Personal, Photography

Lets use this power for good…

Well, as usual, I am falling further and further behind with the blog, but it has been a busy week at Vokes HQ and I’m trying to catch up with myself. In the last week, there have been drinks, mountains and birthdays… well, one birthday specifically… mine!

The rather busy weekend started with our long awaited date night on Friday, with one of my sisters being very kind in agreeing to babysitting for us for a couple of hours. We couldn’t really go out until Olivia was in bed, as we like to keep her bedtime routine the same each night. Its no secret that children thrive on routine, and the bedtime routine we have in place for Olivia seems to work very well for us, so why change it if we don’t need too? No matter how energetic she seems to be before bedtime, she always goes down at the same time. The curtains close, the lights go down, we have some milk and read a book t her, and she gets starts to calm down and become quieter, and once she is down, she’s often asleep within ten minutes or so! So rather than complicate things, we figured that we’d just wait until she was in bed before we headed out, and then made our way round to the local indian restaurant, before moving on to a new “micro bar” that’s opened up a few doors down. I do like the idea of it, but I feel they could have executed the idea a bit better. Still, the few beers I’d had by this point, had really gone to my head, so I was in no place to be judging people. We soon headed off for the walk home, and had a lovely night all the same.

Saturday was one where we hadn’t really made any plans, and with me planning to head up Snowdon the following day, I had to take the opportunity to purchase a few extra bits for my walk from the local outdoor shop. When I got back Olivia was already in bed, so Clare took the opportunity to get our weekly food shop in, and we are still loving the Aldi, saving a small fortune on our normal weekly shop from Asda! Their own brands are easily as good, and we’re pretty much converted now. The afternoon seemed to roll around quite quickly considering we didn’t do much, and soon it was time for me to tidy myself up and head out (courtesy of a lift from my very kind wife!) into town to meet some old school buddies for a few beers. They’re a great bunch, and I definitely don’t get to see them often enough, our nights up town seem to be over so quickly! Hopefully if we cant catch up for another beer soon, we can at least meet up with the families!

As it wasn’t a late night, and I was home at a sensible time, this meant I was able to get up with a fairly fresh head on the Sunday morning ready for my Snowdon walk. I had offered to drive the minibus for the day, and had to meet everyone at work to pick them up. It was a slightly late start and a longer drive down than we’d planned for, so we were late starting, and due to a triathlon that was taking place in the area that day, all the parking places were full! The nearest place we could park was a layby over a mile away, and so another 30 minutes added to our start time! The promise I’d made to my wife of getting home early and taking her out for a carvery was looking extremely unlikely at this point! From our planned start time of 10am, it was now 12pm and we’d only just set off! Still, we made it up to the summit, via the Pyg track, in just 1 hour and 50 minutes, which I was pretty impressed with. I had taken my new cycling helmet camera with me to video clips from the ascent, which can be seen here, the whole climb condensed down to 39 minutes…

It has been about 8 years since I last went up there and the cafe at the top has had a major overhaul, from the little wooden hut that I was last in, it now looked more like an airport terminal! We waited for the couple of people that had fallen behind and headed down on a different path, which although much easier, sadly took us the wrong way and left us 6 miles from the minibus once we were down! Thankfully the cafe at the bottom allowed us to grab some drinks, use the toilet and call a taxi to take us back to the bus. By this point I’d given up all hope of getting home in time for a carvery and just wanted to get home to see my little girl before she went to bed!

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It was too wet to get my camera out, but I managed to grab a selection of photos on my iPhone. Even though I was late home, the day had been a success, and our climb and descent were well within our allotted time to complete our challenge. We are aiming to get up and down all three of Britains highest mountains, Snowdon, Scafell Pike, and Ben Nevis in under 15 hours (driving time excluded), and raise money for Resources For Autism whilst doing it. If anybody is feeling generous, please make your donations online (it saves me going to the bank and handing over lots of coins!) at

Then came Monday… my birthday. My final year in my 30s, and not a thought that excites me greatly. I have kind of accepted that this 40 thing is going to happen to me soon, and its not like I am in a bad place in my life for it to happen. I have a house, a wonderful wife, and a gorgeous daughter, on top of which I am fitter than I have ever been and also have my own photography business (even if it is small and part time!)… its more than some of my friends have, so I must be grateful. I just don’t feel old enough to be 40. It kinda creeps up on you while you’re not looking, pretty much exactly like this…

So I still get to call myself a 30something for one more final year, and have to finally accept the inevitable, I have gone way beyond having to get my head around the idea of “being a grown up” that seems so alien to us when we enter our 20s, and now have to really engage my brain with the fact that I’m actually “a bit old”!! So, I guess the first thing on my list of “stuff to do before I am 40” is look at the financial aspect and feasibility of a brother or sister for Olivia. If money wasn’t a concern than this wouldn’t even be a talking point, but nursery doesn’t come free and these bills won’t pay for themselves, we have to be realistic about how we’re going to cope with it!

Man, where is that lottery win when you need it?

I am sure that if I put my mind to it, there is a whole bunch of things I could add to a list of “things to do before I am 40″, but the likelihood is that by this point, most of them are just going to stay on that list and never see the light of day!

A lot of my friends are also in the same position as me, and some of them have already hit 40, they don’t seem too fussed by it all, or maybe they’re just not saying anything. I mean I know nothing actually changes, its just another day, and yes age is but a number… but we all know that the big 4-0 at least bothers us a little bit… doesn’t it”?! So the next question is how do I actually celebrate it? It certainly won’t be Vegas like I hoped it might be! Do I just put my head under the pillow and let the day slide past without being noticed?

My 39th birthday was a very low-key affair, and obviously spent at work as I couldnt take the day off.  At least I came home to a beautiful dinner cooked by the wife, and both sets of parents to join us. It was a lovely evening, and my sister in law even showed up to drop off a card and present, and just when I thought the day was done my friend knocked on the door to drop off a card and a bottle of red wine! Even facebook had gone crazy today, I was definitely feeling the love, even if it wasn’t exactly a crazy day!

As I am running behind with this blog, I can even catch up on Tuesday. I decided to miss a week of Jujitsu, and although I felt a bit guilty, I didn’t really have the time without rushing, and my legs were still aching from our rapid ascent of Snowdon on Sunday, so I stayed at home and made some good use of the time. In between working on a wedding album, I somehow made the decision to have a bit of a catch up with some old school friends. It has been over 20 years since we left school, and with the magic of facebook bringing us back in touch with one another, it seemed a shame to waste the opportunity, so I put the word out to try and see if I could get a dozen or so of us to meet up for a few hours one sunday afternoon over the summer. Suddenly a whole bunch of people have jumped on board, and this thing looks like it could be growing bigger than I’d ever imagined! I guess we’ll see who actually turns up though, people are very quick to say yes to things like this and then just go silent on you!

Anyway, thats my week caught up on and I should be in bed by now!



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