Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Amarally Christmas Message 2008.

After many years of friends and relatives sending their own Christmas messages about their adventures of the last 12 months I have finally decided to complete a similar exercise.

Jan 2008 saw myself joining the Hinckley Mountaineering Club [] in an effort to meet up with local people and try to do some regular exercise. I wouldn't exactly say I was unhealthy although my love for chocolate is still at an all time high, but I found myself whilst on the meets I have with Andy and Rich being limited in my capacity to enjoy our hikes whilst on our now legendary lads camps, that lads who enjoy the great outdoors and nothing else. ;-)

Patterdale, The Lakes May 2008

Rich taking in the views whilst on one of our hikes this year

The three of us at the end of our trip to the Lakes.

Andy on the M6 having a spot of desert whist on our way back from the Lakes.

I found that climbing has now taken over much of my life with the lads camps and regular swimming whilst Joshua and Leonie are at their swimming lessons at our local leisure centre, 8am Sat. You may think I am mad but any exercise I can do to aid my climbing is always welcomed. Climbing I enjoy intensely and this sport sees a community where people from all walks of life will just get along and exchange experiences as well as useful tips.

The club I am a member of is child friendly which is great news as opportunities to climb outdoors for me are usually only at the weekend. Of course it would be great to have more me time but leaving both my two with Louise would be a tall order on a regular basis. So Joshua comes with me for day trips and weekends away with the club. The offer to take Joshua away is always welcomed by Louise, as it gives her and Leonie quality girlie time together which usually involves some form of shopping so no real surprises there.

Joshua on his very first out door climb whilst in the Peak District

This year for our summer hols we [me] decided we should save the pennies and stay in the UK with a camping trip. Mixed reviews by Louise to be fair, what was I thinking with our British weather whilst we camped in Cornwall. All was not lost though as for the second year running we were able to visit Diggerland in Devon []. There is always a great pleasure received from digging holes in the ground.

Joshua and I on a JCB

We managed to pitch up ok in the dry had about 2 days of sunshine, but then concluded our holiday with Louise and I pitching down the tent etc in the rain. Still we saved the pennies which allowed us to complete the redecoration of our living room and kids play area which used to be our dining room.

We managed to get an afternoon at the beach

My car after a weeks camping

We now have laminated flooring just like the Rugby days which the kids seem to have great pleasure in making a mess on with their food. Thanks heavens for an easy to clean surface.

I love camping, when the weather is great it is the best holiday in the world, but when the weather is poor, so is the holiday.

This year completing the downstairs area also saw a new and welcomed addition to the Amarally household in the form of a 50" plasma TV. A bargain as a manager’s special from our local Dixons, and looks great on the wall. Call it an investment for when Louise and I are old with poor eyesight.

This year the green bus that was my Galaxy was finally traded in. At 170,000 miles on the clock it was declining fast, and with a diesel bill of £85 per week it was an overhead we could do with out. So after much thought, I decided to get Louise a new Renault Meganne, and take on her Ford Fusion. I wondered how I would feel at taking on what many might perceive to be a backward step, but I have to admit I love the Fusion. Its like two 4x4's mated with this off spring being the result. Every thing is so much cheaper than the Galaxy, plus with it being a petrol engine I decided to get it converted to LPG since my mileage is very high.

I now pay 44p per litre of gas, it costs me more to run my kids on milk for crying out loud.

October saw Rich / Andy and I meeting up in Wales for the Second of our two lads camp trips and ascending up the summit of Mt Snowdon which is the 3rd highest mountain in the British Isles. To be fair this was quite commercialised as there is a train that goes to the top with a cafe at the end. Both of which were shut I hasten to add so we did it the old fashioned way and hiked to the top - 1085 metres. But to make the hike more challenging Andy planned our route via Crib Goch []. I wish I had brought my climbing gear as the views were quite frankly spectacular. Basically you walk across a ridge that is about 1ft wide, 100 metres long with a sheer drop either side of you. Not for the faint hearted, and a fantastic memory I will remember for a very long time.

This year Louise and Leonie have been heavily involved with their dancing at the Shelby Academy [] and for the first time I saw the two of them on the stage at our local theatre the Concordia. Anybody who has the courage to perform in front of an audience gets my appreciation as I am sure you will agree this is not normal for most.

I was recently appointed as a school governor for Joshua's school - St Peters, Hinckley as well as taking up my first term as PTA Chairman for the school. I can't even manage the females in my own home so what chance to I have with a PTA which is predominantly female? Well actually I have a great time and it makes me proud to have a team that is as enthusiastic as I have been fortunate enough to experience.

Joshua and Leonie not arguing for a change

December Joshua and I went on our first weekend away with the Hinckley Mountaineering Club and spent this in the Yorkshire Dales at a Youth Hostel []. Very basic and functional but then at £55 in total for the two of us for two nights what do you expect. We stayed in Malham and completed a recommended hike in Ingleton. This was Joshua's first time at a half decent hike totaling 4.5 miles 3,5 hours in the snow with the route being around Ingleton Waterfalls []. This he completed with no problem and I was very proud of him to say the least. I look forward to more of the same next year with Joshua and the club. If you have not tried hiking in the snow I recommend you give it a go. The first thing I did when I came back was to look for some crampons, which are metal spikes that you can attach to the bottom of your hiking boots. I am still looking.

It has certainly been a great year when I look back, but as I rapidly finish off the year I approach 2009 with a great deal of uncertainty. After 11.5 years with my current employer, my role is at risk of redundancy. Quite a daunting prospect as it is not great out there. I am in the process of exploring alternative opportunities both internal and external and have to say the outlook is not all doom and gloom. But as a married man with two kids and a mortgage the word redundancy will always take you away from your comfort zone.

I am fortunate that I at least have skill sets that will hopefully help my career path for the future.

We are still planning to enjoy Christmas with Louise being my rock in a time that is quite difficult. I hope 2009 brings you everything that you want or at least kind to you as much of 2008 has done for me.

I look forward to reading your messages via this blog.

All the best.

Colin, Louise, Joshua and Leonie.


1 comment:

Louisette passion retriever, cat, memory Katanga said...

Lovely blog, links information yorshire, cute fotos
Joshua,extra good climber
greeting from Belgium