Wheel alignment

Friday 22 December 2017

That was the year that was - 2017 in pictures

2017 was a year that seemed to be over in a flash.  I thought it would be nice to show the year pictorially with a few photos which I haven't  previously published on the blog.  Every month of the year is represented.

Summer in the Southern Hemisphere and a time for the grandkids to descend on us ('cos Nana J makes great cake, haha!)  The photo shows us in a corner of the garden with all the grandkids and two of our 3 adult children.

Some of the James clan

Although January is mainly warm and sunny, the heat sometimes brings summer storms.  The next photo was taken from our deck at dawn, a few hours before a big storm swept through.

The calm before the storm....

This photo is important to me for several reasons. Rob (L) was one of the Institute of Advanced Motorists Trainee Observers (Instructors) that I was mentoring.  He had just passed his written and practical Observer Test with flying colours after about 8 months of intense work.  Keith (R) is on his assessment ride prior to joining IAM.  Rob went on to coach Keith and at the time of writing this, Keith isn't far off taking his Advanced Roadcraft Test and then beginning his journey as a Trainee Observer.  It represents a wonderful cycle of raising skills, improving road safety, increasing riding enjoyment and it's all done on a voluntary basis.  The perfect example of paying it forward!

Rob and his Hayabusa and Keith with his FZ6R.  Some old geezer's bike in the middle

A highlight was meeting Aussie moto-blogger Steve Hoswell of  Road to Nowhere fame and his mates during their NZ north island tour.  It was only for a few hours but it was a genuine pleasure to ride with them and make an instant bond.

Steve and his mates on the Coromandel Peninsula

A trip to the top of the south island as part of an annual long weekend get-together with friends from down country.  Visiting the World of Wearable Art museum and adjoining motor museum in Nelson, then enjoying the stunning scenery in the area.  The photo was taken at Tata beach with the rugged hills in the background.

Magnificent Tata beach

April in the north island of NZ and the Coromandel Peninsula in particular wasn't much fun at all weather-wise.  Unrelenting torrential rain and gales saw us cut off from the rest of the country for a week with landslips and virtually no riding in the month.  Remedial work to roads and cliff faces is still going on!

A massive slip on the Thames coast road (courtesy of Thames District Council)

Flooding less than 1 km from our house (courtesy of  Coromandel Civil Defence)

Nearly into winter and NZ's nectar-eating songbird, the Tui; is enjoying the nectar that is produced by one of the large succulents in our garden.

Communing with nature

Not my photo but racing catamarans was a passion of mine when younger and fitter and I still follow sailing from the armchair.  NZ won the Americas Cup in Bermuda with their foiling catamaran Aotearoa.  A nice short video summary HERE .  Particularly notable that a country of 4 million was able to defeat the massive resources of Larry Ellison and Oracle USA by sheer innovative thinking in their design.  Long live the people of the world who think outside the box, no matter what field of endeavour!

What a spectacle - 40+ knots over the water!

A very special milestone with Jennie and I celebrating 45 years of marriage.  I genuinely don't know what she saw in me all those years ago as I was a shy professional engineer without too many social graces.  The most appropriate photo is one I dug out of a shoebox.  It was taken on what was effectively our first date when I took her to the wedding of mutual friends in 1971.  The rest is history......

Still totally crazy about her.....

More winter IAM duties, this time out with Hamilton riders Paul and his wife Joy.  Both are BMW fans with Paul having a K-series road bike and building a cafe racer.  Joy is the proud owner of an R9T.  Paul is shortly due to sit his Advanced Roadcraft Test.  Joy comes along for the company and is an extremely accomplished rider.  Next step will be to encourage her to join IAM..... no pressure, Joy!!!

Immaculate Beemer and matching immaculate riding gear!

The trip of a lifetime to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary.  Flying business class, a stopover in Qatar and a safari by Landcruiser through Kenya and Tanzania including ballooning on the Serengeti.  Lots of animal and other photos posted earlier in the blog so we'll avoid those already posted.  The shot below was taken in the Qatar desert across the Persian Gulf to Saudi Arabia in the distance.  We look pretty relaxed considering that the temperature was 44 deg C (111F) and windy. You could feel your skin shrivelling by the second!

44 deg C and survival time not very long without water and shade!

Skimming the Serengeti at dawn

My 70th birthday but mercifully, there are no photos to mark the occasion.  A very pleasant evening at a local restaurant with cherished friends.  It also marks 54 years of motorcycle ownership.  However, the photo I've chosen is of the house and garden as spring is well underway and plants are coming into bloom.

A long way from civilisation....

The weather in the North Island is hot and dry with rainfall way behind seasonal averages.  Not good for the farmers and horticulturalists but great for motorcycling.  A mid-week ride 25 km up the coast was accomplished with all of 3 vehicles being sighted and me being the only person at beautiful Waitete Bay.  That's a ride which is good for the soul!

Absolute solitude

Arty farty attempt

On the shores of Coromandel harbour

There are so many options as it's been a busy month but will finish with just two photos.  The first is Jennie's 70th birthday which all the kids and grandkids came along to.  The first is of Jennie cutting the white chocolate mud cake and the grandkids impatiently waiting for a slice.

Hurry up, Nana J!

The second photo is of IAM member Colin who rides a Harley Road King.  Colin is only a ride or two away from taking his Advanced Roadcraft Test but that's not the end of the story.  Colin lives 160 km south of the city of Hamilton, the nearest spot where he can train in city, country and motorway-type environments.  To come on a mentored ride, it takes Colin a couple of hours to get to Hamilton, a couple of hours being mentored under the critical gaze of an Observer and another couple of hours to get home.  That typifies the dedication of riders who set themselves the goal of raising their skills to an internationally-recognised standard.  That dedication is also why Observers are happy to donate their time - it really makes a difference.

Colin and his immaculate Road King

Well, that was my 2017 in pictures - a lot of fun.  May we all have a safe, healthy and enjoyable 2018 despite a number of world leaders apparently trying to achieve the opposite result! There are some real advantages to living at the bottom of the world at the moment!


  1. Great minds think alike Geoff, I made a post with almost the exact same title last night, ready for publishing tonight. You stole my thunder. An excellent year by the way and some good photos in there.

    I wish you and Jenny a merry christmas and happy new year. See you on the other side.

  2. Hahaha - great minds indeed Steve! So good to meet you and you mates and only sorry it wasn't for longer. I'm sure we'll meet again, even if it's in Hell:-). Take care mate and all the very best to you and your family.

  3. Dang, now I have to do my yearly sum-up...

    Nice one Geoff, it's been good keeping up with your adventures, very jealous of your Africa trip.

    Have a great Xmas!

  4. Andrew,look forward to yoursummary, always enjoy your adventures. Our two sons did parts of Africa independently from each other by truck at a fraction of the price we paid. One of them swapped a pair of old sneakers for a beautiful original carving. Seems totally wrong. Clearly, there's an African trip to suit every budget!

    All the best for the festive season. Take care on the roads - the loopies are already up our way!

  5. You are early. I am still working on my 2017 review, Geoff. What a rich and wonderful year it had been for you. I had an awww-moment on the caption below Jennie's picture. Wishing you and your family Happy Holidays and a great 2018. Cheers from Sonja & Roland out of the middle of the Black Forest.

  6. Hi Sonja and thanks! It's been an incredibly busy year but as you say, immensely rewarding. Could do with next year being a bit quieter and less expensive :-). Yep, I'm a lucky man with Jennie to keep me under control!

    With every good wish to you and Roland - may 2018 be spectacular for both of you.

  7. Nice post Geoff. Great photo of Jennie as well. Who knows why any of them stick with us for more than a few months let alone for 45 years!
    Have a great xmas and new year. Safe riding mate.

  8. Thanks Dave! Yeah, it was the hippy era then with big hats, flared sleeves, micro-mini skirts and stuff! I'm sure there were occasions when wives would have cheerfully stabbed us in our sleep (well, me anyway...) but think I'm pretty safe now as I'm quite useful for cleaning, garden maintenance etc :-) .

    All the very best to you and the family for the festive season and 2018!

  9. What an incredible year that you and Jennie had. Thank you for the year in review.

    All the best to you two in 2018.

  10. Thanks Brandy! Yep, there was a heck of a lot going on and it was pretty special. May you and Brad have a spectacular 2018 xx.

  11. A lovely post Geoff. And congratulations to you both for the past year with some pretty significant milestones. Merry Christmas!

  12. Thanks Jules, it's been quite a momentous year one way or another! And the same to you, Dorothy and family. May 2018 be an absolute cracker. We have a lady from Melbourne (grew up in Gippsland) staying with us over Christmas who is walking the Te Araroa trail. It covers the whole length of NZ and takes 3-4 months!

  13. Great photos and recap, thanks for sharing. Wishing you and Jennie all the best in 2018.

  14. Thanks Brad and every good wish for 2018.

  15. What an incredible year ... may 2018 be at least half as special. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year.

  16. Many thanks Karen and every good wish to you too. With any luck, 2018 will be a little less hectic. One or two nice things lined up already!


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