Review of 2004 by ChrisHome

Last two months…
After returning to NZ after 6 months away with Andy in the UK, Andy got straight back into locum vet work and Chris re-started some of those not yet got around to house repairs, garden plumbing (the new outdoor shower and wash tub!) and painting .  Andy worked over Xmas while Kris zoomed off on his motorbike with Chris’s ex-wife Pam to the South Island West Coast.  We all arrived at Autumn Farm a few days before New Year – the weather was awful but we enjoyed ourselves anyway…Kris and Andy headed south on New Years day to go paragliding at Wanaka (P) while Chris stayed a few more days before returning home to look after guests and take over from our two WWOOFers (L) (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) who house sat while we were away.

First half of the year…
Before we left in June I had been having a major summer blitz on catching up with deferred maintenance and repairs to the house, finishing the various section off by re-painting the crispy new renovations.

The summer was not very good for outdoor work - lots of rain and high wind.  At least it was a good test for the home-made answer to scaffolding...  I managed to clamp and lift and generally migrate all the various wooden window frames back into position (to fit around the plate glass panes again!) in two of our four 'sticky-out' bay windows - the ones with the green cross-bars.

We also replaced all the weatherboard cladding and added new 'flashings' on the "Skyroom" turret.

Still more to do this summer - fingers crossed for some good dry sunny weather!

The year started as has been our want with a relaxing holiday at Autumn Farm (L) an organic farm in Golden Bay which hosts an annual Gay Camp over New Year.

We had good numbers of homestay guests to look after last summer ( and Chris was still continuing his work with the Department of Conservation in the Conservation Services Programme (L) - which actually continued albeit part-time until he left for the UK with Andy in early June.

However the main summer activity for Chris had been renovating our newly acquired 'investment property' (P) a one bedroom furnished flat in a high-rise building near the centre of the city.  The flat needed a major bathroom upgrade, new kitchen vinyl floor, complete repaint, and fixing of all the 'deferred maintenance' jobs.

Associated with this was the continued renovation and painting of the outside of our house.  Chris had spent some time during the winter working with all sorts of homemade sash clamps, car jacks and blocks of timber to 'reposition' and renovate the 'Skyroom' window frame.  This experience was repeated on the bigger window frame which goes 'around the corner' of the main living area next to our neightbour's house - Ivor.  Another project was to replace and repair weatherboards, windows, flashings and final re-paint (in all the original colours) of the Skyroom and Office 'turrets' (photos).  We also decided to repair (re-waterproof!) and all the areas of the house visible from the 'Voyeurs Patio' - the deck outside the door next to the dining area table.

With help from our WWOOFers this and the flat renovations were done, but the wet summer - especially the first two months of 2004 didn't help and we left in June with stuff unfinished - left for our friend Jon to complete which he did admirably over the winter, much to Kris's relief - he was left in charge of a very dodgy half done work!! (photos)

Last half of 2004 – away from NZ
In early June Andy and Chris headed off to the UK – traveling out  via Hawaii and New York State, and returning via Nepal (and India) -  a 6 week pause in our return to NZ go paragliding and trekking the Annapurna Circuit.

Hawaii and New York – the  outbound journey… Our trip to England was done in two stages - the first to Hawaii (mainly on Big Island - the one with the big volcanoes and all the international cluster of telescopes, Mauna Kea) to visit Daron - who we met while he was traveling in NZ..

Big Island is very uncrowded and beautiful.  We had a hire car and so traveled around all the sights before Daron returned home from a family reunion in California, including Andy going paragliding on the Kona coast, staying overnight on a coffee farm with one of the local pilots and his wife, a night scuba dive with three metre wingspan manta rays rolling across our head
(photos), and early morning swimming with dolphins....  all in beautiful clear blue water.

Daron lives in the more isolated bottom righthand corner of the island (Puna region – main town Pahoa)  - where the round-the-island road was engulfed in lava in the early 1990's by the Kilauea volcano - which still discharged red glowing sticky lava into the sea just up the coast - especially scenic at night.

Daron lives near a 'retreat' called Kalani, on some 1950's lava flows, part of a community of relatively new houses near a small but perfectly formed black lava sand beach called Kehena Beach - complete with shade provided by big palm trees at the back of the beach.

From Hawaii to New York and to upstate New York to visit friends John and Roger who had moved from California just north of San Francisco back to the tranquility of a woodland area and the luxury of their own purpose build house amongst the trees.

Our arrival in London was again softened by being able to land on Dean and Tracey's always welcoming flat in Poplar - just across from Canary Wharf.  At least we had done the usual 24hr plus of flying from NZ in three easy stages.

Mainly the UK (and France, and Spain and....) 
After a few days of R&R in London, Andy went on up to Lincolnshire to start being a vet again and I went down to Exeter to visit my family.  Another few weeks and we were driving off to France very suitably in our UK car - a Dyane (a slightly modernised 2CV) for 10 days of paragliding near Geneva - near the town of Annecy.

We stayed at a B&B ( (L)) set up for paraglider pilots by a Welsh paraglider pilot, Irwin, and his wife Joan who cooked us all yummy evening meals.  Andy did lots of flying, and we also had time to walk, go canyoning, eat at some amazing cafe's in Annecy, and search scrap yards to find 2CV doors to ship back to Wellington for Anton (our red 2CV) to be used in his refurbishment (still ongoing in February 2005 - but that's another story!!!).

Rather than go back to the UK with Andy I flew from Geneva to Barcelona to meet up with a friend who shared his time between a flat in Barcelona and a house in the old part of Palma on the island of Majorca.  I had a wonderful few weeks seeing the sights of both places, including an impressive limestone gorge the Torrent de Pareis (L) (not my website – but good pics!!) on the northern part of the island of Majorca.

In August I moved to Edinburgh and worked, as I did two years ago, for the fringe festival, working in the Box Office for the Assembly Rooms (L) one of the bigger fringe festival venues.  This time however I was in the St Georges West venue, usually a large and graceful old church, but during the festival one large performance space.  I stayed again with my friend James, who conveniently lives next to the Meadows, within easy walking distance of my work and all the other fringe performance venues.

I really enjoyed my time in Edinburgh - as I did two years ago.  Great shows, lovely workmates, and a number of excellent new friends (photos).

After Edinburgh I went back down to Horncastle in Lincolnshire, spent some time there with Andy before heading down to Devon to visit my parents and other friends - via a few days in London with Fragz, a friend from Wellington.  Back up to Lincolnshire again via more NZ friends Fred and Hazel who both work at a public school Bradfield College, all by bus as I didn't have a car in the UK like I did on previous visits....  The off to the Yorkshire Dales to revisit old caving haunts like Ingleton and Clapham - but this time on the train - to Clapham railway station - a first for me!  I joined up with Tony Waltham and others who were running a pre-conference ('Hidden Earth' - UK's national caving conference (L)) field trip in the Dales so I got to go to Gaping Ghyll and got underground in Ingleborough Cave (just the show cave bit) - the same cave as my last 'real' caving trip in the UK carrying dive bottles and gear for cave divers including Martyn Farr.

Spent the weekend at the actual conference in KedaI meeting several people like Jon Buchan who I hadn't seen since 1976 - we were on a caving expedition to New Guinea together in 1975.  I also met up with John Gunn currently a cave researcher in the UK who like me did his PhD thesis at Auckand University, traveled regularly to Waitomo, and for one year was a flatmate.  He had just finished editing an Encyclopedia of Caves and Karst Science - a huge and worthy tome....

Back on the train to NZ friends Mel and Joanne who live in Greenfield a small 'village' tucked into the Pennine Hills near Oldham.  Then through a long tunnel on the train across the Pennines and back to Andy to pack up our stuff in Horncastle and prepare for a weekend with friends in Amsterdam then two months in Nepal and India trekking and paragliding.

Heading back to NZ via Nepal and India….
Amazing contrasts - a long weekend in Amsterdam then flying from Katmandu to Pokhara with amazing post-monsoon views of a great long stretch of the high Himalayas, including Everest and out soon to be,  local mountains the Annapurna's (Annapurna south (7219m), Annapurna I (8091m) , Annapurna II (7937m), Annapurna III , Annapurna IV, Dhaulagiri( 8167m), and the fish mountain - Machhapuchhre (6993m).

We spent two wonderful treks of sunny clear sky days trekking the 300+ kms of the 'around Annapurna trek' - for map (roughly what we did but we did it in 14 days) see (L). This is a tea-house trek with lots of overnight and daytime places to eat and stay.  So we carried light packs 6-8kgs, with just enough clothing for the cold bit in the middle (5416 metres over the Thorung Pass), although the summer weight sleeping bags were for 3-4 nights not at all warm enough without mutual body warmth and the heavy kapok 'blankets' provided by the lodges.

Back to Pokhara, then off by bus to India to catch a train to Delhi, to pick up our transport (another bus) to a paragliding competition (L) in the foothills of the Himalaya in Himachal Pradesh.  Here's Andy's account (A) of the competition!

Then back to Pokhara via the 50hrs of bus and train travel (but with a few days in Delhi and a side trip to the Taj Mahal (L))  Back in Nepal and time for me to learn to paraglide and for Andy to do a para-trek (L) them finally back to Katmandu for a few days of seeing the 'Valley' before heading back to NZ.  Here's Andy's account (A) of his Himalayan flying experiences.

Tama, The Summer House, The Shed and then to Canada
Tama was planning on spending the European summer in the Mediterranean working as crew on super yachts out of Palma, Majorca.  In fact it was Chris who by chance ended up in Palma – because Tama decided to delay his departure and extend his stay in the ‘Summer House’ – formerly ‘The Shed’.  He’s now converted what was to be a storage/workshop/sleeping loft space into a small flat – complete with sofas, carpet, telephone and networked computers.  In fact last summer we had already decided that we needed a ‘real’ garden shed and Chris and a German WWOOFer Fred (usefully a qualified builder!) built a cheap kitset tin box of a shed – 11C Koromiko Road (photos).

The ‘Tool Shed’ is about a 2X2X2 metre cube and at last houses all the cans of paint, tools, saw benches, power tools, bicycles, dive tanks and wetsuits that used to lurk in different corners of the main house – some like the wetsuits in guest bedroom cupboards!  We are now waiting for inspiration and maybe a artistic WWOOFer to paint a mural on the two blank wall above the ‘Hidden Garden’ (photo).  

In late July Tama headed off to England, Poland, then Canada for snow boarding.  Here's his blog(L) (Click on the photos to see them in full!)

Adventure Out
Andy and Chris decided that for the 2004 season that they would only run trips with a minimum of  two clients.  With only a few individuals (and no couples/groups) showing any interest, but not in the same trips or dates this change has meant that no Adventure Out trips have been run since 2003.  The website is being kept updated but more effort needs to be put into advertising, writing magazine articles and website publicity, to attract more clients and make it into a viable business.  In the meantime the website will be kept going just in case….