Sunday, September 25, 2016

A walk is just a matter of 'distance' on the Coast! NO.

You have often read of my wonderful walks on the Coast. They have been my 'saviour, my tonic---my source of joy!' If I feel a little bored or our of sports, I go for a walk. I return home---invigorated, restored and calm. How does one measure such experiences?

    We could measure how far we walked (you know who 'we,' represents!) I would be reporting in steps walked, (as measured by the AP on my phone) or by the distance in kilometres----or how long we walked. None of the aforementioned work for me, as they do not 'record' what happened on the walk.

   There is a far more accurate measure re our walks. Just take it as a given that we explore beautiful places with heavenly vistas, along with the sounds, of birds and gently lapping waves---those experiences just happen! How about we use the 'encounters' we enjoy along the way----yes the people we meet. To put a finer point on this----let me use the 'conversations I have with the people I meet. There---we have it. By today's measure for our walk the result was five conversations; five meetings and exchanges of ideas and stories.

That is how we measure a walk on the Coast!!!!

Walking on the Coast is--'talking' on the Coast.

I could hardly be accused of been a shy, 'keep it to yourself,' sort of guy. I can't help it---I just talk. (lots of grins and knowing nods as some of my friends and family read that opening!) Since moving to the Coast, that 'attribute' has been enhanced by the sheer beauty of the area and freeing up of the 'me' that the Coast has brought out.

   Every time I walk along the foreshore,  up a valley, or alongside the retirement village, I meet someone, I never get far without the need to stop and chat. I suspect that Perdy is the draw card, as most of the people, some with their own  'hairy companions,' stop to pat, chat and swap yarns. It is at least a twice daily ritual now.

   I learn a great deal about the area I have moved to and about other far flung places, not just in New Zealand, but the lands from which so many of the people have come from. I love their stories and as I get to know them, they go deeper, sharing aspects of their lives that I feel special, when I hear them.

   There have been times in my life, when I have exhibited a fair amount of impatience when  it comes to standing still and listening, but something about this place, makes me want to take the time to 'play the Coastal game,' and enjoy the pace; indeed it is my furry monster, Perdy who is literally chomping at the bit to get away, once the chat goes beyond ten minutes. Several times I have looked down and my nutty Jack Russell has chewed through her lead. Thank goodness, she has only bolted for the hills and streets of Thames, hunting cats and other vermin, a couple of times.

    One aspect of meeting people with their own dogs is that I forget the names of the humans but remember the dogs' names. On occasion, I swap names---I call the human the dog's name. Even that seems to be acceptable behaviour down here. Actually, I remember doing the same in Auckland so maybe it is a quaint failing of dog owners in general.

   I like the  pace of life here; the easy welcoming from locals, the smiles and willingness to share helpful knowledge about  where to get 'stuff or services,' the shortcuts that avoid issues and yes---'what not to do.' I was expecting a it of 'push back,' re coming from Auckland; yes I was prepared to say I was from the Naki,' in an attempt to avoid that bloody awful label JAFA! I have not needed to do that. They seem to have changed the label to JAR (Just another Refugee) I am not sure that this willingness to accept Aucklanders will last long term, because there is a huge shortage of houses to buy or rent donw here now. The HALO affect of Auckland stupid prices for houses, is going to cause issues as locals are locked out of the market, just like many Aucklanders are now.

   There are many other beautiful regions in New Zealand. I would like to think that people like me, who have tired of the 'rat race' of the bigger cities, will find a way to make the changes necessary to move to the gems that are scattered like the rocks I collect from the beach here---find them and make the move. Find your place to slow the pace and meet the people on the beaches, parks and wild spaces. You will wonder why you struggled for so long!

Friday, September 23, 2016

There are some really good support groups out there on Facebook!

A few years ago, I had bariatric surgery. Soon after that event, I decided to form a support group for people who were either about to undergo the procedure,  were thinking of having it and those who were post op. It started slowly, mainly form people in NZ, then it spread---big time. Now it has about 800 members and is growing ever faster, some would say 'exponentially.'

   With that rapid growth, the group attracted the 'vultures,' religious nutters' (that will get a few of you moaning!) and the 'issue orientated groups,' none of whom have a place in the group. The group was set up to support people with 'love, ideas and to encourage people to take a journey towards a new life.' It has succeeded beyond even my most hopeful dreams.

    I had to ask for a friend to help me moderate the groups and that has been wonderful. I have yet to meet her in person, but I will. What started as a Kiwi group has virtually been enlarged by lovely people from the USA and to a lesser extent, members from other countries. What hits me is the 'journey that unites,' and once the 'fools, wannabes and others' are expunged from the group, we are left with something special---mutual respect and support. Who needs anything else.

    Today, I found another great group, online. It is for people suffering, enduring and wanting to learn about AF---Atrial Fibrillation. I have recently had that 'nasty fact of life for many,' diagnosed and at times I have struggled to understand it and see a way forward. Joining the group today, has lessened my anxiety and perhaps taken one of the 'triggers' under control  by doing so.

   My purpose in writing this blog, today, is not to exhort people to join these groups;it is more to say---- there is always hope out there and if one seeks support for any 'condition, issue or ailment'---then it is out there. If you really want to know, just type in something like 'bariatric support group or Atrial Fibrillation support group----you get the picture.  Both groups will come up. You choose the type of group you would like to belong to. Both groups I belong to are 'Public.' If you want to join a 'closed group,' those options are available too.

PS   I may form a group for 'survivors of owning a jack Russell,' group!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Japan---Hi ya!

It's great to see Japan reading my blogs. Please go to my website and look at my books. Do you want to read some stories from New Zealand? It's easy.    Just click on Neils Books and follow the links to the Kindle downloads. If you want hard copy, get in touch with me directly for a better deal.   Use my website for the downloads.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Maybe the Coast will enthuse me for this years book festival in Auckland!

Last year I attended a book festival on the North Shore, at a venue totally unsuitable and hard to find for the participants and the general public. Suffice it to say, not many sales were  made by any authors and I suspect that those presenting 'supporting' roles re publishing also were very quiet. I did make some good contacts though should I need 'producing ' in the future. That of course depends very much on sales for Roskill and Talk To me.

   This year I am in a very different position as I no longer work full-time, having made the decision to 'mostly' retire and move from Auckland. However the move to Thames has energized me in many ways. I have more time to think, to go off in various directions, re new hobbies, new friends, but keeping in touch with those special people from my time in Auckland and more importantly---I have a desire to write more. To do this, I want to take one last shot at pushing my two books, hence my decision to take part in the upcoming book festival in Auckland.

    Over the next week or so, keep an eye on my blog page and FB page and I shall put up the details of when and where the infinitival will occur. In the meantime, keep downloading my books and if you want hard copy, get in touch with me directly so you can get a better deal.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Is it the 'Coast' or is it something else?

Since moving to the Thames Coast, there have been a few notable changes in my life. My health is much improved and I seem to be---calmer. That of course does not prevent me from letting loose on here from time to time---but----

    Just a few short months ago I was working as a counsellor in an Auckland school. That was 'stimulating,' but after nearly 30 years in the same job, but in different schools, one has to accept that there is a 'use by' date, whereby 'things' catch up with you. Others may call that state, 'hitting the wall.' Had I---the answer would be---'it depends who you talk to.'

   Let's put the above 'question' aside and look at what  happened that led me to decide to leave the big city, I had a few warnings. Yes, I had been through the 'Bariatric surgery journey and had probably saved my life by shedding about 40 kilos. There was an immediate health benefit and a noticeable improvement in my outlook on life generally. Many insidious life threatening 'ailments' simply disappeared, including type two diabetes and sleep apnea, plus there was better control over cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.

    However, there was still the stress, combined with the feeling that I was getting nowhere, financially. For various reasons, which some would put down to  BAD planning, I was in a postilion that debt seemed to be stalking me, in a manner that was suggesting that life was a never ending excuse to seek diversions. Spending money was a stupid answer, but one that had been part of my 'therapy.' An intervention, not of my choosing was just around the corner. I met it head on----New Years Day, 2016!

    I ended up in Auckland Hospital with possible heart issues and being a crazy time of the year, they kept me in for a week. That was good as it allowed the specialists to get to the bottom of the problem. I have nothing but praise for New Zealand's free public health system. I was treated magnificently and I now have a management plan for the condition I have. It's quite a common one---Atrial Fibrillation, and with the right support, it is manageable . Initially it was a bit frightening, and some of the triggers, were unknown to me at the time, making for increased anxiety.

    I need to digress for a moment. For a few years, I had been entertaining the possibility of leaving the city of Auckland, but I could not make the leap between actually planning it and doing it. I made up all sorts of excuses, whilst checking the fantasy of ----'where,' if I ever did.' One place that continually entered my thoughts---and dreams was the Thames Coast. But---I put those thoughts on the back burner, thinking that I would never actually do it.

    That week in hospital and the ramifications as to my future if I stayed in a high pressure job, combined with that 'financial wall,' coalesced  into an action plan. I discussed my concerns and plans with my partner and we came to a decision to start looking for a home in Thames. I had already seen a two and within a few weeks we had visited the town and checked out these homes, agreeing on the one we now live in---a very modest little two bedroom 1950's retro home, not far from the beach at Tararu.

   Things moved rapidly from that moment and a decision to leave my employment happened even faster. I was able to secure an early release and looking back---maybe a bit too fast. There were a few 'reminders' that I should have slowed down, as the AF hit back when I overdid things, but here we are---living on the Coast and living a far more balanced life. Sure---I miss aspects of Auckland; my friends and family, but technology comes to the rescue  when the feeling is strong and frequent visits from friends and family fills the gaps. I do not miss the craziness of full-time work and the everyday commute. I am forcibly reminded of just how bad the traffic is in Auckland when I return to see the few clients I now work with, both in a counselling relationship and a supervisory one.

   I am embracing the local community---meeting many people on my walks with Perdy, my crazy Jack Russell---the escapologist! I have started my training to work at the local Citizens Advice bureau and my new obsession with rock collecting and polishing seems to take a bit of time. It's a wonder I have any time to actually work at all!

   There is also a strong possibility that family members will be moving to Thames, one quite soon, so any feelings that I am cut off--are rapidly diminishing. I may find some time to start another book, or work on  one one that has been on the 'burner' for quite a few years. The support group I started re Bariatric Surgery, has totally taken off, now having over 600 members. That takes quite an amount of time--to check and moderate, but  a good friend is helping with that.

   I feel I have a beautiful balance in my life now. Sure---there will be the odd 'curve-ball,' come my way, but that IS life.In the mean time, I shall seek new adventures and report on them, sometimes seriously and at others---well---you know my style, so be warned.


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Nothing like a tumble on the Coast!!!!!

I bet that got ya going!   yes I am an older bugger today---WTF---I intend to be even more 'outgoing,' so be warned.

   OK, I started the day in dramatic fashion. I had prepared the chicken drumsticks for the BBQ and decided to get out of the house with Perdy for a quick walk so Rio could ready the kitchen for 'activity.' Off I went to the usual nearby beach. Perdy was in an exuberant mood as per usual and we walked along the tide mark---the sea was right in---hopefully no tsunami warning today!

   Perdy chased off a few gulls and a bevvy of shags plus, a few other waders of unknown origin and we headed home. The cellphone went. I dropped it, along with Perdy's lead. She was off like a rat up a shit-house pipe! Jack Russells do that! She was in someone's backyard before I could breath, trailing her lead behind her like a bouncing ball. That didn't slow her down at all. I followed in a more leisurely manner as I did not want to draw the attention of the entire neighbourhood, warranting a mass call-out of all and sundry!

   I noticed she had gone down the side of the house where the ubiquitous sight of a boat greeted me. It seems everyone has a boat down here on the coast. Great---I thought  I could trap her as she came out It didn't quite work out that way. I slipped as I made a grab for her and flopped down, making a rather undignified stretch with the accompanying pain as I felt what I assumed was a rip of various bodily parts. FUCK!---I yelled---loudly. Perdy, in the meantime was dancing without a care in the world around the backyard of the house, seeking critters.

   I dragged myself up, a feat I can achieve since the weight loss, and retreated to the more dignified position on the footpath. I was going to ring Rio, to come and assist in the capture of the beast. In the meantime the owner of the house, who was even older than me came out, laughing, the bugger, and invited me in to his section to retrieve the Perdy. He knew about 'foxies' (But not enough, apparently to know that Perdy is a fecking Jack Russell!). Together we managed to trap Perdy in a narrow space and at that point she meekly came to me. Yes her escapade was over and she had to behave herself while I chatted away to the fellow escapee from Auckland.

    I was feeling better by this stage and trudged my way home. I suspect the pain will revisit me tonight. I intend to drown it for the next 8 hours or so with a few celebratory drinks, whilst entertaining  friends, family and neighbours. So, it appears that 'tumbling' is quite a feature for me here on the Coast---if it's not stones---it's ME!!!!!