Upsides of Winters gloom
Cows are dried off and on crops. Winters gloom is some what alleviated with any day of sunshine. Days are short providing more family time. Winter sport provides an opportunity to regain ones sanity and to socialize. Hunting and fishing opportunities are also an upside to winters gloom.
Curlers in particular, look forward to a period of settled weather for good ice to form to play our matches. Our two day national tournament, or bonspiel being weather dependent can only be contested when conditions allow, on occasions a lapse of several years occurs between events building enthusiasm even more...
Oldies Rugby and Appendicitis
Last game of the ‘oldies rugby’ tournament ends and the last social event begins. Loaded with a little alcohol, or should we call it ‘brain food’, my colleagues overwhelming advice regarding my condition prompted someone to arrange an appointment the next morning with the weekend emergency doctor. ‘ What can I do for you’? was the impersonal greeting. Still in acute pain I reply, ‘A bunch of knowledgeable people say I have appendicitis’.
Playing days behind this front rower
He stares directly to my eye. ‘Do they just, now let me see’...
No teeth required
Dentist Appointment on Hold
Sufficient physical changes have occurred since last visiting my dentist, prompting an appointment. I can’t remember when my last visit was, but I emerged with a renewed partial top plate. The previous one somehow escaped during a hunting trip and became victim to someone’s big foot. I presume it was clad because no one complained of a bite mark. Anyway I still had my partial bottom plate intact, assuring I wasn’t going to get skinny during the remainder of the trip. Unfortunately some years later, during a fishing trip this time, my top choppers disappeared once more. Sadly, never again to be found.
Dentist David will be a little amused, or maybe bewildered might be a better term...
Plenty of ants
Travel Doctor, my GP Suggested
‘The process may be easier for you if you consult with the Travel Doctor , my GP suggested. A long time had passed since I had needed mandatory inoculations in order to travel, so I said OK, not quite knowing what a Travel Doctor was. Down to the city appointment with the ‘specialist and very astute’ doctor, who in a short space of time gained specific knowledge of my history, including family members she had run across, and my present needs.
My surprise at the intensity of the process, being two hours rather than twenty or so minutes I had wrongly budgeted for, abated when I walked out with all of my vaccinations, my prescription of legitimate travel drugs and a comprehensive education of possible problems and their cures
You can go anywhere you like from here
Cultures and Colours at Dubai Airport
Folk from everywhere
Taxi into Dubai Airport past multiple rows of terminals and planes, disembark, follow the crowd, that’s easy enough. Luggage checked through to final destination, that’s easy. Through customs and follow the masses once more. ‘Hang on’ , they are all going in different directions. ‘Now where did I put that ticket‘? Check in , ‘where is that’? People seem friendly enough, but for a language barrier, so pointing, along with diagrams, lines and circles on the back of my ticket with a note, 20 minute walk was to suffice.
Transport between terminals
Hordes of people of all makes and models dressed in their authentic dress politely but busily making their way this way and that...
7 week old baby Michael
Ghana has abundant activities
Ghana has abundant activities on offer to anyone who wishes to venture there. ‘We may see some elephants today’, our forest ranger and guide mentioned as we swerved around a twenty kilo pile of dung. Through the bush a little further and here they were, wallowing in a water hole perfectly content, splashing, sounding off and fooling around. A thought suddenly crossed my mind, ‘could this scene resemble Richard and I in the lodge pool last night’?
Richard showed me many of Ghana’s points of interest, including history and politics. My highlight being an introduction into some local families homes and villages where I was able to experience differences in culture, cuisine, colours, beverages and lifestyles...
Suspicious glare of the customs officer
Moving snail like in a long queue is daunting enough, let alone facing the solemn, suspicious glare of the customs officer as he or she fingers through our passport, visa and declaration card. Not to mention the next stage, emptying pockets, voiding bodies of footwear, belts and bling. Then the x-rays. If the dogs leave us be and luggage is lucky enough not to have succumbed to a random check, then we are free to go if we can find the way out. Help is often out of the question because it is with the troubled people ahead of us.
On one occasion, during a barrage of questions from a law student on summer vacation, filling the position of a customs officer was also a little daunting...
Dismantling Dams on Our Waterways.
Water provides life to otherwise baron land
Dismantling dams on some of the worlds water ways is an extraordinary event. Whether for environmental or economic reasons there will be downsides for some folk. Built over a century ago in some cases, people over a number of generations, have become accustomed to their benefits and economic values. Many people have built their lives, families and incomes from these structures both directly and indirectly.
During a not so recent family visit to the Pacific North West, and unbeknownst to me, brother in law Ted had arranged the hire of a river boat on one of these magnificent dams...
Shopping For Canoe Trip Down The Yukon.
Following a year or two of contemplating, I find myself in Pacific North West preparing for a canoe trip down the Yukon River. Brother in law Ted had a few days work ahead before we pulled out leaving me to the shopping. Aware of, but unfamiliar with problems we may encounter led me listening to the advice of a bemused owner of a small General Store. I mentioned that someone in our group wasn’t keen on a high DEET content in the insect repellent. His reply, ‘if you are going to the ‘Yukon’ this repellent here, (100% DEET), is for those that are serious about mosquitoes’. ‘However that one over there is for the non believers’. I heard him well, after which I focused on common sense things.
Three Americans, two New Zealanders finally pull into White...
Stroke Cuts Short Hunting/Fishing Trips.
Hunting and Fishing trips were cut short by a debilitating stroke. A veteran of our annual Stewart Island hunting and fishing trip for only a couple of years, cousin Bill fell victim to what could have been a killer stroke. An academic with a sharp mind and dogged determination he defied medical science and all professional points of view when he learned to speak well enough to communicate and to walk well enough to be some what mobile.
Post rehabilitation and on agreement with others in our group, Bill once again joined us on our annual trip, and although a little dependent it became a highlight of his miserable life...
We look for Sunshine in our Friends
Good and Not so Good Times Wash In and Out
Unexpected Impromptu Visit by Friends.
Unexpected impromptu visit by friends fulfilled our ‘blank minds’ over what will we do for Easter. Friends who we spent part of our life growing up with in another lifetime long past swung by our way over Easter, much to our surprise and delight. Meeting occasionally over the years through the odd family event, it appears while our careers were being established and our own families were growing up we were all too busy and preoccupied in our own worlds to interact the way we once did.
Conversation is easy and exciting catching up on past years, fishing trips, old school friends,and apart from grand children, broken family marriages, changes in health status and outrage...
Phone Call From My GP.
A phone call September 2012 from my G.P., ‘Dave, I need to see you’. During a visit a few days before, he had identified a life long back problem being the cause of chronic hip pain ruling out hip replacement,much to my relief, when he commented, he hadn’t seen me for a year or two we better do some blood tests.
The diagnosis; ‘Dave, your psa level is 45 and you have advanced prostate cancer, I have made an appointment for you to see a urologist tomorrow’. Completely numbed I thought to myself, ‘What did he just say’? He finished, ‘I advise you to take it’.
The urologist was unimpressed, but settled a little when I said, ‘I don’t even know why I’m here, let alone what a urologist is’. After computer analysis I was told a 90% cha...
Seasons Come and Seasons Go.
Seasons come and seasons go, summer swings into autumn bringing with it a whole array of alternate sports and activities. On a personal note, lawn bowls season comes to a close and none too soon, because feral stags and bucks have began their rut season exciting deer hunters throughout the country, who like me will put their summer sport behind them to indulge in the new seasons sporting activity, roar shooting.
Autumn also sees our Stewart Island hunting and fishing group busy packing and preparing for its thirty first annual trip that still boasts several of its inaugural members among others of all ages, who have joined the group over the years...
Wet and Happy in the Front Seat
Mans Best Friend.
It’s well known that a dog and its carer can become very attached, thus the old adage, mans best friend. Herman and I were no exception and were seldom apart. Instinctively, a very good cattle working dog, Herman responded to further training for other various activities including hunting and retrieving water fowl and ground birds, hunting and finding pigs and deer. He wasn’t quite as useful at fishing, but loved a trip out on the ocean none the less, enjoying the meal that followed as did everyone else. Cats, rats, ferrets, stoats, mice and kids ice-creams were all at peril if in the wrong place at the wrong time. In saying that, house or domestic cats were not on his list of things to do, although they often got the eye ball.
Old mates A moment on the beach
Old mates Young and oldish.
Reuniting of old mates.
Organizing a dozen, more or less guys, not only from different walks of life, but from different parts of the country to meet on a given date and be away from their jobs and homes for ten days is quite a commitment. None the less most have been before on many occasions and look forward to the reuniting of old mates and the camaraderie that follows during the next ten days living from the ocean and bush, as the core of them have done for more than thirty years on our annual hunting trip to Stewart Island.
Attrition after that time is inevitable and our group have been fortunate to have maintained numbers with folk of all ages, occupations and skill sets...
Whitebait Season These two Red Deer Stags Died an Unfortunate Death. Their skeletons found behind the ‘long drop’, antlers well and truly locked together .
Whitebait Season Beginning Early Spring
Fishermen and hut owners busy themselves bundling up supplies and materials ready for whitebait season beginning early spring on New Zealand‘s southern west coast. The occupants of around seven huts or dwellings of various styles, shapes and sizes converge on site with their supplies within a few days of each other to prepare for the on coming season.
Everything arrives by air, including fuel to run the generators, materials for repairs and maintenance on buildings and fishing structures, food and staples and of course sufficient beverage.
A very high rain fall and wild seas on an exposed coastlin...
Fallow Deer Have Become Well Established
Curiosity killed the cat
Although not endemic from where I am, Fallow Deer have become well established since their liberation 150 years ago. Fallow Deer are a beautiful looking animal that provide us with a nice nature balance in the bush, a great sport and excellent cuisine.
My own hunting block has traditionally supported red deer and pigs, but now that fallow deer have moved up the valley and made themselves at home is OK with me. Their numbers however are relatively low where they will hopefully remain in order to maintain an acceptable balance of fauna and flora in our forest.
The young deer are sometimes very inquisitive and ...
Salmon Fishing In Alaska.
For me, Salmon fishing in Alaska came to fruition when brother in law Ted arranged with friends and work colleagues in Juneau to put us up and introduce us to fishing in the basin. The scenery and setting in Juneau is stunning and when I hinted a look around town would be nice, the reply came, what do you want to do that for, lets go fishing.
A half hour cruise in two 18 foot skiffs or dinghies into part of Alaska’s inland waterways, we dropped our gear over the side and started trolling at various depths. Bait of sprats or herrings threaded onto hooks was simple but worked a treat...
Big Game Fishing In Warmer Waters
Big Game Fishing With My Old Friend
Big Game Fishing didn’t really occur to me until later in life when my friend Charlie, who after years of talking the sport up, finally convinced me to visit him in the northern parts and give it a try. Charlie who is an avid, almost obsessed hunter / fisherman, made all the arrangements and entered in a prestigious competition of which he is a regular contender.
The rules of Big Game Fishing competitions are technical and exact and trace lengths, breaking strains, knots etc. are my old friend’s expertise and were well checked and prepared. Thirty five kilometers out in the open ocean in a 7...
A Lawn Bowls Tournament In A Rural Town.
Lawn Bowls In A Rural Environment.
Memberships of lawn bowls clubs in our rural communities continues to diminish, as appears to be the case with some of our urban cousins. A major concern to the bowlers and their clubs regarding their longevity.
I am a member of a lawn bowling club at a small sea side village, whos’ membership has been seriously compromised, as older members pass on, they are not being replaced with youth, or anyone for that matter. As opposed to 30 years ago, lawn bowls is not attracting young folk as an alternative summer sport, possibly because there is a much larger variety of exciting sports and activities for them to take part in.
On the other hand bowls has its upside. Although the majority of the bowlers in our rural commun...
Whitebait elude the nets
Supplies Arrive on Beach
Whitebaiting In The Remoteness.
Whitebaiting tidal flows along with water temperatures may dictate when or even if the hatchling whitebait even make it to the river mouth.
Then the predators. Whitebait shoals entering a river are often followed by an array of sea dwelling fishes only to be met by many hungry fishes from the fresh water domain. Perhaps I should mention the super abundance and variety of bird life waiting anxiously for the arrival of this tasty tiny morsel.
Unfortunately for whitebait, on a seasonal basis only, humans are included in the food chain. We too have to eat, and very well I might add.
Whitebaiting is practiced on many of our rivers, sometimes attracting large numbers of fishermen. However I am ...
Hunting With Danni, Her First Hunt.
Hunting With Danni, or for that matter, any of my grandchildren and dog Mertle is a pleasurable outdoor activity enjoyed by all of us. Danni doesn’t shoot a high powered rifle at game yet, and maybe she won’t, but in the meantime she is having fun tagging along.
Our hunting block is but 40 minutes from home so during school holidays, if the weather is OK and work commitments allow we can be away at the drop of a hat. Danni is from the city and has spent most of her summer holidays with us on the farm so has developed a diverse awareness of sports and outdoor activities. Hunting is one of them.
The first hunt with Danni, 5:00 am start arrive at the hunting block just on dawn on a pleasant morning, prolific bird song gaining momentum, the nights he...
Poppy The Pigs Life On The Farm
Poppy became part of our lives one afternoon on our way home from a hunt. There ahead of us running aimlessly on an over grown track was an apparently lost and only a few days old wild piglet. Grandson Jack needed little coaxing in getting after it. Amazingly enough it didn’t fret at all and so adapted to domestic food,( any thing at all ) and the comfits of home all most immediately.
It was caught on Poppy Day, thus the name Poppy and being a baby spent the first month or so with the family, the cat and a dog who were quite disturbed by the ordeal...
Annual Fishing Trips
This annual fishing trip has been going for over 30 years. Some people change from time to time, but a core group have remained the same all of that time. Campsites differ as well as it adds to the adventure somewhat.
A charter boat is employed to deliver the fishing group along with their equipment, gear and apparatus required for 10 days in the bush and on the water. Simple food basics of course are packed, but generally speaking they live off the land and ocean.
Equipment includes a large array of fishing gear, dive gear, small boats and run a bouts, hunting equipment, cooking utensils, tents, covers, personal gear and refreshments, just in case.
In earlier days this annual fishing trip endured for 1 week, but over the years it was agreed 1 week was not enough, espe...