Well, I’m GazChap. That isn’t my real name (D’uh – Ed) but an alias that came about in 1998. It’s stuck with me ever since, and it is still relatively unique on this big old Internet. I chose it simply because my real name can be shortened to “Gaz” (and in fact, I prefer it when it is) and I am a chap.

My real name is just as boring as the alias: Gareth Griffiths. Pretty normal really, as names go. There’s no “Gustav Alabaster III” here.

My birthdate makes me a Virgo, if you’re into that sort of thing. Fortunately, I’m not. I was born in the best year of the 1980s, which puts me on the wrong side of 40. I don’t mind this, though, I have aged like a fine wine if you believe some of the more important people in my life, and some of the best people I know are in the 40+ club.

I am recently separated from my wife of nearly 8 years, and trying to navigate my way through all of the feelings associated with that. I’m in a long-distance relationship with a wonderful lady based in the US. These two facts are not related.

In east Shrewsbury I was born and raised, and in The Year Of Our Lord 2024, after a few years in the tiny pipe-producing town of Broseley, I’m now back in my home-town and trying to make the best of it!

What makes me tick?

Outside of my job (software engineering) I enjoy taekwon-do (ITF style) — I am currently a 1st Gup Black Stripe. I was hoping to grade up to 1st Degree Black belt in 2023 but due to other commitments this just didn’t happen… but it WILL happen in 2024!

I also enjoy (well, sort of) running, after many false starts over the years. I completed a local Couch to 5K programme in 2023, and have been smashing out park runs since then. My fastest parkrun time is 29:24 (at Telford parkrun, fact fans!) which is a lot faster than I thought I could ever be.

I’m making a half-conscious attempt to do the parkrun A-Z — so far I haven’t travelled out of my way specifically for a parkrun but I will need to in order to complete the alphabet.

As well as the 5K parkruns, I have also completed a few 10Ks, which I am proud of as I was always terrible at cross-country running at school. I’ve done a few in “training” but I’ve also completed three official 10K races:

  • Run Alton Towers 10K in November 2023
  • Telford 10K in December 2023
  • London Winter Run in February 2024

My fastest 10K time is 1:02:34. I have entered my first Half Marathon (gulp), running around Bedford Autodrome in August 2024.

In 2023, I also looked to fulfil a life-long ambition (well, since I was a teenager I guess) by starting to take flying lessons. I’m only two lessons in so far, mainly due to various trips abroad taking up time, but I’ve already got the bug. I’m being instructed by the fabulous peeps over at Shropshire Aero Club, at Sleap Airfield.

As if that wasn’t enough, I am also now taking piano lessons. I’ve always had an appreciation for classical music and particularly piano arrangements, and have always wanted to learn how to play properly and read music and all of that jazz (no pun intended) so hopefully 2024 will be the year that I get some skills in this area! I have good rhythm and I’m good with my fingers if you believe my piano tutor!

Recovering petrolhead

When I’m not doing any of the above, I can usually be found doing something related to cars. I’m very much a petrolhead, although it wasn’t until fairly recently (2008-ish) that I started thinking of cars as more than metal boxes to get you from A to B. I change cars almost as often as I change my underpants, and plenty of information about them can be found on this blog.

Somewhat ironically, however, in September 2015 I started driving a Nissan LEAF battery electric vehicle as my daily driver – dirt cheap running costs were the primary attraction, and although it was largely a pleasant experience the lack of range caused a couple of issues, so it went back to the dealer in September 2017 and since then I’ve gone back to my old ways of seemingly changing cars every year.

I have, however, gone back to electric — at least partially. I currently drive a 2020 Nissan Leaf e+, and a 2007 Porsche Boxster S.

A different kind of shooting

I also like to dabble in photography, and although I’m still very distinctly amateur, people do tell me I have a good eye for a photo. I own a Nikon D7000 and a Fuji X100F, but to be honest I rarely use them, instead opting for the camera on my iPhone which is pretty good and comes in handy for “snap shooting” – as they say, the best camera is the one that you have with you, and my phone goes with me everywhere.

I’ve got a question for you…

Well, shoot. Contact me and ask away. I’ll answer anything. Seriously, anything. I’m one of these weird people that has no secrets at all (Oh yeah? What about that time you… *urk* – Ed)

I’ll even post any interesting questions (and their answers) on this blog.