Road Ends, Xmas Begins

The last few miles ticked by solomnly. Iv not covered any of the same roads on this journey so when I recognised the surroundings, I knew I was truely reaching the end of the road.

I had set out from Taupo lake, the best of the roads behind me. The weather mirrored my mood as a cloudy grey featureless sky, drizzled lightly. It cleared up quick enough but made the ride a bit chilly. Even the bike was reluctant to warm up for the last leg, coughing and missing the occasional beat in protest of the un-italian weather I was forcing her to endure. But endure it she did and delivered me back to Auckland in one piece, quite uneventfully.

I had started the ride gloomy but mentally focused on the positively incredible time I’d had the last weeks. As I was thinking about the great roads the sun made an appearance. By the time I reached Auckland proper it was beautiful sunshine and I was looking forward to the next few days of celebration. I had agreed to get back to Auckland early this afternoon to help set up for Christmas day. I was put immediately to work getting beers and moving boxes around as makeshift seating.

After what could be done, had been done, we went to the beach. George had very kindly bought me a bat and ball and we set up a game of soft-base-rounders-ball. 3 against 3 we didn’t keep count of score at all. We just enjoyed the sun and wolloping the light weight ball as hard as we could. There was minimal control over direction as the wind took the ball wherever it wanted to go. More often than not it went behind us, landing in a strangers lap or handbag.

The sun was beautiful and warm with the wind keeping you cool enough you wouldn’t know you were burning. Iā€™d picked up some spf 50 sports sunblock after my first day here. I had gotten burned just walking between the shady shop fronts so had taken the warnings seriously. Somone told me the ozone layer was missing or on holiday in another part of the globe or something.

I don’t do much running with my knee injuries but when I play a sport, I play to win, so the games on the beach had tired me out. Sally had prepared the most amazing meal for this evening. I thought I was going to make it out of New Zealand without having lamb but I’m glad I didn’t, it’s one of my favourites. Apparently the youngest sheep, under one year is lamb and mostly goes abroad. Then between 1 and 2 years is called hoggatt. And after that, its mutton. With more intense flavour than lamb, the hoggatt had been cooked for 6 hours and just fell apart. A small addition of some mint jelly and I was in culinary heaven!

Knackered from the days riding, sporting, lifting and eating, I was honoured with sleeping in Florence, the family caravan on the driveway. It’s a super cute 1960ā€™s (??) retro caravan made out in white and baby blue. It has been lovingly restored and updated with modern electrics and lighting to be very comfortable. I had my doubts, but all 6ft 3in of me fit the bed perfectly and I slept like a rock with a hot mug of ovaltine after running a marathon.