Having booked a couple of weeks off, we had hoped for a relatively relaxed Christmas. We had a great Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, spending them with my friend John, Sean and John and their families respectively, however a few family dramas both here and in the UK took some of the shine off. That said, I’m trying to take an even more positive stance this year, so I’m sure it’s onwards and upwards from here.
Last Thursday, feeling a little bloated from all the festive food, I joined my friend John and his two lads for a day-long tramp in the Coromandel. Due to my admitted lack of fitness, we took a few hours climbing up the track to the Pinnacles (above) and then dropped down to where the hydro line crosses the Kauaeranga River. From here, we left the track and went bush or, to be more accurate, we went gorge.
We spent the next five hours working our way down the Kauaeranga Gorge and in doing so, we got a workout that I needed three days to recover from. We climbed down old kauri dams, walked over the endless riverstone-strewn riverbed, clambered and slithered down rapids, leapt off rocks into cold dark pools and swam the river between towering stone walls hundreds of feet high, using our ruscacs as floatation aids. It was a fantastic guys’ day out with John and I working with the lads to keep safe whilst experiencing the wonders of creation, testing our nerve, pushing our physical limits and beating the occasional voice in our heads.
After eight hours of continuous and sustained effort in rain, working to keep the contents of our rucsacs dry, make progress down river and keep warm despite repeated swims, it is fair to say that each of us was tired as we walked back into the Kauaeranga Road End Car Park. Thirty minutes later, dried off and in clean clothes, we tucked into fried chicken and fizzy drinks in Thames to refuel and warm up before the drive home.
After a great New Year’s Eve evening with friends on their block and an equally lazy New Year’s Day, I decided that I really needed to get myself motivated and do a few things around the house. So far, this week’s labours have centred around tidying up and creating more storage in our workshop/laundry. Measurements in hand, we took a trip to the local big box DIY store and grabbed a set of bolt-less shelves that have more than doubled the effective storage space in the workshop, leaving the workbench and the space under it clear and useable.
Our Jack Russell cross Abbie and her stone deaf best mate white cat Olive sleep together in the workshop. This being the case, I bough an extra sheet of 10mm MDF and used a bit of jigsaw-pokery to create new sleeping quarters for them.
Rooting amongst some of my old bike stuff in the shed, I was pleased to find my long lost Gerber multi-tool, lurking at the bottom of a box of bits. I bought this great little tool on a wet and horrible day in Tenby (Wales) whilst competing in an off-roading competition years back. I spent a good 40 minutes cleaning and oiling it and rewarded myself with a nice, deep cut to my finger with the serrated knife, which Robyn helped me apply three surface-stitches to in an effort to staunch the bleeding.
In that funny way things link up, during the tramp I mentioned to John that I was enjoying reading Bear Gryll’s autobiography, Mud, Sweat and Tears (a Christmas gift from my ladies) and John said that he had a great Bear Grylls-branded bush knife that he got from the US. It turns out that these are also made by Gerber!
Having been stored next to the old pet bed, my Brompton was covered in dust, fluff and accumulated animal hair. This afternoon’s job was to clean the bike, check the tyre pressures and check the gears and brakes, ready for some summer rides in order to try and get a little fitter and trimmer.
That done, SWMBO and I tackled a bit of upkeep around the section, mowing and weed-eating until things looked tidier and now, with the smell of curry drifting from the kitchen, I’m off to investigate!