Tuesday, 24 February 2009


Commenced the second installment of return from injury last night and for the most part felt OK. It's amazing how much gas was lacking in the tank though after 3 weeks. It was a case of feeling light as a feather but having no muscle to lug the feather up the wall. Finished with steep incline press ups to try to iron out imbalances.

I've just hit another of many brick walls I'm likely to encounter over the next two years; that of paying fees on time. Thanks to the classy fuckup of the LEA in not generating my Financial Notification on time, I've just been hit with a bill of £1,572 and told essentially that if I can't pay it, I'm likely to face problems. Naturally, this moves away the laser like focus I have for my studies and transfers them back to more sleepless nights amidst spiraling visions of figures and failures. I've been advised to send an email to the head of fees and explain the inadequacies of the university admin system and my LEA. I've been somewhat foolish in thinking that I'm guaranteed a high level of support from the RIBA and the ALF (but I should be) and I'm counting down the days until they get back to me. Nobody said this was going to be a stroll in the park and I knew I'd be facing many more situations like this. I just have to accept that glory will come in a couple of years and all this CAN be overcome through persistence and a reliance on that of the pen as the sword.

EDIT - Just realised I said 3 months at the start of this post. 3 weeks I meant! Shit what would life be like to a dedicated climber with 3 months of one's climbing life missing? Answers on a postcard!

Friday, 20 February 2009

Lull a bye

Well, the last month has been a period of gross climbing inactivity. I've been sucked back headlong into university and motivation has been pretty low for climbing. I think my attitude towards climbing has changed a lot these past few months from that which it has been over the last year. After a difficult time early last year, I 'lived the dream' subsisting off about 5 pounds a week for much of '08 and consequently got pretty light and made great gains. Alas, as I started to drift back into a clear state of mind, I saw that this wasn't the path I wished to carve for myself. To the contrary, I think I have elected for one of the most difficult and time consuming paths. It is one I know will grant me economic as well as personal satisfaction and it seems a far cry from scraping rent pennies together and knowing the intricate differences between various supermarket value ranges. I know I have made the right decision and as soon as I'm settled in the city centre normal service will be resumed.

It's an interesting agglomeration of people on the architecture course; all with varying intentions and motivations for being here. Personally, I can cite my own but chiefly I'm interested in the contribution I can make to social housing and the lives of people who are not accustomed to the sort of attention to detail the middle classes receive in their living and working environments. To the simplest extent, architecture is about the manipulation of space and for me, giving integrity to form through materials. It amazes me that this prime consideration seems to be factored into the mix as a sort of afterthought in the design school when in reality it should be articulated with a much greater onus in the early stages of design. Perhaps if this was to happen students might grasp a better idea of working with cheaper materials and gain a better understanding of the ways in which to harness their properties and qualities. At a greater level, it may then ultimately make a difference in the drive to banish insipid and depressive Barratt style housing. What a naive notion I hear you cry! And you're probably right.

Climbing wise, I was invited to the Portland trip today for Mick's birthday. Sadly I've had to pass on this attractive offer in favour of a fascinating day of U Value lectures and will thus probably try to pull down somewhere locally tomorrow.

Last thing of note is that the Jennerator and I have agreed on a King's palace of a residence on Gambier Terrace. Situated on the top floor, the view is astounding and offers views of Clwyd and Snowdonia. It's so clear I can even see your micro Doyle!
Stop by for some sea bass and a tipple won't you?

Thursday, 5 February 2009


The saturday before last was the last time I managed to get out. Hit Tremeirchion with John, Doylo, Mule and a welcome rare siting of the arachnid! 36 Chambers is an awesome problem on a clean sweep of compact limestone. Sadly, being a vertical pinch punter, I had to eliminate 3 powerful movements and instead perform a deep lock off a shallow and sharp mono to reach a decent crimp. Felt a little stiffness in the palm the next day (yes Doylo, I knew this would happen) and so took the week off. John managed to fight on through the power sap to bag a second ascent of the problem and I made some agreeable progress but need to give a little more to the sloper slap next time. Pretty confident it will get crushed soon.

The palm soreness presented no major tears anyway as I've been getting settled back in the studio. It's so good to be back.

Might try to venture to the wall tonight after studio but am slightly put off by an epic snow journey to get there. M. Chadwick called last night with news of board building this weekend. With Friday night being 161 time again, I'm not sure I'll be any use but should have some time to invest in the space when settled back into study.

Sorry this has been a piece of shit to read. Will write soon when something is worth mentioning.