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Author: Brent (page 1 of 40)

21/10/19 Drop for Youth – Part 3 – Finish This Sentence

21/10/19 Drop for Youth – Part 3

Finish this sentence: The one thing I will never regret is …

We clambered up and into the single nosed propeller stick plane that was to gradually take us up to the 13,000 feet point of drop. It was a 20-minute ascent by the chick pilot. What a cool job, sometimes seen bobbing to the tunes she was listening to through her head piece.

Sitting on the floor, Aaron and his tandem were facing backwards beside the door that was bungied shut. We were facing forward, a snugly fit backed up into his spread legs.

The Canterbury Plains landscape was just a maze of farm paddock patch work. Greens, dark greens, yellow and browns. Mount Cook had a wisp of cloud floating eastwards; the Kaikoura’s although hazy were apparent. Lake Forsyth resting to the south of the Port Hills, the Rakaia River like a crack in the crust from mountain to ocean and the curvature of the coastal bite where land bordered sea, as far as the eye could see.

One has to equalize as one gained altitude, a matter of squeezing the nostrils and blowing so as to pop the ears. Ironically, no belch of sausage. Or two.

“Three minutes.”

Shit, what were the instructions? One was engaged and lost from the panoramic views. Hop up onto lap, click. I could feel Brent tightening us into a kama sutra position. Luckily, we had our clothes on. No mile-high club membership interaction on this day!

Aaron was pumped. And so was I. If he had any nerves, then they were well hidden. And so were mine. Aaron is a Year 13 student from Linwood College that I’ve worked with this year. He is one of the Peer Mentors to the Year 9’s we impart basic life skills to. And now here we were jumping out of a plane to raise funds for the programmes we provide to youth. Together. Well, he dropped out first!

As the tap on the shoulder came to release the hands, we were still in free fall. Aaron was a dot below. We rotated and Brent (tandem pilot) removed my goggles. It made the opaque vision clearer and the view sharper.

The rip cord was pulled and we came to an abrupt slowness. Brent didn’t tell me that he was going to loosen the buckles and hf, I grabbed onto my harness! That was a lot of good wasn’t it, the harness was only mine! That’s when I belched sausage. Nothing exited I’m pleased to write.

He pointed upwards. There was Aaron and his pilot high above. We had free fell for longer to pass them dropping. Apparently, a weight to gravity ratio. Apparently.

Then we glided back to the ground, with the odd 360° rotation. Everything got bigger again. With the knees up into the chest, the landing was a touch down of arses to slide on the moist long grass before coming to a halt, the shute gracefully coming down in front to signal our drop was over. There were cheers from the by-standers over yonder at the hanger. A fist pump and hug with Brent the tandem pilot. Job done.

To watch Aaron arrive made the moment more significant. His grin was from ear to ear. A buzz of adrenalin and euphoria that clashed. A hug of congrats before we trod toward a third sausage and bread and onions and sauce.

Which brings me back to the opening question and finishing this sentence.

What is the one thing YOU will never regret?

Now get on and do it, what ever the one thing is.

20/10/19 Drop for Youth – Part 2

We all do it.

Looking as if we are listening to the person speaking but don’t be in the presence of what the person is saying.

Him – “At the three-minute call, hop onto my lap and I will clip in the bottom buckles.”

Me – Should I have eaten that sausage and bread with onions and sauce?

Him – “At the one-minute call, affix the goggles and I’ll pull the sides tight.”

Me – If I spew up the sausage and bread and onions and sauce – will it collect in the shute?

Him – “We will jump second so shimmy to the doors edge, you’ll hang outside the plane so adopt a bent banana pose with head on my shoulders, legs curled back, hands hanging onto the straps at your tit level. You’ll know when we exit the plane as I’ll rock back and forth twice and then out we go. Once I tap you on your shoulders, release your hand and just chill out, relax and enjoy the view. And breath.”

Me – Shit, should I tell him or just let nature takes its place?

Him – “Any questions?”

Me – “Yes, have I got time to eat a sausage, onions, bread and sauce?” (It would be my second)

Him – “Absolutely.”

I did, subconsciously knowing that I remember hearing three minutes, lap, clip, one minute, goggles, shimmy, banana, rock then drop, tap, release, enjoy … and try like hell not to spew up the gut contents.

What a crap last meal that would have been!

Words of wisdom – be in the moment with the person you are conversing with. Keep intently listening and, try not to finish the sentence for the person speaking.

We all do it.

19/10/19 Drop for Youth – Part 1

The things we do that takes us out of our comfort zone I’ve been brainwashed with, grows us, apparently. Read any self-development book. Listen to podcasts or watch Youtube presentations. I’ve kinda done a lot of them all.

Bla bla bla bla, you will grow from the experience more from doing, versus sitting on the side-line.

Or the ground in today’s instance!

And the gap between brainwash and reality that causes the most overthinking is as easy as the word’s spoken “ Yep, I’m in” and “What the f#*k was I thinking.” Even before you put on a jump suit that holds all your guts in for that just in-case reality of what you overthink doesn’t turn out to be something, far from your brainwash!

The folk you associate with contributing to that fear with “is your insurance up to-date?” or even better, “what is a song you want played during the service?”, be mindful of. On record, I’m having 86 songs and no speakers and believe me, when I say that I have a Celebrant who will deliver, her name is Tina.

My first words of wisdom are, ‘be mindful who you associate with.’ Are they taking you closer to your goal or away from your goal? So, when it was daughter LClaire who kept up the banter and wife BClaire agreeing, my come back was a phrase to calm my excitement about coming back to ‘poltergiest’ them. And sadly I write, I stole that from a dear mate who used those exact words during a service I officiated after watching a message he left and we played during his farewell.

Just as important, there isn’t any instruction about how to position anatomy once you have the suit that the holds all your gut in and when they start to strap in the belt and buckles that are the bits that connect you between fall out of the plane and gravity. Your tandem professional whom by the way, was a Brent!

And some of us are more endowed than others. Not sure about the other Brent. My tandem professional.

Just saying.

To be continued …

13/10/19 Volunteering Ride

Amongst all the stuff we involve ourselves with, we volunteer to the New Zealand Blind Foundation to take visually impaired members for tandem cycle rides.

And where today’s ride to Sumner started some thoughts around the concept of a bigger bumz on seat adventure!

6/10/19 Mr or Mrs, Clip Round the Ear, or Kick Up the Bum

Who remembers the days of yesteryear when as a kid, you left the house when the street lights were switched off, and then returned home before the street lights were turned on?

They were the good old days of being fed by mates parents; where you called them “Mr so and so” or “Mrs so and so”; and where they were allowed to give you a clip around the ear for being a cheeky little shit or misbehaving that warranted corporal punishment.

We miss those days.

So, today, we decided to re-live part of the past. Or close to it anyways.

South Brighton Spit lies across from Shag Rock on the Sumner side of the estuary. You can cycle there along the north side of the Avon River. It was an open landscape canvas most of the way. Where life once was. And now isn’t.

Apart from bird life.

Following the coast line to enter Bottle Lake Forrest, we re-visted our old caravan site at Spencer Holiday Park. All traces of the Rurus were definitely gone. As were the poplar trees that sheltered us from the Easterly winds.

Leaving the house on the bikes, it was six hours later before we disembarked back at now home.

Still time left before the street lights come on too.

However, no “Mr or Mrs”, clip round the ear or kick up the bums.

We do what we do not to escape life … but for life not to escape us.

Everyone welcome to join us. It’s an open invitation.

4/10/19 A Hapu of Ngāi Tahu

There is a little settlement on the in-side of Lyttelton Harbour called Rapaki. A hapu of Ngāi Tahu.

Having spent the past two days there on the Wheke Marae, what a gorgeous dot on the landscape to attend a Code of Ethics for Youth Work in Aotearoa.

Such an awesome marae style learning way with fellow industry organisations – way smarter and, significantly better outside the class or the board room.

The korero spoken of the marae history; the ‘Te Tiriti o Waitangi’ beginnings, tribulations and present day collaborations; and navigating ethical transparency doing youth work, were informative, welcoming and encouraging.

If you are out and about over bay-side, stop in and check it out.

It’ll strengthen the resolve to protect OUR bi-cultural presence necessity – a code of ethic all New Zealanders and guests of Aotearoa, should be embracing.

5/9/19 Home Visit Tandem Blat

Hah, our sister Awhina was home … on our turf!

To attend a 50th milestone birthday – BClaire’s

What better way for her to remember it by, than by getting her kitted up and take her for a tandem blat on a tandem.

Into Christchurch city, around Hagley Park and return.

Errrrrr, no inbetween pictures because of the torrential pissing down of rain!

Learnt something about her today. She doesn’t like people hoiking spit. Still not after the dozen or so times neither. Happens when one is on the front! Something she learnt, ahem!

Getting drenched, riding through puddles, undulation that vibrates through the arse … quality time spent together.

Hah, and she thought we would just be sitting around!

Now she is nervous about what’s next. After she can walk better and thawed out.

I’m excited.

1/9/19 The Blind Mosquito

When our biking buddy Maree asked if we would like a face mask to use when cycling the Little River Rail Trail from Motukarara to Little River, we thought she was taking the piss.

Often, we see Asian’s wearing them around the cities and wondered if it was because of bad acne. Or to reduce pollution inhalation.

Her warning that the flying bugs would be in hordes along the edges of Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere and Lake Forsyth warranted nostril and mouth entry points coverage. Otherwise, you ain’t gonna need carrot cake or a sausage roll reward from all the protein you would be sucking in.

Jeezus, she was bang on.

The black clouds swarming ahead were like those birds you see on National Geographic documentaries that twist and turn in dark shapes on a sunset evening in the sky. Except our clouds were just hovering from ground to three-five metres on the pathway we were riding along. And into.

By the zillions.

They are called the NZ Midge, or Lake Fly, or the Blind Mosquito because they look like a mossie, except they don’t bite … thankfully.

You felt them hit, they clung onto apparel, skin and hair and we have never in all our time that we have ridden bum on bike seat, ever encountered such an awe of protein like we did today.

The face mask worked … thankfully and we got to munch down cake and roll.

Before we had to repeat the experience to return the same way we had come!

The best of the worst now under out belt. And close to being in every orifice that wasn’t covered up!

9/8/19 Nothing in the world feels particularly necessary when you sit in awe. Or thaw …

To the backbone of the Southern Alps we head.
Towards Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.

Turn right after the Mount Cook airport and the meandering road for about 6 kilometres, takes you to the Tasman Lake within the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park (South Island, New Zealand).

Tasman Glacier … sadly receding.

This proglacial lake is formed by the retreating Tasman Glacier.

Looking down upon the reflective water was just superb. To view the floating bergs from the waters edge, where the clear ice tombed rocks pending melting, just beautiful.

As parts of bergs broke away, they were sucked towards the outlet, to enter a current that would ramble them towards the Pacific Ocean.

This is the true Alps to Ocean beginning and, submerge any part of exposed skin into the liquid, numbness is instantaneous.

The way we see an image depends upon the lens we view the subject through … and nothing in the world feels particularly necessary when you sit in awe.

Or thaw.

Certainly worth the journey.

25/5/19 Topped Off By Twins

All grinned up and ready to set off …

The Mount Somers Track has it all and we would have to rate it as being a fantastic slice of back yard that must be explored.

We had already gone in from the top end to Pinnacles hut; this time, it was from the bottom end to Woolshed Creek Hut.

Accompanying us were newbies to boots, packs, dehydrated food and then subsequent jelly legs, stinky socks and no soap or shampoo for the over night expedition – Mike and Lynn.

Following the Miners Track, remnants of coal mining yesteryear lay at peace. An old miners hat, shovel and horse dray hung from the entrance to an old mine shaft. The landscape in parts was artificial from the dredging of earth from deep inside the old hole.

Blackburn Mine Entrance
Head lights of yesteryear.

You would think that the foot hills would be the beginning of the Alps however, as we gained altitude to look towards the western horizon, it opened up into a sparseness of brown hinterland. Quite remarkable.

Reaching the hut took under a couple of hours. Lot’s of stops for newbies to wear in their bodies. Mental state too.

Tomorrows pathway.
Woolshed Creek Hut awaits us …
Looking East.
Owwww, a puddle with frozen ice still!
Woolshed Creek Hut

Woolshed Creek Hut sleeps 26 and being first to arrive meant the pick of the bunks; the choice of seating and with ear muffs positioned strategically, other comers choosing to fill up the other bunk room first! We were also in control of the wood burner and as the sun dipped below the crest – it was roaring to the brim with flame and wood.

As did the hut eventually become, full to the brim. Oldies, youngies, locals, internationals, a cacophony of chorus huddling around flame lit candles – shadows dancing on the hut walls. And the best way to meet like minded travellers.

As we were the first to arrive, we were the last to depart, taking the Mt Somers Track to meet up with the Rhyolite Track. That’s the part where ‘jelly legs’ became the result as we ascended more to see the coal mine from the day before somewhat way below! Notwithstanding, the views under the huff and puff, spectacular.

The decent had some technical aspects to it to and the wind along the ridgeline meant holding onto your cap. Follow the orange markers is enjoyment. Lose one and go over the sides, that’s a different type of enjoyment.

Woolshed Creek Hut, Mt Somers – tick.
Max load – one person.
As we ascended, the hut became a dot …
The Bus Shelter …
To be challenged is to use all your senses in balance.
Back at the bottom …

Arriving at the car to a flat tyre well, who the hell invented space saver rubber when you have a heap of kms to retrace back to the flatland treadmill!

It didn’t take away how the weekend was made special with meeting the Topp Twins at the Stavely Cafe on the way to the tramp. Jools and Lynda are two iconic folk singing treasures, having entertained NZ’ers for over 30 years. They were on the road doing another tour, both in their sixties and humping a trailer with a square tin shaped box as their abode. It was a mansion compared to the womb they once shared, as the conversation went.

Right time, right place.

The Topp Twins.

Righty, onto the next micro-adventure.

Hoping Mike and Lynn are still speaking with us!

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