I'm a woman

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

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Gifts from above, by Stevie below par Haston.

 Part of my job is giving advice to people and companies, whether they listen is a different thing. Whether I listen is also a different thing. Listening is a very odd thing. With people that I work for, the amount of listening seems to depend on how much they pay me! It's a funny thing one, but the more my advice costs the more people seem to listen-it's weird and simple. You people are lucky and get stuff off my bog for nothing, and in consequence don't listen that much.

this photo is blurred but look at my foot and the size of the shoe, you don't have to do this, I do!

Climbing shoes are the contact between you and the rock, in some ways you can say they keep you on. Fingers are the same, they keep you attached to the rock. Fingers need training, specific training! Climbing shoes need fitting, specific fitting!

good chalk, especially when conditions are not good, or slimy hold due to humidity rob you.

I have been climbing around longer than chalk, and chalk varies, the above is some of the best, the very best, it's not cheap, I only use it for church on sundays-the church of hard rock. It's expensive, but it is excellent. It's very odd that people don't understand good gear. A good pair of boots won't do shit for you unless they fit, they will make you cruise if they fit really well. Anyway that's my sermon from the mount. I'll just get back to my Yoga. Yoga works for me, but this time it is taking its time, but now it is starting to kick in, I am happy with it. Strangely as I am practising one of my other sports Free diving, the importance of Yoga is much more obvious in that sport. Calmness is a pre requisite of free diving, and I am not the calmest. So although its obvious to everybody that Yoga is essential with breath control why is the Yoga / climbing link so hard for people to understand?

Furia a Scarpa work of art, it helps me get above myself.

Getting the best out of yourself is hard work. Get working.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Alas poor Yorick, by Stevie Haston.

Its summer, and the dead court jester who was democracy is deader than dead.

There are riots in France and police violence that puts to shame stuff that happens in dictatorships. Does anybody care, not really. There a referendum coming about whether the UK should stay in the EU when in reality we don't even know what the EU does or who controls it!

 There have been a lot of people loosing their jobs in UK papers, does anybody care?

With out a free press you will just be treated like mushrooms, "kept in the dark, and fed bullshit". But do you care?

Four guys died in a helicopter crash in France this week. They were so called Gendarmes "police", in France the rescue service for walkers and climbers and every one is the best in the world. I care about this one, these guys died in our service , most defiantly I care. Thank you very much for your service. 

the diet has started, Alas poor Stevie I knew him well, but a large part of him must go. 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Temporary like Achilles. by Stevie Sisyphus Haston

these are all photos from the year 2012, when I thought I was weak and fat!

Ill just reprint it, and add a touch of comment.

So, I am still massively weak, but its getting better. Summer is here and its bad for small holds etc, don't care anyway, cos the plan is the plan, stick to the plan, man!

Firstly clearly I am not weak, but weaker than I had been a couple of years before! It's summer again, and I will stick to the plan-adifferent plan but a plan, none the less.

One arm on a comfy mono thread, and then extend, at the moment its rubbish hope to have made a bit of progress in a few months and after cutting off my legs, brain and other non useful bits.

I can't close the one arm now or do any thing extra on it! So, big fail!

          Kick, and lever it out a bit. I consulted a  friend who said I could loose 7 kgs, I am inclined to believe him, although he may be mad! If he is right and my calculations are right, Ground Zero Gravity Day will come in 8 weeks, factor in Sods Law, Murphys Law, and Zandradoxx disease, an in two months I will do a reasonable route. May the force be with you, more fun and success. 

The idea of extending into a crouched one arm lever on a mono has receeded into legend sadly. The weight issue that I talked about in 2012 was probably right I could have lost 7 kgs and would have literally flew up some of the hardest routes. My age was 55! Now that I look back it looks good 8 out of 10.

Failed attempt, pull up +80KG on campus rung.

I was weak, but not by other peoples terms. They were my terms. And it was still a FAIL!

Pyramid up, pyramid down, pull a stack of plates, rock the rhomboids, shock the spinal erectors….

I should have kept thee up, they were doing me good, this weight and that angle would now rupture a disk!

The summer is here, and I will clean my new project and start work, on it. Yoga has not been missed, not once. Cardio has a small place in my project, but breathing will be taken care of by swimming and diving, and correct breathing and mental focus will help a lot. So today aged 59 I am a sad seedless, but I am still alive Achilles is well dead!

Friday, 20 May 2016

The core of climbing, by Stevie the worm Haston.

A Mono fin, probably one of the most useful but least accessible core training tools.

The period of repose after my little success on my last project Bernd, is really at an end. I milked this rest, I have used it to recoup, carb up and drink. Its been great, I can't lie, just doing lovely routes under 8a feels like slugging around in a feather bed. Before I start spouting on, think fingers, before fingers a bit of a brain to place yourself, and not be so scared you fill your trousers with poo. There is a roll call of honour, but for me the it's more a lottery especially as I still like different kinds of climbing. I have to say, even if my trumpet might explode, that I do have a couple of trump cards. I have very high flexibility, and my brain apparatus knows much of what is necessary. I have a couple of areas that go up and down, notably my weight which affects everything else exponentially. But if you want my weakness, it's  crimp strength, and core. Of the two core is safest to train, crimp strength is a potential an end of sport nightmare. However core goes on forever.  So enter the Mono fin, core, core, core. I am a shit free diver, and undoubtedly I will be a shit and ugly mono fin merman, but it will hopefully give me the core of a dolphin. For correct Mono finning you have to bend between the scapulas, I normally bend low down, which gives me back ache. I am hoping to shift the pain, and share the joy of a stronger more supple back.  More fun and and success. It also goes with my philosophy of controlling my breath.  Lets see, new tricks for old dogs.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Getting more from less, by Stevie Haston.

We should all want to climb better, and run and swim a bit faster. But we don't want to pay the price. The price is sweat and time, and pain and money. And thinking,

we all forget about the thinking. Thinking doesn't come easily either, but there you go some one once said  "theres no such thing as a free lunch"and they were right. I could add that there's nothing free about a Sub 2 hour 35 min marathon, or a poxy standard 8a for that matter. There's definitel a price to pay, but if the price is too expensive we won't even look in the shop window.

I think the price is about 7 hours a week (not for the sub 2hour 40-35) or call it 10 if you don't structure your training very well, because you think thinking is a sweaty activity also.

7 hours isn't much is it? But it is to some. Can you get more out of 7 hours than an 8a, yes maybe, but you would have to be really good, and either think very well, or have a group of people around you who did the thinking for you.

Think about your shoes, think about your feet, then think about friction, then think about placing your foot on the holds correctly. Think about pressing the rubber into the hold, not just on the ledge, but into the holds contours. Engage the rubber.
Think about your weight, sub 2hr 40mins guys and girls look the part! 8a climbers have much more latitude, but it still counts in large amounts.
Next think about how you place that foot where you want! Yoga helps here, a good core helps here. Think about how you reach that high hand hold, bad shoulder mobility and a stiff chest, and breathing at the wrong time will cause you problems. I often suffer from bad shoulder mobility. I also often suffer from not thinking and trying to get more from less! You can't get more miles from a gallon, you have to have a better car for that! In our case our car is our body, we can do maintenance on it. We shouldn't sit down all day getting stiff, and by so doing, shortening some of our muscles. Stretch or do some yoga every day even if it is 5 mins.
If you can't stand on one leg, and put a sock on, like you did when you were a kid, its probably time to understand you need to do more, not less. Maybe less eating.  Anyway try it, maybe on a carpeted floor if your hung over!

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Confessions of an exercise junky, Stevie Haston.

Arch the lower back, and sit,  a pad or training shoes help!

Exercise and practising stuff have been proven to work, so why do only a few people do them? I guess because people are just plain lazy. Thats all you need saying to yourself, I am a lazy no good flabby Twasok, and you might do something spontaneously.
I did a bit of yoga, then felt lazy, so eat a bun flavoured with aniseed, the dog begged some then he begged to go out by bringing his lead. So we went for a run, he really liked it, he is an Italian greyhound after all. He is a exercise junky, me too, but only sometimes. The run was terrible for me, all I do is climb and swim, running is strange to me. You got to practise your practise!

Pirates were strong, but their morals were a bit  lax.

My father was a seaman and couldn't swim, can you believe that. My grandad and his brother were seamen and they could swim like turbo powered Tuna. Grandads brother got blown up by a German mine in the Thames, which just shows you, proper preparation for immersion doesn't help if your blown up first! I believe in being a bit prepared for things, but how do you prepare your self for super tecky smearing grooves? Back flexibility, torsion, shoulder mobility, Tech skills and Tech drills?

The dagger in the photo is the only object I have from my father, it's precious to me. It's a German submariners dress dagger. A very important memory of mine is when my father brought around a German Merchant man to have dinner with us. During the war the German man was a submarine Mariner and hunted ships with people like my father in them. And there they were fast friends having beers and being jolly together! The German guy couldn't swim either, and that why I am over prepared, thats why I have a mortal fear of everything, thats why I do weird squats and Hindu push ups. But being blown up, how exactly do you prepare for that? Better to make love, not war, eh? 

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Pirates and pull ups, by Stevie Haston.

 Sukhasana, easy pose, or pleasant pose. One you can do which makes everything calmer.

I would have made a great Pirate, I am not a great little Guru, Iam a just a good little climber. In the past I  have been a better than average Martial artist, but now is now, and you have to start again. Every day has to start again. Every day should start with a Sun Salutation, or four.

 Maritime novels, and swimming seem a long way from cliffs but not for me. Are you Able?

It's an often overlooked subject, is piracy, and how it made England rich, made the British Empire possible! But we will overlook the hypocrisy of the British, and look instead how strong the Abled Body Seaman was, and how bold. Climbing the rigging 30 meters above a hard deck, or a swirling ocean are not just fanciful nonsense, but the lives of ordinary men, warped and moulded, by extraordinary circumstance.

 Downward dog with opening of the hip by back extension on one side of the leg, its really good, I recommend it for climbing. Sometimes called tripod.

I was climbing yesterday in the Underworld and it was great, did a few grade  6s and two grade 7s. I felt really weak because I am, been neglecting the physical, so more training is necessary. But the good bit is I was climbing really well, my head (the worrying head) was in neutral, the Union (yoga means union) necessary for climbing was there.  

Always take time to look at flowers.

So after some yoga, a bit more yoga, a swim, and a bit more yoga, then we went home and trained. Because I wanna be climbing the rigging of a tall ship in a stiff wind and travel to far off places, I,ll train hard. Invitation au Voyage a great route name- is it 7c+ can't remember! Oceans of rock, but you have to pay the price-le Peage-you must train a bit, or a lot. It's worth it. As I was doing my own route Dead Kenedys 7a 40 meters, my feebleness came to the fore,  the route bows over in an overhanging groove of stifling stupendousness, unless you breath in a relaxed way you will surly falter. Breath is life, it's the only game we have to do, day or night, we must breath, so do it well, as Yoda said. "Breath we must do, so well do it". 

Thanks to John Canby, and my cousin Paul Samut for donating to me, and climbing.  

Friday, 13 May 2016

Automatic lover, by Stevie Sadistic Haston.

In my post 58 year, now in my 59 year, or is it 60th, yep it's my 60th year-never been good at Math, or geometry, was more of an atlas peruser. So got to give a big shout out for Americans, an one solitary Maltese guy who gave me money recently. A lot of my life is haphazard, but recently I have taken the view that 10 to 20 percent of my life should be for other people. I have been on the receiving end of much benevolence, and hope to remain so, but this is the way the world turns round. You receive from your mother, because otherwise you die. I have rich friends who where wet nursed, really I have. I was looked after as a child by poor  women in my Jewish quarter of London, while my equally poor mother went to work. When I first stared to climb, did I do my own new routes, no I followed paths beaten by others. I do new routes, lots of them, many of them are good, if you want more donate to my donation button. I also pick up rubbish but only once out of two times, because the other time I just think fooooook off I cant do it.


Anyway just passed my birthday in sublimeness yesterday, and strangely looking forward to more. I don't look foreword to all the Scheisse  (shit in English)  that will come in the next year, being a working stiff, but there you go. For you guys who think you'r old you probably are, for you guys like me who want to squeeze more out of the lemon, your not, but you have to squeeze real hard, real hard. Jacque Mayol went over 100 meter depth at over 50 years old, all he did was a bit of yoga and talked to dolphins. It aint that easy ofcousre,  sometimes you have to do a bit of training, sometimes you have to do a lot of training. Today I did my training,  and was learning stuff, and found a few more nice moves, of course these little yoga moves were probably thought of more than a thousand years ago, but dumb, dumb Haston got them today. I went climbing today, and it was easy, obviously I wasn't doing desperate continuing climbing, but there was a union between my subconscious mind and my body.  It rarely happens to me because I am not a very good climber. But it does happen. It happens when I do a reasonable amount of yoga, or am exhausted at the end of the day, or a few days and my mind is switched off. The same thing happens when I swim and dive.

I just want to thank the guys who have just donated to my donation button, especially the Maltese guy who wants to remain anonymous because he does want to upset the other guys who he has also donated to!  I don't even want to not mention him! But I respect his wish. I am just going to mention a guy who has done a lot of desert climbing, who has just bought me a pair of fins, and donated some gear, and comes from Boulder Colorado, and is called Steve also. I will use the donation and try and do a few water taxi accessible routes, 4 pitches, hopefully magnificent. Thanks mates. And everybody who wished me a happy birthday thanks, I passed a good day, and was thankful for being lucky and alive, and being blessed.

 On this boulder are an 8a and a 7c, behind 30 meer routes, 20 of them.

 Ever wondered whats on your pizzas, capers! Lovely capers.

Old Maltese bus, this one is from near me. 

This next year, I will be giving specific training courses on sea cliff climbing, this is available for people   who think they need to improve their climbing in a sea cliff area, or aquatic situation with climbing. There will be breathing, yoga, climbing, and some rescue, management skills, and some sea skills, thrown in to the mix.  

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Mystics, Men, and Über Mensch, by Stevie Ordinary Haston

 training today.

Feeling massively ordinary today, so will train my self to the pinnacle of human excellence, I will sharpen myself to such a point that my own ego will burst.
Theres a horrid wind from AhFricca (can't say it quite as idiotically as Boris Johnston), what a plum sucking knobkierie he is. The wind is Nufsinar -half o'clock- which means it is from the south and has sand in it. The weather is actually horrible so I will inform you of this, as I am not an agent for the Gozo or Maltese Tourist authority, not yet anyway.

 when the wind is from Libya you can get skies like this and a dirty balcony covered in sand and dust.

It's my birthday tomorrow and suddenly I am apprehensive, supposing age and infirmity preclude climbing, and other bodily functions? Never mind, just swallow a few vitamin Es, a few Es and wash it down with some of the below.

 these will induce a fog. Oh you happy few, never will so few, do so much for so few brain cells

It's foggy, and reminds me of urban SouthYorkshire, or Hull, or Huddersfield, or Norwich, or Croydon, or anywhere dull. On the isle Comino (which I am looking at while I sip a very passable Rum) there was once  a Mystic Jewish fellow called Abraham Abulafia. He invented some kind of numerical meditation thingy, and wrote two best selling books, this was in 1288 or so.

looking towards Comino, the little island, the Mystic Messiah is gone or absorbed into our gene pool.

A. Abulafias books are  now sadly sadly out of print, the first "Book of the Sign" is remarkable for its complete incomprehensibility while the second, "Imre Shefer", or Words of Beauty, is perhaps more notable in at least having a cute title. Mr Abuafia was also a Messiah among other things, and chose my neibouring island after a failed attempt to convert the Pope! Luckily for Abraham, the Pope died so I think they were a tadge scared of him, and he was exciled to Comino, where there is some great climbing. His books on numerical Kabbalah and breathing meditation came in very handy converting different countries climbing grades into tables which adorn various climbing books even till today. So now you know. Good training to you all.

My heart lies, by Stevie reclining Haston.

My heart lies at the bottom of the sea. My heart lies atop the mountain. My heart is sometimes broken by how much beauty there is in the world. My heart is broken by how limited most peoples lives are by poverty.

theres a few days to my birthday and I am busily doing my yoga

So yoga was not done to cool relaxing music but to Punk and Oi music.  Anti Nowhere Leagues, "So What" has gotta be one of my favourite songs, Metalica did a cover, which is very good, but you gotta see the lead singer in ANL in his leotard to really understand So WWWhat.

 the bog brush bush, a truly lovely thing.

How doing yoga in the morning sets you up for a day, is hard to understand. How listening to Punk for a couple of hours leaves me optimistic must be a mystery to even great Masters of the absurd.

 Etna watercolour. I miss Sicily but like Kyle it's a friend.

I was swimming yesterday, and the peace I get underwater is really hard for me to understand, I have only been able to meditate in the sea well.

New flippers, cooler people than me call them Fins.

Climbing is sorta on hold at the moment. We have just had a bit of luck here, one of our cliffs which we had been denied access to, it has been found to be not Private property - so if your a fan of Kerchem Black slabs it's open, OK. If you are accosted by anyone claiming it's there's, be cool. Please be polite, avoid confrontation, and have a nice day. Sat Nam.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Grapes of Wrath by Stevie Mellow Haston.

Sicily has been treating me more than fairly, it's sublime colours are only matched by my friend Kyles convivial nature. There will now follow a blog about fine wines, food, drunken swimming, and a bit of climbing. People requiring 9a sport route beta, or hard Trad crack ascents are redirected elsewhere.

Kyle and I climb have climbed together for years and years, but where his life went left mine went right!

I needed a holiday after battling my hard Trad crack Bernd, so it was rather fortuitous that Kyle was over and needed my services in Sicily. The rigorous diet came abruptly to a halt-thank the Lord.

 I flew in to Catania, and had a bit of an adventure with a series of weird illegal taxi drivers. Anywhere else and you might have been scared, in Sicily I was just amused. The Sicilian people are the friendliest in Europe to my mind, and they have a completely opposite character of the Godfather! 

 Arriving very late we had to catch up and drink the bar dry, the latter is very hard to do.

Kyle had some work which interfered with our climbing, but we managed, there was also trouble with the weather. Etna the active local volcano produces an interesting micro climate that brought rain and high winds. 

Sponsorship in the form of two huge Tuscans.

The local cliffs are interesting, they vary from a beach cliff with scantily clad Fräuleins to  volcanic cliffs with rubbish at their foot. I liked the Volcanic one a lot, it made a change from immaculate limestone, immaculate cliffs get boring you know! I put on three kg in a week, and found out rather more than I would have liked about wine. My taste in wine is unfortunately very educated due to 28 years in France and having rich mates. The highlight of my cultural vacance was seeing the Greek ruins from 600 BC or BCE in Syracuse, and visiting the Franchetti wine yards on Etna. The climbing was really good  (more of that later) the wine however, were from another planet. My journalist mates can rightly give me a caning for telling them they were spoilt. This week I was spoilt, but hey I deserve it.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Tentacles of Malice. by Stevie the Semite Haston.

You don't have to get engaged in politics, you can just have a pint and talk about football, or climbing.  

Or you can ask your self why do certain papers ignore the Hillsborough decision. Why is there now an orchestrated attack on the Labour party being anti semitic. Well the answer is fairly simple. The media is self serving, it always has been. 

Get the Conservative Party back on the hook. Know the enemy. Hunt Hunt, get him into a corner, if 52 thousand Doctors can't, we need the help of the Media. Stop with the side issues already.