I've had a couple of busy weeks since being back, most of my time has been spent applying for jobs, this happens to be an incredibly tedious way to while away the days. It's also a great way to decrease one's mood.
I have however been able to maintain high spirits by seeing friends, and going on entertaining adventures.
Last weekend, for example, I went bouldering. I regularly go bouldering at nearby, indoor climbing walls but this is the first time I'd been bouldering outdoors on real rock!
In this post you shall find some rather uninspiring photos of large rocks. They are all rocks that I have climbed on.
Last Saturday morning I was picked up by a couple of good friends and we made our way to a place North West of Leicester called Whitwick where part of the National Forest is littered with large protrusions of granite (I think they're granite, might be sandstone).
After a short pause to nourish ourselves, picnic style, we set about trying to decipher a set of crudely drawn maps and accompanying photographs in order to find the most appropriate boulders to attack.
To start, we ended up climbing on a boulder that didn't have a photographic record but we believed was 'Pillar' as marked on the map and had good fun figuring out the best way to tackle the routes we invented. Before moving on we had a wander and found another un-recorded boulder and invented some routes on that too (right)
Following a path deeper into the forest led us to the area containing 'Roof', 'Gully Block', 'Diamond Block', and 'Overhanging Wall'
We didn't try climbing anything on 'Roof', but both Gully Block and Diamond Block (above) provided a couple of good routes that were challenging but achievable for myself and my climbing buddy,
Overhanging Wall (top) defeated me completely. There was only one route that we attempted, my climbing buddy succeeded in ascending after a few attempts but I couldn't get myself off the ground. This was highly frustrating so instead of aggravating myself even further, I climbed three different routes up the neighbouring slab before calling it a day and opting for a woodland stroll instead.
We had good fun wandering around the forest areas, making our way down various paths and almost getting lost before retracing our steps back to the car.
This gave me chance to crack out the proper camera and shoot a few things. Lighting wasn't fantastic in the forest, but I did find these baby caterpillars chilling underneath the leaf of an oak tree.
There are still a whole host of areas around Whitwick that have boulders suitable for climbing so hopefully I'll be able to return in the future to have a crack at some different routes. Maybe I'll even get another opportunity to take on 'Overhanging Wall' again.
On a different note, I mentioned earlier in the post that I've spent the last two weeks applying for jobs (30 of them to be precise) and I would be remiss not to mention that my efforts have not been entirely in vain.
On Friday, I received a call inviting me to interview for a Quality Assurance role at a scientific company in a small town South of Cambridge. I did of course accept the offer, and arranged for the interview to be held on Tuesday.
With a weekend chock full of prearranged activities, I had only Monday to prepare, and having only just returned from Australia, interview preparation involved buying a new suit. I did not anticipate how time consuming shopping for a suit would be.
After traipsing for many hours around various shops in Peterborough, I did succeed in buying a reasonably priced set of jacket and trousers, combined with two new shirts, a new tie, a new belt, and much to my horror, a pair of pointy(ish) shoes; In general I dislike pointy shoes, but these ones worked with the suit.
Fully suited and booted (and looking rather good, even if I do say so myself) on Tuesday I set off for the interview in my rented Vauxhall Astra (I would not recommend the car) and arrived in good time. I won't divulge all the gory details but I think I presented myself well. I am expecting to hear back from the company "soon" as to whether the interviewers also think I presented myself well, time will tell.
To finish off the post, I'll mention something that you may already have noticed. I have spent time revamping my website.
Since returning from my travels I have been researching bits and bobs to do with SEO and how to improve my chances of being found on Google by making best use of the options given by Squarespace.
Part of my research led me to the discovery that the template I was previously using has been discontinued by Squarespace. I'm not one to be outdated, so I swiftly picked a new template and set about updating the content a bit.
Feel free to have a look around the main gallery and other pages, if you find anything weird then please let me know so I can look into it.
I have a couple of projects in the planning stages too, one slower than the other, and neither takes priority over getting a job so although they shall likely emerge at some point, I can't guarantee when.
Until then, you'll just have to enjoy the suspense. And the little teaser to the left...