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Life is not long, and too much of it must not pass in idle deliberation how it shall be spent.
Dr Samuel Johnson

Wed Aug 21, 2002

Finale sun

Dear Journal, having escaped the storms hanging over Cortina, Finale was supposed to offer light relief and a touch of sun. Day one proved to be so, unfortunately I either ate something disagreeable or fell foul to heat stroke and spent two days tent bound. Colin, poor Colin was not able to escape as we had brought with us the storms of Cortina. Our dreams of fun in the sun vanished.

Climbing was now the last thing I wanted to do, and we were cordially 'entertained' by a group of Italian ragazzi playing hard dance on our right, a group of world class Italian conversationalists on our left, and the German national stretching team - and perhaps occasional climbers below.

The weather did clear, as did my head. Our neighbours remained.

Sun Aug 25, 2002


Dear Journal, my first visit to Fontainebleau was a convenient stopping off point to break the journey from Milan to Cambridge. I was there with Colin, and we used the opportunity to catch up with Fluffy, the french man still trapped in the flat lands of Paris.

Of course I had heard much of these rocks, seen the pictures and watched the videos so I had high expectations. I was not to be disappointed. Arriving without guidebook or the remotest knowledge of where to find the mythical rocks we drove around until we found some scruffy people with large foam pads on their backs. Some english guys pointed us in the direction of the free campsite of Curvier and we were set.

Fluffy arrived the next day, guidebook in hand and poff in bag. It was just as I had imagined it, and our task was to follow a circuit of 47 boulder problems marked with little blue numbers. Fluffy and Colin led off, easily solving the first two. I failed terribly, this obviously was not going to be as easy as I hoped. I jumped to some other easier looking problems to get into my stride, before finally managing to send the first two blues. We were then on our way, the first 20 before lunch, and then the rest after. French families darted energetically between trees springing over boulders before pausing to tuck into their fine looking picnics.

It was a hot day when we arrived, and it was hotter still in the afternoon. Each subsequent problem seemed more difficult than the previous, feet were expanding or rock boots were shrinking and had to be removed after each climb. We were running out of water and wilting. The sand surrounding the boulders was hot to the touch and the circuit proved to be just two problems to long.

That evening we enjoyed frivolous naked bathing under the small and only tap that seemingly sustained life on the small campsite.