I am sitting on my settee (TSIMF) with a wonderful pint of beer on it's arm.
At 5%, this beer from Butcombe, the Butcombe Brunel 200 IPA, celebrates the 200th Birthday of one of Britain's finest Engineers. As excellent beer to mark the birthday of an excellent chap.
And speaking of excellent chaps I would like to celebrate the excellent chaps over on the TGO message board.
As I mentioned a few days ago there had been a fairly active debate over on the TGO Challenge Message Board about the way the message board is occasionally used by prospective Challengers.
Now one of the fundamental differences between doing the TGO Challenge and walking a National Trail is that on the Challenge, you design your own route across Scotland, whereas on a National Trail you are following a pre-determined route, designed by others - usually a committee.
The Message Board has been around for a number of years now and has in that time developed a culture all it's own. It is not like a conventional outdoors forum, because the walk was in existence before the board was created, and so there was a population in existence before the board was created.
The board is there to help all Challengers to discuss routes, gear, possible meets, transport to and from the event - a whole host of topics. Most years there will be a prospective Challenger who posts, asking for a route.
Now forgive me for standing back and scratching my head for a while, but what did I just say the difference was between walking a National Trail and doing the Challenge?
Yes. However some chaps still don't get it and ask away. They are then surprised that they get replies from the indigenous population of the message board explaining that perhaps they should persist in carrying on planning their own route. That way they will get far more satisfaction when they finally walk into the North Sea at the end of May, having designed and walked their own route across the vast swathe of Scotland.
That's when the real fun starts.
There are howls of protest from the 'injured' party: The usual complaint is that the indigenous population is being incredibly unfriendly in not giving the new guy a route across Scotland.
Most years this degenerates into a bit of a slagging match between the 'injured, rejected' new Challengers and the guys who suggested that they should be designing their own route.
However this year it has really developed into a corker! Quite a few supporters of the 'rejected' almost 'ganged up' to denigrate the chaps who had the temerity to suggest that he should design his own route.
A good friend of mine, Derek, in a bid to take some of the heat out of the message board, wrote a private email to Dave Smithers - this year's 'rejected questioner' explaining why he felt so strongly about his opinions - due to safety and the reputation of the Challenge, that he had supported for twenty years or so. A heartfelt reply.
Smithers, having lost the moral argument on the board, felt he could take a swipe at Derek and posted the email exchange on the board in its entirety, saying "personally it has simply given me a good laugh !"
Well, there we have the measure of the man. This is a man who says he has "a very demanding law enforcement role." I understand this to be within the Serious Organised Crime Squad. (A simple Google search throws this up)
If this is the sort of chap who is protecting us from the evils of society, God help us.