Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Them there school holiday work breaks...

Yes, the dreaded school holidays are with us again, and like thousands of parents the world over, I've been dredging the innermost reaches of my brain trying to figure out new ways to get the kids cold, tired, or otherwise to a state of exhaustion where they might give me five minutes peace.  This is a quest in which I've largely succeeded, but needless to say - by the time I've got them tuckered out, there isn't enough left in the tank to contemplate writing a blog post most days, let alone mount an assault on The Novel.

I have, however, had one minor result that I am - in the spirit of depthless generosity - going to ascribe to this fortnight of toil.  I managed to wake up this morning, after a night of unusually vivid dreams, with almost a fully-formed plot in front of me.  I flicked the kettle on for tea, and while I waited for it to brew sketched out the outline, ready to revisit once I've recovered.  Dreams like this don't come on their own - no.  They require the imbibing of copious quantities of alcohol and blue cheese, and my children - the little darlings - have given me plenty of motivation to seek solace in the arms of either the bottle or indeed, barely controlled fungus cultures over the last ten days.  So this story's going to be all theirs.

Snow and the lack of Surf

Yes, the surfing's been completely proscribed by the aforementioned school holidays.  I did take the family off skiing, up to Mount Dobson, a small field in the Mackenzie Country which is almost all beginner and intermediate terrain and which has terrific views over to Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo.  It also looks like a great place to break myself into going a bit more backcountry - lots of moderate off-trail runs accessible by relatively easy hikes, so I may revisit there on my own account if it looks like there's some really nice fresh snow on the cards.  What struck me about Dobson though - apart from the complete lack of school holiday crowds - was what a terrific place it was to just be, in the most hippy-dippy, quasi-Buddhist horseshit sense of the word.  The facilities are - well, basic is being generous - but somehow that just adds to the experience.

Of course, no school holidays or ski trip would have been worth its salt without the obligatory rising-of-the-swell.  The east coast, it seems, was all time during the time we were away.  But with the cold spell we've been having, and  legs heavy with the after-ski burn, somehow I didn't mind too much.  Yes, the clarion all of the warm north might be growing stronger, but there's days down here that are just pure magic.


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