It’s ages away but it won’t be long in coming!

There are two phrases I keep hearing of late. The first is “oh it’s ages away yet!” and then in almost the same breath “It won’t be long in coming!”. How is it possible that both these statements are true at the same time? Still things are moving along quite nicely.

We’ve been to the local registrar’s office and given notice of marriage. The “individual interviews” were far from private. Anyone in the waiting room could hear the questions asked and the answers given. Including those put to the other couple who were there for the same reason. He was a fleet manager and she got his birthday wrong. Oopps!

We’re organising a buffet the night before the wedding for people who will have travelled a long way. It’ll be a very informal thing, just a “thanks for coming!” kinda thing. We’ve got an appointment at our local hotel to sort out that menu, etc.

Organising an appointment with the magician is proving a little difficult. The date & times we suggest don’t suit him and vice versa.

There’s still the music side of things to sort out and neither of us has done anything about wedding attire yet. Still lots to do!

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Scrambling on Striding Edge

Striding Edge, as a classic scrambling ascent of Helvellyn, can get very busy.

Striding Edge

The route has claimed a few lives and should not be taken lightly.

Paraponting

Takeoff

Paraponting (also called parapenting) is essentially launching yourself off the summit of a mountain and gliding back to earth in the valley below.  Whereas parachutes are designed for controlled descent such as skydiving or dropping cargo, paragliders are designed for ascending with the aid of thermals.  The skill of the pilot is finding these thermals.

Without thermals or upwards airflow (hence launching from a mountain slope), the paraglider will glide towards earth.  The rate of descent or glide ratio is inherent in the design of the glider wing be can be raised in a number of ways.

Typically, beginners or learners are strapped to the front of instructors but positions can be switched.

Paraponting

Rescue Emergency Care

There’s no getting away from the fact that we take part in a dangerous hobby.  The participation statement on my BMC membership card reads…

“The BMC recognises that climbing, hill walking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.”

I’ve been in a situation where someone took a nasty fall and we had to call out mountain rescue.  Now, when I see a collection box for any of the mountain rescue teams, I ALWAYS put a pound coin in it.  I think of it as an investment in the future; an insurance policy I hope I never have to claim on.

As an amateur (unpaid) mountain leader, I don’t have a legal duty of care.  Once briefed on the expected conditions, people should be able to look after themselves and speak up if they’re unhappy at any point.  However, I think I have a moral obligation to care for party members to the best of my abilities and that includes if someone takes ill or injures themselves.

Time and again, I’d put off enrolling in a Rescue Emergency Care course.  That was until a friend needed to renew his certificate in order to go for his Mountain Instructor assessment.  Essentially, it’s the equivalent of a First Aid at Work course but focuses on typical incidents that happen in the mountains.  The practicals are held outdoors to give an element of realism.  It was chucking it down on day 2 of our course so we did the role play in amongst the trees.  They offered some protection from the weather but it was still pretty miserable.  Outside of a real incident, I don’t think we could have had a more realistic scenario.

The end result is that I feel much more prepared should something unfortunate happen.  Fingers crossed I never have to put what I’ve learnt into practice.

Many thanks to Andy from Medicymru for making it so much less unpleasant than I thought it would be.  Some of the photos were fairly grusome.

Michael Davitt Bridge

Michael Davitt Bridge at Night

The Michael Davitt bridge is a swing bridge which connects Achill Island to the Irish mainland at Achill Sound. It is named after Michael Davitt. The first bridge was opened in 1887 by the National Land League which he founded.

In 1947, that bridge was replaced as it was too small to carry vehicular traffic safely. A new bridge was built along the south side of the original.  In September 2007, work began to replace the bridge for the second time and was completed in 2008.

Michael Davitt Bridge

A Day in Geneva

There are some areas of Geneva that feel a little claustrophobic with narrow side streets and small enclosed squares.  The old town is full of narrow cobbled streets.

1 BIG fountain! on Twitpic

On the flip side, there are plenty of wide open spaces. The promenade along the Lake Geneva shoreline is very relaxing and wide enough to feel that bit detached from the city itself.  All along, there is the ever-present spectacle of the Jet d’Eau.The water in the lake is surprisingly clean and clear. I was looking for fish and was pleasantly surprised when I saw some.

Lunch in Switzerland...  on Twitpic

Geneva gets my seal of approval for fantastic coffee and even better food. I have never ever spent so much on 1 meal in my life and it’s not something I intend to repeat in a hurry but I can say, hand on heart, that it was well worth it!

The city also has the honours of…

  1. being the city where the International committee of the Red Cross was founded by Henry Dunant in 1863; &
  2. giving its name to the Geneva Conventions.

Apologies for the poor picture quality. These are off my camera phone as my compact camera battery was flat by this stage of the trip.