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Published: February 20th 2018
Here we are in New Zealand and things are not starting brilliantly.
Yes, the dinner last night was fantastic (Harbour Lights), and the wifi works and we had a comfortable night’s sleep in the eclectic Collingwood Manor B&B here in Nelson, at the northern end of New Zealand’s South Island. And the helmets we bought online and sent to Wozz the airbrush artist have arrived safely at the B&B and look great. And all the people on the tour with us, including John Fitzwater of GoTourNZ.com, seem pleasant and colourful characters. Yet I find myself irritated by three things.
Firstly, we are about to be hit by cyclone Gita that is expected to bring 200mm of rain in one day with winds of up to 150Km per hour. Secondly, I already know I can’t close my motorcycle trousers due to an inexplicable shrinkage of their waistband in the four years since I last pulled them on. And thirdly, I had forgotten that when writing a blog you should prepare it offline then upload it, rather than typing it directly into the web page, because you risk losing all your work if there is a problem
when you press save. But I’m a quick learner – after three fails I’m doing this in Word.
I consider it to be pissing down with rain as I type, sat in the front room of the B&B having watched Man City lose to Wigan in the FA Cup. John says this is simply “fog”, not rain and things will be getting far worse later. Alternative activities will be happening shortly; a trip to glass blowing facility and then on to a “wearable art” exhibition. Not the start I had in mind.
Nevertheless, I can see the bike that is lined up for Pam and I to use for the next three weeks. A white GS1200 Adventure of recent vintage, with street tyres (I have mentioned this to John – they may get changed to something more dual-sport suitable later). Very clean and tidy, albeit soaking wet and to be avoided at all costs today.
Since the Africa trip there have been significant changes in Pam and my lives, not least of which has been retirement. Most of you reading this already know that. What hasn’t changed is our love of
travel, but why did we choose New Zealand for the next trip? Quite simple really.
New Zealand has some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet, has great roads for motorcycling where everyone drives on the “correct” side, and, importantly, many hobbits live there. And as our plane from Sydney came down to land at Auckland yesterday, I was immediately struck by the familiarity of the landscape. “It looks like England” I said to Pam. Indeed it did, wiggly roads, a patchwork of fields, houses with tiled roofs similar in shape and style to those half a world away.
And then “Look how green it is!” I exclaimed. Having just been in the Hunter Valley wine region of New South Wales only a couple of days before, where they have ponds everywhere recycling their grey water for irrigation and tankers delivering water twice a week to the lodges accommodating wine tasters / Hen / Stag party groups, the contrast was striking. And then the bleeding obvious hit me – it rains here. A lot.
We are now back in the B&B. The glass blowers and WOW museum closed at lunchtime
due to the impending meteorological disaster, but we had a brief glimpse of both. A decent lunch (no alcohol) was followed by a trip to a winery and a generally uninspiring tasting although I liked the dessert wine. The rain is belting down steadily, and the wind has started to pick up. The most up-to-date forecasts are slightly less apocalyptic than before – we may not need an ark after all – but we’ll see. In the meantime, there is a tv, my book and dinner at seven o’clock.
Which round here is pronounced “siven”, by the way. In the same way, the weather man on the tv said that the weather would be, in a word, “wit”. Vowels are compacted by the locals. For example, there are none at all in the words “fshh”, which at home we normally eat with “chpps”. Do you know what the QA Manager on a NZ poultry farm does? He chicks chicks.
As far as I can make out, the “e” in “let” is pronounced “i” as in “lit”. A “litter” is therefore not something you get carried around in by slaves, nor is it a granule
of the substance you put in a tray for your cat to shit in but is in fact something written by your ageing aunt that the postman delivers. This Kiwi vowel shift also happens with “a” as in “cap” which confusingly also become “i” as in “kip”. We know this because the lady flight attendant yesterday (whose name incidentally, was Stiffany or Stiffy for short) kept referring to the “Kip Tin” who was seemingly in charge of the aircraft. Our Kiwi frinds have therefore merged three phonemes into one – outstinding.
Tot: 0.044s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 17; qc: 54; dbt: 0.0116s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb