Wheel alignment

Sunday 25 September 2011

Life is not entirely about 2 wheels!

About 10 years ago, Jennie and I sat down and mapped out our "sensible" retirement plan - single storey smallish house for moving about in comfortably as we aged, flat plot of land for ease of maintenance, close to a city for hospital facilities, going to concerts and shows etc.  Funny how the heart sometimes over-rides common-sense on big decisions isn't it?  What did we finally end up with?  Living on the outskirts of a village with a population of 1500, a 2-storey house on a steep hill next to the harbour, a fairly large garden with an awful lot of bush to maintain and a 2 hour drive from the 3 nearest cities and an hour from the nearest hospital!  Added to all this, the place was pretty run down when we bought it and required a fair bit of work to get it to a reasonable standard.  And you know what?  There's a place for heart over head because we've loved every minute, despite it being the complete opposite to a common-sense solution.  Maybe one of life's lessons there!

Although Jennie would say that I'm obsessional about motorcycling, I don't think that's actually true.  Passionate certainly, but I do have other interests. Gardening is one of them because it's amazingly therapeutic.  Nothing like being outside on a spring evening pottering about under the critical supervision of our cats!    I mentioned the hard work to get the house and garden straight.  The garden in particular was a nightmare as it was completely overgrown with scruffy, native bush.  We slashed and burned until there was space to plant some nice native plants, keeping the existing tree ferns and planting other non-native plants under and around them to provide a bit of colour throughout the year.  Now spring is here, I thought we'd have a change from motorcycling and post a few photos of a few of the plants taken this week.

Native plant area of the garden with tree ferns

Bromeliad under a tree fern

Another Bromeliad with lethal spines on the leaves!

Early-flowering Tahitian Pohutukawa

Australian Bottlebrush

Scented orchid growing under a tree fern

Bird of Paradise plant

Azalea bush about 2 metres high

Native Cordyline and Pampas Grass

View from the deck through the bush approaching sunset

Hope that you've enjoyed the brief garden ramble - back to bikes next time!


  1. What!? ah? what you mean lifs is not about two wheels.........shit I have been mislead.

    Beautiful orchid by the way.

  2. Rog:
    Methinks you protest too much :-)

    Cheers - each flower is only about 20mm across!

  3. There's is more in life than motorcycles? Really? Lol! I also love music. Playing guitar and performing is another one of my passions!

    I've had a similar experience. My wife and I purchased our first house a few years ago and ended up with 9 fruit trees, grape vines, and a large plot for a veggi garden. I don't enjoy it quite as much as you do, but there sure is a great sense of accomplishment when the yard looks nice.

    Take care!


  4. Jared:
    Hahaha! Reminds me of a saying by our national rugby team coach "Rugby is not about life and death, it's much more important than that"!!!

    I think it's important to have a bit of variety in your life. Also helps me to appreciate bikes more when I'm actually on one!

    Thanks for dropping by and best wishes.....

  5. Great photos Geoff, although I must admit that the thought of gardening makes my head hurt......it's one of the things (along with washing cars and mowing lawns) that I don't enjoy. :) but I do appreciate the sense of pride and happiness that looking at the end result of those activities brings.

    Hope your weekend has been a good one.

  6. Hi Anthony!

    I hate doing lawns too, especially as the few bits of grass we have are all on a steep slope! Washing bikes or cars I quite enjoy - stick the iPod on and go into a Zen-like semi-trance. Being a short-arse though, I need a set of steps to clean the roof on the 4x4!!

    Have a great week....

  7. That post has reassured me Geoff...We have a lovely bungalow in a peacefull and quite Cul de sac, bus stop 1/4 mile away that goes into town or stops at the hospital. Lovely garden and we are selling up and hopefully migrating to the other side of the World.Perhaps the motorcylists in us upsets brain cells..ha ha.
    Incidentaly stop parking your 4x4 under the dedroom window and you will never be able to see the roof!!!

  8. Hi Dylan!
    As I get older, I'm less inclined to do what's sensible and listen to my heart. You're undoubtedly right about the brain cells, hehe.

    Hmmmm... good advice about the 4x4. What you can't see never needs cleaning!

  9. All these thoughts have crossed my mind recently as well. And thinking that it may be time to park the bike (below freezing with ice on the road this morning) I'm guessing that I would have to agree with the title. Though gardening isn't it. Gardening and riding occur at about the same time of the year.

    Cars and trucks only get washed once per year so that is far from recreation.

    Nice post and pictures.


  10. Hi Richard - heavy frosts already??

    Yep, I guess gardening in Alaska is an anachronism! I like cooking too, but would struggle to put it in the same enthusiasm category as bikes!



  11. Lovely photos Geoff. We did a similar planning exercise and ended up in the country, 70 kilometres from the city, with a house to build, and 16 acres to tend ("best laid plans", etc.). Most of the hard work is done, but the yard work would be endless if you let it. Although it is therapeutic as you say. But at least I now have time for my other summer passion - golf.

  12. Canajun:
    Hahaha - amazing similarities! Just hope that I've gone gaga by the time we need to move because I sure as heck don't want to move into a retirement village!

    You're right about it being potentially endless work which is why we've mainly planted fairly slow-growing stuff.

    Yep, golf would be a great alternative to riding. I've really enjoyed a few games but am totally hopeless!

  13. We now have a small house and a medium yard. We are two blocks West and nine blocks South of the hospital. All the shopping we would want is 10 minutes away. See, we did the sensible thing.

    Now I wish we were out somewhere by ourselves. Odd, isn't it?

    I've never grown an orchid in my life. If only I could get off the bike long enough to try!

  14. Dan,
    That's just great, haha. Do the sensible thing and it still doesn't feel right!!! The only slight downside so far is that our mailbox is about 30 metres from the house down a steep drive. The knees creak a bit walking back up on cold mornings! Small price to pay though.

    I've never grown an orchid either - I just break bits off the master plant, stick them here and there in the garden and away they go! Hardly gardening expertise, hehe!

  15. Geoff:

    We live in the heart of the city. It takes a long time to reach the open roads. We are less than a kilometer from 4+ hospitals, a large shopping mall and the bus is half a block away.

    when you come to visit, bring the garden. Our soil is devoid of colour and needs your green finger. also bring your lucky red gardening shorts.

    Riding the Wet Coast

  16. Bob,
    Sounds like you're part-way there - maybe move out a bit when it's time to retire so you can be in the country within 2 minutes like us?

    After my last abortive fishing expedition, the red shorts are likely to be consigned to the bin. Jennie has ordered me another pair. Russet colour whatever that might be. A guy's colour recognition only applies to primary colours :-)

  17. I think the view from your deck is worth not being sensible. Love the Bird of Paradise picture.

    Your house looks big enough to host a moto-bloggers convention. What say you all - party at Geoff's? Surely Jennie wouldn't mind........ ;-)

  18. Thanks Trobairitz!

    We've slept a dozen before in relative comfort and our neighbour right next door has an apartment attached so you're on! Find the flight and we'll provide the food and place to stay :-)

    We've got 2 Bird of Paradise plants in the garden. One of them is over a metre across with a dozen or more flowers open. They flower all spring and summer.

  19. Being a city brat doesn't mean that I can't appreciate a great garden. All those tropical flowers. You certainly are a lucky bunch! I am with Trobairitz... let's have a motobloggers convention at your place ;-) What a view...

  20. Hi City Brat :-)

    Righto - on your next business trip to NZ, we'll have a motobloggers convention of at least 3 of us!

  21. You know, sometimes I think I have a sort of non-denominational guardian angel nudging me along - and I think I was nudged to read your blog this evening - reading about Burt Munro, and also about your 'sensible' retirement plan vs the paradise where you ended up has given me some serious food for thought on a day when my brain is whizzing all over the place at warp speed and fighting with itself over 'sensibleness vs passion'... thank you!

  22. Sue:
    Perhaps we all have guardian angels if we care to listen. Our "sensible" plan was just that - sensible. That didn't mean it was good for the soul though. Our "heart" decision most certainly was. Every good wish for your decisions!

  23. Absolutely stunning garden! Passion and balance is that the key to life?

  24. Thank you - I think you've hit it on the head!

    I've just been outside planting Japanese Blood Grass which should look nice in a dense planting and in pots: http://plantsmart.easybloom.com/plantlibrary/plant/japanese-blood-grass

  25. I'm glad that you enjoy gardening. I don't consider it therapeutic at all! Your yard is gorgeous. Keep up the good work since you are making the world a prettier place.

  26. Thanks Lori - it's probably fairer to say that I enjoy the end result more than the hard work, but it's still pretty good!


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