Climbing Rocks!

When Alex was very young, he used to be a bit of a thrill-seeker, always heading straight for the tallest slide in the playground. As he has got older, a cautious streak has emerged. He’s not mad keen on rollercoasters like Fiona is, for example.

But Alex has always enjoyed climbing, and been very good at it. In the summer of 2010 his holiday club took a trip to our local indoor climbing centre ([Klimhal Amsterdam]( He and Fiona both had a great time, and the group leader told me that Alex went straight up the walls like Spider Man. It was Fiona, though, who wanted to to back in the autumn and try out some lessons. Which then led to _me_ taking it up.

A couple of weeks ago I asked Alex if he wanted to come along and try it some time, and I was surprised when he said yes. He usually prefers to stay home and play games, but recently he seems to be restless for physical activity. So yesterday morning we went to the Klimhal and had a _fantastic_ time.

I had been worried that Alex would get a couple of meters up the first wall, look down, and decide that he didn’t want to do this any more. Absolutely not the case. The half-height walls on the first floor were quiet, so we started there. After drilling him on the basic safety procedures, he scampered right up a grade 3 route with no difficulty whatsoever. Then he conquered a few 4s, and by the end of our time he was tackling 5a routes and loving it. Whenever he got tired and needed a rest, I would do a couple of boulders. We were at it for well over two hours. “This is awesome!” he said. “Can we come back again next week?”

It was so much fun to see Alex enjoy himself so much in a physical activity, and to see him so confident in his own natural ability. If he picks this up as a hobby, he’ll be out-climbing me in no time.

It was also great to have an activity that he and I can do together. I loved the time Fiona and I spent playing golf just the two of us in the summer. Sharing moments like that with the kids is precious. If Fiona (and Abi) want to join us next weekend, I’d love that too. But the couple of hours I had with Alex yesterday will stick in my memory as extra special.

Bad Cookie Review

Brand: Donny Craves
Product: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie
Purchased: Albert Heijn To Go, Amsterdam Central Station

This may be a “Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie”, but it’s not a chewy chocolate chip cookie. The cookie was dense, dry, and crumbly, with a fibrous oatmealy texture. The brown chips might have been chocolate, but I couldn’t tell by their taste. The overall flavour sensation was coconut and cinnamon.

Disgusting. Avoid.

Hue and Cry at the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, 21 October 2012

Marvellous support by Little Fire (Jamie McGeechan), who has a voice like a warm woollen scarf on a cold winter’s day. Check out his video of “You Mean Something To Me” on YouTube. (No, not the Paul Weller song. That’s “You Do Something To Me.”)

Then it was time for funk:

  1. Duty to the Debtor
  2. Fireball
  3. Goodbye to Me
  4. Darkness Falls
  5. Fail You Better
  6. History City
  7. Hand and Heart
  8. Looking for Linda
  9. Remote
  10. Summer Head Daze
  11. She Makes a Sound
  12. Irreversible Situation
  13. Labour of Love
  14. Little Man
  15. Headin’ for a Fall
  16. Strength to Strength


  1. Mother Glasgow (Embra version!)
  2. Carlos Takes the Fall

Lovely set, and I had a great time. I’d love to see them in a venue without seats, though. With this kind of music I want to be bouncing up and down in a crowd in front of the stage.