Thursday, 16 July 2015

A week off

A Bastille Day (Tues 14th)  drama: one minute I was riding in a cycle lane on Innes Rd by Mairehau HS, next minute I was coming round on the pavement, being helped by some motorists who'd kindly stopped. An ambulance arrived, checked me out, and said I should get myself to A&E for a thorough check. Heather arrived to collect me and the bike, and off we went.

My helmet is cracked from the force, trousers and jacket are well scuffed, and I've cracked a rib. The concussion has faded as the day's gone on, thankfully, but the rib is pretty tender. I'll be at home for the rest of the week while it starts healing. 

Apparently I was one of many having ice related crashes on Tuesday. There were three from our area of the Library and Grant Bush from IT has stitches in his forehead. Let's be careful out there!

UPDATE: several days of rest and careful use of analgesics and I'm ready for work tomorrow. No biking for a couple of weeks, though, until the rib heals up. And by then we'll be sailing in the Whitsundays, no bikes required. Good timing!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Boat for sale

A decision has been made, and my trailer sailer yacht Impulsive is officially for sale - for the princely sum of $4000 or offers. I bought it in 2000 or 2001 (I honestly can't remember, it was a long time ago) so we've had 12 or 13 years of sailing. It's had the mast repaired, a new outboard motor, major trailer repairs, a repaint, and lots of minor tinkering with winches, rigging, and fittings. I think it's worth more than the asking price, but as Heather pointed out, we've had our money's worth over the years. And small yachts don't sell for big prices, so there it is.

I won't be completely beached, though - I'm now involved with two friends in another boat, a larger yacht with some accommodation room. It's a Noelex 22 that has been extended, with a stern section added, but it sails well. This boat needs some tidying up, so at least I know what my retirement project will be. And I still have plans for a Jim Young 3.5m stitch and tape sailing dinghy, if I get really ambitious.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Big day out

Sailing at Lyttelton was a bit hairy this afternoon, with 20 knot squalls on top of a rolling swell and a solid surface chop - it was like sailing in a washing machine at times.

We made it to shelter in Purau Bay, to reef the main then catch up with our mate Chris Hutching - he was rigging up while we watched, then we sailed down to the inner harbour, and on to Church Bay. We picked up a mooring and rafted up for a beer and a chat. At 5pm we motored back across to the club ramp, while Chris battled back upwind to Purau. We hope he made it!

Watching Chris hoist sails.
Leaving the Inner Harbour for Church Bay
Henry Salad arrives in the shelter of Church Bay.
I'm tired and happy now, it was an exciting day out!

Some footnotes:
Chris's yacht is a 19ft Robert Tucker Caprice, designed in the mid 1950s. Twin keel yachts are very popular in the UK, because so much sailing is done in tidal estuaries. When the tide goes out, the boat sits level, then you can put the kettle on and do a bit of bird watching. How very British.

The complete set of photos is on my Flickr site.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Well, maybe

I like the Blogger interface, although their fancy new templates make it harder to customise. Oh well, it's really all about content. This is me getting around to saying I think I'll revive this blog for a while and see if I can manage a couple of posts each week. Facebook descends to the trivial whenever you touch it, and I'd like more control over what I post.

Here's today's post, 3 photos I took with my Moto G2 on my bike ride to physiotherapy this morning. The fog was completely gone 10 mins later, so I just caught it at the end. From Horseshoe Lake Road, looking west over Shirley Golf Course.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Still here!

I noticed that it's been a year since my last post to this blog, so here's a summary of events in the last 12 months.
  • In April, Heather noticed a lump in her breast, and in June she had a mastectomy, followed by radiation treatment in September-October. She's just had follow-up checks, and is all clear of cancer, so after a scary start it's all worked out OK. 
  • In July I finished 7 months of the "only a month or six weeks" relieving as E-Learning Team Leader. Nick Ford has picked up the permanent job and is breathing new life into our operations.
  • In August, I ruptured my quadriceps tendon, skiing at Mt Hutt. I had immediate repair surgery, several months in a leg brace, and more months of physio - I'm 95% fixed now.
  • We went to Auckland for the Rolling Stones concert in November.
  • I bought an electric-assisted bike - it's wonderful!
  • We had a nice Christmas, starting with a week in a bach in Nelson, and a visit to Cam and Jen in Otaki Beach for Christmas. 
  • Alice bought an apartment, and is a happy homeowner - about to undergo EQC repairs, but it all seems well organised.
  • We are planning a holiday in the Whitsundays, with Nicky and Merv Sarson, renting a catamaran for a week in August. We hope to see lots of whales and do lots of snorkelling.
  • We've got tickets for Fleetwood Mac in Dunedin in November this year.
  • I'm planning to retire in December. Heather is keeping her options open for a while.
So that's it - 2014 was a year of medical dramas and slowing down. I wonder what's next?

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Not here very often

I'm keeping this blog site in case I want to post longer pieces, but that is happening less and less these days. If I post anything online, it tends to be on Facebook; I was a Twitter regular for about a year, but I found the 140 character limit to be too restricting for posts with any kind of nuance. Twitter is fine for wisecracks and name calling, but in the end it seems a bit shallow. So blog posts take too much time and effort, Twitter is too trivial, leaving Facebook as the Goldilocks solution. That's a bit sad.

My acting manager job is taking up a huge amount of my working day; it was supposed to be a "holding the fort" situation, but that's a hollow joke. When I finally get back to my regular job, and get off the treadmill of endless meetings that are my work life at present, maybe I'll have some more time and energy. At present the keyboard looks like a ball and chain.

We were due to fly to Auckland on Tuesday for a few days exploring around Northland, then the Rolling Stones concert on Saturday 5th - of course, that's all off until October, if the rumours can be believed. It does mean that I have plenty of annual leave accumulated, so when skiing starts we'll be ready to use our $299 senior-citizen season passes for Mt Hutt. We're not planning to go far over Easter, but we may do some day trips to get out into the countryside for a day or two.

Monday, 20 January 2014

A wobbly start to 2014

January got off to a bad start, capping off a week of rain that started at lunchtime on Christmas Day. The weather cleared for New Years' Eve, so our barbecue went well, but early on New Year's Day I received a call telling me that an old friend, Jim Guthrie, had died that night.

Jim had developed Parkinson's Disease in his early 40s, at the top of his career as an environmental lawyer, and was forced to retire early as his disease worsened. In recent years he had been cared for in a specially set up home for people with long term neurological diseases like Parkinsons and Multiple Sclerosis, but he had become progressively weaker and less able to cope with life's complications. The news of his death was sad, but at the same time it was a relief, to his many friends and colleagues - and I dare say to Jim himself.

Jim and I had flatted together for three years at Otago University, and in the following twenty years we had done many trips into the mountains to tramp, climb, and ski. We'd known the exhilaration of standing on a mountain summit, and the awfulness of rainy days in tents. We'd skied the Tasman and Fox Glaciers, drunk whisky in alpine huts, and talked long into the nights about life, law, and politics. Jim may be gone, but the memories remain.

The funeral was superb; David Parker, deputy Labour leader, had been Jim's junior in the landmark river protection cases they'd fought for in the 80s and 90s (and which are being unwound by the current government to appease their water-hungry farming lobby), and he did a superb job of eulogising Jim's life and career. David was followed by Sir Tipene O'Regan, the elder statesman of Ngai Tahu. Jim had given the iwi the benefit of his knowledge and strategic advice many years ago, and Sir Tipene paid him a generous tribute. And of course funerals are where we meet those we haven't seen for many years, so the conversations and memories flowed from the service into an evening function, as old friends and colleagues tried to recognise each other after 30 or 40 years. The single malt scotches were as good as Jim had promised, of course.

The sadness of Jim's passing was relieved the following week, when our old buddy from Wanaka, Peter King, married his rediscovered teenage sweetheart Lauren Sleeman, at Rippon Vineyard in Wanaka. The couple might have been having a late-life second wedding, but they certainly celebrated with joy and energy - and again we caught up with people we hadn't seen for nearly 20 years.

So that's our January so far - a wedding and a funeral. It's a funny old world.