Saturday, 31 December 2011


For many years on my visits to Queenstown I have watched in admiration at the brave souls paragliding off the top of the gondola in Queenstown.

When we arrived in Queenstown we checked into our backpackers' accomodation that is situated near where the paragliders land. Once again I watched them come down finding excuses not to do it. Money was always my number 1 excuse but it was a disguise for the real reason being too timid. Jo suggested to me late in the afternoon that I should have a go.

We checked out at the Tourist Information about cost and availability. The man said Now Was Good. I took a deep breath, put my hand in my pocket and got out the $230 for the jump with video.

From there I had an apprehensive gondola ride to the top of the hill above Queenstown and was weighed at the desk and my weight was put on my hand. I suppose for the pilot that is useful information.

I waited for 45 minutes for the next available pilot. Gavin escorted me to the grassy slope that we would soon be jumping off. He gave me some important take off instructions. The proceedure was walk, power walk and run.

After a few minutes of hooking up and going through safety checks we through ourselves off the cliff. Strap yourselves in for a thrilling ride into Queenstown.

Without any doubt it is the most amazing thrilling experience I have ever had. The relief of successfully getting off the cliff and the floating effortlessly in the air is something that will stay with me forever. On safely arriving on firm ground I felt a great sense of achievement. It is definitely something I would love to do again.

New Year Greetings

2011 has been an eventful year for me with new friendships, special times with family and sporting achievements. Here are some of the highlights with my blog links. Some of the links are to Lea's blog.

A positive life changing experience for me is what I am doing now. Lea set up my blog site in the attempt to draw in a wider audience for my music. I have really enjoyed expressing myself through my blog. I have discovered my camera and I have been having fun using photos to describe significant and day to day happenings in my life. I have loved this new found form of self expression and connecting with a small but loyal group of readers.

I was most fortunate this year to have the best class ever in all of my teaching years. I taught a year 3 class who loved sharing in my passions of running, music, math and my uniquely designed programme I call glossary. They were by a long shot the most responsive group of children I have ever worked with and I know I have made a positive difference to their lives.

I formed a special friendship with one of my students Bianca and her mum, Lea. I was priveleged to have an invite to Bianca's Harry Potter 8th Birthday Party that was skillfully and creatively organised by Lea. Lea has been extremely encouraging with my music.

I accompanied Bianca and Lea on their visit to the Oncology Department of Wellington Hospital. It was fun playing and singing songs to the children with Bianca.

I was thrilled to assist Lea in her Funrazor at Coastlands and be able to sing a song I wrote from Lea's poem called This Little Girl of Mine. I believe in partnership with Lea it is one of my best. You can check it out on this You Tube link. Click here!

I have had a successful time in my running exploits. The highlight was winning gold in my age group in the New Zealand Mountain Running Championships in Porirua in April. Our Wellington Harriers Masters 50+ team won a silver medal at the National Road Relay in Auckland. My second blog was on this event. Click here 

I have had two fantastic holiday trips away with my family to Paihia in the Bay of Islands and recently to the South Island which I am currently blogging about. Check out my latest entry here.

We have celebrated this month Jo's mum's 80th in Timaru and my dad's 80th in April before my introduction to the blogging world. To find out about my dad click here.

No doubt I have left something important out but as you can see it has been a big and important year for me.

Thank you for all your positive comments and the sharing of your experiences and reflections.

How was your 2011?

I would like to share one of my songs to wish you all a Happy New Year.  Click here to listen to Another Year's Dawning!

Another Year's Dawning

Leave alone sorry seeds we've sown
If they scatter no matter if by winds they're blown
They serve no purpose their meaning outgrown
Past sell by date if the truth be known

Out with the old in with the new
Drink merry...let's have a few
Another Year's dawning for me and you

We've had our moments....outlived them...survived
We conquered together with courage and drive
Marched on....right along...though hesitant steps
Picking up stride...promises kept


Let's put behind us shortcomings...regrets
A positive future awaits us instead
Keeping on track no cause to look back
Life's melody sweetly renews tenderly


Boldly look forward next days will be white
Clearing the light...bright vision in sight
Passed the test of time less steep the climb
Coldness deserted...enjoy the sunshine


Friday, 30 December 2011

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo is a lovely spot. We stopped there for a night on our way to Queenstown after leaving Timaru, having celebrated Grandma's 80th.

On arrival at Lake Tekapo we checked in at our accomodation and had a short rest.

Jo wanted to check out Lake Alexandrina where her family used to go regularly on holiday, located 10 kms from Lake Tekapo.

Lake Alexandrina was extremely picturesque and its beauty was enhanced by the lupins that are prevalent around the area.

From there we drove up to the Mt John Observatory and took in some stunning views.

It was a warm day and we decided to freshen up at Lake Tekapo's Hot Pools.

After dinner we took a walk to the Church of the Good Shepherd

and of course I had to take the obligatory lupin photos. Aren't they beautiful colours!

It had been a big day so we had an early night to be ready for a walk up Mt John next morning before a long drive to Queenstown.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Grandma's 80th

As posted yesterday Jo's mum, Joyce clebrated her 80th with family and extended family a week before Xmas.

It was a fantastic occasion with a great turnout. It was the first time in 12 years that Joyce had all her children together.

We celebrated this momentous event at the Stables Farm Restaurant just south of Timaru in the South Island. It was a great venue with lots of outside areas for the children to run around and appreciate the farm animals.

It was a wonderful opportunity for Jo's family and all the grandchildren and Joyce's relatives to spend some quality time together.

The food was superb. Joyce was most grateful to all of those who turned up to join her on this special  day.

Joyce was presented with the compulsory birthday cake that Alice gave assistance in cutting up for the multitudes eagerly awaiting a sample.

There were some family photos to mark the occasion. Apologies to those whe read yesterday's post.

Proceedings were completed back at Joyce's place with her family.

I felt priveleged to be able to share with my family in Joyce's 80th. A most amazing lady!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Wordless Wednesday

On arriving in Timaru last week we celebrated Jo's mum's 80th. A full report with photos will follow soon.

Joyce is the Matriarch of the Tinkler tribe and the central point of call for her family and extended family. Her 80th was a fantastic occasion!

Here are a few select family photos taken on the day.
Joyce and family [Left to Right - David, Barry, Michael, Richard, Jo and Kelvin]
Joyce proudly sitting with all her grandchildren

Joyce and her youngest great grandchild

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Back to Reality

After 10 days of travelling around the South Island with few cares it was Down to Earth with a crash. Had a day of achievements but also some frustration.

After a pleasant run along the beach it was down to chores. After vacuuming, weeding the lawn and clipping the hedge I wrote the melody for my recent composition Xmas Cheer that I wrote on Christmas Day. Quite pleased with the result after some advice from my co-producer, Lea. She gave me some excellent advice about the tempo of the song.

Up to this point I was feeling self righteous and content. I should have stopped there. When I tried to put on my racing tyres and mend punctures I found myself spending 2 hours with very little to show for my time.

The tyre was reluctant to go on the rim and after a half an hour trying I discovered I pinched the tube when getting it on so it had to come back off. The tubes also didn't want to be repaired as the patches kept coming off.

Never mind I've put it behind me for another day.

Hope your day has gone better!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Xmas Celebrations

Have just got back from Timaru and downloaded some Christmas Day photos. Hope you like them!

The next few photos are of the house across from Jo's mum in Timaru:-

Some of the men are hard at work on the BBQ

Enjoying being outside on a lovely Xmas morning

Plenty of meat for everyone

A mighty fine selection of food has lovingly been prepared

Time to tuck in

The host in her finery

Everyone is enjoying their Christmas lunch

A glass of bubbly to accompany the lovely food

I really enjoyed spending time with Jo's family. I trust you had a wonderful day with family and friends. If you are like me you probably ate and drank a bit more than usual.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Xmas Cheer

A festive day...a Xmas rhyme
With family...friends...a special time

I ponder on this Xmas morn
As the sun comes up a new day dawns
A peaceful tranquil before the storm
Of great excitement born

Thinking back the growing years
Frantic jubilant voices hear
As presents from Santa are gleefully found
Kids eagerly open with joyful sounds

Now the children have grown my how the time's flown
Presents have changed...the latest phone
Lap Top for the big girl to pursue her dreams
To make a new life in places unseen

I wish you all Xmas cheer
Approaching the end of another year
Live in the moment...a mere blink of the eye
Celebrate Christ's day in a glorious way

Saturday, 24 December 2011


Oh the embarrassment! Cleaned up by my 80 year young father!

I suppose I shouldn't take it so hard as he has regularly beaten me in my earlier contests with him. In fact he has been consistently competitive over the years and we have brought out the best and worst in each other at times. Neither of us likes to lose.

I should be philosophical about the result as I did gain a convincing victory last time and I did have some bad luck this time.But some how this does not seem to bring me any solace!

I'm beginning to sound more like John all the time. Must have read too many of his blogs. If only I could express my feelings as well as he! If I could you would truly understand how devastating this defeat was!

I suppose you are saying to yourself ''Get over it man. It's only a game!''. If only I couild take some consolation in that thought!

I mean the humiliation. How can I possibly hold my head high when I've been comprehensively thrashed 4-0. I suppose there will be other days and hopefully better days where I can restore some self respect.

Back to the drawing board. Out with the pool cue and a strict practising regime before I head back down to Dunedin again to find some redemption. That is if my dad is gracious enough and willing to allow me the chance to challenge him again. He may now think I am not sufficiently skilled for him to bother playing with.

Can only hope I can pick up the pieces and get myself sorted out before next time.

I do apologise for my ramblings and the negative depressing nature of this blog. Do forgive me. It has been a long upsetting and trying day in coming to terms with my recent defeat. 

Thrashed in pool 4 - 0 by my ageing father. The shame!

Friday, 23 December 2011


Have been in the South Island for almost a week. I'm having a great time with my family and we are having some wonderful adventures and experiences. I have taken about 100 photos which I sadly won't be able to share with you for a few days. I will be busy when I get back to the Kapiti Coast on Monday writing up blogs on my trip with lots of great photos.

We initially flew to Christchurch and drove a rental to Timaru to celebrate Jo's mum's 80th. It was a great celebration as all Jo's 5 brothers were there.

From Timaru we drove to Lake Tekapo for a night followed by a wonderful 3 days in Queenstown. The girls and I did something real special there which was one of the most exciting things I have done. Yes, Lea you will have to wait until next week to find out!

I'm now in Dunedin catching up with my dad and sister. We took dad out for dinner last night and I am meeting him for a game of pool this afternoon.

I head back to Timaru tomorrow to spend Christmas with Jo's family before returning home.

It has been a fantastic holiday so far. I hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating Christmas with family and friends.

Friday, 16 December 2011

On my mind

This is a Friday photo feature that anyone with a blog can join (click here). To take part, post a photo on your own blog, write a short caption explaining it, and link it back to here from your blog by saying you're part of "On my mind". Please write a new post, don't link to an older one. When you've done that, come back here and add a comment below, with a link to your blog.

Bikes have been the theme of the week. I have just purchased two new racing wheels that I hope will improve my times by 2 minutes in the upcoming races starting in January.

It might not look expensive but at $500 new they certainly aren't cheap. Bring on the next race!

I'll be away for a bit, so will catch you after Christmas.  Wishing you all a lovely Christmas, thanks for all your support!