I’m currently residing at Maisonbleau as Neil and family have gone on a long overdue and deserved holiday. I’ve stayed here for long periods and I know how things go down , but when it comes to actually being the responsible one it all looks rather different. Whilst I am here on long climbing trips my only real concern is going climbing. If something goes wrong with the house or the gites, but conditions are amazing, I just go climbing. This isn’t a luxury afforded to Neil. I think a lot of people see life here through severely rose tinted spectacles, but that’s mainly because they see only what they want to see (like so many things in life).

Each day I’m here I have to do a number of chores which are relatively easy, but that’s because I’m only doing small things to keep things flowing for 1 week. Neil has to do the thousands of small chores along with the major ones. No one saw what happened when the toilet system got clogged up, and Neil excavated half his garden to find the problem. As he was stood knee deep in at least a 6 month backlog of fecal matter I stood jaw agape at a safe distance. Fair play to him as he replaced a large part of the system and didn’t bat an eyelid after several days of literally bathing in shit. I could barely walk past without gagging. No one sees the many hours of work he puts in to build a gite into what was an old barn, or the days that go into creating a measly extra car parking space. That’s the reality of life here, and of running a business. If only each day was 2 degrees, blue skies, frosty ground, dinner made itself, and boulders waited to get crushed. For me that’s nearly a reality, but it’s all because Neil puts in the hours at Maisonbleau. I’ve always done what I can to help out but in reality I live the easy life.

This post isn’t meant to be some ode to Neil or to Maisonbleau, but merely a reflection on the fact that we only see what we want to see. Given a certain situation, it’s human nature to project our own wants, desires, and aspirations onto it, normally romanticising it into what we wish we could do if real life didn’t get in the way. We do this with situations and with people, but at the end of the day everything comes down to a choice. The question you have to ask is how much do you really want it? If you want anything enough, you can make it happen. That’s what I (rightly or wrongly) believe and it’s how I choose to live. No compromises.

I don’t have sponsors or anyone who pays me to do anything with rock climbing. I do it for love (not that the two are mutually exclusive). I survive because I’m exceptionally lucky with money and I’m able to earn decent amounts in short amounts of time. However, the most effective method of surviving is my ability to be extremely frugal when necessary and always to buy low and sell high. I can’t remember the last time I lost money on something I bought and sold. Don’t always push all in with pocket A’s, as sometimes if you dare to slowplay them you stand to gain so much more. I also survive because I have amazing friends who always help me out with whatever they can. Overall I’m just a very lucky individual. Then again, I don’t believe in luck…  I hope that clears it up doylo…

Lastnight I did a bit of training and surprised myself by finding my level of strength at a half decent level. Certainly not amazing, but it was permissible. 1-5-8 was hard but doable, although I’m not sure if I built the campus board with 22.5cm or 23cm spacings. The latter would certainly explain the extra difficulty. I feel like I’m getting back into shape and doing one armers on the smallest edges of the beastmaker felt easy. Hopefully I’ll be able to utilise some semblance of this strength at an upcoming competition, but if I’ve learnt anything from competitions of that past it’s that I’m hugely inconsistent. It’s possible that I can do well, and it’s equally possible that I can do exceptionally badly. What I will certainly do is try to be wise and shadow the better competitors like Gaz, Ned, and Dave B. in the vain hope of keeping up. The bottom line is that I don’t know what possible, but I’m not ruling anything out, from 1st to last place… place your bets.