Every now and then when I’m cycling along it suddenly occurs to me that I must send another belated update to my dim and distant web (not that you aren’t all forever on my mind, of course).

Mount Cook / Aoraki and the Hooker Valley in the Mount Cook National Park, South Island

Mount Cook / Aoraki and the Hooker Valley in the Mount Cook National Park, South Island

But then when evening comes and the postcard writing rituals call, I find I’ve got too much on my plate as I’m either eating (lots), washing (lots of unwashed things including body), tampering (with bits and bolts of bikes), battling with bailing out (yet more flooded tent water), battening down the hatches (from yet more unseasonable gales), massacring millions of tent-trapped sandflies, or … well, sleeping if that’s OK.

Maori War Canoe, Waitangi

Maori War Canoe, Waitangi

So I’ve finally grabbed the opportunity of a very inopportune injury (more of that sob story later) to let you know where I am and what state I’m in (not very good as it happens).

Tuatara (Sphenodon punctalus)

Tuatara (Sphenodon punctalus)

And seeing that I’ve ignored you for so long I shall now make amends by sending you 7 postcards for the price of one. As may be noted from one of them (or 2 of them if you look very hard) I have made it to Mount Cook (which at 3755m peaks as the highest peak in Australasia).

But not without difficulty.

Mustering sheep by Lake Pukaki with Mount Cook in the background

Mustering sheep by Lake Pukaki with Mount Cook in the background

First there was the weather (floods, gales, storms etc etc and a whole lot more of record breakingly awful unseasonable offerings), then there were the mountain passes to haul myself over (Lewis, Arthurs, Porters and inumerable other vertical lumps to boot), then there were the much-dreaded bloodsucking swarms of sandflies (ow! itch! scratch! squash!), then there were the armies of thundering logging and lifestock trucks (roar! growl! swoosh! suck!)

Tree Weta - Hemidena thoracica

Tree Weta - Hemidena thoracica

As if that wasn’t quite enough to content with, my Achilles tendon (yes that old onion) has the cheek to give up the ghost.

Something inside it has gone a bit wrong and it just won’t work.

I’ve tried cycling with my arms but cycling upside down in an upside down world is somehow just not the same.

So far I’ve seen a nurse, a doctor, a sports injury medical man, a physio, a Buddhist, a Reiki-practising Glaswegian, and … and … a lot of pent-up frustration because all I want to do is RIDE my bike!

And I can’t.

I’ve tried ignoring it and ploughing on into gales, floods, storms and mountainous mountains, but its just not having it.

Sperm Whale, Kaikoura Coast, South Island

Sperm Whale, Kaikoura Coast, South Island

So here I am camping in Twizel (pronounced TWIZ-EL, I mean TWI-ZEL) getting highly fidgety and, as it happens, highly cold as winter has set in 6 weeks early.

(2 nights ago tent froze solid and last night snow flurries flurried).

I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do as the longer I wait for wonked ankles to mend the colder and wetter and snowier and more painful the camping and cycling becomes.

As you can see, despite what all my family and friends say, life on the road’s no holiday.

Dusky Dolphin, Kaikoura Coast, South Island

Dusky Dolphin, Kaikoura Coast, South Island