Saturday, September 10, 2011

Life in the slow lane

After work on Monday (83% blokes in our team), I attended the Wellington autism group where there were 100% blokes. All eight of us. You could pretty much cut the testosterone with a knife (not really). It was a good session though and we were graced my Matt Frost's presence. So he does exist in real life after all!

I felt I hadn't been getting enough exercise so on Tuesday I swam for the first time at the Freyberg pool. It was very different to anything I was used to. No lilos, no kids, definitely no fun. The pool is roped off into lanes for every one of the 15 hours a day it's open; the lanes are marked as fast, medium and slow. I swam in the slow lane most of the time, sometimes moving to medium. Even though it was hardly relaxing, I liked the 33-metre pool and will try and go once a week from now on. I'd definitely had a workout but man was I hungry afterwards.

I've lived in New Zealand nearly eight years and still haven't got my head around Kiwis' attitude to physical pursuits, especially swimming, cycling and running, the disciplines that make up the triathlon (and boy do they love their triathlons here). In the UK I used to ride a bike to, heaven forbid, get from one place to another. That's almost a foreign concept in New Zealand; here everyone is dressed in their Lycras, primed for Serious Exercise. OK, some people ride their bikes to work, but it still seems to be more an exercise thing than an A-to-B thing. I noticed this week, advertised in big letters in a shop window, a sports bike that was reduced from about 2½ times what I paid for my car to only 1¾. I remember when I lived in Bayswater in 2004 I used to drive along Lake Road (on the North Shore) in my '84 Bluebird, amazed at the speeds people got up to on their bikes.

Last night some kind of World Cup thingy started in Auckland. There was a great sense of occasion there - the rugby was almost a sideshow as far as I was concerned - but all the public transport issues helped confirm what I've thought for some time, that as a 21st-century city Auckland doesn't function.

Last Saturday I had a look (from the outside only) at one or two houses in Hataitai and Miramar. I still need to get a bit more serious.

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