Saturday, July 30, 2016

Swimming today

Hi there

31 July NZ time

Four of us went swimming at Hataitai Beach today - myself, J, The Young One, and Thong Man.  The water was extremely cold.  The Young One let out more than a few sudden yelps as she struck the water.  But kudos to her for swimming with bare feet.  Feet and hands get so cold.

It took me hours afterwards to get warm.

Today has been cold throughout the country.  Snow, rain, everyone bundled up in thick layers.  And we went swimming?  In the sea?  No, don't call us  'mad'.  Heroic, perhaps?''  Or brave?  Yes, I like the word 'brave'.  'Brave' will do just fine ...  stop laughing...

Swims at Hataitai Beach

Hi there

Well, I managed to get in 14 swims for the month of July.   I could probably have fitted in a couple more but I developed a bit of a sore throat and decided it was better to be safe than sorry.  I stayed inside.  Besides, there were a couple of storms, and I probably couldn't have been swimming, anyway.

The last time I swam, I had been wearing my emergency swimming gear that I keep in the car, and it is very lightweight.  I was so freeeeezing in the sea.  The cold seemed to go right through my very flesh.  And when I got home, my body was icy for hours.

Am I getting too long in the tooth for winter swimming?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Wellington Airport

Hi there

whilst I was holidaying in Nelson a few weeks ago, tidings of great joy were delivered to the letterboxes on the opposite side of my narrow street.

Wellington Airport will soon be extending its runway and because of anticipated noise the kind and generous folk associated with this operation wanted to lavish my neighbours with untold treasure.  In the form of complete house insulation.  For free.

What a magnificent gesture!  But I guess not for the residents on my side of the street.  With just a few metres separating us, there were, apparently, shouts from my lot  of "Why not us?" and "Not fair!"  Some kind of civil war, neighbour against neighbour, was imminent.

And,  truly, we're not really that close to Wellington Airport.

Turns out it was all a mistake.  Letters were sent to the wrong street!  Oh, the workings of large organisational bodies  -   gotta hate  'em

Friday, July 22, 2016

Those Toilet Signs

Hi there

A friend of mine was standing outside the entrance to a public toilet and having an intent discussion with her small son.

"That door leads to the ladies' toilets," she explained.  See - there's a picture of  lady in a skirt.  I go in there-

"No!"  The child was distressed.  He pointed to the second sign of a stick gentleman.  "You go in that door." 

"Why?"  Mum was puzzled.

My friend wasn't wearing a skirt.  She was in trousers.  Her toddler, it appeared, wanted her to go through the door marked by the stick figure in trousers.

Oh dear. Is this a conversation all mums go through? 

Apparently there wasn't a woman within coo-eee of my friend who was wearing a skirt. So, should toilet signs all around the world be changed?   And, if so,  to what...?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Wandering Wellington's Eastern Suburbs

Hi there

I love walking Wellington.  Winter, summer, any season.  So, surely my four readers will have no trouble visualising the anguish I went through for six months this year whilst my knee was healing from that stupid fall when I tripped over a tree-root as I hiked the Eastbourne hills.  It took me five hours to complete the hike and finally reach home.  So much for icing the leg immediately, and elevating the leg immediately, and resting the leg immediately ...

I like walking the Miramar hills.  When I reach the top of that high walkway that takes you down the slope to Scorching Bay, I always stand there and ooh and aah over the view. My heart lifts when I see lovely scenery.

And when I've taken my fill of Scorching Bay from atop the hill, I merrily trip down to cavort on the beach or stop for a break at Scorch-A-Rama, the cafe.  Under the name The Chocolate Fish, this cafe was frequented by many of The Lord of the Rings' stars when they were filming the trilogy here in Wellington. 

above:  Scorch-A-Rama has tables across the road from the cafe.  Waiters wear hi-vis vests and dodge the traffic to feed the customers.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Best invention ever?

Hi there

I asked a friend what was his favourite invention?    I expected him to say the car, or a washing machine.  Or television.

He said, the paper towel.


He said he could wipe down benches with a paper towel, then toss it away.  He could blow his nose on a paper towel.  Use it as a serviette?  A plate?  To cover things.  Wrap up his lunch in.  Clean his car's windscreen.  Dry himself, if no fluffy towel was handy.

And my friend went on and on listing dozens of joys of using a paper towel.

Well, I used to think the umbrella was the best invention ever - my own little personal roof whether in sun or rain -  but now I'm having second thoughts about the paper towel...


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Seven Swims!

Hi there

We made it!  Seven sea swims so far this month.  Our minimum number of seven for every 2016 month has so far been reached.  The air temperatures have not been that bad for winter.

 The winter Wellington Harbour sea temp at the moment is about 13.3c.   I was at the Aquatic Centre a couple of years ago and a notice read, "Our pool temp  is usually about  28c.  Sorry, but today it's only 23c.  Brrrrhhh..."


Friday, July 8, 2016

Traumatic Raumati swimming

Hi there

I was visiting the little coastal village of Raumati last week and I decided to go for a swim.

I stepped into a pair of Crocs.  I don't usually wear Crocs in the water but, hey,  I'm a fast learner when it comes to walking through the waters at Raumati - no way did I want my feet torn to bits on broken shells.  Been there before and done that.

Before I'd even reached ankle-depth in the murky water I'd crunched down on a full-sized paua shell (abalone shell, for my one American reader).  Shells and thousands of twigs carpeted the sea bottom.  Similar sea debris swirled around me.  I trudged for ages before the water got up to my waist.

Oh, and did I mention that it was cold? The air temp that morning in Raumati, just a few hours previous to my swim,  had been 1c.   1c!   I was the only person in the sea and nobody was walking the shore.  I was a long way out and, honestly, had I got into difficulty, who would know?  So I didn't spend too long in the water.

That's six sea swims for the month so far.  This year, seven swims minimum per month is the goal.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Background Music

Hi there

I never really used to pay attention to music that played in the background of movies and television.   It was just there, you know?

Little lambs gambolling in a paddock to happy accompanying music?  Who cared?  The murderer tippy-toeing up the back stairs to the heroine's bedroom, with creepy music making its way up there with him?  I didn't give a fig.  A menacing shark bearing down on a boat?  Well, okay, the music for "Jaws" is iconic;  it works.

And as for those documentaries where background music accompanies the likes of Griff Rhys-Jones as he hikes Britain, or Charley Boorman biking around the world?    Nope, nada,  I didn't even think about the themes, I was too busy watching the programmes.

There was one time....  A few years ago, I was driving from KeriKeri, at the top of the North Island to Waitangi.

I was listening to a cassette of television theme tunes.  I got to the theme for the British television drama series "Reilly, Ace of Spies".  It starred New Zealand's very own Sam Neill.

And suddenly I noticed that the music was matching the scenery that I was passing.   I drove up a hill and the music swelled higher ... and higher until it hit a crescendo as I reached the top.  I cruised down the hill, and the music lowered.  When I turned a corner, the music got excited.  On a straight road, the music levelled out.  A fresh vista suddenly appeared and the music amped up a notch.  Craggy rocks, rolling hills, a bird lazily flyng overhead ...   I'm telling you that tune, written by Shostakovich, seamlessly matched all the scenery I was passing.

I now try to make a point of registering the background music I hear on my television.  Those composers sure work hard.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Tahuna Beach, Nelson

Hi there

I've just returned from a week at Tahunanui (Tahuna) Beach in Nelson.  For the information of my overseas reader, Nelson is down the South Island of New Zealand. It's a half-hour flight from Wellington.

I only decided to go three days before my leaving date and I didn't really have time for my usual lots and lots of practise sessions as to what would and wouldn't fit in a cabin bag.  Still, I managed to fit in two sheets, pillow-case, three towels, underwear, umbrella, shoes, and two changes of outfits.  I did, however, resemble a womble as I rolled up  onto the plane; I was wearing quite a few layers of winter clothes.

I got in two swims at Tahuna Beach. I didn't take my bathing gear with me but I did have sea-worthy shorts which I teamed up with a bra, a cami, and a two-dollar lycra top from a charity shop.  The water was crisp, cool, and as flat as a pancake.  I overheard two yachties bemoaning the fact that they couldn't get out on the water because it was becalmed.