Let me put it into context:
|A simple explanation!|
Compared to a lot of the guys we'd spent Friday evening in comfort at Nant Ddu Lodge, Caroline is 7 months pregnant and therefore "she who bears, wins!" Pitching a tent or a basher was never an option! We were joined by great friends Kramar and Jenny D (who is also pregnant) and Tim, and had got to meet Darren Hutchings before settling in, so as a basis for the rest of the weekend it was a great way to begin it. After a lovely evening the night before at 0610 I'm waiting at my car, boot open, bergen loaded and waiting for Kramar and Tim to surface. Kramar arrives looking keen as mustard, and Tim arrives not so keen as mustard, and faffing, like a fart in a trance, although resplendent in his jungle hat! Loaded up we head out, I don't remember there being many words, but the sky was blue and the air was cool, or least cooler than it had been, here I was with two of my mucker's and we were about to embark on what would be the hardest test we've stared down to date.
There is no shame in admitting there were nerves aplenty, but the excitement was also plain to see, especially when we pulled up into the layby and saw some familiar faces that we were all yet to meet in person! If the pain of the last couple of years has given me anything, it's given me an opportunity to try and do something positive, but the biggest thing it's given me is much more precious, a group of people, that I'm now very fortunate to call friends, I'd like to think they'll be friends for life. It's quite weird, our little 'Twitter Family' is almost tantamount to internet dating, we all have so much in common or at the very least a desire to test ourselves so by the time we can put faces to avi's and Twitter names, it feels like we've known each other for years. So as Tim, Kramar and I are getting out of the car, introductions are made, and as we cross the A470 to the Storey Arms, further greetings are afforded to friends we recognise, and above all that, is the buzz, this will be a truly special day, and that it obvious and it's all but 0630.
At the weigh station is Darren and Ken, we exchange some banter, Darren and I, and immediately I feel the nerves ebb away a bit, pack is weighed and it's a few pounds over, but as I walk away I give Ken the gift I promised him for the Winter Fan, and immediately I'm choking a little, the reality of what today means and the reason I'm here hits me like the wall, I'm sure I'll be hitting sometime later.
The next hour is spent literally with me now faffing, endless trips to and from the car, because I keep forgetting to pick up what I went to pick up on the previous visit each time. Eventually set, we collectively head to the toilets for a last nervous wee before the off, again a few more familiar faces are recognised on the way, one of which is Rob Paine, a lovely guy and it's so great to see him. We amble back still giggling about the HIV notice in Welsh in the toilet and the fact that Tim had actually sat down in the cubicles, he didn't see the notice, so again the banter begins to flow. We get back to the layby and get the 5 minute warning from Kramar, so hurriedly load ourselves up and stomp across the A470 for real, and realise this shit, just got exactly that, real!!
|And so it begins.....|
|Ready for the turnaround.....|
|Jacob's Ladder - you wh*rebag!|
|Done my friend.........|
|Gerald 'Mad Nick' McCarthy - a great man and a friend for life.......|
|My muckers, proud and honoured to have shared such an experience with them.......|
|Our very own Band of Brothers and Sisters......|
|Receiving a presentation from Ken, a true honour and a very emotional experience!|
|Sharing a Fan Dance Ale with Lloydy.......blue skies little brother xxx|