As everyone knows, I’ve been living the good life the last few years. You know, cancer, radiotherapy, divorce, family deaths. That sort of thing. I haven’t had a serious paddle since November and then it was completely embarrassing. I went from being a competent and experienced paddler to a plodder with no stamina. Many skills I was starting to master just upped and left and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Radiotherapy is a bastard of a thing. For a start it probably gives you cancer rather than fights it and there’s little real evidence it does anything positive at all. You are fatigued all the time and your skin burns off in repeated outbreaks of whatever the hell happens there. On top of this, my new (2002) Land Rover Defender still doesn’t have roof racks and I can’t carry anything. So why not just buy some racks and go for a paddle?
Well, Landy owners all know that before you can have a luxury like roof racks you have to repair the myriad of reliability issues just to get it to stay on the road. So money I had allocated to racks went into two new batteries that exploded under the passenger seat. This took out the isolator and associated relays and soaked up all the coin. Once fixed I discovered the clutch is failing so there’s more money and the brilliant British electrics are a constant nuisance. Of course, I could just throw money at it and get on the water but on the 16th May I was made redundant. The “booming” solar industry in NSW is now a faded mess of mass redundancies and margin erosion. There goes the cash cow. Also went was my company car leaving my with the Defender as my daily commute. Seriously, I am starting feel like someone doesn’t like me.
On the positive side, I have a new girlfriend, Benita. She is beautiful, smart and caring and the thing that probably stopped me taking a one-way trip out into the Tasman. She has had breast cancer and knows the drill and is super-health conscious so will probably save my life twice. Naturally, she lives in Victoria so money has to be spent just to be together. Serious money, too. Roof rack money.
I just got back from a 10 day visit to help get her house prepared for sale so she can move to NSW with me. Lots to do like heavy yard work, paint and repair kitchen and living room walls, fix electricals. As could be expected, day 1 and I roll a barrow full of logs onto my Achilles tendon severely bruising my ankle and twisting my knee. It’s a good thing I’m a tough bastard because all that work got done on one leg. After four days of this, fatigue finally caught up but the job was done. I never let her know how much it hurt but I was definitely crying like a baby on the inside. The things you do for love.
Back home in Newcastle and the pain still hasn’t subsided. I suspect gout has got in because that’s nature’s way of telling you she hates you. I don’t know why. I compost, I separate my recyclables, I pick up rubbish from campsites, what more do I have to do? Anyhow, there are gods who have it in for me but I don’t crack. I will endure their nasty attack until I get back on the water. Yes, in the Taran now that those same gods have determined I have to keep it. Owen Walton should really be paddling it but instead he is zipping around in the late Chris James’ worn out Taran rather than the sparkly new Taran of a hopeless train-wreck. I can’t blame the old bloke. I would LOOOVE to have Chris’s Taran. He was such an impressive man maybe sitting in that boat some of that legend will rub off. Or maybe, if Owen paddles my Taran for too long he’ll get gout! We’ll never know now.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Only about 92% really. Of the remainder, there’s my weight loss. Some of that is due to cancer and some due to Benita. You see, fat cells are scared of lentil and seaweed soup…let’s just leave it at that for a while. Unlike my ex-wife, however, Benita WANTS me to paddle. How about that! She actually wants me in that boat. I can’t believe my luck. No, seriously, I really can’t believe it. After my track record something has to go wrong here but I’ll reserve that for Trials and Tribulations V. Stay tuned. If you haven’t heard by the end of the year, assume the worst.