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The Best of Men At Work

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The Boys From Down Under

Actually this is Men At Work’s ONLY hit as far as I know.  My Boys From Down Under are actually 2 boys and 4 girls.  At least one of the girl’s is following this blog so I suppose I had better say something nice about them.

When you plan to spend a month with a group, albeit a group you have met before, there is always the worry that someone will turn out to be an a£&@hole.  However, I am happy to report that I have a great group.  They get on with it and do their miles without complaint , even when it is hilly/cold/hot/wet (we have had then all) and everyone makes  a real effort to get along.  For a trip like this which, for some, may be a ‘trip of a lifetime’ the responsibility weighs heavy on me but so far I get the sense that everyone is having a good time.  Long may it continue.

Our first home was in Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire.  By most standards it was a rather ordinary place (though in NZ it could win ‘Most Beautiful Town’ without breaking a sweat) but what I liked about it was that it had a proper high street with proper useful shops and a community feel.
Kiwi towns use the Merican system, whereby the town centre is one wide strip through the centre of town.  There is something very appealing about these ‘Main Streets’ that I couldn’t quite put my finger on until today……..They remind me of Hoddesdon.  They are almost completely devoid of big national chain shops; every shop is privately operated with quirky names, often a rather eclectic range of stock and a nice mix with a glorious absence of building societies, estate agents and phone shops.  To make things even better there is on-street parking all the way down both sides with no meters or parking-nazis to rob you blind.
Windmills of My Mind
A very odd thing happened today.  We are riding from Fielding to Otaki, just 1 day from Wellington and the southern tip of North Island, and it was flat.  No, really!  Not just flat but so flat it reminded me of the Fens, the Broads or the Somerset Levels.  All we need now, I thought, is a windmill……..tarrar!!!
I have a confession to make.  For most of my life I thought that windmills were exclusively used for grinding flour.  I did wonder why the Dutch and those from Norfolk needed so much flour but only vaguely.  Of course, I now know that they are used to drain flatlands and it makes perfect sense for them to exist in this part of NZ but I was still a bit surprised.
Today the weather has perked up and, with easy flat riding and an interesting change of scenery everyone has come in rather chirpy.  With my responsibilities fulfilled it is time for some chair time and a cold one 🙂

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