Sunday, 31 March 2013

Getting to know each other

I have quite a few new followers and readers on my blog and I thought it is a great time to get to know each other.  So today I will share a few things of myself and hope that you will join me in sharing some interesting facts of yourself so I can get to know you.  So here goes -

  1. My favourite memory of my school days were doing Latin and the daily vocab challenges.  I have carried this with me and today as a primary school teacher I have a real passion to help kids improve their vocabulary.  I developed a programme called Glossary which the children in my class all seem to enjoy immensely.
  2. My favourite artists of all time are - Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joy Division, Leonard Cohen, Elliott Smith and New Order.  I was first introduced to Bob Dylan through a Malaysian friend who I studied with in Christchurch.  That was about 35 years ago now and I listened to him religiously and exclusively for a decade.  I was intrigued by his vocals and the way he expressed his lyrics.
  3. I have lived all my life in New Zealand.  I was born and grew up in Dunedin, spent 4 years in Christchurch where I studied to be a Catholic Priest (another story for another time) and finally relocated to the Wellington region where I now live on the Kapiti Coast.  I spent about 3 years in the US and UK.  London is still a favourite destination which I visit every couple of years.
  4. Music has always played a huge part in my life.  My mum took great pride in showing me and my sister Margaret off to the public where we won most competitions we entered.  She used to get frustrated when I couldn't quite reach the high notes she wanted me to reach.  Here is a link of a recording Mum did for me when I was 12.  I was performing a song called Bonnie Wee Thing - and here is a link to my sister Margaret and me performing Dream Seller -
  5. I started running at the age of 10 and became competitive when I was about 22.  Running has allowed me to deal with insecurities and self esteem issues and I have taken great pride in the achievements I have enjoyed over the years.  The peak of my running career was competing for New Zealand in mountain running in Europe about 6 times.
  6. I work as a primary school teacher and really enjoy teaching the 7 / 8 year old age group.  I have been teaching for the past 19 years and have a great passion for helping kids develop themselves and build confidence in their abilities.
  7. My favourite colours are black and blue.
  8. My favourite sports to follow are Rugby League where I am a loyal supporter of the New Zealand Warriors, cricket and the New Zealand Breakers basketball team.  I have followed cricket since the age of 10 where I often would be seen carrying my little transistor radio around with me so I wouldn't miss anything.
  9. My favourite food is pizza with lots of meat.
  10. My favourite movie of all time is One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest I remember watching this movie with my mum. My favourite actor is Dustin Hoffman.
So what would you like to share with me?

Friday, 29 March 2013

Concussed Cricketer

In our world today we are surrounded by uncaring and intolerant people. It seems that the media and we help fuel their writing material like to hone in on differences and often this adds to the difficulties that high profile people face.

One of those people in New Zealand who has faced a lot of public scrutiny is Jesse Ryder. Jesse is a young talented cricketer who plays for the Black Caps, the National Cricket Team.

Jesse Ryder is an incredible batsman who has had great success in a short time. Sadly alcohol has been his nemesis in his private life. The media have scrutinised his every move in his battle with what for him is a crippling addiction.

Two nights ago Jesse was involved in an unprovoked attack outside a Christchurch Bar and is in an induced coma with a fractured skull.

I really feel for Jesse as he has battled for years with this addiction and his every fall from grace has been documented.

Here is a link to latest developments

Would be great if you could have a listen to a song I wrote called Little Our Care. This song has it's own story which I can retell at a later date.

Here is the link for Little Our Care 

Here are the lyrics

Little Our Care

Little our care of others close...near
Thoughtlessly add to burdens they bear
When criticisms...put downs are all they hear
Living with ridicule...constant glares

Compassion and love seem to have gone
Deserted...abandoned...left...moved on

What is our problem? Why all this hate?
Continual need to back stab...bait?
Are we so insecure? Don't leave it too late!
Maybe in your hands your neighbour's fate!


It's a mad...sick world my darling girl
Will twist you around...spin your head in a whirl
You're innocent...young...all's ahead to come
I'll guide you you out some


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Best Friends Forever

Visited school today to see my colleagues and my class.

The teachers sang for me Hey Paul that they had just written. It started like this:-

Hey Paul, don't feel too bad
Take your bad bones and make them better
Remember s_ _ t happens to us all
So you get over your nasty fall

The staff gave me a food basket and a lovely card

After Morning Tea I paid a visit to my class, Room 1 and sang some songs with them. One of my originals they requested was Best Friends Forever.

At school the children and I regularly sing together a mixture of some of my old time favourites and my own original songs.

About 8 years ago I wrote a song about friendship that was in my thinking about relationships between adults. Surprisingly I discovered when I tried it at school it became one of the most popular songs I have ever played with the kids.

When we sing this song together they usually put their arms around each other naturally and sway to the music. I put this down to several reasons. I'm sure having music in my classroom each morning creates a special bond between me and the children and each other. Because music is so important to me in my life as a form of lifting my spirit I am so glad I can share this with my children and see the warm affect it has in my room. Music creates a sense of belonging and this song Best Friends Forever particularly expresses the importance of other people in our lives.

Hope you like the lyrics and that it reflect the closeness you feel to those important to you!

Some of this information was shared on my previous blog

Best Friends Forever

Though we argue sometimes
And pay each other no mind
Might say hurtful words...unkind
To you I'll remain ever true

Best friends forever
You and me together
No matter what happens..whatever
I'll be here for you

Others will break our hearts
Some try to pull us apart
But now is merely the start
Of my love for you


If you're feeling upset
And the blues haven't left you yet
Turn to me and let
Me give my love to you


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Feel the Rhythm

Feel The Rhythm

Don't let those mean spirited get you down
There's beauty all around you...pleasures to be found
You have the power and the glory is yours
Challenges up ahead...set your course

Feel the rhythm let your body move
Dance and be happy what's there to lose

What reason could there possibly be
To be down hearted or unhappy
When there's a great big world ready to explore
Get out for more


Life is too short we all well know
Get yourself going don't be a no show
There's a break in the weather sun's peeking through
So much to be done...lots to do

Chorus [x2]

Apologies to old followers if you've heard this before. 

Feel the rhythm is an original of a few years ago. It was written in a lighter moment and I really like the positive lyrics and hope for the future. More importantly the need to celebrate every moment of every day.

Another situation where I am full of good advice but don't always do what I preach

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Capturing Shadows

Had a message on Face Book from a cycling buddy to wish me well and tell me about a cycle ride he had just done. It was over a familiar course that I have ridden a few times with him, the same course where I had my crash.

As much as it was lovely to hear from him it did remind me of my current situation and how much I miss getting out. As many keep reminding me time will pass quickly and I'm sure I will get back into it and resume where I left off.

My friend, Bryan is a top age group cyclist and a great motivator for me. He also plays the bass guitar and I was fortunate to play a few songs with him at a gig last year which I put on my old blog

Since many of my current readers are new I thought I would put it on here!

Hope you like my original song Capturing Shadows! It has a jazz feel about it!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Limitless Love

I have been blown away by the support I have received since my accident! I am surrounded by a lot of love!

A big thank you to all of my readers who put such lovely comments on my last post about my accident. A special thank you also to Kay who mentioned me in her post and as a result 5 of her followers posted comments on my blog. It was a lovely surprise when I woke up and read the encouraging words. I will endeavour to follow their blogs on a regular basis.

I have had several visits from fellow cyclists and the goodies have helped ease the pain of the surgery.

The last week has been really slow as I have hardly set foot out of the house. Lea took me for a drive but travelling is a bit uncomfortable.

Lea has been so loving towards me and has set up the house for easing my day to day coping while on crutches. I even have a spare bed in the lounge so I can watch T V lying down as sitting up is a little painful.

Phone calls and texts from loved ones has lifted my spirits!

The final word has to go to Lea who continually gives me so much love and since the accident has always been a step ahead of me to ensure that I get through the next few weeks less frustrated. I am not used to this sitting around and being so dependent on others. I am such a lucky guy to have someone who cares for me as much as Lea does.

Spent yesterday watching some cricket and in the evening Gilmore Girls which is a favourite of Lea's. Lea has all 7 series on video with each series having about 20 episodes. I really enjoy watching it with her as it has wonderful social comment and often I see myself in the characters.

Here is a song that I wrote called 'I'm here for you'. It is a love song written about 12 years ago and I believe is one of my best. Some of you would have heard it before if you followed my previous blog. This version is sung by John which was a lovely surprise at the time. I really like the way John sang it.

I have written many love songs and I dedicate this one to Lea who is my rock. Love is about being there for each other when in the good times and bad. As the chorus goes 'When you need a rescue rope 'cause you simply can not cope. I'll pull you in from danger give support and hope'.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Living a Life of Leisure

I have 6 weeks ahead of me of reflection as it is all I am really able to do.

My accident and surgery have been a great shock to me and I'm not use to this sitting around.

I have spent my life cycling and running on a daily basis. To be told that I would not be walking without crutches for 6 weeks and not exercising for 3 months was a terrible reality check to the seriousness of my accident.

It means I have a lot of time to occupy myself in my thoughts and this can be a problem to me as exercise has provided in the past an escape from a far too active and irrational mind.

I intend to read, write more music and be a bit more on to the blogging. The next 6 weeks could be a time of growth as I re-evaluate my life so far and where I'm heading.

I have a lot to be thankful for!

I live with a lovely lady, Lea who cares deeply for me and is always there for me. I know I have a positive and happy future ahead.

I have her two girls Bianca and Caitlyn who need stability in their lives and I know I can be there for them.

I have 2 beautiful girls Kate and Alice who are making their way in the world.

I have had a wonderful running career with many successes and hopefully many more to come.

I belong to a supportive cycling group, Kapiti Cycling Club and I'm enjoying my newly found love for cycling.

Although I have had some dark moments recently I know that with all the love and support around me I will continue to be the best I can be, continue to celebrate my talents and enjoy the interests that make me who I am.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Cycle Challenge Catastrophe

Arrived home yesterday on crutches and will be hopping around for the next few months. Many of you know from Lea's post that I had a cycling accident. I thought I would give you a first hand account of what happened.

Sunday began ominously when changing my wheels over I lost my fast gears and speedometer. I lined up with some trepidation about having to compete with only my small cog over a 95 km hilly course. To make matters worse there was some moisture in the air which I knew could mean slippery roads later in the morning.

Having paid my $65 I hoped for the best which unfortunately was not how it ended up.

The first 20 km [13 miles] was a fast ride down State Highway 1. Just before the first big climb some riders came down in front of me resulting in my going over them. I picked myself up off the road with some cuts and scrapes to my right elbow and charged up the Paekakariki Hill passing what was probably about 25 riders.

At the top I latched on to about 10 riders who I remained with for the next 70 km [45 miles]. I was feeling quite good and was on for a respectable time. Just before the Akatarawa Summit I put in a burst that took me ahead of my bunch.

Going over the Summit I was aware that my gearing would make it difficult to keep the lead I had made on my group.

With the wet roads descending became treacherous and on one of the bends my wheels slid from under me and I landed with full impact onto my left hip, finishing up in the middle of the road. As I tried to pick myself up the pain was intense and I quickly realised I wasn't going anywhere fast and my ride was over for the day.

Thankfully 2 riders stopped, checked on me and warned other riders that I was on the road. Both riders stayed with me for the next 45 minutes while I awaited medical assistance.

With a lot of pain I slid over to the side of the road and waited and waited. Getting assistance to me was difficult because of the narrow road and the fact that the race was still in progress.

Eventually I heard an ambulance approaching and a chopper above.

When the medical team arrived I had gone into shock and was shaking uncontrollably. When they tried to put me on the stretcher the pain was so severe that they had to give me morphine and some drug that caused me to hallucinate. It felt like I was dying. A most horrific experience!

They choppered me into Wellington Hospital and I was extremely lucky to be operated on within a couple of hours.

The surgeon put a metal plate and screws into my hip and I spent a few days being attended to and resting in hospital.

I'm now philosophically looking at my future in sport. After initial fears about the risks of being a cyclist I feel that my love for the sport means I must get back on the bike again, though not for a few more months. Hopefully I've had my one and only serious accident.

I will certainly be looking more closely at wet roads in the future.

Although the ending is not what I wanted I am satisfied with how I raced on the day and the group I was with at the time of the accident finished with 2:46 which is a good time. Maybe next year!

Thank you to everyone who sent me well wishes!

Here is a song by Leonard Cohen accompanied by myself and sung by me and Caitlyn.h

Monday, 18 March 2013

A day that started with great hope and ended in a hospital

Hi, Lea here.  Paul has been telling me off recently for my slackness in blogging.  I'm actually quite happy just to let him do the blogging because his stories are so much more interesting and I feel he is a far better writer than I could ever be.  But anyway, here I am doing a blog update.  This blog entry has another purpose too, to give you a very important (although not pleasant) update...

Now in the past week the North Island of New Zealand was declared to be a drought zone.  In all the time since I arrived in 2004 I have not seen it this dry and brown.  I used to joke that when you move countries people would say "you think the grass is greener on the other side..." and I used to reply "but the grass really is greener here... after all it rains all the time".  Well, not all the time, but certainly a lot.  However, for weeks and weeks and weeks now it has not rained.  Or where it has it has not rained enough.  It is quite a worry to be honest.  Today though, they had rain forecasted and most of us were looking forward to that.

The rain mostly held out, but it was raining ever so slightly earlier today.  Not so good for Paul and his fellow cyclists who had this big cycling race scheduled.  90km (55.92 miles) with a lot of uphills.  Last year Paul didn't do as well as he hoped as he had some punctures during his race.  He had great hopes for today's race though as it is a course he is well familiar with.  It is the same course he often does for training (yes, some people enjoy cycling up hills).

We arrived early this morning as Paul still had to enter and register.  He decided to change his wheels.  We thought somebody recently suggested that when you cycle on hills you would do better not having large rimmed wheels and that his usual wheels would be more appropriate.  So that is what he did.  We then left Paul behind and set off for the top of the first hill to wait for the cyclists coming past.  I learnt afterwards that Paul's bike computer wasn't working after he changed the wheels which wasn't helpful for him during his race and he had trouble changing gears so had to do most of his race in the wrong gear.

By 8:30am we were ready to see cyclists coming past and finally we saw the leading car with some cyclists following.  Not long after I saw Paul who looked pretty strong on the bike.  What I didn't know then was that Paul actually was involved in a crash just before he started this hill as a number of cyclists fell and then of course Paul went into them causing him to fall.  Because of the little bit of rain, the roads became very slippery so that was not very good.

After we saw Paul go past we went back to Waikanae (that's where the race started from) and that was was where the race would finish.  We were well in time and I positioned myself so that I would be able to get a nice finishing photo of Paul.  As we were waiting the commentator mentioned that thanks to the wet and slippery roads a lot of cyclists crashed and came off their bikes.  We saw an ambulance come past and I saw a few cyclists with evidence that they were involved in crashes.  Paul's one cycling buddy said he came off his bike twice and was pretty sore, but it seemed he did manage to finish with a good time. 

And so we waited.  And we waited.  And we waited.  I felt sure Paul must have had punctures again which if that was the case would have been so incredibly disappointing for him.

We waited until pretty much all the cyclists were back (I'm sure) and one of the official cars came past with some cyclists in the back as well as a few bikes.  Paul's bike was there too.  So then I started to really worry.

I was then told that he had a bad crash, that the ambulance coming past was for him and that he was flown to hospital with a helicopter.  They suspected a broken hip or pelvis and that he was in quite a bit of pain.  Two other cyclists waited with him until the ambulance arrived. 

I got Paul's bike and helmet, dropped it off at home and then left for the hospital about an hour long drive away.  He was in ED when I got there, he had a neck brace on and his head was taped down so that he would not move it.  They confirmed he had a broken hip and still just wanted to double-check that there wasn't any injury to his neck.  It was quite heartbreaking seeing Paul lying there and seeing just in how much pain he was at that point.  Paul said that at the time when he saw the helicopter and the ambulance all he could think of was that he hoped it wasn't just badly bruised and they wasted time coming out for nothing. 

Paul said that even though his bike acted up, he had a good race despite crashing just before the first hill.  He was about 15 minutes away from the finish line and had just come over the summit of the last hill when he went around a bend and suddenly his bike gave way underneath him and he landed with full impact on his left hip.  He was lying in the middle of the road in excruciating pain unable to move.  He managed to somehow shuffle to the side of the road where he lay until some cyclists stopped to see what was happening.  It took a little while for the ambulance to arrive and it sounded like it took a little bit of time for the pain medication to kick in enough so they could move him.

After some more x-rays at the hospital they were happy that it was only his hip and no damage or injury to his neck.  He was scheduled for surgery and tonight at 7pm he went in.  Finally after about 4 hours he came back on to the ward.  I'm not exactly sure how long he will have to stay, but it will be a few days and then I believe he will be on crutches for the next 6 weeks and it will take about 3 months before he can start thinking about running or cycling again.  I think he will find this so hard as he is so used to going out for a run or cycle every single day.  Exercise is his life.  It is what drives him and gives him a sense of pride and achievement.  So that is going to be really hard for him.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Come Cycling

Come join me on my cycle race. It's not for the faint-hearted!

Yesterday I competed in a 68 mile race that began and finished at a brewery. You have to have nerves of steel to compete in cycling as I rode at speeds of 40 miles an hour sitting within inches of other cyclists' wheels. I averaged 24 miles an hour and completed the course in 2:48.

It was a really good ride on a lovely summer's day.

Here is the race courtesy of Lea's photos!

Tui Brewery...the start and finishing point

Warm up

Sorting puncture after warm up

Awaiting the start

These safety briefings are so much fun

Finally we're off

Front group approaching the top of one of the big climbs

Me back left in formation

Me centre of the photo in blue

Riding at 25 miles an hour though it might not look like it

Final sprint to the line at left of photo

So how active was your weekend?

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Saturday Stroll

Yesterday Lea, Bianca, Caitlyn and I proceeded on a gentle stroll, as requested by Jane. Bianca took one of her friends, Maxine with her.

A gentle stroll may not be completely accurate according to Lea as it did involve a bit of a climb. It was only a 45 minute walk so in my world it qualified as stated.

I will let the photos tell the story. Hope you like the bush and greenery!

After the gentle stroll we were all a bit hot and bothered so we had a dip in the sea. The water was lovely, warm and refreshing.

I really love living in New Zealand with it's amazing mountains and wonderful coastline