Showing posts with label Hadrian's Wall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hadrian's Wall. Show all posts

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Old Posts

Well this week has been a little successful at work and managing not to do that much walking then I realised that it's only Tuesday. I was looking through past posts and found that I had recorded the fact that Anthony Newley co wrote "Feelin' Good" and recorded a decent version of it himself which you can listen to here

This is one of the reasons that I keep blogging, reading that post makes me think I can write something that is useful, perhaps not tonight, but every now and then I can, and that thought will keep me writing.

Although I am almost embarrassed by the brevity of some of my old posts, although if it's just a diary entry then you may not have to write all that much, just that something happened or caught your eye or ear, and maybe post a picture or some video.

I wasn't actually going to write anything tonight, but it is quite early, so I though maybe just share a few lines with you.

I am still enjoying "The Fourteenth Letter" but am now on the home straight and it has been far more enjoyable than I expected, but I am quite a slow reader, but am now eyeing up my text book to read.

So as I am going back I'll share my slideshow from when I took part in lighting Hadrian's Wall soundtracked by Ash's "Shining Light".

Thursday 22 March 2018


Last May I started on a challenge to walk a million steps in three months. I took it up, did it, listeened and rediscovered a lot of my music collection, discovered lots of new places to walk, reduced my insulin intake, lost a little weight and now I'm six weeks away from doing this for a year.

After the initial three month challenge I decided to do 340K steps a month so I would do a rolling million every three months. I though February would be a problem, it wasn't and March started badly with the ice and snow but I am way ahead of my target for the month, with only April to do, and then I'll start again.

It's not actually a huge challenge , less than two hours walking a day does the job and it keeps you a little bit fitter.

I have seen some great sights I didn't know were there including walking bit''s of Hadrian's Wall and areas of Arthur's Hill where they are residential but you can walk a long way without encountering a road.

I was going to go with Spacehog's "Millions" but it isn't on Youtube (I may put a slideshow together) so intead I will treat you to "Tiny Steps" by Elvis Costello. Sleep well my friends.

Turns out the Spacehog song is called "Millions" at all but "Zeroes " and the is one called "To Be A Millionaire", so another example of my memory messing with my memories.

Saturday 21 October 2017

Slightly Suffering

Yesterday I had my 'flu' jab and it's hitting me this morning. So like the sensible person I am I was up at six o' clock to walk to Post Office to pick up an unknown package which turned out to be a copy of Emerson Lake and Palmer's "Brain Salad Surgery" (or Brian's Salad is in the Surgery as the NME named it) on vinyl, which I wanted for the wonderful HR Giger designed sleeve (which apparently he was never paid for see here). The album is not that good , but the cover is wonderful.

Anyway I got there ten minutes early so walked up the A69 and instagrammed a bit of  Hadrian's Wall which I knew was there but I'd never got the chance to photograph before, so I instagrammed it here

It's Saturday and there's no sign of #StormBrian, and I am ahead on my step target, and I have been listening to a few more albums, on of which is "A Trick of The Tail" by Genesis. It was the first one without Peter Gabriel so possibly didn't bode all that well, and you can hear Phil Collins' influence taking effect although the album is still excellent. One thing that people forget about Phil Collins is that he is an excellent drummer , and also was an accomplished actor and you can hear that on the vocal stylings of "Robbery Assault and Battery".

The Album is bookended by "Dance on a Volcano" and "Los Endos", really two parts of the same piece , featiring a vicious backing to the verses which bears little relation to the melody but is still a brilliant aural assault and worth the price of admission alone. "Dance on a Volcano" slipps into the creepy dream state of "Entangled". Many of the song feature some excellent instrumental codas, and the title track is the penultimate song on the album,was inspired by Tony Banks reading William Golding's "The Inheritors" which described an alien visiting Earth and the reaction to it.

So I will leave you with "Dance on A Volcano"  but the album is worth getting hold of. Have a brilliant Saturday everyone.

Sunday 30 April 2017

The First of A Million Steps

Tomorrow is May Day, The first of May and tomorrow I embark on a Million Step Challenge. That's a million steps in three months taking me through to the end of July. To do this I need to average 11.5K steps a day, so that's nearly two hours a day walking.  That is not a major challenge really apart from the fact that today I ran for a bus and have pulled a muscle possibly , somewhere round my hip region. If I don't move , it doesn't hurt, but to continue the step challenge , I have to move (obviously). I have 4K steps to complete today to do my first month in years of more than 10K a day , and hopefully hit the average that I will need to maintain over the next three months.

I know I don't HAVE to do this, but I want to do this. Today I managed my ten thousand steps, but intended to do the last four thousand downhill past Hadrian's Wall and through Denton Burn. That all went well but I intended to get the bus back , but that didn't turn up. Twenty minutes after it should have been there I started walking back ... and then it flies past me. If I was paranoid I'd think the bus driver was waiting for me to set off. The major thing is I got the steps done, and I am in a good position to start the Million Step Challenge.

The other thing is my phone is playing up and that is what I use to measure my steps. I have a feeling the problem is the battery, but the replacement battery doesn't seem to work at all, so hopefully that will get resolved soon.

Sorry if all this seem negative and mundane, you know I don't like to be either of those, but tomorrow is a good way to start the week , with a day not going to work , because it's the May Day Bank Holiday.

I'll leave you with the excellent "Genesis" by Grimes, which I haven't heard for a while but when I first heard it, I went out and bought the album. Take a listen and enjoy my friends. Then for some reason on the same page, one of my favourite singers Peter Gabriel covering the song that got me into Tom Waits "In The Neighborhood" . I'm not sure if this is available on an album (it is here), but check it out and then check out the original (on "Swordfishtrombones")

Right , it's Sunday, the weather is beautiful, go out and enjoy yourself.

Tuesday 28 March 2017


After doing the 15000 Step Challenge that finished on 20th of March I said that I wanted to maintain ten thousand steps a day. On Sunday I decided to visit some Roman Ruins in Benwell a little video here and a photo montage here) .

Despite living here for fifteen years, I had never been despite knowing about it and being so close to the line of Hadrian's Wall (which I helped light up in 2010 - so I've included the video of that and there's a lot of articles on it such as this on the BBC).

Anyway I've managed to go off on a complete tangent.

After the Roman Ruins, I needed to do more steps, but suddenly felt like I was walking through treacle, walking became very difficult, and I was on Nunsmoor and nowhere near a bench or housing. I had completed my steps but was feeling close to collapse, feeling like I'd been kicked and battered, aching limbs like when you get 'flu', and feeling queasy and worried I was going to throw up. I was not feeling good.

I eventually got to a bus stop where Fiona met me, where eventually a bus turned up and then I got home and went straight to bed. I slept and drank a litre of fizzy orange and then I was OK to watch some TV and have some soup.

The following I thought I maybe have to give it a rest, but it was foggy and I thought I may get some good pictures, so thought I would walk over Nunsmoor and took this video here. That meant that I still hit 11K steps yesterday so my idea of giving myself a rest didn't happen. The thing is, I do need to exercise and lose about 30Kg (I weigh 106Kg) , and am thinking maybe on Sunday I became dehydrated.

So today I will walk in again, well part of the way, and hopefully hit my 10K steps which is about 5 miles.

The music in the video is "Shining Light" by Ash , which is my daughter Juliet's favourite band.

Have a great Tuesday everyone

Saturday 8 August 2015

The Dangers of Letting Me Make Porridge

I am diabetic , you all know that. I treat it very casually , you all know that. I do what I'm supposed to do you all know that, and the fact I am still here is testament to my general life regime. The NHS has been brilliant in their support of me, with some superb support from across the spectrum , especially my brilliant surgery , Thornfield Medical Group, who I would recommend unreservedly to anybody and NUTH Hospitals who I have both worked for and been treated by over the last few years.

You get the odd well meaning pedant , like the nurse who told me I had to live off carrots and celery, and the nurses and doctors who keep banging about me getting out of a car and sitting in the passenger if I have a hypo while driving. As I diabetic I have to check my blood sugar levels at least every two hours when driving , and I always do this before getting behind the wheel. If the blood sugar was low I would not get in that car, and the day I have a hypo while driving is the day I give up driving. But as I bang on about the odd pedant I have to tell you about the nurse who brilliantly analogised the benefits of Omega 3 Oil as a brillo pad for your veins and arteries (everyone and I mean EVERYONE) should take Omega 3, the brilliant consultant who , although trialling me on a liver drug which resulted in identifying my cirrhosis (which means I can take extra care of myself  in that area) , who also noticed muscle wastage in my left hand which I had lost the horizontal use of, eventually kicking of some tests that discovered a weird trap nerve carpal tunnel syndrome combination that has resulted in a 90% restoration of the functionality of my left hand, we original thought it may have been a TIA or a stroke (which I may have had around the turn of the century when I got hit by ITP).

But as usual I've gone sort of off subject before I've started, but it's really that porridge is the best breakfast anyone can have and it's particularly good for diabetics. It is one of the few foods you can buy that does have sugar as one of it's ingredients (most other cereals have loads) , although the sachets and quick porridge brands have loads of added sugar., just go with a box of Quaker Oats and you can't go wrong (though I'm on Aldi's stuff at the moment). Anyway the way I make porridge is half a cup of  dry porridge oats , a cup of skimmed milk , then put in a pan and stir together and but on the hob on the lowest heat and come back when you are ready to eat (at least 30 minutes) , add some fruit for taste , chopped apple , banana, raisins or sultanas , and you have a perfect start to the day. After that you DO NOT feel like snacking at all , it's very slow release, Perfect.

Porridge has many forms
And now the dangers..... I was once working from home , put the porridge on about 7am and the started work. I was so engrossed in my work that I forgot about the porridge until a cooking smell wafted upstairs that I noticed about 11:30 am. Amazingly because of the low heat, adding another cup of skimmed milk and stirring it it resulted in a great breakfast ... at dinnertime.

Then yesterday ,I had porridge for breakfast , but came home to find I had forgotten to switch off the hob , so it had been on all day, but luckily only on the low heat which means you don't see a red glow  when you take the pan off, so that didn't do my energy conservation much good.

Anyway today I'm going to see Ash with I used to soundtrack my YouTube video that I did when I took part in Lighting Hadrian's Wall which I've include with this even though the only connection is me. Have a great day, I'm going to the Chase Park Festival with my girls , and friends and their families (who are all girls!)  so you enjoy yourself , I'm gonna enjoy mine

Saturday 17 August 2013

Early Morning Rain

Well a trip to Penrith today , and hope the weather turns out better that it is looking now. Yesterday was like that a deluge during the night followed by early morning rain and then by home time blue skies. Check out my Instagram feed here . Hope the light will be good enough to take some photographs and I'm takeing both my cameras and my iPad just in case I get the opportunity for some good shots.

I will be traveling along the route of the River Tyne from Newcastle parallel to Hadrians Wall , which I helped light up in 2010. Check the link above and you will find some video . One thing about taking photographs and videos is that you never actually appear in them , although then again I could not afford to keep replacing the broken lenses, I think I've only seen a handful of acceptable photographs of me and the current profile pic is over five years old , so need to replace that soon .

Anyway , I know today will brighten up , there are lots of good things happening , and I will see some wonderful scenery, but will leave you with the excellent Gordon Lightfoot song eponymous with this post:

Friday 21 June 2013

Summer Solstice

Well the longest day is here and light is fading , celebrations are taking place and I was struck by a pause for thought I heard today on BBC Radio 2. The guy said that rather than celebrating the longest day and  midsummer and the light , lots of people see it as the return of darkness and it's all downhill from here.

There are many ways to view things and when the weather is good certain people seem to focus on the fact it will soon be raining. Celebrate the moment , and remember when it rains you don't have to water your gardens. Usually the positives to take from every situation but it's not always clear what the positives are. Anyway the guy talked about shining the light and I'm going to choose this video I did of "Illuminating Hadrian's Wall" soundtracked by my daughter Juliet's favourite band Ash playing "Shining Light":

Sunday 4 April 2010

Re Illumination and Ejection

Just returned from holiday and one of the many pieces of mail was a certificate for my participation in the Illuminating Hadrian's Wall project that took place on March 13th of this year. Hopefully they'll get a DVD of the event put together soon.

On a completely separate tack , I was reading this months Mojo and they have a retrospective review of Robert Calvert's "Captain Lockheed and The Starfighters" which fails to mention the rather excellent lead single "Ejection" . I particularly remember this as I was in the record shop and was stunned by the jet noise that panned across the place before hitting the excellent three chord metal anthem which I immediately bought . A superb record that should be in everyone's collection. It's youtubed below:

Saturday 13 March 2010

Burnt Hands and Gloves

Well I was right about the burnin' (see previous post).

The Illumination of the Wall went off incredibly well with around 1100 volunteers lighting the way from Segedunum in the east to Carlsile in the west. The trail of light was tracked by a helicopter of indeterminate colour and , apparently NASA. I was involved as an illuminator with Cell4 , led by Andy who'd appeared on teh Country File rehearsal preview. I was lucky in the group I got who were all extremely sociable and technically more than competent in getting the beacon going. Neil and Alison did the beacon while Jay , Julie and Billy were the other torch bearers , the dreadlocked Jay giving us an impromptu juggling display with the (unlit) torches!!

I got one of the torches , which burned rather more enthusiastically than originally estimated , with the flames and wax almost catching fire to my gloves resulting in some slight skin singeing. The torch at this point was discarded and doused using half a bottle of coke. A compilation of pictures and video from today can be seen below soundtracked by "Shining Light" by Ash, available for download here.

One phenomenon that we did observe was the formation of frost on the gas bottles as the day got colder and the cylinders emptied. We were told of it but it was still fascinating to see.

Here's my online photo album of the day.

And finally a bit of start to finish video taken from the helicopter:

Illuminating Hadrian's Wall from IHW on Vimeo.

There'll Be Burnin' And Lootin' Tonight

Today's the day Hadrian's Wall get's lit up. The web site is here. I've been assigned to the Elswick area of Newcastle. Ther's a pleasant area in the Fylde called Elswick that is the home of Bond's Ice Cream , the best Ice Cream in the world and they have a web site.

Newcastle's Elswick is a very different kettle of fish and hopefully NASA can distinguish the wall beacons from the car fires you're more likely to encounter in the area. It's not really that bad , but it's not a place you'ld go for a holiday!!

Anyway it's an excuse to include Bob Marley playing the afformentioned piece!!

Thursday 4 March 2010

Roman Wall Blues ... And Lots Of Other Colours

On March the 13th , 2010 , I will be one of a thousand points of light illuminating Hadrian's Wall from Segedunum in the East to Carlisle in the West. The website for the project "Illuminating Hadrian's Wall" is here. Described as a "line of light from coast to coast", this is going to involve lot's of people playing with fire , once it goes dark to illuminate what is probably the largest pre 1066 man made construction in the British Isles.

Needless to same I'll be packing my camera and following up this post with some decent phoptographs and what actually happened on the day!

Below is a video, mainly featuring Vindolanda, soundtracked by Alex Harvey singing the only song I know about the wall, "Roman Wall Blues" an adaptation of a WH Auden poem. You can get the song here on his final album "Soldier On The Wall".

Roman Wall Blues
WH Auden

Over the heather the wet wind blows,
I've lice in my tunic and a cold in my nose.

The rain comes pattering out of the sky,
I'm a Wall soldier, I don't know why.

The mist creeps over the hard grey stone,
My girl's in Tungria; I sleep alone.

Aulus goes hanging around her place,
I don't like his manners, I don't like his face.

Piso's a Christian, he worships a fish;
There'd be no kissing if he had his wish.

She gave me a ring but I diced it away;
I want my girl and I want my pay.

When I'm a veteran with only one eye
I shall do nothing but look at the sky.