Moving Up

Yesterday I moved into a new place. Well, since I don’t have any furniture this merely involved hopping on a different bus and picking up a set of keys, but that was fun because now I live in a hills suburb with good walks and friendly sheep for neighbours. To those who don’t know me so well, I tend to move fairly regularly, and my liveliness is quite highly correlated with the proximity of hills. It didn’t take me long to find the steep shortcut down into the Heathcote valley to the pub, which has excellent fish and chips.

9 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    L. Riofrio said,

    Best wishes with the move. Sometimes the travelling life leads to great learning. It looks like a lovely part of NZ.

  2. 2

    nige said,

    Lucky you, Kea, having such an easy move to somewhere with such a really beautiful view.

    But surely you have do loads of papers, journals, books, etc., to cart around which are even more bulky than furniture?

    When I last moved home it took twenty boxes of papers, mostly photocopies, notes, books, old journals and other clutter which can’t be thrown away or given away until I get around to putting summaries of the information I want on to my computer. Fortunately, in my spare time I’ve now reduced the backlog of unread printed papers and journals, but sadly have in the meanwhile been collecting in their place a fearful number of arXiv PDF downloads. At least those aren’t bulky or heavy.

    I agree with Louise that it looks a very nice, peaceful, relaxed place to live. People are more friendly in quiet relaxed places than in overcrowded sewers like London. I’m thinking of travelling around the world, but really want to get married first, since travelling by myself is a real nightmare.

    Usually, if I try travelling alone, I automatically can’t help trying to make it more exciting by leaving things to the last minute so I have a rush and often miss the boat/plane/train/bus. If I’m driving I don’t bother planning the route, so as to maintain the adventure of having a risk of getting lost and seeing somewhere unplanned.

    Abroad, without any SatNav in a hire car and perhaps knowing little of the local language, that can be very serious when the petrol runs out miles from any garage. If the sun is up I can work out which way I’m going, but if it’s cloudy and I’m lost in a city I’m visiting (i.e., unable to find the road home), then it soon starts to become a nightmare. The same happens when I go windsurfing.

    Is it possible to get lost in New Zealand if you are out walking? Or just a question of having map and magnetic compass/GPS? Do you have to take chocolate rations, water, wet wipes, and metal foil sleeping bags on the longer walks? Or are there lots of tea houses along the route?

  3. 3

    Kea said,

    Is it possible to get lost in New Zealand if you are out walking?
    Well, yes, of course. But it usually depends on where one is walking. Hardly anybody gets lost walking around Christchurch, with well sign-posted streets. On the other hand, if you wander into a national park you are unfamiliar with, without a map and other essential gear, you will almost certainly get lost.
    Do you have to take chocolate rations, water, wet wipes, and metal foil sleeping bags on the longer walks?
    I see our definition of the words longer walk differ a little. To me a longer walk definitely involves a down sleeping bag, chocolate and probably an ice axe and crampons, but certainly not water (which is in plentiful supply) or wet wipes.
    Or are there lots of tea houses along the route? No. Although the terrain is similar to Nepal in many ways, people do not inhabit the mountains (except along the roads). There are no ladders across crevasses (except on the guided west coast glacier walks), or people willing to carry your gear (except on a few relatively easy luxury guided treks).

  4. 4

    nige said,

    Thanks!

    I’m totally ignorant about New Zealand. I didn’t even know there were really glaciers in New Zealand, but http://www.glaciercountry.co.nz/ confirms it, and says there are rainforests and glaciers in the same country.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand is surprising. I dropped geography at 14 to make way for science, but up to 14 there was nothing about the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, China, or even the UK! (The school geography was entirely focussed in in depth studies of Canada, Africa and South America.)

    Refreshing my memory by looking at a map shows that New Zealand is to the south-east of Australia, so presumably it has a milder climate. So the glaciers are trapped at high altitude in the mountains, unable to flow to lower altitude and melt? If you melt ice to get water to drink and wash with, then you presumably take a camping stove with you?

    Ummm, it sounds like fun as long as you don’t get frozen by blizzards or have a fall. Can you take a mobile phone to call for help in case you have an accident, or is there no signal strength?

    Also, what are the rain forests like? I.e., are they mosquito breeding grounds with malaria, yellow fever, lethal snakes & spiders? Or is it all more civilized?

  5. 5

    Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said,

    03 04 07

    Congrats Kea:
    Looks gorgeous! It is a sin to covet my neighbors’ stuff, but not a sin to admire them:)

  6. 6

    Kea said,

    So the glaciers are trapped at high altitude in the mountains, unable to flow to lower altitude and melt?
    No. Some glaciers reach down to only a few hundred metres above sea level. Of course, this takes big mountains with a lot of ice high up to feed the glacier.
    If you melt ice to get water to drink and wash with, then you presumably take a camping stove with you?
    Yes, we always carry a stove. One never melts snow/ice just to wash with. It takes too much fuel. NZ is not high altitude, though. One can usually find running water, unless one is camping out high up.
    Can you take a mobile phone to call for help in case you have an accident, or is there no signal strength?
    No signal except where there is line of sight – which is basically nowhere except on the peaks. Some people carry mountain radios on long trips, but these are cumbersome because they require a long aerial (ionospheric).
    …are they mosquito breeding grounds with malaria, yellow fever, lethal snakes & spiders?
    No. Too cold. No nasty snakes and spiders. No bears or lions or tigers. Wonderful place.

  7. 7

    nige said,

    Thank you very much for this information! I have a much better idea of what New Zealand is like now.

    Looking at the temperature table http://www.tourism.net.nz/new-zealand/about-new-zealand/weather-and-climate.html the climate is similar to England. That’s why I found it strange that there are glaciers. It must be the large number of mountains there which allow glaciers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mountains_of_New_Zealand_by_height lists 16 New Zealand mountains which have altitudes exceeding 10,000 ft above sea level.

    By comparison, the highest mountain in the U.K. is just 4,406 ft (Ben Nevis, Scotland), while in England the tallest mountain is 3,210 ft (Scafell Pike, Cumbria).

    With similar seasonal temperatures and similar land area, the reason why New Zealand has glaciers is down to mountain altitudes. According to http://sci.waikato.ac.nz/evolution/geologicalHistory.shtml, the reason why New Zealand has bigger mountains than England seems to be due to the more active geological processes:

    “Modern New Zealand is world renown for being geological active with high mountains, frequent earthquakes, geothermally active areas and volcanoes. This is due to New Zealand’s modern position on the boundary of the Australian and the Pacific Plates. The collision of these plates caused the Pacific plate to subduct underneath the Australian plate which carries the North Island. To the south of the South Island, the situation is reversed. The subduction zones in New Zealand are defined by trenches in the north and in the south and by the Alpine Fault which connects the two. This plate boundary has shaped the size of New Zealand and also defines its geology.”

    A very interesting place!

  8. 8

    Kea said,

    Yes, Nigel. Geologically, NZ is fascinating. The tectonic plate theory was based partly on evidence from the South Island, where a correlation in rock types was found between Otago (in the south) and Nelson (far away in the north). You would like Kaikoura, where the faults split up and spill off the east coast into deep ocean. There are whales, dolphins, seals etc. One day I would like to build an Institute for Categorical Physics Research there.

  9. 9

    nige said,

    Thanks, Kaikoura sounds the ideal place for the research institute. In an effort to see understand a bit about the background to categorical physics, I’m reading the history by Baez and Lauda, http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/history.pdf, which is fascinating so far.


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