Friday, 29 June 2012

Taupo Travels

After school today I head off with my family to Taupo for the North Island Cross Country Championships. I will be competing for Wellington so extra pressure. I'm looking forward to it as I have been running really well and my hopes are to win a medal in my age category. I have only won 2 in the last 12 years in this event but have finished 4th a number of times. I am in my best shape for about 5 years I believe so I am quietly confident I can give it a real shot.

We are staying at the De Bretts Hotel so that will be really nice. The legs I'm sure will appreciate a soak in the hot pools after the race.

Will be away for a few days with no computer access so will report back next week hopefully with some stories, photos and some good news!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Live Your Dreams

Once again I am somewhat starved for inspiration and feel I'm in a bit of a rut. I suppose we all get like that at times. I recently wrote about living in the present but I think it is also important to reflect and evaluate where you are at.

Sometimes decisions have to be made to make sure that your life satisfies, is fulfilling and feels right. It is difficult at times to make a clear judgement as often it is hard to let go of what we are familiar with yet may not be what is best for us. I have been told by close advisors to be analytical but sometimes the heart is the best guide as it can't be argued with. No amount of analysing can change deep emotions and desires.

My song Live Your Dreams may have been included in a post previously but I feel it is timely to include it now.

 Live Your Dreams
Let your beauty be seen...clear waters up-stream
You've got what it takes...go on live your dreams

They'll knock you down and mess you around
Inner strength is yours...just let it be found
Avoiding the traps...with feet on firm ground
As the fox in the hunt and the hare from the hound

                                             Life has been full of pushes and pulls
Too ready to their beck and call
You've stumbled and tumbled in falls and spills
Pick yourself up with drive and will

                                                Deep inside great passion abides
Attend to its simmering lies
Braced for action...concealed it hides
Awaiting its the moon to the tides

Begin to doubts annoy
Your calmness...composure...all glory is yours
Now as always...forever more

Are you living your dreams? Do you believe it is important to ask questions about where you are and where you might be going? 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


A bit starved for ideas for blogging as little of interest is happening at the moment I can tell you about. So thought I'd turn to my back up of song lyrics that I have written for inspiration.

This poem / song has not yet been recorded so can only provide you with the lyrics.

It is written from a child perspective about what children really want and need. There are many children who materially might have all they possibly could want but as we all know money and possessions can not buy you happiness. Having money is important for a comfortable life but true happiness lies within.

Many children in our world are becoming more and more confused with everything out there in our capitalist world and much time is spent in entertainment and solitude. There is a real disengagement at times from what they really need.

Here is Warmth...Love that expresses these feelings better than any further ramblings on my part:- 

Warmth…love that’s all we need
A flower grows from the smallest seed
Protect us from choking weeds
Nurture ‘til we’re strong indeed

On you we trust…depend
A helping hand will you lend

Money …toys can do without
As long as you’re around…about
To give your time and self to us
Care and trust…honesty’s a must

Will you be our very best friend?
Draw us in or turn away…send?

What you give will three fold return
Through your guidance teach us to learn
Encourage with smiles not faces stern
Build bridges not break down…burn


What special ways do you give warmth and love to your children? What activities do you do with your children that helps bond you as a family?

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Who's Who

Travelling is great fun but for me it is people that make it all the more special!

Over the last 20 years I have made my 2 - 3 year pilgrimages to Europe for the World Mountain Running Championships and have always included London as part of my trip. This year was no exception!

Since living in London for 3 years back in the mid 80's I have had a strong pull back. I am a nostalgic person and love the history that London has to offer! But it is the friends I made there that keeps drawing me back.

In fact the first of these I caught up with on my last visit who have often put me up are Chris and Mary who I actually met in my home town, Dunedin. Mary is a kiwi but Chris is English. In the late 80's Chris had been posted to the Dunedin Library for a year exchange and I met him through my brother who also worked at the library. Chris and Mary struck up a friendship with Jo and I and we regularly met up for dinner. They now live in Worcester Park and have been extremely kind to me by letting me stay with them. I always catch up with Chris for a few pints!

Chris at the Worcester Park Hotel

Paul and Dave are two Londoners who I met when I joined Thames Valley Harriers in 1985. I struck up a friendship with them and we travelled around different parts of England to compete in various races. It is wonderful to meet local people as a tourist. They looked after me and introduced me to the English way of life. I enjoyed meeting up again this time and reliving the old days when we were younger and faster.

From Left - Paul, Dave and I

The last person I would like to mention is John who many readers will know from his blog and mine. He bravely agreed to meet me at his home in Southern England and look after me for a day. We had a great time playing music and managed to tell our life histories in that time. John is a colourful character with quite a past that he regularly writes about on his blog. We struck up a great friendship and I look forward to meeting up again in a couple more years.

John and Tricia

Monday, 25 June 2012

Energetic Exercise

With the bad weather last week I ended up taking the car to work most days which meant I short changed myself on the exercise front. Being the fanatic I am I decided I needed to do a catch up over the weekend.

On Saturday I tackled the hills behind Paraparaumu for a 2 hour run. It is a pleasure to be running away from civilisation. In fact in 16 years I have only ever once come across another runner in these hills and that was someone I knew. These photos are of parts of the course that you may have seen before.

On Sunday we were to travel up to Palmerston North to pick up Kate on holiday from University for 3 weeks. I decided to make the 95 km [60 mile] trip on my bike while Jo and Alice drove up. I did the trip in 3 hours which I was really pleased about.

It is lovely to have Kate back home for the term break!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Getting Close

A risky business getting close to people. I know over the years I have been rather cautious about getting involved with people. Most of us will be able to recall times where we have trusted in people and they let us down. People who on the surface come across as genuine and caring that you open up to and find that they are only there for the good times. People who tell you one thing and do another.

When I was in my 20's a running friend lent me a book to read. Admittedly it took me a few months to finish it but without a word to me he went around telling others that I stole it from him. I felt really let down by him as he had become what I thought was a good friend. From that moment on I never trusted him again or had any time for him.

Opening up to others of course makes you vulnerable and it is human nature to protect yourself. It makes it particularly hard when you feel you make a connection with someone who initially appeared genuine and you find is unreliable.

This blogging business has been a special way of connecting for me and although most people I am in contact with I will probably never meet in person it has been lovely to open up and share parts of my life with them. It has been lovely to communicate with others who share similar experiences and it is a positive network of support.

A special thanks to Lea for introducing me to blogging as I am enjoying sharing my music with others.

Also a special mention to John who many will know writes delightful and entertaining posts. It has been a great pleasure to learn about John through following his blog and also to meet up with him in person on my recent expedition to England. In one day it felt like we had known each other forever. I look forward to catching up again in 2 years time if he doesn't change his mind in the meantime.

I want to finish with the song I have posted before that sums up this post. This recently written song is called Hold Me and was recorded with John while with him at his home in southern England. The song's lyrics are about letting someone get close to you and how much joy that can bring. It speaks of how another person's love can transform you from sadness and emptiness to joy and hope. Only by opening up to others can we be truly loved.

Hope you enjoy Hold Me! If you have heard it already have another listen as I believe it is one of my finest compositions and has been an important song for me in love's journey.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Day-Tight Compartments

I am my worst enemy or more accurately worrying is!

Lea and I share a saying Not Too Much Thinking and she suggested I read a book by Dale Carnegie called Pathways To Success.

Last night about 2 a.m on one of my regular night wake ups I opened up the chapter called Fundamental Facts You Should Know About Worry

There were some wonderful life-saving words of advice that I intend to take with me through today and every day of my life. Hope I can keep up this promise to myself to change my way of thinking so that every day is a gift and a blessing to live in.

Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand
- Thomas Carlyle

Shut off the future as tightly as the past....The future is today...There is no tomorrow

Give us this day our daily bread
- Someone famous 2000 years ago

One grain of sand at a task at a time
- a day passing as sand through an hour glass

Every day is a new life to a wise man

Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, for one day...Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down. And this is all that life really means.
- Robert Louis Stevenson

Happy the man and happy he alone
He who can call today his own
He who secure within can say
Tomorrow do thy worst for I have lived today
- Roman poet Horace [30 years before the birth of Christ]

Think that this day will never dawn again. Today is our most precious possession. It is our only sure possession.
- Dante

For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope
Look well, therefore to this day!
Such is the salutation to the dawn
- Famous Indian dramatist, Kalidasa

Hope the above words help some one today as they have helped me to look differently at my life and the gift that has been given to me.

Here is my contribution to the thoughts of the day through one of my earliest songs called Chasing Rainbows.

Chasing Rainbows smell the roses...searching for my 4 leaved clover

Hope you like the lyrics of this song as I feel I have written some thoughtful and reflective poetry!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Best Friends Forever

At school the children and I regularly sing together a mixture of some of my old time favourites and my own original songs.

About 8 years ago I wrote a song about friendship that was in my thinking about relationships between adults. Surprisingly I discovered when I tried it at school it became one of the most popular songs I have ever played with the kids.

When we sing this song together they usually put their arms around each other naturally and sway to the music. I put this down to several reasons. I'm sure having music in my classroom each morning creates a special bond between me and the children and each other. Because music is so important to me in my life as a form of lifting my spirit I am so glad I can share this with my children and see the warm affect it has in my room. Music creates a sense of belonging and this song Best Friends Forever particularly expresses the importance of other people in our lives.

Hope you like it and that the lyrics reflect the closeness you feel to those important to you!

Friday, 15 June 2012

In The Groove

I know I'm not alone but i tend to worry far too much about the what ifs mentioned by Lea in her post yesterday. This has been a recurring theme lately in posts I've read.

I am good at writing songs on enjoying the moment but not so good at following my own advice. It has been interesting reading other people's slant on living in the present and not getting bogged down in what the future might hold. All I know is what I know in the present and I'm trying to hold on to that basing decisions on the here and now and trusting my instincts. Life is far too short to spend my time with regrets and worrying about what will probably never happen.

Here is another original song called In The Groove! Hope you like it and it gives you a lift for your day!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Only You

As a song writer I explore varied themes but always in the back of my mind is the desire to reach people and hopefully touch them by my reflections and experiences.

Those followers who have listened to my songs know that I have written about sadness, joy and love. There have been moments of great despair in my life mixed in with hope and positivity.

A lot of my writing is a personal journal of myself as a dad, teacher and someone who has sought companionship and true love. My slant on love has often been romantic, dream like and idealistic and not necessarily based on what love really has been for me.

My original song Only You is written for all you lovers out there who have found that special someone who loves you uncompromisingly. That special someone who really digs you for who you are and is totally relaxed and comfortable in your presence. Ultimately your soul mate who can look in to your eyes and say I love Only You!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Passing Days

Been a bit slack lately but have been inspired by John's post on his parachuting pursuits. Can't possibly compete with that so I won't even try.

Here is a song written recently called Passing Days. Sadly the sound of our piano echoes quite a bit so apologies if you have difficulty picking up the lyrics.

The chorus goes:-

Start today make every moment count
It's up to you what you choose to do

We should make decisions in life on what we know now. We can't predict the future so there is little point in worrying about it. I need to listen to my own words of advice more readily as I am one of the great thinkers and can talk myself out of any decision making.

Hope you like the song that Lea recorded for me!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Harrier Honours

Yesterday was one of the big Harrier races for the season. The event is called the Dorne Cup and is over hurdles, through mud and streams and is 8 km [5 miles] distance.

I had an excellent run improving on my time by 2:30 from last year. I felt strong throughout the race and had a real battle for first place in the over 50 grade but couldn't quite beat my competition. Graeme and I exchanged the lead a number of times but he finished a little stronger than me beating me by about 5 seconds with me claiming the Silver Medal which I hope turns up some time soon..

Our number one supporter in the Wellington Masters team, Mark kindly took splits of our team over the two laps. He got my time as almost 2 minutes quicker than the next runner in our team.
A most pleasing start to the main competitive part of the season!

Unfortunately still no photos due to connection troubles!

Friday, 8 June 2012

An Empty Vessel

I think I've lost a lot of my readers so I will keep this short. It could have something to do with my less than positive recent posts or simply due to my slackness in commenting on others' posts. Times have been a bit difficult lately but I'm chugging along and I believe I am on the up.

Today's post is another song recorded for me by Lea who has been fantastic with downloading my songs on to You Tube.

This original song written 2 weeks ago is called An Empty Vessel and is a love song dedicated to those special someones in your life that make getting up in the morning worthwhile, put a smile on your dial through the day and who you like to snuggle up close to in the evenings.

Please come back readers as I promise I will try and be a little more inspirational and avoid my self pity mode that I do seem to slip into from time to time.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

You Aint Going Nowhere

Everyone in their lives go through stages where they question the choices they are making and how they want to live their lives. At least people should because time is so short and you only get one shot. Sometimes this questioning occurs quite unexpectedly!

Dean Karnazes, the Ultramarathon Man discovered a new direction on his 30th birthday. He realised that being a corporate man bringing in 6 figures a year was not fulfillling him or bringing him happiness. He had been a competitive runner in his college years but on leaving college had given it up. His sister died in a car crash at the age of 18 which also threw a lot of confusion into his life.

So at the age of 30 Dean set out for a run in an old pair of sneakers, after arriving home early hours of the morning, on celebrating his birthday. He ran for 45 kn [28 miles] and basically ran himself into the ground. He had to call his wife to come and get him. This run was the start of what he called Living. He finally felt truly Alive. From here he took on the greatest challenges any person could take on and became one of the most successful ultra marathon runners ever. He has run through Death Valley in the heat of summer and ran 100 mile races over mountains where he ran through the night, suffered night blindness and had to crawl the last couple of miles to the finish line.

I am so grateful I discovered running at an early age as it is extremely fulfilling for me and does make me feel Alive.

We all need to look at ourselves regularly and make sure we are not merely existing. We need to make sure that the decisions we make on a day to day basis are what we really want from our lives as we can't get the time back again.

Lea helped me with my version of Bob Dylan's You Aint Goin' Nowhere. Hope you like it and that my post gives you something to think about as you go through your day today!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Box of Cherries

John suggested after my last post that I might be best to refrain from listening to Elliot Smith.

Due to my morbid reflective nature I find him irresistible and I want to share my guitar version of one of his more happier songs. I have posted this song before playing the piano but I think this one has come out better.

Lea recorded this for me last week along with quite a few more coming up soon. I am really pleased how I nailed the high notes as it's not always the case.

Hope you like my guitar version of Elliot Smit's song I Figure You Out!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Just Make It Over

Apologies as my post today is not one of my cheerier numbers but life isn't always a box of cherries. Please continue reading though as at the end I have a song I wrote that expresses some of my current feelings. We all need to share those feelings at times or the burden can become too much. Thankyou to all my friends who have been there for me.

In our lives we go through conflicts and sometimes those conflicts can be rather hard or impossible to solve without hurts. Recently my life has become more complicated and at times it is really hard to know what to do for the best. Thankfully this doesn't happen too often to me but when it does it requires great mental strength and resolve. Trying to keep it positive as much as I can.

Here is my song Just Make It Over that expresses that inner turmoil and the demons that lurk about and can sneak up on you when you least expect it. Please have a listen as I feel I have written a great song. You might need your hanky handy! Thanks Lea for recording it for me!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

World Masters Mountain Running Championships

The village of Buhlertal had been a buzz for several days leading up to the big race. Signs had been put up promoting this world event that had come to their little neck of the woods in the Black Forest.

The race was not until the afternoon so I had myself a healthy but large breakfast at my Hotel. The Geman precision of their train system flows over to other aspects of their lives. The layout for my breakfast was measured, stacked and meticulously set out. Even the freshly boiled eggs were put in little jackets.

 After my full breakfast I relaxed in my room and contemplated what lay ahead. Becoming more daunting the more I thought about it. It later proved to be harder than I imagined.

Around 11:00 I put on my New Zealand uniform and attempted to get a photo though somewhat unsuccessfully.

The race start was 3 km up the road so I got myself there in plenty of time.

After the usual preparations and handing in of bags to be transported to the race finish I lined up at the starting line with 153 other hopeful runners from countries all over Europe and Britain.

The race started gradual up but soon became nasty with 3 km of steady climbing.

The downhill view of what I ran up

Felt the pressure from the start as I positioned myself in about 30th place. After 3 km I was struggling and was aware there were another 20 within seconds behind me. I tried to block that out and keep focussed ahead. Thankfully it started to improve for me and I worked my way steadily up the field. I had managed to get in to 19th place with 400 metres to go but aware there was someone chasing me down hard. I scrambled painfully over the last stretch to the finish and collapsed over the finish line to complete the 9.6 km [6 mile] uphill race in just over 49 minutes. I had completely wasted myself and when I began to recover felt a great sense of satisfaction but also relief. I had beaten my kiwi running mate, Pat by 30 seconds which has been a rarity over the last 5 years.

After the race I developed a chill looking for my bag and shook continuously for the 30 minutes on the bus ride down to the race start. I staggered to my Hotel and had a sleep for 2 hours. I have never been so exhausted for hours afterwards in any of my previous hundreds of races over my 30 years. I was however extremely proud to have finished 19th in a huge and highly competitive world championships

Saturday, 2 June 2012

German Splendour

One of the delights of my regular travels to Europe for the World Mountain Running Champs is staying in beautiful mountainous resort areas. This year was at the foot of the Black Forest. I love the architecture of the grand and beautifully upkept housing in the quaint European villages. I love the pride that the German people take in adorning their homes and invariably their terraces have lovely flower arrangements.

Here are some photos taken on my run in the afternoon on arrival day.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Let the Holiday begin

Arrived in Germany on a Wednesday. My flight landed in Frankfurt and from there I needed to take the Ice Train to Buhl. The precision of the German trains is exemplary as they run like clock work and seats are allocated and checked by guards that everyone is in the right place at the right time.

From there it was a short bus ride to my accomodation in Buhlertal at the foot of the Black Forest. I arrived at the Hotel Adler jet lagged and in desperate need of a freshen up after travelling for about 35 hours.

Unfortunately on arrival my room wasn't yet ready so I thought the next best thing was to sample the local German beer while I waited.

I took a short walk into the village. Buhlertal is a lovely picturesque township! I love the architecture of their buildings.

I was especially happy with my new home for the next few days.

Stay tuned as there is plenty more to come!