(George) Hamilton the third

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February 26th 2006
Published: April 6th 2006
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Riff RaffRiff RaffRiff Raff

A statue commemorating the birthplace of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Frankly this is beginning to get a bit repetitive!!

New Plymouth 08-15/02/06

We decide to take the Intercity bus to New Plymouth and then travel down to Wellington for a few days before heading back to Hamilton so that the next medic can give us his opinion about my knee. We are booked into the Sunflower Backpackers which is in the centre of New Plymouth, the place is okay, but by midnight we've had enough of the boy racers revving their engines outside the window and the high pitched shrieks of assorted, inebriated females; it has been a long bus ride today and we both want to sleep.
In the morning we head to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery which has a collection of Len Lye sculptures, they are great fun. We particularly like the circle of steel which rolls backwards and forwards on a magnetic track with a ball suspended above it on a piece of elastic; as the steel moves it bounces up and down slightly, causing it to hit the ball with a very satisfying "donk" sound, followed by a gentle metallic ringing. Also there is a sculpture called Wave which is a vertical sheet of steel stood next to a ball on a stick, when the piece is switched on both the steel and the ball-on-a-stick begin to vibrate, eventually hitting each other, which sets up a sine wave on the sheet of steel and causes an incredible amount of noise. The ball rocks backwards and forwards, hitting the steel again and again making more noise, it can be heard all around the gallery.
After enduring another night being entertained by the drunk and disorderly of New Plymouth we move to Shoestring Backpackers which is in a quieter area of town. We also arrange accommodation in Wellington, using an internet booking service offered by one of the hostels there and get bus tickets sorted.

On the 14th we decide to hire boards and test the surf at Fitzroy Beach, the resident surfer at the hire shop tells us that the surf is good for beginners and so we get some boards and head out to the beach.
Vern picks his board up and wades out into the surf, I follow him and immediately get bowled over by a wave taller than me. I sit on the sand and look up at my board floating above me,
Bruce and VernonBruce and VernonBruce and Vernon

Bruce finding a comfortable seat at J's backpackers in Hamilton.
it moves towards the shore as the next wave comes in then I stand up, gather up my board, turn to head back into the surf again and promptly get knocked over by the next wave breaking over me. It's going to be one of those days!!
Refusing to give up I gather up the board again, wait for a suitable lull and run into the water, I spot a wave coming in, point the board at the shore, get onto it and start paddling. My board starts to turn sideways as the wave hits us and I am knocked off it, rolling over and over to the shore. Refusing to be beaten I try again, this time I am too far forward on the board and get spat off the front of it as it nosedives.
Finally I get a wave and am carried in towards shore; I then realise that I can't see Vernon anywhere, I'm just about to panic when I see him walking down the beach carrying his board. He's not had much luck either, although I did see him standing up a couple of times when I wasn't under the water; we decide that it's
Dracena FuriosaDracena FuriosaDracena Furiosa

A sculpture in a garden by Lake Rotoroa, Hamilton. Artist: Marti Wong
too much like hard work and return the boards to the shop before getting a much needed coffee and a cake and heading back to the hostel to watch the winter olympics.
Later we check our e-mails and find that the room we thought we had booked in Wellington is not available after all. This doesn't come as much of a surprise as there is an international cricket match on at the moment and all the boats from the Volvo Challenge are in port. We are both annoyed that the hostel's room booking system wasn't up to date and, as we can't find another room anywhere in Wellington we decide to head back to Hamilton early and then cycle over to Raglan for a few days surfing there instead, being as the waves are kinder to beginners.
We change our bus tickets and once again head north.

Doctor, I think I've got Bubonic Plague 15-21/02/06

When we get back to Hamilton we head straight for the Anglesea Clinic (again) because to add to the dodgy knee I've also got two lumps in one armpit - good grief! The doctor takes a look and prescribes the biggest antibiotics imaginable, 4 each day for 10 days and they are capsules so I can't even break them in half to swallow them.
J's Backpackers is full of overseas students who are here to study at Waikato University and are at the hostel while they find rooms to rent long term. Bruce and Trev (the cats) are finding it more difficult to get their afternoon snoozes as all the chairs are taken, they wander into our room and whinge until we clear a space on the bed for them.
We get chatting to a couple from the USA, Andris is a keen triathlete who raced at the intercollegiate games in the States. Later we watch him putting his bike together including putting the cranks on the wrong sides! So watch out for Andris in Beijing 2008, he'll be the one pedalling madly and going backwards!

We arrange accommodation in Raglan for three nights and then sort out a room at J's on Wednesday night before my appointment at the clinic on the 22nd, Gwen looks at us a bit funny and says "Wednesday is the 22nd". There follows a hasty bit of rearrangement and we finally pedal off towards Raglan for two nights.
The ride is good, all the hills seem less steep than last time and my knee doesn't hurt which is probably more to do with time off the bike than it being cured. We get there in time to catch the afternoon beach run and have fun falling off boards for a few hours before partaking of some curative anaesthetic at the bar.
On the ride back to Hamilton my knee starts to hurt and I finally try riding with both my feet clipped in to the pedals, I've always been a bit paranoid about not being able to release my foot in time if I keel over; it feels weird and has no effect on the pain in my knee.

Here's an interesting fact...22-26/02/06

On the walk into town we pass a statue of Richard O'Brien as Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, it's just stood in a space where a building used to be and it turns out that the building was the theatre which inspired the Rocky Horror Picture Show. So there you go, something interesting about Hamilton.

Anyway back to the knee, Mr Black (the orthopaedic surgeon) takes a look, does a bit of joint manipulation and suggests it's my positioning that's wrong. So now I have an appointment with a physio who works with the NZ cycling team.
The next day Paul Holloway asks loads of questions, pokes and prods my knee, then watches me cycle round the car park. He suggests some changes to the bike and gives me some exercises to do, we arrange an appointment for the following day and I cycle off to try out the new ride. The next morning we are out early, riding round Hamilton trying to kill the knee before my second appointment with Paul Holloway. Nothing seems to work, I try twiddling in low gears, hammering it in high gears and just general riding, but whatever, there's no pain in my left knee. Paul is delighted with this and tells me he thinks it's sorted and that I should be okay to carry on the tour. This is great news and we decide to spend the weekend at J's, then head south on Monday.


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