Monday, August 27, 2007

Blogs, school productions and cross country skiing

Dear Readers

Thanks all for the visits to this little diary. Given that I spend my work time in front of a computer, it's really nice to send the news to just one place. I subscribe to the feeds of other bloggers - this way I don't have to go to their sites on a regular basis to check for updates. The softwares to do this are called aggregators. You can find a full list on Wikipedia [more >>]. For local [your own desktop software] I'd recommend FeedDemon for Win. and NetNewsWire for Mac. I believe you have to pay for the former and there is a Lite free version of the latter.

On Monday and Tuesday evening last week the school had a production or two running, so I went on Monday evening to watch Dougal in action. The years of experience on Friday night's Dance and Drama sessions showed through. The school was apparently not going do anything this year, but the kids insisted and then wrote and produced the whole thing with no input from teachers. The results were amazing. [photo above: Dougal with one of his Dance and Drama friends, being cross examined in the play Trial by Gods].

The week's cross country skiing: well I'm getting over the tiredness of the big race a week ago, and have been up 3 times putting up some big Kms - just simply making the most of the superb snow and company.
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Monday, August 20, 2007

Merino Muster week[end]

So much happened last week it's just a blur, but I do recall two lots of evening/night cross country skiing. One was very very cold - about minus 17 down in the gully I haunt, and with about a 10 knot wind.... but it was dry - so dry the hairs in my nostrils were getting stiff! And by this I mean in such conditions frost nip becomes a factor to guard against on the extremities such as the tip of the nose and ears - shades of Antarctica - so I wore my light hat, as one relies on buddies to spot the waxing colour of the skin as the minor frost bite sets in, and I do these night skiing trips solo. The rest of me was fine as I've acclimatised. I know this because I've had a thing about wanting fatty foods all week!

All this activity was an excuse for training for my 21 Km race on Sat. in the Snow Farm's legendary Merino Muster. This year 160 folk started - a record, bulked out by the arrival of 40 Finns in a bus. I slogged out my 21 Km with two of them and enjoyed the fun of their relentless technique born of having grown up with this sport that so lends itself to their tough mental discipline towards life. Thanks to this I set a new personal best of 2hrs 49 mins. despite 3 Km being really demanding sticky snow, that balled up under our skis. Meanwhile Dougal did the 7 Km with his mate Tom and they got around the 34 min mark. So we were all smiles as we rushed down the hill afterwards so he could attend a dress rehearsal for a school play tonight [which I'm really looking forward to attending].

Sunday... well the racing took it's toll - especially the sticky snow section: we chilled out around the house for the day eating and drinking.
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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Scenarios, weather, web sites and snow

I had a day mid week at Makarora helping run an Outdoor First aid course. The change of scene and the people [a fire/rescue group] were great, but oh my, the sun does not peek above the over shadowing mountains very early at all. It ended with a wicked scenario - a two car and bicycle collision. Such scenarios are very powerful even for those who set them up, and a great reminder to be safe on the roads.

We had our catch up with weather on Friday and Sat. and by it's end on Sat. evening I knew we'd at last got decent dump of snow on the ski areas. To while away the time until it cleared today [Sun] I refurbished the web site of a good friend who leads a nomadic life with Wanaka on the circuit every year or so. I built it in 2005 when we were fortunate to have a series of high powered trips in the Alps always being in tune with the weather, and the rebuild bought up lots of nice memories. She's quite the artist and loves to see ice in all it's shades of blue and turquoise. You can take a look at her work and enjoy her prose here.

Today's photo is predictably all about my big passion for x/c skiing. Tonight on leaving the light worked it's magic for a few minutes at the Snow Farm. I'd arrived up there late, but still got out for a long trip [training - big Merino Muster race next Sat.], but got caught by the next front, and had a tussle with high winds and snow, and then it magically cleared for these shots.
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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Writing a book Foreward

The big surprise this week has been my friend Roger Wandless asking me to write a foreward for his second book of New Zealand landscapes. This is quite an honour and not something I've ever got to do before. I've got until Friday, but that is fine - nothing like just getting into a project like this so the words come from the heart.

I have already been involved in this project on a number of levels [photo attached of Roger on Rocky Top], and lately giving opinions as to what images get used. I won't give away the title at this stage but suffice to say it encompasses landscapes from Bluff to Nelson.

On another matter, namely this blog, I have to report that viewer numbers have just hit a 100 per month. Considering I write something 4 times per month, that seems to indicate that about 20-25 people look at it. However about 60% of people get to it from a search engine search, and from quite a few countries at that.

The word on blogs is that only 1-2 percent of people leave a comment, so thank you those who have, as it seems I might be a little above this figure...

... if you are tempted to Comment please do. I'd be interested to know if it's photos that bring you or the news, or both. It's quite intriguing.

This coming Wed. I'm instructing on another Outdoor First Aid course, but this time up the road at Makarora [about a 1 hr. drive from Wanaka, on the way to the the Haast Pass and West Coast]. All these courses are very scenario driven, but this one will be more so - the fire crew up there are going to block the road with a fake accident. I'll be taking my camera - the results maybe sobering!
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