Extreme Parenting



I’m pretty sure in the U.K. you would call it bad parenting but then most things in the UK are considered bad parenting. The tut tutting of disapproval follows me around every time I visit. Dylan doing laps of the plane climbing onto other passengers laps to play on their i pads and  racing from one end of the cabin to the other to see how fast he can go normally incur a fair amount of  disapproval. I normally manage to ignore the shaken newspapers and scowls of hatred and the unsaid   scream of “control that child” .

I like the Bulgarian way, we share  child care, in the park we (and by we I mean everyone who is in the park not just other parents) keep an eye out for the children playing. Someone falls over and grazes a knee the closest adult will get up and dust him or her off. Bags of sweets are shared with strangers and all in all it feels like the community I grew up in our village back in the U.K. The spectre of fear that hangs over British parents isn’t really apparent in Bulgaristan, I’m sure there are the same problems here with wierdos and murders but it just doesn’t feel like it. I look around when Dylan is playing in the park and there will be 10 other adults I sort of know keeping and eye.

On the mountain skiing this week it felt great, in the crowded mess that is Bunderitsa Polyana 2 dozen ski instructors would stop to pat him on the head and have a chat, people would be pulling him out of puddles and generally making sure he was safe and happy.

On the ski road back to Bansko   it was a bit of a different story, Daddy was the only person really concentrating on The Little Man and The Little Man was only concentrating on going as fast as possible. eventually I caught up with him and suggested in the most gentle manner possible that he might be inclined to slow down or stop. The Little Man slammed on the racing snowplough  swerved hard left, hit the kicker that is the edge of the ski road, took off and flew into a small spruce where he ended up hanging 6 foot off the ground by his skis. Fortunately the tree was there as the other options in the boulder field that is the edge of the ski road are not worth contemplating.

The Little Man can have the last word on yesterday, “not a good day Daddy, not a good day”




N.B. updated since originally posted

The Picture is of Shane McConkey playing the part of saucer boy in one of his films, he is a bit of a hero of mine! Saucer Boy is pretty much the embodiment of Klang. This strange phenomenon where by men feel they can buy tallent, the thinking goes “I look the part therefore I am” You see it in every sport whether it is   MAMIL’s (middle aged men in lycra) pretending they are Bradley Wiggins on a Sunday ride or ramblers going for a stroll in the countryside with enough goretex and high spec gear to equip an expedition to the north pole.

When it comes to skiing I call it Klang, enough metal work, ropes and harnesses to keep your average bondage freak happy for weeks. All with the intention of making the wearer look extreme.

Grandad (my name for him as he has been on walking sticks for the last year) was caught red handed waving an avalanche transceiver around at Bunderitsa Polyana  before the last dump of snow. Avalanche risk = zero, “Look how extreme I am” factor = 11 !

Sofia Boy, down in Bansko for the weekend, everything but the harness! Skis so fat they could be two snowboards, transceiver on the outside of the jacket, ABS rucksack, probe, shovel carabiners attached to everything. Chances of him going anywhere more extreme than for a pee in the woods = zero.

Klang doesn’t always have to involve equipment, if you can’t afford the gear positioning works just as well. Hanging out next to the park with a reefa holding your bits talking about how sick your back flip would be if you didn’t have that injury caused by some uber extreme  trick you tried last time. Is totally acceptable Klang. Chilling (again with reefa) on the corner of an exit route of some badass gullies as if you have just ripped some sick lines is pure Klang.

So next time you are in a ski resort be it on the lift, in a bar or in the back country look out for Saucer Boy, Shane McConkey might be dead but he lives on in every resort in the world as Saucer Boy strutting his Klang .   


N.B. Update below  Ref:- Anti-Klang

Since this was originally posted it has been brought to my attention that both The Polak and I are guilty of another sort of Klang or Anti Klang. Still shouting from the roof tops how extreme we are but not buy buying the best kit, but by not buying anything! Gaffa tape on the ski trousers, dirty old jackets, more gaffa on the gloves, scratched skis boots held together with tooth picks, a water bottle so dented and worn that it must have seen enough extreme S**t to fill a book! Wow we must be hard core, we don’t even have time to buy stuff, we are soooooo good we can ride with f****d gear, all those battle scars can’t be from drunken night in the pub they must be from when we were wrestling polar bears in the arctic! Anti Klang is not unique to the two of us, Chamonix has its own breed of specialist in this strange genre. I remember my neighbour there sitting on the bench outside his chalet solemnly sandpapering his brand new ice axe to make it look old, jackets are hung up in the sun all summer to give them that bleached look that can only be got from years of hanging “Bond like” off some ice wall. Suncream?! but how will I look like a walnut by the time I an 30 if I use sun cream…..