One of my New Year’s resolutions was to write down some of the many stories my time working in heavy industry. So here’s a start.
When I travelled north in October/November last year, I managed to catch up with half a dozen of my former colleagues from the pulp and paper industry. I really enjoyed the chance to talk about some of the highs (and lows) of the more than 20 years I spent in the forest products sector. Looking back, we were really fortunate to start work in that industry at a time it was on a real high. New Zealand had a huge competitive advantage compared with the rest of the world. New Zealand’s large, very well managed and sustainable plantation forests of pinus Radiata could produce high-quality cellulose fibre at a very low cost. What’s more, due to a quirk of that species growing in NZ, we could get a wide range of products once we understood how to segregate and use the various parts of the tree (but that’s another story).
(If you mainly visit this blog for the pictures, you may be disappointed in this post. But if you’re still interested, read on …..)
From the veranda in front of our house we get a good view of what’s going on in Nelson harbour. Sailboats, swimmers, kayaks, ships coming in or out, seabirds fishing and on rare occasions even orca. During the school holidays especially, a lot of training takes place. A few days ago it was Laser yachts, mainly the junior “4.7” and Laser Radial models.
At the end of the day, after a lot of tight “round the buoy” racing, we could hear the coach explaining the rules for the last race of the day. They were quite simple: you must remain standing for the whole race, except when tacking or gybing. Here’s the start:
One of the pleasures in returning to Nelson has been the chance to buy good quality seafood at reasonable prices. That was something we certainly could not do in Christchurch. Try as we might, we never came across a shop down there that had fish of consistent good quality. The range of species was very much smaller as well. Our local fish shop is called “Guyton’s“, down on the waterfront less than a 10 minute walk away.
It’s the time of year when the private jets and super yachts come to Nelson. They’re very discreet, We hear the planes, but only for a few moments. Unlike the occasional houseboats, from which the sound of parties can sometimes disturb a quiet evening, the superyachts don’t produce a lot of noise. They do look impressive! Here’s an example from a couple of days ago:
I went to my first Super X event in many years last weekend, a round in the NZ Championships held at the “Rat Track” at Lower Moutere. I was very impressed: a great track with excellent viewing for the spectators and a high standard of competition. Locals were cheering for their hero, Josh Coppins from Motueka. Josh has performed very well over the years, just missing out on a world title through injury.
Last weekend we went over to Mapua. For years (decades even) lunch at the Smokehouse Cafe was a great treat. When we first started going the location was fantastic but the food and service was rubbish. Then Tom and Viv Fox took over and it was transformed into a Nelson icon. After one or two changes of ownership it closed down last year. Now Tom and Viv are back. Same location, a few internal changes and new branding. Here’s the view from your table:
For the 19th year, the roads around Nelson’s port area are closed off and the petrol heads take over. It’s rather old-fashioned, in that the spectators can get really close to the action with the minimum of interference from barriers and fences. Here are some shot to give you the flavour of the event. I’ll post some more of the racing images later (for the motorbike enthusiasts). Or you can check them out on my pBase gallery, here.
The winner of the elite classes was a very fast Suzuki ridden by last year’s winner, Dennis Charlett. He was reaching speeds of more than 195 km/hr, not bad for a tight street circuit.