Monday, 16 March 2015

A Premature Epitaph or maybe not

This was a significant piece for me, posted on  Ukcaving.com April 2010 . I could probably write more than just an article, no doubt a book, about what followed. With hindsight what was I thinking allowing such impulses to govern my life. I made a big mistake leaving London like I did at the time, but I think I made an even greater mistake leaving the Dales in the first place. However hard our past decisions are to live with I guess we live and learn and just hope we've become better people as a result.


A Premature Epitaph or maybe not


This thread I will no doubt delete when I realise what a tit I've been sharing these feelings with you all.
I've been a contributor to this site on and off for years, as some of you may recall. The majority of the material I published was generally not warmed-to by most folk, due to my attitude, etiquette, ideals etc..... 
I don't blame folk for their hostile retorts, you had a goddamn given right to take offence to it. Even though a large portion was me just taking the piss. I really didn't give a damn if people did or didn't like me, this was mainly because of my position in this world. Born in the Yorkshire Dales, resident in Skipton, the best caving in the country on my doorstep, I didn't need to be welcomed by anyone etc. Plus, that anti-establishment side of me was present even at school when for reasons unknown or just to test the bounds I would question or oppose.

Even though I made few friends initially here, or ever met a majority of you in person. I still felt an affinity to you all and it filled me with warmth during a number of my autonomous undertakings to know that I would be sharing my experiences with you. Because that is precisely why I did it, because such experiences are difficult (extremely difficult actually) to keep to oneself. There is also the fact that on a number of occasions, my contributions did gain me a few long term partners or two.
 

Recently I walked away from the scene completely and relocated to a place far removed from the caving frontier of the dales...LONDON (not the 1st time I've lived here though). I am back working as a bicycle courier, getting paid peanuts (unlike 02/03 when ridiculously large sums of money could be earned) to get my kicks 5 days a week and the guilt free ability to do nothing at weekends other than relax.
The reasons for my departure from the caving world is a long story and before relocating to London over the new year I had done very little caving since May / June 2009. I instead spent the summer rock climbing, a damn good one at that!. 

I sold most of my caving & diving kit and gave my 1000 plus foot collection of ropes to a good cause. Albeit the winning bidder of one item in particular, is lucky I didn't shove his money down his throat after he had the nerve to inspect the piece of equipment before handing over the cash. This was after I'd had the decency to deliver the item to him.


Since my early teens I've had a whole host of obsessions relating to outdoor pursuits, e.g Fly Fishing, Mountain Biking, Surfing, Rock Climbing, but none has been harder to let go of than potholing.
This only became apparent this morning, Thursday. On Tuesday afternoon I was involved in a spectacular collision with another Cycle Courier on Oxford Street (a regular occuence, especially with vehicles). Resulting in two sore knees, a badly sprained wrist and a wage-less week, spent idling around thinking about stuff. The only positive outcome being I got to spend tonnes of time with my wonderful girlfriend.

 It's not the act of potholing or aesthetic that I'm finding it hard to bury, but the arenas in which the acts were performed..... Rivendell, The Troubled Waters and Hallucination Aven, Gormenghast, 800 yards chamber, Stemple Rift! & the Out Fell Master Cave, Rising Mirth Passage, Heartburn Crawl, Jackpot, Kamikaze, Higham Hall, Speakers Corner, Forest Passage, Aurora Hall, Frakes Passage, The Baker Series, Hydrophobia and the 68 etc......etc.......................................... The list goes on and on and on and on.
Some of the above mean very little now, like childhood memories, but others have left an indelible mark on me. No two have left a greater mark than those containing, Blackpool Sands & The Swims, Boulder Hall, Marathon and Kneewrecker..... Langstrothdale Chase, Boireau Falls Chamber, NEMESIS! The Sacred Way, The Agora and Dementor................ these places will be forever etched deep into my psyche. 
Even now they taunt me, prowl among thoughts relating to my past, cause dreams and nightmares, they question my new resolve and call and beckon me from afar, like supernatural forces. Sometimes they become impossible to shake and I fear that I must obey. I naively assumed I had left all this behind me.
I do not regret my new way of life one bit, because of my reformed ideals and views and with the support of a partner that means the world to me. I now enjoy and embrace, what I would at one time, have referred to as, regular, mundane, insignificant passing moments, a lot more.


Unless I'm eventually left to lead my new life with dignity (which I seriously doubt) then one day I will return to these places. I have no choice in the matter and feel they will never leave me in peace.... The premature end. 
This piece is for those who either know me personally and haven't seen me for a while (due to my sudden disappearing act) or those folk who are familiar with my past posts and who may have agreed and definitely disagreed with my method, everyone else can go and............ Simon Beck


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© Simon Beck, 20
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1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you didnt delete this post. Myself and probably lots of others can relate to some of the feelings you share. Personally, your post has helped me loads.
    I love reading your blog, which I've only recently stumbled upon. You are a very talented writer. You're also a brave guy! Good on you, I say. Just please be careful, watch the weather and continue posting for us!

    ReplyDelete