Bailey Breathalysed in NZ Bobby Booze Blitz

MASTERS 50th BLOG

MARK:  “Turn towards me Sir, count to ten and speak in the direction of the machine.” The Traffic Cop looked me directly in the eye, thrusting his digital machine forward into my face.

ello ello ello

ello ello ello

Moments earlier, we’d been quietly driving along on a beautifully sunny South New Zealand road a few minutes out of Te Anau.  We were third in a group of five cars.  Two vehicles ahead had for some reason turned off left into a lay-by where a make-shift road block had been created.

One hundred metres to the left a police car had its boot open and inside appeared to be a mobile laboratory, one that a mad professor would have been proud of.

Coincidence...this p car was outside our Motel later on in the day...

Coincidence…this P car was outside our Motel later on in the day…

It then suddenly dawned on me. This was a coordinated blitz by the local constabulary targeting Summer drivers, ensuring they were not still drunk the morning after the heavy night before – something particularly important in a country where at this time of the year there are literally hundreds of camper vans on the road.

Jucy Lucy

Jucy Lucy

I could see out of the corner of my eye, one Chinese driver with numerous passengers in his “mini-bus” helping police with their inquiries. Happy Chinese New Year, or possibly not for this man…

The male driver of the first of the two cars in-front of me spoke to the middle-aged Policeman and was allowed on his way.  Next the lady in the white Toyota 4WD was waved on her way.  Now it was my turn.

But for once I wasn’t worried in the slightest and the “Bobby in Blue” could sense my lack of concern. The “B” Machine quickly showed I was clean and I was bid a good day and safe journey.

I wasn’t worried for one simple reason and that is I’d only had two glasses of wine in nearly two weeks, as I strive desperately to diet and lose around 2.5 stones in preparation for what will be the biggest physical challenge of my life, climbing the Inca Trail in 51 days time.

Rabbit food.. but 13lbs lost in 13 days

Rabbit food.. but 13lbs lost in 13 days

Every day we try and walk between five and ten miles. That in itself is not particularly difficult in what has to be the most beautiful country scenically anywhere in the World.  It’s when you add into the mix, mountains which quite simply means going up and down!  We are getting better and only today in Queenstown managed a small mountain of 850m from a base of 250m (five miles duration) followed by a second called Coronet Peak, when we walked from the bottom of the ski car park to “nearly the top”.  That was more of a challenge, walking up red ski runs from 1800m to near the summit at 2200m.

It is always worth it at the top as the photos below will testify.  Plus, you often meet some really interesting people. And there is nothing better than watching planes land beneath you @ Queenstown International Airport and then viewing scenic helicopter flights fly BELOW you allowing you to wave to the passengers who have paid a fortune for their trip around the mountains…

The start..

The start..

Valentine selfie silhouette. Ahhh

Valentine selfie silhouette. Ahhh

Nice guy from Colardo, US

Nice guy from Colardo, US

Stones!

Stones!

Nearly there

Nearly there

On top of the World... well nearly

On top of the World… well nearly

Great view over Queenstown

Great view over Queenstown

One of our best recent walks was about an hour after meeting NZ’s finest police officers.  We started near the Mirror Lakes…

Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror

…. and managed to get to one of the high walking huts between Milford Sound and Te Anau at a place called “The Divide”.  Elevation up and down was 1200m (around 4,000ft) and we nailed it (6 miles) in around 100 minutes.

Best foot forward

Best foot forward

The best bit was over-taking young people 30 years our junior and then to cap it off, a walking group who were professional trekkers.  OK, so they had probably walked 10 miles more, but the satisfaction of “burning them off” was great – not that I am competitive at all.

We walked down the hill, turned round and still beat them

We walked down the hill, turned round and still beat them

A real treat on this particular walk was making our way through the temperate rain forest where there was a superb display of moss, fern and lichens in an area that has around 8 metres – yes eight metres (football tele-printer “eight”) of rain a year.

Round the bend

Round the bend

Follow me

Follow me

Spooky trees

Spooky trees

Elated with our achievement, we celebrated by going to two “green toilets” that smelt to high heaven, which is probably where we were when you looked out of the “trap door”.  Thirty minutes later and a quick drive through a fantastic mountain tunnel we reached the World Famous Milford Sound which in my opinion was much better than Doubtful Sound, even with the “drizzle” – local speak for “chucking it down” for us Brits.

Moody Milford...

Moody Milford…

Talking of rain, we have worked out that it is has only rained for any significant period ie all day – for no more than 6 of the last 160 days.  The planning, in terms of working out which country we would be in, season wise, has so far paid off big time, none more so than in Northern Queensland where the day after we left, a Cyclone (Cat 2 hit) and it has been raining there pretty much ever since.

The sun has shone a lot here and one thing you do notice in New Zealand is the really deep, sharp colours of the sky, countryside, lakes and mountains.  Anne commented on this point after my last blog, based on her childhood memories and she is absolutely right.  Maybe this something to do with the ozone hole that is presently sitting over NZ, or the fact that there is no pollution which our Chinese friends just cannot get over.

Love the sky in NZ

Love the sky in NZ

They have been around in their thousands this week because it’s Chinese New Year… and no offence to Gemma, but we hope they leave for home soon as they cannot drive on the left to save their lives and each day nearly attempt to end ours by their terrible driving skills and their insatiable habit of taking selfies on blind bends when cars are whizzing past at 100 kph.

Anyway, enough of that, back to the colour thing and indeed our training programme.

So we were walking along a river just north of Queenstown on a short two miler, when the World famous SHOTOVER JET BOAT, roared past at a speed of 50 mph in a river no more than 6 inches deep.  Sarah’s red T Shirt matching nicely the red of what is a “Ferrari on water.”

Red devils

Red devils

We’d seen the picture of Kate and William having a go and we were not sure about daring to fly through canyons and ravines at such speed.  But then we thought what the hell, we’re not coming back here and so quickly walked back to the booking office and promptly got on the next flying boat 20 minutes later.

Inches from the gorge cliffs

Inches from the gorge cliffs

360 spin

360 spin

90 degree bend in 8 inches of water

90 degree bend in 8 inches of water

Where we first saw the Jet Boat

Where we first saw the Jet Boat

OMG what a blast, quite literally! It was a superb experience and you can see why this company has been going for 50 years.  I’ll never forget doing 360 degree spins with rocks on either side of the boat, so close you could virtually touch them.

Back down to Earth now. And as the light begins to fade over the mountains in front of me, we leave you with a few words from local artist Caroline Robinson and a shot of her BASKET OF DREAMS sculpture that we saw today.  The last line says it all…Happy Valentines Day!

The Basket’s spiral of steel follows you

INWARD

to reflect

to draw inspiration from the mountains, lake

and from those who are with you

OUTWARD

to dream

for the future.

TIME FLIES, ETERNITY AWAITS

The Basket - Shane, you would have been impressed

The Basket – Shane, you would have been impressed

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21 thoughts on “Bailey Breathalysed in NZ Bobby Booze Blitz

  1. Richard and Danuta Allen

    Still following you round the world and remembering all those familiar places – Ayres Rock ( on Australia day 2010 ), Daintree Rainforest, Fraser Island and now probably my favourite country in the world – New Zealand. We did both islands in 7 weeks in a camper van and finished still married to each other. And yes Richard was breathalysed as we pulled out of a campsite early one morning!! Reckon it was the same guy waiting for you!! Milford Sound was awesome. We got as far south as Stewart Island and the cathedral in Christchurch was still standing.
    Continue your travels safely but remember to have a rest every now and again as it is exhausting living out of a rucksack. Keep up the training. Day 3 of Machu Pichu walk is a killer especially Dead Man’s Pass but so worth all the effort. You are collecting enough memories to last you the rest of your lives.
    Good luck
    R & D

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi R and D – many thanks for your kind post…..we know what you mean re still being married.. It still concerns us whether we can walk the IT, but we will give it a go and if we get airlifted off in a helicopter so be it. It seems only a few days ago that Janet cooked that lovely meal and we sat and chatted about your world trips…. Hope you are well and look forward to seeing you on our return, M and S

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  2. Roger

    You should have stayed longer – so much more to see!
    Roger

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Roger – we have another week in the South Island and then two more in the north. You are right, so much to see and do a fantastic place. I hope you and Ann are well. Best wishes and thank you for reading the Blogs, it is good to know that somebody who has travelled the World so extensively, follows our little side trip. Best wishes Mark

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  3. Interesting that you should have Don comment on the above…as I was reading, I thought of our Chinese hiking and realise that is where your inspiration for this training comes from!!!!
    Another great read here xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jan – or can I call you Purple? By the way what colour is your hair now??? Ha ha. Yes, Don is my inspiration – he is 13 years olded, 5 stones later, twenty times fitter, but the old fat boy is getting there, slowly….. Where are you going next and hope we can catch you in the UK this Summer?? Love M and S xx

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  4. Shane Barnard

    Not drinking…….are you speaking.
    Did you put Janet and Sinclair on your mailing list?
    They want to know about your inca trail experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Shane – yes still speaking and my goodness it is hard – but we will forget the abstinence on Froday when we visit the Marlborough vineyards. I gave Janet the web address who hope she is following – although don’t think when checking that she has “subscribed” ie gets an email – can you mention it to her again – http://www.masters20152016.com By the way, loved seeing your video of the Big Koala in your back garden – great shots. Have seen lots of dead Possums here… cheers M

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  5. Don Carson

    Continue to enjoy your blogs. Don’t think you’ll have much trouble with the Inca trail after seeing you scrabble up Emei Shan… and you won’t have to deal with monkeys.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ray

    From the look of the silhouette of you in your Valentines pic, Mark, you Need to lose a few pounds!! Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A man who is tired of travelling has no soul. Malcolm Treen February 2016.
    Travel safe. ✈️🚽 🇳🇿🇳🇿🇳🇿🇳🇿

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Martin Goodwill

    Inca Trail – pah!! I’m doing the Lyke Wake Walk next year at 61. Now THAT’s a walk!!!

    Enjoying the blog. Keep on trekking.UTB.

    Martin

    Liked by 1 person

    • 42 miles from memory – impressive… I never did it, but will one day… I did do the White Rose Walk from Sutton Bank to Roseberry Topping….. we need the three points on Monday night against the hated Leeds UTD

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  9. David Parker

    Great photos of New Zealand. Loved the mirror one earlier in the week 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Another superb record of your amazing trip, well done with the diet and fitness programme, staying off the wine must be hard in NZ! Tempus Fugit indeed

    Warm Regards Ian Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh just given in. Well it is a week to go…. a Gourmet wine trip around the various Malborough Estate vineyards inc Cloudy Bay and Villa Maria…. will report back if I can remember

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