Tuesday, November 19, 2013

All walks of life

On Saturday I went on a walk to the lighthouse at Pencarrow with the tramping club. Ten of us did the walk. Danielle was there - she seemed to thrive on the mainly flat terrain; I struggled to keep up with her. There was Barbara, an American who has been on several of my walks including that (in)famous bush-bash we did in April 2012. We had a tattooed surfer dude by the name of Brad - I wondered why so many surfers are called Brad or Brett or Shane, and comparatively few are called, say, Nigel. Brad wanted to join the army and was doing the walk (with weights in his pack) mainly as preparation for his physical assessment. He had an inquiring mind and I felt he would do well for himself. There was a Japanese woman who, until she came to NZ, hated the very idea of walking or any form of physical exercise. And besides, she said, she was too busy. Leading the trip was a woman of about my age who was brought up in Elsworth, just a few miles from where I lived. She was with her boyfriend. We also had a woman about to begin a career as one of New Zealand's 1.7 million real estate agents. I asked her why agents get so much commission. "It's just the market." That's the 21st-century explanation for practically anything.

It was a decent trek and was more demanding on the way back as we faced the northerly wind. We climbed up to the lighthouse, New Zealand's first (it went live, so to speak, in 1859) - unsurprisingly it was pretty windy up there, but we had a great view and could see a snow-capped South Island mountain. Then we walked along by the lake before following the coastline back (into the wind, this seemed never-ending). I caught the sun a bit - I was exposed to it for five or six hours, and for some reason I didn't think to put on sunscreen. All in all it was a good day's walk. It was noted that I'd done plenty of day walks with the club but no overnight trips. Conversations about tramping gear ensued, but they completely missed the reason why I haven't been keen to move to the next level.

I might still be going to see the All Whites tomorrow with my cousin and her family. Or else I might be babysitting for her youngest. I don't know yet. I see NZ are paying $40 at the TAB to qualify for the World Cup. Those are extremely stingy odds - adding an extra nought would be a more accurate reflection of their chances. If the All Whites were to make it, it would be a candidate for the biggest story in the history of NZ sport.

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