Wheel alignment

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Good news and bad news

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster.  Absolute joy that Jennie's hip replacement is going ahead in early February and her suffering over the last year or two will shortly be at an end.   It will be fantastic to have her operating at full steam again.  It's being done at a private hospital and no mucking about these days - they have you up and walking the next day (with crutches) and generally send you home a couple of days later.  No riding for me in Feb whilst I'm taking care of her and doing the household duties but so good to have her out of pain.  It also means that our trip to China at the end of  May can now go ahead as planned.  For a while, it looked like we might lose the deposit with all the medical uncertainty.

This week has been a sad one as we said goodbye to our 17 year old part - Russian Blue cat Thomas.  We got him as a rescue kitten from the SPCA.  The photo below was taken on the day we brought him home.  He looked so sad as he had a weepy eye and maybe that was part of why he was chosen. Or did he choose us..... ?

A little waif in need of love....

He quickly attached himself to Jennie and became quite a character in the neighbourhood.  Thankfully, he was good mates with the cat next door but scrapped with any other felines in the neighbourhood and was quite happy to take on sizeable dogs too.  The local vet got a nice income stream from regularly patching him up!

Attacking the cat flap for some unknown reason

He loved his food and became pretty well-known in the neighbourhood for turning up at BBQ's up to a couple of streets away.  Ever-polite, he wouldn't scrounge - he'd simply sit and stare at someone until a bit of steak or sausage was forthcoming!

When we retired and moved to Coromandel, he loved the lifestyle and often walked to the beach behind our place and explored the rock pools.

Exploring the rock pools at the beach

Thomas was always into thinking big.  He couldn't be arsed to chase the local bird population but on numerous occasions, we'd wake in the morning to the sight of a rabbit hopping around the lounge which he'd dragged through the cat flap.  He never hurt them - just used to bring them home and watch them.  His crowning glory (so to speak) was dragging a very angry pheasant through the cat flap one day which proceeded to flap round the house and poop everywhere before we could get it outside.

After that, he settled for an easier life and recognised that neighbours flushing their outboard engines meant that they'd shortly be filleting their catch.  He'd saunter off and politely sit by their filleting benches waiting to receive trimmings.  Always a very dignified cat.  One near-neighbour used to place a fish scale on his head to signify that he'd been fed when he finally arrived home!

  Thomas inspecting and approving a neighbour's catch

Tussling for the TV remote with his personal servant

A few tears have been shed over the last few days.  As with all animal lovers, they're family and we grieve accordingly when we lose them.  It's one of the nicer traits of the human race when we can give unconditional love to another species.  RIP Old Fella.

Handsome chap

We've been out fishing regularly because of Jennie's upcoming enforced break and so far, it's been a scorchingly hot summer.  In fact, too hot to be on the water for long without good protection.  UV levels in NZ are pretty high and we share with Queensland (Australia) the dubious distinction of having the highest skin cancer levels in the world.   Time to fit a canopy to the boat so that was our slightly belated joint Christmas present to ourselves.

Spent the best part of a day this week assembling and fitting it.  Most of the time was spent in careful measurement and trial fitting before drilling holes.  Not a good look to have surplus holes on a boat.  Delighted to say that everything went well and it works perfectly.   Surprised to find that it was made in NZ, not China.  Great quality product with clear instructions.  Can't wait to try it out.

A shady canopy - pure bliss!

Ready for action

Oh, and in other good news, I've been given Executive Permission (official trade name) to replace the Suzuki this year.  Won't do anything for a few months but there will be some delicious test riding to be done.  Going for something lighter as a nod to my age but no sacrifice in performance.  Errr... I haven't actually mentioned the performance angle to Jennie as I'm trying to portray uncharacteristic maturity.

It will come as no surprise to regular readers that another Street Triple is one of my two front-runners.  This time, the 765 R or RS.  However, the other choice might raise a few eyebrows!  It's the KTM 790 Duke.  Despite (or because of my 71 years on the planet), maybe it's time to get an utterly mad wheelie monster of a machine that spells FUN in huge capital letters.  Not that I'd ever be caught behaving like that, oh dearie me no.

Watch this space......


  1. Sorry for your loss, Geoff. Cats become an integral part of the family they've chosen to live with. And a good life he led. Such a handsome cat.

    Glad to hear that it seems that Jennie will be "up and running" again in no time. Keeping fingers crossed.

    A KTM, really? How can I get your mind of this?

  2. Thanks Sonja, it was a privelege to be "chosen" and we will carry great memories, even if he did cost us a fortune in vet bills.

    Hahaha - yes, a KTM despite their idiosyncrasies! Now you know why I'm cautious about too much discussion with Jennie apart from their light weight being suitable for a person of mature years :-) . Plenty of time to make a final decision!

  3. Sorry to hear about Thomas mate. He had a solid innings though.
    Best wishes for Jennie’s operation. I hope it goes well and she is on the mend quickly. I really is amazing how quickly they get people out and about again these days.
    As for the new bike, I guess getting some solid test rides in will make the decision easy but I must say, the KTM looks fantastic in the flesh. I’m looking forward to following your deliberations. ;)

  4. Thanks Dave. Knowing that he's had a pretty enjoyable, not to mention long life with us does take some of the sorrow away. Yep, recovery times are constantly improving so she'll be up and kicking arse (mine) again in no time at all.

    The test rides will be interesting as my Street Triple was actually down the shortlist I'd prepared pre-test rides of 3 or 4 bikes. It was only when I test rode it that it picked itself (and within 10 minutes of throwing a leg over the saddle for the first time). Just goes to show!

    1. Yep, you just know! Still, fun finding out. ;)

    2. I've been having some conversations with a Kiwi who was on the senior engineering team for both KTM and Triumph at different times. This was one of his comments: When in a quandary about a decision, toss a coin.
      "It's not the way the coin lands that decides for you, but your reaction
      to the way the coin lands that will tell you the decision you want to make."

      Excellent comment, eh?

  5. I’ve been impressed at how quickly friends have been up and about after hip replacement. Not like it used to be. Sorry to hear of your loss. Pets are like family.

    Looking forward to your bike selection process. Narrowed down to two so quickly...

  6. Hi Richard,

    I think that new anaesthetics also aid the immediate post-op recovery too. Ditto for pain management. Thanks re: Thomas. I sometimes wonder who is actually the pet!!

    A lot of bikes initially rule themselves out for being too heavy or tall. Add in the "performance" factor and it reduces further. The "emotional appeal" factor is another complication and at least on paper, both bikes fill this criterion. Maybe there will be others to consider before buying. All part of the surprise!

  7. It's a sad day when you lose one of your pets. I balled for a while when my dog passed away. Crikey he did live a long life as you had a CRT monitor when you got him!

    Now whats all this KTM business. Don't you now they are not as reliable as R1's......and its not a 1290 wheelie beast either......WTH?

    All kidding aside I'm sure you'll pick something nice and go with your heart. Looking forward to reading about it.

    1. Hahaha! Yep, the last of the CRT monitors - well spotted!

      I know all about KTM niggles. Also know a bit about a change in processes at their factory so I've got time to monitor a few bulletin boards to see whether the 790 has reliability issues. The Triple would be the "safe" option but sometimes, a left field choice is a bit more exciting 😁

  8. While I am happy that Jennie is getting her much needed surgery I am sad that you lost Thomas. We were gutted when we lost Baxter as I am sure we will be when Basil passes. It is never easy to lose a little furry creature that has stolen our hearts. Hugs to you both.

    Looking forward to seeing what new bike you choose, it is good to have options.

    1. Thanks Brandy. You're right, it doesn't get any easier. We've been through it several times and it hurts as much every time.

      This time, I'm not in a hurry to get another bike so it will be a more considered choice this time.

  9. Oh, poor Thomas kitteh, 17 years is a long time and I'm sure he enjoyed all of it. Sorry for your loss.
    Hope Jennie's surgery goes well, better to be in pain healing rather than just in pain.

    You're drinking the orange Kool-Aid? I'm anxiously waiting to see what you choose.

  10. Thanks Brad, Annie has been wandering round looking for him.

    Yep, Jennie is actually looking forward to the surgeon's knife, despite him looking like a schoolboy on day release on his website :-) .

    Hahaha! Orange will clash with my silver and black leathers. They do a 790 in silver and black too. Any decision will be with both heart and head this time!

  11. Hey Geoff sorry for the loss of your beloved pet, I too am a cat lover and have had some real characters over the years and the losing part is very painful. Another little one can fill the gap though.
    I am envious about the new bike, nothing quite as exciting as shopping and test riding, I look forward to reading about your rides.
    Good luck and speedy recovery to Jennie.

  12. Thanks Andrew. There will almost certainly be another kitten a bit later this year. Won't be getting the new bike for a little while yet but looking forward to something slightly mental! It won't be all that practical for touring but that's not what I want at this point in time. Thanks for the good wishes!

  13. A good blog again as normal Geoff. I look forward to seeing the new bike as and when it appears.

    1. Thanks Lee,
      Sat on one and had a good walk-around one on Tuesday. Resisting the temptation for a demo ride until Jennie has recovered and we've been to China!


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