Here you will find entries that I might not want to add to the rant section of the site but I do want to make mention about.
Most of the time you will find updates about me and the family and what we are getting up to.
Holidays xmas 2011
Tuesday 17 January 2012
After getting the site back and running again one of the things that I forgot to was to tell you about my holidays
The holidays started for me around the 21st of December when the whole clan, including cats, flew down to Dunedin.
My parents where away visiting my sisters family for Christmas this year in Brussels and they offered us the house to use while we were down there so long as we fed the cats. Deal Done.
The original idea was to drive down to Christchurch on the 22nd stop off and visit an old mate who I only get to see online these days, but I have know most of my life, then continue on to Dunedin the next day. Unfortunately the cost of doing this was quite a way out of reach so we reverted to flying again.
After the flight from Wellington on one of Air New Zealands Bombardier Q300s we got a Taxi to my parents place in Maori Hill. From there we picked up the car and went down to my mother-in-laws place for some fish and chips and an onion sausage, one of the things that you canít get in the north island of New Zealand.
Day two of the holidays included some Christmas shopping which was going to be very simple this year as we could only afford to buy for the children this year. Dropped oldest off with Grandy, youngest didnít want to leave mum and dad so it was off to the warehouse. $200 later and 1 hour later and it was all over so it was back to Grandys for tea.
Christmas day was to be held at Aunt Jills house/flat which just about turned out to be a tardis. Neither Liz or myself thought that there was going to be enough room in the house for 5 adults and 2 children but there was more room and it wasnít a problem. I ended up getting more for Christmas than I had ever imaged and the kids were really pleased with the gifts from everyone. They really loved the Zuzu pets they got from Grandy.
The rest of the holidays where spent relaxing on the deck at the parents place and generally having tea at Grandys place. Spent a few nights/mornings talking with mum and dad over while I was there and I also managed to get quite a few copies of some photos and slides scanned in so that I could get a copy. Most of these can be found in the photos section. There is a new album for the holiday which I have finished uploading all the photos but you will also be able to see the cats section has been updated with the cats that I have grown up with as well.
I did spend some time at the beach, Gardens and various other places and for the first time in about 10 years I really did feel like I had a holiday. I would still like to take the family away for a camping holiday but that will be when I have a bit more money at my disposal.
Driving in the South
Tuesday 19 April 2011
On Sunday the 10th of April I had to take the car that I had borrowed from my parents last year down to Christchurch so that they could pick it up and drive it the rest of the way down to Dunedin. I had my ticket booked for the 0225 ferry arriving in Picton at around 0530. The ferry trip was completely forgettable due to the fact that I slept, like most of the passengers, most of the way across. I got back into my car just before we arrived in Picton to find what I hoped was not to be a standard for the trip. When I left the car on the deck of the ship I had left the drivers door slightly open which meant that the interior light was left on for the last 3 hours. I sat in my car diligently waiting on the starting orders from the crew on the deck and hoping that the car would start. I didnít want to try and start the car to test that all was working as this could be the last start that I got out of the battery for a while and I didnít want to turn it off just in case. Well all things started and I was off on my trip down the south island.
The plan was to drive to Blenheim and get breakfast there and continue from there after having a little break. For those of you that donít know the south island very well (or at all) the Picton to Blenheim run is around 20-30 minutes. I had turned off the highway at Blenheim and ventured into town at around 0600. As you would expect, there was nothing open. Suspecting even McDonalds wouldn't be open I found myself a park and had a quick nap for half an hour. Looking back at the clock it was 0630 so I decided it was time to try and find McDonalds and grab some breakfast at long last.
The reason that Iím telling you all this is that I had the best drive from Picton to Christchurch that I have ever experienced in the few years (20 odd) that I have been driving; and it was all down to the way that I had planned it. I discovered a few years ago that if you want a stress-free drive after getting off the ferry then your best bet is to let the traffic go ahead of you. There are a few factors that you canít control with this trip and the ferry crossing is one of them. After my little rest and grabbing breakfast the road ahead of me was just about completely clear of traffic, and I could drive at my own pace without having to worry about lots of drivers ahead of me speeding on the straights and crawling around the corners, or traffic behind me wanting to pay the government more money for using the roads at what ever speed they decided was appropriate. This didnít mean that I didnít see any traffic, but what I did see I was able to deal with in a safe manner.
I love driving, particularly open road, and there is a lot of skill involved with driving on the open road, too. Unlike a lot of people, I tend not to use my brakes when entering a corner. Instead, I plan for the corner and simply slow down by lifting off the accelerator before getting into the corner. It is also something that you can do when arriving in towns where the speed limit has been reduced to 70 or even 50 kph. This is an art that, from what I can tell, has been lost on most people - itís not even something that is trained into most drivers these days. Some would say that this is only something that can be achieved in a manual (stick shift) car, but the car that I was driving was an automatic with no ABS system for the brakes.
Like all trips there were a few things that I remember most about this journey. There was a narrow bridge where I passed a dump truck with both of us going at speed. There was a van that tried to keep up with me but couldn't complete corners at the same speed. The van was the most memorable because he wanted to drive faster on the straights and obviously knew the area better than I did. But rather than pass me and slow me down when he decided to turn off he just sat behind me and waited until his turn off came up, and turned off. There was the Big Chill truck that was able to keep his speed up all the way until I pulled off for some food, a drink, and a quick break.
When I drive open road I drive at the speed limit. I know that I can drive faster, and in the past I have done. But I also know, not through personal experience thank god, what type of mess can happen when things stop going the way you plan and you end up on your roof or worse. If you donít know what I mean just look for motor sport crashes. A couple that come to mind. The V8 Supercars crash between Mark Larkham and Paul Morris at Oran Park in 2000, the speed of which was estimated at around 160 kph. Or there was Jason Bargwanna's Phillip Island crash in 2002. Both of these events happened at the start of the race when the cars would have been going a speed that I have seen people doing on the open road. Remember; these cars have been designed to take a hit like that and provide the person inside the greatest possible chance of survival. There is a roll cage that encases the squishy bit that occupies the seat and all of these people where able to be pulled out alive. Now Iím not sure how many people know what a roll cage looks like, and in most road-going cars, that's the crucial part that is missing. Most modern cars are designed to take a crash at 100kph even 110kph, but once you are over that limit you are in the same boat as anyone else, and you sure wonít be able to kick the door open and hop out. We are talking Jaws of Life - and when you are on the open road that could be some time away - and inevitably is.
No, Iím not a perfect driver. Yeah, I have driven at speeds that have broken the speed limit. I have been off the clock (over 180 kph) in one of my cars, and Iím very lucky to have never had something go wrong. And I've also been caught a few times and I have paid my fines. To say the very least, Iím lucky to have never lost my licence.
Donít get me wrong; there are still people out there that can drive and know what their limits are, and drive to them. But there are more and more people out there who get a car and just drive like idiots. No, Iím not talking just about the so-called boy racers, as most of the cars I have seen being driven like idiots are not generally in the budget of most boy racers. Iím not saying that someone canít buy a fast car and not enjoy the drive. My point is - better to enjoy the drive safely, than to drive it only the once.
My message would be; Learn your limits as a driver, and learn what your car's capabilities are. This will take at least six months in any particular car. This combination is critical to safe driving. Most people who live to drive beyond the speed limit are generally unable to keep up in the corners. Getting that part right will provide you with more ways to enjoy the drive than any going over the speed limit.
Changes while I've been offline
Thursday 18 September 2008
There have been a few changes since I last had the site online.
We now have a new addition to the family. Gabby the tokenise cat has joined our family. She is very cute and there will be photos on the site very soon.
We also have a new car as well. I got rid of the Subaru Legacy and purchased a Mazda MPV. This was based on the decision to head south for the Christmas and taking the cats with us. There was no way that we where going to fit 3 cat cages, 2 kids and car seats, baggage and 2 adults in the Legacy. I will add photos to the site soon.
Iím still working at Gen-i but for the last few months Iíve changed from working in the reactive team to working the SOE team to cover one of the guys who went home for a holiday in Greece.
Just a warning about slogans
Wednesday 14 March 2007
If you are going to put a slogan on your car make sure that you abide by that slogan.
I was travelling down the motorway the other day when I happen to catch an ACC car being driven quite close to the car that was in front of it. The slogan on the back of the car??
Only a fool breaks the 2 second rule.
For those of you that don't know this one it was released saying that when travelling safely on the road you should always be at least 2 second behind the vehicle in front of you when conditions are ideal (ie dry and clear visibility).
What can we take from the person driving that car for ACC?
Monday 12 March 2007
Whoo Hoo. I have got my self a new job working with Agriculture ITO. Itís a job that will start out being the same as what I was doing at the police but will grow into more. The pay is good and I'm looking forward to the new challenge.
Saturday 24 February 2007
Finally we are here on a 2nd holiday of the year. There are some good things about working night shifts and having 5 days off after it. I get about 12 days off for the price of 5 days leave.
We arrived in Te Puke on Thursday and have been enjoying the time of doing nothing while we are here. The trip up was very uneventful and quite. Both James and Taylor where very well behaved. We stopped in Taupo for lunch and also to get James a pair of Socks that he hadnít put holes in from running around on the concrete. After that it was getting lost in Ratorura and then trying to find the kiwifruit farm that we needed to get to in Te Puke. (out of about 50)
Finally found where we were going and 9 hours after we left off we had reached the sunny destination.
James has finally worked out how to ride his new bike without the training wheels and does so with great abandon, all that we need to work on now is getting him to go in the right direction and he should stop falling off.
I will add more later but for now I shall leave it there so I can go and enjoy some of the sun.