Adversity – A stepping stone to success (Hey, what colour is this..?)

Seemingly, whenever I tell someone I am colour-blind they feel compelled to put me to the test.

“No… really, is that what you see?”

“Can’t be, you sure?”

And every so often I get that old chestnut…

“Are you like a dog and just see black and white?”

Mind you, I’m pretty relaxed about it these days…

Perhaps my dress sense gives me away, after all, there was that matter of the yellow pants I bought all those years ago.

Sensibly, these days I outsource my clothing purchases to Janet-Planet who has a good eye for fashion, mind you she has a naughty sense of humour as well, so I usually get TomO to do a second pass on any clothes she buys me, just in case she’s in a playful mood.

But even that has its limitations as without doubt TomO has inherited his mother’s sense of mischief…

Throughout my school years I always wanted to join the air-force and fly fast jets.

Yes, I know, everyone did, but I really wanted to!

It wasn’t until I underwent the air-force medical that the discovery was made, which went to explaining quite a lot. I only wish they had given me the medical first, rather than have me sit through hours of entrance exams only to stamp that brand new file…

“Colour-blind, FAIL….”

..Talk about being gutted, but I eventually moved on and ended up in the employ of the Bank of New South Wales, licking stamps to put on envelopes…

A Bank

 

And speaking of my banking colleagues.

I did manage to give them a good laugh when I came home with an old Holden Station Wagon.

Not that there was anything wrong with having an old Holden…

But a pink one?

It was unique…

I was living in a small country town in Northern Australia and I’d had my eye on that car for a long time and couldn’t believe my luck that it hadn’t been sold before I saved enough money to buy it.

I swear that car was yellow, such is the vagaries of a colour-blind!

But hey, I wore that car like a badge and there was no missing it at the Mareeba Drive-In on a Saturday night…

CrayonsAnd for heaven’s sake we won’t even talk about coloured crayons, other than to say the sight of a colouring-in book and crayons is still stressful to this day…

But my colour deficiency did motivate me to thumb my nose at the air-force, give them the

bird, so to speak, not that they shouldn’t have rules about colour deficiency, that sounds perfectly reasonable to me, but I wasn’t going to let it beat me either.

“After all, adversity is just a stepping stone to success, right…? It only gets the better of you if you let it and there was no way this would hold me back, ever…”

I’ve enjoyed a successful career with the bank, 42-years worth…

Ah, no, I’m not still licking stamps, but thanks for checking!

And I went on to fly my own plane.

It wasn’t quite a fast-jet, but hey nothing wrong with pretending sometimes. And when I tired of sitting in the pilot’s seat, I swapped the plane for a parachute and jumped out of them – until I broke my bum in a mid-air incident (but that is a story for another time).

But strewth,  I’ll tell you a funny thing, odd as it may seem I didn’t like the colour of the plane I owned, so I repainted it…go figure!

Baz - The Landy
Baz – The Landy

 

Soaring like a bird (Over the ocean)

newcastle, australia

Newcastle, East Coast Australia.

Crikey, that looks like FUN…

Photo: Baz, The Landy

Antics in a Bi-Plane (Tigers’ over Wanaka)

Baz & TomO - ready to take to the skies
Baz & TomO – ready to take to the skies

A flight in a Tiger Moth from a by-gone era sounded far too good an opportunity to pass up.

On a recent visit to the South Island of New Zealand and in between climbing in the Southern Alps, I did just that, accompanied by my adventurous son, TomO…

 And TomO, being a bit of a military buff, relished the opportunity to chase his father around the skies over Wanaka, while Mum, Janet, watched from a vantage point on the lake foreshore below.

TomO and Baz over Wanaka
TomO and Baz over Wanaka

The Tiger Moths are owned and operated by Peter Hendriks at Classic Flights, Wanaka.

 Peter, along with his flying partner, Andy Hailey, who recently left the RAF after trading a seat in the supersonic Euro-fighter for something just a bit slower, expertly piloted the aircraft.

It even had me reminiscing over my own flying days, another time when Janet and I flew the length and breadth of Australia in our own aircraft, a Piper Arrow.

VH-FTH
Piper Arrow
VH-FTH

TomO and I kitted up in the flight room, donning flying gear of the Tiger Moth era, including a silk scarf, and with the smell of aviation fuel in our nostrils took to the blue skies over Wanaka.

Anyway, why don’t you just jump on board with us and join the flight…don’t forget to strap yourself in, we don’t want you falling out when we do a loop!

And how good is that smile on TomO’s face!

Tiger Moth’s over Wanaka (TomO and Baz take to the skies)

 TomO and Baz over Wanaka

Climbing mountains is one way to get your head in the clouds and tomorrow I will be travelling to the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island for another week of adventure in the mountains. 

I climbed this breath-taking area last September and I am looking forward to being there again…

 And I am certainly hoping for better weather than the blizzard conditions I experienced last week whilst climbing Mt Aspiring and neighbouring peaks.

But mind you, there is more than one way to get your head in the clouds and this morning TomO and I took to the skies over Wanaka, chasing each other in two vintage Tiger Moths”.

Crikey, I could go on about how good it was, and it is fair to say TomO still has a smile as big as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but why don’t I just let the photo’s do the talking…

TomO - always smiling
TomO – always smiling 
TomO going into a loop
TomO going into a loop

 

Butt your Bum’s Broken…

Last weekend we had a pleasant and impromptu get-together at our place with a few friends. These evening’s are always enjoyable, unpredictable and a good laugh is always had, frequently at my expense…

 The increase in banter and laughter seemingly correlated with the number of wine corks being pulled.

A few of the world’s problems were solved, and Janet, my partner, managed to organise a major shopping trip with her girlfriends whilst I’m climbing in New Zealand next week.

 And then somehow we got on to a discussion about ‘what have you broken?’

Now don’t ask me why, it just did.

Bob kicked it off by saying…

 “Yeah, I fell out of a tree, broke me arm”

Ray, a rugby-mad Kiwi, has a nose that’s been moved off-centre courtesy of failing to catch a high ball…

There was a couple of broken legs in their somewhere, I can’t remember who, but let’s face it they are kind of “dime a dozen”…

Jeff managed to break a finger in a schoolyard dust up. Mind you, it would’ve been a brave person to take him on, the bloke is about six-foot-six and has shoulders as wide as Beyoncé’s booty, and a bit firmer as well.

And hey, don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with her booty!!

 Kimbalee, bless her, broke a couple of nails and had to spend half-a morning in the beauty parlour sipping lattes while a team of specialists worked their magic on her.

Eventually it got around to me,

 “Baz, how’d you go, you’ve bound to have broken something?”

Janet, her cheeky grin barely contained, egging them on…

 “Yeah Baz, tell them what you’ve broken”…

Blushing,

 “My bum”.

Maybe it wouldn’t have been so funny any other time, but this was a crowd that was only warming up. They laughed so hard and long that many were in tears…

“Thanks Janet…”

My broken bum had its making back in the early 1980s at a Sunday session at the Brekky Creek Hotel, in Brisbane.  Back in those days the pub only opened for a short time on Sunday’s and it was a case of getting as many beers into you in as short a time possible.

 

I’d like to say that I was responsible in the way I approached these sessions, but I can’t…

Anyway, they were always very sociable and fun affairs…

After a few jugs of beer, the boys decided we should go and learn to skydive, sounded awesome, I was in for sure.

And thinking that I could always claim ‘beer talk’ if I needed to back out of it…

No chance, Bush-rat, as one of our mates was known, saw to it that wasn’t going to happen, and by the next Saturday we had done our first jump out in the Brisbane Valley at Toogoolawah.

At the time it was only a fledgling drop-zone. Today it is a major skydiving centre run by the bloke who tossed me out that very first time, Dave McEvoy.

Customary as it was, we had to shout the bar at the Toogoolawah pub on that Saturday night.

It was a big night…!

We went on to do quite a few jumps over a couple of years and enjoyed the shenanigans that was part of the skydiving scene, a crazy bunch by any standard…

 It was fun times back in the days when sex was safe and skydiving was dangerous.

How things have changed!

Eventually work commitments saw us all head our separate ways, and skydiving tended to take a back seat to other activities…

Fast forward to more recent times and I thought it would be good to go back and do some more skydiving.

I sounded out Janet, who was right on to it and wanted to go also.

Back in the early 1980’s she was literally the girl next door, and yearned to go skydiving with us, but was to shy to ask. All of eighteen, and sweet as…

There was no such shyness this time around.

 And, yeah, I did marry the girl-next-door…

We signed up to do an accelerated free-fall course, which went well…

So how about the broken bum they chorused?

On a jump I deployed my chute as I was diving away, it was a little sloppy really, and my foot got caught in one of the lines as the chute was opening and it flipped me through my harness.

The upshot was I went from 200 kilometres an hour to zero with one leg above my head, stuck in the line.

It was a leg split that even the most practiced ballerina would’ve be proud of, unfortunately for me it ripped my hamstring right off my bum…

The pain was intense, but I managed to land safely…

A couple of weeks later and after a few thousand dollars changed hands it was sewn back on again!

There was quiet around the table, I was hoping they would simply move on, no such luck, it was just the calm before the storm erupted with a burst of laughter!

Needless to say, I’ve been the butt of their jokes ever since…

Three Girls and their Credit Cards – It’s all a matter of perspective

Leura Galleries

Okay, there are many pursuits that could be classed as risky, dangerous, some more so than others, but really, it still comes down to one’s perspective, doesn’t it?

So Janet, my partner, and I were having a bit of a debate about this earlier today ahead of a trip we are making to the Blue Mountains, just to the west of Sydney this weekend.

And I will set the scene here, Janet is no wallflower, together we have flown aeroplanes, jumped out of them, abseiled off the side of the AMP building in Sydney side-by-side, and even rafted down some wild rivers in Papua New Guinea – so there’s no doubting she’s up for adventure and happy to balance risk against outcomes.

So when I said to her that a weekend of shopping in the Blue Mountains with her two girlfriends, we’ll just call them Kimbalee and Lisa to protect their identities, is risky and dangerous it seemingly fired her up a touch. It actually made me chuckle a bit, because it was a bit like when you were a teenager, you know, when you got sprung by your parents, as though they were mind readers, before you did whatever it was that you weren’t supposed to, and left you with no option but to go on the defensive…

“How’s that she asked? And besides, aren’t you climbing and abseiling off some rock walls isn’t that a little risky?” was the retort…

And true, I will be doing that, thankfully spared from being dragged from boutique to boutique, art gallery to art gallery, mind you, some of the art galleries are very nice, and the prospect of being in the company of these three attractive young ladies was pleasing, but I was looking forward to the outdoor activities I had planned.

I thought I’d better choose my words carefully here because as lovely natured as Janet is, she could stare down a stampede of cattle at a hundred paces.

Well I suggested these girls, Kimbalee and Lisa, were seasoned shoppers, fearless and old-school who live to the creed “if you can’t decide which one you like, buy the lot”. In the right setting that might be okay, our bank balance might just scrap through relatively unscathed, but these boutiques were high fashion, and that’s before we get to the galleries…

Sensing she had me on the ropes, of which there was a certain amount of irony, and with a glint in her eye she said…

“But haven’t you always said that if you are going to do something, learn to do it properly, and then go out and practice it until you are an expert?”

True I thought, and about this time I was wishing I hadn’t tried to be so smart, and had just gone about my daily routine without throwing out the bait, so to speak.

I should have seen it coming…

“So how much did you say those climbing boots are, you know the ones you’ll need for New Zealand, $700, $800, I’ve never bought a pair of shoes that have cost anywhere near that amount”. Was that a smile I detected, a cheeky little grin, as she turned away slightly?

I was looking for that big hole to swallow me up, and started to understand just how a stampede of cattle might just be feeling right now, stared down by Janet.

Yes risk and danger, it’s there wherever we look, in whatever we do, and as I climb and descend tomorrow, I’m sure that the klinking sound of carabineers on carabineers will be equalled by the ringing sound of a cash register playing the tune of three wonderful lady’s having fun, and of course, giving their cards a workout…