We are still alive


Historic Church Russell
Don’t look for our headstones, but there are many interiesting ones in this Russell graveyard.

One of the problems with a travel blog is that it it hard to motive yourself to write a post when you are not traveling.

Our hopes of enjoying some short sojourns in Northland during the current summer have been a little thwarted by Ruth working for a fixed couple of days a week and our need to get through a longish list of deferred maintenance on ourselves and our property.

Travel can be hard on your personal technology and in my case, hearing aids are about as personal as it gets. Walking, bicycling and visiting very hot countries results in a lot of personal moisture that is not good company for sensitive technology such as a hearing aid.

In 2013 while cycling through Germany and France; in addition to drenching them in perspiration, in my desperation to cool off after a particualrly hot day’s riding in Provence I forgot to remove them before diving into the swimming pool. As I hit the water I could not help but think how loud the sound of the water rushing around my head was. Of course you rapidly realise the error of your ways and then make a spectacular exit from the pool. It is good to watch. Needless to say, my much older “backup” aids were used for the rest of that trip.

During the last adventure, the aids starting giving up while we walked along an often wet Cotswold Way. The backups were used again (for the balance of the travels) and upon return, I was told that this time, the “newer” set were beyond repair.

After a couple of months of putting up with my old “backup” set, my new whizz bang aids were finally fitted this week. Ruth is impressed, she can hold a conversation with me and I admit to noticing a big difference. The downside is that I will be expected to respond when the inevitable plea “not to ride up that hill” comes on our next ride.

Hearing aids
The technology keeps getting better and more compact. The new ones are “water resistant” yay!, but swimming is still a prohibited activity while wearing them.

Speaking of next rides, we are in the early stages of planning to be away for four months during our next Southern Hemisphere summer.

The target is the South Island of New Zealand and as we want to visit more remote areas, the accommodation is going to need to be a tent in many areas. I am sure that we will mix it up with some more comfortable digs in between the camping. I am not sure that we have completely got our heads back into a camping mindset but we have a bit of time to “warm” to the idea.

Bland Street name Cotswold Way
While walking along the Cotswold Way we came across evidence that the same person responsible for naming many parts of New Zealand had also walked the Cotswold Way and been allocated the task of naming things.

So I am back at the planning stages, researching; walking and cycling tracks, possible accommodation and what we are going to do with our house for the duration. As it will be summer, the option to list it on Airbnb is more realistic than our last trip so we are working through the pros and cons of that. If you are thinking of being in NZ for the summer of 2016/17 let us know.

Ruth's Retreat Kerikeri
Enjoy a summer downunder at Ruth’s Retreat – after a hard days’s sightseeing, biking or walking come home and soak iunder the stars. Warning: This is advertising.

In between, we have a few major projects on; the house, a new driveway, underfloor insulation and looking at going solar powered.

We have missed our adventures so Ruth is pulling back from regular work in a few weeks which will allow us to get into some serious training for what looks to be our most strenuous expedition yet.

We played tourists earlier in the week and caught the ferry over to Russell. It was a great day out and coming back we got talking to Andy and Joy from Colorado Springs. They were at a bit of a loss on what they should do for the rest of the day so we spent the afternoon enjoying a short road trip around the area finisihing it off with a Spy Valley Savignon Blanc. It was good to be able to return some hospitality to travellers. We certainly appreciated it when it was extended to us.

Russell , one of the neighbouring “towns” here in the Bay of Islands.


  1. Fantastic idea for an extended summer trip though do be kind to yourselves and carefully schedule the mountains. Slow enjoyment beats a grueling schedule. Will you make it down to Stewart Island?


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