Bruce and me, Leeds, 24th July 2013

On Monday I went to see the film “Springsteen and I” at the National Media Museum in Bradford. The cinema has had a refurb and it’s an even better venue now. The film was ok but I would much rather see Bruce live, so on Wednesday I did just that.

This was the first time I’ve been to a big gig on my own and given that my relationship with him is one to one this was fine!

I got to Leeds mid afternoon and parked the car easily at the top of the Merrion Centre which is bang next to Leeds Arena. It was 28 degrees and I thought that if I was going to stand in the queue for any length of time I would be roasted alive so I popped straight into Boots for some factor 50 and then into Sports Direct for a bargain cap.

I’d booked a ticket for the Badlands fan club pre-show party at Tiger Tiger. It was lovely and air conditioned. Mark Wright played some Springsteen songs, he’s a good performer but he just isn’t Bruce.

I drank a bottle of Peroni in the afternoon which was something I haven’t done for a very long time indeed. Then I was a bit chilled by the air con so I left to get in the queue for the Arena.

It was weirdly now quite cool outside and I had to worry if I would be warm enough! I got into the queue and had a chat with a nice couple from Boston Spa. They turned out to be friends with Nils!

Bruce was rehearsing so there was a bit of a wait, you would think they knew the songs by now, as it turned out he played some rare songs so these would have needed rehearsing. At last I got into the Arena and went straight up to the top. It’s very well designed so that there’s a good view from all seats, mine was right at the front of the top tier so not bad but I would have loved to be closer (some of my work colleagues managed to get much nearer, grr).

I got myself a pint of Heineken and a small veggie pizza, well designed, more like an actual pie in shape so it held the contents in. It wasn’t bad at all. As well as getting good marks for having a veggie option they also sold salad in a pot which is a first for this type of venue.

The only thing the Arena needs to sort out is that the loos didn’t have catches on them which meant that all the women coming out were having a good moan. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “there’s no catch on the door!!”

In my seat and Bruce was half an hour late getting on stage. On my left I had a man who just absorbed intensely and on my right was a couple who moved not a muscle and clapped politely. Really I don’t know why they bothered to come. Everybody around them was on their feet and joining in as per usual.

The show was one of the best I’ve seen and my highlight was If I Should Fall Behind as acoustic solo prior to Thunder Road at the end.

But still no Frankie for me so looks like I’ll just have to go again, I need to be closer to him. I have been once, at Milton Keynes on the Human Touch tour but perhaps if Bruce could just pop in for a cold beer and some home cooking then that’ll be just fine…

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Max Weinberg, Soozie Tyrell, Nils Lofgren and Bruce

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Canal, Pennine Bridleway and Roman Road bike ride 13th July 2013

Bit late writing this but have been preoccupied with kidneys and life.
Chris and I started at her house using the canal path to get to Littleborough. It’s a well made path so a pleasure to ride on. Chris then guided me through Eelees woods which was a footpath so we walked across to Hollingworth Lake visitor centre via multiple kissing gates which was quite a challenge.
Got onto the bridleway to commence the big ascent we sensibly planned for a very hot day! This was a bit of pushing so we stopped for lunch and to gird our loins for what was to come.
A short flat stretch then we were at the base of the big hill going up to Blackstone Edge. We wanted to stay off the road but this meant footpath and Roman Road. A stiff climb indeed which was all push with frequent stops. Totally lathered when we got to the top.
Across to the White House pub which we’d held out as a carrot to reach the top. Imagine our disappointment to find it shut! Just like the last time when we were frozen and needed hot choc. They are missing a trick that’s for sure.
So onwards passing 3 reservoirs along the bridleway, destination Gaddings Dam. To reach it there is a paving stone footpath which we only sometimes managed to stay on. Extreme cyclists we are not! See video. Once at the dam Chris parked me in a quiet spot, got into her swimsuit and into the water. She only did a short swim but said it was lovely. I thought I was filming her but had pressed the wrong button so just a still.
After Chris had changed we got back on the bikes to some quite hard paths but then soon to the road and a lovely whizz down to Chris’ house.
She came over later to our house and we had barbecued chicken and mini burgers with salad We sat out by the new shed!

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Wetherlam, Swirl How and Great Carrs 7th July 2013

Left the car at Tilberthwaite (150 m) and started walking at 10. The plan was to climb Wetherlam, Swirl How, Great Carrs, Grey Friar and Brim Fell. It’s a very pretty walk along the side of the gill, this time I took the shorter route by going down to the beck and crossing over on the footbridge and up the other side. I managed to keep up a reasonable pace all day but within half an hour I was soaked through and panting as it was incredibly humid. My new levels of fitness certainly paid off as the day involved a lot of ascent and stamina. I passed where Carol and I had lunched the week before after 40 minutes. The path then goes up to the ridge overlooking Langdale, this is a pretty route and passes a stand of pines which is a haven of cool loveliness. I greased up to counteract the sun but then walked through a section with lots of horse flies. Horrible, the humidity must have brought them all out but at least they didn’t bite me. Then it was time to start the serious climb which was quite scrambly, although nothing like the north face of Tryfan as only short but still good fun. I reached the summit at 12 and stopped to eat a piece of flapjack. The summit is at 762 m.

Then on to Swirl How, this meant descending to Swirl Hause at 620 m and ascending Prison Band to reach the summit at 790 m. I stopped here to have my pork pie and then it was a quick whizz over to Great Carrs at 780 m. On the way across there is the wreck of a Halifax bomber which crashed here in 1944, killing all 8 on board. There isn’t much wreckage to be seen, but apparently there is more that got chucked over the side of the mountain that’s still on the hill. It was a little cooler over this side which was very welcome. A semi naked runner and his dog passed me. He looked very hot and very pink just in his knickers. I saw a lot of very pink people and one man who asked me if he was nearly there yet! I also met a couple I’d been leapfrogging with for about the 4th time, we had a little chat and then it was time to return as I was too hot to face doing any more ascents than necessary.

Back to Swirl How, back down the Prison Band, passing a poor dog who looked like he’d had enough, and then back up to Wetherlam. I’d been slightly nervous about descending the Wetherlam scramble but I’ve no idea why as it was just a walk, with only a couple of places where I had to lever myself down. I got back down quickly to the car before 5. I was so hot, I got a bottle of water I wasn’t planning to drink and tipped it over my head, neck and back. Instant relief!

I climbed about 980 m in total which given the heat of the day is pretty damn good and I know I wouldn’t have been able to do that without the running regime, I was tired but my legs have been fine today. I got home a bit late as traffic was slow on the motorway.

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This spot calls to me
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Crinkle Crags and Bowfell
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Crash site
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I do like this spot
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Still want to walk up here

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Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.