Lake Taupo in New Zealand is about as far away from Bracknell in the UK as you can get. It has been an interesting journey for the 5 of us who have been catching up. Richard, Bobo and I all went to the same playgroup together, then on to primary school. We also went to the same secondary school in Bracknell, where we met with Emma and Justin. On average we have all known each other for over 40 years.
Justin now lives in Auckland, the rest of us ended up living in Sydney. There was no coordinated plan it just turned out this way. The 4 of us catch up in Sydney fairly regularly, normally with the families, and earlier this year we decided to go on a road trip to visit Justin without the entourage.
A couple of days in Auckland and then down to Lake Taupo. We have made it to Sunday afternoon and we are still talking. Apparently no thanks to me.
Robyn, my wife, had talked to me before we left. She explained that even if it was not my intention, I can be a little difficult to live with at times. I needed to remind myself that these were my dearest friends and that to make sure it was a holiday to remember, for the right reasons, I must take or hire a bike. For their sake not necessarily mine. Riding my bike gives me a sense of calm, I feel balanced and a lot more relaxed. Without it I can go a little stir crazy. So I have managed a quick spin around Auckland yesterday and did a lap of the lake today.
It’s a shame I didn’t ride my bike on Friday as well, it would have spared poor Bobo a rather intense discussion that we had over dinner. Certainly not my finest work and fortunately for me Bobo was still talking to me on Saturday.
Getting away from the chatter of everyday life and a change of scenery gives you a chance to reflect. We have had lots of time to reminisce about years gone by and to replay some of the fond memories of growing up.
“Would you change anything or do anything different?”, was an interesting topic of conversation over dinner last night. There was nothing of significance that anybody would change. Sure we may have approached certain situations over the years in slightly different ways, in my case Friday night’s dinner and there was a New Years Eve party in 1991 where a slightly different approach may have delivered better results. But even these bad decisions make you who you are today.
Even when I set out this morning on my bike, feeling slightly shabby from sampling too much local Pinot last night, I had no regrets. After riding the first 2 hours into a headwind through rolling countryside I was feeling very regretful.
Then I just reminded myself there will undoubtedly be moments like this in France next year, (not alcohol induced I hope) so I just kept grinding away and was rewarded by some stunning views and a tailwind home.
As much as the Tour next year is occupying my thinking and planning, Emma and Bobo have already been thinking about how we will celebrate our 50th birthdays in a few years time. Apparently we are all off to “Hawaii 50”, kids get to stay at home but any other old school friends are more than welcome.
We also have plenty of time to decide where to go in Hawaii, I know there are some big volcanoes you can ride up, probably worth thinking about adding that to the itinerary for one or two of the travellers.