well well well, what a week!
it's been a bit of a mad one really, and as i type this i am feeling a bit cream crackered, due to some early starts, so i am gonna keep this blog shorter than normal, yes yes, that limits it to war and peace scale then, i hear the facetious among you mutter!
but before i start bunnying, i just wanna warn you i am going to namedrop like a goodun this week, and for no other reason than i can, don't judge me, kids from my manner don't do stuff like i've done this week :)
first off then, march 1st!
big day for bigmoose, this is the day we lost the big guy nine years ago, and as such me and a gang of his close buddies celebrate his life annually by grabbing some nosebag, and toasting him, and reminiscing as you do, but it's a nice tradition to keep his memory alive, and it works for us, and is always emotional, as i'm sure you can imagine.
i was torn between travelling to london and starting pritch's challenge, but i got me a deputy driver, cheers doogie, to chaperone pritch on his cycle, and i headed off to the smoke with my mate mark driving me westminster bound, cheers mr colbourne for the ride and cool stories, mark won a paralympic gold in london 2012, and helped with our supertri at christmas, and was invited to number ten on march 1st as well, so kindly offered to drive, and it was pretty cool remembering when trafalgar square was awash with people as he celebrated with team g.b. four years ago, and mark was great company and super raconteur on our journey south east from cardiff.
when i returned to cardiff and met pritch at the international pool in cardiff on march 2nd, i was excited, and nervous, as the pressure of driving a support vehicle, and protecting him from cars as well as providing support should he need it was quite intense.
i learnt a lot about pritch this day, as the weather was abominable, and we had horizontal sleet and snow being thrown at us, and after he had gone through two bikes with mechanical failures the day previous, today it was the weather that challenged him.
he rode with 2014 triathlon world champ kate strong, who is a fierce competitor, but the weather was wearing kate down, and after a while i decided to see if she wanted to ride shotgun with me and load her bike in the back, an offer she took me up on, as the conditions were brutal.
but pritch ground through, and i realised this guy was one fierce athlete.
he finished his 56 mile bike ride, changed into his running kit, and ran off to complete his 13.1 mile half marathon, and day two of his thirty day challenge of doing the same swim, cycle, run, bloody amazing if you ask me.
will he complete it?
asking me now and i will say yes, as he appears to be amazingly strong mentally and physically, which i love seeing, but the part about pritch that i am most enjoying, is discovering who he really is, and i am growing fonder of him as the days pass, he is one of the nicest geezers you could wish to meet, and extremely kind, generous, and considering his following of mad social media fans, totally grounded.
so, day three of the challenge rolled along, and after the swim, an old hockey mate, and the impetus behind our supertri idea, sean ward rocked up lycra clad, ready to ride with mathew.
as the boys set off, i assumed my position in the support van, staring at their butts for the next four hours, and feeding them as they stopped every now and then, wow the finsbury park boy done good!
this all went swimmingly well, until one stop where i apparently ran wardys foot over, which caused me and mathew to get a fit of the giggles, so, publicly i would like to say wardy, please forgive me.
giggles done, for the time being, we rocked on and they finished their 56 miles, and the half ironman was then completed with a run along the taff embankment, day three bagged and tagged.
i kinda skipped a bit, (name dropping warning!!!) the gig mark colbourne mbe, and i were going to, to follow on from last week's blog was to number 10 downing street for a bit of st.david's day shenanigans, which was lovely, but a mate of mine had gone to a similar bash a while ago and the prime minister wasn't there, so i managed my expectations by telling mark this, and suggesting it might just be the cabinet office having a knees up while boss man was away negotiating with the eu.
i was wrong.
as me and mc mbe rocked up, it struck me funny that they were letting me in, and i waited to wake up to relay this weird, lifelike dream.
as the door to number ten opened it suddenly got real, flipping heck this is number ten, play it cool smith, this kinda shizzle happens to you every day, no biggy!
as i checked my coat and left my phone in the security area, mark and i were given directions to go upstairs, and i walked along a regal corridor to the stairs looking at black and white pictures of every p.m. ever, and was especially drawn to churchill.
as i topped out, we went to enter the room where the gig was due to start, and i noticed above the entrance a very out of place pink neon sign, which i stood back to read, and as i focused it read 'more passion' and i thought it quite familiar, so i asked a lady who looked kinda official, and she informed me it was a tracey emin piece that she had given david cameron, and he had installed it prominently for all to see, some would say out of place in all the surrounding history, gilt, and tradition, but for me it worked.
we entered the room, and i saw a face i recognised, liam burgess from nom nom chocolate, who i interviewed recently for a clients magazine, and who makes the most amazing chocolate, and was there as a representative of great welsh grub.
we made eye contact and i offered my hand for the shake, but much to my happiness he came around and we hugged in a warm liam burgess way, i love this guy, watch his progress, he is going far.
a lovely start to proceedings, and it just got better, i joined mark in chatting to the lovely jason mohammad from radio wales who we both knew, and then richard parkes my climbing mate emerged, and bigmoose supporter and friend liz brookes, it was great to see some buddies in this strange setting.
as we chatted a young lady, who i discovered worked for the cabinet office came up to me and introduced herself, and said as one of the point of light winners would i be able to join her in another room, which i duly agreed.
as we entered the room, there were press and tv cameras, and a gang of other points of light winners, how cool.
we were briefed that the p.m. would come in soon, and have a chat, and low and behold in walks dave, who i have to say could have polished his shoes a little better, just saying.
as he got to me we had a chat about bigmoose, and he listened intently, and the clicking of cameras rattled off, just another tuesday morning i thought as i regaled stories of great stuff people involved with bigmoose were doing, very funny.
and as he moved along the line and finished chatting we had the obligatory picture, which was cool to show my girls, and a goodun for the website i guess.
as the picture was taken we all filed back into the big room, where dave gave a decent speech about st davids day, and didn't fail to mention why we should stay in the eu, no such thing as a free piece of bara brith :)
as we had the left the smaller room the cabinet office young lady asked us if we could all come back at 1.55, i really wanted to ask why not 2.00, but didn't get a chance, but at 1.55 we were ushered into another room, that, it turns out used to be thatchers office, and were sat down at a table that it turns out was used for the recent g8 summit in 2013 in ireland, and now resided in this office, that i found very interesting i have say.
but my best bit of the day was the reason the cabinet guys wanted us there, which was to discuss how government could help us points of light winners, and improve how things work.
we could actually, just possibly, make a difference, and this for me was the great bit.
we discussed lots of ideas, and i offered the suggestion that all 483 points of light should have a password protected website where we could share best practise, ideas, resources etc, and have a forum where we could ask each other for help, saving ourselves tripping up where others had previously, and generally sharing for the greater good.
the guys scribbled, and suggested that they should and could make this happen, so if it comes off i will let you know, but it seemed to carry lots of positives, so watch this space.
we brainstormed for almost an hour, and as we left our room, everybody else had left, so my ride, mr c, was left waiting for me downstairs, but he was very understanding, and didn't leave me.
we bid farewell to our hosts, and did the obligatory photos outside the door, with childlike vigour, and slowly made our way to the exit, entering back into the normal world, and as i did i felt very strange, and mark and i discussed how boys from tredegar and finsbury park had spent some time in a very interesting world, and i realised that any doubts i had as to whether i should have come were crazy, embrace life, and on this day of all days for me, i shold grab every experience possible, it's what makes you who you are.
as mentioned before i've pretty busy, and i don't read newspapers, but a friend tagged me into a walesonline interview which was very cool, and even carried a quote at the end for the p.m. about bigmoose, which i am totally going to use on the website, http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron-thinks-welsh-secretary-10973138 so hopefully lots of good has come out of st. davids day aka moose day, thanks for reading, and apologies if this was very self centred, but i wanted to share the experience with you guys who are the only reason i got the invite, as without your help, there would be no bigmoose, so thanks for literally opening doors for me.
so until next week, i'll be seeing ya,