Today is the official last day of the glorious school holidays and there’s no hiding from it: the R word is lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce. We’re talking ‘Routine’.
Of course, we’ve never really got away from a routine; you can’t when you have a very vocal menagerie and neighbours you don’t wish to alienate. Somehow, though, the animal feeding/paddock cleaning/garden watering groove doesn’t ratchet up the tension the way school drop off and pick up does.
Maybe it’s the rigidity of it all. There’s that half hour window in the morning; drop off at 8.29 and you’re early, arrive with bike tyres smoking and chest heaving at 9.01 and you’re late. This is quite a trying situation for the three Homestead ladies (they refer to themselves as The A Team) charged with this task. Of their great many talents, timeliness is not one of them and it only takes an uncooperative goat, a wayward chicken or (blush) a couple of interesting YouTube clips and before you know it you’re faced with the kind of cycling dash that would make Vincenzo Nibali blanch.
Speaking of which, The Renovator’s not-so-trusty, oh-so-rusty steed required upgrading this week in order to convey him schoolwards in the required reliable, punctual and salubrious manner. After a week of pedalling to and from a variety of pre-kick off meetings, he’s got the five kilometre trundle over a course including the infamous (in these parts) quake damaged Bridge Street bridge down to a comfortable fifteenish minutes. While not the fastest machine on the road, it was felt his final choice was a happy marriage of durability, serviceability and downright funky chic.
Although The Bean Counter’s back problems may have put paid to his cycling commute for now, his hitching a ride to and from work with The Farmer at the wheel of the smaller Homestead Mobile has led to a great many interesting and hilarious anecdotes round the dinner table. In a city where detours are a way of life and the going is often tough, these two have developed a motoring relationship seldom seen off the rally circuit and calls to mind this bit of kiwiana history if all stories are to believed.
Farm Girl was also considering flirting with danger and skateboarding to The Kingdom of Nova on Monday, however an incident last week backed up claims by fuddy-duddy Homesteaders that her skills perhaps needed a little fine tuning before such an undertaking. Somehow her skateboard met with a pot-hole in the Homestead driveway, a happening no one witnessed but which resulted in her barely making it up the back steps before falling into a swoon befitting a Hollywood actress. Without seeming dramatic, this was rather frightening for all. It turns out the fall knocked the wind out of her but she had thankfully suffered no lasting damage and was back on the skateboard that afternoon. All plans of a skateboarding commute have, however, been put on hold as the footpath between here and the school are currently more pothole than tarmac. Instead, she will once again travel atop the Homestead heirloom, a bicycle that has clocked up a great many miles powered initially by The Goat Herd, and then (in a new colour) The Farmer. It was built tough!
Which is what we will be when Monday rolls around: tough on ourselves. We’ll watch the clock, observe sensible bedtimes, create wonderful lunch-box comestibles, and bow to our routine with grace – at least for the first couple of days.