Monday, September 30, 2013

Seeing the beautiful

I've just returned from a great 5 days running in the Lakes, and as ever was struck by the beauty and wonder of nature.

Fish, one of my absolute favourite artists, and probably the best lyricist I have ever come across, has recently released a very poignant new album "A Feast of Consequences"

It's a brilliant album and there is a trailer here

One of the songs is called "Blind to the Beautiful", and essentially discusses the damage we're doing to the planet and that he "just can’t see the beautiful anymore". I've copied the full lyrics at the end of this post.

Anyway this got me thinking of all the beautiful and wonderful places that I've been to and all the beautiful things I've seen, and I thought it would interesting to try and list a top ten. 

So, in no particular order, here are my top 10 beautiful sights. Or sites!


No, not the Blue Peter dog, but the amazing, ancient place in Jordan. I will never forget my first glimpse as we emerged from the narrow entrance canyon. Staggering!

Abu Simbel

Another truly staggering ancient site. The twin temples were or originally carved out of the mountainside in the 13th century BC. Amazingly, the complex was relocated in its entirety, piece by piece in 1968, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir to avoid their being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser.

Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park

The Ordesa Canyon is in the Spanish Pyrennees only a few miles from Gavernie as the crow flies, and is described as the Grand Canyon of Europe,  I first went to this beautiful place on a school trip in 1983. I have now been back twice with Jenny and never tire of exploring its beauty.

Kata Tjuta/The Olgas

I lived in Australia from 1991 to 1996. I went to many wonderous places - Uluru, The Barrier Reef, The Warrumbungles (google it!) - but my absolute favourite was what was then called the Olgas. Just down the road from Uluru, they are often overlooked but look what people are missing.

Rushup Edge

I have been on the Kinder plateau and Rushup Edge in the Peak District so many times since my early teens. For an unknown reason, I always feel strangely at home when I'm on top of Mam Tor. I love Rushup Edge; it simply looks different every time I'm up there.

The Lake District

What an awe inspiring place. I love to escape to the Lakes, travel without a real plan and simply roam taking in the beauty. My favourite place? Oh I don't know.......


What a great mountain. It looks knarly and rugged, and just stands there as a monolith.

Sunrise & Sunset

What could be more wonderous than the dawn of each new day and then the end. No wonder the sun was worshipped by ancient civilisations 


Isn't snow brilliant? Especially as you can ski on it. Snow, mountains, skiing, sun - well, it just doesn't get any better.


This was my tent number during the MdS, and for 1 week it was home and a beautiful sight at the end of each day. The desert was pretty remarkable too. Hot.

Oh, and because it's my blog I'm allowed an 11th choice.

So the beautiful is still there and I can see it. I can see it every day. Just look around.

Blind to the Beautiful
The stars are fading, ashes to ashes and dust to dust, 
The bread we have broken, the wine we drank from tarnished cups, 
And I stopped believing in miracles a long long time ago, 
I lost my faith and I sacrificed my soul, 
I worshiped fallen idols, chased false prophets to an end, 
To where I just can’t see the beautiful anymore.

The ice retreating, mountains exposed in the sun, 
The earth is baking, raindrops precede the floods 
And hurricanes with children’s names write our history 
Signatures tracked by satellites on high, 
We should have talked about the weather a bit more seriously, 
More than stocks and shares and corporate wares, 
We were blinded by the skeptics and their greed 
I just can’t see the beautiful anymore; I just can’t see the beautiful anymore.

I howled and I cried when the melody died, the song was finally over, 
There was nothing to say, words stole away, their meaning lost in the ether, 
What there was left stopped making sense, a broken up alphabet, language dispersed 
I just can’t hear the beautiful anymore.

The oceans are rising, islands in time disappear, 
The canyons burning, forests consumed by the flames, 
Wildfires rage across the plains to be starved by barren soil, 
Deserted farms where seeds refuse to grow, 
I close my eyes to cloudless skies I dream of what we had before, 
I just can’t see the beautiful anymore 
I just can’t see the beautiful anymore 
Show me the beautiful; bring back the beautiful, show me the beautiful 
I want to see the beautiful once more.

Monday, September 23, 2013

How long is a Piece of String??

How long is a piece if string?

Dunno but I guess I'm going to find out in November  as I've been selected to be one of the "lucky" 17 contestants in this year's event.

Piece of String

Can't make up my mind as to whether this is a good or bad thing!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I'm alive!

Hello again after a bit of a break!

I have to be in a good, happy mood to write and that's not where I've been recently. Hence the radio silence

My Achilles injury initially seemed to worsen for a few weeks. This was to the extent that I just haven't been able to run at all for several weeks. I saw a local sports therapist to good effect, and have also rejoined the gym. Doing some work on the cross trainer and some spin classes has apparently loosened my ankle off, and the release of endorphins has been most welcome!

Yesterday I drove over to Edale and did my first proper run since mid-July. At first I felt like a baby taking its first steps. I was tentative, barely daring to run more than a minute at a time until I realised thatt all seemed well. I ended up doing a fairly gentle 15 miles, 3 hours running, up Jacob's Ladder then along Kinder edge. Ankle was OK and, on a lovely autumnal day, it was just great to be out and running again.

I even showed some sensible self-restraint coming in a bit earlier than planned as I was beginning to 'feel' my ankle. Some common sense at last! To be honest, I was also feeling a bit knackered!!

Even better, there seem to be have no untoward affects - no pain or stiffness today. Happy days!

So back on track again but I'm going to take it steadily at first. Lots of walk/run in the hills rather than long, flat runs round Lincoln if possible.

Today I'm in a good, happy mood.