Monday, December 29, 2008

Wellington Reminding Me Why I Live Here

The view from our lounge as I type.

And it better look pretty because, as beautiful and warm and sunny as it may have been the last couple of days the Northerly has completely owned me both times I've ventured out to ride. Cleo may have lovely new fast Kevlar beaded tires, but I still suck at riding into the wind.

Now, however, as a light rain rolls in off the coast and the room fills with the smell of wet, warm concrete, I can forgive this city her transgressions. I like living here, really.

Today was a pretty good kind of Wellington day. It featured pretty much everything on my list of things to enjoy. It started with a breakfast of bircher muesli and yoghurt and a little bit of a lie in and some reading in bed.

From there I embarked on stage one of today's two step exercise plan. I parked right outside Les Mills (gotta love the holiday period) and jumped on an exercise bike planning to ride for ten minutes to warm up. My plans were somewhat changed when I noticed that Sky Sports was playing their documentary on the Taupo race. I started watching and only got off my bike when I realised I was going to run out of time to fit some weights in before the parking meter expired.

Fortyfive minutes of upper body weights followed and I worked up a good sweat. My flow was somewhat broken however by a foul smell wafting around which got stronger each time I sat down between sets of pull-ups and push-ups. A quick glance at the base of my shoe and ... I discovered a new use for the antibacterial wipes in the Les Mills toilets. Let's just say that last week the neighbours had a load of sand delivered, which was offloaded across the path down to our house. Most of the sand has gone but there's still a reasonable layer left on the ground that has to be walked through on the way up to the car. And when cats see sand they quite logically think giant litter tray. When I finally made it back to the weights floor I was still retching and more than a little pale ...

It was a good workout though and I made it back to the car ten minutes before my parking expired and with a parking warden ticketing the car next to me.

Off home, a quick shower, lunch and some Feijoa cider and then Hamish and I embarked on a garden mission. Being Wellington our house is built on a steep slope. Below the house is a retaining wall about a storey high and along the base of the wall is what looked to be an old box garden fenced in with pallets. Over time we've used it as a place to throw garden trimmings and it's gotten increasingly overgrown. We've been planning for ages to clean it out and turn it into a proper garden and compost heap. With that in mind we ventured out a couple of days ago to buy a garden mulcher. Today was the day we planned to try it out.

When I got down the bottom of the garden (which involves a little clambering down some steep, crumbly concrete stairs) I was a bit overwhelmed by the jungle that confronted me but I figured I might as well just get stuck in. Hamish joined me not long afterwards and the fun began. He started tearing out a flax bush (don't worry - we have heaps of flax elsewhere) and I started randomly tearing at various weeds and vines.

Two hours later we had shifted a huge mound of garden waste from one place to another. We'd pulled apart the now-rotten pallets that had once formed the box garden. We had also pulled out an old television, a wall heater, some bathroom plumbing, some old guttering, countless empty plastic topsoil bags, a small pile of marbles, a rather nice blue tile, a spoon, a random rusty cog-thing, some unidentifiable electronic remnants, downpiping, corugated iron, empty plastic tobacco packets, old bottles (glass and plastic), the odd chocolate bar wrapper, downpiping and an impressive collection of rotting timber.

As is typical with anything to do with our house, what started out seeming like a straightforward job quickly grew into something larger. We retreated inside for iceblocks and a glass of Rose as we reconsidered our plan of attack. We've decided to clear a space in the corner where we'll start our compost heap, and we're planning on starting to mulch what we can. As we go we'll sort out the stuff that will need to go to the landfill and, then, we'll either heft it all up to the road (a rather large distance uphill) or I'd be happy to pay some students to do it for us.

After allowing myself a little time to recover and munch on some corn chips it was on to stage 2 of today's exercise plan. I was quite happy for an incident-free ride after nearly getting taken out on a roundabout on Cobham Drive yesterday by a woman who never took her right elbow off her car windowsill, or hand off her head as her car crept further and further across the solid white line towards me. I don't think she heard me screaming at her and I'm not sure she ever even noticed me at all.

So .... today was thankfully exactly that - incident-free. On a stunning Wellington day I sulked my way through my ride. I was over the wind - totally over the wind. I got it done, and that's all that can be said for it! Oh, I enjoyed the beautiful views, the families swimming and hanging out on the coast, the ferries coming and going. I just felt off form today. My legs didn't have the power they should have and I badly needed a riding companion.

Home, another shower and some pasta and I'm feeling satisfyingly exercised and pleased that I at least got out there and did time in the garden and time on my bike. Tomorrow calls for an early start with Dee's 6.30am RPM class and I'm supposed to be swimming so it might be time to crack out the wetsuit. That should be humbling!


Kate said...

Wow- wetsuit already! I miss Welly already. Glad we're coming home tomorrow. And I don't know how I'll be able to leave.

PS- we should challenge ourselves to meet for a swim, a bike and a run during January :)

Anonymous said...

Riding in the wind can be demoralising! But, some days are just like that. Getting it done and ticking it off the to do list is about all you can do.

Sounds like someone already used your back yard for landfill!!!!

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