Friday, February 28, 2003

Friday 28 Feb
just to finish February with another topical sonnet

The America Cup

All is not well in Aroatorea,
There's a deathly hush in the bay tonight,
While we rockall, fisher and german bight,
Aukland Harbour trepidates ghastly fear.

A rolling sea and the last boat of the fleet
Just five to win in a nine race series,
Sadly it's standing four nil to the Swiss
NZers contemplate yachting defeat.

The tale of today, fish and chip Friday,
The black boat suffered a catastrophe,
As helpless crewmen watched the high sea
Claim a shattered mast midst cries of mayday...

It's hard to tell what thought is more galling -
Defeat to the land locked Swiss - apalling.

Friday 28 February 2003
Friday evening - still in Geraldine
but time for a quick update on the new so far today..
NZ is in deep shock following the latest race in the America's Cup.. the black boat lost its mast in the course of the race and now stands 4 to nil down in the nine race series... and who are they competing against?
this does not go down well with your typical NZder..
Well friday evening being friday evening I've treated myself to some local fish and chips out of the papaer.. and very tasty too.. the fish (please tell capatin cod and mister chips) was blue cod..
the whole packet cost $4.. about L1.30...
but hey the idea is not to be constantly comparing proces..
but by the way a three bedroom villa style art deco 1930s house in Geraldine on the toursit route and close to the lakes.. $120,000 or L40,000 to you...
it won't last long guys.

there are a lot of europeans on the bike trail.. a couple of netherlanders, two swiss (not interested in yachting so they claim) and a french couple all on the camp site this evening..

sadly the amenities at Geraldine campsite also include a couple of folk with an accordian and a guitar.. playing some classics.. VRY BADLY... oh no they have just brought out an amplifier.. this is too much to bear.

The ride this morning from Mt Smers was sweet.. the air was cool to start with the road flat andf the wind still..
it later turned into what your mother would call a good drying day.. the clouds lifted and the windf picked up and I reckon we touched high 70's maybe low 80's..
and the land as fully stocked with sweet faced cows and white faced sheep...

the other high point of Gerladine (pop 2,500) is that the wool shop features the world's largest jumper as verified by the Guiness book of records.. yes there is a certificate to prove it... it's big (but not THAT big, mind you I've not seen a bigger one.. so that also confirms its record breaking bigness)..
the owners of the wool shop also have created a mosaic of the bayeux tapestry... there clearly isn't a lot to do of an evening in Gerladine..
went to the pub - they had the day's racing.. wel I say racing.. it was trotting... horses pulling jockeys in little buggies.. looked a bit tame to me.. I mean what is the point of getting horses to trot when we all know that they can gallop?

Friday 28 Feb
in the foothills
and it's fabulous out here..

now this will be a short update - soz chums - this is a very expensive cyber cafe by NZ standards..
but the foothills of the mountains.. wonderful - so far I've cycled about 200 Kms.. and the first day it was like cyclking through Lincolnshire with the Lake Distrcit in the background.. the second day (from Glen Tunnel to Mt Somers) was like cycling through the Lake District with the Alps in the background...
I'm building up thr stamina slowly but surely.. had to puch the bike out of the Rakaia Gorge yesterday.. me who cycled to 6,700 feet in the Rockies.. hey ho..
and tomorroe I plan to turn inland to Lake Tekapo.. up in the central mountain plains..
I should just clear up the ysterious reference to bed bugs in the last update..
yep, fraid the critters were sharing the bed in the back packers hotel.. and they have had a feast.

er, the updates will be a little intermittent as I try and find access.. there are some place names on the maps that are just that.. names of places... there is nothing else there..

but it is a fantastic country.. and only 25% of NZers live on South Island and there is fierce rivalry about which island is the better.

I'm not in any hurry to explore the north just yet.. and I remind myself frequently as the rythm of the pedals jigs along with my thoughts.. I'm touring not racing..
Distances are finite - time is relative.. therefore, speed is relative also.

cheers from Geraldine.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Tuesday 25 February 03

and courtesy of Steve and Michelle Abley and Steve's mum Betty.. and with huge thanks for making me feel so welcome.
Well the first attempt to load some home thoughts from abroad failed on sunday evening which was a shame because it was fresh from the flights.. and first impressions are always the freshest..
as it were..
so I've now discoivered ChCh as the locals call Christchurch.. and a charming city it is too.. about the size of Nottingham I would guess. and few buildings older than the start of the last century.
The flights were fine... cramming 36 hours into 24... a slight technical hitch at Heathrow.. while they tried to close the door and get the temperature down from sauna level.. good preparation for the late summer to come on arrival.
Amiable company on the flights.. and thankfully not the guy whose neck was wider than any part of his head... on the flight from singapore I was next to a student of horse.. she was aiming to do an MSc in Horse studies.. aparent;ly she started with a GCSE in fetlocks and moved up from there...
and the next thing you quickly remember is that in the southern hemoisphere the sun moves across the sky from right to left.
A cool wind blows in the land of the long white cloud.. gert to be here and welcome to paradise, and good on you seem to be the regular phrases in the vernacular.The Garden Festival has just ended and there is still the scent of petunia in the air..
The big news this morning - apart from a good result away to Ipswich (a 2-2 all draw - thanks Stafford for the update) is the purchase of the bike... had a test ride on it this morning and all the reasons why I doo this kind of madness came flooding back... now can't wait to set out on the road... despite some apprehension aboput the level of my fitness.. and the stiff brezze that seems to follow, or head into you at every hour..

Met up with Michelle from NESTA and Steve last night and enjoyed a stunning drive around Littelton and overlooking Banks Peninsular, and a fab meal at the Volacano restarant.. thanks again guys.. also getting used to the NZ beer.. a bit on the light and cool side.. but I can get used to this.
The lifestyle seems thoroughly relaxed.. and the memories are already gathering in legions..
and now the bike is set up.. I'll be heading south and west into the foothills of the Southern Alps tomorrow, Wdnesay..
oh. All NZedders are thoroughly frustrated by the lack of sailing in the Cup... no racing for over a week now.

some more soonest... and as soon as I can get the bed bugs sorted.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Wednesday 19 Feb

before the great adventure can begin, there's the great washing to be done.. the great checking of the tent to be accomplished and the great nervousness to be overcome.
this will probably be the last post for a while, until I land in NZ on Sunday.. I still can't work out the time in the air.. setting off from Heathrow at midday on Friday, but landing at midday on Sunday can't mean 48 hours in flight entertainment, food and deep vein thrombosis, can it? There's something about travelling from west to east and the ctching up of the sun, that Philleas Fogg would understand.
This is a bit inconsequential, so I apolgise if you are logging on for the first time only to read about domestic nonsense.. the cat is also noticing that something is going on... and praying that she doesn't get sent away... Nessie, no problem.

better get back to the packing.. I've noticed on previous trips how obsessive a packer I am.. a place for everything, and everything in its place...
sad really..
more on Sunday, when I'll be 13 hours ahead of most readers..

Friday, February 14, 2003

Friday 14 February
last day at work, chums...

I've had a wonderful 15 months here at NESTA - see

but not it's time to go..

and leave all this for another place and another time

cheers to all colleagues and friends....

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Wednesday 12 Feb
just two more days

I've also tried to update this site with a few links.. if it has worked there is a link alongside to

as with all things webby and me, it is trial and error..
often more error...

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Wednesday 5 February

Just a few more work days and a few more days...

then it's.....

back on the bike...