As usual, the past year has been an interesting and event filled year for Andy. Another round the world trip was planned, starting in June with a trip to Pakistan. With Tama (Chris's son) and Pam (Tama's mum) and five other people (all friends of Tama or Pam), Andy travelled up the Karakorum highway to Shimshal, a remote village in the mountains near the Chinese border. Trekking up through deep gorges and over high passes to the Shimshali's yak pastures, culminating in a 6000m peak with views of K2, and experiencing the hospitality of the Shimshali people were highlights of the trip. Read more about Andy's Pakistan trip. While Andy was in Pakistan Chris and Kris went to Christchurch to work as volunteers at Savour New Zealand (L) - a festival for foodaholics! Photos! Arriving in late July in England, Andy met up with Chris, and headed over the border to Scotland for the World 2CV meeting, a rally of 2500 or so Citroen 2CVs - an amazing sight, even in the rain! Read more about Summer in Britain.
Chris then travelling on to Edinburgh to spend a month with the Fringe Festival, working for a third season in the Box Office for the Assembly Theatre, this time at their Assembly Hall venue…which until last year was the temporary home of the Scottish Parliament, with it’s famous black and white tiled entrance hallway…. Andy came up to Edinburgh this year to visit Chris for the last weekend, seeing lots of shows and of course the botanical gardens!
Chris’s father Jim who fortunately he had visited in late July, died at the end of August. He become very ill since Chris’s previous visit in 2004, suffering from inoperable heart valve problems, which left him very frail and dependant… not a situation he wanted to prolong. So although a huge loss to Marjorie, Chris’s stepmother, Chris feels it was probably the best thing for Jim to have passed away so peacefully at home in his sleep without any more distressing periods of being in hospital. Chris visited Marjorie again after the funeral, and has been keeping in touch by telephone than he did in the past. Photos from Exeter.
After the funeral Chris spent time with Andy, during the most wonderful warm summer weather, with lots of long daytime walks, and cycle rides, against a backdrop of rural England at it’s best. Chris then disappeared off to Barcelona to see friends from his first visit there in 2004, but this time rented a room from a friend in a large downtown flat with 6 other flatmates – an eclectic group of mainly young people men and women from all over Europe… He then flew to Berlin to be the ‘unofficial’ photographer at a friends wedding in Potsdam… the wedding – two ceremonies spanning 4 days, was great, and he produced hundreds of candid pics of the newly weds, friends and family – which were much appreciated.
Back in the UK Chris visited family and friends before joining Andy in Lincolnshire, before they both headed off to San Francisco.
Working in Lincolnshire for the summer, Andy still managed to visit Chris at the Edinburgh festival, catch up with family and friends, and (sadly) sell his much loved 1982 Citroen Dyane ('Felicity').
Leaving for the USA in October, Andy and Chris stayed with friends (David and Gary) in the San Francisco Bay area for over two weeks. They hired a car and visited the largest trees in the world in Sequoia National Park, tramped in the mist in Kings Canyon National Park, and did a classic rock climb in Yosemite. More about Chris & Andy's trip to California. Back to New Zealand in early November, Andy had a brief stint at the after-hours vet clinic, where he precipitated a closing of the Hutt River to people walking dogs. Read how here! (L). Andy then headed to the Auckland Islands in the sub-antarctic with the Department of Conservation to once again study the New Zealand Sea Lion population. This time armed with a new digital SLR camera, and blessed with exceptionally good weather, Andy returned with some stunning images of the island's wildlife. More about Andy's trip to the Auckland Islands.
Since returning to NZ in November Chris has been looking for consulting work… but in the meantime has been looking after Koromiko Homestay, continuing the seemingly never ending ‘mend and paint jobs’ around the house, and building a large deck for Kate and Mandy. He’s about to embark on another building project for his ex-wife Pam, renovating here bathroom.
Finally, Andy had some time at home- and time to garden. The summer in New Zealand was exceptionally good, and the fruit in the garden a record crop- warm enough even to ripen limes!
In February, Andy visited Australia for a paragliding holiday in Manilla. For the first time this was without Kris, who was still recovering from a paragliding accident. Many Kiwi paragliding friends were there though. Two competitions were running back to back - the Kiwi Open, and the Pre-Worlds (a major competition and forerunner to next year's World championships to be held in Manilla).
The Kurse of the Kiwi struck for the first competition - as usually happens when a Kiwi comp is held in Australia, the weather crapped out badly. Days of high winds or totally overcast skies meant only two days out of seven were flyable. As there isn't much to do in Manilla on a bad day, Andy escaped to Mardi Gras in Sydney after the NZ contest, but that's another story....
The Pre-Worlds competition went better, with five flyable days, four of those being great days. Andy's performance was mostly vaguely pathetic (leading to an eventual 124th place overall out of 150), but one day he flew 89km to a personal best distance (and almost to the goal).
Returning to New Zealand, Andy entered the last competition of the season, the St Arnaud league, and had an excellent two days of mountain flying, with a 25km flight from Mt. Murchison on the first day.
In late March, Andy entered 'Le Race' (L)(spot him in the second row of photos!), the Christchurch to Akaroa bicycle race. Astrid Anderson, a close friend, runs the event, and suggested that Andy cycle the course in drag (to help with publicity). Keen to have fun, Andy employed Wellington drag queen 'Polyfilla' to make a French maid's dress (it being a French themed race), and entered as 'Helen Earth'. Miss Earth was a definite crowd pleaser, and was interviewed for TV1 news, as well as entertaining the crowd at the award ceremony. The extra drag did seem to slow Andy down though, as he took an hour longer to complete the course than last year.
Following Le Race, Andy travelled up to Nelson to pick up his Citroen 2CV, which had been having a restoration at the 'Fix It shop'. A new body and a re-spray and nearly 2 years after being taken off the road, Anton 2CV was finally ready and beautiful, but way over budget ( Andy is thinking of calling it the International Space Station!). Andy thinks only the engine, seats, and most of the suspension is left of the original car - the gearbox, chassis, body, hood, doors, wheels, and one suspension arm having been replaced at one time or other.
After picking up the 2CV, Andy met a friend Rob, who was visiting from Lincolnshire, and spent nearly 2 weeks showing Rob the country, and nearly killing him on a trek around Lake Waikaramoana (Hope the leg is on the mend, Rob!). Cellulitis from infected blisters aside, Rob enjoyed the trip.
Andy continues to get articles and photos published!
Andy went on a diving trip to the Poor Knights Islands in May, and plans a visit to England in June/JulyAugust and going to Thailand in September for diving, but otherwise expects a quiet winter (or summer, if you are in the Northern hemisphere!)
Andy's children (photos) and Kris's children (photos) continue to thrive.