Kicking back..

Well. Nelson Lakes.

Iffy weather. Biggest day was along the Robert Ridge – yeah, I know, once upon a time that would never have been the biggest day tramping. Middle age, you know. I might not feel 43, mostly, but my knees do.

Not good weather, initially. If you want an idea what going along the Robert Ridge, which is above the bushline (and, mercifully, above the sandfly and wasp-line, if such lines exist, as well)…
To get an idea what this was like: put a white sheet over your head, stomp around a gravel pit while someone puts a wide-angle water blaster on you. Yep, wet, windy, with very poor visibility.

But some days are diamonds, some days are stones, as philosopher John Denver reminded us back in the 70s. The following day was one to treasure. Clear blue skies, views for miles right across the Tasman basin towards the Kahurangis on the west, and across to Tapaonuku and other Kaikoura peaks on the east. One to treasure.

One of the things that happens as you get older – especially when you have kids – is you don’t get to just hang around. In fact, much of youth is spent waiting around, if only for adulthood to happen.

But I had four hours to kill in St Arnaud waiting for the shuttle bus. That is a lovely phrase, I realise as I write it. “Four hours to kill.” Can’t remember when I last had any time to kill.

Kicked back and read. One of George MacDonald Fraser’s brilliant Flashman books, sorry if I don’t recall the title, but it was set in India and was about the Ko Hi Noor Diamond.

Hadn’t read this one: it was the usual Flashman mix: a shameless coward and dauntless rogerer in the service of Queen Victoria’s Empire. The mix of wit and historical verisimilitude is as good as the earlier books I’d read.

Wasn’t aware of it at the time, but Fraser had died the previous week and got an obituary in the Economist.

Back at work, Writing about the economy. The story is going well; the economy, not so much.

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