The husband person, who has been accumulating gift vouchers from several Christmas presents and volunteering thankyous, bought himself a second-hand GoPro.
Scandretti-Persons, House-Sitters, Dogs Also Minded.
In Devonport, one would sit anything, and mind on request. Betty is not a dog person, but she is a big fan, for example, of taking the ferry…
…and of working in the city, and keeping tabs on things to do.
Must look into that. The week of house-sitting ended with fish and chips on the beach – with perhaps a tiny dish of handmade aïoli from the French delicatessen.
It was nice. For various, mostly traffic-related, reasons, though, Betty is glad to be home.
Public holidays this year are a dime a dozen. This week, Waitangi Day.
The weather was glorious – apparently it was horrendously windy early in the morning, but as Betty was sleeping in it really didn’t matter, you see?
Betty and the husband person hopped on the bus and moseyed at a snail’s pace to Devonport. It would be quicker to cycle, except that Hanna, Betty’s genteel omafiets, has a puncture, the poor sausage. Once it’s fixed, there will definitely be a post giving a proper introduction.
Devonport was lovely, as usual.
I mean, more or less…
They really take the alternative transport idea to a whole new level.
But, not having easy access to a bike, a cruise liner, or a naval submarine, Betty and the HP took the ferry instead. It’s a short trip, but exceedingly pleasant.
The ferry building is one of Betty’s very favourite spots. This will be the last full day off for a wee while, sadly, but life promises to be pretty adventurous anyway – circus classes start again this week, there are exciting guest teachers at the studio, Betty’s university course is coming up fast (this time with twice the Charcot and more Richard Selzer, heaven help us), and the work party of the year is only weeks away. Onward and upward!
Here is one of the nice things that happened over the summer holidays.
Betty, the husband person, and their eternally wonderful friend, best man, and tour guide (we shall call him Fosdycke, for privacy reasons) went on a walk near a tiny town in the wops, to a place called the Blue Spring.
There are cows on the way, of course…
All mod cons, in fact.
The most impressive is definitely the running water.
If you think you can’t see the trout swimming on the bottom, you’re just not looking hard enough. If you find it hard to count the pebbles, you must blame your education.
The spring itself is a pure blue colour and life-affirmingly cold year-round – a bracing eleven, Celsius – and Betty went only so far as ankles, while eating her lunch. Fosdycke swam into the spring, which he estimated to be about twenty metres deep, and with some encouragement the husband person also submerged himself. He was pushed, if you want to know the truth.
One could get used to living in a country like this.
Last weekend, Betty and two workmates and a dedicated client walked the Auckland Half Marathon together. It comes highly recommended.
It begins in Devonport, which feels deliciously provincial at seven in the morning, even when packed with people and almost completely lined with portapotties. Speaking of which, Betty would advise going before one goes, or arriving at five.
This lovely bunch played “When the Saints Go Marching In” outside their garage, in support. The deep north certainly wins the prize for roadside encouragement.
The biggest encouragement, however, was the chance to walk over the Harbour Bridge. They close it at nine, so those who started at seven have to scurry. The Pilates crew ran all the downhills, and still arrived with only fifteen minutes or so to spare. And it was worth it.
Down there is where Betty broke her ankle, once. Good times.
These things are great – the benefits are 50% glucose-related, 10% caffeine-related, and 40% organic-smugness-slash-graphic-design-appreciation-related. The chocolate ones are also excellent.
The course finishes after a trip past the tank farm…
…and the trendy restaurants…
And the boats!
And so on, and you get a banana at the end. No expense spared. Very well-organised. Betty has just a few tips for those thinking of doing the half marathon next year, viz:
1. Wear something decent, because between the finish line and Queenie’s Lunchroom an undies, undies, undies, togs moment does occur. In reverse, naturally.
2. Rent a flat with a bath, in future.
3. The Thorlos socks feel like an extravagance before the race, but they are not.
4. Zombies for the win.
Twelve months to go.
Where long walks are concerned, necessity has always been the mother of any kind of motivation; Betty’s natural mode is one of inertia, adroitly held in tension with an irresistible homing instinct; the only way to ensure she gets a nice long walk is to abandon herself at some remote location and let her baser brain guide the way back to the nest, as it were. This has worked really well at certain times – for example, when she used to work at the home for the bewildered in the mornings and have to be at university in the afternoons (one hour’s walk) and then, of course, home (another hour). Or when she was a muscularly dystrophian caregiver in a relatively distant suburb during the day and had to be at the studio in the evening (one hour and a half). Or, and this still rankles, when she used to finish supervising meds for the gloriously unwell at ten in the PM and the bus wouldn’t come (also one and a half, but extra points for the pitch darkness and the homicidal rage). It hasn’t been working so well since she has been working ten minutes’ walk from home, which is five on a bike, barely.
Her saviour, walking-wise, has come in the form of an app – it’s called Zombies, Run!, and its premise is simple. You are Runner 5, a stranger choppered into a small township that has been holding off zombie hordes for a wee while, and it has unceremoniously become your job to prove your worth and identity by running around the base to perform various tasks – retrieving supplies, distracting packs of undead scavengers, rescuing children, that kind of thing – at a nice, steady pace, through an unfolding series of missions. You are directed by radio contact from the base through your headphones, and you can set a playlist of music for running (or walking, which is what Betty does, or even something related like cycling or rowing, in a pinch). In between your usual Django Reinhardt and Babylon Circus and the Klezmer Conservatory Band, you get harried updates from the survivors of the zombie apocalypse, saying motivating things like “Oh, dear,” and “Just put on a burst of speed, now!“.
Of course, things are not all as they seem, et cetera, and it becomes quite exciting to learn dribs and drabs of the full story as the missions progress. There are about thirty missions in the season, but a few are supply runs which are quite replayable, and there’s a Radio Mode that kicks in at the end of each mission to continue the ambience, and you can do an entire run in Radio Mode, if you wish. If you’re feeling up to it, you can even enable zombie chases, and they will appear all groaning and heaving and make you go faster.
The only drawback is that Betty doesn’t have a smartphone, so the rather clunky iPad has to come along on these long walks. This precludes its use on proper slogs, but it has still been perfectly fine for those walks on which Betty would have taken a bag anyway – coffee runs via the beach, for example, or inter-suburb commutes.
All in all, it’s a tremendous app, and it has certainly increased Betty’s walking habits by a considerable margin. Zombies for the win. We might have known.
In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great.
(or, though Betty is trying to avoid this kind of thinking, And she spake thus loudly, O Lord, I thank you that I am not like other men, who do not live on Takapuna beach…)