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secret agent edition

hey, how're you living?

well i hope?

well this saturday thing seems to be working out, as we are seeing more people reading the blog than ever, so hopefully it suits you ok, and today we've got a bazooka long video to share with you, so hopefully you'll have more time to watch it than on a friday.

but before i bang it on here for your delectation, a quick update of stuff bigmoose.

monday i drove a white van, a big white van. 

in fact a flipping huge white van.

and i drove it with my wingwoman aka fluffy ultragirl, as she is now known to her friends (me)

we drove down the m4 heading east, swinging over to bath, the place not the washing method.

we landed at mr x's heeeuge warehouse, and proceeded to load up with swag.

the aforementioned swag consisted of tables, chairs, stools, chandeliers, and all manner of stuff that is gonna make our coffee shop look cool and quirky. 

but tis ok, we like cool and quirky, so when we get it rockin, we'd love you to come down and hang out eat'n drink'n an bein' merry, whilst supporting our philanthropic enterprise, a proper mission led business. here is a picture of a sample of some of our swag.

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so that was monday day, and monday evening our mates craig and aimee came over to show us their cardiff half/mental health awareness video, and here is a quick backstory.

craig and aimee met my girls some years ago when they worked at wagamama, and they have now gone on to be you tube sensations with over 15k subscribers to their channel, having a viral clip of aimee getting bashed with a fish, getting over 1.8 million views, and just being lush mates, with the same idea of doing kind stuff as us and you.

we watched the video, and i fought back the tears, feeling proud of them and everyone involved, give it a watch and hopefully you'll feel the same.

they launched it the next day, which was world mental health awareness day, and it has got rave reviews, so if you have time please give it a watch, or if you're busy, come back to it, it really is great, and one of the stories is just the best.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpGHTZTC3g4

so how great is that?

i really hope you enjoyed it as much as us, it just shows what a little bit of help can do for others doesn't it.

so, as well launching the video on tuesday, me and fluff went to have coffee and lemon cake and meet the lovely lowri morgan at the chapter arts centre in cardiff, coz we love it there, and they do good cake!

lowri is a bafta and multi award winning television presenter, a world class ultra endurance marathon runner, and is one of only six to ever complete one of the notoriously difficult 350 mile non-stop footrace 6633 ultra in the arctic and the challenging jungle ultra marathon in the amazon forest. 

when she completed the 6633 she was the only person to finish the race, and i found it hard not to bow as she walked in!

we had a good old natter about running an' stuff, and i reckon we might become pals, watch this space.

http://www.6633ultra.com/

lowri on the 6633

lowri on the 6633

that was tuesday, so onto wednesday.

wednesday we headed to cheltenham to do an everest talk at gchq, which if you haven't heard of it before, you can have a readup here. 

https://www.gchq.gov.uk/

now i can't say too much, as it's even more top secret than mr x's magic warehouse, although similar in some ways, lol!

gchq is this amazing high security facility in cheltenham, where the national cyber security centre is, and the movie the imitation game was a part of.

now, as i said i can't say too much, but i can say i was rubbing shoulders with folk from mi5 and the cia.

say whaaaaaaaaaaat!!!

i know!

i struggled at keeping it together at this one.

my world is certainly a bit of a weird place these days. 

my host for the day informed me there had been a ballot to hear my talk, which was oversubscribed, and told me that professor brian cox had spoken to them the other week, and i suddenly felt sick.

i had an hour to talk to these fellow humans, that i assumed were super intelligent, super fly, and me and chloe noticed a few that were definitely james bond material.

i opened by thanking them for protecting me and my family, and i think this caught them off guard.

as i flew through my slide show, talking about how bigmoose was created, and some of the stuff that we do, i saw a few heads nodding, they laughed at a couple of places they were supposed to, and i didn't spot one sleeper, so all in all i think it went ok, but man it was a pressurised one, but all character building i guess, though i have to say it doesn't get easier from a nerves perspective.

the good news is we have had one of the audience ask if we can go to their child's school to talk, and one lady who has a disabled child who is going to come to our next supertri, and has said gchq will bring a load of volunteers, so if you attend the next supertri and see a load of people with dark glasses on talking into their wristwatches, give them a little wink and tap your nose as you pass ;)

here is the building, which I loved the look of, very cool, though i did make myself chuckle, when inside this super security facility, and being asked to leave my laptop and phone in the car, i genuinely enquired "is it safe?"

GCHQ-aerial.jpg

by wednesday i had pretty much peaked.

thursday and friday were spent coffee shop prepping and writing the old book, which is coming along nicely, though i have slipped behind a little, but hopefully will get back on pace now the cardiff half is sorted.

as well as my everest book, i am also co-writing a children's everest book with the headmistress from winsley primary school, mrs wilson, who i love, but it does worry me every time i send a chapter over to her for her to read.

anyways, if you've watched craig and aimee's video, this week's blog will have taken up too much time already, so i will wrap things up.

in conclusion, we will be looking for help on the coffee shop project as soon as we sign the lease, and will be trying to hit it hard to get open as soon as possible.

our mate keith who owns merrylees construction is going be helping us massively, but if you know any building type people, we will need all kinds of trades, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and general hard grafters willing to get stuck in, so if you know anybody please ask them to get in touch.

also, we will be needing raw materials as well to build with, so if anybody knows any philanthropic builders merchants please give them our details.

i shall now get off my knees.

have a top week, and catch you back here next week,

blue skies friends,

jeff

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cardiff half edition

well hi bigmoose family,

and to all the new subscribers from last week, welcome.

the cardiff half marathon provided bigmoose with a place to shout about what we do, and with our brightly emblazoned shirts, and placards with motivational, and hopefully a couple of funny sayings, engaged us with the 25000 strong crowd, and the response has been brilliant.

we have had loads of e-mails and messages direct and on social media, with some awesome comments about our presence at the race, and i'll talk about the race in a bit more detail later, but for now, thanks for subscribing, i can't promise anything except hopefully stuff that might just inspire you to do some cool shizzle in your life, that maybe you wouldn't have done before you pressed 'subscribe' and if if that is how it pans out, then that's a good thing i reckon, what say you?

anyhoo

i want to tell a couple of stories, which are all linked really, just to show the power of small actions.

two people have been pretty pivotal in my life, resulting in you and i having this relationship, and a third whose one action has proved to be amazing.

first, georgina jones, my pal who ran the cardiff half on sunday and supports everything bigmoose does, and is solely responsible for me doing public speaking, which is now a big part of my life.

my schoolteacher, mr fuller, who was my form master and english teacher, who was pretty much a hippy, very tall, about 6'4" with really long hair and a beard, resembling catweazle a tv character from the 80's.

mr fuller taught me to enjoy the english language, and unbeknownst to me at the time was influencing my life in a rough part of finsbury park, and encouraging me to read and write as much as i could, and here i am writing this blog for you, and currently writing two books, thanks mr fuller.

i did try to hunt him down to say thank you, but failed miserably, but you never know, could you imagine having taught some snotty nosed kid back in the 70's, and he gets back in touch to say he holds you responsible for his current life, that would be pretty cool huh, i'll keep looking.

so, mr fuller encourages me to speak and write and enjoy english, and george encourages me to speak in public about what i'm up to, and then the third person in this story assumes his role.

john adamson.

i've spoken about john before, he's a northern dude who is an ex dj, supports preston north end football club, and having not really spoken to each other for some years when we shared an office space in cardiff, contacted me to ask me to compere an event he was putting on in cardiff.

so here's the timeline.

i go and compere the sharetalk event in cardiff, which john pays me to do to help pay for my everest trip, and at the same time i do a talk about bigmoose.

peter higgins is a shareholder in sharetalk, and we meet and chat.

i meet joão andrade who is the ceo of widecells plc who takes the microphone during the q & a and commits to help raise money for bigmoose.

so the story is starting to weave itself together.

along the way we are arranging the cardiff bigmoose half marathon team, and recruiting as many people as you can shake a stick at.

i go to widecells plc in manchester to do a talk about bigmoose, meet alan greenberg, ex head of apple education, who invites me to london to discuss his involvement with bigmoose.

whilst with alan in london, he introduces me to two chaps graham livesey and glyn shier who work in the same space as alan, and who i told about bigmoose and the cardiff half.

so october 1st in cardiff this happens.

i meet joão at 07:30 outside our proposed site for our bigmoose coffee shop, with a camera man filming an interview about how he is commited to raising £50k for bigmoose, and is running the cardiff half with his wife vivian, who has never run a race in her life but really wants to be involved.

08:15 i meet tom holmes one of our runners, who was struggling with mental health issues, details of which i don't want to share, but was in a very dark place, and since joining our training runs, and signing up to the half has now stopped having counselling, as his counsellor has told him he is good to go. tom and i wander over for our 08:30 interview with the bbc where tom talks to camera, and doesn't stop beaming his massive 'tom' smile.

08:45 we have gone back to our bigmoose meeting point and i see graham and glyn, who i haven't seen since my brief meeting in london, looking fit and strong and resplendent in their bright, orange spotty bigmoose shirts.

we have the obligatory team picture, and the whole team chants 'moose moose moose' in a very deep war cry like fashion, which would make my old mate chuckle i reckon.

everybody except me (bad knees from the hill still) and chloe (recovering from her ultra) rock off to their positions at the start of the race, it felt a bit like when i dropped my first born off at school for that first morning, i have to admit.

30 minutes in, my phone rings, and it's peter higgins, who has driven from leicester to accompany his wife sarah who is running for the first time, and he and their daughter evony will be cheering her on along the route, and they will meet us back at bigmoose basecamp after the race.

so five people running from portugal, london and leicester, and raising over fifty grand for bigmoose, all because of john's intro, george and mr fullers encouragement, and yesterday a friend asked me if i like doing the public speaking and i replied without pausing, an emphatic "i love it", and i know why i love it, because it spreads the word, it allows me to encourage and recruit people to join us, and definitely allows me to leave the world better than when i found it, so yes i love talking, check out these smiles, what's not to love.

joão and vivian (he's the dude that's running badwater #ultraceo)

joão and vivian (he's the dude that's running badwater #ultraceo)

graham, me and glyn, thanks guys.

graham, me and glyn, thanks guys.

sarah and peter's lovely daughter evony, sporting her spotty bigmoose bow!

sarah and peter's lovely daughter evony, sporting her spotty bigmoose bow!

and here is a link to the sweetest video of sarah you could ever wish to see.

https://t.co/4taiq7yZlf?ssr=true

how awesome is that?

and then, to my personal fave, beth, who had never run a step before rocking up to one of our training runs, and then didn't stop training, and now is the proud owner of a cardiff half medal, quality!!!

so, so proud of beth.

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as well as amazing runners, we also had 14 cheer stations along the route, with a mix of crazy dedicated friends, all offering energy, encouragement, high fives and snacks to the runners, thank you everyone who stood in the cold for hours offering support, your efforts were really well received, thank you.

the brilliant team holley

the brilliant team holley

the lovely shelley gelsomini at mile 5

the lovely shelley gelsomini at mile 5

tiffany and the legend that is cat

tiffany and the legend that is cat

there are loads more pics on our website here

http://www.bigmoose.co/cardiff-half-2017

so we all had a spiffing time all in all, but what we didn't expect was the response from the general public, we have been inundated with lovely comments and thank you's from runners who saw the signs, our runners, and heard the cry of 'moose moose moose' all along the route, and whilst i haven't got time or room to share them all with you, here are just a couple.

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so the impact we made on the race was pretty great, so again thanks to everybody that got involved in any way, and if you didn't but fancy having a bash next year, we will be doing it all again, and have some ideas and plans afoot already, so drop us a line if you wanna be kept informed.

now as well as the half, we have had loads going on, and it's been a pretty good week all in all, with mr x allowing me to go and collect all the furniture for the coffee shop on monday, a talk with a secret government department, which i have to stay shtum about happening tuesday, yes my bottle is going, and every digit available is crossed for some good news on the lease for bigmoose coffee co, please please please let us get it soon, you must be bored of hearing about us being 'nearly there'.

so i have just had the blog police sound their siren, so i better let you crack on, but thanks for reading, thanks for supporting, and never forget small actions can have massive reactions, go gettem bigmoose gang!!

much love and blue skies,

jeffers

 

 

 

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fluffy's monster ultra

good morning bigmoose crew,

last week's blog was late, and sent on saturday instead of friday, but was opened by the most people ever, so i'm gonna experiment with this being sent today (saturday) instead, and then see what you guys reckon, any feedback will be gratefully received.

so last week i mentioned among other things that chloe aka fluffy was running a 42 mile ultra race, and it turned out to be a rather epic day, with lots of highs and lows, and lots of things to learn from, so i asked her if she wouldn't mind recounting how her day went, warts an' all, so you guys could experience it through her eyes.

so, she has written a tale about how the day went, and it is below for your delectation, and she too appears to have a propensity for long blogs, so i will update you on all stuff bigmoose next week, but hopefully chloe's efforts show that you don't always get what you want, but sometimes the journey is the takeaway from an adventure.

i hope you enjoy 

chloe's first ultra

long distance running has never been my strong suit. but in march 2016, a good friend of mine passed away after a 2 year battle with cancer. emily was an amazing young woman and inspired many people, including me. until then, i had been fortunate to not have ever lost anyone close to me and so losing em, was a massive shock. at bigmoose we wanted to do something to remember her, so dad came up with the idea of getting a cardiff half team together.

at this point (may 2016) i had never run a mile in my life, but after watching dad on mds i knew i wanted to give some running a go and then losing em, gave me the push to commit.

for the last few years i have suffered badly with back pain and inflammation in my chest. i was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at one stage but this has been proven to be a misdiagnosis. we still aren’t 100% sure what causes the pain but it requires daily management and sometimes walking up the stairs can be challenging, so i knew running a half marathon wouldn’t be easy.

i trained for months prior to the race and the day of the half was amazing. with over 100 runners #runningforemily, i managed to cross the line with dad, pritch and my good friend olivia richards.

following on from the half dad came up with the idea of me attempting to run 365 days of 2017, no matter how far or short the distance i just had to run. this was a great focus for the first few months of 2017, but i felt i needed something more. before dad went to everest we discussed aiming to run a marathon together when he got home. however, whilst he was away i started thinking about running an ultra... i ordered a running vest to hold my water bottles, sent dad a picture with the caption ‘thinking of doing an ultra’ – his reply ‘you are so my daughter!’

and that was it, it was booked!

i had 6 months to get my mileage up, i hadn’t run any long distances since the half and i was now back down to running only 2-3 miles per run and i needed to be able to run 42 within 24 weeks! i got a training plan and began upping the mileage. i stuck to the plan as much as i could but my back pain often got in the way, resulting in missed training sessions and doubts building in my mind.

but progress was good and on 19th august i ran my first marathon followed by a 30 miler a few weeks later. i felt good and ready for what was to come! in the last few weeks of training my knee started playing up due to tightness in my hip and so i had to rest and miss my last big training weekend but i knew i’d put the work in up until then, so i just hoped it was enough.

on saturday we drove to cambridge, i was ridiculously nervous and as we ate dinner that night i felt sick and my stomach was in knots. i tried to get some sleep but my mind was ticking over going through everything i needed and just hoping that my body would hold out for just one more day of long distance running.

5am alarm – i sat on the bed of the travel lodge, feeling so sick and slowly eating a bowl of fruit and fibre - my standard go to breakfast before a run. when dad played hockey he was very superstitious and this has carried on as he’s continued taking on big challenges and in 2015 when he ran race to the stones he packed a bowl, a spoon from home and a measured amount of cereal in his bag. he explained that he liked continuity and wanted to keep as much the same as possible on race day. so flash forward to september 24th 2017 and i chuckled to myself as i sat eating my cereal out of a bowl from home with a spoon from home thinking what a mini me i am of dad!

the weather was due to be dry and as i got dressed i was so glad i wouldn’t need to contend with rain as well as everything else.

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the start line was in front of the beautiful ely cathedral, near cambridge and as we arrived i had that first day of school feeling. i felt sick and didn’t want to get out of the car. there were so many doubts, my back hadn’t been great the week leading up to the race and i felt so frustrated that after 6 months of work that my body may not allow me to complete my challenge. i cried as we sat in the car and it took all my energy to get out into the cold morning.

race brief done and the countdown began. 3, 2, 1 and we were off. after a few miles the sun started to rise and the temperature was increasing rapidly. it was only 9am and it was already18 degrees. i was wearing my go to pair of leggings and t-shirt that i had trained in for months and, though i was comfortable in this outfit, i had not factored in the heat of the day! who’d have thought the end of september would be so hot?!

the first few miles felt good, the amazing runners at the front of the pack were now just small specks in the distance, the gap continuing to expand as their pace remained steady (and so fast!!!). i was near the back with about 8 other runners, we were all around the same sort of pace and i had 4 runners behind me for the first 6 miles. as it continued to get hotter and my back started to ache the runners started to over take me and before i knew it, i was in last place. coming last didn’t bother me at all but having the bikes tailing me was off putting and i didn’t expect them to be so close to me at all times. every time i needed to stop and stretch my back they were there, and as i’m so used to running completely on my own, it was really odd being followed!

i ran pretty well and got a boost when i saw my parents at mile 8. however the sun got hotter (now at 25 degrees) and by the time i got to mile 15 i had slowed to a walk, i met dad at mile 17 and was in tears. ‘i don’t think i can do this’ i said to him. he joined me and helped pace me and encouraged me to continue. we made the decision to try and make it to the half-way point before the cut off time and then make a decision to whether i continue. this meant 4 miles in less than an hour, which on a normal occasion would’ve been fine but because i felt so ill it was such a struggle. we made it to 21 miles with less than 4 minutes to spare.

by the time we got there i was on my hands and knees being sick. the sun was absolutely battering me, i sat in the shade just playing it over in my mind and thinking how easy it would be to get into mum’s car and just come home. i even worked out that if i left then i could be in bed by 5!! however i just couldn’t give up until i absolutely couldn’t take another step.

i made the decision to carry on with the option of meeting mum along the route in case i needed to pull out. dad was with me now, which was amazing, but we were averaging a super slow, 20 minute per mile pace, but i just couldn’t move any faster. the pain was intense and i felt exhausted but also frustrated as i knew i could go further as i’d done it in training. we planned to get to mum and as we got to the end of the path i saw her waiting for us with a huge smile. ‘how you doing?’ she asked, 'it’s not going to happen’ i replied, with my head down.

we walked to the pub where mum was parked and i ran in to the toilet, i reflected on what had happened over the last few hours, i felt broken but before the race i told myself to keep going even when i felt like i had no more to give and only stop when i physically couldn’t go any further. i came back to the car park and saw mum and dad and they were ready to get me in the car and start the drive home. ‘i want to keep going’ i said. they both looked surprised but immediately were on board and supported my decision. i had a horrible blister on my toe so i strapped it up, drank a glass of coke which gave me an amazing hit of sugar and then got back on the road.

i don’t know what happened during this 20 minute stop but as i started again, i had a new lease of life, the pain killers had kicked in and we were now averaging 13 minute miles which was an amazing improvement and more than that, i was actually enjoying it!! we still had the bikes behind us but i had a spring in my step again and deep down i knew the race wasn’t over and we were back on track.

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the miles melted away, we ate skittles, laughed as we went, reminisced about our time on kili and i felt so happy and content to be completing this with dad.

then we got to the half marathon checkpoint, 13.1 miles to go. based on the time i had been out if they multiplied up they worked out i would finish by 10pm – the cut off was 7pm – the marshals said they needed to ring the race director to see if they were going to have to time me out. we pleaded with them that i was feeling better and had sped up, but they were like tradesmen pricing a job *deep intake of breath P shaking of the head P arms folded P* - it wasn’t looking good! as we filled our bottles i could see the marshal talking seriously on the phone. dad said to me ‘you carry on, i’ll catch you up to save wasting time’ so i kept going and then heard the deep shout of the marshal ‘put your number and timing chip down, you can carry on at your own risk but hand over your number’. i turned around debating what to do... i knew my race wasn’t over, i didn’t want to get in the van to be driven back to the finish line and i didn’t want a dnf and to hand my number over!! i looked at dad and he shouted ‘just keep running fluff!’. i only needed to be told once!! i turned back around and continued on the road ahead leaving the marshal confused and still shouting to leave my number!

dad caught me up and we laughed like naughty school kids running away from the grumpy teacher! we continued at the same pace, taking in the beauty of cambridge and as the sun began to set i felt so much better. with 8 miles to go we stopped and saw mum and by then i knew there was nothing going to stop me now.

by mile 36 we knew we weren’t going to make the 7pm deadline. it would be close but we knew we wouldn’t get there. we rang mum and gave her the update, she was now waiting at the finish line. we kept going and then suddenly the beautiful ely cathedral was back in sight. as we started up the last road towards the cathedral, dad crossed the road to let me have my moment and as we got closer i could hear mum shouting and cheering and by the light of the street lamps i could see she was with 2 other people.

i ran my heart out touched the finish point and sighed a huge sigh of relief. then as i walked towards mum it became apparent that she had convinced the race director to stay and wait for me to finish, mum told him about my back pain and that it was my first ultra and he kindly stuck around! i crossed the line at 7:22pm, the cut off was 7pm. he gave me a goodie bag and congratulated me and then from his back pocket he presented me with my medal, i questioned him and said that i hadn’t made it on time and he said that i deserved it for the perseverance and determination to not give up! what a top guy!

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the other person with mum was one of the runners that i had run with for the first few miles or so. i saw her a few times during the race and she passed me on her way back as i was still making my way to the halfway point. she had finished an hour prior to me but came back to take a picture of the cathedral in the dark. as she did she spotted my mum and started chatting, when mum told her i was still running, she asked if she could stick around and see me finish! i was overwhelmed by the kindness of the these 2 strangers, and probably overly enthusiastically hugged them both!! what a day!

i was elated! after 10 hours 44 minutes i had finished my first ultra.

the car journey home i slept but kept waking up and feeling for my medal, to make sure i hadn’t dreamt it! the first few days of recovery were rough as we think i got sun-stroke as the heat was relentless, but apart from sickness, a few blisters and tired legs i feel great! the whole day was amazing, but what i took away from it more than anything is to surround yourself with people that love you and support you. i 100% wouldn’t have finished the race without dad’s support throughout and without mum following us along the route with food and drink. these two are heroes.

time for some rest now!!

as brucey would have said "didn't she do well"

there are lots of things i'd like to say about this episode of our family life, but they will all sound like soundbites from a nike ad, so i won't, except to say i'm super proud of this young woman, and can't wait to see how her life continues, i have a feeling it's going to be a great journey.

thanks for tuning in, and i'll get a bumper cardiff half marathon edition blog out to you next week, but just to say to all runners good luck, and keep an eye out for the 14 bigmoose supporter stations at every mile along the course, and if you see our runners if you're supporting, don't forget to cheer with a huge 'moose moose moose', to make them feel loved.

have a great week,

jeffro

 

 

 

 

 

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one little fluffy, there's only one little fluffy! (how to embarass your child in one easy lesson)

good morning bigmoose friends,

we're 24 hours late this week, which i will explain why in a wee while, but first off, i want to tell you how excited i am about this weekend in smithland!

today, my fellow bigmoose cohort, and second born child of mine [and tania obviously, couldn't have done it without ya tan ;)] chloe, aka fluffy, is running her first ultramarathon. 

well technically this isn't true, as she has run 30 miles in her training programme, which actually makes her an ultrarunner already, but on sunday she takes part in her first ultra race, and is aiming to run 42 miles off the bat.

now this is pretty mean feat for any human, but for one that a year and a half ago had never run a mile, and struggles with her health daily due to some kidney problems she has, i reckon this is a pretty monumental effort.

chloe rhian smith as we named her is a bit of a feisty one, and punches very well above her weight, and many many blogs ago i wrote the infamous story of how she categorically wouldn't wear the blue dress in her kindergarten production of the nativity play at her third christmas on the planet, resulting in her being given a supporting role, as opposed to the preferred by all part of mary.

the writing was on the wall.

at fifteen she summited mount kilimanjaro, raising fifteen thousand pounds for a local barnardos project in cardiff, and at seventeen she returned to africa to volunteer for a month to help build schools, mixing concrete and laying blocks among other tasks.

she studied to become a teacher, but realised it wasn't going to allow her the freedom she craved to make a difference, so she made the hugely brave decision to come and work with me in my business, and on the bigmoose groove, and recently whilst i was on everest she ran our social media, getting amazing comments from everyone who followed our journey, for her portrayal of my adventure in her words to accompany the pictures, as well as coping, the same as the rest of my girls did, with not knowing if i was going to be coming back.

as you can tell i am extremely proud of both our dustbin lids in equal amounts, but it just so happens this weekend belongs to chloe.

we will be driving to cambridge today to rest up ready for the early start tomorrow, for what i hope will be the culmination of an amazing amount of training and effort, and as somebody involved with bigmoose, what a fantastic show of courage and determination she shows us all.

she is a grafter, a fighter for others rights, and as with both of my girls i am amazingly proud of her, but this race is a big effort and mentally a biggie, so if you get a chance please follow her on @chloe_runs on instagram, and give her a bigup, i'm sure she would appreciate it, and hopefully she might inspire you to do something a bit out of your comfort zone as well.

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so, why a saturday blog i hear you shout.

basically, i screwed up.

i'll start at the beginning.

last monday me and chloe trundled down to windsor to the delightful braywood school tucked away down a leafy lane, and full of lots of learning, ready for us to tell them about our everest journey.

the talk went great, and we did an assembly and visits to individual classes for some top questions from the kids, including the standard 'how do you go to the toilet?' enquiry.

as we had approached the school i did a double take, as i saw two huge heads which looked like ugly versions of our monarchs in somebody's garden, and on our return trip we slowed to reveal the queen and prince philip, looking pretty haunting, and had it been night time i worried about how my sleep pattern would have been interrupted.

i did a quick google and found a picture for you with the effigies owner ben bennet aged 83, who alleges to have found them in a house clearance, and decided to put them in his front garden to show the passing world, which i'm sure is what me and you would do as well, makes perfect sense.

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so this was monday.

wednesday evening i had been invited to talk about homelessness at an event arranged by chris nott in cardiff, and the event was a bit of a biggie, with the leader of cardiff council, the head business correspondent for wales online, and a load of ceo's of charities and other companies in attendance, and overall very overawing, and i felt very nervous before my spot at the end of the evening.

thankfully it seemed to go ok, and some very positive connections have presented themselves, with one chap i know well whispering to me 'call me tomorrow, i think we might have a pot of money we can give you for the coffee shop' so i will see him next week, but i have to admit i am flipping super excited at this, so it just goes to show, you've gotta get out there and shout about what you're up to, marketing marketing marketing i guess, but it never fails to scare the bejesus out of me beforehand.

so two down, one to go.

thursday saw me head for sunny lancaster, where i had never been before, and when i looked at the distance from the station to the barracks where i was going to be speaking only being 2.2 miles i chose to walk rather than getting a taxi, and was rewarded with a stunning walk along a huge river, with a weir, ducks, and amazingly beautiful vistas worthy of constable's fair brush.

as i entered the barbed wired facility, i was met by a soldier called paddy, wearing fatigues, and a beret that fitted perfectly, and the way he stood exuded confidence.

we chatted and walked to where i was going to be presenting, which was a bit of a ramshackle looking facility, that looked a little tired and in need of some tlc.

however, once inside, the audio visual system was better than most five star hotels i have been in, and the kit had a lecturn with a touch screen monitor which mirrored the laptop that would be plugged in, and a sound system using a brand my day job has taught me is top drawer, this was hi tec indeed, never judge a book.

mark yates, who i had never met in person before introduced himself, and his firm but warm handshake, confirmed what i had already guessed about this blog reader who had contacted me post everest to see if i would come and talk to his troops, he was a goodun.

a man who has dedicated his working life to the army, and now trains soldiers to be the best they can be, is himself a very accomplished athlete, having completed among other things the 'triple brutal' consisting of a 7.2 mile swim, then a 336 bike ride, followed by a 78.6 mile run, all up hill and dale, including a summit of ben nevis, so not for one second did i underestimate this humans physical and mental strength, and i have to say when i meet people capable of doing such stuff, they tend to often be extremely humble, as was mark.

the talk seemed to go ok, and the q & a whilst not as lively as the schoolkids, seemed to be more cerebral, as you would expect, and post event feedback from mark states that "it evoked some deep feelings on social responsibility and compassionate leadership. also some of the guys were saying that i came across as a 'normal bloke' which empowered them to strike out a bit harder and go for their own challenges"

my work was done.

how cool is that, we're making a difference by making a difference, i love it!

mark and paddy, (peter kay fans sit down please) then drove to the station under the cover of night, and as mark looked at his phone he relayed that i needed to catch the 20:56 train for birmingham new street, and as we pulled up outside the dimly lit station, my watch read 20:54.

i boarded, and breathed a sigh of relief that i had made the last train, getting me back to the 'diff about 1am, all good.

i didn't check my phone for my connecting train time until we had stopped at preston, crewe and warrington, and a little bit of investigation revealed that i should in fact have got off at crewe.

muppet.

i don't tend to do panic, but it soon became apparent that this faux pas had thrust me into an unretrievable situation, there was no way i was going to make birmingham new street before the last train left at 22:21.

aw fish, as princess carolyn would say.

i communicated this message back to the cottage, where tan and chlo questioned what i was going to do, and i assured them i would be fine, but that my journey from the midlands would not continue until 05:00 and i would see them for breakfast.

muppet.

now in this situation, i had choices.

beat myself up about what a tool i had been.

get a hotel, which would cost me an arm and a leg for a very few hours of room useage.

or, i suggested to myself, i could use the experience as an adventure.

you know where this is going don't you.

i decided i would see what being homeless in birmingham looked and felt like, and i won't tell you the full story here and now, i will just boil it down to tell you i spent the night walking the streets of a very cold birmingham city centre, immersing myself in the danger and darkness that appeared around a number of corners.

this wasn't some corporate night on the streets with bands and pizza, please excuse my cynicism for such events, i'm sure they mean well, but for a more authentic experience go it alone, take away the safety net, then the senses are heightened i can tell you.

as day broke, i was cold to my core, and my three layers, including my rab down jacket, had only provided minimal protection, so what anybody with lesser thermal protection would be feeling like gawd only knows.

i knew i was going be making my way back to a hot shower, eggs on a bagel, with ketchup, and pondered that there were people of all ages that were now awakening to the next chapter of daylight and this was their life, life on the street.

man that sucks.

as the train took me back to my nest, i grew tired, and the safety of the carriage allowed me to drift into unconsciousness, knowing i wasn't going to get mugged, killed or abused in some way that the previous hours hadn't allowed me to do.

as i stepped out of the taxi and into my home, i was tired, but had lots of hope for the day and my life ahead, but my fellow street sleepers had this missing from their lives.

hope.

love.

simple stuff, but oh so important.

our homeless event on wednesday had two young people that had come though a time living on the street, and were now living back in warm homes with food and shelter, and their stories whilst harrowing, helped me realise that there is lots of work to be done, and my small amount of time in downtown brum has only strengthened my resolve.

humans need hope, and it is our responsibility as parents, as employers, and as people to help give hope to others, in whatever form that may take, encourage, grow, nurture, however we can.

geez, i got into it a bit there, sorry about that, but hopefully you get why, and my war cry rally's you to take arms so to speak.

the bitter sweet taste of heinz blended with my bagel and egg, and i contemplated writing my blog, but dear bigmoose blog reader, i decided that i was spent, emotionally and physically, and what i needed was rest, and i banked on the fact that you would understand, and get it, that whilst always attempting to hit deadlines, and deliver in a satisfactory way, it isn't really that important, and the bigger picture is about the impact we make, and sometimes the story of failure or imperfection is more relevant and more powerful.

so, to end on a super positive note i just wanted to update you on the offer of furniture and stuff we were offered by mr x recently, who works for ***** ******* and has this week confirmed almost all of the furniture we looked at recently will be given to us free of charge, so as soon as we get the coffee shop we are rocking!!!

also, mr x doesn't work for pizza express as one friend recently suggested, her great attempt at hangman not being wholly successful, sorry nads.

have a top drawer week ahead, give people around you hope, invest in them, which will in turn deliver smiles for you, and send some positive vibes to my little fluffy kid running 67592.4 metres, GO ON FLUFF!!!

mucho amor, 

cielos azules,

jeffers

 

 

 

 

 

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darren hardy, cardiff half and school of hard knocks

good morning bigmoose friends,

how goes?

this week i'd really like you to take thirty seconds to reflect on your last seven days.

how've they been?

happy with them?

if you answered yes, that's great.

if you aren't, have a think about why.

can you change anything to shake things up?

regular blog readers will know that some years ago i invested in going out to san diego for a two and a half day course with darren hardy, where i learnt a tremendous amount, which i still apply to areas of my life today.

darren supplies his 'darren daily' foc, and it consists of lots of ideas, and thoughts on self improvement, and i tend to watch it most days.

today he did a throwback to honour his mentor jim rohn, as it would have been his birthday today, and although it looks a bit dated, he has some interesting ideas about doing some simple exercises to improve who you are.

i totally don't wanna become some kind of evangelist for darren or the late jim rohn, but have a watch, i think there are some simple concepts that could spur you on to do some cool changes in your world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=190&v=waHFo2Rn4f8  

i hope you liked the essence.

so now we are all perfect humans (lol) what's been going down?

i hope you've done some cool stuff, and there seem to be more and more blog readers getting in touch, to tell us of great stuff they are doing or have discovered, so this week i'd like to share a website that a friend of mine steph waterman sent me.

i met steph back in 2014 as she trekked to everest base camp, and she has supported bigmoose since then, coming to our black tie shindig with her mum, and she is a lovely human.

anyway this week steph sent me a link to  a website called postpals, and basically postpals is set up to allow individuals to send a card, letter or even a gift that can give a poorly child's face a much needed lift, and as they quote 'brightening the lives of sick children'.

now, i think it's delightful, but it's a pretty emotional site, so tread carefully, but if you want a way of doing something really simple and quick to brighten a child's day have a look.

www.postpals.co.uk

phew, emotional right?

in other news, things have been very busy in bigmoose hq, distributing our cardiff half shirts, ready for our runners to paint the town orange on october 1st, and although i won't be running the race i am stoked about how much fun it's gonna be.

i know there are a load of blog readers coming from all over the gaff, london, leicester, essex, cornwall, and portugal, so i hope we're gonna have a lot of fun.

the bbc rang us yesterday, and want to do a story on the fact that so many people are getting involved to help raise awareness of mental health issues, so what great exposure, with the whole journey buzzing with energy, which transmits into power, power to do good, which is very beautiful and worthwhile, so thank you to everyone getting involved, and if you can't get involved directly, follow the race, and maybe encourage someone in some way, get involved and be a part of a lovely thing.

the big thing that has really hit me this year is how running as a team can psychologically be so therapeutic, so we have a bit of a plan to continue our training runs after the race, and form some kind of a running club, possibly encouraging people from all over the world to join in and run satellite clubs, which could be fun, and i have already sounded a few people out, so if you fancy having a chat about setting something informal up in your neck of the woods please drop me a line.

for me next week is a pretty busy one, and i will be talking at a school about everest, an event addressing homelessness, and an infantry batallion in lancashire, which is pretty diverse, but i am really excited, and yesterday i had an article published in the western mail education supp about schools and growth mindset, encouraging people with a story to contact schools to engage and share, so i'm a tiny bit proud of that one, and if it gets one person to go to one school, hopefully that's good, and the power of the everest story is continuing to do positive things for the world.

in other news, last night i went to a rugby match arranged by school of hard knocks.

arranged as the finale to their first adult programme in wales, it was a pretty emotional affair, with this gaggle of individuals, now having gone through some amazing training in the classroom and on the rugby pitch, and forming a cohesive unit, who it was obvious have found something in life that has possibly alluded them in the past, hope.

the bond these men showed on the pitch, and at the end of the game was a joy to watch, and i think i mentioned before that i have been asked to be an ambassador for them, and i can't wait to get involved, hopefully helping inspire them to believe in themselves, and make pivotal changes in their lives.

here is a video with one of the lads on the programme, which reminds me of that saying that you can't change the past, but you can change the future. 

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/arrested-100-times-gripped-heroin-13520761

well i can feel the blog police looking at their wristwatches and doing that look they do when the blog gets a little long (every week) so i'll wrap things up now.

thanks for all your positive comments on the first chapter of the book last week, and one blog reader, who is a man of few words messaged me last week for the first time ever 'good blog' high praise indeed, and it must have really touched him to get such a gushing response, and has inspired me to keep scribing!

i met a geezer a couple of weeks ago who subsequently we had a text chat about some stuff, and at the end of his message he penned 'have a super day on planet earth' which i liked, so i would like to wish you the same, but extend it to a super week, until we meet again.

blue skies,

jeffers

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bigmoose and our everest summit

morning chums,

firstly cheers for all your messages last week saying you were going to do some stuff to make others smile, one of which was a friend of old, who text me saying he showed his staff last weeks blog, and they then "sent a bunch of flowers to an unsuspecting client whose father had passed away recently, and have now decided to do a feel good factor theme every first of the month", great job steve, thanks for letting me know.

this old blog mullarkey has an impact which i sometimes underestimate, as i found out when i had a young lady contact me last week who is a psychologist and wants to help do some stuff together, and when i asked her why, she told me she read my recent blogs and liked the honesty, so therein lies a lesson.

anyway, this week i am going to share my first chapter of my book with you, which is written exactly how i've been told to write it, with no research, no referencing, just let it flow, grammar and spelling mistakes an' all, so here goes.....

As the summit came into view probably two hundred metres away, I knew that I was going to make it.

The boy from finsbury park in North London, who had gone to school with holes in his shoes, was going to summit Sagarmartha, the tallest mountain in the world, standing at 8848m high, this was the mountain that everybody knew, though possibly by it’s western name of Mount Everest, the one the movie was about, the one that hundreds of books and documentaries were about, and I had probably seen all of them in my bid to learn as much about this place as I could.

And yet, all of my research and meticulous preparation couldn’t prepare me enough for the emotion that I would feel as I realized my dream, my goal, my pure unadulterated joy of getting to the top of the world.

As I breathed through my mask that had provided me with supplementary oxygen for the last thousand vertical metres, I knew that barring any lapses in judgement I was going to get to sprinkle my best mates ashes on the summit, have pictures taken with my sponsors flags, and I also knew I would get to make that call.

That call back to my home in Cardiff where my family were waiting, pacing up and down, totally out of control, fearing the worst, that I might actually die on this last leg of the journey, but hoping and praying that I would call and tell them that I had made it.

This journey I had taken was extremely selfish, and only after I returned to the UK did I realize how much my family had been affected, fearing for my life for the best part of ten weeks while I was in Nepal.

They put on brave faces, but Tania and our two daughters Tiffany and Chloe 26 and 22 had lived through the pressure of not knowing if I would come home, knowing that if I were to die, where many do, on this amazing but deadly mountain, that I would have died in a world that would make me happy, but their lives would have to carry on without me, and as a very close family that would have been sad.

With each step that took me closer I could see the brightly coloured prayer flags fluttering gently in the wind. Today was a morning of amazing weather, and Russell Brice our head guide, or Big Boss as his team of Sherpa call him with affection, had got the weather forecasting perfect, and our trust in his judgement was to be rewarded, as the sun shone bright and clear, and the wind on the top which can reach up to 150 miles per hour was almost at zero.

Every step I took got me closer to the summit, and I started to prepare to be as efficient with time as possible, as I knew we would only spend 15-20 minutes at the top, and that would pass very quickly.

I knew where my satphone was, as I had it inside my down suit, next to my heart, not for symbolism, but to stay warm, as when satphones and cameras get cold their batteries lose power, and I really didn’t want any hiccups with my planned call home.

Flags were packed neatly in one of my rucksack pockets, and moose’s ashes were in another pocket, safely ensconced in a lightweight camera case, to stop me from accidentally smashing the tiny glass container they now resided in, I really didn’t want my mates remains scattered inside my rucksack, that would have been time consuming even though he would have laughed at the comedy had this happened, such was our relationship, and the guy who had been my ice hockey defenceman for a number of years on the ice, had also grown to become my best friend, often getting me in and out of scrapes as our teenage impudence moulded the men we would become.

As I sat in a tiny hotel toilet drinking a bottle of beer, rehearsing my lines for my best mans speech, I didn’t realize that this, the first public speaking I had ever done at my best friends wedding, would be followed years later by speaking in front of thousands of people about my adventure to the top of Mount Everest to scatter his ashes after he died aged 42 from cancer.

We approached the summit, me and my two team mates Joe and Karzu, along with Gyaljen Sherpa and our guide Bruce, an antipodean that I had met and climbed with three years previously when my first Himalayan adventure had taken me to climb Manaslu. As we all made our way onto the crown of Peak 15 as this work of nature was known prior to the Welshman George Everest, measuring her back in the 1852, and being renamed as Mount Everest in 1856, I noticed how amazingly calm it was, almost serene, with no threat of danger whatsoever.

However, we were well into the Death Zone, above 8000m, and our bodies were dying with every ridiculously tough step we took up towards the blue sky.

Science says that our bodies cannot function properly at this altitude, and due to the lack of oxygen, we actually start to eat ourselves, so staying any longer at this height than we really needed to was above and beyond dangerous, literally.

I had made it, and now I wanted to share it with my family, to let them know I was safe.

I put my hand into my down suit and fumbled for my satphone, but it wasn’t there.

It must be, there’s no way it would have fallen out, and I searched harder and deeper, and as I felt the aerial deep inside my pocket, I breathed out relieved.

I took the phone out and it felt warm as it had been sitting next to my heart, which I imagined would have been beating faster than it probably had ever done before, and thus generating lots of heat.

I pressed the tiny button on the side, and it burst into life, and told me that it had full battery, brilliant, so far so good.

Now, would we get signal?

There was no way I could prepare properly for this moment, I was in the hands of Thuraya the satphone company, and I just hoped that at that precise moment signal would be good.

Searching for satellites…………………

The next twenty seconds seemed like twenty minutes, until the screen flashed up “Nepal” telling me we had action, and I proceeded to dial the number.

Within seconds the call connected, and the phone in my daughter Chloe’s hand rang with my satphone number as the incoming call, and I have since found out what her exact feelings were, relief, excitement, and still the fear that I had to get down the mountain safely.

Some years before this moment I had listened to my mate Richard Parks phone home from the same spot I was calling, and he cried, which in turn made me cry, so being a very emotional animal I anticipated a few tears as the emotion of actually making it to the top of the world would wash over me.

“Hi baby, we made it” I muttered, and I could hear Chloe’s emotion in her voice as she answered me, “We’re all safe, and we are now standing on the top of the world”, “that’s fantastic Dad, we are all so proud of you” and I could hear her voice cracking a little, so I attempted to be brave, and stay strong.

“The view is amazing, and everybody has made it safely”

“That’s brilliant do you feel ok?”

“Yep, I feel great, so we’re going to take some pictures, and head back down, and I will call you when we get down to Camp 4”

“OK, brilliant, stay safe, we all love and miss you”

I love you too baby, say hi to Mum and Tiffany”

“I will, we’re really proud of you”

“Love you baby, speak soon”

“Love you Dad”

And end call.

Now I felt emotional.

And breathe Smithman!!

I breathed through my Darth Vader mask very deeply, and felt the urge to say “Luke I am your Father” but chose not to, it seemed a little inappropriate, but broke the ice for me in what was a bit of an emosh moment.

Ok, next stage of Everest summit tasks!

I had admin to take care of, pictures to be taken, and ashes to be spread.

I sat down with the prayer flags very close to me to my left, and a picture of the Dalai Lama in the background, which I chose to be the backdrop for my summit pictures, and as I unfurled my sponsor flags, and handed my phone to Bruce, he kindly snapped away for me, capturing the images that I had dreamt of.

As Bruce pointed the phone at me I felt my feet slip, just slightly, but at over five miles high, slipping slightly was enough to put fear into my heart.

I lifted my feet up and stamped down with force, and the spikey crampons that were strapped to my high altitude boots, dug into the snow, and my mind drifted to thoughts of me being the worlds first climber to summit Mount Everest, but then to slip off, falling to my death, what an absolutely rubbish epitaph, I really didn’t want it to end with Bruce radioing down to Base Camp, to the legendary Big Boss, and saying “I’m really sorry Russ, but Jeff just fell off” it’s funny how your mind works when it’s starved of oxygen, but this really was bothering me.

I looked at my crampons, and they were dug in with some force, I wasn’t going anywhere, as I searched my rucksack for the small glass receptacle full of my pals remains.

I was given the ashes by his wife Julie back in 2014 when I made my first journey to Nepal to attempt to climb, but unfortunately that trip was to end in a massive icefall, which killed 16 of our Sherpa brothers, and the decision was made to cancel the climbing season that year, so moose’s ashes returned home with me, as he waited for the next post life adventure I would take him on.

I had deposited a small amount of the aforementioned ashes behind a radiator when I received an invite to number 10 Downing Street, but that’s another story for later, but for now I had to get Super Bruce to film me sprinkling my best friends remains at the top of the world, in one take, and without having them blow in any unexpected directions. I really didn’t want any gusts covering Joe with ashes, or for that matter have them blow over me, and I had this awful premonition that if moose was living in the after life, and had any control whatsoever he would have given a little blow, just to cause ashes to cover me, and my biggest fear of all, to go in my mouth, man I worry a lot!

Bruce signaled he was ready, and I started to take the tape off the bottle top, and gently poured the ashes into the wind, I only had one take at this, there was no second chance, no pressure.

The bottle emptied, and I looked at Bruce for confirmation that he had got the shot, and as he nodded I felt relief, and a feeling of happiness that my best mate had shared this moment with me, in some surreal way, but the fact that he was in my mind made me feel happy, he would have loved what I was doing, and I could hear his voice saying “you’re f*****g mad you are” but in a loving way, we had a great relationship, extremely rude to each other in a typical blokey way, but fiercely protective of each other, and I remember vividly getting the phone call from him, while I stood on a busy Regent Street in London with my family, and him telling me that his cancer, which he had beaten once, had come back again, but this time had spread to his liver, and I knew this was the end.

I stood like a statue on the busy London street, and it was like a movie, with everything passing me really fast, as I listened to my best mates soft voice tell me his news, and as we hung up the tears rolled down my cheeks, and as Tania looked at me she knew, we all knew.

that's chapter one, rough and raw, and i'm sure it will need to be polished, but we're cracking on with it.

here's the video we took at the top, in case you haven't seen it on social media, and just for reference the bit where i am on top of lobuche was shot on the anniversary of when i was in exactly the same spot in 2014 and heard that there had been the icefall killing 16 sherpa, and was feeling a bit emosh, which is why my voice cracks a bit #tinytears

IMG_3852.jpg

so, finally we are just over three weeks until the cardiff half, and i just wanted to say thank you to everybody that has helped by signing up to run, agreed to carry a bigmoose sign, and generally helped in any way.

we're doing a brilliant job in raising awareness and dollar, for 'mind' and if you are coming to cardiff to watch the race, cheer our runners on with a 'moose moose moose' as they pass, they will be easy to spot in their bigmoose running shirts.

have a great week ahead on planet earth, and i'll see you back here next week, thanks for your support,

blue skies,

jeff

 

 

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big thanks and big love

hi,

how's your week been?

mine, dear bigmoose blog reader, has been the polar opposite of the last couple, aided by a load of you lovely lot that have sent me messages supporting me being 100% transparent with how i've been rocked by recent circumstances and feelings.

the fact that you have taken the time out of your busy lives to message me has been extremely uplifting, and what i think we can all get from this is how small gestures can have such a  massive impact.

so, have a think of one person that one small action could make a difference to, and if every one of you who reads this follows through, we will have touched almost five hundred people, the power of which is insane, so let's give it a try, take five minutes out today to make someone smile because they didn't expect what you are going to do, send them a hand written note or card telling them you love them, or you care, call them and check in on them, or any other creative gesture you think of, and when you have let me know, i would love to hear the difference you can make.

this action will definitely count as september's monthly moose, so what better time to do it than today, go gettem you beauts!!

so, with only a month to go until the cardiff half marathon, we are getting pretty amped, and this years bigmoose dickie dirts arrived yesterday, and i have to say i love how they've turned out, and i reckon they are going to look brilliant with over a hundred bigmoose runners pounding the south wales course this year.

we had one of our training runs this monday, and there is a lad who has joined us on our journey, we'll call him tom for anonymity.

his name isn't really tom by the way.

or maybe it is.

anyway, 'tom' was really struggling with depression, and was in a really dark place to be honest, and he agreed with his bro, who we'll call 'craig' for anonymity, to come and run with us.

his name isn't really craig by the way.

or maybe it is.

anyway, he turned up to run, having never run before, cranks out a few miles, and seems to be very happy with his performance, as the other bigmoose runners big him up and show him a whole loada bigmoose love.

fast forward eight weeks and tom has already run the 13.1 miles, the distance the cardiff half is, and told me monday with a beaming smile, that he now runs most days, and it just gives him such a feeling of freedom to pull on his sneaks and step out the door into a world that he didn't know existed for him before, almost meditative in it's own way.

tom was having therapy prior to his first run, but his therapist has now signed him off, saying that he is good to go, and craig confirmed that the change and the difference in tom has been literally amazing, and tom has agreed to be a part of the short film that craig is shooting about this bigmoose cardiff half journey we are all on, and how it has changed him, and i for one can't wait until race day to see the euphoria and emotion that all of our runners will feel as they cross the finish line.

chloe and i returned home after the monday sesh, and discussed how brilliant this year has been, and in general the whole running vibe.

last year we ran in memory of emily, our lovely friend we lost too early, and that was a part of her mum donna's grieving process, which was brilliant, and this year running to raise awareness of mental health issues is proving to be so so powerful, and tom's story just makes every minute we spend co-ordinating things worthwhile, and i am so pleased that what started out as a bit of a dream has turned into a life changing process, and we should all be so proud, as we are all part of this in some way.

here was our training sesh pic, with a smaller than usual squad, due to it being a bank holiday methinks.

here was our training sesh pic, with a smaller than usual squad, due to it being a bank holiday methinks.

in the picture the two guys that are on the left of the pic that look alike are called craig and tom, just saying.

big smiles huh :)

also, while on the running groove, bigmoose love for the geezer wearing the blue whittle fit shirt, who is mark whittle our resident running rockstar trainer who turns up rain or shine to guide our troops, and help with all manner of training tips and guidance, all because he's a lovely chap, so thanks mark, and if you want to check him out he has a lush website here http://www.whittlefit.com/ 

so that was monday, and the rest of the week has been pretty exciting too, with some personal shizzle going on as well as bigmoose, including being employed to be a producer on a champions hockey league tv production in my home town of cardiff, which was a first for me, but i really enjoyed it, and will now add tv producer to my cv, and i have another two gigs ahead, which i can't wait for, variety is the spice of life hey?

the other absolutely blinking mahoosive thing that happened this week was that a secret benefactor, that i absolutely can't mention, has offered us some furniture for the coffee shop, and as we pulled up outside this mammoth warehouse east of cardiff, tania, chloe and i were absolutely gobsmacked at the size of the place.

the deal is that we met a chap on our tour of schools prior to everest, and then saw him again on the post everest follow up adventure, and long story short he works for a very cool national restaurant chain, who have lots of furniture that becomes superfluous to their needs when they do refurbs, and they store it before disposing of it.

mr x had arrange for us to visit this aladdin's cave in a pretty secret location, and as we stood there, mouths wide open at the vastness, and beauty of the furniture ensconced in it's new storage area, he informed us that there was probably less than ten people had ever see this place.

honoured indeed.

we wandered the aisles, like a huge costco, and were told to think about all we needed to fit out our new venture, and none of us could really believe what was happening.

there was literally everything we needed, chairs, tables, chandeliers, mirrors, lighting, you name it, it was there.

so, two hours later, we emerged having earmarked a myriad of furnishings that once ok'd by mr x's gaffer hopefully will form the fabric of our new venture.

we drove home, almost in shock, and as we eventually broke the silence, we talked about the serendipity that we had tripped over with the school talks, and how the whole circle of events that led us to this point were so brilliant, but so unexpected.

we haven't got the signoff on everything yet, but please keep your fingers crossed for us, as i hope the man from ----- ------- says yes, we will report back asap.

well i had intended writing a very short intro today, and then adding in my first chapter of my book, which highlights my summit of everest, but it's pretty long, and the blog police would bang me up good and proper if i extended what seems to be quite a long blog anyway, so i will endeavour to share it with you next week, but as you can tell, whereas a fortnight ago i struggled with words, that definitely ain't a problem today!

finally i am going to unashamedly end today's blog with a big heap of promotion for my first born, tiffany who whilst living in london pursuing her acting career, has embarked on an entrepreneurial enterprise in her down time, which appears to be doing spiffingly well, which firstly makes me extremely proud, but also very keen to share, as i think it is a brilliant venture. 

i won't go into detail, but here is a link to what she's up to https://www.brushandbubbles.com/

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cool huh?

she is doing events in london and cardiff, so if you fancy it, get involved, one of the great things she is seeing is that people are discovering skills they didn't even know they had, which is brilliant, and very aligned to bigmoose's ethos, great job t.

so, thanks again for your lush support, bigup yerselves, do that cool thing and contact someone, and then bask in the warm glow of loveliness that you will feel after you've done something smile inducing for someone in your world.

have a great week, and i'll see you back here next week, enjoy life.

blue skies,

jeffro

 

 

 

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hitting the wall

good morning bigmoosers,

sorry about last week, i hit a wall.

i have been very naive, and i didn't see it coming.

last friday i had a combination of factors that influenced me, and as i sat before my keyboard, i just couldn't write anything, and as i sat there trying, so it became harder to even start, and i eventually concluded that it wasn't going to happen, and i typed what i now realise was probably a cry for help.

i truly didn't want to, as i really do not behave that way in normal life, but maybe on reflection i needed help, i needed a load of you guys to contact me to see if i was ok, maybe my situation craved help.

apparently so.

i think the reason for my dark fog last week was made up of a number of factors, all playing their part in weighing me down, and now i have had a chance to look at what caused the engine not to start, i feel confident i can avoid a recurrence, and i am really glad i have shared it with you, as it shows that this kind of stuff can hit at any time.

firstly, i have been aware that returning from a successful summit of the highest mountain in the world often brings a wall that climbers are renowned at hitting full face afterwards, and i had expected it in 2014 when i returned having been turned around by the death of 16 sherpa, but it never came, and i put this down to the creation of bigmoose, and the energy that this gave me.

this time however, i had seen a couple of cracks from fellow summiteers, but i didn't feel it myself, as i was still very excited by the work that bigmoose was doing, helping others with mental health issues, helping them with running, being a part of a caring team, and all the benefits that our runners are experiencing, as well as getting very close to signing the lease for our coffee shop, and what that will do for others as well.

all super exciting things, which i hoped would stop me from hitting that wall.

but here's how last week panned out, and it appears, face planted me slap bang against the brickwork!

i have been meaning to write a book for some time, and having been given a book on 'how to write a book'. 

i read it, and concluded to make my commitment, get myself an accountability partner, thanks pedro, and get writing.

all well and good, but here's where the naivety came in.

i have told this story to a couple of people since last week, and i think the analogy works.

if i presented you with a black box, and told you that it was a jack in the box, and it was a pretty scary character that was inside the box, and that it springs out fast, you would be ready and prepared, and as you pressed the button, you would more than likely be totally ok, as you knew what was going to happen.

however, if i just smiled and put the box before you, and told you to press the button with no warning, the result would probably be very different.

evil_jack_in_the_box_by_deadman1972-d586etp.jpg

 

my life has quite a few black boxes, which i have packed up, put in the darkest corner in the loft of my mind, and they have stayed there for decades.

as i merrily set about writing about my life during the early years, where i had some traumatic stuff go on, i completely forgot what was in the boxes, and as i pressed the buttons the emotional connection to these things was revisited, and i didn't realise how they would affect me so powerfully.

my naivety was such that i didn't expect the consequences of revisiting this time, and unbeknownst to me, it was to have a rather profound effect, which enveloped me in a way i hadn't expected.

i have also been struggling to pay the remittance of my everest costs, which has been adding a huge pressure, as i feel guilt at having achieved something amazing, but not having paid my dues for that feeling of euphoria, which i think has led to me hitting the wall that i thought might happen, but i have done it by running into it with both eyes closed.

add in the awful terrorist attacks in spain, the second of which i woke to read about last friday, and i think i just shut down.

this is very outside my normal world, but i have to say i am kind of glad it has happened, as i hope i can learn from it, and i vow not to let it happen again if possible.

whilst writing my book, i am now looking forward to see any potential jack in the boxes, and as they approach i will be ready.

regarding everest, i have done some research on the matter, and i am in the 'what next' phase, that people that do this kind of thing have, and it is a question that been asked a lot, and i have answered with 'have a rest', 'spending time with my family', and now 'writing a book', but i have to say it does add a certain pressure, which i have to manage in my own way.

i also need to pay russ as soon as possible, as i need this part of the journey to be over as soon as possible, as it is no doubt adding pressure to me and to him.

so, last friday i slowly picked my game up, and that night i had an invite to a party that my climbing mate doogy was having to celebrate his wife's birthday, and as the rain poured down like a winter's night i really didn't want to go.

however, i stepped out into the rain and made the journey across town, and entered the happy atmosphere, drank a couple of martini espressos and had some lovely conversations with new faces, stayed long past the witching hour, and i think got myself back on track.

this week i feel a lot more like me, and the writing has been going really well, so hopefully the demons have been exorcised, but it has shown me that we can all get hit by mental health problems at any time, and i must never underestimate the negative power that can be produced.

i wasn't sure if sharing this in such detail was the best course of action, but hopefully it was and it explains things properly.

cheers for getting in touch last week, your text, call, e-mail genuinely really helped, and maybe the takeaway from all of this is that we all sometimes need to reach out if we think someone needs our help, and maybe on reflection it happened to me for a reason, and if that makes you think about how you see things in a different way, that is a great thing right?

i'm a big fan of learning from adversity, and allowing it's power to be used in a way that produces a positive outcome long term.

have a great week ahead, help anybody you can, and if you need help, ask for it, there's a lot of kind people out there.

blue skies,

jeff

 

 

 

 

 

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hi,

i have woken this morning with a heavy heart, events in the past 24 hours have brought me to a place where i don't feel i can write a blog.

this has never happened to me before, and i apologise.

have a great week.

jeff

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cause and effect, samaritans and stumpbusters

buenos dias bigmoose crew,

now i never really studied physics particularly well at school, and science wasn't really my bag in general really, but over the years, i have applied a lot of scientific theories to life, and this week i have become very aware of the law of cause and effect, and i won't insult your intelligence by outlining examples in the way that a very helpful explanation online does, though i must just share two quick examples that they list.

"john made a rude comment, so elise hit him."

harsh as an example of cause and effect i thought, and made a mental note if i ever meet an elise to be polite.

but my personal fave to explain the real science of cause and effect "the meal we ordered was cheaper than expected, so we ordered dessert."

really? i'm not too sure about that one, but i'm sure you get the gist of it anyway. (today i learnt that you spell gist g-i-s-t not j-i-s-t, who knew?)

well this week i started to think about the cause and effect of what bigmoose do, and how sometimes we don't realise the far reaching effects of what we write, what we say, and what we do, can have on people.

specifically, some responses to last weeks blog in which i wrote about mental health, and how we can all help others in our own way, resulting in receiving one of the biggest lots of e-mails from people telling their stories of mental health issues, and getting some personal feedback from people whose lives it appears we touch.

one chap had a conversation with us outlining that he is not in a position to run a half marathon just yet, but that by watching what we are up to it is inspiring him to run a small amount, which is helping him cope, and he wants to run the half next year, so it is stimulating him to have a goal, which in turn is helping him in his own way, and i was really glad he shared that, as it just shows the power of taking action, and sharing it with others.

my favourite e-mail we received last week though was from a young lady i won't name, but she has been a bigmoose supporter for years now, even though we have never met, but she does lots of cool stuff helping others less fortunate in her part of the uk.

she sent me this e-mail, but as a bit of a back story, my knowledge and awareness of her is she is a young twenty something girl who posts  a mix of beautiful sunsets and selfies on instagram, and she seems to me to be very well balanced and in control, and has given me permission to share her e-mail.

Jeff!

This one got to me! 

I have recently had to accept that I don't have(and probably never will have) the shiny, happy lifestyle that I craved to have, just like my social media feed told me I needed to have. That I can't have the body nor the face that mangazines have led me to believe natural. That actually the old 'smoke and mirrors' phrase couldn't be truer in today's world. 

Anxiety is a silent killer. That little black cloud that won't go away no matter how much sunshine is around you. 

Please please please pass on steps to well being. A government funded mental health line, I have weekly calls. Sometimes we chat, sometimes I talk, sometimes I just listen. I've cried, screamed, shouted and even hung up on my friendly anonymous stranger. But I dont know where I would be if she hadn't reached out. 

I hope your well Jeff, and apologies for it being so long since writing. 

I really hope your friend beats the demons... and my God are they demons. 

Lots of love 

i never knew she felt like this, and she hides it so well, which is becoming a story i am finding more and more familiar as i learn more about mental health.

the mental health line she uses only covers her area, and upon investigation like a lot of help lines it only operates during daytime work hours 9-5 ish, which prompted me to look at other helplines of this sort, who it appears all have similar hours, which i find very strange, as in my opinion evenings and night time are probably when things seem at their worst, and making a call to a help line during the day for most i would think is quite difficult, especially if the length of call needed is long, very strange indeed.

my investigations led me to the samaritans, who have a number you can call 24/7/365 which seemed great sense to me especially as at christmas time, when lots of people share joyous times with loved ones, it must be very difficult for people that are lonely, and possibly at risk, so constant phone coverage at this time seems a must.

if you need their details they can be found here https://www.samaritans.org/

and their phone number is 116 123 and is free.

so, if you're reading this and struggle at any time, don't suppress things, share how you are feeling, talk about it with someone, as talking about things definitely helps, and every action has a reaction, and hopefully it will be a good one.

for me this process is very much a learning one, and i am becoming more and more aware that a lot of people are struggling through their lives, hiding fears, and maybe i need to be more aware of the signs in order to help if needed.

wow, life is complicated sometimes isn't it.

but hopefully as well as being challenging it can also be amazingly exciting, great fun, thrilling, and hopefully happy, well here's a few of the things in my world that have made me smile, and excited this week, and hopefully they make you smile a bit.

* i employed a geezer to remove a tree stump in my garden, and his business is called      stumpbusters, which made me sing the ghostbusters song constantly before and during his visit    with his husky dog nico by his side.

* my purchase order for talking for barclays arrived, making this very real, but very cool, gulp!

* my eldest daughter got a three day acting job in a room with a rattlesnake.

* we met the most lush geezer who we are going to buy our sourdough bread from for the coffee    shop.

* we ordered our new bigmoose cardiff half shirts, which will be here soon, yayyy!!!

* we finished off creating our happy message boards for our supporters to hold at mile intervals    during the cardiff half.

* realised that inadvertently we can affect peoples lives in so many super cool ways, cause and  effect to the max.

and finally i want to share with you a discovery i just made by clicking the google icon today friday the 11th, which is absolutely brilliant, and allows you to dj, mix and scratch, please try it, it's very clever.

i am conscious that today, i am jibber jabbering more than most, so i think it may be time to wrap things up, so in conclusion every action has a reaction, it's the law, it's physics baby, so make the action you take in your world today have a great reaction, have a bash at seeing how many people you can make smile today, so together we will be creating a ton of smiles and positive reactions, now that is power, which is a whole new science blog completely!!!

have a cracking week, i'll be seeing ya,

blue skies,

jeffro

 

 

 

 


 

 

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dopamine, simon sinek and just do it

hey, 

how goes??

one of my friends contacted me recently and said one of his friends was suffering from depression, and had attempted suicide.

(i just read my blog back and realised that was quite a punchy start, it will get more positive i promise!)

my friend then told me that this friend was a very skilled writer, and used to make a living writing, but after his issues, this career came to an end.

i said that i would look out for any opportunities for him where he could get back to writing, but in the meantime offered him the opportunity to write a piece for my blog.

my thoughts were he could write a piece about absolutely anything, not specifically his problems, and hopefully that would allow him to bring anything that stimulated him onto the page, and then fingers crossed, his excellence in what he is skilled at would shine through, and we would get some feedback from you the bigmoose gang, which we could then share with him, and we would start the positive process of getting him to believe in himself with the love we could share with him.

in my mind this was a soft approach to getting him back into the creative process, and i anticipated seeing what he wrote.

unfortunately, he has decided he doesn't want to do this.

this has started me thinking, about how deep his mental problems must be, and how very low he must be feeling, so i think it is my responsibility as a human to try in some way to help him, and try to get him some professional help, which i am going to try to do.

the other thing that has come to mind, is how prevalent this terrible problem is, i myself know people who suffer from tremendous anxiety, fear of social events, dependency on alcohol, and know a number that are now taking prescription medication such as anti depressants, and the more people i tell about our aim to raise awareness of mental health issues at this years cardiff half marathon, the more i am discovering people that seem on the surface to be holding down good jobs, living happy successful lives, and their social media profiles exude happiness.

i personally use social media for vocalising what bigmoose is up to, and have seen amazing results from all over the world, and think that as a medium for being evangelical about our exploits it is second to none, and it plays a huge part in getting traction on all projects we launch.

however, the pressure that is on people at the moment to live perfect, shiney lives is great, and we all know how some peoples social media feeds are full of success, happy and smiling full of social activity, which can act as a pressure in itself, as striving to live a similar life online is a massive challenge, and probably is a bit of a lie, and although i know personally i do some fun stuff, 95% of the time my life is super boring, and not worthy of sharing with the world, so i don't, however i am acutely aware of how addictive social media is.

i have recently come across a talk by simon sinek which addresses some of these addictions.

sinek, has written the book 'start with why' which i often use to challenge myself with what i do, and when i am consulting with clients i challenge them to ask themselves why they are doing certain things, and if their answers are solid it probably means it's a goer, but if the why is weak or wishy washy, then the idea probably doesn't warrant action at that time or at all.

sinek is a pretty wise chap in my book, and there is a short and a long version of his talk, and if you have time this weekend indulge yourself in the long one, but if not go with the shorter appetiser, and come back to the longer one.

i feel sure we will all recognise certain characteristics he talks of, and if he helps us all be a little more engaged, and disconnected, then it's gotta be worth our investment of time watching, let me know if you recognise you in any of what he talks about, i feel sure you will, i certainly did.

short version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sL8AsaEJDdo

long version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU3R0ot18bg&t=38s

social media and the internet are issues for debate, but i think what is more certain, and is not debatable is that we now have a very high number of people leading lives where they aren't happy, and as sinek says chasing that dopamine hit, which is very addictive.

my thoughts are on this that physical activity seems to provide a similar dopamine rush, and i am witnessing amazing affects from mobilising the runners that we have within our cardiff half crew, and i am sure that there are many reasons why this activity seems to help, but i have seen a number of bigmoose crew members telling me how getting out their front door running is really helping them, and entering the half is giving them a purpose, and allowing them to be around people that don't judge, and are able to share their stories, which i am finding truly amazing.

sometimes with bigmoose we stumble across something that we think will be good, and our gut tells us it will be, but we have to just buckle up and follow that instinct, hoping it pans out.

running seems to be one of those things, and the answer to sineks 'why?' is it just feels good, and the effects of that are that the dopamine kicks in, and having been analysing our training runs we have been holding, i am very aware that there is such a happy vibe within our runners.

no judgement, all shapes and sizes and ages are welcomed gleefully, not in a cultish way, but more an innocent, raw, happy way, which reflects when at the end of the session we take a snap of the moment, and the smiles look really wide and real, dopamine central baby!

i hope i am right, and by encouraging folk to simply run, no agendas, we can help people overcome some of their angst's for the period they are running, and when i recently asked a friend if he meditated, of which i am a big fan of, he replied he 'meditates when he runs', and i agree running provides that time away from the clutches of day to day life, and just allows our minds to escape, mull things over, fantasise, dream, create, and design things for our lives moving forward, or is that just me?

as i type this i have just remembered two of the schools that we have recently visited, i think i mentioned before, that are now doing their 'one mile before lessons everyday' which is literally just that, and the results that are now filtering through are amazing with the pupils attention spans and academic results being off the scale, and i wonder why the government hasn't introduced this across the country yet, but perhaps we are witnessing the first green shoots which will slowly filter through, i hope so.

so my challenge today bigmoose gang is to you to go out this weekend and do something active, run a mile, cycle two miles, walk three miles, swim some laps, but do something you haven't done for some time, and push yourself a little.

go to that lovely park near you, check out the recently refurbished sports centre, be brave, take a yoga class you have been promising to do for years, break off the shackles, as humans we fear meeting new people who normally end up being lovely, and as somebody once famously said just do it.

finally today, we have been to visit the site for the coffee shop we are dreaming of getting, and our hopefully future landlords have stripped the building back to its raw state, and there are now some pretty cool features which i think will look fantastic when we get our design heads on the scheme, so keep your fingers crossed for us, we are very close to getting it, and when we do, we would love you to get involved, and be a part of this dream, i am so excited!!!

so until next week, have a great one, do something that scares you, help people around you if you can, and keep in touch we love hearing what you are up to.

blue skies,

jeff

 

 

 

 

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qbic, barclays and stroud green road school

good morning y'all,

i am typing this from the qbic hotel in london, where i attended a meeting with bcorp earlier this year.

i know i bang on a lot about bcorp, but they are rockstars, changing the world massively, and if you haven't watched their video here it is again for your delectation

cool huh, and any hotel that can be green, has amazing staff, and has a neon sign saying alright treacle in the bar, is 'a ok' in my book, give them a try when you're in london or amsterdam next.

i am down here for a few reasons, i met with barclays in canary wharf yesterday, my dinner club mates last night, and i am meeting a chap who was on our everest team this year today.

so yesterday i boarded a propeller powered plane in cardiff and stepped onto the tarmac in london city airport 55 minutes later, half the time of the train, and less than half the price, and i get to feel like i'm going on holiday thrown into the experience, winner winner.

as i entered the towering barclays building in canary wharf, i felt a bit nervous, was the choice of attire, jeans, shirt and jacket, and flipflops a little underdressed for a business meeting with one of the big four banks, was i affording them respect, or had the holiday vibe flowed into my threads?

"dude, they want to buy me and my story to inspire their troops, not have me conform to their dress code, stripping me of my soul", my alter ego countered as we entered their very impressive airy and spacious atrium at 1 churchill place, canary wharf.

two huge video walls ran slick videos of barclays current corporate sponsorship work, which showed colourful imagery of their recent sponsorship of london pride, the event not the beer, which i noted as being a positive sign.

i arrived early, but had a nervous fear that i might have got the address wrong, but as i hurriedly found the address on an e-mail, i then slowly walked over to ask one of the many security guards on duty if i was in the right place, and breathe, calm down smith you're on it.

i entered the lift which was full of people, but apparently had no buttons for me to press, but i noted that my 30th floor destination was already lit on the digital sign at eye level, phew, what kind of wizardry was this, as i observed calmly other employees entering the metal box, and not pressing any hidden buttons that flip flop boy had missed, was this a parallel universe, or some kind of chip in my visitors pass?

i didn't know, but it seemed pretty whack, until that is you need to go to see your mate on 23 whose stapler you borrowed ages ago, but will allow you the excuse you need to go to see him, to discuss what you really want to ask that is has he still got that ticket for the killers in december.

how does the lift know that then, or are you stuck in the lift going up and down until that girl with the ill fitting bra, that works next to our mate on 23, comes into the lift? (thus alerting the tardis to do its work)

i don't know, but it sure as hell is bothering me, i can tell you.

as the harry potteresque lift took me to the top floor in the building i departed and strode flipping and flopping toward the reception.

"jeff" i heard from behind.

"i recognised you from the flip flops"

or did he say "website"

no matter.

"hi roy, i love your magical lift"

i didn't actually say, but really wanted to.

"nice to meet you" conformist jeff offered.

and roy introduced me to elinor who was also working on this project, and she looked late thirties, dark clothes and hair, and when we settled into the impressive glass box we were to sit in for the next hour it took a while for her to make eye contact, but we got their eventually, and she was lovely.

i told them of the tour of schools we had been doing, and the response the children had been giving us, and i mentioned how i had been brought up in finsbury park, and it transpires elinor lives very close in nearby crouch hill.

fast forward, elinor is on the board of governors at stroud green road school, which just happens to be the school that both my parents went to, so the plan is for me to go there to do my everest presentation, which should be very interesting i reckon, going back to my roots an' all.

it will be good to go to this inner city school in a deprived area and show that you can follow your dreams, though i may take my ice axe...........just as a  precaution obviously :)

the barclays gig sounds like being fun, and is going to be at the donmar warehouse in covent garden which i tried to stay calm about when i found out, but really wanted to punch the air and do a billy elliot dance, as paul weller played 'town called malice', geez i must lay off the columbian (coffee, not the other stuff)

roy and elinor seemed very non corporate, and have agreed to allow me to do a bit of unusual stuff in my presentation, so i like their open  mindedness, and can't wait for november 20th.

this gig will be great for my public speaking cv, and will help pay russ back for the trip, as i still am in his debt, so if you know anybody that wants a corporate talk please put my name forward it would be greatly appreciated.

russ is currently on k2 with his himex team, so good luck to everyone, i hope you make the summit, and all come back safe.

i left 1 churchill place happier than when i arrived, and as the sun shone, and i walked towards the station, i thought about my humble roots, and how the next part of my life would pan out, interesting, fun, and a great opportunity to affect change in peoples lives, and also a big chunk of pride.

anyway, i need to get come coffee and grub, as i am hank marvin, so i will leave you today, actually no i won't, i just blooming remembered, we went to a breakfast meeting this week as well with the school of hard knocks who i have agreed to do some talking to their students, which i am really looking forward to, as they strike me as a really life changing charity that i can work with, so i will no doubt be sharing their stories with you soon, and check them out when you have a spare five.

that's definitely it now, apart from to tell you that next week i am going do a bit of a guest blog, hopefully, as there is someone in my world who needs an opportunity to write, and show the world her skills, so i have offered her the chance to write something that i can share with a lovely sensitive audience (you) and then we can possibly give feedback, and you never know what might come out of it, so a bit of a shake up, but hopefully it will be interesting.

have a cracking week, do something mad, something that scares you, and then let us know.

i'm off for food and bev, meet everest rob, then home for a charity ice hockey match, and loads of reminiscing, it's funny the older i get the better i was, lol!!!

blue skies, and thanks for reading,

jeff

 

 

 

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110 runners - mental health - bigmoose kids

おはようbigmoosers

how are you doing?

spiffingly i hope?

some great news this week, we have had 110 people so far, commit to run the cardiff half marathon with bigmoose on oct 1st, so if you've registered with us thank you, and if not register now, and if you know any runners please encourage them to join the biggest team to ever run this race, it's going to be a whole lotta fun, there is a real buzz about it this year already, i can feel it.

register here http://www.cardiffhalfmarathon.co.uk/register/

our main purpose this year is to raise awareness of mental health issues, and the great work that the charity 'mind' do to help people, and you don't need to fundraise unless you really want to.

this week i met with lucy lloyd from mind, who told me that for 20-34 year olds the biggest killer currently is suicide, and often it is people that on the outside seem very calm and content, whilst inside they are in a turmoil of emotion and pain, and having just read this morning of the suicide of the lead singer of american rock band linkin park, chester bennington, aged 41, this situation doesn't seem like it is due to abate any time soon.

however, we can play our part in helping reverse the growth of this horrible statistic, by encouraging people to talk about their problems, and taking away the stigma of mental health issues, especially in men, who since caveman times have always had macho stereotypes thrust upon them, which can cause them to refrain from talking about real emotions and feelings.

bigmoose running the cardiff half might not seem on the surface to be a very powerful vehicle, but at this monday's training run we held at roath park, i returned home aware that three people in our group all had serious mental health issues, and all three told me personally that this journey was helping them with their anxiety, and returning home with chloe we both commented on how it was the best training run we had ever had.

small steps, but the love that was shown to one of our runners who trotted in on her own after completing 2.5 miles, the longest distance she had ever run in her life, and everybody clapping and cheering her, gave me that warm fuzzy feeling that comes from seeing spontaneous warmth from fellow humans.

however, there is lots of work to do by us all to stop the pressure that causes people to take their own lives, and by running or recruiting a friend or work colleague that runs, you can help in your own way, and we are a sum of all of our parts, which hopefully will include you.

as well as bigmoose training runs, we have also had a super busy week going to schools to tell them about part two of my everest journey, and i wish i could have filmed every presentation, as the reactions have been fantastic. 

this confirmed our plan was on point, when at the beginning there was doubt and fear that we were doing the right thing.

this confirmation was enhanced when one of yesterdays schools we went to had the teacher of the year 6's telling us they were the worst year she has ever taught, and three boys in particular were awful, and as i spotted two of them wearing baseball caps as they entered the classroom, i worked out my plan.

my plan was to include them early on in the presentation by asking them questions, ask their names, and then reference their names when they got the answer right, and then keep involving them in a positive light.

as the pictures of the mountain, and the videos of my helicopter flights, climbing high, crevasses, etc, flashed up on screen, the class sat silently agog.

at the end of the presentation these kids from a proper roughy toughy background were asking for autographs, and i signed shirts, bags, books, etc, but drew the line as a young man who stood close to 6ft tall, and whose voice had very apparently broken, asked in a very deep bass tone 'sir, can you sign my forehead?' i thought i had misheard, and asked him to repeat his request, but having heard correctly we then negotiated down to me signing his, and a few of his mates hands.

the teacher who had spoken of the unruly nature of the class then told me she couldn't believe how well behaved they had been as she presented me with a card they had made and all signed, and i left the classroom to a cacophony of sound as they all shouted goodbye.

i wondered if any of them would remember my message of never giving up, and following their dreams, and although i may never know, i live in hope.

this takes me to the final piece of todays blog jigsaw.

recently a few friends arranged a bit of a party at our mates at crafty devil brewery, the guys who brewed my everest at 53 beer.

at the the shindig my climbing buddy doogie brought his young son seb, and after listening to some bigmoose stories seb decided he wanted to run the cardiff half, which unfortunately age deems he can't.

however, there is a family fun run the day before, and this prompted me to suggest that seb gets a team of a load of his mates to all run it, repping bigmoose shirts, and raising a couple of quid for a charity of his and his parents choice, lots of wins i reckon.

now i haven't spoken to doogie to see if he's up for it, but it has stimulated an idea that we should start a junior bigmoose section, that can do all kinds of stuff, which builds the whole ethos of kindness, helping each other, encouraging being active from an early age, putting down the devices and getting outside, a whole plethora of goodness.

so as readers of our blog, if you have any ideas you can suggest, please get in touch, i just think this starts building good humans when they are young, and the energy that kids have is super infectious, and could start a new strand of what we do, and hopefully we can keep leading by example, and like the kids i met yesterday, we can win them over by walking the walk.

now as you can probably tell i am pretty excited about this, so if you have a child that would like to take part in the cardiff half marathon funday you can enter here, but let us know, and we can sort out some bigmoose tiny humans shirts.

 http://www.cardiffhalfmarathon.co.uk/take-part/cardiff-university-family-fun-run/

finally my old mucka kris king is running up mount snowdon today as part of his three peaks challenge, which he is doing whilst running from john o groats to lands end, so i want to wish him mucho good luck, and you can follow him on instagram here https://twitter.com/coachkingy?lang=en-gb

also whilst on his crazy journey, he is coming to stay with me this week, and we have a bottle of 17 year old whisky that we promised we would toast my everest summit with, which i have a distinct feeling is going to taste quite sweet :) go on kinger!!!

have a top week, love one another, and do some cool stuff that might surprise yourself, as well as everyone around you.

blue skies,

jeffro

 

  

 

 

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elon

bom dia bigmoose gang,

as i sit her this morning, i have had one of those 'what am i gonna write' moments, and i feared that my blog would become just a list of stuff that we had been up to, which could be perceived as boring.

well nobody has unsubscribed lately, and the opening rates are increasing weekly, so it can't be that bad, but today i just had a doubt.

anyway, then i thought, maybe i'm trying to tell you all too much, and maybe less is more.

now  a friend that stayed with us recently mentioned he uses an app called headspace to meditate, which he says he uses mid afternoon when his energy levels are waning, so i thought i'd give it a spin, and i like it.

so i am meditating every day, which is more than i did before, as i sometimes found it hard to get the time, but i am finding the app very useful.

the reason for mentioning that is that i think i have changed.

since returning from everest, i have changed, and hopefully for the better.

russ told me a few times that everest would change my world, and i truly think it has, i am noticing myself that i am a lot more relaxed, now i was pretty relaxed before, but i could get wound up by minutiae, which i am finding i am more calm with now, i'm not sure it's everest, headspace, getting older, or a mix of all three, but whatever it is i like it.

i have always been somebody who realises you can only control the controllable, and i don't tend to panic, but since getting back from kathmandu, i just seem much more zen like.

i have a feeling that my fear of not having enough to write was unfounded :)

i just noticed elon musk's biography on my office desk, and realised something i wanted to tell you about.

i have become fascinated by elon musk, he is just one very calm young man, doing some revolutionary stuff in the world, and i love the way he just goes with his dreams, with zero noticeable fear, and ted talk tip of the day is here for you to see what you think.

this talk was only just recently in april, and he talks about how he has come up with a solution to reduce the traffic congestion in l.a. by digging a 3d network of tunnels under the ground for the cars to use instead, and he is doing it now. i really love it, listening to him inspires me massively, and if you have never seen or heard of him, give this a watch, he really casts off any shackles the world tries to put on him, and his rocket footage is off the scale.

 

so this leads me into telling you about my week, as i mentioned it was me and the bigmoose gangs birthday, me 54, and bigmoose 3 years old, and as birthdays often are, it was a time for reflection.

this year has been a great one, and i reflected on how i had decided to climb mount everest, and, thanks to all of my friends, including you, for helping me, and for the world deciding it was the right time for me to achieve this great thing, and the energy that it now gives me is impalpable.

my family were all away working, and i had a pretty clear day, with a free afternoon to do what i wanted, quite unusual, but planned.

now, i am in the market for a new car, as mine was recently written off leaving me carless, but i have decided not to rush things, very unlike me, see i've changed, but i am weighing up whether i 'need' a car.

from a kid i always wanted to drive, and when i passed my test and got behind the wheel of my triumph herald 37 years ago, it gave me great freedom, which i loved.

today though i am much more aware of my impact on the planet, and i may possibly never own a car again as i don't know if i 'need' one, but if i decide i do, then it almost undoubtedly will be an electric one, possibly a tesla, the company that elon musk owns, funny that!

so, on my birthday i glanced at twitter, and notice a friend mari arthur, who is ceo of sustainable wales, is holding a seminar on the future of cars and transport in cardiff, which started at 1.30pm.

i was in.

the room had about two hundred seats, and as i sat down i read that there was going to be a representative from tesla at the event, which i thought would be very interesting.

i glanced up from my event agenda to see a young girl in her mid twenties, with, i noticed gorgeous shoes, definitely not designed for tree hugging, which was my initial thought of who would be attending, and she smiled as she sidled past me and sat in the adjacent seat.

hi, i'm jeff i offered, hi i'm lucy, from tesla.

now i know that when i look at a pair of north face running shoes, that facebook loads me up with the same shoes everywhere i look, but elon, how the heck did you do this, what kind of witchcraft have you created?

i have been researching artificial intelligence lately, or ai as the cool kids call it, but this was a different league.

lucy answered all of my questions i had, and i think if i decide to buy four wheels again it will be one of elon's.

the event was very interesting, and the emergence of driverless cars offered up a whole new ballgame, and i predict a massive shift in the way we approach travel in the next few years, and seeing that pretty much every car manufacturer is now selling electric models, and volvo have just announced that from 2019 every model they sell with be hybrid or electric, is really interesting.

i thought i was quite early to the party, but it turns out we currently have over 100,000 electric vehicles in the uk, which i was pretty surprised by, watch this space, but if you're in the market for a new vehicle, car or van, have a look at electric, it's very much the future.

i'll try not to be too evangelical about this subject, but sustainability is a pretty big thing to me and bigmoose, and on that note i also went along to look at our future landlords (hopefully) 'green roof' in cardiff city centre this week, where they have planted a green roof along with wild flowers, and a number of bee hives. 

this is all helping the environment in a number of ways, and also gives their staff a peaceful place to take their breaks, and is something we are looking at incorporating into our own coffee shop venture imminently.

well apparently i appear to have found plenty to tell you about this week, geez louise once i start there ain't no stopping me!!

however time has escaped me this morning, but before i go, i just wanted to tell you about the best birthday present i could have received, even better than the la sportiva flip flops i got.

chloe and i had been to winsley primary school in bath prior to heading to nepal, and they have supported me massively on my adventure, and i was asked if i would open their school fair last saturday which i did with a big smile on my face, and had just the best day, chatting to parents and teachers alike, and just enjoying the lovely vibe of the school, so you can tell i love these guys.

so as i enjoyed my 54th birthday with lots of lovely messages, my favourite one pinged up on my phone, and mrs wilson's message had a video attachment, and as i pressed play the whole school sat in their assembly and sang me happy birthday, probably one of the loveliest things ever.

unfortunately i can't share it with you as these days you can't share childrens images, and i do understand why, but it's a shame as it was lovely to see, so hopefully you can use your imagination, so thanks winsley, and i am really looking forward to going back on the 19th to tell them all about what happened on the hill.

so, have an amazing week, listen to elon, and we now have 94 runners for the cardiff half if you fancy it, or know anyone that might, please let me know.

the end.

blue skies,

jeffro

 

 

 

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7-7-17 peace and love at midday

morning you lovely bigmoose gang,

how have the last 168 hours been for you?

mine for the most part have been brilliant, though i have had a couple of haters rock me a little for a short while, but they have just made me stronger to carry on with the good stuff, but i do find it strange that anybody can look at what bigmoose is doing in anything but a smiley way, but believe me they are out there, but i will not ever let them suppress me, and i have seen a few quotes this week which resonated which i will share along the blog.

the first is 'don't dance around the perimeter of who you're here to be'.

i love this saying, and think we should all adhere to it, in whatever way it manifests itself for you, don't let anybody put you off your fate.

enough of that negative garbage then, we move onto the good stuff.

on wednesday i walked down a sunny holborn street towards the shiney office block in the heart of london's west end.

the sun shone brightly enough to bring out my sunglasses, that i hadn't worn since nepal, and they made me smile as i slid them on.

as i walked along new oxford street, i viewed the building i was meeting alan in, and as i entered the lift, there seemed to be an energy in the building that i wondered if i was imagining, or if buildings that housed creative positive happy people could actually throb with that creative energy.

i exited the very modern lift at the first floor, and signed in on a tablet that had welcomed me.

the friendly young receptionist offered me refreshment and said she would get alan for me.

as i sat down on the well designed furniture, i thumbed through the company magazine, which i wondered if i could take a copy of as it had a number of articles in i'd like to read, but decided that being hauled out by security for stealing was not a great way for alan to see me again for the first time since we met in manchester a few weeks ago.

'good morning' i mouthed as i saluted alan as he strode over to me.

wtf, who even salutes, ever, apart from cheryl cole, or whatever her surname is currently.

i am 53, and have had a life where i should be comfortable in most social situations, and what do i do when i meet the chap i really want to get on the bigmoose team?

i salute.

alan offered me a coffee, or perhaps some water, and i chose to accept the lesser caffeinated, as i had just finished my third that day ten minutes earlier in pret, and felt the effects of a fourth would be catastrophic, considering the previous sixty seconds behaviour.

alan is quite similar in look to the alan of sugar fame, a small framed late fifties guy with the similar well groomed silver beard, and the greenberg in his family name suggests they share ethnicity, and when i informed him of some good news i had received he exclaimed 'mazel tof', so i am quietly confident of that fact.

as we sat opposite each other we chatted about when we first met, and when i presented to a company that alan is on the board of. 

he spoke of how he really wants to help bigmoose, but that he is in his words a 'shaper and driver', to which i nodded in agreement that i needed shaping and driving, which i very much do, as bigmoose is growing to a level now that it needs some experienced forces to guide, and alan seems to be coming into my life at exactly the right time.

we spoke of how alan could help me assemble an advisory board, which control freak yours truly could have a reign on, but hopefully learn from, and be introduced to some high level people that could help us grow quicker than we currently are.

he gave me some names of people he will be speaking to, one of whom i have researched was head of government relations and operations in her previous role, and although none of this has even started yet, it was a very interesting conversation to have, and alan's past role as head of education at apple, made me feel great that we were even having this conversation.

i felt he was not the kind of guy to suffer fools gladly, even if they saluted upon meeting him!

maybe he just thinks i'm quirky, i can live with quirky.

the next part of the meeting involved two lovely chaps that alan brought over for me to meet, but as one of them (morning glyn) has subscribed to the blog i will grant them anonymity, although i am rather proud of the fact that they have agreed to run the cardiff half with us on october 1st.

i actually fistpumped in my office as i just wrote that, omg saluting, fist pumping, and writing 'omg', what have i turned into, cliche man, alan partridge clone, ahaaaaaaaa, now where's that 12inch plate?

this new honduras java i am trying is quite punchy, don't you find?

so glyn and graham agreed to become our 75th and 76th runners for october, and they also offered some very cool services within their own sector as well, so hopefully they will make further blog appearances as we progress the relationship, but for now welcome chaps, and thanks for your offer to help.

alan told me a few stories about his business life, and as we parted i chose the firm hand shake as opposed to the hug, as the coffee had worn off, and normal social etiquette had resumed, though i wanted to hug him as a big thank you, but tried my damnedest to appear cool, though i really think that ship had sailed a couple of hours prior.

this relationship may come to absolutely nothing, but you know when you have that feeling, and i feel that alan greenberg sees bigmoose as a pretty unusual model run by pretty unusual folk, but whatever it is that attracted him to us, he has pledged to give his time, and his network of connections, and if he can open doors for me, hopefully i can walk in without tripping up, or committing some other social gaffe!

alans pledge to give, leads me into my next story i would like to share with you today.

i have been watching some ted talks of late, and my flight back from nepal saw the delhi to heathrow flight with ted talks as a channel, and i literally inhaled about 30 from the takeoff to touchdown, and i have now discovered they are on amazon prime, which as mr bezos managed to wean me off mr murdoch's televisual offering, based on the fact that apart from sky atlantic i probably didn't use it, and the fact that bezos and i, as well as sharing very similar forename's also have a very similar look, neurolinguistic programming in its rawest form.

so whilst skipping through some documentaries on netflix i came across one with the worlds richest man, warren buffett, which i thought i would have a watch of to learn more about the man i had learnt some time ago had built this amazing wealth, and then joined forces with bill and melinda gates to give the bulk of it away to philanthropic causes.

i watched warren speak about his love of numbers, and as the programme unwrapped, it became clear his was not a life driven by ego or a desire for stuff, but he just loved making money, pure and simple, and apparently he was pretty good at it.

the doco was quite old, and i knew mr buffett had been reported as giving away a lot of his wealth, so i decided to look i little deeper into what he and mr and mrs gates had been up to, which you may be better informed than me, but i'd like to share how cool these guys are, and what they have created

together, berkshire hathaway ceo warren buffett and bill and melinda gates, of microsoft fame have created the 'giving pledge' and buffett has pledged more than 99% of his own wealth to charitable causes during his lifetime or upon his death, and he has already given away $21.5 billion, pretty amazing huh?

this led me to have a look at the website for their venture, which shows that the 'giving pledge' is a commitment by the world's wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back, and they have now recruited 170 billionaires to follow their lead, and it really is worth a quick look.

https://givingpledge.org/Home.aspx

awesome eh?

so this research led me to a ted talk with bill and melinda, which i had to have a look at, and again if you can set aside 25 minutes it is extremely insightful. 

now their world is very different to most people on our planet, but in essence what they've done is a monthly moose, just on a slightly bigger scale, and with a little more impact than most.

http://www.bigmoose.co/monthlymoose/

however, what they have become aware of is that the power of a team is stronger that the power of an individual, or a couple, so they have engaged their peers to follow their lead, no different to what we are doing with bigmoose.

i have just heard the long blog klaxon going off, so i probably should wrap things up for this week, but before i go i just want to share mel robbins with you.

i had never heard of her, but saw an advert for her book the 5 second rule in a mag i was reading, and it turns out she has done a ted talk (obsession alert) which has had 8 million views, and is the most booked female speaker in the world, so check her out here.

https://melrobbins.com/

now i'm not advocating everything she does, but on first impressions she seems pretty interesting, and i have asked mr bezos's team to deliver me her book today, so i will report back next week.

finally, it's my/our birthday next week.

tuesday the 11th july i turn 54, and bigmoose turns 3.

now i have a cheeky surprise for the world that we will announce on tuesday, but as you won't get your next blog till next week i'm gonna give you headsup today, but keep it to yourselves.

our mate joão from widecells plc is going to fundraise £50,000 over the next twelve months, of which he is going to give bigmoose 2/3 of it, and give the other 1/3 to two other amazing charities.

this will be a massive kickstart for our coffee shop, and i have been totally blown away by his generosity in this offer, as well as his help in connecting me to people like alan, and also mentoring me in a way i can really do with, so bigup yerself joão, and thank you for this amazing gesture.

also, this takes the amount of money that bigmoose has been directly involved with raising for various charities to over £250,000, which between me and you is over a quarter of a million pounds.

that is one big chunk a' change gang, and you have played your part in that, so smile at what you're involved in, and please tell everyone you know, as from a very small germ of an idea, brought about by losing someone, we, and i really mean we, have done some amazing work, so long may it continue, and i will end todays blog with my final saying i read this week, which i would love to share, and inspire you to do something you would not have done.

don't die with your music still inside you.

very simple, but very poignant i reckon.

blue skies,

jeff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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sex

if you clicked because of the the title of this blog, thank you for taking part in my experiment to learn why people do or don't open it.

apologies, there probably won't be any reference to or study of sex within this blog, though i did say probably, you never know, you might have to read until the end.

we have been building our number of subscribers up slowly but surely since i started doing this, and i can see how many people open the blog, and it is pretty consistent, so i just thought i would see if the headline would have any effect, as if it does, i will try harder on this part of the exercise, sort of baiting the hook with what the fish want.

i will report if there is any change in blog openings next week.

how has this week been for you bigmoose gang, any monthly mooses to report?

if you haven't done a monthly moose lately, or you don't know what one is, refresh your memory here http://www.bigmoose.co/monthlymoose/

cool huh?

you probably do many monthly mooses without even realising it, and if you do, drop us a line, we love hearing about the great stuff you get up to, and sharing it with others encourages them to copy your lead.

our monthly mooses this week have very much been everest based, and we have been returning to all the schools that we went to pre everest, and the plan was to tell the second part of the story, and hopefully inspire the kids to always believe they should follow their dreams, work hard, and never give up.

i have been so excited to get this part of my adventure under way as i said last week, and as we entered llanedeyrn primary school i was absolutely buzzing.

the receptionist at the school congratulated me, which spoke volumes, and as we walked towards the assembly hall one little boy looked up nonchalantly and said 'hi jeff' to which me and chloe looked at each other with a look of surprise and happiness rolled into one.

my spider senses alerted me that this was gonna be a goody!

this was the first outing for our new everest slide show, and it contains four videos which we didn't know how the children would react to, but one of them is a simple video that is zoomed in on some climbers on the khumbu icefall, and then it zooms out to show the absolutely massive size of the mountain, and the results were conclusive, we got the wow factor big time.

the presentation  went well, and the questions the children asked at the end were all sensible and well thought out, including the obligatory 'how do you go to the toilet' question, from a boy of course :)

now my plan of high fiveing every child in every school got off to a great start as the teacher in charge of this assembly bought into the idea straight away, and when i mentioned i was worried there may have been health and safety issues he said 'they are children after all, they like having fun' hoorah for common sense!!

so it came to pass then that a bald 53 year old man ran up and down the lines of children high fiveing every child, including my favourite who had learning difficulties, but gave me the best high five ever, and the look of joy on his face was truly priceless, and on reflection makes this whole journey so worth it.

as i finished my mad escapade, without falling and squashing any children, i breathed a sigh of relief and raised my arms high, victorious, and maybe this exercise was as much for me as it was for them, i now see that it symbolised my happiness at completing what i set out to do for the children at that school, my mission was accomplished, i had done what i aimed to do..

the energy in the room was fantastic, and as i returned to the front of the room, unprovoked, the children started to clap in a very unrehearsed manner, and i looked at the head teacher and smiled.

the next part of this story was amazing, and i will never be able to think about it without grinning like the proverbial feline from a county in North West England, bordering Merseyside and Greater Manchester.

the kids clapped.........and they clapped.........and they didn't stop.

they continued unabated for what seemed like ages, until i looked at the teacher and he tried to speak to me, but couldn't be heard due to the noise.

his second attempt to communicate was louder, and he mouthed the words so i could lip read ' i don't think they're going to stop'

i found it funny, but also had a lot of pride as well, how brilliant they feel this way.

he then mouthed 'i think i'm going to have to stop them' which i found hilarious, as i looked around at all the smiling faces clapping away, almost as if they were enjoying being a part of this crazy situation.

he calmed the children down, and the noise reduced to a level you could hear him speaking, and he thanked the children for their appreciation, and their clapping, and then, unforced they all started to clap again, drowning out his words, which was quite amazing to watch and hear.

they had won, and the teacher admitted defeat by suggesting that they leave the assembly and head back to their classes, clapping as they go, and so it continued until the last child left the hall.

now, i have no idea what caused this crazy breakout of energy and noise, but i have never seen anything like it, but just wish i could bottle it, it was so brilliant, and i was running through things in my mind after, and trying to think if i had seen anything quite so mad, but i was hard pushed, and when we spoke to all the staff after they said the same sort of thing, it was very surreal.

as chloe and i drove away from the school we were very much on a natural high, and when we did eventually speak, we discussed how we couldn't have scripted the morning any better, and that is exactly how i feel about my whole everest adventure. 

nearly not getting there, but for the kindness in bigmoose stylee from russ, enabling me to make the trip.

nearly not getting to make the summit bid due to the weather.

nearly not getting back due to nearly falling into a crevasse, never to be seen again.

the story has been very nerve wracking, and scared the heck out of me and my family, and possibly is all the more interesting because of it, and again we probably couldn't have scripted it any better, but my dream of summiting has been amplified ten fold by the resulting response from these schoolchildren, and the other two schools we have been to so far this week, has been way better than i could have hoped for, and has taught me some very important lessons.

1. if you think high fiveing every child at every school can happen, do it, don't bottle it.

2. children love to play and have fun, and i think it is our responsibility as parents to feed our next generation with fun and joy.

and as they say, 'every day's a schoolday'

flipping heck, i've just seen how long that story was, sorry about that.

i'm conscious of the 'long blog police' so will wrap up today with a quick list of stuff we're up to at bigmoose.

we met the owner of a law firm (chris) in cardiff who is a mucka of prince charles, and wants to tackle the homeless problem in cardiff, and has asked me to speak at an event he is putting together, and i actually think he is such a big hitter, that he will be pivotal in getting something 'big' to happen, watch this space.

met our solicitor about the coffee shop, we're getting closer. (bites hand)

we signed our 53rd runner for the cardiff half, which is just over half our target of 105, so please help if you know anybody who can run, at your work, at your gym, your mate that used to run, etc, please ask them to get in touch, whilst helping me cope with my ocd and often unhealthy characteristic to always strive to improve, the more people we get, the more awareness we provide to the amount of people suffering, often silently, from mental health issues, which unfortunately is reaching epidemic levels.

two of our friends, craig and aimee have signed up for the half, and these guys are seriously famous for their youtube channel and stunning travel videos, and are very much on the same path as bigmoose, with their ethos being 'rule your own world' and as well as running they will also be doing some filming of the journey, with a view to understanding some of the mental health issues that are out there, and i can't wait to have them on our team, they are beautiful humans, check them out here http://www.kinging-it.com/#our-story

apparently craig is so light he doesn't produce shadows........

apparently craig is so light he doesn't produce shadows........

literally as i just glugged my last swig of my coffee (second cup obvs) i have just thought, we have a number of blog readers from around the world, who probably can't get to the uk to run at the cardiff half, but, how about if you would like to join us running and raising awareness of mental health, you can run 13.1 miles on your own in your own country, or you get a few running friends to join you, and we have our first international running event!!!

sounds a bit mad, but then so did high fiveing a load of school kids last week, but now it's just the norm!!

i am now loving the international idea, how cool will that be!

repping the 2017 bigmoose cardiff half shirt in your own sandbox, i love it.

anyway i'd better hit the road, as we have the lovely lisa from the urban flower studio coming over today to discuss how her lush business may get involved with bigmoose, check her out here https://www.facebook.com/theurbanflowerstudio/

urban flower studio, more than just flowers

urban flower studio, more than just flowers

so until next week i'll be seeing ya, and keep rockin those monthly mooses :)

blue skies,

jeffers

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new relationships

good morning bigmoose gang, and specifically good morning catryn grundy!

ha ha ha, that will make one person go omg, and will mean nothing to anybody else reading this.

yet.

i'll explain.

i have a very cool mate, james harper, who works for the principality building society in cardiff, who are clients of mine in my day job, but also employ two of the most lovely people you could ever meet, james and pat ashman, aka auntie pat.

pat organises all of the principality's events, like their annual ball, sponsorship events, etc, and james is tasked with the company's corporate social responsibility and charity activities, and they are both fireworks of people.

the principality have funded our tee shirts for the supertri both years, attended the events with a big gang of their staff as volunteers, and have recently supported me on my quest to climb everest, saying that still feels weird, and gives me butterflies by the way!

when i left for nepal i met pat and james for a last minute coffee, and as we got up to go we all hugged, and it felt more like saying goodbye to my family, rather than friends, and as i write this i think that is what they are, family.

upon returning to the uk i hastily met up with james, and due to pat's mum being ill, get well soon pats mum, i haven't yet seen her yet.

as james and i chatted about my adventure, i got the feeling he was genuinely pleased to see me back safe and sound, and i think it is testimony to chloe's telling of my story that his emotions were stirred.

that meeting was where james mentioned that i should meet up with one of their charities they are working with, 'the school of hard knocks', and invited me along to a meeting with their director of programmes catryn grundy.

james had a proposal for catryn, and as i sat there observing, i thought about how passionate catryn was, and how she obviously absolutely loved her job, which made me smile inside, because i kind of idealistically want the world to love their jobs, which whilst being a utopian dream, unfortunately is never going to be the reality.

catryn loved james's proposal, and i could see made him feel special when she answered his question of what did she think, it was a meeting with lots of energy, and i was hooked.

the school of hard knocks is a brilliant idea, and if i didn't do what i do, i would want to work for them, i really think their work is outstanding, and rather than me try to tell you about it, here is a great video that does.

how cool is that?

one of the videos on their website http://schoolofhardknocks.org.uk/ talks of discipline, respect for yourself and others around you, and in these very difficult times we live in, i think these are things that are missing from our society, and with broken families everywhere, a lack of discipline results in apathy, a lack of hope, and a terrible place for future generations to grow and flourish.

school of hard knocks reverses that cycle, and gives young people a chance, by giving them hope that they can actually amount to something in this life, and i love the concept.

in our meeting we discussed whether i could go to meet some of the youngsters to tell them about my everest journey, and being from a one parent family myself, and memories of going to school with holes in my shoes that let the rain in, hopefully i can relate to some of the people on the courses, and if i can help sohk inspire them to do something with their own lives, then my everest adventure starts to have value, and i will be using it in a way that i hoped would be possible.

climbing to the top of the world was never just about me, it has always been about doing something that could inspire people to do more, and effect their world positively, so being involved in sohk could be brilliant.

the reason for saying good morning to catryn earlier, and telling this story is because i see who subscribes to our weekly blog, and catryn slid onto our subscription list very quietly, but the thing i get from the fact that people subscribe, is that they get it.

and that they want more of it.

so catryn signing on the dotted line, like you did, and pressing subscribe, tells me a lot.

so, now you know about sohk, and if you like their vibe, don't be afraid to give them a shout, as the video says there are three ways you can help, and if you decide you want to, please let me know, i would love to know that my action has caused a reaction.

right that's the end of this weeks blog!

juuuuuuuust kidding, i've got a shed load to tell you, and i am hoping to catch a train down to london to meet my hockey mates (thursday) for the first time since everest (i'm not sure when i become irritating talking about everest, but let me know) and i can't wait to see them, so i don't wanna be late.

so stuff that's happened this week

in discussion to do talks in two schools in barcelona and madrid

in discussion to do a talk for one of the big four uk banks in london

did my first ever podcast for 'beyond the ultimate', and my mate kris king

been asked to write an article for western mail education supplement about our school journey

i do find it rather ironic that at school i was forever getting in trouble for talking in class, and this skillset is actually becoming a big part of my life, and for good reasons, and for the more mature subscribers amongst you bt had a marketing campaign saying 'it's good to talk' which i'm sure my careers teacher would have disagreed with.

it was kind of nice to get back to writing a blog last week, i have missed it, and i had some truly beautiful messages from people saying nice things about the whole bigmoose concept after i posted it, so thank you, every bit of feedback helps.

finally this week i have been to see a few people who helped me on my nepal adventure, and it was lovely to catch up with my knee surgeon angus robertson, to say thank you for getting me strong enough to climb, and i think he was happy that we got there as well, and as in everything in life, it takes team work to do anything worth doing, and i believe always, always, always surround yourself with experts.

nice pic of me and angus, although i didn't know he kept a part of my knee on his desk!!! 

nice pic of me and angus, although i didn't know he kept a part of my knee on his desk!!! 

well i thought that was the final piece of the blog, but after writing the above i had one of the best e-mails i have had for a very long time, which for me was extremely exciting.

last week when i travelled to widecells plc to see joão andrade, who i mentioned last week is their ceo, i also met alan greenberg, who is on their board.

alan is the former head of education for the worlds largest company, apple.

he was responsible for creating podcasting, itunes u, and his strengths lie in digital, and research shows a very impressive resume.

after my presentation alan approached me and said my video of everest nearly broke him, and paid me some lovely compliments about bigmoose, which i won't share for fear of blushing.

i really liked alan, and had this feeling we would get on, so this week i decided to try my luck, and ask him if i could have an hour of his time to discuss bigmoose, and our future plans, the worst that could happen was he would say no.

you know he said yes already, what you don't know is what else he said.

i'll tell you.

he said that by getting involved with joão and widecells plc that i was 'family' already and 'his help, network and resources were available anytime'.

i'm sorry, but how flipping cool is that???????

the former head of education for apple wants to help bigmoose!

wow!

he also has a great sense of humour, and i just know we are going to get on, so bigmoose has a new 'mate' the likes of which i could not have imagined possible, and what he may bring to our world is amazing, and i am a bit overwhelmed at where this may lead, so watch this space, i am due to meet him the first week of july, you know when you get 'that' feeling, well with alan i've got it, how very exciting!

so i am writing my second part of my blog today being friday, and apart from going to london yesterday, i did make it in time, to see my hockey mates and watch some tennis, that has been my week, and yesterday was great, with my mates all being brilliant in their support for me, everest, and bigmoose, and all confirmed they will be coming up to our party on july 1st, and will be running in the cardiff half for bigmoose, raising bangers for mind on october 1st, so if any of you lovely lot wanna come to join them at either event just get in touch, we'd love to see you partying or running :)

that really is it for now, and will finish off by telling you about my week next week, which consists of going to a huge number of the schools that we went to see prior to leaving for everest, and i absolutely can't wait to see all of the children, and their teachers to celebrate getting to the top of everest, and i have a plan.

my plan will carry health and safety issues, but then so did everest.

my plan is to walk around every assembly high fiveing every single child and teacher!

this may not come off, as chloe frowned at me when i told her of my plan, but we will take it one school at a time, i just think it would be super cool to high five over three thousand schoolchildren, making them feel a real connection, but maybe it's too big a dream.....................

mwahahahahaha!!!

anyhoo,

until next week, i'll be seeing ya,

blue skies,

jeff

 

 

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hi :)

good morning :)

just so you can build a picture in your mind, i am sitting here in my office with a massive smile on my chops from ear to ear, which doesn't seem to have left my face since 08:10 on the 26th May.

we only flipping did it!

the dream came true, it is now a reality, how amazingly cool, that together, we climbed to the top of the world.

firstly i must tell you, the view really was really worth the climb, it was actually better than i imagined, and because our mountain leader and my friend russell brice is a genius, we arrived on the summit with almost zero wind, which helped us no end to climb up and down with no frostbite, or other such injuries, thanks for looking after me russ.

the trip itself was pretty long, and tested my mettle, but i think i have returned from the himalaya a stronger person having survived the test.

i have so much to tell you, which i'm sure will spill into future blogs, but i think this week i will concentrate on thanking people, as without your help i genuinely wouldn't have got on the plane.

so many people donated hard earned bangers to help me, and russ has been amazing allowing me to climb, with a view to paying him fully now i'm back, but more than that he never mentioned once that i was on the team without having actually paid in full, which was a real relief, and very kind.

so if you are reading this and were involved in helping me get to everest in any way, i would like to say a massive thank you, your effort truly made an impact, and hopefully i made you feel a little proud by getting to the top.

it hasn't quite sunk in yet, and i did a talk for a company yesterday in manchester, where i played a short everest video chloe has put together, and it moved me pretty close to tears, and actually got an ovation at the end, which made me feel immensely proud, but as you know i am a bit of a tiny tears anyway, ha ha.

which reminds me, chloe, chloe, chloe!

chloe has been working with me for just over a year, and when i left on 29th march, she was tasked with running my business, handling all of our social media, providing everest info to folk, and running bigmoose day to day, a serious amount of graft.

she kept me distanced from pretty much everything, allowing me to concentrate and focus on the biggest challenge of my life, climbing to the top of the world, and for this i want to thank her here, as she was pivotal to my success, and as her dad i was proud when we summited mount kilimanjaro together when she was only 15, i was also proud when she handed over the cheque for £15,000 she raised singlehanded to barnardos, and i have been proud at many other times in her life, but the way she has handled herself while i was away shows that i was right to trust her, and that my masterplan to get her to spread her wings and fly has come to fruition, and i can't wait to watch where she flies, and how high, i have a feeling this is just the beginning of the next chapter of her life, thank you so much chloe, xxx

the other members of my famalam have been amazing too, and now i'm back i realise the pressure they were under with me on the hill, so i am very sorry for worrying everybody.

i have made some lifelong friends on the hill this season, and my tent mate and roomy jo burke deserves a special mention, as we just hit it off, and he and i supported each other throughout the journey so well, and i think having a like minded person to talk to and share the experience with was fantastic, and we just seemed to always be laughing all the way, and i was especially pleased when we summited almost together, nice work roomy.

i will be putting together some pictures, and uploading the video chloe created to youtube so we can put it on here in coming weeks.

regarding bigmoose business, the coffee shop hit a couple of speed bumps while i was away, mainly a licensing issue, but it is still firmly on track, and we should be trading in 2017 hopefully, and the gig i did yesterday resulted in a five figure financial donation from the plc i presented to, which is pretty amazing, and i will expand on this story, soon, but joão andrade you rock!!!

so life post everest is pretty amazing, oh blimey i forgot, i've also booked a speaking gig at gchq, yes gchq, how radio rental is that, left field or what!!!

chloe has been booking our return visits to all the schools we visited pre everest, and the feedback has been better than i could have predicted, with teachers sharing the everest journey with the children in assembly's, children and teachers crying when we summited, so the return trip should be brilliant, i am pretty excited to say the least.

so, enough about me, how are you?

have you been changing the world for good?

if yes, nice work

if no, let's start today :)

we have a shed load of bigmoose stuff coming up which we will be announcing soon, so hopefully you can join us for an event or two, and we can rock the second half of '17.

we are having a bit of a knees up on the 1st july to celebrate getting to the summit, and will have a band, new summit celebration beer, barbecue grub and some other fun stuff, and we may have contacted you already, but if you would like to come along, drop chloe a line at chloe@everestat53.com to put you on the guestlist.

so it's good to be back, and i am so energised to drive bigmoose forward and upward, and i hope you come with us on the next stage of the adventure.

have a great weekend,

much love,

blue skies,

jeffers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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fancy a run?

good morning!

well today, i have just had a lush long whatsapp chat with dad, how bonkers is it that he is 5380m up, approx 5000 miles away and he is still managing to send pics and messages mocking me even from that far away! gotta love the 21st century!!

dad has had a great week, they reached the summit of lobuche, their training mountain. the weather was pretty gnarly and they were snowed off one of the days, but the team came back fighting and they all managed to reach the top happily.

they had their puja which is a ceremony where various articles of climbing gear is blessed by the sherpas and food and drink offerings are made to the gods and the team is blessed for a safe and successful trip. this ceremony marks the end of the trekking stage of the journey and the start of the mountaineering stage.

the team also got their first glimpse of the khumbu icefall. dad said it was a pretty daunting experience! the following day they began their first ascent into the khumbu and climbed up to camp 2 where they spent a few nights. the plan was to get to camp 3 but due to high winds they couldn’t reach it, so they turned around and headed back to bc a day earlier than planned. they will now rest at base camp for a few days before beginning their next rotation. he is feeling strong and has had no signs of any altitude problems so far! for more info check out @everestat53 on facebook, twitter and instagram.

whilst dad is away i have taken on the running of bigmoose, since he has been gone it really has been a whirlwind, we are 30 days down (41 days to go!) and things have been super busy. having a loved one up a mountain is a strange and challenging thing. contact is minimal, a person you’re used to seeing daily is suddenly gone and you spend every day counting down until they get home!!

lots of people ask myself, my mum and my sister how we feel about him being up the mountain and it’s quite a hard to describe... but the bottom line is we are all beyond proud of him and watching this journey unfold is truly remarkable. a massive thank you to everyone who is supporting us and sending messages of encouragement, it’s been amazing!

watch this space for more updates..!!

in the world of bigmoose, things are getting very exciting on the coffee shop front. we are making progress behind the scenes!! i will update you when i can.

but we have another project we would love you to get involved with!! following the success of #runningforemily last year at the cardiff half marathon we have decided to create another team this year! the london marathon inspired us so much and we think that, with the help of all you amazing people we can help another cause this year. the cause we have chosen to support is mental health – there is a massive stigma around mental health and it is only just starting to become something that people feel comfortable talking about, but there is still a long way to go.

with the royals being involved in creating awareness through their campaign of ‘head’s together’ we think it would be awesome to get involved and support this. 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health issues, and it could be anyone; the person in the car next to you in traffic this morning, the lady who served you in the shop last night, your work colleague or a family member... and we want to help those who are suffering.

running and exercise has also been proven to help people suffering from mental health problems;

"it is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigour." marcus tullius cicero

so if you’re a seasoned runner or you’ve never run a mile in your life, we would love to have you on the team. the bigmoose runners from last year will confirm, no one is ever left behind, we run as a team and everyone supports each other. if you are interested please email: cardiffhalf@bigmoose.co and i will send you some more details... how cool would it be to exceed the amount of runners we had last year (104!).

thank you once again for your support and please keep sending good vibes to nepal for a safe and successful climb,

in the words of my dad, blue skies,

chloe

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updates from 5380m

morning bigmoose team!

sorry for our radio silence on the blog front, things have been rather manic!

as you probably know, dad is out of the country until june 7th climbing mount everest! he is safely in nepal and his first 2 weeks there have been great and he is feeling really strong. the team he is with are all lovely, he is enjoying the whole experience, oh and he is back eating chocolate.... i’m pretty sure the box of 48 twirls that we bought him will have been consumed by now!

they got to everest base camp last week and camped there for a few days to acclimatise. however, as you read this he is on a neighbouring mountain called, lobuche, which they are climbing to again help with their acclimatisation. they will hopefully summit lobuche today.  after they have summitted they will journey back to everest base camp (5380m) where they will rest for a few days... then comes the real hard work – their ascent to the summit! if all goes to plan dad should hopefully summit at the end of may!

whilst dad is away i am updating all of the ‘everest at 53’ social medias (facebook, twitter and instagram) with daily posts, so if you would like to follow, we would love to have you on the journey! dad is also sending back videos for the school children he went to visit on the months before his trip, talking them through the whole expedition from the food he eats, how they get water, the kit they use, the lives of the sherpa etc! he will then revisit the schools when he returns home! 

also, as you may be aware dad had two sponsors pull out of sponsoring the trip with less than 3 months to go! this was a massive shock and made the journey to the bottom of the mountain even tougher as it wasn’t just physical training he needed to do, there was now a monetary barrier.

however we worked really hard and raised as much as we could within the time but we were still short of the full amount. dad rang his guide and told him what had happened and thankfully he agreed to be paid the rest of the money post trip.

now dad has gone i have decided to set up a ‘go fund me’ page to help raise some money towards his goal – dad doesn’t know i have done this so hopefully this will be a lovely surprise when he summits! J if you would like to check out his fundraising page, please follow this link and any contribution would be so gratefully received.

with regards to bigmoose – our main focus now is the coffee shop! hopefully there will be some exciting news shortly, watch this space!! 

hope you've enjoyed the updates from the mountain...sorry my blog isn’t quite as witty or coffee fuelled as dad’s!!!

please keep your fingers and toes crossed for dad’s safe journey and i will keep you all updated.

finally, if anyone has any monthly moose stories for us, please email them to chloe@bigmoose.co, we love hearing your stories!! 

as dad always says, blue skies,

chloe 

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