June 29, 2009


Looks harmless enough, doesn’t it?

But the common (or garden) wheelbarrow shown above could potentially scupper this whole venture.

Last Saturday, me and my brother in law, Kerry, were loading concrete slabs into a trailer in order to take them to the local dump. This necessitated pushing a wheelbarrow heavily laden with slabs up a plank, a job we took in turns.

On my second shot at “plank running,”  just as I was launching the barrow up the plank, I felt the sensation of someone or something slapping me hard on the back of my lower left leg. I turned round to see what had hit me, but there was nothing there.  It hurt like hell, though.

I later learned that I had strained or ruptured the achilles tendon just where it connects to the gastrocnemius (large calf muscle) and could be out of serious action for up to three months!

To add insult to injury, I learned this phenomenon typically happens to “older” men who don’t get much regular exercise, but insist on behaving as if they are just as fit as they’ve always been.

Can’t imagine who they’re talking about, can you?

I will post an update once I’ve seen the doctor.


Organising a fundraiser in a brewery

June 26, 2009


A few of us at 60 Watt (my company) were invited to the annual Marketing Society Scotland pub quiz, which took place last night at Edinburgh’s famous and historic Caledonian Brewery (pictured above).

“If this isn’t a fundraising opportunity,” thought I, “It’ll do until one comes along.” 

So I asked my colleague, Mark, who happens to be a commiteee member of the Marketing Society Scotland, if he could put me in touch with the organisers.  He went one better; he emailed them himself asking if I could hi-jack the event and sell some raffle tickets for the trek.

Worked like a charm.  As soon as the pub quiz ended, Sharon Annette, Chairperson of the event, stood up and said a few words about the Machu Picchu trek, then announced we’d be coming round all the tables selling raffle tickets.

Which we duly did.  The job made all the easier by the fact that all attendees had been taking full advantage of the free bar service available to all ticket holders.


Imagine the loosening effect on people’s purse strings of several hours of free Deuchers, Caley 80 shilling, Sand June etc. and you’ll appreciate why we managed to sell £238 worth of raffle tickets in around 20 minutes flat!

How did our team do in the pub quiz? 

Don’t ask.

El Camino de la Muerte (the road of death)

June 16, 2009


The North Yungas Road, as it is otherwise known, is a 64 km stretch of continuous downhill road leading from the world’s highest city, La Paz to Coroico in Bolivia.

It is legendary for its extreme danger and in 1995 the Inter-American Development Bank christened it “the world’s most dangerous road”.

One estimate is that 200-300 travelers are killed annually on the road, which is marked at regular intervals by crosses indicating where its victims met their untimely ends. On July 24, 1983, a bus veered off the road and into a canyon, killing more than 100 passengers in what is said to be Bolivia’s worst road accident.

Why is it so deadly?  A number of factors all contribute.  First of all, the extreme dropoffs of at least 600 meters, with no guard rails.  Then there’s the fact that much of the road is single-lane width —  no wider than 3.2 meters.  Further still, rain and fog can make visibility precarious, and the wet rainforest climate makes the surface slippy and causes rocks to fall from the  hillsides above.

One man’s meat, of course,  is another man’s poisson.

The extreme danger of the road has ironically made it a popular tourist destination.  Mountain biking enthusiasts, in particular, are drawn to the Road of Death, lured by the appeal of its 64 kilometers of continuous downhill riding and the activity keeps several tour operators permanently employed, providing information, guides, transportation, and equipment.

The local understakers are kept pretty busy too.  At least 13 of these cyclists died on the ride since 1998.

A possible side trip for the intrepid Peru Trek team?  Hell, yeah!

Beats driving.

Here’s a video we found of a documentary made about the road: