……... Dick did not run to start the fun,
He did not take a leap.
He did not stoop, but made a swoop
At a steady forward creep!
…Now I’m not saying that 2010 is Deadeye Dick and I’m Eskimo Nell, but so it is that 2010 has made its presence felt to me, more of a whimper rather than a roar. I’ve barely done 1,000Kms since the beginning of December! That’s nearly two months in the heart of the riding season! I generally do more than that in the middle of winter, but the weather gods and the painting gods have conspired against me.
I made a commitment to paint my house this summer. It didn’t really need it but it’s a lot easier to paint the year before it needs it, rather than the year after and there were patches that cop our vicious sun that were a little cracked and thin….Not to mention that I did buy the paint two Octobers ago and had only managed to paint one half of one side of the house. (That sounds a bit better that one eight).
Now ordinarily I should have been able to cut the job out over 2 or 3 weekends, but the Wellington weather has been absolute crap this summer and after two months on the job, I still have one half of one side to go… but then I guess that is only one eighth. It got so bad that in the end I opted to work short days when it was fine but there haven’t even been too many of them so I had to endorse that idea and make it ‘when it wasn’t raining’.
I enjoy painting….the right machine and some 80grit pads rip the paint and smooth the surface, ready to apply a liberal application of the drippy gooey stuff. While one does that, they can listen to their favorite tunes on the MP3, or just ponder the woes of the world and lose oneself in other things, then stand back and admire the new look with a glow of satisfaction….Yeah Right! In Wellington, we perch our houses on the sides of hills and on any one house, the height may vary from bending down to reach the eave, to needing a ladder that can extend to 3 storeys high. The trouble is, the ground won’t be level enough for a ladder so many houses are built with metal threads inserted through the studs so bastards like me that are too Jewy to pay a painter, or hire proper scaffolding can clip their plank to the side of the dwelling and go to town….swinging in the breeze.
The front of my house (the dining room and lounge) are built over the garage, so I have the clip-ons, but it’s all window and I can’t lean the ladder against the house. To get up there I have to use the ladder in 9 foot step ladder mode, with the plank sitting at about 13 feet. Not too much of a problem getting up, but can be a bit dodgy popping back down.
I managed to get everything setup the other day and had barely been up there a few minutes when the ladder blew over in one of the gentle gusts that we had to endure. This wasn’t a problem as, in anticipation of having problems getting back onto the ladder, I had unlatched the window, so I carried on working, also in the hope that someone might come home and rescue me. (I note here that at that time, Ann was enjoying playing tennis in 30° sunny days on the Gold Coast…her second tournament since Christmas!). I also note that a few more minutes after the ladder blowing over, I was reduced to kneeling on the plank, gripping onto it for dear life with one hand whilst maintaining a firm grip on my bucket of paint with the other….the wind was quite severe.
Anyway, no one came home and although 20 years back, I would have just jumped down, I now had to attempt to squeeze my doddery old body, complete with dodgy hip and buggered back, through the narrow gap that is only designed to provide ventilation. Well!.....I thought feet first might be good (somewhat in the fashion of a reverse Fosbury Flop) but that didn’t work, so from a sitting position on the plank I got my head and shoulders through the opening, then had to raise myself through by getting my feet onto the plank. I figured I might get stuck if I went in head first, so needed to get a foot through and bought my left knee up to my chin, or as close as I could get, then slip my foot through and onto the sill. I was wearing old sneakers and had a wee moment after the flapping sole got caught on the alloy joinery but eventually, I saved myself, anchored the ladder with bungies and got the job done.
I love painting…..I’m now stooped and walking with a limp, my arms hurt and my fingers are tingling. It’s a pity I only have one half of one side to do, which is only one eighth, but after that I have to do the roof on the flat and my mum’s house….happy happy joy joy!!
…..and did I mention I haven’t been able to ride much either!?
I have enjoyed two very short rides this year. The first was the Wednesday Cruisy ride last week, over the ‘Hill’ and back. I started from Avalon near the back of the group but through various red lights and traffic, I ended up leading a group onto the hill….except for one chap that seemed intent that he didn’t want an old fart on a truck, holding him up through the good stuff. I was content to sit on the pace being set but was amazed when we started on the windy corners when the arse in front of me suddenly started being projected from one side of the seat to the other, complete with extended knee and all the finesse of ‘The Doctor’. It looked impressive, but wasn’t very effective and the trouble was, I had no idea how good he really was so I sat for a bit, admiring the show before moving on, only to catch more riders and settle behind them. I only encountered one rider on the way down, enjoyed a couple of ginger beers at the Royal before heading back.
I started reasonably sedately thinking I was leading Eugene and Steve back but when I got passed by a stranger, I realised Steve wasn’t there and settled into a nice fang which blew out all the cobwebs and sanding dust.
Yesterday evening I was supposed to go for a ride with Sarah but while waiting at Chaffers, I got a call to say she had eaten something that didn’t agree with her. Oh well, I was out now so I decided to head out past Makara to Johnsonville then up to Paekak’ Hill via Grays road.
I was happy to sit almost within the allowable limits, riding with minimal braking and enjoyed the pootle. I nearly got pinged coming off the Paremata bridge and paused at the top of the hill to admire the view. I did overcook it into a couple of corners and tapped the rear brake, on the way up, but did much better on the return, once again opting for Grays Rd due to the lack of double yellows.
As I said, I didn’t feel I was pushing it but I certainly didn’t want my pace to drop under the speed limit (because it really is a target) when halfway through one of the slow corners I had room but felt it would be nice to tap the rear for reassurance. I discovered that it is very hard to apply the rear brake when the side of your boot is scraping the ground………you just can’t apply any pressure. I also found I got through the corners comfortably and tapping the rear really is just a habit. Oh well!! Hopefully I’ll get through the painting soon and enjoy some real rides. I’ve booked for the TT2000 and look forward to what 2010 brings on when it finally does roar into life!
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.