Maybe I need validation after all. I’m achieving things. I’m feeling pleased with myself. I’ve lost 12 kg. On Saturday I met some friends for a walk and a picnic at Mary Cairncross nature reserve and actually managed to walk considerably further than I have been able to do in well over a year. It is a good place to walk. The gravel path is relatively even and there are seats situated conveniently along the tracks for old codgers like me to rest a bit. Best of all, the wildlife is fascinating. Lots of birds, some of which I haven’t met before. The most interesting was the green catbird, a species of bowerbird that has a cry like a wailing cat, or a baby. I encountered a couple of pademelons, which are cute miniature wallabies that live in the rainforest.
I missed a python, as about half way up a loop track I realised I’d had enough, and should conserve my last energies for the return walk. Of course, I later learned shortly after i sat down to rest and await the others’ return, they encountered a beautiful carpet python. Just my luck.
Sitting still is a great way to see birds. I saw my first yellow throated scrubwren. By twittering with pursed lips against the back of my hand, as we do in New Zealand to attract the piwakawaka, I managed to get a pair of them to come quite close. But they flitted about so much and were so tiny, I could not get a picture. I had forgotten to take my cameras, and an iPhone is useless for this kind of photography.
Today was another great day. I disintered my mask and snorkel and, once in the water, soon learned that I can swim much better with them than without. The ache in my neck and shoulders was not from swimming, but from holding up my head. Once I started swimming head down and breathing through the snorkel everything became more efficient. I swam faster, though still not as fast as my neighbours in the next lanes. It was easy to average 9 lengths per 15 minutes with a steady rhythm. I did a length of the pool in less strokes. I did 50 lengths easily in 90 minutes and set out to do another 50. I managed 76 in 140 minutes and realised that I should have had more than coffee and a mandarin for breakfast. Hunger gnawed at my vitals, and I thought of the lean beef curry waiting in the slow cooker. So I called it a day. More tomorrow.
I have been a face down swimmer for decades. Today reminded me how I like to swim. I have not used my mask and snorkel since Fiji, now ten years ago. As soon as the ocean warms up a bit, I shall get out my Scubapro Jetfins and work on strengthening my legs. They are fins that take a lot of power to use. I’ve had those fins since January 1979 in which year I won the Hawkes Bay underwater orienteering competition with them. The last time I used them was in Fiji too.