Pea Pie Pud

Three friends – Paddy, Ian and Mark entered a triathlon so I went along to support. Solid effort from the lads.

I have been slightly lazy / low on energy since getting back to NZ, but, slowly I’ve been getting back into climbing (quite enjoying that), getting for the odd walk up Rapaki. I’m thinking, now that I am a fairly free agent (working remotely) I might make a little more use of the middle of the day / mornings to get some exercise and then maybe work a tiny bit later in the evenings. We’ll see.

Not sure about triathlons though, I would definitely want to get a whole lot more comfortable in the water first (I am so not a water baby)

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Biking the Wakamarina

Well, it wasn’t really so much biking the wakamarina as my friend Mike’s stag. They’re a bunch of extremely talented bikers (at least, extremely coming from where I sit on the couch). It’s a lovely track up by Neslon way, very close to some of the places I went hiking on Outward Bound all those years ago.

Neil did some excellent organising of the weekend. We stayed in this very nice pine valley outdoor centre a really nice little campground/lodge up closeish to where the track is. I’d definitely recommend it.

The biking itself, well, it was hard. I don’t bike remotely as much as the rest of them, so I was probably walking a good 40-50% of the downhill. Neil basically forced me to use a different bike from my own one, as, basically, my 12 year old bike just isn’t quite up to the challenge of this track. Good call too, I’d have walked nearer 80% if not more if I was on my own bike.

Anyway, some pictures… (and thanks to Neil Hudson, Steven Tallott, and Tim Hillsamer for sharing theirs)

Also, a picture of Steve, with his bees, and of the sunset. I do miss living on the hill & having the timelapses going every day. We do have stunning skies in Christchurch.

So yes, a really lovely weekend, congratulations to Mike on making it through relatively unscathed & looking forward to the wedding in a few weeks time.

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Back to reality. Whatever that is.

Long time no post.

It has been great getting back to NZ, seeing all our friends again, getting out biking – summer!, but, even so there’s still quite a bit to do. Finding a house, buying a car (dilemma dilemma), ended up with a Toyota Fielder 4wd. It’s possible we’re the only 4wd fielder in the country. This may (or may not) be a good thing. Anyway, it has 4 wheels, and it seems to go OK.

I’ve been keeping a pretty low profile really. I can’t really complain of struggling, or at least, I can’t complain that I have anything to struggle about, but, I have been quite enjoying taking it easy.

I have also started a slightly new chapter in my working life. After coming back from NZ (and also while in Europe) I started contracting remotely to a US based company. The work is fine (though it is a legacy codebase), and the pay and being remote is nice. But it’s… well, it has the risk of being quite lonely. To combat that, I’ve been working 2 days a week in a co-working space bizdojo-christchurch which is a great little spot. We’ll see how it goes, there are a couple of places here in Christchurch where there are excellent teams that I’d frankly love to work for, but, I’ve wanted to try contracting for a while, and now is a good time to try. I do like (very much) that it’s an education based product – so it ticks my personal box of “something vaguely useful to be doing”.

I also helped out with getting sponsorship for & organising this years Rails Camp which was quite a lot of work, and I’m happy to have it behind me now! It was held up at Cheeseman ski field. Really nice people, really excellent food and drink. I did a tiny tiny amount of programming, and quite a lot of socializing. Now trying to make checklists & documentation so that it’s easier for the next people to organise a camp.

Oh, and timelapsing ;) because, really, why wouldn’t you? ;)

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So we took a year off and went travelling.

So yip, we took a year off to travel & see family. 6 months of travel, 6 months of seeing family. I think it’s fair to say there were some interesting reactions, though once we explained that the main motivator was that our parents aren’t getting any younger, well, people could understand that. There were fears about “jobs” and “careers” etc, but, Maaike was able to put her job on hold for a year, and I came back to a better position than what I left… so, it really has worked out well.

It is very luxurious to be able to take an entire year off and go do whatever you like. Highlights: well, Antarctica without a doubt was one of them. 2 months of hiking in Patagonia with really exceptionally pleasant weather was definitely another. I think that the huemul circuit at El Chalten is my new favourite (multi day) hike. The biking from The Netherlands to Ireland was brilliant, I would absolutely do that again as a method of holidaying. And of course, spending lots of time with family was ‘gezellig’ (as they say in Dutch – warm cosy feeling).

Thanks to Maaike for making this year happen. I’d never have taken a year out if it wasn’t for her, no way, but I’m super glad we did head away. Where to next?

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First Christmas in Ireland in 14 years

It was a lovely few weeks back in Dublin after The Netherlands. I’ve not actually been back in Dublin for Christmas since leaving to New Zealand. Christmas is when everyone comes back so it’s a very social time. I caught up with old primary school friends, and, as you can see, we’ve hardly changed ;)

We went for a walk with the Shankill tidy-towns group, along the very nice walkway from Greystones to Bray. I’m not sure when that was opened, but it’s a great little walk (if quite popular)

Christmas dinner was fantastic. It has never felt right having Christmas in the hot summer sunshine in New Zealand, so it was great to have the lights and the darkness and the piles of food and carols and a proper Christmas!

Then more walks, more catching up with friends, just really great times. Also, Maaike’s cousins Geke & Inge were in town, so we had a lovely day hanging out with them.

And then, surprisingly quickly, it was time to fly back to New Zealand.

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