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 fiendblog (Read 314343 times)

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#1050 Re:  fiendblog
November 25, 2021, 10:03:06 pm
 :yes: cool. Grades could be fictious / overestimated but I was trying to match up what Kirklees gave (6B+) and what UKC gave (7A). There's nowt else clean nearby but Netherton Edge opposite would be a good combination.

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#1051 fiendblogWhat Went Wrong??
January 21, 2022, 01:00:51 am
What Went Wrong??


The path to recovery is long, slow, and winding. 
And not always as neatly paved as this one.

A month and a half ago I sprained my LCL (lateral cruciate ligament) in my left knee at the wall. I was near the end of a session and was trying a leg-intensive problem to avoid over-using my injured golfer's elbow. I was in a deep squat on my left leg on a hold, right leg and hands on pretty much nothing - this is usually a strong position for me, but this time I heard a crunch in my knee and fell off. I could walk / squat immediately after and had little pain. However seeing a physio the next day showed that I definitely had an LCL sprain and would need to go through the usual slow healing / care / rehab process, which I am doing.

Having just about managed to get my head above water coping with the golfer's elbow injury and partly-associated depression, mostly by relying on slabs and leg-focused stuff, this has been very hard to cope with and has lead to some pretty bleak moments. I've managed to get a bit more stable just recently, and regardless have been sticking to rehab and aggravation-avoidance diligently.

This is the latest in a series of injuries that has either wiped out training time, climbing time, or both, and has got me speculating if there's anything obvious I'm doing wrong. So I've done a retrospective of the last few years (lower down page) to see if there are any common threads (just below).

------

Common issues and prevention ideas:

Always pushing to my limit:
Something which I think people often don't believe, because by the standards of many of my peers the end results are entirely unspectacular, and because I've heard that it doesn't look like I'm trying hard - when in fact I'm battling for dear life. The reality is that in any physically focused climbing genre (sport, bouldering, indoors, even gym), I'm always pushing really really fucking hard because that's why I enjoy. This isn't a problem in itself, BUT becomes a problem when that desire / habit overrides common sense in terms of (deep breath) recruitment, preparation, warm-ups, conditions, rest days, physiological imbalances etc etc. 
Prevention: 
WARNING FLAGS checklist (below) - go through this before any challenging climbing session and check that the risk of injury is acceptable / manageable.
IF there's any uncertainty about any of the factors on the checklist, TEST them if possible - probably as part of the warm-up - with something that mimics the risk factors.
Have a Plan B in terms of climbs or venues.
Be wary of the risks involved in a sudden change of situation or focus (climbing to training, outdoors to indoors, wall to gym, etc). A change of focus could be equivalent to restarting an activity after a lot of time off - warm into it as appropriate. 

Not warming up enough:
Related to above, I know that sometimes I don't need to warm-up much at all (good weather, well-recruited from previous climbing / training days), and sometimes I know I need to warm up well (low energy, low mood, too much time off, inactivity etc). But occasionally my judgement and self-discipline is very flawed and I'm too lazy / distracted to warm-up methodically, and definitely risk injury.
Prevention: 
Have a warming up checklist: Temperature & blood flow > conditioning & stabilising > recruitment > injury & sensitivity specific > climb specific.
Refine my warming up to include recruitment. 
Work on habitualising a good warm-up routine. 
Ask my friends and partners to remind me to warm-up properly. 
Think outside the box when it comes to warming up in situations without easy / obvious warm-ups. Play around on rock / wall for movement at least.
Remember that warming up applies after a long period of cooling down, as well as first starting.

Not adapting to weather conditions.
In the UK it weathers a lot. I've been out on a spring weekend when it's been too hot for lime one day and too cold for grit the next. And the calling of the lime is a good chance of blizzards and when I moved to Manc it was 20+ degrees at the end of February. Anyway I'm mostly good at picking a sensible crag for whatever ridiculous conditions have sprung out of nowhere, but not always, and sometimes I definitely have stuck to a plan or desire in adverse conditions that have caused a higher risk of injury for my intended climbing.
Prevention: 
Now part of the WARNING FLAGS checklist (below).
Have a Plan B in terms of climbs or venues.

Not heeding niggles in the earlier or manageable stages.
I often get minor, manageable niggles - from pushing hard, irrespective of whether I should be - which isn't a big problem in itself, BUT becomes a problem when I don't manage those. I'm okay with partly managing them with rehab exercises and some balancing out work, but much worse with using sensible judgement to avoid pushing too hard in extreme situations that are high risk to those niggles.
Prevention: 
Now part of the WARNING FLAGS checklist (below).
Remember that stepping back and taking it easy for a week or two will impact on training and progression much less than having to take it easy for a few months due to full injury. 
Rest from the niggle-stressing activity is crucial, not resting from other activity (but heed change of focus risks).

Impacting with the ground / rock (not pads).
I've always landed like an 80kg sack of spuds, and tend very readily to break rather than bounce, whether it's hitting the rock or more likely the ground. That's how I am physiologically, and recovering from an LCL is maybe not a time when I'm thinking about a "learning to land" course, yet. Incidentally so far I've never had an impact injury from falling on pads nor falling indoors, including some semi-highball stuff outdoors and bouncing off pads etc. 
Prevention: 
Do more varied falling practise indoors and outdoors to learn fall more safely in awkward situations. 
Seriously consider giving up the idea of never using pads before leading / soloing trad routes. 
Take the lower parts of routes seriously rather than casually, and plan for falling risks

Pushing knees to extremes in unusual movements.
It's only happened a couple of times, but with frustrating consequences. I'm not really sure why as I have reasonably strong legs from gym work, and no persistent niggles from running etc. Perhaps just bad luck??
Prevention: 
Warm-up legs better before leg-intensive climbs / problems. 
Have additional WARNING FLAGS for a set of leg movements / positions that might be risky and need extra care, e.g.: Deep squats / heel hooks / heel-toes / drop-knees.

Being heavy.
No shit. An extra 10% weight is an extra 10% stress through all the joints / tissues in question.
Prevention: Get a magic fairy to remove my DVTs and repair my digestion so I can do more CV exercise, get more energy from food, and manage my weight better.


WARNING FLAGS
These are checklists for me to print out (in a better format), stick in my rucksac, stick in my guidebooks, tattoo on my knob (might need a smaller font...), and check off before any challenging climbing sessions.

General risk checklist:
Niggles and injuries / Other physical issues (inc fatigue) / Weather and conditions / Type of climb / Risky holds / Risky moves or positions (including unfamiliar ones).

Previous injury and weakness risk checklist:
Golfer's elbow (both) / Tennis elbow (both) / Shoulder impingements (both, especially right) / Left hand main finger A2 / Left hand ring finger PIP / Left knee in general.


------

4 year timeline of injuries:

2017:

November - January 2018: Widespread impact / muscle damage in right leg.
Cause: Falling off the "easy" bit of a challenging route and slamming into an overlap.
Effects: 2-3 months recovering to full fitness / leg use. Kept up with upper body training so no extra muscular detriments (but contracted norovirus in hospital with long term digestive / mood / energy level detriments).


2018:

[July onwards - maximum fitness due to mostly redpointing during summer]

December onwards: Tennis elbow in both elbows
Cause: 4 days bouldering / training, then niggles, then more cold bouldering instead of resting.
Effects: Restricted any harder climbing and any training for several months.


2019:

January to May: Tennis elbow in both elbows.
Cause: 4 days bouldering / training, then niggles, then more cold bouldering instead of resting.
Effects: Prevented any harder climbing nor any training for several months, still weak in April.

October to November: Injured / strained lower back.
Cause: Running 0.7 miles to local gym and deadlifting on exhausted / de-oxygenated legs.
Effects: A week off climbing / training and a couple of weeks gently getting back into it.

December to Feb 2020: Tendon sheath injury (?) in left forearm.
Cause: Unknown!
Effects: Some small restrictions on hold usage especially crimps and mixed/split grips.


2020:

[Early August - maximum fitness due to mostly redpointing during summer]

Mid-August to mid-November: MCL sprain in left knee.
Cause: Pushing far too deep in a maximum effort drop knee in poor conditions.
Effects: Prevented any harder climbing nor any leg-intensive training for 3 months.

Mid-August to mid-December: Full golfer's elbow in right elbow.
Cause: Deadhanging / pull-ups with little warming up, then steep traversing instead of resting.
Effects: Prevented any harder climbing nor any arm-intensive training for 3+ months.


2021:

May onwards: Bicep tendon insertion slight impingement in right shoulder.
Cause: Attempting to climb strenuous sport after freezing on a cold and prolonged redpoint belay.
Effects: Some small restrictions on strenuous climbing, especially pulling into sidepulls / underclings from below.

May: Bruised left heel.
Cause: Dropping a couple of metres off the start of a route.
Effects: Curtailed indoor/outdoor bouldering, heel-hooks, and running for a few weeks.

July to September: Golfer's elbow slight niggle in left elbow.
Cause: Deadhanging / pull-ups with little warming up.
Effects: Little effect at time, manageable with care.

August: Bruised right heel.
Cause: Falling a couple of metres off the start of a route.
Effects: Would have curtailed bouldering as before except it was too warm anyway.

October onwards: Full golfer's elbow in left elbow.
Cause: Attempting to boulder beyond my limit, in the freezing cold, without warming up and without taping up.
Effects: Prevented any harder climbing nor any arm-intensive training 4+ months.

November onwards: Sciatica / sore piriformis.
Cause: Unknown but likely change in routine from lots of climbing to more gym / stretching.
Effects: Mostly just annoyance but some confusion when assessing LCL pain.

December onwards: LCL sprain in left knee.
Cause: Single leg deep squat position on indoor problem whilst avoiding elbow-stressing problems.
Effects: Prevented any harder climbing nor any leg-intensive training for 3 months.

Mid-December onwards: Tennis elbow slight niggle in left elbow.
Cause: Weighted deadhanging (okay for golfer's) off the couch, to max limit.
Effects: Curtailed further "training" and some gym work and rehab for golfer's elbow.



P.S. For a blog post that is just about recording events and analysing them (which should be fairly simple!!), it's taken a long time for me to write it and try to get it right. Sorry for the length / dryness / anything that doesn't make sense / etc.


Source: What Went Wrong??

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#1052 Re:  fiendblog
January 25, 2022, 07:07:31 pm
A Very Secret Slab

Went here on Sunday, having tried a couple weekends ago but walked in sans pads after it tipped it down on the drive over. It looked cracking, so came back when it was fortunately dry. Sure enough, it was cracking! Really glad I spotted your post here, would thoroughly recommend it to other slab fans.

Thoughts:

- Fiend's directions are pretty spot on, my only mistake first time round was underestimating 300m on the edge so dropped down too soon. When it says
 
Quote
At this point you should be directly opposite a strange silo in a clearing to the left

You really need to be here. The silo is white and slightly in the distance, but easy enough to spot once you actually walk far enough. And to confirm that, the top of the slab is visible from the edge of the edge, so don't drop down if you can see it.

- My weigh in on the grades would be that PP and PL are maybe a touch easier? Not got bags of experience but they took me less time than I was expecting. Didn't manage to get up PSD in the limited time I had, but it's definitely a significant step up from the other two.

- Use the parking Fiend suggested. I tried to be sneaky and park at the start of Hassocks Lane in a convenient layby and returned to this on my windscreen



It's preferable to a rant from a self-important twat, so I'll take it and be on my way  :whistle: the other parking is a similar distance, just muddier, but that's far from the end of the world. On the other hand, if souvenirs is what you're looking for, then I whole heartedly recommend it!

- All in all, great place if you know exactly what you're after (it really is the only bit of rock there that looks worth climbing). Definitely get over there if you're tempted, not least because of the great job that's been done to clean it, looks nothing like the dirty mess in the photo on ukc.

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#1053 Re:  fiendblog
January 25, 2022, 07:11:58 pm
Glad it's held up  :2thumbsup:

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Steps forward, steps back.


A long overdue update that ends up not dissimilar to previous updates?? I've been clawing my way back into climbing over the last couple of months. Easy trad, easy sport, initially easy bouldering, testing my injuries, seeing what they could cope with, testing my confidence and fitness, seeing that they were entirely absent, so working back into roped climbing especially slowly - the new Moelwynion guide has helped a lot with that.

Bouldering seemed to progress better, with my golfer's elbow and LCL strain coping well, and a recent background of board training giving me some strength regains. So naturally and inevitably, I started to try hard and push myself, and naturally and inevitably my recent tennis elbow flared up to the point of being notably injured and requiring a lot of care and restraint again.

So 2-3 weeks of respite and normality, then back to the usual bullshit. I'm starting to realise how crippling inevitable this is when you're too heavy, too old, and don't have the essential pre-climbing background of athletic/fitness activities - and don't have enough self-discipline to bumble along when you're fed up of bumbling along. At least I'm down to one inhibitive injury rather than two or three, but it's still as frustrating as ever.  Of course I'm trying to find ways to work around this, and trying to find options to keep inspired and keep trying to regain back to a normal level...

Things that are OFF the cards: Classic mainstream crags where I've done all the easier routes and only have things that are too hard for me left / board training / excessive bouldering / redpointing / grit because it's too warm obviously.

Plan Bs...

  • More sea-cliff mini-adventures: especially Porth Dafrach / Range / Llyn (just the gentle bits!) / Trinity House Walls / Thunderbird Zawn ...and a long weekend at Ynys Lochtan??
  • More hidden gem cragging: especially smaller Duddon areas like Crag Band / Tongue House / Gaitkins / Little Stand / Brandy Crag / Buck Crag....and some more Moelwyns of course.
  • More conjuring up similarly inspired climbing partners out of thin air šŸ˜‚šŸ˜†šŸ˜šŸ˜žā˜¹
  • More indoor leading / falling practise
  • More indoor stamina circuits
  • Maybe a bit of Welsh slab / crack bouldering
  • Maybe some steadier sport at venues I haven't climbed out yet...
  • Stretching, because I've been neglecting that.
  • Boring rehab, as always....
  • Lancs quarries for local stuff of course!


Anyway have some photos of some trad and some videos of some bouldering:












Source: Steps forward, steps back.

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#1055 fiendblogThe Beginning Of The End.
June 13, 2022, 01:00:17 pm
The Beginning Of The End.

 
I can point to an exact time and place when I realised my climbing career was coming to an end. 

It was mid-evening last summer, 10 or 11 months ago, and it was walking back along the grassy path that provides a 10 minute flat gentle stroll between The Range sea-cliffs and the carpark. The Range - and Porth Dafrach - had been as delightfully fun and enjoyable as ever, the quintessential Type 1 pleasures of crenellated zawns and headlands, undulating and intriguing rock, quirky and characterful lines. I had been less fun and enjoyable, as I'd started to run out of soft-touches to ledge-shuffle my way up, and not only had I backed off a few alluring routes, I'd started to run out of inspiration too, it felt like perhaps my passion there was waning...

I was with my friend S. S and I share a few things in common - a passion for interesting mini-adventures (he'd come up to climb after being inspired by "the dog stake"), a fair amount of diligence and attention to detail placing gear in such situations, and a puerile and vulgar sense of humour that usually results in a contest for how many cocks we can finger draw on each other's cars. And that's where the similarities abruptly end...S is very tall, lean, young, strong, fit (climbing and cv-wise), able-legged, constantly motivated and stoic about travelling around, seemingly unhindered by depression, sociable and affable and part of a vibrant climbing scene. All things I wish I was (well I could live without the "very tall" bit...), most of them out of my reach without vascular surgery / lobotomy / time machine. 

The point is, we were chatting about routes and areas and climbs I'd done and been inspired by, and climbs he was going to do and was inspired by, and it became very obvious that he was on an exciting upwards trajectory through climbs, crags, challenges and exploration.... ... .. And I was winding down. I became acutely aware that in my main passion of trad cragging and sea-cliffs, whilst I had some prominent and deep-seated inspirations left, both minor and major, I was gradually working my way through those that were feasible, and was starting to run low on routes, crags, and determination for all the faff that comes with it - partners, conditions, travelling, uncertainties, intimidation, constantly trying to be on mental and physical form....

This feeling came pretty much out of nowhere - on a trip that was specifically about following inspirations and passions - and blindsided me. I can't recall feeling like that about climbing before. Climbing, for all it's internal and external difficulties, is an incredibly positive experience for me in a wide variety of ways (maybe that's why those difficulties are so frustrating, because they're inhibiting that positivity). To feel I was "running out" of the most important aspect of it for me was bewildering and felt like it was untethering me from myself. 

What the fuck was I going to do after the next few challenges?? Where was it all going?? Why would I be climbing in a few years time?? If I'm winding down, what is the point in it all??

But.... Remember that bit about "incredibly positive experience in a wide variety of ways"?? It's genuine and that passion isn't easily quenched. So my mind started wondering and wandering onto other possibilities and what could keep me going. As well as constantly trying to explore around (and "tick" new crags instead of routes, all over the UK - although this is a desire that is constantly hampered by the fairly fruitless struggle to find like-minded partners), I came up with a couple of options: 

Firstly taking a step back and focusing more on sport climbing and training and the physical side - relaxing into the logistical and psychological calmness of that approach, and hopefully occasionally springing out to do some awesome trad with the confidence from having a larger physical buffer (my buffer then was the size of a midge's foreskin, now it's actually inverted). 

Secondly also taking a step back and focusing on the simultaneously exploratory, challenging, aesthetic and technical delights of bouldering in the UK (and elsewhere). Particularly the endless and endlessly varied Welsh bouldering which has consistently inspired me in the last few years.

So there I had it. There were options, there were inspirations, I would still keep climbing, I'd just change the focus a bit, and see how a fresh approach - particularly easing off on the mental and emotional challenges of pushing my trad climbing, and instead relishing in the physical challenges of pushing bouldering, sport, and training.

...

..

.

A couple of months after this - whilst starting to do a bit more bouldering as my trad confidence had remained shaky during the rest of the summer - I pushed too hard in the wrong conditions and injured my left elbow.

Since then - concurrent with my idea to reassure myself and reignite my passion by focusing a bit more on the physical side of climbing - I've been near constantly injured (sometimes, like the LCL, without even pushing myself), for the last 8 months.

.

..

...


Source: The Beginning Of The End.

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#1056 fiendblogDiary of DOG.
Yesterday at 01:07:58 am
Diary of DOG.


Hello I am Nunu aka Noodles, Mari and Terry's 12 year old husky-alsatian cross. I like pulling on the lead all the way to the crag, sleeping at  the crag on anyone's down jacket, begging for food, trying to steal  people's lunches, and then pulling on the lead all the way back from the  crag. Anyway "Fiend" (who is clearly quite daft) somehow volunteered to dogsit me whilst M and T were  off galivanting so I write guest dog guest blog to tell everyone  about grand adventures.


Day 1 - Talfarach, Llanbedrog, Gesail

WHY YOU DOGNAPPING ME IN SMOL CAR WITH TECHNOS??

Doesn't  seem right. Where's the big van? Why don't I have bouldering mats  toppling onto my head at any slight bump? Where are we going?

Oh okay through a farm with really rude dogs who do the Big Barks and snap at me and have no manners and fuck off.

What now tied under a boulder in the shade no I want to be in the sun and frying alive. Where you going?? What is "recce offwidth with horrible landing"?? Doesn't sound like dog treats to me.


SRSLY NOT SURE ABOUT THIS.

Oh  okay you gave me smol bit of egg that rolled into crack in the rock and  now I can spend 15 minutes trying to lick it out this might be okay.



Not convinced by broccoli. Would prefer your dinner.


Day 2 - Porth Howel, Carreg Lefain

I AM BIG BRAVE ADVENTURE DOG, I DON'T CARE ABOUT HORIZONTAL RAIN.


I  am husky x alsatian I bite terrorists hunt down trolls and yeti and  have impenetrable fur so yes rain lets go down to the crag even if I  have to be pushed back up that awful gravel gully 2 paws up 3 paws down.


Also great recceing skills at the second crag well done at least I can still pull on the lead.



Day 3 - Porth Dafrach, Benllech

YES I AM GOING TO YELP AND SQUEAK FOR NO APPARENT REASON UNTIL YOU PUT YOUR JACKET BACK DOWN FOR ME.


I  mean what do you expect. The Range area is lovely as you said and you  gave me biscuits and Emyr gave me a bit of bread crust but I have to  fuss about something and the jacket is very nice thank you it just needs  extra fur to replace the down.




DEAD ROTTING SEAL, I WANT DEAD ROTTING SEAL.


Mmmmokay  biscuits are fine breadcrusts are fine but really as a husky I live on  dead rotting seal. Important diet, very nutritious. Will sulk a lot if I  don't get rotting seal. Just watch me.


Day 4 - Porth Ceiriad, Porth Howel

YES  LET ME OFF LEAD ON THIS GIANT BEACH AND A I PROMISE I WON'T RUN MILES  BACK TO JOIN IN A KID'S FOOTBALL GAME AND GET SHOUTED AT. PROMISE  PROMISE THXBYETHEN.


Okay that was a great promise. Worked well.  Oh now we're in a quiet, safe corner with a dog who I just said hello to  and wanted to play with, yes let me off again. Okay I will just stand  here and do nothing now. Nunu reasonz.

GOATS, I WANT GOATS





Back  here again seriously why come on. Okay you had to carry me over bad  steps to the rock ramp but why. Ah bouldering. Yes you're close to that  project, well done but GOATS now I can bark like a fucking lunatic at  goats because you needed the distraction P.S. GOATS.


Day 5 - Carreg Lefain

YAAAY RAFE'S TUPPERWARE LUNCH BOX IS THE CHALLENGE I WANTED.



I'm  big brain husky x alsatian, I need serious thinking challenges.  Stealing water bottles too easy. Creating n-dimensional cat's cradle of  long lead too easy. Tupperware good brain stimulation. Rafe said lunch  had lots of chilli. No problem. More brain stimulation.
 


Day 6 - Penmaen Head Trench Wall

BEST  IDEA IS TO GET TANGLED WITH DAVE LYON'S DOG MILO, TREAD ON HIM WHEN WE  FALL OVER, THEN EVERYONE CAN SNAP AND SNARL. YES GOOD PLAN.



Okay  all that was too exciting, maybe I need my breakfast now which I never  eat at breakfast time. Even better if you have to go up this vertical  steps back to the car to get it. Much fun. Then I can guzzle whole lot  and still try to steal your lunch. I have best plans.



Day 7 - Porth Howel

FOR FUCK'S SAKE NOT THIS GRAVEL SCRAMBLE AGAIN.

You better have a plan to get me back up seriously. I might need to get  goats again. Also 3 bouldering mats good luck with that I'm a big brave  adventure dog not a porter.




ROTTING SEAGULL, I WANT ROTTING SEAGULL.


Not  as good as seal but since Hosey said this cove is completely enclosed  and secure and dog-friendly, I'm allowed to hunt out every rotting  seagull carcass right?? Yum.


Day 8 - Cwm Orthin

OKAY THIS IS NICE TO I'M GOING TO PULL ON THE LEAD EXTRA MORE.


Ooohhh,  I know this place. Close to home, very relaxed, soothing. Good time to  pull on the lead and try to chase sheep even though they'd beat me up.  But I'm not scared. Big brave adventure dog.


Still not convinced by broccoli. Maybe Hula Hoops instead.


Many sleeps and dream of goats.


Source: Diary of DOG.

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#1057 Re:  fiendblog
Yesterday at 10:50:40 pm
That's a bloody handsome dog!

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#1058 Re:  fiendblog
Today at 10:20:27 am
She's a lady!! (And an idiot, albeit a lovable one)

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#1059 Re: fiendblogDiary of DOG.
Today at 10:48:49 am
Diary of DOG.
YES  LET ME OFF LEAD ON THIS GIANT BEACH AND A I PROMISE I WON'T RUN MILES  BACK TO JOIN IN A KID'S FOOTBALL GAME AND GET SHOUTED AT. PROMISE  PROMISE THXBYETHEN.

The mental image of Fiend, bedecked in his camo shorts and neon vest, running along the beach screaming "NUNU! NUNU! JESUS CHRIST, NUNU! NUUUUUNUUUUUU!" has set me up for a fine day.

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#1060 Re:  fiendblog
Today at 10:58:15 am
 :lol: ^^^ 90% accurate apart from they were pale grey-green shorts!!

Then after the dad shouted at her and she ran back towards me, she ran right past me, out to sea, to go play with another dog in the waves, wouldn't come back from that, I chased her again and had to grab her by the scruff of the neck, cue much squeaking. What a daftie.

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#1061 Re:  fiendblog
Today at 12:24:01 pm
She's a lady!! (And an idiot, albeit a lovable one)

Ladies can be handsome too  ;D

 

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