Web cams

Twiddling my thumbs at work, I thought I would have a quick look at the Ogwen web cams as I will be up there the weekend after next (sorry no links as I’m typing this from my iPhone). Yesterday it was quite clear. Today the cam facing Y Garn is a total whiteout. The one facing Capel Curig showing some serious snow. I guess it will probably melt over the next week or so but I may take my Kahtoola Microspikes if the snow is hanging around. It’s quite handy to have these cams to check on conditions. I’m also enjoying Mick and Gayle’s K2CW walk. Sounds like a bit of a grim day today.

Twilight zone

I find myself in the twilight zone at the moment. I’m at work but not required to do anything in particular. I’ve read the papers and most of The Economist. It’s a strange existence. I’m not used to aimlessness. I’ll have to find something concrete to do tomorrow!


Thank you for all your good wishes. One of the good things about “social media” is the warmth of sentiments expressed in the comments. I am also pleased to report that the attitude of my employers has been constructive, which has made the whole process a lot easier. It’s also heartening to hear from others who have been this way. I’m starting to think about trips I might do this year. I may even apply for next year’s TGO Challenge when the forms come out in October.

Economically inactive

You might have noticed there’s not been much activity lately on this blog. About four months ago, the company I had been working for was taken over. After eleven years of working for one company, the new one was quite a culture shock. I’ve struggled for the past couple of months, becoming increasingly unhappy and stressed.

Today, I gave up the struggle and resigned from my job. While there is some sadness, there’s also an overwhelming feeling of relief. A number of my former colleagues have already gone and I guess I won’t be the last. Fortunately, I won’t be on the streets selling The Big Issue. I’ve been pretty cautious in my career and built up some savings. As befits an economist, I’ve modelled my finances and I’m OK. Not rich but OK.

I still have some loose ends to tie up, but I shan’t be working full-time again. After 30 years of work it will feel odd. I have some plans to try to get some non-executive directorships, doing some community/charity work and possibly doing another degree. I’d like to become the world’s expert in something, not tent mods, before you say it! Most of all I want to spend some time with my family.

So, this is a new chapter in my life. I will have a lot more time for backpacking and blogging. Why “economically inactive”? Well if you don’t sign on, then that’s how you’re classified and I shan’t be signing on!

Cheap space

I am amazed at how much the price of external hard drives has fallen. I’ve just ordered two Western Digital 1TB drives for under £60 each from Amazon. I’m going to use them for offsite storage for backups. Dave (Red Yeti) made a good post about offsite backups. At the moment I’m not keen to use a web-based service, so I’ll back up to an external hard disk and rotate the disks to somewhere safe.

Currently my entire computer is backed up to my home server, which I bought primarily to store my CDs (about 450 ripped so far) but that is no protection against a fire. I will also transfer copies of my ripped CDs as a backup, hence a disk large enough to cover all eventualities. As Dave says, how would you feel if all your pictures were lost. I’m now in extreme disaster planning mode!

iBlogger 2

As you have seen, I’ve been experimenting with iBlogger after reports of glitches in the WordPress app for iPhone. TBH it’s a bit limited. You seem to be able to post only one picture and it’s always at the top of the post. It also takes an age to post. You can’t see comments either. There have been a number of favourable reviews, but I’ve found it a bit disappointing. Hopefully it will be developed further.

In the forest live

It’s a lovely afternoon, so I thought I would take a stroll in the forest and experiment with a live blog in iBlogger

Here’s a picture of some frogs for Darren. It looks as though you can only post one picture per post on iBlogger, which is a constraint. Anyway ta ta for now. I’ll post this and see how it comes out.

NeoAir cover

After my brief attempt at political commentary I’m back to gear and tweaks! The NeoAir has been a transformational piece of gear, giving superb sleeping comfort at a very low weight. I think it has been a game changer for sleeping mats. The Exped Downmat still gives the most comfort but for a much greater weight.

The one thing I’m not so keen on is the very grippy top surface. I tend to move around a lot in the night. The NeoAir means that my sleeping bag doesn’t move with me. I tend to move within my sleeping bag, meaning that I can’t use the hood effectively.

My workaround is to have a “pillow case” for my NeoAir. I’ve taken a silk sleeping bag liner from backpackinglight.co.uk, chopped a bit off and added a velcro seal. Well, actually my mother did the chopping and the sewing! And here it is:

The white strips are the velcro.

The silk case weighs 93g and feels luxurious, much nicer than the tacky feel of the NeoAir. It will add a little bit of insulation, but more importantly, it will allow my sleeping bag to move with me in the night.