It rained and rained and rained
– The average fall was well maintained,
And when the tracks were simply bogs-
It started to rain cats and dogs.
After a drought of half an hour,
We had a most refreshing shower.
And then the most curious thing of all,
A gentle rain began to fall.
Next day also was fairly dry,
Save for a deluge from the sky,
Which wetted the party to the skin.
And after that-
The rain set in.
|One of the streams feeding into the Motueka River.|
Autumn was washed away in continuous rain that caused flooding in certain areas. I was going insane with the weather and being house bound, so I had to get out even in the heavy rain. Niel was not going to be shown up by his wife and he joined me. The streams were raging torrents cutting of houses and even taking out bridges. The apple orchards had their ripe fruit stripped off the trees and the apples had floated away to be caught into puddles of apples. The main Motueka River where all the streams feed into, was a brown raging force with whole trees floating down stream and all the paddocks beside the river under water. I had never seen the Motueka River like this before and it was very intimidating. At one point I saw a goat tethered to a kennel. This kennel was half in the water and if it started to float away it would take the goat with it. The goat was standing with its chain at its most stretched, and it was looking at the raging river and looked very frightened. I had to do something, so I went to the nearest house to tell them about the goat; it was only a matter of minutes before that kennel would be taken by the river and therefore the goat, as the streams entering the river were making it rise by the minute. Fancy tethering a goat next to the river for 2 weeks of torrential rain and then forgetting about it! I left the householder to contact the owner and for something to be done about the goat.
|Soaked to the skin and warming up with a coffee at Ngatimoti Hall.|
While I was getting something done about the goat, Niel had gone across a bridge to the other side of the river - as he likes it better on that side. He was up to his thighs wading through flooded roads when his attempt to cycle through it came to a stop. He was enjoying himself and acting like a school boy, and was buzzing when he met me in the shelter of a hall porch for a hot drink and a chocolate bar. It hadn’t stopped raining, in fact the rain got heavier still and quite cold to boot. It continued to rain for a few more days until the sun made a begrudging appearance.
|One bandaged knee on the Nelson cycle trails.|
Now at this point in time I was about to go into hospital to finally get the cartilage tear in my knee repaired, so I wanted to do one more big ride before that happened as I knew it would take a month or two to get back to doing long rides again.
It is no longer autumn – we are officially in winter now. The days are getting shorter and shorter, although not particularly cold; so long rides have been reduced from 200kms to 150kms. So off we went 5 days after our last ride on a rare fine day. We retraced some of our ride from last week and I checked to see that the goat had been moved – yes it was now in a paddock away from the river, and we checked out the flooded areas. The roads were covered in mud in some places, and there was debris at head height on the fences about 10meters above the present river height. There were whole trees lying on patches of river bed, and massive piles of debris around the pylons of the bridges. The tide surge that had left drift wood and beach stones all over the coastal part of the road, had been bulldozed to the side, and there was generally enough of a mess to need two weeks of fine weather to clean up.
|After effects of fall this rain - mushrooms everywhere.|
|Apples lodged in fences at head height after the flood.|
I have now had my operation, and am quickly getting back to my old self. After 48 hours I was on my bike again, 72hours after my operation I was riding 50kms around the cycle trails, and 4 days later, I was pulling my trailer to the supermarket to do the weekly grocery shopping. On day 5 I was back at work and within 30 seconds of starting, the workplace bully had already denied me the use of the stool to sit on as she – get this – had a sore knee and wanted to sit on it!
Day off today and guess what? It is raining again and there is already surface flooding. Weather like this makes you ponder future cycle tours and gets my head spinning on where and when to go. We are already considering our options for a short late winter cycle- tour to kick start us for spring, and the Qualifiers we want to do then for the Paris / Brest / Paris next year.
Option 1: The length of Australia. It gives us the long distance per day that we are after. Australia is cheap to get to, but has very expensive accommodation.
Option 2: Bangkok (Thailand) to Singapore. It is bound to be wet as it is the tropics, and not so easy to do long distances, but it finishes South East Asia – which was literally stolen from us, with the theft of my bike and all my stuff when we were last endeavoring to ride from Hanoi (Vietnam) to Singapore in 2012. (I will never ever forgive that thief). It is darer to fly there than Australia, but accommodation is vastly cheaper.
Meanwhile I am still fighting the Accident Compensation Commission for the cost of my surgery. I might be fighting a losing battle, but I’m not giving up. They must be the most hated Government Department in New Zealand.