I'm a woman

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

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter, by Stevie Haston.

Happy Easter.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Seasonal greeting. I guess its spring, even though its been here for ages this year already, the date combined with local religious festivities dictate that we must celebrate, and so celebrate we will by eating huge quantities of icky chocolate.

Ken climbing as he does.

Went climbing with Ken my Maltese mate and one of the local crew who climbs in the high 8s when he can stop eating the local excellent food. He also gave me some glue for which I am very thankful, thanks Ken. We finished the second day climbing at FruitCake Land where Ken led me up Heart of Glass a brilliant 6a+ up overhanging pockets which may be harder for the over weight, the timid, the technically non proficient, the inept, the clumsy etc, perhaps it needs a regrade as even Master Kens huge arms seemed to bulge even more than usual.   

 A very blurred photo of Easter Cristian Cross worship. Either the guy with the cross is moving very fast or my camera is drunk!

The quality of climbing at Fruit Cake Land is ridiculously high. While belaying on a hanging stance, I was reminded of how perfectly genius the new route setter was by a huge series of crashing waves that pummelled underneath and the shot up vertical for 8meters only to miss and then fall back into the sea.  The thus avoided colonic irrigation seemed to tense up parts of my aged body and I was up the route Heart of Glass in seconds. Ken was all smiles at the top and mumbling about pizza. However I took him to see a local project and was treated to Kens eyes bigger than when he sees a big plate of spaghetti. Can we bolt it he asked, no I replied I am afraid it is so perfect we will have to leave it as a traditional route and it will only get 3 ascents in the next 20 years- mysterious indeed are the ways of climbing nearly as mysterious as Easter. Happy Easter and please be understanding of my non religious stance and I love you all anyway, believers, non believers, agnostics, chocolate eaters and climbers.  

Friday, 25 March 2016

Fists of Fury, by Stevie Lee Haston.

Gear like I have used in my own way for 40 years are making the rounds again under new names.

 I was listening to a Pod Cast of Neil Greshem talking about training where he gave me a bit of a mention with helping with his training for a hard Sport route. Strangely even though I was helping him, in listening to the Pod cast I got some thing back, the teacher must always listen, and he must always be his own best pupil. It was funny to be called old school, so as a nod to that, I put on a head band, and an old shirt.

 Pax Mobiscum and "may your god go with you" as a very great British comedian used to say.

There is only one god, and she is called Training.  I was watching my Face book Feed of a few snippets of Bruce eee reee doing some spectacular "stunt" stuff, and there was a bit of him doing a Table Tenis match where he returns shots with Nanchuckies! Well its fake! I like Bruce Lee, and I don't mind emerging myself in that knowledge from time to time, but shit man if a man could do that he could walk on water!

 Back two knuckles.

Bruce Lee weighed about 135 lbs, and was really, really flexible, and fast, thats about it. I don't know if he would have been a good fighter, but I am sure he could have run away fast, "the best defence is not to be there" after all. For sure he would have been a good climber.

I used to train with a Chinese Bouncer in Bradford, he didn't study Wing chung like Bruce, he studied something called Sanda. Sanda is one of those weird things that is tremendously effective, but will never make it into the lime light, a bit like me and my shirt!

 Front two knuckles.

 Finger tip press ups when fat are a bit worrying, even when skinny they can damage joints.

 Planks are good, here I am waiting to go out climbing, and am bored waiting so stupidly am doing planks!

So what's up with the different knuckle stuff, well I think it has a carry over to crack climbing, and you don't have to have cracks. That's about it. There was tons of stuff I used to do that I bring back from time to time, and these press ups are part of it, walking crocodile on fists is good also. It can hurt on a hard floor, don't do them on tiles, do them on plush carpet, or training mats. They give you strong wrists as well, never a bad idea if you actual want to hit some one on the bowling ball. Anyway there you go, old school even for me. 

Extension into press , brill triceps excersise.

These are good, if you can roll onto your knuckles you are real Son of Sanda.  By the way, I took the Chines guy climbing, and even though he was chubby he was great, that was along time ago in a land far away called Bradford.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Gypsy's, tramps, thieves and Conservatives. by Stevie semi tolerant Haston.

 this pigeon does not have a religion.

The new member of the house hold is doing good, so far no religious tendencies at all.

 some exercise stuff  from France.

I do wonder what we were put on this earth for, not just some times, but nearly all the time. Most people seem to think it's about a blind pursuit of money. Others, argument. I just think about the sea the cliffs, a bit of love, and staying fit and well enough to enjoy these things.

 Under the finger board from Mr Crusher Boards is a Zee stone.

The Zee stone as I am sure you know is supposed to be a stone of power, the more eyes it has the more power. You often find climbers who have been to Nepal have one around their necks. I was given this Zee stone because it had too much power for its last owner! He gave it to me because I supposedly have a strong life force. I don't ware this stone anymore, it had a strange affect on me I felt like Crazy horse, I felt invincible. In reality its just a bit of ceramic, the Dalai Lama wears one just like this one.

 A hand exercise device for crushing the scrotum of intolerant people.

Some where along my life I became more tolerant, maybe I trained to be tolerant. There seems to be a lot of people who need training to day in tolerance.

Trepanning devices

I  am offering a Trepanning service for some of my intolerant friends and family, I will do it cheap, or do a few for charity. Perhaps a job lot to get a few hundred over in a short time this week. Any way I will repeat some thing to get things clear, I don't mind Muslims, I don't think being a Muslim increases your chances of being a terrorist. I am personally an agnostic, and in truth I think this might be a good idea considering all the hate flying around. I have Muslim friends, I have Jew friends, I have Christian friends,  and most of them are really tolerant good people. I have a few intolerant Bigot friends and in my family also, but please guys get this straight in aint the religion, it's the person. I won't give up on the intolerant friends, or my family, but you are trying my patience, really you are. Peace. 

The incredible lightness of Bigotry. by Stevie Haston.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

1000 pull ups and 1000 press ups, by Stevie Lalanne Haston.

Firstly Id like to thank Elaine Azzopardi for donating to me climbing new routes, and trying to do something for the climbing here. With out peoples help and support, I would still do some routes and maintenance, but it would be less, and the materials would be less good. The heartening thing is that Elaine Azzopardi complimented me on this blog, something I sometimes get complaints about! And because of that compliment which extended to being a training motivator, I extended my training session into a Jack LaLanne special, 1000 pull ups and 1000 press ups.

Loz Francomb my old buddy and work mate has just finished on this job, a big one is this. Loz was one of the Manchester group of climbers helped by Brian Cropper who sadly just died. Loz taught me a lot about rigging. Loz is king of the riggers,
 and was a steeple jack as a kid. 

Jack Lalanne was a fitness guru who promoted healthy eating with good excersize. He was famous for doing some pretty whacky stunts on his birthday, to keep himself going and others interested. He did it so well that he hooked me at an early age. Steve Edwards an American buddy who just lost his last battle recently was also a Jack Lalanne fan.  

                                      The last corner panel on this 314 meter high building.

I started the day watching Bill Super foot Wallace on you tube. Bill was a very technical kick boxer from mid 70s and was very flexible into his old age, plus I loved his warm sense of humour and the way he extends his counts. I wasn't so shabby I decided after about 1 hours stretching  but need to get back into it, I was a few inches off side splits which is one way to get me cross! 

I am now aching in every department, but feel very good, beer is on the table, and I will do some work on the climbing this week. I have just used up all my Titanium bolts except for the anchors, so if anybody has some spare cash use the donation button top right. 

Oh and don't rush headlong into the 1000 pull ups, the press ups are so easy compared to the pull ups its almost a joke to think they are half the challenge, they are not. The challenge are the pull ups,  the press ups are just a little slap in the face to keep you conscious. And look up Bill Superfoot Wallace the first real book on stretching to get me motivated other than yoga books, Bill really knew his stuff.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Abandoned Veterans, destroyed graves, by Stevie Haston.

Some words to go with some images, but I don't have images to go with my thoughts, so forgive me, and perhaps follow my thoughts.

 pretty in Pink, 7a.

Went climbing, it was great, then we thought we would partake of the local culture, so we went to watch a live crucifixion! Not, as unto the death, but as an enactment. Yes it was a bit of theatre, but interesting, no? The site for the triple crucifixion was at Fort Chambray which is a lovely little Fort with a particularly beautiful view, and it was as much for this view, as for the body hanging, or body drapery that we went for. 

 Pigeon rescue.

We went too early, in fact we were a week early as it happens, so were walking around the fortifications when we noticed plaques within the large Fort Ditch, or moat. On inquiry and research, we found out they were the graves of British servicemen from the Crimea war, and from the Dardanelles and Saloninka campaign in World War 1.

 The Rocket  a brilliant recent climb, 6a.

Fort Chambray on Gozo was a hospital for Fever victims, and British Soldiers, and servicemen at various times. Consequently there were three grave yards in the vicinity. One grave yard in the Fort for Protestants, and one for Roman Catholics in the ditch to the left of the Port Cull is and one for Protestants on the right.

 Eucalyptus blossom.

Readers of my blog will know I am very much anti war, but I am also very much anti insulting of soldiers, forced, or conscripted, or plain duped into doing the bidding and dirty work of Empires. It seemed there was firstly a Caste system of burial  here, and second the graves were recently destroyed  to make way for business. I talked to a few local Gozitans, who were still upset about this desecration of graves. Indeed it upset me also, to think of these lads getting blown to bits for God, and King, and Country, only to get a corner of a Ditch, and then have their resting place dug up, and their bones thrown away to make room for luxury apartments.

Transformed, transfigured and crucified. A few pull ups in honour of the dead.

Some of my Face book Friends are soldiers and Veterans, and I would hate to see them treated this way. Some governments have been terrible in recent years with small benefits for injured and troubled Veterans, notably Britain (UK) and America. These two governments are quick to go to war, but slow to pay soldiers for their work and subsequent injuries. Shame on warmongers, respect the living and the dead, of both sides. In this case they were on "our" side and we did not respect them.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Pretty in Pink by Stevie Blue Haston.

21st March and officially Spring, well Mr Planet I got news for, you its been Spring here for ages.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Dont Meddle with ma Medlar, by Stevie Haston.

 English and American vegetation doesn't look like this.

A path less travelled can be an obvious choice sometimes, so I have been going to my regular cliff from t'other side, t'other end o' the village. It's been a lovely choice. 

 Medlars used to be known in the UK and America, I wonder how many people know what they are now?

Medlars were brought over by the Romans, so where the Romans were, you will generally find Medlars. All around the Mediterranean coast near some of the best cliffs you will find Medlars, nowadays just for ornamental reasons. Anyway pass the Medlars and the Bananas on the left hand side, and pass "the Duchie" and aproach the cliffs which are about 30 meters high, and just admire the big boulders and scenery.

 The Rocket a really nice 6a. search for the severed head.

We did Check Point Charlie a cracking 7a, and Berlin a 7a+, it's a lovely area of walls, slabs and arettes. There was a Kestrel flying, and this area always seems to find a breeze. The pigeons love playing in the swirling aires.

 "Women are like Medlars, no sooner ripe but rotten", Thomas Dekker.

Thomas Dekker was clearly soured on women, but I will never be soured of this lovely forgotten corner of Gozo. It is where the Nadurians (my village) fired the only shots against the invading French, the rest of Malta quickly giving in! I would like to think of Nadurians never giving in, but unfortunately we do from time to time, even against smaller things than Napoleon like women.

the chimney is a nice little trad thing I might bolt  it, if some one gives me some bolts and glue!

Bye bye, it is funny to think I have been climbing and walking there more than 50 years now. And did you notice the severed head stuck in the crack its more obvious in the third photo.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Bashing the Bishop, by Stevie saintly Haston.

 United States of Amnesia, again 7b.

Two new routes done, Bashing the Bishop, and Polishing the Pope, very good.

 United States of Amnesia, again..

Also did United States of Amnesia again, its so sooooo delicate, and surprising, a magic route.

Alex getting a bit befuddled on United States etc.

Had a bit more fun as I realised you can start it down in the abyss, on Hindenberg a 7c.

 Perplexed Alex?

There is also the possibility of Hindenberg into Graf Spey which will be really good, and 8a vertical finish on Nadurian slopers!Looking foreword to linking that.

 Alex finally giving up being perplexed for good old fashioned anger and annoyance.

Another day of interesting stuff in a real strong wind were we were sheltered from the elements and the madness of the political world.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Training is going well, by Stevie Haston.

Its hard to train for as long as I have! photos

Training can go well, or it can just go by without much result. Personally I don't stress it much anymore when it doesn't show great results, because the results that you don't see can be the most beneficial. The adaption of muscle can be too quick for some of the joints and tendons. So going slow can have its place.

When there is too much stress in your life… a little relaxation might be in order.

My life has gone thru a very stressful period lately, and although I have maintained my training, it's some times been lack luster and not up to my demonic high standard. Having said that I still managed a session with over a thousand pull ups. I think I,ll go for the 1000 pull ups and 1000 press ups together, the old Jack Lalanne routine, just to see if its still there.  

There is a difference between relaxation and over doing it.

So I have a bit of work, but its a couple of months away, I don't have to get all edgy. Having a good block of time like this is giving me a good strong vibe for zee training. Being overweight I can play the "Fat boy Joker", and because I have done lots of varied climbing with really good shoes my foot work seems as dialled in as it has ever been. The only problem that I can see ahead is my usual nemesis of finding it hard to try hard. Training hard comes easy, and I love hard routes, but getting to that chain, or to that particular summit often involves a bit of authentic desire. You have to need to succeed, the need for speed, the need to bleed, and my blood is full of Weiss beer! Or it seems like it any way, so no more beer for a bit….. till I get a good result anyway. 
So hydrate-dont pickle.
Recharge- dont idle.
Have a plan.
And when you want, move forward, move forward with progressive resistance, so add load.
The Load should be commiserate to the task. 
After all there is no point in looking like Arnold when you do a marathon, indeed you will for sure end up walking!

Monday, 14 March 2016

United States of Amnesia, by Stevie Haston.

Titanium bolts please donate if you can, Donation fund button up on right.

Last week I put up 6 routes, and managed to red point 3 of them! So still in the happy stage of having something to do. 

Wall flowers are not boring!

So Six routes done, the two easiest were next to Scoup de Jour at Nadur cliffs, and they were on that crystal red rock, with aragonite bands. This rock is very pretty and the angle on these routes made for interesting climbing, all balance; 6a+ and 7a. They are on Titanium bolts!They are very worthwhile and a fine addition to the repertoire of the Nadur cliffs which now have over 120 routes making this area the biggest area of climbing in the Maltese Islands.  

 Basket Weaving 7a, its always in the shade so a good choice on hot days. Its already hot.

I did a bit of cleaning in the area and repeated a few of my old routes notably doing United States of Amnesia which is a brilliant 7b, and scary as all hell to boot. It starts by a long stem over a 20 meter deep gap and then precarious move on sweeping line leaves you guessing, and afeared. It's a great route I highly recommend it.

20 meters of darkness underneath, United States of Amnesia is not forgotten in a hurry!

Any way after a cold week with some rain its back to perfect climbing weather and a return of good spirits for me. As I said a few more projects to try is always great. I will bolt a big extension to a roof soon which should prove gut busting as its a long way on undercuts and knee bars. By for now.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Exercise of the day, by Stevie Haston.

This is one of the photos that secretly drew me into sport. It was in a book called Grip strength, which is  sadly no longer in print. I think it is of a man called Joe Falzon who is now 80 and still fit. Joe Falzon was a great strongman on the island.

Perhaps you should warm up before doing this exercise, a little light jogging, or skipping might be in order. Repetitions and sets, are left to the trainees judgement. The wearing of a Beanie is only really appropriate if you are a "Boulderer", or are thee "Joe".

There are reportedly 6 people in the car so, and I swear to god the guy leaning on the car looks like my uncle.

Good luck with this exercise, remember progression could mean more guys in the car, or more uncles leaning on it!

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Welsh friends and Titanium, by Stevie Haston.

 The winter is mild, no rain fairly perfect for climbing but equally nice for a walk!

Titanium bolts arrived. I will be putting up a dozen or so routes with rust proof perfect bolts. Thanks Martin at Titan bolts for doing the delivery so promptly and for X raying each one as a extra precaution.

 My Welch mates visiting Gozo escaping from the rain of North Wales.

A little group of my old buddies from North Wales have been climbing here this week, great to see them. And they climb so well, well they all ways did, grand lads.

 The whole team did Smack the crack, the grade 6 classic of the White Tower and as Mr Chang said "it didn't feel Trad, and it didn't feel like Sport climbing".  Yep it can be like that on a few routes on Gozo which can make it more interesting than normal, the sea cliffs especial have that extra feel, that bit of tonic. 

 found a deep hole under the belay of Smack the crack!

I trimmed some brambles under Smack the Crack and found myself going down a hole like Alice in Wonderland! It was made up of balanced blocks and debris, fairly tight and dangerous fairly quickly! it goes on, but I did not after a little collapse of the roof and my spirits!

 Bolts and stuff.

I have to thank Hans Boschker for using my Donation Button at the top right of the page, please feel free if you have some spare cash and wish to contribute to Gozo climbing.
I wish to say thank you to David Boyle also. 
And I wish to say thank you to Colin Dods.
Thanks guys, I'll get busy and do some new routes, was waiting for these and will get busy again.

Donation button top right, these are the best quality bolts I can source. I really appreciate every one who has contributed to my new routing, helped me even in small ways with gear, lifts coffee, booze, jokes, cuddles etc.  Long live climbing.