I'm a woman

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

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Treassure Island, by Stevie Crusoe Haston.

I have lived in may places, and strangely I have met bigoted, stupid, and racist people in all of them. In some places I have met incredibly bigoted, profoundly stupid and racist people, these are the places I normally leave. These little places were there is a whirlpool of hate, jealousy, and lack of logic have been in no particular order London, Yorkshire, both north and south, North Wales, France, America.  Try to remember that they were often just small eddies of hate and stupidity, rather than whirlpools, but at times there was a flood which caused these vortexes of group hate to become worse. 
 On cliffs between the sea and the sky, there is a happy country without hate, and jealousy.

A lot of hate, and jealousy, and blame comes from having, or thinking you have little, or that the little you have, is in danger of being taken away, or diluted.

 I get very grumpy when I don't have this place to myself and start talking about bloody foreigners!

The simple fact is that people of different colours, and different religions are attracted by the same things, they like jobs and money, and they don't like to be bombed, shot, beheaded, and generally messed about with. So they flock like migrating birds, to peck at certain tables, and there, while they nibble and peck, they can become targets for certain hunters. News Paper owners are some of these hunters, politicians are some of these hunters, some are only pretending to be hunters, and are dressed in camouflage to get your vote because they just want your money, your labour for less.

 Thank you Will for sharing your time with me.

The little island of Comino used to have one family from my village on it, now in summer the beaches are covered in sun beds, and burning northern flesh. It is not my cup of tea, I go else where. 
We need to spread out money, and jobs, and security, so that the beauty and quite of some places is secured. This is obviously not easy because of the greed of some of us.

 This is Santa Maria deep water soloing, its not very developed, and is also a commercial diving area, it is also used heavily by fishermen.

I had a lovely swim under the the cliffs of Santa Maria all by myself, one hour of heaven away from my troubles. Normally I would have to share. Sharing doesn't come easy sometimes.

Elephant rock is a great place to climb it catches the dawn light.

Ganesh is the Indian god resembling an elephant, which reminds me of something. I have seen racism, and religious hatred explode in seconds out from peace in India. When you think about the peace, and loving that is promulgated in most religions these explosions of violence, and hatred in India  look like unwanted violent storms! Hatred is a very bad vibe, it damages everybody, that's why I spend most of my time away from people, I like good feelings and peace, which is guarantied only it seems when your alone.

I don't know why I'ave written this, I think its because I am worried that the small afternoon storms can become a raging all year round orgy of violence. And this is precisely what immigrants, migrants, and refugees flee from-the terrible storm. These terrible storms are social, and commercial constructs, they are also often just power grabs, they don't have to be there.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Tourist terror summer, by Stevie Haston.

I think a summer of terrible crowds will be here this year, Gozo is just too popular!

 Alex with a stone in her eye! This fantastic 6c is a route of my ex wives Laurence, it's called Cascade d'or, it's very good.

We went for a paddle around Comino with Gozo Adentures today. Our guide Will took us across the short stretch of water to Comino Island, and we had a great time looking into many caves. There is a lot of undocumented deep water soloing on this island, but the free diving, and swimming is also brilliant. I would recommend it except that in summer it is minging with people, it is truly horrendous. You can kayak around it, and stay away from most of the sun bed loving day crowds, but the best time is outta season.

 the tower of Poseurs, where the rescue practise was done yesterday.

I went for a good swim and dive, got knocked about by a swell on the east side of the island, glad I was wearing a wet suit, it took some big scuffs as I was swept into some rocks. Water was 16° Centigrade, ok!

 Jesus is coming at Easter, and he is coming by motorbike!

There could be a lot of climbing on Comino, indeed there is some, but it's nothing like as good as on Gozo.  After a bit of paddling, over an hours swim, and a bit more kayaking my shoulders felt worked. Nice little day.

 On Comino looking at the caves and cliffs. Dustin admiring a double Arch.

The Blue lagoon without crowds is still exceptional, the blueness is indeed special. We picked up a polystyrene box, some bottles, and a sac, but we could have filled a boat with rubbish. Time Gozo took care of this island a bit better, me thinks.

did the pilot 
pick them up or are they still there on the Tower of Poseurs?

Anyway a great day with Gozo Adventures who are my friends, and I would like people to consider them for their climbing Kayaking, Biking or walking needs. They are nice people, Will our guide was great, Irish Scottish, he promised to take me around the North Coast. I normally access some of the north coast by long swims, but I fancy the easier option of a Kayak visit, to see it all in one go. Thanks Will, and thanks Gozo Adventures.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Help from above, by Stevie Haston.

So my thumb is I think the best thumb in the world, mainly because it's attached still to the rest of my body!

 Diego is my little friend he gets very upset when I go down a cliff.

Diego and I go climbing a bit, I would like him to get rubber shoes, and perhaps learn a few things. But he refuses to learn,  he is like a lot of climbers, he is adamant that he knows it all.

 Little Lilly is 10 years old, and is adamant that she knows everything.

I went climbing today, and did four routes, it hurt a bit, but sure who cares! I went out to belay my friend, and offer support, but I had a quick go, which some how turned into four routes. The best route naturally was on mono's -one finger pockets are it seems, thumb friendly.

The local rescue guys appeared out of the blue for a practise, they use the Tower of Poser as a little pinnacle landing thingy.

Three bemused guys hoping the pilot has gone off to get beers.

While we were climbing the rescue guys came, and did some good stuff. Thanks guys you looked great, thank you for all your practising. I was rescued as a young man once, and was extremely grateful. Are these the guys who pick up the poor unfortunates from the sea as well?

Monday, 20 March 2017

Pull ups for therapy and wellness, by Stevie Haston.

Being injured is no fun, being unfit and injured is probably the road to perdition!

this is me last year a bit fit, photos this year would show a tubby guy without the lead weight belt, and a more natural one of fat.

To keep my spirits up, I did a few pull-ups today, as usual I thought I would do a lot, but unusually I didn't. However some pull ups are better than no pull-ups.

the pull up square was small and not very square today!

 I will do a few more pull ups in the afternoon when I am more bored! Pull ups have been known to cure head aches, they are a panacea, the pull up panacea!

Zee thumb throbs, and goes puce coloured.

For all you people out there with puss coming out of your thumbs, think on the bright side, at least your not Mrs Mays lost conscience, that would be really sickening!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Salutary lesson in pressure, by Stevie Haston.

I fell off today, took a nasty fall with the rope wrapped around my thumb, and a carabiner wedged across it! As I flew downwards I saw a photo in my head of a finger which had been cut off in a similar accident. The fall was long, and the stretch long, as it progressed I twisted my hand, strangely the correct way, the rope jerked off! It hurt like buggery, not that I know what that hurt like, I suspect it might hurt more. Perhaps there will be a few educational replies to my blog!

 Parking problems, and chaos at Mielah Arch!

You have to look at the bright side, I made it back out of that cave. If I had gone in the water with all the gear I would have drowned, and I suspect my thumb is sprained, cut, but will be good to go. The traffic from tourism near my cliff was very bad today, the pressure of tourism at the week end is now stupid. Don't know what will come of this. 

 a mashed thumb! It is still functioning, just a good result I suppose, worse would be worse!

I have been lucky in my life, not least as I may well get to my 60 th birthday soon.

Climbing can be great, modern tourism is how can you put it, a bit crowded in comparison.

There were a few teams climbing today, two of them left to seek some where less crowded!

 New rubbish at the top of one cliff today.

New rubbish has appeared, not the tourists this time, locals. 

new rubbish, rubbish again.

Life is sad, life is short, look on the bright side, I am still standing with a sore thumb taking photos of new rubbish, ah well.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Citadelle of Joy, by Stevie Haston.

The summer is here three days a week, the rest of the time it's fairly windy, with choppy seas. The flowers are going mad, and the migration of birds is happening. A few Kites flew over, and 6 storks,  a Hoopee with its crazy head plume flew underneath me while I was cleaning a route, it all felt grand.

 The Citadelle in Victoria, locals call our little capital Rabat, its old name!

There has not been a cessation during this winter of tourists, they are here in numbers, are we to become like Venice, sinking into a swamp under the burden of making money?

 We are a 12 kilometre long island, that is why you need 1500 cc of motor bike, did I say our longest straight bit of road was a few hundred meters?

Climbing is such a pleasure, meeting other climbers especially when every thing they do in the sport is new, and wonderful, is probably the best bit.

 Marks dreds nearly didn't fit in the helmet, have to design a helmet for dreaded climbers.

The stone is good in the sun if there is a breeze, if not it's too hot. Where did spring go?

 Morgan enjoying herself.

 New crowds visiting the cliff we have been climbing on for 40 years with out a complaint or problem, one person called the police and said we were doing bad things. Bad things! Leaving litter is what lots of these people did, bottles, beer cans.

Today I went climbing, it was very good, talked to a few farmers, who were asking about climbing, all pleasant and jolly, if every body was like them it would be easy.

bob giant fennel behind me, I am there to give it scale!

It's going to be hot soon, and the caves, and shady cliffs will be my home, time to get seriously arboreal. Fat as pig Guinea pig, and about as handy at the moment. Hard routes seem far away, a distant promised land, but certainly I will visit them again.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Kafka and Gozo, by Stevie Haston.

                                            Have you seen the Azure Window?

Looking for routes is fun, finding old routes that the old climbers of Gozo used years ago in ancient times is even better. Above you see me on an old route with even seats cut in the rock by ancient fishermen. Having written the guide book to the islands with the help of Simon Alden and Jeffrey Camilleri, I was often in minor arguments about who did first ascents. I would often say, well it was probably done by a Maltese fishermen a thousand years ago, and who cares who did it.

 The above is a route of 8a and was not done first by a Maltese fisherman. I only did the first free ascent. Who did the first ascent?

The Kafkaesque conversations you can get into sometimes makes my head spin. I like to obey the law, and do so, but I do call the law an ass from time to time. The other day security wouldn't allow me to get off a safe car park on to safe flat ground! I asked on what authority etc, who they were, they refused all to answer, and kept bullying. Today people were not allowed to dive the Azure Window, and Blue Hole. It is now illegal! Why?

 Street scene in the big town Rabat.

On enquiry after you ask police, ministry, department of paper shuffling and even various friends within the government you get conflicting answers. The security people, the uniformed protectors of the Rock Arch that is no longer there, boldly stop you. 

 flower petals

I would imagine these restrictions will become sensible at some stage, but it is all very confusing. It's like things one day are legal, but then its Ok, or in America, state to state things, and laws  are different.

 Obviously you shouldn't mess this fine thing up, but hey its fragile its not a pile of rocks. There were some very nice Gozitan council work men there to stop children and drunks from messing it up.

Climbing on my island was understood by Gozo fishermen, but those men are older than me, there climbing was superseded by car transport. But the peace and quiet of sitting on a ledge is not the same as sitting in polluted traffic. And looking at internet videos is no substitute for diving in the real sea.

My favourite.

Rocks and stones are one of my favourite things, I love touching them. I love the sea, to not be in the sea is some how wrong for me. My heritage is the sea, and the cliffs of Gozo. Please Mr Lawman, Mr Bureaucrat don't make silly laws about access.