I'm a woman

I'm a woman
Photos copyright Laurence Gouault
No reproduction on other media without the photographer's permission.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

To climb, or not to climb, by Stevie Haston.

 poor Alex doing battle with  Brambles.

8th day of flu, been out path making, bloody hard work, but it is harder to stay indoors looking at America, and its post election complaints.  There should be a wailing, and a gnashing of teeth in America, but because dentistry costs so much, there never will be. It's your own fault, your electoral two party system doesn't work! Like in the UK, it doesn't work. If you were a bit clearer headed you might realise they are both coca cola, they are both business. Hey Ho, go climbing. I went climbing primarily because it was fun and challenging, but secondly, I knew that dialogue with the power base was impossible, why should the King listen to complaints from the peasants? If you don't think you'r a peasant go to Davos, or be Canadian where 5 guys money is worth the rest of Canadians. That is liberal Canada FFS!

 the view clockwork ferries on a copper etched sea.

I expect over the next few years to see the complete suppression of freedom to choose anything except what the rich prescribe in both America, and the UK. Even after you get rid of Trump, his nasty new laws will be kept on. Just like the anti Terror laws, they will be deemed necessary, long after people understand that there was very little terror. There was more danger in the 1980s than now! But hey it's easier to fool people now, we are dumber, we have been dumbed down.To prove it look at your President, he is surely the dumbest, he even makes Cameron look like a genius. Camerons penchant for putting "his little peter"into a dead pigs mouth is now eclipsed by the thought of the Great Orange Headed Leader of the free world cavorting in a Moscow Hotel with some "Ladies" with the sprinklers going on! We are so lucky to be entertained thus, or are we being distracted?    

 same same a bit blue..

Polution on my island from cars is awful, it's affecting peoples health, and the quality of life. Whats the solution? Electric cars and busses, its easy, we are a tiny island. Will it happen? No it won't, the business deals will remain in place, the government will just stick to the plan, and the plan is to get re elected, it's not to give people a free healthy electric powered bus service.

 animal rescue … we took a gift collected by the kids for the animals

My island is tiny, one of the businesses here is beef! Can you seriously believe that? Yep we keep them indoors in the heat all year round, because hey there's only room for cars here. We are the most obese nation in Europe, and we are getting more beef farms! The local animal protection is a sweet little place, but the local MacDos isn't, eh?

 12 swans have sook sanctuary on our island, they have not been questioned about politics, luckily they are white so everything should be good.

Don't ask me what these 12 swans thought they were doing landing on 8 mile like long Gozo, maybe they were on drugs! Anyway these Swans are now a big attraction! Even one of the normally rabbid hunters saved one from an attacking local duck, which had a swan pinned down. Several explanations have been offered up for this little fight, one is that it was a racist attack, the second most favoured, is that it was a sexual advance as our gene pool is so small. All our pools are small! Look at the photo, thats the biggest bit of water on the island, and its the wettest year since we sponsored Noah.

 local Copper protecting the swans…

Other countries have terrible things happening to their police, ours it must be said are not quite in the same boat! If asked to hit people over the head with batons they would probably opt for balsa wood ones, hey we are all related-like in the rest of the world for sure-but yep here we are all related!

 solar powered industry, salt pans in full production boom.

Flu is a drag, but it does put make you think a bit, instead of hanging from a rope above a pleasant drop into Trumps huge intellect, you muse on certain other things. Peaceful demos against Trump will get you no where, it is only the threat of civil disobedience that will change America and the UK. That's why every government in each country is attacking your civil liberties and militarising the police. You got the NHS because they feared socialism and revolution in the UK, not because they liked you!  They are now taking it away because they can. In America they have just undone Obama Care, job done. Governments are allowed to be violent, they invade other countries, they steal oil, but hey ho, wave a placard at a police officer covered in a space man suit-shit thats bad, thats violent

the slippery sloppy crack project.. never got any where on this….will keep diligently failing while it violently re buffs me

Please remember I would never advocate violence, yes you guys from the UK, USA, and France who monitor my computer, I do not advocate violence, just as I don't advocate stupidity. You have 4 years of the greatest robber baron in recent world history in charge of America-good luck with the flowers against the pepper spray!
I,ll leave you with the pleasant thought that repealing Obama Care will cause 44,000 deaths a year! But of course that isn't violent, tell that to those people who will die! 

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Good bye America, by Stevie sad Haston.

My FB feed is full of upset friends, worried friends from America. They are worried about the future like at no other time! Well I aint got anything to say except BOAKYAG, or start protesting. This new regime (I won't call him a President as that's too flattering) is after your remaining OIL, Gass, and Fraking areas, and Coal, and a lot of this is in Federal Lands, a lot of it will be in areas we climb. Protest if these areas are important to you. Politics do matter.

The World and societies are going to have to have a little reshuffle to get rid of the Fascist fever that is making politics sick. But in my group of friends their love of important, and beautiful places should unite them.

 Red sky at night politics are bright!

Get out don't be depressed, spend your money on climbing, skiing …. 

 Train hard, read a few history books, read some books on the politics, read…don't just watch CNN.

Train your body train your mind.

 Spring is here, in Gozo, theres a huge wind storm from the south sand and warmth from Africa.

The sadness from America is only equaled by the turmoil in the UK. Brexit that most foul racist, and xenophobic doctrine of inward thinking is destroying the UK, Scotland will find it hard to hang on to the UK, as the un elected Prime-minister lies, and stumbles her way through a mess of selfishness.

 What ever you do, don't jump!

America has 25% of the worlds prison population, more than 2.3 million in jail, if simple things like that  are not faced, you will never have a fair country. For sure that population will now go up. America will make it harder to protest, it has taken a remarkable acceleration upwards since the 1990. You didn't need Trump for this!

the next buttress on my list, it looks a bit tough, need lots of bolts! Its gonna be called death of the American Dream.

I have seen a lot of Americans here in the last month and truly Americans are the least political people, but recently they seem to have awoken from a dream. The American Dream.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Distant Snows a book by John Harding reviewed by Stevie Haston.

Being lucky with books, is almost as difficult as being lucky with women. I have been lucky in the last month, but to find the book Distant Snows, I feel grateful indeed. It is a book that spans 60 years of climbing, skiing, and traveling, it is a book that would normally span a few peoples lives, but John Harding has quietly, simply plodded, or slid along on his skies, accumulating a fascinating life. 

 In the writing of this book John in some ways has he has eclipsed himself, and I am in danger of tying my tongue in knots trying to give him fancy compliments!

Distant Snows is a slow well considered book, it's a dipping book, and a book that will easily lead you on to other books, and perhaps other peoples journeys. John is a former president of the Alpine Club, and a president of the Alpine Club, and Eagle Ski Clubs. His other books include Pyrenean High Route, which was short listed for the Boardman Prize, and his probably better book Roads to Nowhere, which records his political service in South Arabia. You may remember me recommending A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, well this book touches that one, when Harding meets Newby's mountaineering partner Hugh Carless at an Embassy function somewhere in the East! In truth I'ave always loved A Short Walk in the H.K. but I some how feel that Distant Snows is better. It is certainly better in that there is more adventure, Distant snows describes many exhibitions to wonderfully diverse regions of the world, not just one short walk. 

Maps, there are a few here we have the areas visited and described.

There is also a depth to the descriptions of the countries visited as you might expect, but would seldom receive from a member of Hardings profession. It is refreshing to see some politics wrapping around mountain travel, these often times, war torn, or troubled areas deserve a bit of background. I love this book and would unreservedly recommend it except for its slightly behind the cutting edge aspect of its ascents. But that is also a reason to recommend it, is it not? The book is a fantastic reminder that you can can have great adventures with out being a  top flight, up to the moment Tiger. Hardings love of ski touring is another seldom seen side to mountains, but as many real mountaineers knows, a pair of sliding boards is the way to go in some areas, and leads to much pleasure. Some of these expeditions are now impossible to duplicate, so our only way of visiting these areas is through this book. If this review doesn't seem full of superlatives, it is no reason not to like this book the less, superlatives don't trump Harding's very interesting passion, which he some how sandwiched in a professional and family life, he did all these journeys in his holidays! The style of the book is at once subdued, but exciting, and the authors humour comes through very well, even under duress-a handy trick for an expedition man, as well as a political administrator. Harding went to Trinity College, and ended up as a solicitor in the City, none of these things should put you off, indeed I found the man charming, and am envious of his intelligence, and adventures. Long live books like this.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

As good as it gets, by Stevie be good Haston.

Life goes by, and then sometimes you think it's all over, and your best days are behind you, then along come a few good days. Good days are cracking, long live those crackerjack days.

 The classic view of the Azure window, its a cliche, its over done, and you know what? Its still a brill few mins gazing.

It has been a bit stormy here, not done a full days climbing for a bit, missed them, ho hum life sucks. But it doesn't suck big time. Thats coming I guess.

 holds come in all shapes, I do love this island for its holds.

 clouds, rain, silver linings, a pot of gold etc.

Went out today, it rained, pressed on, threw the big long rope down the big high cliff, the rope flirted off horizontally and wrapped it self aroud hundreds of horns, flakes, gargoyles, and sticketyout things. Its a 100 meter rope, a hundred possibilities of trouble!
By the time I sorted that out, I had wished I'd stayed in, bored out of my brains, or not.

check this vid out here.
this is the top of a huge pitch with a lot of exposure, magic,  might only be 6b with luck.

Anyway it all came good, I sorted out a hugely elegant pitch up a soaring arete of stoned magnificence. It is a big pitch, character building as we used to say. It's always worth trying…. well so far it has been.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Pure as the Driven Slush, by Stevie Sacred Haston.

So who said this and about whom?
"...there has never been a man of such slender intellectual equipment, absolutely without experience in office, impudently flashing his wealth before the eyes of the people saying make me President….this man has a record which would make it impossible for him to live through a Presidential campaign-such gutters and sewers would be dragged. It is not a question of politics, but of character. An agitator we can endure; an honest radical we can respect, a fanatic we can tolerate; but a low (orange?) voluptuary, trying to sting his jaded senses to fresh thrill, by turning from private to public corruption, is a new horror to American Politics."

Your wrong unless you'r a bloody genius.

It was said about a certain Mr Hearst, who once apon time in America tried to become President. And it was in said in a major paper, one that was obviously not owned by him. But since all papers are now owned by the few, it is hard to get anything honest, and good, said anymore. The big plus for me, is that it's propa joined up writing, like wat you don't get any more in a rag.

A world that marches towards war with upside down morals as a uniform.

Not since between the World wars have so many Fascists  been in power in Europe. Their victory, or their take over is that more impressive due to the highish employment, and the relative luxury that the plebs live in  todays Spoilt Slack New World. What has happened? One woman/girl/ android  with some kind of university degree, once famously asked me how long it took me to drive over from France. I quickly crossed her off my  miscegenation  list. Funny how beauty is actually skin deep, and can disguise a perfect vacuum. Funny how the laurels that western Europe, and America decked themselves with, are now looking like the confetti at the obviously doomed modern marriage. I did my pull ups today, thats it folks.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The right tools for the job, by Stevie the tool Haston.

Do you know the difference between Static rope and Dynamic rope? Do yu know what impact force is? Do you know what the right tool for the job is?

 Static is so much better at jugging up, or rigging.

The other day I went down a long rope, then another long rope, and couldn't get back up with my jumping system. I was trapped. Fairly embarrassingly trapped. After a while I swum around pondering the very long swim back in cold water without a suit, and decided on a humiliating rescue rather than turning into a frozen bit of cod. Anyway it didn't happen for I accidentally happened on a small mechanical jumar which did work! It's funny how some things work and are correct. This little thing was in the zip compartment of my chalk bag! 

 Dog food stops dogs from destroying Scarpa Furias.

 The line of Alah il hobuik, adventurous terrain. Garden trowel a good option on the middle pitch.

Blaming tools, or equipment seems to be a common subject, slightly overtaken at the moment in blaming Presidents, and Prime Ministers rather than blaming humans. Or learn your trade, and do the job, don't pretend you know what your doing.

 King of the crag, he never blames his gear.

 These baubles make my inner life shine, and my inner ear hear the sea.

 this dog is the right tool to model this bit of Italian fashion wear, its cold here!

The sky above the sea, it reverberates with colour at this time of year, the correct tapestry for a dreamy traipse on the way home.

I wore a helmet the other day, when I work with people I make them wear one. I check every bodies  knot, whether they want me to, or not. The right tool for the job, is sometimes just a question. 

Monday, 9 January 2017

Andy Pollitt 2, by Stevie Zero Haston.

 Bernd Arnold schooling me on the finer points of climbing history.

Climbers can be huge people, obviously not in stature, just look at Johnny Dawes. Some of them weren't that flamboyant, or noticeable due to crazy last century foibles, like a modicum of honesty, and a reasonable amount of modesty. It was a pleasure to give Andy Pollitt his glowing review, as I did for Ron Fawcet a few years ago. We will doubtless meet up in an Ozzy pub one day and get smashed on nostalgia.

 Going down 140 meters, getting stuck, becoming the human icicle, returning, etc, short epic which will never get written about.

Will my little tales of daring do come light on gilded paper? I think the chances are receding. Life is just way too desperate now, just feeding my self seems to cause me problems and the future for an old geriatric climber with out health insurance looks bleak! When Andy Pollitt  saw his mate "Jerry the greatestest climber" in the worlds book come out to a glad reception, it must've galled, but it was a spur to his memory, and a book was impregnated, gestated, and was finally born. There's a bit in the book about a route called Zero in the book, an old route in Ogwen and Andy's tale is of a grip up, a desperate grip up! Cris Gore did the route a bit after, the last route of this type that Chris "the horse" did. So many of these great climbers like Chris stopped climbing knecky routes-Chris was always a very sensible pragmatic bloke-and his early decision not to push the boat out was indeed sensible. Jerry gave up after Masters Wall and truly became the Master of hype all though he still managed in a couple of cases to pull his gnarly fingers out and do something-Liquid Amber springs to mind.

A better out come, a man must eat, a man must work, donate so I can eat cake…actually I need some glue!

The modern equivalent of Zero still exists, you get the odd ascent of Indian Face every half decade, just to remind us cynics, that these types of hombre still get past the PC neutering stage. But do they develop into rabid Tom Cats of climbing, no they don't seem too. The old phrase there are old climbers and bold climbers but no old bold climbers springs to mind! Anyway Mr Andy Punk in the Gym, thanks for a good trip down memory lane.  And as a final two fingers up, Andy did give Phil Davidson a good mention, talk about unsung 'heroes', obviously I wouldn't use hero carelessly, it's merely a substitution for climber here, to exaggerate climbings value to a non climbing public. Now that I mention Phil I have to mention Andy's not lack of technique, but his ordinaryness of foot work. In some of the photos you will see him splayed out, both shoes on inside edge! Andy used to drag himself up some things by force of will on those fingers of steel, with a body long lost much torsion, his mind slowly wilting, but he would win through. Thank god he did. Did I mention his crazy eyes…..