Dipping in a toe

Late last year I travelled to New Zealand with my son, the Lawyer of these pages. I was reminded of one particular post from that trip by Helen Jones’ piece that referenced a man made surfing lake in North Wales. Helen is a little like me and prefers watching these sort of exploits from the shore. That’s why this post was headed ‘A day of rest’. That turned out to be optimistic. Intrigued? Please read on.


Hmm, would someone tell the Lawyer please?

I know I know. I’m lucky to be his companion. I’m only too aware that he asked all 917 ‘friends’ on facebook if they’d go with him. He even put a card in the newsagent before he saw that spotty geeky moon-faced boy with no teeth and glasses waving at the back ‘Take me, take me!!! Please!!’

Of course the chance of better hotels than the youth hostels he’d experienced on his travels so far was a plus – I’m of  an age when it is a must to have (and fortunate to be able to afford) a flushing toilet that is not shared with more than two others.

Thus it was we left Hobbiton for Rotorua. Rotorua is the NZ centre of the hot springs, thermal pools with a tangy farty atmosphere than draws people from all over. We have a Maori experience booked – that’s tonight and will feature in the next post. So I anticipated a walk maybe, a visit to somewhere bubbling and deeply embedded in nature. I may have even said as much.

So what happens? He twists my words. Bubbling, embedded in nature…


This is the highest commercially raftable waterfall in the world.

Yep, white water rafting.

‘You need to challenge your fears’ they say. I have no idea who this self selecting ‘they’ might be but they should mind their own business frankly.

Of course I could say no. I know the word. I’ve used it many times. I could have pleaded (pled?):

1. I’m 58 and I creak

2. I hate swimming and have an almost phobia about being out of my depth in water

3. I’m one of life’s pratfall artists so if a boat is going to tip over and empty its crew in a torrent, I’ll be in it. Like this.


note to self; you are 15 stone in wet socks. of course the bloody boat will tip your way…

And when the boat gets to this point…


You’ll notice you can’t see me any more – I’m communing with the Tesco’s shopping trolley that has curiously made it here.

… you’re sure it’s going over. I didn’t say no. The Lawyer is NOT getting bragging rights that easily. Ha! And I survived. Clearly. Who would be writing this post if I didn’t. My ghost? Mwah ha HA!


The disbelief is tangible. Did I really…

Rotorua Rafting Co did an awesome – and I mean that in its truest sense – job of taking us down the river. At no stage did I feel scared…


I’m the only one not smiling because I’m savouring the moment.

I was putting on the scary face…


I wanted to paddle – or do I mean piddle?

Of course once or twice I overcame my natural shyness


I may have founded my own religion in that moment…

We were meant to be paddling but I think I was trying to crown our driver. Anyway, we made up.


Yep, hug me first!

Of course one should know best. These people always have fun at one’s expense


One minute you are up…


and the next…. I’ll leave the Mr Spock fingers to the youth. Now’s where’s that tea?

We had one more rapid and then it was home. Sam, the driver, not the Lawyer, said ‘Boys, sit in the front.’ We should have argued. We should have questioned.


one minute humming something fluffy by Pharrel Williams

We knew it couldn’t last


I was even saying to the Lawyer – ‘this isn’t what…’

And then this


and this


IMG_1560But I stayed in.

At the end the crew of the two boats that went down the river were brought together for a ‘team photo’ by the irritatingly cheery camera man with an outrageous French accent. ‘Make ze silly moves, cheris’

Right, Jacques.



Ok so I’m a miserable old git but really, does every photo call have to include you making an utter tit of yourself?

You would naturally assume a quiet afternoon to follow, maybe a sauna or some hot rocks, something to loosen up tired joints, to ease us back to reality?

Mountain biking anyone?

I know, a glutton. But I love mountain biking not that I get any chances to experience it in London. And I don’t do the cycling miles that I used to in order to have the legs and the lungs to make the most of it. However Rotorua is one of the three tops places in the world, after Whistler and France to mountain bike. The mountain here is pretty much given over to them so no hiker or horse interferes with crazy descents or stops tricky ascents. I came off four times, into heather, against tree roots, on stones and down steps and loved every stupid second of it.

And I’ve yet to see a hot spring or a thermal pool. Tomorrow. Maybe. You’ll just have to wait and see.

Now for the Maoris. Hope I don’t doze off…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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24 Responses to Dipping in a toe

  1. Sue Vincent says:

    That looks like great fun 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ritu says:

    Wow!!! Brilliant pictures Geoffles!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. FlorenceT says:

    Brave but silly, I would say 😉 Seriously, looks like you are having a great time! It’s a beautiful country. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. rogershipp says:

    Love the pictures. Must have been an exhilarating trip.


  5. noelleg44 says:

    What FUN! I want to do that! Great pictures – keep them coming!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jan says:

    Looks like tons of fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ha Ha! Looks like you all have terrific fun despite the several dunkings you got! You have certainly got some stamina to be going mountain biking straight after. Not bad for an old git! 🙂


  8. I loved Rotorua. I even lost my knickers there. OK, maybe that’s not relevant. Hot spa baths and all that. Glad you are enjoying it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ali Isaac says:

    You do get about, Geoff! That looked like fantastic fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That looked and sounded brilliant. I really need to do that. I’ve only done it on a man-made course so far. And then mountain biking as well? Fantastic! Great memories and photos to go with them. Glad you enjoyed it all

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Oddly the best bit easily was turning a complete somersault on the bike and ending up laughing hysterically as the bike disappeared down the hill with me sitting on the path.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great shots. Your exploits get more and more scary


  12. Rachel M says:

    You really did everything in NZ. Was this a mid-life crisis trip? I don’t plan to ever do half the scary things you did in NZ and I lived there for almost 10 years. It looks like you had fun and that’s the main thing.


  13. Yup, I remember this. The photos are just awesome. Unbelievable. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Autism Mom says:

    I am going to leave the extreme adventuring to you Geoff. Thank you for allowing me to enjoy vicariously!

    Liked by 1 person

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