The Promo Box #2

The adventures of the box of promotional records continues and after the initial excitement of the Tubby Hayes research, thought I’d better go through and catalogue the whole box of records.

For photos of most the promo disks :

With records on Tempo, London, RCA, Decca, Vogue and others, there is quite a mix of artists and styles, though they are all jazz, though its various guises, from dixieland to bop. Some of the titles are more interesting than others, with Jimmy Deuchar, Ronnie Scott, Tubby Hayes and Big Bill Broonzy.

The aim will be to work through the records and work out exactly what they are. I did start with the pair of 10″ Tubby Hayes promo’s and they are indeed very interesting (and possibly the most interesting) given they each are the same tracks as the 1955 7″ EPs issued on Tempo.

The common theme here is likely to be Decca, who acquired both the Vogue and Tempo labels in the mid 50’s and why this set of promos might be together as they are.

Tempo EXA 27; the extended play 7″ EP from the Tubby Hayes Quartet. The 10″ promo is the same tracks but different and wonder if this (or was planned to be) a Decca release.

This collection of promo’s, which might be of some value, actually will provide some fascinating research opportunities and some great puzzles to solve. The first pass was the checking the matrix and label numbers on discogs to see if they appear.

One of the gaps from the 1st pass research was the 10″ disc from The Knocky Parker Trio, H-BU 1044, which isn’t listed on Discogs, though it turns out it has been sold on eBay and as a result appears on popsike ( )

The Knocky Parker Trio : London Records H-BU 1044

The front cover photo retrieved from popsike / ebay shows the track listing (though this might not be the order on the vinyl).

  • Naked Dance
  • Wolverine Blues
  • Original Rags
  • Memphis Blues
  • Sidewalk Blues
  • Limehouse Blues
  • Barrelhouse Blues
  • Smokey Mokes

With no track listing on the label, will need to play the disc and work out which half of the record I have. Whilst more popular at the time, the traditional jazz hasn’t stood the test of time in the same way that the more modern and avant garde jazz sounds have.

However, the current popularity doesn’t really stop it being interesting. Knocky Parker for example not only was a great ragtime piano player, but


The Promo Box : Part #1

As with most things, the best things in life are, if not free, mostly unexpected. Cheryl had spied a couple of records of interested in a shop and we arranged to go back for a trawl through after having a look round a nearby property.

Chatting the owner of shop / flat, noticed his his interesting record collection and had a look through a box of what looked like promo records, all of which were Jazz and seemingly late-1950’s. All were 10″ or 12″ 33 1/3rd format and marked of the sleeves and the labels, with artists ranging from Ronnie Scott, Count Basie, Big Bill Broonzy and others. These are single side promos, with a pressing on just one side.

However, what caught my eye and caught me shelling out some cash for the box (and it was 3 figures not a fiver) was an unassuming 10″ pair of disk with Tubby Hayes written on one label and the brown paper bag, along with two matrix numbers.

The two Tubby Hayes single-side promos. 10″ 33.3 rpm

VMG 187-2B

VMG 188-2B

Matrix Numbers from the 10″ Tubby Hayes promo records

A bit of research and VMG / VMGT is the matrix numbers from Vogue / Contempary Vogue, which was a French jazz-focused record label (that came from the Swing label), that was acquired by Decca around 1955. Nice as relevant as Decca is 90 years old, with a renewed interest in the label.

A search through Discogs didn’t seem to highlight any specific Tubby Hayes release on Decca or Vogue. It could be these are a compilation but as far as I could see, nothing had been released by him on 10″. Modern Jazz labels like Esquire used the 10″ format in the UK, mimicking the style of US labels like Blue Note and Prestige.

So, what’s on the discs and time to play them, with Shazam at hand to see if it picked up what the tracks are there and if it is really Tubby Hayes. Shazam came good and identified the following tracks:

VMG 187-2B1Opus de Funk
2(not recognised)
3Peace Pipe
4There’ll Never Be Another You
VMG 188-2B1Straight Life
3Evil Eyes
4Dance of the Aerophragytes

Some further rooting around on Discogs discovered that these had been release as two 7″ EPs on Tempo in 1955, as the Tubby Hayes Quartet : The Swinging Giant Vol 1 and Tubby Hayes Quartet : The Swinging Giant Vol 2 and Tubby Hayes Quartet : The Swinging Giant Vol 2. VMG 187-2B is Vol 2, with VMG 188-2B is Vol 2, with the 2nd track “There’s No You”.

The tracks were recorded on 29th July 1955 at the Decca Studios in West Hampstead. 20-year Tubby Hayes (tenor sax), along with the rhythm section of his band, Harry South (piano), Pete Blannin (bass) and Bill Eyden (drums). The two 10″ promo style disks might have been a later planned release on Decca / Vogue but it doesn’t seem like they made the light of day based on the research so far.

The good news is there are plenty of other interesting artists in the box, with some trad jazz as well. A lot of the promo records have unbroken seals so I’ll just focus on playing the opened ones for now.

Oh, by the way, the Tubby Hayes records sound great !


Inner Source : know it’s limits

For the last few years, along with colleagues at Red Hat, I’ve been of the belief that Inner Source (see Wikipedia definition) is a viable alternative when an enterprise organisation doesn’t want to embrace a full Open Source approach (for a variety of reasons).

The differences between Open Source and Inner Source are listed below, but the main difference is that former usually involves more that one organisation and the latter is very much internal to one.

Open SourceInner Source
Not always a formal organisationMore likely to see some form of top down formal organisation
Open flow of information and ideasSome control and ownership around information flow
Meritocracy and Benevolent DictatorshipSome management direction of a project
Social phenomenonInduced social phenomenon
No budget and time constraintsBudget and time allocations needed
Potentially infinite number of developersFinite resource and input
Consumable by allLimited audience for consumption and participation
Voluntary teamsPartial voluntary, with allocations
Self assignment of tasksAllocation of tasks, resource
Low consideration for competing tasksConstant need to consider alternative tasks and activities

Inner source is like Irish dancing, you are in a constrained realm. Open Source lets you fling your arms about like a Scotsman.

Malcolm Herbert March 2019

There’s no doubt that having the barrier between an organisation, however large it is, and the outside world is a significant barrier to the success of inner sourcing projects. Inner source projects need constant nourishment as they are not getting nutrients from the outside world.

Irish Dance

Red Hat’s Office of Technology in Europe does a range of consulting work around open source process and methods, helping organisations leverage the model successfully used to produce software over the last 25 years.

In the past an Inner Sourcing approach has been adopted for organisations, where either:

  • there is need to keep the activity separate from the outside world
  • that the project isn’t primarily software development

However, the effort of maintaining and sustaining an Inner Source environment isn’t repaid. Remove funding or support and it dies. All very Darwinian and while these extinction events also happen with Open Source projects they aren’t so dependent on internal or commercial factors.

Inner Sourcing approaches always run the greater risk of duplicating the efforts in another organisation (and the same mistakes) if the work is made widely available. So what’s the downside to Open Source and letting your team collaborate outside the corporate structure ? Being Open Source potentially needs a governance structure that cover what people can and can’t do and understanding of how it works in order to draw these guidelines up (it might be why you were looking at Inner Source initially). There are lots of sample Governance structures out there and some good articles.

Persuading an organisation to look beyond it’s own boundaries is getting easier as the recognition of the success of open source methods and process is becoming more widely understood. Whilst the consumption of open source (both community and enterprise) is the norm, collaborating and creating with upstream community projects is becoming an option for more organisations, as developers and managers have positive experiences of working as part of open source projects. For an increasing percentage of developers it’s the only way they work.

Based on the work Red Hat has done with organisations, the benefits (obvious and otherwise) of going open source include:

  • the usual coding quality benefits (many eyes etc); you have a bigger community externally
  • freedom for developers to interact and be creating with other like-minded developers
  • developer visibility (they like their GitHub commit stats and associated kudos)
  • developers hiring and retention is easier with Open Source activity and practice in place; Inner Source is less appealing. This is becoming a key benefit now that Developers are King (see O’Grady et al)
  • that many organisations don’t do all (or any) of there software development in house; using an Open Source approach does lend itself to managing multiple software suppliers (standards, ways of working).

And this last point is interesting. Some organisations, that don’t do a significant amount of software development, feel that Inner Source is the only way for them to experience the open source benefits. However, if they started running their software providers as a community then issues over lock-in, poor product etc are less likely.


A40 Brewing : Brew #2

After the failure of the mild, the second recipe was a low ABV India Pale Ale, primarily using Fuggles hopes for brewing and potentially then dry-hopping using Goldings (or maybe more Fuggles). Not exactly normally, but I’m not a big fan of over-hopped IPAs. More like a bitter then….

08h00 prepping the starter. Wyeast Whitbread Ale smack pack with 1 litre of DME mixture
15h00 : Finished crushing the malt. 5kg of Maris Otter pale malt and 700g of Caramalt in the grist. Have to the adjustment for the crusher not too bad but whilst precrushed malt is easier, is it fresh. Again this batch came from The Malt Miller
15h30 Started the boil about 37 litres of water in the HLT and aimed for a strike temperature of around 78 C based on the grist weight and temperature.
16h20 : Started the mash with an initial temperature of 69 C after adding about 17 litres to the mash tun. No real clumping of the grist but stirred it to drop the temp to 68 C and ended up at 67 C ! By 17h20 the temp in the tun had dropped to 66C but had held the temperature pretty well.
17h20 Mash just prior to sparging
17h30 Verlauf, took about 7 litres from the mash tun and then poured gently back into the top of the grain bed to get it to run a bit clearer before starting the sparge.
17h45 Sparging, tried to do this slower than we’d done it for Brew #1 with the aim of a 1 hour sparge. Ran the tap really slowly then added water from the HLT (at around 75 C) into the top of the mash tun using a 1 litre pyrex jar and a collander. Automating this process with a sparge arm would by good, but would need to look at gravity set up which would mean raising the HLT well above the current bench.
18h00 : Used the refractometer to measure the gravity during the sparge. Based on the recipe calculations was looking for an OG of 1.037, with around 30 litres of wort to boil. After 10 litres was at 1.065, 15l 1.050 and then at 20 litres 1.043. Measurement at 25 l was down to 1.036, so very quick drop off and 5 l short of the expected volume from grist weight.
18h10 : Boil started. The Sparge only took 40 minutes, again too quick and maybe the reason for the lower than expected OG / wort volume.
18h27 : Wort starts to boil and added 30g of Fuggles hops. Added another 30g at the end of the 90 minute boil and let rest for 30 minutes before cooling.
20h30 : Cooling the wort through the heat exchanger. Need to run the wort through twice to get to 20 C in the bucket. Did look at running straight into the fermenter using the pump, but this produced a high pressure leak on the pipe straight away so went for a much simpler approach of half-filling the bucket and pouring it into the fermenter.
21h00 Wort into the fermenter and then oxygenation for 3 minutes. At 5 PSI and using a 5 micron stone dropped in to the wort. Then pitched the yeast starter and sealed the fermenter.
08h00 Next Day. Much better looking krausen than Brew #1 and quite a bit of noise from the airlock. Need to ensure that the fermenter lid is on tight as it will leak otherwise.

A40 Brewing : State of the Mild

The mild got binned after been stuck at 1020 gravity and with no real fermentation taking place. Dried yeast was added after 5 days in attempt to get it going but no luck in getting it moving. There was no real head / krausen formed on top of the wort and no movement through the airlock.

This was potentially down to a number of things:

  • lack of air / oxygen in the wort. Whilst we did pitch it from a bucket into the fermenter, it made have needed more swirling around after the boil
  • the mash didn’t go well and whilst the temperature seemed okay at around 67-68 C, potentially not enough sugars etc were extracted in to the wort.
  • the original yeast starter didn’t really start. Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale liquid yeast but it didn’t look right when it was made an pitched.

It was Brew #1 and though not successful, plenty to think about going into Brew #2 and some changes in the process. Low 3.6% ABV IPA coming up next.


A40 Brewing : Brew Day #1

Crushing the malt; make sure the battery is charged on the drill. Cheap Chinese made crusher but is fully adjustable and seems to work well.
  • 16h00 : Start Wyeast Whitbread Ale #1099 in 900Ml Water + Dried dark malt extract at 80:20 water:malt. At 20C and in flask over agitator. Maintained agitation until time to pitch (about 4hr45)
  • 16h00 : Start heating 33L water to 80C (We did 78C but 80 better)
  • 16h50 : Begin Mashing: 15L water. 4.5 Kg Grist as above. 78C water gave 68C Mash
  • 17h10 : Temp drop 2° in 20min so added 1L at 75C to 16L total now back at 68C
  • 17h15 : Start reheating plain water to 80C for sparging
  • 17h40 : Mash temp down to 66C
  • 17h50 : Begin Verlauf. 1L wort at at time. Down side of mash till wort started to clear
  • 18h00 : Finish Verlauf
  • 18h05 : Begin Sparge. 2L water at a time at 80C. Add about 6L. Tot vol only 20L (due to soaking into mash and evaporation).
  • 18h30 : Test sample wort at approx 20C. OG 1045. Sparge further to 29L total. Wort now runs clear
  • 18h40 : Re-Test. OG now 1035. Total Sparge water was about 15L.
  • 18h45 : Move copper to heat and turn on
  • 19h10 : Rolling boil @ 100C. Add 50g Fuggles Hops
  • 19h40 : Add Irish Moss (Copper Finings)
  • 20h40 : Crash wort into sterilised bucket for transfer to fermenter. Heat exchanger with steady cold flow and slow flow of wort drops teml from boil down to about 16C.
  • 20h45 : Transfer cooled wort to fermenter and pitch yeast. Remaining Vol 26L. Fermentation fridge set to 20C. Ambient temp in brewery started about 10C and rose to 15C.
Grist; 4kg mild ale malt, 420g Crystal Malt, 120g Chocolate Malt from The Malt Miller in Swindon. Brew Day #1 was to make a mild, as per the recipe which is uploaded into Brewers Friend.
The HLT above the Mash Tun. Gravity used for the brewing rather than the food grade pump shown (will perfect the setup in subsequent brews) . The 50 litre brew kit came Powell Brewing in Flint, North Wales. Build quality is excellent and even with my recent lack of brewing experience, things seemed go well with the kit.
Yeast starter. Made a 1 litre starter using Dried Malt Extract as the base and with liquid Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale yeast.
The mash during sparging.
Basic sparging approach using a collander
Wort going from the mash tun into the kettle; the rate was slowed significantly later and we spent 45 minutes getting the 28 litre final volume in to the kettle. Will aim to do this slower in futre
Karl using the refractometer, original gravity on the target 25l was slightly too high, so 28l in the kettle gave 1035 which is what we were aiming for.
Full kettle ready to boil; using the pump would avoid lifting the 28kg pot, but as mentioned thats for next time. OG was 1035 so bang on for the plan for Bwlch Mild.
50g of Fuggles hop at the start of the boil (90 minutes); very slight bittering for a Mild
Time for some guitar during the boil (as well cooking a steak) and the prepping for the cooling and getting the wort into the fermenter.
Getting the wort cool as quickly as possible using the heat exchanger. Pretty impressed with this bit of kit and we got it down to 15C in 25 minutes, with some faffing, so again as a practice brew day plenty of points for the future.
Into the fermenter, in the brewing fridge. Already set to around 20 C this should see a consistent fermentation process. Pitched the yeast starter at around 16 C, in line with the temperature of the wort at the time. The fridge uses an STC 1000 to control the fridge (to cool) and a 60W greenhouse tubeheater to heat it. Seems to work pretty well.

And now we wait for 5-7 days to check fermentation.


The devil is in the detail

An appropriate title for this website, but also relevant to the critique of a short article doing the rounds this week.

Best read the article on Red Hat’s Hidden Treasure before reading the rest of the critique below.

The article on the face of it seems spot on, as it highlights what people in Red Hat (and I assume IBM) know, that given it’s an open source company its not product or intellectual property that they are buying but the people and organisation that make it.

The biggest risks to the deal’s success might come from IBM themselves. No wonder Ms. Rometty will keep Red Hat as an independent company, despite the billions she used to buy it.

This recommendation of independence is music to the ears of Red Hat staff, most of whom who remain at Red Hat on the understanding that exactly this will happen, with IBM taking a very loose grip of the affairs of the most expensive software company acquisition in history.

However, there are initially a couple of things that make you take a closer look at the findings. The article isn’t independent, as it’s written by Avalia, a company that sells software products for assisting with mergers and acquisition, so guess what, it’s going to promote M&As in a positive light. Secondly, it mentions Docker as part of Red Hat’s product portfolio; er nope.

The article itself focuses on Ansible as an automation tool in comparison with it’s open source competitors (Puppet, Chef, Salt and Terraform) and use this as this as the basis for determining the value of IBMs acquisition of Red Hat.

It makes some good points on the health of Ansible as a product and open source community and confirms Red Hat’s approach of hedging its bets when it comes to upstream projects, having backed Puppet to a large extent previously (and incorporating it into the Satellite product). As the Avalia report states, Red Hat have chosen wisely by backing what now it is market leader in automation, Ansible and that does mean a good potential return on the investment for IBM.

There is an interesting reference at the end of the article on a wider reflection of what this specific Ansible analysis might mean to the IBM acquisition of Red Hat overall.

Taking Ansible as a reflection of Red Hat’s open-source culture, community, and technologies, IBM is making an excellent acquisition. Ansible’s core leadership belongs to Red Hat, and their care has translated into a growing and diversified community of contributors, that in turn have built a great quality software. With this acquisition, comes great power and great responsibility with Red Hat’s developer community, and many questions still need to be answered.

Avalia report

This makes a lot of assumptions, in particular about the state of the wide range of open source projects and their downstream, enterprise products that Red Hat are involved with. There are a lot of large, commercially driven open source projects like Kubernetes and OpenStack in which Red Hat plays an important part, but doesn’t have the control to the extent it does in Ansible. There are also other projects, like ManageIQ, that are primarily driven by Red Hat but are not so healthy by the same open source measurement.

Red Hat as a company also isn’t also just developers working on open source project. There is also expertise around converting this into a successful financial model based around subscriptions and services. Red Hat was the first (and maybe the only) true open source company to be significantly successful on a pure open source model.

Selling, marketing and product managing an open source commodity is very different to a proprietary one and alongside all the upstream, development goodness, people at Red Hat have also built a business. Some of this business IBM will want to leave alone, some they might mimic, but the temptation to leave alone will be harder than it would be for the developers.

A sales team working on strategic accounts, using an approach based on open source philosophies (meet-ups, customer forums, transparency through to engineering etc), will be more easily consumed by the larger acquirer. It’s likely not to be a planned approach a corporate level, but just something that happens at a lower level.

Interesting times ahead and as the Avalia article suggests, IBM are best leaving alone, but not just solely based on how they see the success of Ansible.


Peter and Jane do solutions

Peter had been working very hard on his project. Two years ago he had a new idea for a tuck shop, where instead of just buying sweets, Peter would tell people how to eat them instead.

Jane thought Peter was also working very hard too and whilst lots of people were still using the old tuck shop, Peter’s new tuck shop had really excited customers. Peter had persuaded some other children that they also liked working in the shop, because he gave them lots of sticky notes to put on the walls and windows.

Peter had the idea of having a small tuck shop on wheels so that he could tell other people to eat sweets in their own classrooms, but he didn’t do anything about it, because he was going to make more money in the main tuck shop. People would pay him lots of money so he could tell them to eat sweets properly, his way.

Jane also knew that another boy Charles had a mobile tuck shop and as well as telling people how it eat sweets, he also give them the sweets as well. Jane thought Charles had the better idea. She liked Charles more than Peter.

Peter stopped talking to Jane as he thought he had the idea first and he didn’t want to play with Charles.

The Headteacher also decided that Charles’ idea was best and told Peter if he wanted to do a mobile tuck shop he’d have to give the children the sweets once he’d told them how to eat them He’d also have to call the shop, Charles’ Sweets.

Peter was grumpy because it was his idea first. He told everyone to boycott Charles’ shop as he had the idea first.

Jane thought Peter was being a twat. After a while nobody went to Peters shop, as getting your head stuffed down the toilet by Jasper, the school bully was a more pleasant experience.


Looking both ways

He’d picked up the last clean cup from the kitchen cupboard in the office and made some tea, before realising the shape of the handle meant it was designed for right handed people. This would make drinking the murky cup of Earl Grey interesting.

Brian had worked as a technology consultant over the last 20 years and over time what had been purely keyboard-based activities had developed into more complex projects, where the process and the needs of the people using the technology had become the focus. Gone were the days were you could hide in the server room and keep your head down, happily focusing on installing software, writing scripts and submitting bugs. Increasingly he find himself in more and more meetings, discussing how the products would be used and what the customer would need to change or adapt in their way of working in order to be successful. Starting off with assessing their maturity, he would then look to encourage people and teams of develop processes and ways of working to ensure they could use the technology he would be installing.

The company Brian worked for had built a reputation for innovation and has successfully disrupted the IT market, becoming a leader in its main operating system area. As well as it’s products, it was now selling it’s brand and way of working, as well as its open organisation as something that it’s customers should emulate as part of digital transformation. It wasn’t just about the technology anymore.

This change wasn’t easy for customers and as such they looked for help in making organisational and cultural changes which would be needed to ensure their own businesses would be successful. Technology was only a small part of the jigsaw and whilst the problems were now increasingly complex, they weren’t insurmountable if approached the right way and with the right engagement.

This past few weeks had been typical of the type of organisation he was working with and Brian saw himself as much as consultant of people than he was of the technology he’d install. Some of the things he was seeing weren’t unique and all provided challenges that needed to be overcome.

  • The main software system used by the business had been migrated to over the last 12 months, with considerable effort and manual data migration. The person in charge of the transformation to the new system was no longer with the company, having taken the fall for the failures which had significant business impact. It was working but was still not providing the level of service the old system did.
  • Despite this, the main Director of the organisation was dynamic and had successfully grown the business across a number of regions; he knew that he needed to change both the technology and organisation to ensure this growth continued. He’d recently proposed a new org structure, which he’d presented to his leadership team once he’d put it together. Whilst there been some tweaks, it was his changes that were to be implemented, but the lack of detail in plan was impacting some of the key workers, who were now not clear of their role and responsibility
  • Whilst the leadership team worked together, the level of shared responsibility they had for the overall success of the business was low. Initially there had been a lot of discussion on the need to become more agile and flexible in tackling problems, but relatively quickly this had broken down into hierarchical structures with people owning resources, budgets and not cooperating
  • The central team provide systems and services to a number of Regions. These Regions had become increasingly independent and less accountable. Focused on targets there’s was an increasing diversification in products and offerings around the technology and whilst they were successful they could do things there own way. However it was becoming evident that this was beginning to be a problem with one of the largest regions failing to meet targets. These were specific to the Region and as such harder to fix by the central team
  • There are plenty of cases where individuals were propping up bad projects through hard work. These weren’t being addressed by management and people were simply left there until they went sick or the project finally crashed.
  • They’d brought in new people to help scale the systems and business as they grew, but it had infact led to significant clashes in culture. There was an increased aversion to risk, being accountable and stepping up to take on tasks. Management to individual contributor rations had gone from 10:1 to 3:1 with a significant loss in revenue.
  • A few years ago, they’d set-up and funded a small team to try out new ways of working and take on new business. It had had a measure of success and taken on new projects and won new customers, but it now saw itself as its own business rather than being part of the larger organisation. One of the main problems is that was itself looking to prevent innovation in other parts of the business, preferring to be the sole place where new ideas and technology would come from.

All of these things were typical of the challenges facing organisations who were having to transform as technology itself became fundamental for the business. As technology took centre stage, the need for effective processes and organisations become more important, not less.

Brian continued to look at the assessment and write the report he was working on. He would normally be bolstered in the knowledge that he was, as a visitor to the organisation, able take a more abstract, third party view and provide lots of useful insights to the management in his report.

However, this wasn’t the case with this report. Rather than being on customer site, Brian was benched and the organisation he was writing about was his own.

What had been the innovator and the disruptor was now struggling to find its way, with its culture eroded through expansion and the need itself to meet targets. Being on the inside and within the hierarchy now made it virtually impossible for Brian to be heard or understood. Rather than objective observation people saw personal criticism and confrontation. The more you told someone, the more they avoided you and sought out people who agreed with them and confirmed what they wanted to here.

Brian closed the laptop, looked up and out of the office window to see the snow falling gently in the car park and realised that he’d come to the office on his motorbike. Getting home was going to be a challenge with some risk, but he was up for that.


Mynnyd Troed

Last minute decision to head up my nearest mountain (that is a distinct peak over 600m). That isn’t Mynnyd Llangorse (which is only 515m) so need to get in the car and drive round to the pass between the two. It was already 14h30, so not much time for a long walk.

It’s a steep ascent, with most of the other people parked there heading up the nice looking ridge to Mynnyd Llangorse. Up to 500m and then then into the clouds.

Mynnyd Troed : not the finest view, but the best sound

It’s not the more leisurely of walks up to the trig point and the greasy ground didn’t make for easy going as I’d decided not to change out of my workshop trousers and my old walking boots. The cloud down meant there was no view; bad as there was no view but good as the view inside was much clearer.

Accompanying the tinnitus was purely silence. Cold and damp and little wind it created a little world around you. Then you catch your breath from the stiff ascent and that interrupts your thought briefly. You look around expecting to see someone else, but there is only you. It’s a magical experience that can only be experienced in the mountains and only at a certain time. Other, sunnier days, you can lie back in the grass and listen to the skylarks rising up high above you, whilst on others all that is with you is the wind.

The trig point was a limpid beacon from which a mental note of the return route was make. I’d though initially of going along the ridge, but decided against it; I could stand here for 5 minutes or so for the same effect and I’d done my workout on the 250m of ascent from the car. Slowly I made my way down, walking in the heather and rough grass to avoid ice-like short grass. The cloud didn’t clear as expected and only just before the road did the view down the u-shaped valley towards Cwmdu appeared.

Only 1 hour and 20 minutes of walking but refreshing of body and mind and whatever the weather, distance or hill (or mountain) and great diversion from the everyday.