Thursday, August 20, 2009

those new hiking boots

I had some new hiking boots and yesterday decided to 'christen' them by walking from Days Bay to Valentines buffet restaurant in Petone for lunch. Only, probably, an hour's walk, I told myself.

I'd been on the ferry from Wellington to Days Bay (about a half hour journey) , oh, three times, over last couple of months and each time I wondered why it wasn't crammed to the rafters with tourists. Auckland ferries are always full, maybe they advertise better?.

(Wellington Harbour is so beautiful and the ferry across the harbour to Days Bay is so cheap. Several of the journeys stop at Mat.-Somes Island mid-harbour. It's a protected island with no predators at all, has a nice history too. Only takes about an hour and a half to traverse and except for one optional steep track is not difficult to walk at all. Sandals are fine to walk in.)

It was very hot when I alighted at Days Bay, and the coastal track was extremely narrow in places, with cars whizzing past, missing me by centimetres. Okay, okay, maybe it wasn't that dramatic, but I'm a dramatic person, so bear with me a little, huh?. I was re-listening to the last Harry Potter book on my MP3 player. (Oh, a note for solo walkers: this is a semi-urban track, with houses on one side, sea on the other. It's not scary in the least, no chance of being attacked . )

I started off singing that hiking song that val-de-rees and val-de-rahs all over the place, truly enjoying myself. "Only a couple of headlands to weave around and I'm in Petone," I figured.

But there always seemed to be another headland to weave around, and step by step, underneath my left sole, it got hotter and ticklier and pricklier. Oh, no, a blister was forming!

It formed. And not just one blister came. But two. I don't do things by halves. The walk, in the end, took 2 hours, which to me should have been a nothing walk really. I'm used to two hours' hiking. Can do it on my head. Usually. But after my first hour on the Days Bay to Petone walk, I was in agony. I threw curses on my new hiking boots. I wanted to throw them into the sea, but walking barefoot would've been worse.

Okay, I could have hopped on a bus but that was cheating, surely? I limped, stumbled, staggered around the industrial area of Seaview and the marina, cursing every person who went comfortably past me in a car. I stopped to apply a band-aid and turn my sock inside out. I glared at a guy who dared to break off his whistling (whistling? Whilst I was in pain, dying? Folk have been killed for less) to wish me 'good morning' as we both traversed the connecting bridge between the Hutt Valley and Petone.

Opposite Valentines, on Petone beach, I applied another band-aid to my foot, and tried to spruce myself up. After all, I was going into a restaurant. I was in casual (by now wet) clobber, was sweaty, obviously stinky, with hair damp, and no make-up. The hike had only taken 2 hours, but because of the blistered foot and the heat, it had felt like 20.

Maybe in future, I'll try out new hiking boots on, say, a half hour walk instead. Bed today, I guess, as I can hardly step my foot onto the ground. Ah, the pain. But, maybe - maybe - I might go on a little hike again tomorrow!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The King Kong Boat

Well, I set out yesterday for an 18 km return walk from Miramar to the city.After only about 300 metres, I hit the Miramar Wharf where this old rotting rusty hulk is moored. I remember when it first arrived, all us Miramar-ites stood on the wharf chanting the letters as the painter painted the name on the bow.

"Give me a V," some wag shouted. "Gimme an E. Now, an N, and T and a U ... R ... E. Altogether, now ...."

'VENTURE", we all bellowed. Peter Jackson's biggest 'King Kong' prop (excluding, I suppose, the giant ape ... Oh, well, and maybe that dinosaur ... and perhaps the Empire State Building) had hit Miramar. The Jackson empire is almost swallowing the suburb. What with Park Road Post (post-production building) and Weta workshop, the Stone Street film studios, and the various offices dotted here and there that house Weta Digital, and all those carpentry workshops, and not to forget the admin offices ...

Anyway, I arrived at the wharf and the army was doing an exercise on and around the "Venture". The PR army bloke, all done up in fatigues and heavy boots was very nice and said I could watch. The exercise, in conjunction, I think, with the Customs Dept was to be all about apprehending smugglers, and there was an inflatable, and the whole exercise was going to be about surreptiously boarding the ship, and fighting, etc.

I said, "Can I be an innocent bystander who gets taken hostage and shot by mistake?" Surprisingly, the army guy said "yes, if you want". But on second thoughts I wimped out and Iscurried home instead for my camera.

The "Venture" was sold by Peter Jackson a few years back to a scrap dealer who dismantled a lot of it, but the firm went bankrupt I believe before they could take the whole ship away. The army PR guy said that the "Venture" will finally depart Miramar Wharf very shortly and be turned into a reef for scuba divers. But I've been hearing this for years.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Walking and Harry Potter

Okay, I've said I like walking and hiking. Especially in the non-summer seasons (in summer I swim-swim-swim). I trek all around the Wellington (NZ) hills. There are so many wonderful walkways through bush and along the coast. A few years ago, I'd trek with my cassette player, then it was my CD player (which I never really did learn to master because every time my backpack jiggled, a CD would skip tracks) and now, recently, I've got an MP3 player.

I love listening to books on CD. Especially Harry Potter as read by Stephen Fry. My goodness, he's absolutely positively fantastic doing all the accents and all the characters (oh, by the way Wellington's motto is 'Absolutely Positively Wellington'. We even have our own song, too, "You Can't Beat Wellington on a Good Day". Sigh, you can certainly beat it on a bad day. We're not known as 'Windy Wellington' for nothing.)

Anyway, while out walking I talk to loads of folk, any age, with or without dogs. A lot say "Hey, what are you listening to?" Because of my age, I rather suspect they like to imagine I'm listening to Brahms or Beethoven, or Barry Manilow or Cliff Richard. I've got to get over the fact that I'm embarrassed to say 'Harry Potter'. (or 'Red Dwarf'. or 'Blake's Seven'.) Usually, I fib.

Because the guys with so-called wisdom decided not to release the last Harry Potter book on cassette, I had to buy CDs (all 20 of them), then I had to buy an MP3 player, then learn how to transfer it all to my computer, then onto the MP3 player, then wipe it all off at the finish. Talk about a learning curve. I guess it's old age. I remember how I used to scoff at oldies in the typing room (when I was young) because they couldn't quickly learn to use electric or electronic trypewriters, or word processors. How the pigeons have now come home to roost, eh? It takes me hours to get one disc onto my MP3 player, darn-it. But I hate home-listening to CDs. I have to be on the move.

Stephen Fry does, I believe come to Wellington every now and then (scriptwriting "The Dam Busters}, and I live in Miramar, the hub of the Peter Jackson directorial empire (he's producing "The Dam Busters"). I hope I'll see Fry one day - I keep my eyes open - and he can autograph my HP talking books, along with the cassette "Moab is My Washpot", his autobiography which I also have, and love.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wow, I've arrived. An oldie but a goodie!

Hi. I'm a bit scared doing a blog. Up until recently I didn't even know what a blog was. Yes, I had a general idea, but thought it was something slightly unsavoury. Because, yes, I'll admit it, I'm an oldie but a goodie. I hope I'm not a wrinkly, even though I adore, yes adore, going out in the sun in summer. I brood around in Winter. I guess I'm lucky I can brood in Winter and enjoy the sun in summer because - whooopeee - I'm retired and loving it! Every second.

The idea was when I retired that I was going to do good works and volunteer and stuff like that. But, oh dear, it hasn't happened. Selfish bugger that I am, I am living a life of leisure. Late sleep-ins, movies, hiking, loads of swimming, and holdiaying - no, I'm not after a guy. I love my own company. I can't stand retirees who moan and moan and, yes, more moaning about how they miss work. I hated work. Well, must leave you and get on with my completely frivolous lifestyle. Hope I can find this place again to add more info but I am a dithery old (slightly overweight - oh alright, fat) lady. Byeeeee