Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Back in my Day

Hah! These holidays we are progressively joining the butt-whipped ranks of those who have done the rail trail. Welcome to our world.
Lunchtime at Waipiata on Monday; two degrees all day which beats Alexandra's high today of minus one. Bill is about to dispense the boiled sweeties, today raspberry drops.
We have found a number of benefits in doing the rail trail in Winter. Firstly you have the track all to yourselves. The other children are away ice-skating, luge camp or bonspeiling at the outdoor curling rinks which are beautifully frozen.

The track for the most part is firm. A few muddy patches here and there; cycle through those and you get a stripe of mud running up your back like a badger. 'Daisybank' below. To the right of the photo, just out of shot so you'll have to imagine it sorry, is a very old apple orchard. There are a number of these in this area and it on my list to pursue some of these varieties that fruit well here.
Another advantage of the season is that you don't have to stop to peel off layers. On the contrary you keep cycling to keep warm.

It's been one of those experiences where you suddenly get a whole new insight and revisit old memories accordingly. I now remember how visitors (off the trail) have hobbled into the house, their appreciation of long hot baths, and the seemingly disproportionate gratitude at the sight of Bill and the trailer come to collect them from a Station.
Is it just my age or were bike seats really as large and capacious as I remember? With springs, full support, and nothing to suggest that you might go into your child bearing years in any way compromised.

I have the only gel seat (which promises a lot more than it delivers) and although coveted and complained about, it is my non-negotiable right. I dropped everybody off at Wedderburn today and then set off from Ranfurly to meet them half-way. Parked the trailer: hat, gloves, scarf, jacket, butterscotch shells, gel seat, gel seat, gel seat...forgot to pack the gel seat. Fortunately, as an ex brownie, I was prepared for every emergency and set off wrapped in enough bubble wrap to post me to Samoa intact. (that is the seat wrapped, not me).

We had left home planning to do a down-hill stretch and I was going to drop everybody and then read my book with a nice hot coffee in Hyde-no wheels at all in my day. But we took the opposite direction to get petrol and changed the plan. The mirage faded and I only remembered it later, soldiering bravely and somehow doing an uphill peice anyway, alone, as the others whizzed merrily along even free-wheeling towards me.

Anyway, gardening joys also await me although it may still be some time. I can probably count on one hand what is useful straight out of the garden at the moment: leeks, spring onions, parsely, cabbage, brussel sprouts, carrots. Whoops that's six fingers already and I've still got rosemary and coriander and silverbeet and celery.

The only job this week is to dust the potatoes with anti-sprout powder. I'm not even going to ask what's in it. Just scrub the potatoes properly from now on. Enjoy the holidays!
Posted by Picasa


  1. When I lived in Poland I remember when spring broke because for the first time in months the thermometer hit 0. Zero can be really really warm after months of minus temperatures. Everything is relative.

    Good on you for doing the rail trail - looks like you are all having fun (again, relatively speaking).

  2. It reminds of the secret garden, with the apple orchard tantalisingly offscreen. How would you propagate any successful varieties? I guess grafting onto rootstock might not work if it's the roots that are making it particularly suited to that environment.

    By the way, where's the Stollen? Show us your stollen!

    Enjoy your holidays!
    Love J

  3. LAst time I did a significant section of the rial trail was in spring and over 2 days. The spring winds were ferocious and I can so relate to the bike seat that even gel laden did little to protect our tender behinds. Looks llike you are all having fun. What a contrast it will be for Elena as she heads off to Brisbane next week. Hopefully we will catch catch up before Rosie leaves although Im thinking my wee car cant be trusted to make a winters drive your way. Anyway we'll see hwat we can do

  4. I'm impressed, I thought sailing in winter was a bit out there, but doing the rail trail wins hands down. We'd like to do it one day, when the kids are a bit older.