What Will Be?

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

What will be? What will not be, but might have been? And what couldn’t have been, but now may be?!


Oh bloody hell, I don’t know!


Reflecting on the week I’ve just had in North Wales, my mind is as turbulent as the weather. It’s certainly been a great mix of sports, friends and parties. Let’s go back to the beginning...


Rodellar. Northern Spain. November 2013.


I completed the Plas y Brenin ‘Centre Assistant’ job application in the warm sunshine, on a rest day from our three-month climbing trip in Europe. I had printed it off in the hostel the night before, but left it empty. I was still uncertain if I wanted to apply for such a job, or even if I would get a place. Maybe I was more scared of rejection than actually applying, but if you never try you’ll never know.


Eventually, I sat myself down and filled it in, before handing it to some legendary British friends to post when they returned to England in a few days (thank you Chris and Harriet). I didn’t trust the Spanish postal system!


Home. South. January 2014.


The familiar comfort of home is a contradiction to my complete lack of monetary funds. No dollar, readies, capital. Nada. It felt horrible to be totally broke, so I plunged myself into work at Cotswold Outdoor. I quickly remembered why I find this type of work so tough, but suck it up and keep calm. I became stagnant, lost in the January blues. I hadn’t touched rock in weeks. Scratching around, trying to find some relief, it came in the form of an email:


‘Congratulations. We would like you to attend an interview for the Centre Assistant scheme at Plas y Brenin!’


Ironically, just ten minutes earlier I had received an email from another of my job applications, stating that I had been unsuccessful. I think the second email was the best pick-me-up I could have hoped for!


The cogs began to churn. Back to Wales, back to the wild. I’m on the move again.


North Wales. Mid-January 2014.


I won’t say much about the Plas y Brenin interview. Failure is unthinkable. I can’t, mustn’t, won’t. It went ok, but it’s hard to speculate. How good were the other candidates? Will I scrape through? My lack of self-confidence is shocking, perhaps because I now feel powerless over the outcome. In sport, at least, I can fight harder, push further, run faster. This is… crazy!


The job has changed. In Spain I applied for the sake of it. Now, I want it, and badly. The more I think about it, the more it appeals: I love North Wales. There’s always something to do. The climbing is ace and many of my friends live there. I could see myself doing some instructing. Am I becoming comfortable? Perhaps I’m over-thinking a simple CA placement scheme?!


However, since North Wales does have a special place in my heart, I’m inclined to make a week out of my one-day interview.


Plan A is to tick off some winter routes that I didn’t get done last year. Plan A relies on winter conditions, and is quickly binned! The temperature is +5 °C and the word is moist.


Nonetheless, I make the most of it, making sure every day is a ‘rad’ day! The only sunny day is spent ticking early season mileage with Gwen Lancashire at Tremadog. It’s almost too hot at times, and I remember why I love trad. High on Extraction (E2 5c), fiddling out wires and getting pumped on jugs, I remember how funny this all is. We abseil down and I remember what abseiling is, and why I should have brought my prussiks! Sport climbing is fun, but it’s not trad!

Other highlights include a sunrise run/scramble over a very snowy Crib Goch to Snowdon with Sarah Ridgway. Although she claims she struggled to keep up, I think she was just tired and I was feeling fresh! There’s no way an unfit youth could out-run a fit (albeit fatigued) fell runner! Still, the sunrise was superb and Sarah’s photos are tres bon. Thanks for a great run! Click here.


I squeezed in a quick surf with Jack Lawledge, and nearly died from the hot-aches after half an hour! Sorry for biffing it, mate. NB: I need more than a 3/2 wetsuit and boots to surf in January.


The end of my week was incredible, and another reason why I hope to come back to North Wales in May. We had a bit of a party with some good friends, and it felt great to see everyone again. We even went to one of Bangor’s finest establishments, Academi! Such good times - I need to go back.


Home. South. End of January 2014.


Waiting. I hate the waiting. I’m so nervous. The results of the interview are expected around Friday.


In hindsight, I’ve stacked too much on this result. If I go back to North Wales, if I get the place, if certain circumstances don’t change. If I get some qualifications. That’s a lot of ifs.


I really want this job! I’m going to do some fitness to clear my head and try to remain focussed on the here and now, not what may or may not be.


Stay tuned…

Tom LivingstoneComment