Laetitia’s Birthday Party

I thought I’d have a bit of a do for my big Five Oh.

I’d planned well in advance to try and get as many of my friends and family together, so invites went out months ago.

Party Invite

The venue was a no brainer. We have the fortune of living very close to the excellent Hawkshead Brewery, which has a great space for parties, and of course, has fantastic beer.

I did spend a bit of time pondering whether I should do the catering, but the logistics seemed a little too daunting, so I went with the obvious choice of asking Wilf’s to supply a warm buffet of slow roast Kentmere lamb and slow roast local pork. It was a very good decision.

Dinner supplied by Wilf’s

I supplied the desserts, which seemed to disappear in nano-seconds, but my sister, Caroline, provided the most amazing birthday cake. What an absolute star.

The amazing birthday cake, made by my amazing big sister Caroline.
Pete, escaping or climbing…?
Officially breaking into the awesome cake. It seemed such a shame.
Cutting the cake into small pieces with Caroline and Rebecca.

To get people into the party mood we also had the most amazing singer, Grace Davies. She was absolutely fantastic.

The amazing Grace Davies

I had a wonderful time, because so many of my friends could join me. It was great to catch up with people we hadn’t seen for years.

A big thank you for all the presents you bought. You shouldn’t have… but I’m really very appreciative.

In no particular order, here are my amazing family and friends….

Springtime France

We’re recently back from a couple of weeks in France, what an amazing (and weird?) series of spring weather conditions we had though… More “Springtime France”

Tremadog Launch Party

We travelled to North Wales at the weekend to celebrate the publication of the new CC Tremadog guidebook.

Loads of people were invited and despite the terrible rain loads turned up too! 😛

Celebrating the new Tremadog guidebook!
The editor, Peter Sterling, says a few words of thanks.
Photo credit, Steve Long
The author, Steve Long

After the food, partying, celebrations, speeches, and booze we headed outside to mark the publication with a bang – and to enjoy a day-late bonfire night – with a few mega fireworks! 😈 Amazingly, as if by providence, the rain had stopped and the fireworks were amazing echoing of the hills at Pen y Pass and illuminating the whole of the Llanberis pass. 😛

Steve watches a display at the start of the Miners Track up Snowdon
Pete Robins launching a Chinese Lantern from the Pen y Pass car park

After the firework fun and games, and having categorically proven once and for all (again) that climbers are just big (but very brave 😉 ) kids, we headed back in to the Caban for more booze and photographs…

The Tremadog guidebook team...
Don Sargeant (Artist), Pete Sterling (Editor & Layout), Andy Boorman (Historical), and Steve Long (Author)
Photo credit: Steve Long col

Sunday, with heavy hung over heads, we ventured out in to a brilliant blue-sky sunshine day! Albeit there was a heavy covering of snow on the tops… Richard was so excited that he headed off for a winter conditions traverse of Crib Goch without crampons and axe – I expect that was very exciting! We opted for rock climbing at one of the sunnier cliffs described in the Tremadog guidebook; Moel y Gest.

Moel y Gest
T-shirt sleeves in November!
Laetitia abseiling at Moel y Gest

Murder on the SS Titanium

My sister booked a cottage in North Wales for us all to have one big family holiday. Well, I say cottage, but it’s more like a mansion. It’s an amazing house just south of Blaenau Ffestiniog.

The Mansion
The View from "The Mansion"

We just had to take advantage of the beautiful surrounding and host a murder mystery dinner party…

The setting was the SS Titanium.

The SS Titanium has launched from New York on its maiden voyage and the specially invited passengers prepare to celebrate. But, before the first cork can be popped, disaster strikes. Captain E Slost is found overboard, floating on an iceberg with a bullet in his chest!

OK, nothing to do with North Wales, or mountains, but the house was a perfect setting for a dinner party.

The guests included:

  • PRINCE TON-AKADAMEE – Rich Arab (educated and wealthy his investments are stealthy)
  • WILLETT FLY – Plane designer (he can’t keep anything up for 30 seconds!)
  • EMILY AIRHEAD – Adventurer (she’s flying planes and hanging from trains!)
  • HAGATHA TWISTY – Mystery writer (only a criminal could plot this well!)
  • FARLEY HATPIN – Silent film director (…!)
  • DR HEINRICH MANOEUVRE – Austrian doctor (if you start to choke, he’s one handy bloke!)
  • IZZY GONYETT – Wealthy widow (the weaker the pulse the more she’ll convulse!)
  • FANNY SHAKER – Showgirl (she’ll shake her thing for a small shot of gin!)

Everyone took their parts very seriously, and came appropriately dressed in character. It was a great night, and lots of wine was drunk. I won’t give away who the murderer was, but as usual, we all had motives!

Izzy Gonyett (Caroline) and Dr Heinrich Manoeuvre (Malcolm)

Farley Hatpin (Andy) and Fanny Shaker (Angela)

Prince Ton-Akadamee (Nick) and Hagatha Twisty (Saskia)

Emily Airhead (Laetitia) and Willett Fly (Pete)

and with extras ... Sailey Rope (Maddie) and Stan Leigh Waters (Laurence)

2009 Great Langdale Pudding Race

The curse was finally lifted (just!!) as Anna claimed her pudding on a cold morning in Langdale. For 3 years, Anna had been thwarted by injury and illness. It was freezing at the Stickle Barn, with fantastic ice crystal growths on the tables:


Throughout the preceding week or so, Anna’s training had been interupted by sciatica, a fall down the stairs and finally a bad cold. Things weren’t looking good with an hour to go, but the girls fed up on some huge bananas and were nearly ready. (despite this, there was no appearance, as promised, from bananaman)

Sarah and Anna get stuck into some fruit
Sarah and Anna get stuck into some fruit

First though was the junior race, (U16), and with the traffic in Langdale still up the creek, it looked like Martha and Charlie would miss the start. In fact they did, and as the field set off, Sean kicked them out of the car in the queue, and they set offa good 300yards behind the rest. Well done Charlie who set off like a demon and came in 12th and Martha who didn’t have time to change into her trainers and did the 3kms in her school shoes!!

Charlie storms through the finish
Charlie storms through the finish

At last the clock ticked around to high noon and the runners gathered at the start. Apprehension was soon overtaken by adreneline and as the field swept away Anna looked like she might even enjoy herself!!

Anna in high siprits at the start
Anna in high siprits at the start

There was nothing left for the spectators to do except hope………. (oh, and go to the bar for chips, hot toddys and free mince pies)

The Hudsons:  post race.... pre chips
The Hudsons: post race.... pre chips

After barely time for a drink, thefield were back (33 minutes), first zac, closely followed by Sarah and then Anna. Despite all the ailments Anna posted a respctable time (easily sub 55 mins) and later that evening was heard to say that her legs didn’t hurt at all… (as she finished her first bottle of wine!)

Anna finishes
Anna finishes

To the victors, the spoils!!!
To the victors, the spoils!!!

That evening Sarah held her usual post race party…. Thanks Sarah, great as usual!! it was also good to see loads of people, even though the roads were really icy and getting there was a problem. One of the locals managed to roll their car not 50yds from Sarah’s house…. a bit worrying as our cars were parked on the road.


And, after a heavy night the night before, that stopped him running, even Bananaman showed up!!!

pudding Race 09 025

40th Wig Party

Birthday Cake!
Birthday Cake!

A couple of weeks ago we received an email from Rachel: “Surprise 40th birthday party for Richard”. The theme was wigs. This caused great excitement in the Sterling household. We love parties, and we (well, I do anyway) love dressing up.

I made a trip into the centre of Blackpool and found the perfect wigs – pink for me (of course) and a Scottish theme for Pete. It was amazing how much it suited him.

A few cryptic emails later and we had directions to the venue. We got there early, with the other guests, and waited in the kitchen for the birthday boy to arrive.
When Richard opened the door he looked a bit stunned. He knew something was happening, but he had no idea how many people would be there, and he had no idea about the wigs. He looked around trying to work out who was who, and then opened his surprise box to find a rather fetching Afro. Champagne corks popped and we all laughed.

Everyone made a great effort. Thanks for inviting us Rachel, and thanks for hosting the party Tina and Russell.

Rachel & Richard
Rachel & Richard

Pot Scar

Pot Scar

It wasn’t raining, but I was feeling cold and I didn’t want to venture high. I wanted to avoid the potential crowds (!) on low-lying Lakeland rock and so I decided that we should head east to Yorkshire. I like the area near Austwick, so Pete picked a new venue for us – Pot Scar.

Pot Scar is a very quick 20 minutes walk from the tiny village of Feizor and provides plenty of fairly short routes in amenable grades, and maybe best of all, there is a cafe where you park the car!!!!!

The warm up route; Mort's Crack
The warm up route; Mort's Crack

We had the place to ourselves. Perhaps it is mainly used as an evening crag. It certainly is popular at some time as there is plenty of polish, especially at the beginning of the popular routes.

The crag was sheltered from the wind, the rock was warm, and my body was being reminded of what summer should feel like. I even thought I might get my sunglasses out to reduce the glare from the guidebook pages, until I remembered they were back at home – I haven’t needed them much recently.

The routes were great, with just the right amount of challenge and just the right amount of protection.

The Long Black Veil
The Long Black Veil

We finished pretty early – we had a party to prepare for – and we decided to miss the cafe. It was still open and looked very tempting, but we had a carrot cake with our name on it waiting for us at home.

Carrot Cake & Coffee!
Carrot Cake & Coffee!

A quick change into beach clothes, and off we went to Ormskirk for Mark’s 40th beach theme birthday party. It was mad… actually it was fantastic. Hog roast, tons of food, cocktails, and loads of people in great fancy dress – mermaids, pirates, desert island discs, sand-castles, message in a bottle, jelly fish, and a few Robinson Crusoes.

Arriving at Mark's Beach Party in the middle of Ormskirk!
Arriving at Mark's Beach Party in the middle of Ormskirk!