Saturday, March 4, 2017

Day 87 I spoke too soon

Last night I was pretty pumped as the warm front we were told had passed and the 18:00 hrs forecast confidently predicted that by midnight temps would have been well below zero and the precip would be falling as snow. I should have known better than to think that weather forecasters could see 6 hours in the future, after all that is a totally unrealistic expectation. In the event temps stayed at around +3 all night and the precip when it came fell as heavy rain in the valley finally ending at around 6 in the morning. Luckily the rain line on the hill was relatively low down with the Big 3 only getting crusty in the last few turns as an indication of the level.

On the way to the hill it was +2 and driving away tonight it was +4 although when I last checked it was +1 on the deck and falling fast. The forecast is for temps to drop to -10 tonight but given the forecasters recent record I am not holding my breath. Up the hill today it was around zero for a long time but on the final run up I noticed a temp of -2 at the White Pass load so hopefully we are now in the cooling cycle. Luckily we had no precip during the day and it started overcast. In the late morning the cloud started to break up and there was a real danger that direct sunlight in the warm temps would have a devastating effect of the snow but just in time it clouded over and a cold wind blew up which tended to keep the skiing surface in good shape.

We got to the hill early not because we expected great conditions but on a Griz Day Saturday following a week of fresh snow I anticipated ugly huge crowds and I was not proved wrong. Our skiing in the morning was punctuated with long line ups on the New Side although I am told they were better than the Old Side. The result of this was rather fewer runs than we would have normally expected but the upside was that the conditions were way better than expected. In the afternoon the crowds thinned out as quite a lot of people don't seem to have seven hour legs thank goodness.

An overnight accumulation of 17 cms was reported and I expected this to be heavy snow up top becoming rain effected crud lower down. As it was we had creamy powder all the way down to the bottom of the Big 3 and great skiing over most of the hill at least on the New Side. Whether it was as a result of the heavier snow or an overnight wind event I don't know but everything was smooth with old bumps and tracks having been mostly filled in. This gave easy mellow skiing conditions even on some of the steeper and tougher pitches.

We went to the New Side and first run hit Knot Chutes (Slim) which was soft and deep. We then tracked into Surprise Trees and grabbed first tracks in the trees on the right shoulder which as with everywhere else was untracked deep hero snow. They dropped the fence on Curie Bowl and I got first tracks in Decline and Lynda got second tracks in Skydive. They were both good deep untracked powder skiing down to the last few turns when it went to soft rain crust which was not too bad. After that I went to Cougar Glades where after the initial entry it was easy to find untracked lines in the trees on the left and the left hand exit chutes were just awesome with only one other track to be seen which I didn't have to cross.

As Knot Chutes had been so good we did Tight Knot which was very mellow and then took Triple Trees which had many untracked lines which got fewer as you went down so that by the time I was spat out on to Summer Road under Timber Chair there was only one track to be seen with me. Polar Peak was open in good light but strong winds so we did few Grand Papa and Papa Bear loops which were smooth, soft and deep before running down through Mama Bear which was if anything even better. I tried Stag Leap which was a bit tracked up through the trees and then soft tracked snow and bumps all the way down so even the last few turns were soft and easy.

Last Run before a late lunch (we were being delayed by lift lines) was rip down Papa Bear off Polar Peak and then Decline and into Window Chutes which was all soft tracked deep snow and about as mellow as I can remember.

After lunch it was back up Polar for some more loops which were just as good as before. I then hiked Lone Fir which was in remarkably good shape and the fan underneath was awesome as long as you cut close to the left hand sign line (Saddles remained closed) all the way down. I then cut across to Spinal Tap which like it's fellow Window Chute was very soft and mellow. There was just time for another Tight Knot and left side Surprise Trees before it was time for last run.

Skydive remained in good shape and after the bumps in the top skied very easily. As anticipated there was a long line to get in the Griz bar so we went to the Kodiak Lounge which is a very pleasant and friendly place to have a quiet drink on a Saturday.

The temp on the deck is down to zero now and snow is forecast, perhaps I have better grounds for optimism tonight.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Day 86 we may have dodged the bullet

Keen readers will remember that last night I was worried about the warming temps and the high levels of precip forecast. Well, after today I think we may just have got away with minimal damage to the hill and in a cooling trend look forward to some seriously good snowfall over the next week. As I am typing this it is +1 on the deck and the precip is coming down as a snow/rain mix. I am optimistic that as we move into the night it will turn to full on snow and be plain sailing from then on.

Overnight the hill were reporting 10 cms of fresh which they upgraded to 20 cms before we left for the hill. On the way to the hill it was zero degrees and during the day the temp at the base rose to +1 which is what it was as we drove away in the evening. Looking around at various times during the day it seemed to be about -2 up the hill on the New Side. It snowed all day with heavy fill in hero snow which on top of last nights 20 cms and the 100 cms we have had this week gave spectacular skiing conditions which just continued to improve and fill in as the day went on.

We went to the New Side and stayed there all day. I am not going to give a blow by blow account of the various runs as they were all the same, awesome deep hero snow only lightly tracked or untracked all day. A special mention has to go to Ski Patrol again who got the Currie Bowl open almost from the outset including the Reverse Traverse and Lone Fir but with the Saddles closed all day. We got a good start in the Currie Grand Prix and grabbed untracked lines down Skydive. After that we skied (in no particular order) Cougar Glades, The Brain, Touque Chutes, Spinal Tap, Gotta Go, Diamond Leg Trees (trees between Bootleg and Diamond Back), Nameless Trees including the creek bed, Decline, Window Chutes, Tight Knot (as mellow as I have ever seen it) Triple Trees and Stag Leap, some of them more than once. As I said no point in describing the runs because they were all awesome soft deep hero snow.

It is perhaps worth mentioning two runs I didn't do and why, Polar Peak and Lone Fir. Against all odds Polar Peak was open but it was lost in the clouds all day. I have no doubt the snow there was awesome but the viz would have been very poor. Now I an always ready to go up Polar to get good snow no matter how poor the viz is if the snow available elsewhere is poor. Today when the snow everywhere was awesome with great viz skiing Polar just seemed perverse to me. I am a big fan of Lone Fir and don't mind the short hike up Cornice Ridge to get there. On a day like today when the Saddles are closed then all the traffic which would normally ski the Saddles makes for Lone Fir. Unfortunately this includes the side slippers that destroy the Saddles so quickly after opening and looking at the number of people I could see hiking the ridge each time I passed I figured Lone Fir was in for the same treatment today.

Last run of course was Skydive which we hit with high speed GS turns as soon as we were through the bumps and this was a great end to a totally awesome day's skiing where even the most gnarly lines were made easy by the deep hero snow.

Looking ahead I am hoping that the overnight temps continue to drop and the mixed precip in the valley turns to snow. I am reasonably confident that it is coming down white up the hill in any event. All forecasts show temps dropping to below zero at all times for the next few days and significant precip so with any luck we are in for a run of good powder days. This weekend is the Griz Day festival so we will be getting to the hill early tomorrow to beat what I forecast will be record crowds.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Day 85 we are on the edge

Yes, things are very tight here when it comes to precip and temperature. There is no doubt that there is a lot of precip in the forecast and equally no doubt that there will be a short warming trend followed by a long cooling trend. The question is how warm and whether or not the precip will come as rain or snow. The Weather Network and the Mountain Forecast are all calling for it to just about stay cold enough for snow but the local radio stations are saying rain, my own view is that it is too close to call. If todays temps are anything to go by then our danger point will be tomorrow afternoon/evening, and if we can get past that we should be good for the rest of the cycle.

On the way to the hill this morning it was -2 and driving back tonight it was +1 driving away. During the day it was overcast with mountain fog which came quite low down by early afternoon but by the close was up around White Pass top. The temps up the hill remained just about a minus temps and it snowed off and on all day. Although the snow came down quite wet at the base it was unmistakably snow. Towards the end of the afternoon the snow started to fall much harder and gave a great skiing surface with a sort of filled in powder feel with tracks getting covered fast. The covering was helped by a strengthening wind which by the end of the day was blowing a lot of sift around particularly under the Polar Chutes.

It hadn't snowed much, if at all overnight so we had to make the best of yesterday's left overs of which there were plenty. As I arrived I got notice that both the Saddles and Snake Ridge had opened and I was faced with a terrible dilemma as to which to go for - trying to do both would just have meant too much time moving around the hill and not enough skiing. I went for Snake and was not disappointed which is not to say that the Saddles might have been equally good.

I did five loops out to Snake Ridge during the morning taking advantage of the fact that much of the area had been closed yesterday and the rest had been abandoned by skiers when Timber Chair was repaired and so was nicely filled in. The lines I chose were Curved Ball into Steep and Deep with a right hand chute exit - many untracked areas were available all the way down and even where tracked it was deep. Snake Main into KC Chutes - fast GS turns in lightly tracked deep powder followed by great easy chute skiing in deep snow. Gorby Bowl - as always mostly untracked because no one is sure of the exit which actually was ok with a left right shuffle through the waterfall. Steep and Deep left side - mostly untracked because of the steep exit over what are normally cliffs, this time just steep rolling deep snow. Snake Main and Gorby Gap - yes, I finished with the classic line which was still untracked by staying tight right on the ridge. All five exits were through Kangroo which was firm bumps but very mellow and Boomerang which was easy soft snow where you could swing GS turns all the way down. The final run to lunch was down Boom Ridge which was hardly tracked on the left side and a great way to finish the morning.

After a late lunch we went to the New Side and found plenty of deep snow being seriously improved by the new snow and the wind sift. I was told that Polar Peak had been open but by the time I got there it was closed due to a combination of poor viz and wind. It panned out as -
High Saddle/Spinal Tap - easy soft snow for edge to jumping in the chute and then soft deep snow below. Spinal Tap was tracked but the snow had run down into the creek bed and was very deep all the way down.
Cougar Glades - filling in really well and so deep I rolled through the Megasauraus Trail  without even noticing before I dropped into the left hand exit chutes which are now well covered.
Triple Trees - tracked but lots of deep lines and much fewer tracks as you went down section by section.

Last run of course was Skydive which was a little firm in the bumps at the top and then you could just pull the trigger for a full on powder rip.

So now we are all looking out of the window checking to see how the precip is coming down, white so far. By tomorrow evening we will know how things worked out so watch this space.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Day 84 I need a new measure

A few days ago I awarded three awesomes to the days skiing as that is the maximum of my scale of awesomeness. Well, today I need to add to the scale either by making it a maximum of four awesomes or being able to award an awesome plus - yes today was that good.

The snow from yesterday evening stopped but then came back after midnight so that by the time we woke up this morning the hill were reporting 39 cms of new snow in 24 hours. That was the six o'clock reading and the snow continued to puke down all day until it tapered off around three o'clock. Given the fall rate we must have had 60/65 cms out of this cycle with a ton more forecast over the next few days.

Temps are a little worrying as it was only -4 on the way to the hill and -1 as we drove back tonight. It seemed to stay at around -3 all over the hill all day so the snow was good hero quality. The outlook is for a slightly warming trend which given the amount of precip in the forecast has to be a cause for concern but to date all forecasts say that it should just about continue to come down white.

The result of 40 cms overnight and 20/25 during the day was not hard to imagine. We spent all day rolling around up to our necks in super deep powder which was filling in almost as fast as you tracked it. Everyone had a story in the bar of how they had found runs they had skied earlier completely untracked when they returned a little later. I certainly rank today as one of the top three days skiing I have had - and I have been skiing a very long time..

We went to the New Side and found just the White Pass core open but with not many people considering the conditions. We did a few loops grabbing fresh lines and then way quicker than we anticipated Currie Bowl opened, as did the whole of White Pass and the Reverse Traverse - a fantastic job by Ski Patrol. We hit out to the Big 3 and I got first tracks down Decline (to be fair a single track came in from the trees about half way down) and it was totally awesome with stops only to breath as I was choking on powder. In the final pitch I was racing my slough most of the way until it just caught me at the bottom and took my skis out for a quick sit down. On the way down I noticed one of my baskets had gone missing so I dashed into the repair shop to get a new one which they did on the spot but the few minutes delay proved fatal.

There are three things you can be certain of in this world, death, income tax and Timber Chair breaking down on a big powder day. Sure enough just before I loaded it stopped. we were told it would be a 15 minute break down but I have seen enough of these to know that was a hopelessly optimistic estimate - in the event it was down for about 2 hours, again.

I went to the Old Side which was just as good and deep as the New and filling in just as fast. Cedar Ridge, Boomerang, Buck Shot, Boom Ridge and King Fir were all excellent and skied several times, A special mention has to go to two runs, Kangaroo and Spice Trees. Kangaroo was super soft and deep although a bit firm in the top section. In the bottom section you could just pull fast GS turns all the way down which is a rarity in the Roo. Spice Trees (to lookers left of Haul Back) were unbelievably deep. The new snow had covered dead fall to the point that you could roll over it and when you dropped on the other side that had not been skied all season it was chest deep, awesome.

We got word that Timber was running so we headed back to the New Side. I was amazed to see Polar Peak open in the poor viz due to the heavy snow. I took just one run down and the snow was truly awesome and deep but I concluded that there was just as good to be had without the downside of half the run being braille skiing. The rest of the New Side loops were -

Cougar Glades - many untracked deep lines down to the Megasauraus and below that there was only one track in front of me cutting into the old logging trail on the left.
The Niche, 1-2-3s - I actually found the Niche scraped out even after the huge amounts of snow we had so I hopped the left shoulder and ripped 1-2-3s in very deep easy powder.
Trees to the right of Bootleg - no one seems to have a name for these can anyone tell me ? I think some call them the Pillows although as they lie between Diamond Back and Bootleg perhaps I will refer to them as Diamond Leg Trees. Whatever they are called they were way deeper than yesterday and awesome face shots all the way down to Gilmar Trail.
Knot Chutes/Triple Trees - The Tight Knot was as mellow as I can remember and hardly tracked, I only just beat my slough down. Triple Trees were also super deep and I hit all five sections.
Stag Leap - it had obviously been skied early on but when I got there it was mostly filled in. Awesome GS turns all the way down with over the head face shots.

I just had time for a White Pass loop so I tracked across the High IT and dropped Slim for the first time this year and found it so full of snow I had to keep pushing my skis in the fall line, not something you usually have to do there. Final run of Course was Skydive where five of us were still standing for one last rip. It was fast and soft but a special mention has to go to Brad who skied it about as fast as I have ever seen, a great final run.

More precip in the forecast which we hope will come down as snow so yet another early night.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Day 83 still snowing

The hill's report gave 8 cms overnight which when added to the afternoon flurries of yesterday gave us 13 cms in 24 hours. The temp on the way to the hill was -8 and driving home tonight it was -6. During the day I noticed highs of about -4 at the Timber load and -9 at the White Pass load so just like for the past few days the new snow stayed in great shape all day. It was overcast with light flurry activity when we arrived at the hill and stayed that way most of the day but with some significant sunny spells which allowed us to access Polar Peak in reasonable viz.

There was hardly anyone on the hill as the holiday crowds had gone home and the 20 cm crowd from town decided that there was not enough new snow to tempt them out. I simply went to my default setting on a powder day (the 13 cms of new snow on all the lightly tracked stuff we already had certainly made this a powder day) and went to the New Side to loop it all day without a lunch break. It's probably easiest to just to list the runs to give everyone and idea of conditions.

Decline - Lynda and Simon grabbed first tracks in Skydive while I was making yellow snow so I cut into Decline and had first tracks all the way down. The new snow on top of yesterday's soft deep powder made for great face shots for the whole run
Cougar Glades - a few tracks were to be seen in top but they quickly disappeared and it was deep untracked through the trees. The intention was to stop on the Megasauraus Trail but the snow was so deep we rolled straight through it without noticing and hit the left exit chutes which are now filled in and super deep.
Polar Peak - We did two loops of Papa and Grand Papa Bear which had deep sift before dropping Mama Bear via my tight little right chute. The snow below Mama Bear was very deep and awesome skiing.
Stag Leap - very easy through the trees and then huge untracked sections all the way down with only about three tracks in front of us. More face shots.
Touque Chutes/Spinal Tap - There seemed to be a bit more snow on the north facing slopes around the Easter Bowl area so Touque Chutes were particularly good and deep. Spinal Tap was tracked but the soft snow in the creek bed made for a mellow run.
The Brain - when we looked in there didn't seems to be many tracks and that was right. The top and middle sections were soft untracked lines and the final part was good tight technical tree skiing all the way down to the cat track.
Polar Peak - this time it was Grand Papa bear which seemed to be filling in quickly with wind sift and then Spirit Bear which was lightly tracked with deep snow low down.
Lone Fir - the chute was full of soft sift and the fan underneath was super deep soft snow. Great skiing with high speed GS turns. The exit through Easter and Freeway was also pretty good.
Tight Knot/Triple Trees - the Tight Knot chute was skiing about as mellow as I can remember with easy powder turns down to the Idiot Traverse. Triple Trees had many untracked and lightly tracked lines and the snow seemed particularly deep in the top and even the drops on to cat tracks we easy. It was so good we skied all five sections.
Polar Peak - a quick run down Grand Papa Bear where for a change I hit the left shoulder down to the Traverse and found very deep wind sifted snow where all the tracks had been erased.
Nameless Trees - there were great untracked lines to be had between the trees down to the creek bed. After a few turns in the creek I hit the right shoulder and kept pushing right in untracked tight trees until I worked my way out at the bottom of Stag Leap.
Gotta Go/Trees near Bootleg - actually I hopped over the shoulder to the left of Gotta Go into Google Earth. The first turn was a bit scratchy but after that it was the deepest snow of the day with continual face shots down to the trail. The trees to the right of Boot Leg and Left of Diamond Back are becoming a favourite and I must find out if they have a name. They were as always steep and with soft snow and a rather technical exit above the Gilmar Trail but great skiing.

Riding up Timber Chair I reckoned I had time for a quick loop of Siberia Ridge before heading out to Skydive. I linked up with my buddy Brad and we decided to hit Diseased Trees for the first time this year. Sad to report that like a couple of green vacation skiers we just rallied into an area we didn't know and continued down getting tighter and steeper until we found ourselves at the top of a cliff surrounded by chest high dead fall. It was a long side step back up to get to a point where we could at least slither over the dead fall into a more open but still very steep pitch and drop on to the cat track. We got back to Timber Chair with only a couple of minutes to last chair and obviously too late to get the White Pass and Skydive - sorry Rod. Of course we did the only thing possible which was to go back to Diseased Trees and try and do it better. We both had different theories of where would be best so Brad hit left and I hit right with an agreement to compare notes in the bar. In the event we both have pretty good if quite challenging lines but way better than out efforts the time before - let that be a lesson to everyone of the dangers of over confidence.

Just off for wings night at The Pub and it is puking snow once again. Possibly another 10 cms overnight which will make tomorrow another awesome powder day.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Day 82 it snowed all day, kind of

In the sense that we had white stuff falling from the sky from the time we arrived at the hill until the time we went home it is technically correct to say that it snowed all day. The truth was that the snow came down so light at times that there was no accumulation on us during a full chair lift ride while at other times we an ok accumulation. I would imagine that the final daily result was the 3-5 cms that the forecasters were calling for which just freshened up all the skiing surfaces.

Overnight they were reporting 3 cms of snow in the last 24 hours but only 1 in the last 12. This felt about right as we didn't see much of anything down here in the valley overnight and the flurries on the hill yesterday created a light covering. It was a lot colder with temps of -15 on the way to the hill and -5 as we drove back. Things stayed cold all day and mid afternoon we had temps of -4 at the base and -9 up the hill so everything stayed in great shape. As you would expect with snow falling it was mostly overcast with flat light but later in the day we did get some hazy sunshine as the snow became much lighter.

Everything was open so we went to the Old Side to see what we had missed there yesterday. Overall my impression was that there was slightly more snow on the Old Side than the New but the snow quality on the New seemed to be a bit lighter and fluffier - lets call it a draw for time being. We skied all the usual places off Boomerang Chair - Cedar Ridge (soft tracked powder) Boom Ridge ( soft bumps and very deep if you stayed skiers left) Boomerang (soft easy skiing all the way down) Linda's (a little scratchy in the top getting very soft lower down so the creek bed in the Private Parts was an easy ski for the first time this year). Kangaroo was always the return route and as usual it was hard challenging bumps but taking an ok edge so it was good skiing if you were prepared to work at it.

Two things are worth special mention. The first is that the trees to skiers right of Boom Ridge at the bottom were open for the first time this season. It had lots of deep untracked lines but as always deadfall was a problem and you had to be careful. The second was our long loop out where Lynda hit Steep and Deep and I hit Gorby Bowl. Because of the uncertain exit Gorby remained very lightly tracked with super deep snow all the way down to the water fall. The exit with a left right shimmy was a bit icy and easy to miss so you had to pay attention. Lynda said that Steep and Deep was good and lived up to it's name.

We went for a quick loop on the New Side and decided not to go up Polar Peak due to the socked in viz, Instead we went to Decline where I found the best snow of the day. The bumps at the top were rather icy and the first few turns a bit ribby but after that things just got softer and deeper all the way down. My theory is that the other two of the Big Three (let no one dare call them the fingers), Skydive and Stag Leap get more traffic the further down you go as tree skiers bail and come back into the open. On Decline as you go lower skiers tend to drop off into Secret Chutes, Window Chutes etc so the traffic become less and the skiing improves. Whatever the reason the skiing below the Megasauraus was sensational with face shots all the way down.

After lunch I did something I don't normally do, I just kept skiing the same runs over and over as I figured I had found the best snow on the hill. Each loop comprised a run off Polar Peak (the viz much improved in the hazy sunshine) down Grand Papa Bear back to the chair. With the wind now blowing in the more usual direction of lookers left to right the snow had filled in on Grand Papa Bear and it was soft and deep. Next I hopped the shoulder between Papa and Mama Bear by the bent tree and dropped the little chute just over the shoulder which was completely untracked and soft snow all the way into Mama Bear which was also super deep and soft. The loop was completed by hitting out to Decline - see earlier remarks for just how good this was and it remained that way all afternoon. I managed 4 loops of great deep powder skiing and didn't feel that I had missed anything by restricting myself in this way.

Last run of course was Skydive where we only had 5 of us today but we hit it at speed and it was about the fastest run down so far this year. After the icy bumps in the top it just got better as we went down, rather like Decline but in truth not quite so good. Temp on the deck is -6 and we have light snow falling. They are calling for a moderate accumulation tonight but then that was what they were calling for two days ago when we got 35/40 cms. Here's hoping.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Day 81 Awesome, awesome, awesome

The heading says it all. Three awesomes on my scale (which only goes up to three) should tell anyone that today was one of the top ten days of skiing ever. Overnight we had 35/40 cms of fresh snow which came down at around -8 which is near enough the perfect temperature to get powder snow. All day temps stayed well below zero, around -5 at the base and -9 up the mountain so the snow which fell overnight stayed in great shape. During the day it was overcast and even gave us some more new snow (perhaps 3 cms) which was welcome but didn't add that much to the awesome conditions of the day.

I didn't go to the Old Side but everyone who did told me that it was just as good as the New Side. We lined up a good 15 minutes before first chair and as a result got early tracks up Timber and White Pass. As the rolling openings developed we skied Surprise Trees, Anaconda Glades, and Bootleg Left. All were untracked and awesome deep powder with continual over the head face shots. Actually for the rest of the day it should be taken as read that everywhere had loads of untracked lines and face shots.

After the initial runs we tried Gotta Go and trees beyond Bootleg which as far as I know don't have a name and of course had fantastic skiing. Next time up Currie Bowl had opened and shortly afterwards so did Polar Peak. A special mention has to go to Ski patrol who by 11:30 had got the whole hill open which with this much snow is an outstanding performance. I spent the rest of the day looping the New Side with no breaks until the end of the day.

Polar Peak was windy and the light was not great but the skiing in the Polar Chutes was super soft and deep and well worth a visit every loop. For the rest of the time we skied, Skydive, Decline, Cougar Glades (including the left drop into the disused logging trail) The Brain, Lone Fir, Touque Chutes, Spinal Tap, Nameless Trees, Cobra Rock, Triple Trees and Window Chutes. No need to say it but all were super deep lightly tracked powder. The only disappointment was the exit of Cobra Rock which was very icy and scrappy but after the choke it was supper deep and soft.

Run of the day in my view was Nameless Trees (the trees between Skydive and Stag Leap) which was so deep that you could more or less straight line parts of the trees and ski lines that would not normally be possible. The creek bed lower down was lightly tracked and great skiing and the trees on either side were fun to jump into where the tree falls across the creek blocked the path.

Last run was Skydive where 8 of us turned up for a rip and had a great time in the soft snow all the way down. In the Griz it was busy with everyone pumped up after a day like this and Sunday was as always my one day of the week when beer was drunk. That may account for the rather disjointed and rather brief report for tonight so I apologise in advance. tomorrow is another day.