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Posts tagged ‘fog’

Aggressive roots

Last Friday morning, we were woken by shafts of sunlight playing with our toes. Inspired by a discussion with MarkJ during dinner the previous night, I suggested we take the mountain bikes out to Woodhill.

We dressed in a high state of excitement (NB: similar effect can also be achieved by the removal of clothes), fixed coffee and packed the bikes in the car. By the time we opened the garage door, it was driving rain.

“Maybe the sun is shining in Woodhill,” I suggested optimistically.

By the time we got to Swanson, the rain had increased in gusto and tempo, with the introduction of a swirling fog effect. Contrary to my parents’ example, I do not give up in the face of adversity. However, I do give up in the face of Husband refusing to drive any further and/or the prospect of wet feet. So we bought coffee and went home.

The following day, we relaunched the expedition. Woodhill is a 40 minute drive west along the #16, then left onto Restall Road. In addition to over 100km of bike trails, there is an obstacle course, motorbike track, horse trails, and orienteering.

We didn’t want to advertise our novice status – the aggressive wobble I employ to propel my bike is sufficient – so we started with a 12km intermediate track. The paths are fully maintained, sand-based woodland trails, with jumps along the way. I dodged these, since I had my work cut out avoiding advancing tree roots.

[Image robbed from someone without their permission]

Each jump is allocated a level of difficulty. Husband tried a few according to a selection process I couldn’t decipher. He acts like it’s all just so ho-hum, but he always waits until I am in the vicinity before embarking on his arial stunts. What cracks me up is that the only time he ever checks to see whether I’m looking is after he flobbles or falls off.

For jumps – or even descending a sharp step – apparently the trick is to dismiss instinct and/or common sense and perform a wheelie just prior to hitting the descent. In theory, this raises the front wheel until the back wheel launches; then both wheels return to the ground simultaneously. Otherwise, if the riser is too sharp, there is a risk that when your front wheel drops the rider flies over the handlebars.

I’m still studying this theory.

Just before the carpark I hit a patch of soft sand negotiating a corner. The front wheel dug in and I involuntarily abandoned my bike and slid into the carpark on my chin. Now I have a fat, lopsided chin; a hole in my lip where I stabbed it with a tooth; and an impressive array of bruises and grazes down my right leg.

But I can’t WAIT to do it all again

Small, drowning mammals

Fitz and Belle arrived yesterday for a five day holiday to see a bit of the country. Unfortunately, little of the country has been visible through the mist, fog, cloud and swirling rain.

About the only sensible response was to drink plenty of alcohol, which we duly did. Husband is presently lying in bed moaning, and I’m trying to remain optimistic that Fitz and Belle are still alive. The only noises I can hear are multiple plops and small drowning mammals. And the occasional chilling moan.

We will probably aim for the same effect for the remaining days of Fitz and Belle’s visit – although we will be trying to minimise the moaning

Atmospheric conditions

Auckland has a reputation for being soggier than the rest of the country (with the exception of the west coast of South Island, where the rain falls up as well as down).

One of the reasons Craig and Margaret moved from Te Anau to Oamaru was the brutal climate; yet whenever we visited, we were treated to balmy sunshine. It was quite embarrassing; Margaret would insist there was horizontal snow and cyclones until the day before we arrived, and we’d be all: “Oh, SURE,” and wishing we’d packed more shorts.

In fact, on every occasion Husband and I visited New Zealand – including the hoary depths of winter 2006 – we experienced phenomenal weather . . . everywhere except Auckland.

At the end of December, we arrived in the middle of what many agreed was the warmest summer ever (although I am reminded of Dubai, where each summer everyone swears it is the hottest on record).

“I can’t believe how warm it is!” people would exclaim, and then: “not for you, I suppose, coming from the Middle East,” not noticing my face stuck to a glass as I vainly attempted to deflame my facial capillaries. Auckland City was indeed clement.

Then we moved to Waitakere. It is at least 2˚ cooler than the city and everyone warned us of the savage climate up on the range. Yet within a month our water tank dried up and we had to order a delivery of 10,000 litres from the Council.

Inevitably, the day after the water truck came, it started pelting down and didn’t stop for nearly a week.

This morning, we woke to driving rain churning up thick fog. Three hours later, the sun is gently steaming the ground.

There are no half measures here.

Dead tree 30/4 10:02 . . . . and seventeen minutes later 10:19

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