Peak Rambler's Ramblings.... Where to next?

The short (and most likely the long) answer is, I don't know.

This most likely will be my final writing for some time, it’s difficult to write about nothing. I have quite a few times been very close to deleting all I have written to date, but held back. Two blogs have already been removed, never to return out of a fit of frustration and depression.

Enjoying my last walk to date, on Kinder

It was a wee bit fresh up there!
The trig pillar in the background is Kinder Low
Let us not forget, as bad as my injuries and situation is, there are those worse off than me. Also, I'm not looking for sympathy, sympathy merely comforts the situation and is not progressive.

I need to progress, but there are too many obstacles in the way at the moment.

You may have read my end of year report for 2016: Peak Rambler’s Ramblings; where’s the light at the end of the tunnel? Where I explain how dark things were for me and hoped that this year would see some progress.

We're getting into the grip of winter, which for me was a fascinating time for walking, especially after completing a winter skills course back in 2009.

Before my accident, I treated myself to new a new pair of Scarpa Mantas, a B2 boot, and also Grivel G12 C2 crampons, to enjoy using on some of the snow-capped hills we have in Britain!

My crampons, still waiting to play in the snow.
The boots have been worn, a few times to ensure they were a comfortable fit before I bought the crampons. Once I was satisfied they were the job, then I bought the crampons, which are still waiting to be christened!

This year has seen walking promoted as not just good physically, but mentally as well, something I can relate to.

However, while I like, and agree with the sentiment behind the promoting of walking as a healthy activity, not just physically, but mentally as well, for me it has been torturous. My escape from civilisation has been taken from me, along with many other scenarios, which it would not be right to share with you.

This has probably been my worst year with no end in sight! I’m not managing my situation well and feel like a wild animal that’s been caged!

Physically, things seem to have plateaued out, and I fear the way things are going I may never walk the hills and moors again. My intention of a short White Peak walk for September 2017 was another dream beyond reality!

Social media app writers seem to be hell bent on adding annoying features and stupid gimmicks, Twitter especially.

In fact, not just social media, a lot of apps seem to be going down that route!

I've been close to deleting my Twitter account a few times this year, not because of the people I follow and who follow me, it’s the stupid gimmicks that keep being added, especially when I see stupid messages like "In case you missed it" often when I've not even been away an hour, sometimes twice in an hour!

If anyone from Twitter office is listening, which I doubt, I don't want to see it ever again. Seeing it less often is not an acceptable alternative.

Perhaps they're playing with us, trying to tease us, or perhaps I’m just being hyper-sensitive, I don't know, but whatever, I find it infuriating.

I've not written much this year, which is hardly surprising, for I've not a lot to write about these days, though I've two blogs in draft form that I've deliberately held back.
  1. "It looks a good walk, but is that for me"
  2. "Where have all the flowers gone?"

I used to find technology fun, but today, it seems to be a chore.

Things seem to be forced into our world, software updates that force you to have apps on your device you don't want, no longer able to choose what you want!

Constant updates, gimmicks and then the hardware that become tired long before it needs to, so the device which can be recycled, but at a cost, where your data protection then becomes accessible to the unscrupulous.
Oh, and all those spam emails because companies worldwide sell your personal details, worldwide!
Oh, and that autocorrect feature, the incessant desire to use words it thinks should be used!
I used to be able to think for myself, but today, I'm not so sure!
Are we really better of today?

"It looks a good walk, but is that for me" takes a look at walking the hills and moors, along with many things that need to be taken into account, like walk times in magazines and books, which are often from people used to walking, so a suggestion to perhaps increase the time might be a wise idea.

"Where have all the flowers gone?"
We’ve been there, on the top of a hill, looked around and seen large urban developments, wind farms, and solar farms, all being built on green space.

This could be your window view!

As I was writing this blog, the news headlines was:
"Council approves 25,000 homes to be built on greenbelt land!"

I bet hardly any of the house built will be affordable, if any!

Does anyone in authority really care for the countryside?

I think not!

This was intended as a follow on to They stuck parking meters outside our doors to greet us after I found out about subterranean horticulture in London, or should I say ‘under London’ becoming successful, the outlawing of fossil fuel vehicles in 2040, and the constant need to build on open countryside. It looked at how we as a nation seem to be desecrating green spaces with Wind Farms, Solar Farms, housing (far from affordable) HS2, which is set to destroy ancient woodlands regardless of anything.

A couple of links you might like to peruse are:
Farmers Weekly: What London’s underground farm is like
Farmers Weekly: Underground farm set up 100ft below streets of London

The Concrete jungle!

My view of Britain in the future:
  • Concrete jungles
  • Virtual reality fitness centres
  • No countryside
  • Wind farms on ALL moors hills and mountains
  • Wind farms across ALL coastal areas avoiding shipping lanes
  • Solar farms on all level open spaces

It is my view of the future in many years to come, not in my lifetime, but in our children’s, children’s lifetimes!

I could be talking total rubbish, but it is a big concern of mine, what the short and long-term future holds for our countryside, against this incessant need to build houses (and not affordable ones either!), too many in green spaces, and other things, including HS2, HS3, wind and solar farms on the fast diminishing countryside.

One of many wind turbines in our open countryside!

Creeping over hill tops, to be viewed from afar!
I’m sure solar farms could be easily built in urban areas, especially towns and city centres, with lots of roof space on offices, factories and warehouses, many high above many urban developments. Let us start with the top floor of multi-storey car parks, what better, a roof to shield shoppers from the rain while doubling as a solar energy collector?

This wind farm was visible to the naked eye from 8 miles away!

Even our coastal waters are not free from the development of wind farms.
This particular wind farm will be home to some 500 wind turbines
What a view for hotel guests to wake up to!

I also consider the possibility of virtual reality utilised in many gymnasiums as a means to enjoying our once abundant and beautiful countryside, while maintaining the need to exercise.

It takes a very long time for ancient woodlands to become established!

I feel more can, and should be, done in the urban environment. After all, that’s where it’s required most!

But I guess because it’s not in peoples back gardens, the urban environment, the countryside is the okay place to do these things!

Out of sight, out of mind.....
It was a tongue in cheek look at life in the future from my own eyes, at how things are changing. It raised some questions in my mind:
  • Could we successfully grow food artificially, especially if we all go vegetarian?
  • Will we need the countryside ever again?
  • Is it for the best, or not?
"It takes a very long time for ancient woodlands to become established"

How often have you seen green space you once knew as a child, and probably played on, that has now been built on?
The scary fact is, what I once knew as farms, fields and countryside, has fast become bricks and mortar, housing estates, retail and business parks, with a lot more to be buried under the railway tracks of HS2 and HS3 in years to come!
Okay, perhaps I am being negative in your eyes, but not in mine. It must make some of you think about the prospects that lie ahead in years to come!
Think about it. 

England's green and pleasant lanes....
Our politicians are very good at talking the talk about the environment, but not very good at walking the walk.

Yes, we need to protect the planet, but at the right cost, and I don't mean financial costs either.

One last thought, climate change is a very real phenomenon. It has been with planet earth since it evolved (after all, planet earth has had two ice ages at least), and will continue to stay with planet earth until the demise of our planet.

It is now accepted that the sun and the moon have an impact on the weather, just as moon has an impact on the tides, across this planet.

What is there to say that the other planets in our solar system, (or solar systems from afar) also have an impact on our weather?

As I was finishing the blog, the 45th anniversary of the last moon landing mission Apollo 17, was launched.

Was that the end of the space race!
What have I written?
I did however write two blogs.
Yes, quite an odd title, but, if you know the Max Bygraves song, it’s probably one that many of the older readers will appreciate, which I explain in the blog.
This was prompted by the news at the time, which was a terror attack in London coupled with how life is changing fast these days, and it will get faster as time progresses!
I mention my view of the Cold War years, along with the Space Race, to name a couple of events from my younger days.

AVRO Vulcan Cold War V Bomber
Designed to carry nuclear bombs!

HS2, the satellite construction sites, which are supposed to be returned to nature once the construction is complete, I fear will be deemed brown field sites, and beyond reasonable condition for returning to nature.

Now where's my parking meter?
What of those parking meters?
Well, you’ll need to read the blog to find out….
In this short informative blog, I describe my attempts to find a way to carry a fold-up seat while still using crutches to support myself.
My plans for the future?
I have no idea…. Every time I make plans, they fall before the first hurdle, which is extremely frustrating.
I've said enough.
Keep getting out there folks, keep those footpaths open and enjoy that green space while we still have it.
Thank you to all of you for being so patient with me, it really is appreciated and you will never be forgotten.
All the very best folks, Christmas is a time of joy, have a Merry Christmas and I wish you all the very best for the new Year.
I hope Santa brings you the goodies, or kit, that you dream of having.
Peak Rambler
Twitter          @PeakRambler
YouTube        Peak Rambler on YouTube
Links to some of the items I’ve mentioned and written about here:

Walking disabled: carrying a fold-up seat!

Not quite a micro-blog, but definitely a mini-blog…

When events in your lifetime prevent you from doing and enjoying the things you used to do, you have two choices:
  • To accept your situation and make it the status-quo
  • To move forward and adapt where you can to enjoy life
You've probably guessed which is my option, though there are some things that as yet, I've not managed to adapt. But I will, one day.
Fold-up seat
that doubles as a walking stick

I’m trying to move on, which is not an easy thing to do, because it’s only when I try to do the things I used to do, comfortably, do I fully appreciate how much I’m unable to do the things I used to do.

A whole new learning curve ensues, and it will only be through trying these things and finding my limitations, will I be able to progress forward.

One such difficulty is walking any distance, which can vary quite considerably from one day to the next.

Have you ever tried to carry one of these fold-up seats, as an able-bodied person, with both hands full?

It isn’t easy, and it’s even more difficult when you need both hands to hold either walking sticks, or crutches,

Yes, I know they can be used as a walking stick, but sometimes, those extra two seat legs that are required to enable you to sit safely, get in the way….

A Tripod Carrier
You can get single legged fold up seats, but then you need to be able to maintain your balance while seated, not something that is always easy to do.

Anyway, moving on, and definitely not criticising any seat design, I have found a solution, which I want to share with you.

As many of you will already know, I’m still recovering from major life changing injuries sustained while using a pelican crossing back in February 2015.

The recovery is very long and slow, and in addition, extremely frustrating many times.

The extent of my injuries will leave me disabled for the rest of my life, which means I need to adapt to my situation to enable me to move forward.

Ideal for walking and an instant seat,
when you need it

It’s extremely unlikely I’ll ever walk the hills again the capacity I used to enjoy, though I’m hoping to regain some walking of the lesser hills and moors at some point in the future.

So, in the interim, I’m enjoying my other passion, landscape and wildlife photography, which also means I need to be able to walk. Currently, it becomes too painful to walk very far, so I need to stop and take the weight off my bad leg, and available seating is not always available, so I purchased one of those small fold-up seats.

First, currently, I still have to use crutches, which means both hands are in use, though I intend to progress to either walking sticks or trekking poles (my preferred option).

When I’m out and about, it’s not always easy to find a seat to sit on so I can rest my rebuilt leg when it gets too painful to walk any further, so I invested in one of those neat little fold up seats. However, carrying the seat was a problem, I’d no free hands, so a micro-project ensued, how to carry the seat without free hands!

I couldn’t find a suitable strap, tried dog leads, and other things, but the chair just would not sit comfortably on my back or over my shoulder without slipping in the way!

While visiting one of many RSPB reserves, I spotted a tripod carrier, designed to carry tripods and scopes, while assembled rather than folded away which seemed to fit the right dimensions. After all, the photo on the packaging shown the tripod carrier carrying a fully setup tripod and large scope, so there’s no obvious reasons why it shouldn’t hold my fold-up seat.

The seat is secured by the straps
that would secure a large tripod
I checked out the loop and strap arrangement, along with, albeit very crudely, using my arm as a ruler, the distances they are apart, and then doing the same with the fold-up seat which I’d purchased quite some time previously, and everything seemed very reasonably in place.

So, I bought the tripod carrier, for a few pence short of £50.00, fitted the chair in to the straps and loops, which it did perfectly.

Not only did it carry my fold-up seat, but I could also fit my small tripod in the spare straps, which was perfect, because I’m a keen amateur photographer, and sometimes, as any photographer will now, a tripod is necessary.

And, it has a small pouch, where a small packed lunch, or guide book could fit, along with a drinks bottle sleeve, to easily fit a small 500ml drinks bottle in.
But not when both hands are in use, so I utilised a Tripod Carrier

All in all, I feel, a good purchase, even if I manage to ditch any walking aids in the future, the tripod carrier will still be a practical and useful tripod carrier.

Finally, happy rambling and thank you for reading,
Peak Rambler
Twitter            @PeakRambler
Photo Album  Peak Rambler Flickr Photo Album
YouTube        Peak Rambler on YouTube


“They stuck parking meters outside our doors to greet us”

I bet there’s a few who recognise that line?
Not a very outdoors, title....
But in light of recent events, and hearing that particular tune on the radio recently, prompted me to reminisce.
For those of you from my generation, and older, it’s from the Max Bygraves 1960’s hit:
"Fings Ain't What They Used T' Be"
In the 50th anniversary year of The Summer of Love, 1967, and to take the Beatles hit: “It’s Getting Better All The Time”, from The Beatles album “Sergeant Pepper”, released July 1967, are things really better!
You need to read the words to that song carefully.
For those who wish to read the lyrics to the Max Bygraves, and The Beatles songs, I’ve included them at the end.
Ken Loach, made a docu-film, called “Cathy Come Home”, about the housing and social problems of the sixties. Some of those problems are still prevalent today!
We live in an ever changing, and evolving world today, a world that seems to hold a lot of nasties, as well as niceties, though you’d be forgiven for thinking the former was more the case today.
London circa mid 1960's
We need to change, we need to evolve, or things will stagnate and falter, but is all the change we endure good for us?
I can recall the pre-computer days, no emails, no spam, no social media, in fact, your social life then evolved around the local pub, the church and local community. Today, with the advent of email, the internet, online shopping, social media, your local community is potentially international!
Ok, so I’m old, in years, but not in heart.
Well, my son often tells me it’s time to grow up!
This is something I’ve happily dwelled on for many years, and accepted as a part of life, a part of evolution, progression of life.
But is it really, have the bad things really changed that much?
We hear of murders, shooting, road rage, muggings, sexual assaults, all appear to be on the increase as time progresses. But are they really on the increase?
Yes, I hear some of you saying, and perhaps, you’re right.
Something I’d like to share with you, something that many folk of my generation, and older will be aware of.
In days gone by, long before I was born, there were murders, muggings, killings and sexual attacks, the difference was, some of it was swept under the carpet, while others were only local news, predominantly local gossip, because there wasn’t the ability to communicate quite the same then, that we enjoy today.
Westminster Bridge; London 2016
Or do we enjoy it today! Sexual assaults, of any nature, were often covered up, swept under the carpet, and still are in some cases today, with many only coming to light because society has changed.
Often the victims were sent to institutions to shut them away from society, so as not to embarrass the very community and family they came from, who should have supported them.
Before industrialisation, before gas street lighting, we had the man with the lamp, a man with a lantern walking the streets escorting people back to their homes at night, hopefully protecting them from being attacked!
I can recall the road we used to live in had gas street lighting, as late as the 1960’s!
Yes, I’ve many years to go before I can claim my pension!
So, are things really as bad as they have decades ago, or even centuries ago?
Perhaps, perhaps not….
What is definitely the case, those troubles were already there, long before you and I were born, but what has changed is the way news travels and the speed and distance at which it travels.
Also, people are more prepared to be more open and report these crimes, detection rates are definitely higher than they were, with CCTV, neighbourhood watch and many other sources of crime detection, including legitimate online spying.
I fear today, we have a lot more pressures, a lot more challenges and stronger feelings of needing to belong. We also need to be more careful in how we carry out our lives and day to day business, especially when we’re using any form of electronic communication.
We have a lot of things out there goading us to perform, to fit in and much more.
But where do you really want to be, where are you comfortable?
Social media is a classic, not many folk today do not embrace one form or another of social media. Often, we access more than one form of social media.
We are told that something is good for us one day, then the next, it’s evil, it’s bad, and then, it’s taxed out of all proportion.
We used to have a lot of countryside, that is now fast disappearing. The more it disappears, the more we will need to rely on imports for food!
The more the countryside disappears, the more nature is pressured and many creatures we used to have, disappear!
A five-minute walk down the road, and I used to walk out onto farm fields, I used to work on farms as a teenager. Today, all those farms have gone, they’re either housing estates or commercial developments.
Not even a five-minute drive from where I live would I be in country, I’d still be in an urban environment!
Many small towns are joined at the hip, and more are fast getting closer to their neighbouring towns and cities.
Nature really doesn’t stand a chance today. We need nature, to help us survive, and nature needs us to help it survive. We’re all part of one big ecological circle, break one or more links in the chain, and the chain is as good as useless!
If you’re wondering, yes, I’m anti HS2, I feel the money should be spent on improving the current rail infrastructure and also the NHS, which desperately needs support.
On the subject of HS2, the satellite construction sites not in urban areas, which when the construction of HS2 is completed, are supposed to be returned to nature once the construction is complete, I fear will be deemed brown field sites, and beyond reasonable condition for returning to nature.
So, what will they become?
By that time, I’ll be feeding the daisies, so should I care?
Well, yes, I do. I want my children's children to enjoy the open spaces I enjoyed. I want nature to survive with our support, not total destruction, which is the way we are heading today!
Are things better today, or were they better in days gone by?
Admiralty Arch, London
(In the tenth year of King Edward VII, to Queen Victoria, from most grateful citizens, 1910)
My thoughts, the sixties, well, the late sixties through to the early seventies, which is the era I grew up in, was not necessarily a good time, but it was an innovative and adventurous period.
Today, we have better medical care, heart problems are treated almost as an everyday thing, whereas heart surgery during the 1960’s was still very risky and pioneering.
I feel from my own perspective, which was a child’s perspective, not adult, the sixties were more carefree and not so pressurised, a more sedate pace, but the pressure was on.
The sixties, they were exciting years.
Taking that thought for a moment, the Cold War Years (1947 - 1991), well probably the first half of the Cold War Years, the offence against the prospect of World War Three, which had the potential to be a nuclear holocaust, we were probably at the safest we have ever been since the end of the Second World War.
London circa mid 1960's
Well, probably up to the seventies at least.
The Cold War was basically between two superpowers, America, supported by NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), and Russia, where both sides knew the consequences if either unleashed any part of their nuclear arsenal.
A stalemate.
So, they flexed their muscles in other ways, Vietnam, an atrocity of some horrendous weaponry.
Probably one of the more acceptable ways of flexing their muscles, was the Space Race, Russia had the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, while America had the first man on the moon.
I know there are many out there who feel that the moon landing and walk was a big hoax, perhaps it was, I don’t know, we may never know.
But a thought I’ll share with you, Russia and America were watching each other’s moves very closely, scrutinising each and every single and multiple move.
The Apollo 11 mission that landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon would almost certainly have been monitored by the Russians. If NASA never did put a man on the moon, then it would need to have been a very elaborate setup of radio communications across the void between the earth and moon, to convince Russia that man was on the moon, when he wasn’t!
If the Russians had found out it was an elaborate hoax, then that would have given them superiority in the Cold War, and the consequences just wouldn’t bare thinking about.
We still had terrorist activities, Entebbe Airport in July 1976 to name one, of many.

Also Northern Ireland, conflicts with the IRA and other groups from the late sixties, with incidents peaking early to mid seventies, right up until 1998 with the Good Friday Agreement.
Even in the eighties, we had terrorist activities, Pan Am Flight 103, that exploded over Lockerbie in Scotland.
London 2017
We still had wars and conflicts, a few are listed below:
Parliament Clock Tower, affectionately named
Big Ben, after the bell in the tower
1950-1953 Korean War
1956 Suez Crisis
1961 Cuba (a potential start to World War 3)
1961-1973 Vietnam War
1965 Dominican Republic
1982 Falklands Campaign
1982 Lebanon
1983 Grenada
1989 Panama
1991 Gulf War (Kuwait and Iraq)
1993 Somalia
1994 Haiti
1994-1995 Bosnia
1999 Kosovo
2001—2014 Afghanistan
2003—2010 Iraq War
The sixties through to the eighties, we saw a lot of industrial unrest, and work was tough to find for school leavers during the seventies and eighties, with many businesses closing, or moving abroad, with the increase in automation, taking work away from the working person.
Typing pools replaced by word processors, and later computers.
Robots building cars and many other things, where many people would have laboured away.
Health and safety in the workplace has changed, for the better. Though some of the things I and my former colleagues did, or even got up to for a laugh back then, would certainly be subject to disciplinary action today.
I recall a former mentor, saying the following:
“The sixties swung,
The super seventies were even faster
Heaven help us through the eighties, which will be faster, and the future decades, even faster still!”
The Shard, London 2017
The older we get, in years, nothing else, we often say times are faster and harder. The younger generations often thought different, because they grew into the world we see as hectic. But when they get older, they tend to feel the same as we did.
To circle of life, what goes around comes around….
But I wonder if today, that is still the same.
The social pressures are still there, but are they more so?
Mobile phones and communications today, the internet, email, social media making communication a lot easier, and at the press of a button, you could potentially share something with the whole world!
When I was younger, you could only speak to one person at a time on the phone, or write (not type) a letter.
Today, you can send one letter to as many people as you can think of, electronically, via email!
If you think about, you most likely already have given it some thought, long before you’ve read this posting, just one letter, one email, that potentially could go viral and destroy one life!
A scary thought!
The Gherkin, London 2017
One stupid posting on Facebook, Twitter or any of the other social media programs, (sorry apps as they are called today), which we have access to, could totally destroy, or make, a life or lives!
I do feel that to a lesser extent, we did enjoy walking the streets a little safer back then than today, even if it was in ignorance of the true reality of life.
Or should that be naivety of the true reality of life!
Is it a safer world today?
A very good question, can it be answered?
I’m not so sure.
A lot depends on your perspective of life.
I personally feel in many aspects; the answer is NO!
Please don’t read that as a negative response, more of a personal opinion based around events that I’ve experienced along with news items.
What decade is better, is really down to perception, how you recall your childhood against what you have heard or read, and how you perceive things today.
Perhaps I’m getting a little old, long in the tooth, and time to hang up those old gumboots…..

The future?

Electric cars, which we'll need to charge up overnight, which for many, will mean roadside charging points!

The demonisation of fossil fuels, a source of revenue for governments, will be no more, so another source to supplement that lost income will need to be found!
A thought I’ll close with:
“Will we have parking meters outside our houses in the future?”
Lyrics from the earlier mentioned songs:
Fings Ain't Wot They Used To Be

They've changed
our local Palais
into a bowlin' alley
and fings ain't
what they used to be
There's teds
with drainpipe trousers
and debs in coffee houses
and fings ain't
what they used to be
There used to be trams
not very quick
got ya from place to place
But now there's just jams
half a mile thick
stay in the human race

Getting Better
The Beatles
It's getting better all the time
I used to get mad at my school
The teacher's that taught me weren't cool
You're holding me down
Filling me up with your rules

I've got to admit it's getting better
A little better all the time
I have to admit it's getting better
It's getting better since you've been mine

Me used to be angry young man
Me hiding me head in the sand
You gave me the word
I finally heard
I'm doing the best that I can
I've got to admit it's getting better

I used to be cruel to my woman
I beat her and kept apart from the things that she loved
Man I was mean but I'm changing my scene
And I'm doing the best that I can

I admit it's getting better
A little better all the time
Yes I admit it's getting better
It's getting better since you've been mine...

Songwriters: John Lennon / John Winston Lennon / Paul McCartney / Paul James McCartney