Blog Archive

Page 33

Look around the numbers and, if equipping yourself with statistics, get some probability for an emergency.

Fuelled both by the Winter Olympics  and extended British Winter, much discussion continues here at Step-Up  HQ  about metaphoric mountains.  Having likened the climbers and their mountains and considered  skills for survival in a wilderness  it was interesting to read  Mountain Rescue’s advice; although treacherous places without proper care the mountain experience can be enjoyed if steps are taken to minimise getting lost or hurt.

Starting with appropriate equipment, clothing, and sustenance, there’s then a whole raft of advice for reducing an unavoidable accident

The general rally, by those who know what they are doing, is:

Be Prepared; Risk comes through not understanding.

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)

“A man raised in one part of the desert would know its flora and fauna backwards. He knew which plant attracted game. He knew his water. He knew where there were tubers underground. In other words, by naming all the ‘things’ in his territory, he could always count on survival.”  A line from Bruce Chatwin’s,  controversial, Songlines.

By using skills, the wilderness, either geographical or personal reality, can be faced head on as an adventure because survival is more than just learning how to put up a shelter in the rain, getting those soggy bits of wood to burn and feeling cold and lost. It seems to us that developing skills and knowledge appropriate to `whatever your wild country is’ underpins a means of survival.

Having recently been inspired by both the pioneers of Old America and the current Olympians, we thought we’d acknowledge those who facilitate  ‘the acquisition of  skills and knowledge required to live and travel in wild country’  through the gathering of knowledge, as opposed to the hunter-gatherer philosophy.
‘Bushcraft exemplifies the spirit of pioneering; living in, and traversing wild places. With its romantic aspirations and harsh realities, Bushcraft informs and equips the individual for expedition and adventure travel; instilling a powerful sense of identity and self-reliance’.  Whether for a reconnection with the environment, or adventure travel,  the team of instructors and specialist wilderness guides at Woodsmoke offer opportunities for groups and individuals  to acquire skills and experience that empower.

Co-founders Ben McNutt   and   Lisa Fenton , along with their amazingly experienced team, offer a cornucopia of new experiences and perspectives, in stunning locations, amongst which are wildlife tracking and nature awareness (including plant lore and ethno biology), foraging, cooking, crafts (such as whittling and hide tanning) and expedition training, all accessible via their  website with insightful tutorials.

Offering a new perspective on the natural environment whilst pushing back the boundaries of capability and being with enthusiastic, informative and friendly people, the earth has a finite level of natural resources but it seems that Woodsmoke’s strength is that they haven’t finished naming all the things attainable in their territory; but survival counts on the likes of them.


(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF. Video courtesy of Woodsmoke)

Grimacing, shouting, hiding eyes behind hands and admiration continues as we follow the athletes at  Whistler  who, without exception, give it their best shot.  Astonishing camera work allows empathy for situations we’ll never be placed in physically, whilst confirming, with the challenge of bad weather , the concept of metaphoric mountain.

During the last couple of years, probably the most frequently asked question to us  is, ‘What is going to happen?’ Applicable to all facets of how life is lived or business is played out ; a very reasonable question for the general where, why and how.  Applicable to where balance is placed, why a route is chosen and how prepared one is;  a huge question.

It’s rare to meet someone who hasn’t had the image of a solid wall of  mountain style black rock  placed in front them with a stream of further problems running down and around it. Unless it’s a man-made simulated climbing wall, your personal Everest  or Sca Fell  will have some factors in common with the real deal. The temperature will alter, oxygen will be in short supply and anticipated difficult manoeuvres will be impacted by any heavy loads and steeper climbing.  Blizzards on the climb could blur visibility to the point that it’s impossible to see what is around.

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it ” As the sport coach said.

How do you say with confidence  ‘I can climb any mountain’  before you’ve experienced any climbing?  Climbing high might not be the objective.

(Image and article credit: Copyright SUF)

We’re suckers at Step-Up Finance for any co-workers with a long mane, leg hair or a cold wet nose; especially those that work nine-to-five and beyond. Yep, working animals.

And it seems like there is a branch of the animal and man team  heading out to the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Trained to work in adverse conditions these animals reminded us, along with a brilliant article by Kevin Garside in the Telegraph  that outside chances do sometime come about but, more to the point, with so many problems around any antidote of possibility is something no-one would want to dampen.

Although not without controversy, the games  have always been a place of inspiration and human spirit and there are very few of us who haven’t had our spirits also lifted by an animal at some point.

So, here’s to an uplifting sporting two weeks…… has anyone seen the hairy Swiss, the one with a wooden cask-shape piece of bling around its neck?

(Image credit: TimInSydney  Article credit: Copyright SUF)

Our current favourite watch is on TV tonight.   Stories surrounding  those branding Mad Men; for it is set in the time of ‘it’s a man’s world’.

A time when they only had to say ‘smoke one of these  and you will be the Wichita Lineman ’ and they were believed; the amazing sets are rarely without purchase from the tobacconist.

Different times, different attitudes and branding now holding different connotations, needs different maverick thinkers than from the days of those Madison Men.

Maverick, relative to our recent musings  on the culture of old American History  (rather than the car ) related to neglectful Texans’ neighbours putting their brand mark on unbranded or ‘maverick’ stock.

What’s on the surface and what’s the reality is always an interesting concept.

(Image and article credit: Copyright SUF)

Wondering, after an unexpected sunshine filled Saturday, what the weekly weather forecast held, we were slightly worried when 19,400,000 pages for Heavy Rain in February came up on a Google search; but relieved that Kagouls and sandbags wouldn’t be the ‘must have’ item for the coming weeks instead,  a Playstation   for a new game.

Rainfall was made newsworthy during the 19th Century by those eager to dispel rumours that the so labeled Great American Desert couldn’t be farmed.   An idea that planting trees contributed to a higher rainfall was investigated then extended to include cultivation in general. The spin of laying telegraph wires and railway tracks to increase rainfall was used to attract settlement and rail links into The Plains, whilst The Homestead Act   made land cheap; with the more fertile land, as priority, given over to the railroad companies or Government.

Land speculator and enlightened climatologist Charles Dana Wilber’s book (1881)   laid the phrase down and an unusual few years of rainfall followed to cement the idea. The realistic and scientifically authoritative unconvinced Geologist John Wesley Powell  was commended by Easterners in Congress, whilst  Westerners took the opposite stand, one from Kansas is supposedly to have said, ‘ Whilst you’re out there acting in the interest of science and in the interest of professional bug hunting, leave the settlers upon our frontier alone’

Consumed by the railway construction crews and the wagon trains moving across the plains, buffalo herds shrank from some 40 million to about a thousand.  Enthusiastic homesteaders fenced in their land and towns developed. Seeds arrived along with farm machinery and the global marketplace opened up via the rail system. But, an ecological imbalance showed up when the droughts began and the Plains turned into The Dust Bowl at a time of The Great Depression.

But we all understand spin now … don’t we?  And lessons have been learnt … haven’t they?   Cue the tumbleweed.

Oh! Here comes the rain again…. No! it’s snowing!

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)

American icon, embodiment and symbol of a pioneering, wild and free spirit with a choice of four wheels  or four hooves ; the Mustang is doing very well.

Ford, the Company behind the four wheeled version has shown profitable growth and, the feral horse contributor to alluring imagery of the Wild West, also has booming numbers. But the one that had been granted federal protection as ‘living symbols of the historical and pioneer spirit of the West’ is galloping towards controversy. 

Only a few decades after the cattle industry, started from the famous cattle drives following The Texas Revolution,  reached its height, the cowboy and his horse were confronted with changes to their culture; including  ‘in any colour so long as it’s black’  and the emergence of the motor industry.

It’s interesting that only a couple of years after the Model T gave way to the Model A,  the Great Depression came about and, not only did the price of cars drop, many people couldn’t afford the fuel to run them. So, with a pioneering attitude horses were returned to pull engineless cars.

Following the most recent depression, recession, downturn or whatever, horse – power and horsepower is been explored again by artist Jeremy Dean’s project Back to the Futurama.  

Could a Hummer  and a Horse illustrate the beginning and end of imagination, all at the same time?  

 (Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)

Market Recovery
A 100% commercial mortgage has been launched for the Medical Sector. This includes surgeries, pharmacies, opticians, care homes and nursing homes. Rates are comparable to residential mortgages so it is encouraging to see further movement within the marketplace.
The Enterprise Finance Guarantee
This continues to be expanded with one high street lender announcing that a further £88m is now available – Multiple bureaucratic hoops to jump through but this finance could assist where a lender cannot fully take a risk on a business proposal.
Tax Relief extensions
The pre-budget report announced that during 2010 – 2011 empty commercial properties will have tax relief, with those having a rateable value below £18,000 being exempt from business rates. There is also a deferral of the increase in corporation tax for smaller companies along with the Time To Pay Scheme being extended for `as long as is needed’. 
(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)

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