.  Sometime, perhaps in my next post, there will be some of the great outdoors in it.  Hopefully.

peace out
Ange xx 

mY LIttLe cItY

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Have I ever told you that I get bored easily?  No?  well I do.  And when that usually happens I like nothing better than picking up a few essentials: phone, camera and car keys and head out for a drive around my little city of Stirling and taking a few snaps.  That's what I did today.  Clear blue skies with a now definite nip in the air.  Here are some of the results.

Stirling view - Stirling Castle with Stuc a Chroin & Ochil Hills in the background 

Stirling Castle Great Hall (sandstone building at top) and various old buildings

Part of the Ochil Hills

Something funny was happening in the sky on Thursday evening.  It was also Guy Fawkes nught so that meant fireworks galore most of which i managed to miss in the sky.  See what you think...

The moon is just hiding above a blanket of cloud.  The Ochils and the lights of Alloa in the distance.

Then the moon came out..

And now for some other pictures of my city, Stirling, that i've taken over the years.  Hope you like!

Stirling Castle dusky silhouette

Wallace Monument

Snowy Dumyat

View to the hills up by Callander, Bridge of Allan in the foreground

And finally... me overlooking the dawning of a new year & Wallace Monument 1st January 2009

Ange xx

I am a one way motorway...

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Do you ever have one of those days that there's just something not quite right?  I had one of those today.  And I can't fathom out for the life of me what it is / was.  And I don't like that.  Today started like any other twilighty early rainy November morning.  I'd decided to get up early, well earlier than my usual has been lately.  Had a shower, made my breakfast of Weetabix with hot milk and some orange juice, got dressed and headed off to work.  Had a meeting at 10am and not long after I started to feel what can only be described as... bleurgh!  Not sick, just bleurgh.  It hung around me all day really and nothing could shake it.  I don't like it when I get like this, perhaps a bit melancholic (?).  Who knows.  I wonder if any else ever gets like this cos I don't believe people who go about portraying they're happy happy happy all the time.  

I have things on my mind and I'm not sure whether to share them here or not.  I think it's best not to just now. 

I tell you what though.  Music can certainly chear you up.  Black Eyed Peas - I got a feeling blasting on the radio in the car on the way home.  And now...  Jay-Z, Stornoway and Dave Grohl and The Foo Fighters rocking it out on Jools Holland!  Love that guy - Dave Grohl NOT Jools Holland  :o)  Taylor Hawkins is some drummer - my Dad's jealous. 

Sorry folks, I said I wouldn't vent on this blog again.  That was a lie.  This wasn't really a vent though was it, rather a wee moan ?!

Anyway in the words of mr dave grohl...

I am a one way motorway
I'm the one that drives away
then follows you back home
I am a street light shining
I'm a wild light blinding bright
burning off alone

it's times like these you learn to live again
it's times like these you give and give again
it's times like these you learn to love again
it's times like these time and time again

I am a new day rising
I'm a brand new sky
to hang the stars upon tonight
I am a little divided
do I stay or run away
and leave it all behind?

it's times like these you learn to live again
it's times like these you give and give again
it's times like these you learn to love again
it's times like these time and time again

And now some words of a different kind from mr shawn carter (jay-z)...

If you're having girl problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one.

Peace out
Ange xx

I LiKe tHiS

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Everybody has the right to change.  Do I not?  Must I remain stuck in those brackets?  Nothing infuriates me more than being bracketed by people I've never met.  It's limiting and it's dismissive and I've never made any effort to be anything other than what I am.

I liked that wee couple of sentences above as soon as I saw it.  I seen it somewhere this week.  I think it was Morrissey who said it but don't quote me on that one.  Anyway, whatever, I liked it.

Ange xx

This is where I'm at

Thursday, 29 October 2009

If you could turn your own personal clock back, where would you like to go to? I often ask myself that and then decide that there’s nowhere I’d rather be than right where I am just now.  I have however spent a good few hours over the past weekend turning back the clock and reading old posts in my blog.  And quite a read it is too, especially in the months leading up to the trek and afterwards.  I was a bit puffy-eyed at times let me tell you.

The reason I was going over old ground was that I was looking at this time last year to see what I was up to in terms of getting outdoors, fundraising and with life in general.  You see, I see this blog like an online diary – with the really personal stuff kept away from public consumption of course.  Although in saying that, my recent posts have been quite personal and from the heart and I’m not ashamed of that.  In fact, if I had the guts I would post entries that included all aspects of my life, warts and all... but I don’t have the guts, so I won’t.  Occasionally though, if you look close enough you’ll find that kind of stuff.

I was reminded that this time last year I was outdoors more than I seem to have been of late.  But that’s probably because there was an end goal, a target to aim for.  This year... I’ve been in the outdoors simply because I love it.  This kinda irks me a little though as I’d like to be out a lot more.  I’m really missing being up the hills. You see there aren’t many folks around this way to go out with.  I’ve not been back out or near the mountaineering club since I came back from Nepal.  That is through choice.  I decided a ‘club’ wasn’t what I was after.  Sure there were nice people there and yes they do go outdoors a lot.  But there was also a competitive edge that I never really liked nor signed up for.  I tried, it wasn’t for me.

I re-read the blog post about my first weekend away with the club and found I had written something that on a re-reading was quite funny.  The snow had fallen during the night; the sky was the bluest I’d seen in a while with the sun shining and no wind – perfect wintery conditions.  But I was still miserable that day on the hill.  I loved being out there but something was just off about it.  Then it dawned on me that yes you can become part of a ‘club’ but you’ll never really be part of their well established team, and that’s what I didn’t like.  I felt there was no account taken for newbie’s like me.  Yes I’m pretty fit (but not a machine); I’d only walked up a few mountains then and yet there were still members of the group who marched on up the hill away ahead like there was something to prove.  I didn’t like that much.  I on the other hand was as quiet as a mouse, keeping a steady pace and trying to think of a way to make this as enjoyable as I could for myself.  It put the dampers on an otherwise great time in the outdoors.  The vistas that opened up with each heavy footed snow trodden step certainly played its part.

That night back at the hostel I phoned my dad and begged him to come and pick me up there and then or at worst the next morning.  He refused of course.  So I was checking out the train times from Fort William and decided that’s what I’d do, I’d get a train the next morning, although how on earth I was going to get to Fort William was anybody’s guess!  In the end it was decided that I would get a run down the road from another member who’d decided not to do a second days walking on the Sunday and thankfully I was back in the house by 1pm on the Sunday afternoon.  Now if you go back and read the post you might not pick up on the feelings that I’m now writing here purely because if anyone connected to the club had read it I would have been mortified.  So why write this now?  Well I suppose I’m writing this post as a means to describe why I love getting outdoors.  As with everything in life, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

So of late I haven’t been out that much.  Yes there are the usual walks up Dumyat or mid-week after-work walks but I’ve stopped writing about those as they may become too repetitive.  I hope to change this soon.  For me being outdoors is about escaping the usual things in life, getting away from a computer screen, getting away from the noise and hubub of day to day life, but it also means seeing new places, going somewhere that normally I would only see in the photies my mum and dad bring back from their holidays up North and letting the wind, rain, hail, snow and even sunshine bounce off your back as you wander along soaking in all that is great about the outdoors.  Ah... brilliant! 

Colour!  We all love colour don't we?  I have a dilemma over a new bit of kit for the outdoors.  I'd seen an item in a photie and thought it looked nice.  After a few weeks deliberation and pouring over websites to find alternatives I decided on the Montane Anti-Freeze Vest in Cherry Red.  (The alternatives being same vest in Black or Steel Grey OR a PHD Minimus Vest in Drishell Red).  So I ordered the Cherry Red delight and couldn't wait for it to be delivered.  And then it was with much disappointment that I received an email from the website I ordered it from saying that (even though they'd charged my card!) the said item was not in stock in Cherry Red and wouldn't be until 'next season'!! Now there was no indication on the website of low stocks or anything in fact quite the opposite, they appear to still have all colour combo's in all sizes available - funny that eh!

So that brings me to the dilemma of do I just order the black or steel grey or do I pay the extra bucks for a custom size XS one from PHD that is non-returnable!? You can see my dilemma eh?
Then a question came up. Does colour really matter?

My knee-jerk reaction response is of course it does!  Colour is great in outdoor gear - apart from the lazy marketing from some companies who think that to turn something a yuck shade of burgundy or ocean green and then expect that all women will buy it.  No!  I want what the guys have got but cut for women, surely that wouldn't be hard and they'd save money cos they wouldn't need to buy more materials in different colours!!  We're not all girly girls who like to dress in pastel pink or light blue.  We want canary yellow, grass green, strawberry red - none of this mulberry malarkey.  Given the choice I’d rather wear a snazzy pair of green trousers and a red jacket or vice versa.  It might not suit all and I can see that it may not be a big seller but go on manufacturers, and indeed stockists, give it a try!!  You tend to only find these colours in skiing gear which by the way tends to be a lot more expensive too which is a pity.

Given the choice last year when Santa brought me a Rab Neutrino down jacket I asked him for the RED flavour. The other colours were Black (of course) and a dark berry colour. Men, well they got black, red, blue or a nice orange. Why is this I wonder...?

When choosing my Suunto Core watch I chose the black with the big yellow bezel ring. And you know what; most times I wear it I’ll always get someone asking about it.  Now if it was in all black I’m not sure they would give it a second glance.  Mind you it's giant when sitting on my wrist so you can't really miss it.

Don't get me wrong. I do have black or darker bits of kit. Heck I wear black trousers to work most days.  But the black kit I have has wee flashes of colour on it somewhere so it’s not altogether 'dark'.

Now accessories. These should always be in bright colours. I have a bag full on Exped dry bags in various sizes and colour ways and they are ace. Not only are they functional they brighten up a dreary day on the hill anytime.  And my water bottles are a like a 10p mix-up bag full of sweeties colours. 

But back to gear, clothes, for wearing in the outdoors.  I would love to see lovely bright colours out there in the mountains.  I would love for manufacturers to ask the women who actually go out into the mountains which colours they'd like in the gear.  Give us bright bold colours like the boys get.  In fact maybe the boys would like more choice too.  I mean do trousers need to come in black and grey or worse in 'summer' colours of dune beige! (yuck!) Or khaki (double yuck!).  What would be so wrong with a pair of nice red or green soft-shell trousers for the winter?  I'd love that!  Some may not choose bright colours, some may like to wear dark colours and like I said before I do have black jackets and tops but every now and again a wee flash of brightness would be good.  That's all I'm saying really.  Don't get me wrong i'm not saying the most important thing about gear is the colours but come on if we're paying top dollars for items surely more choice of colours would be good.    

Oh aye... so back to the question, should I get the womens Montane Anti-Freeze vest in black or steel grey OR... should I get the unisex PHD Minimus Down vest in black or red?  You see these are the important decisions that I need to make just now.  Cos soon the  question will be which ice axe to buy and then I'll be stuck in a right big puddle of confusion!!??!!  :o)

Ange xx