December update: Tour of Southland, Graduation, an earthquake and Summer arrives!

img_9171Wow, and oops! I didn’t realise it had been over 2 months since my last update! We have had the tour of Southland, the Kaikoura earthquake, I graduated, the garden sprung up for summer and Ryding2Health is on the move! 

Then we had the Kaikoura earthquake. 14 November, and they only just got the roads to Kaikoura open again to general traffic just yesterday. I haven’t been in New Zealand when they have had a massive earthquake until this one, I was still in the UK when Christchurch was hit. I am absolutely amazed and humbled at the Kiwi spirit, with people up and down the country, from all sorts of backgrounds organising aid to be sent to Kaikoura. The kiwi spirit really shows through, anyone will help anyone else. but, the extent of the damage to the central Canterbury region cannot be ignored. State Highway 1 is open again south of Kaikoura, but the northern stretch will take up to a year to sort, they think. There was some talk about rerouting the road completely and not restoring it, but I guess that was deemed even more costly. Besides, New Zealand is a sparsely populated country, where else would they put it without having to do more mass excavation?

Spring has passed, which was wonderful and warm, more so than usual (till we hit windy November and December!) The garden is now in flower, and almost recovered from our mass excavation of a year ago where we had to have the whole septic tank system replaced. The three new tank lids sitting in the midst of my deck view still irritate me though, so we put a pot plank on one while we think of plans for the other two!

We have resurrected Seamus! He was feeling a bit left out and actually, a child who comes to kids spin gave me the idea! img_9511So a lovely lady at the Southern crafters market knitted him a new one! Now he is the Ryding2Health mascot!

Now I need to think of some travels that he can go on! We are already wondering how we can get him a set of weights and get him doing some workouts!

What a journey he has been on, and what a collection of jumpers he has now! If only Mum knew what she started back there when she got him his first one: the Northants Tri jumper he wore on his first outing as my mascot at the European championships in Athlone, 2010!

Sadly, the Christmas parade was rained on this year, tragic really because in all the time I have been here, this was a first. Didn’t stop the crowds, although they were diminished somewhat, and it did stop the pipe bands. (pipes don’t work too well in the rain!)

I took part in a wee abseil (I say wee because it was only 18m and I have stepped off the Sky tower in Auckland, which is 197m!) in aid of a local charity. I am pretty proud of the Ryding2Health crew, we were easily the most charismatic crowd there! All in aid of the Kiwi Can program, which is a schools based values program delivered from the age of 5 upwards.

#Excitingtimes are developing in the Ryding2Health camp (although, to be honest, pretty scary too as there are MASS changes afoot, the timing is rubbish (held up 2 months by the council) and I have a MASS job on my hands to catch the business up when I go back after Christmas. The building looks like it is on schedule, but will halt for three weeks as tradies shut down over Christmas. We are hoping will be ready for a grand opening at some stage around the 23 January. Fingers crossed.

Last week I finally graduated from my massage course. It seems in New Zealand you graduate, no matter what the level, which was odd for me because graduation is a degree course to me, of which I have completed two, so this felt a bit fake. Still, all our names were in the paper too, its nice to have the hard work recognised. It hurt my business though big time with the time I had to take off, so I will have to get to work to claw it back!

We have had some sunny days, however, usually I grab a bike ride when the sun arrives and the wind subsides! Mark has also been hard at work, gaining a management qualification to go with his promotion at work. Nice work Mark! As always, in this upside down world, the summer solstice has been this week too, which is always a sad day, as I know that means that we are on the way towards winter now! But, it also means that our best months of weather are still to come (possibly, January definitely February and March). I have been having major knee issues lately, which has stopped me from tramping for a while, it even curbed my cycling for a bit too, so I was very pleased to see that they had installed a seat at the top of the Forest Hill walk – which wasn’t there last time I walked it!

Happy holidays, as Christmas is now upon us. It is the worst time of year for me cash flow wise, so I decided to shut for two weeks and we are going to go off camping for a week. Looking forward to a minibreak!