Rory Gardiner's Webpage

01, Jan, 2010

Friday 1st January 2010


Happy New Year!  We wish you all health and happiness for 2010.  We have learnt these are the most important components of life, and should never be taken for granted. 

We woke with clear heads on a sunny warm Naki day.  It has become a bit of a tradition for us to greet the new year with an early morning run along the New Plymouth coastal walkway.  Last year was the first time Sean and I had been able to run the entire return trip (14km) with both boys at our side.  Rory was able to complete it on his bike, aged 6.  I woke this morning feeling sadness about what cancer has stolen from Rory's life, and from our lives.  Our position today seems so far away from what it was a year ago.  On New Years day 2009 we had no idea what was ahead of us, or how our lives would change forever.  It didn't seem right for Sean and I to greet the year with a run with Sam leaving Rory behind, so we opted to have an early breakfast and walk together.  We parked at the Waiwhakaiho River mouth and walked south along the walkway.  Rory walked approx. a kilometre on the unsealed portion of the track.  He and I picked rabbit tail grass and tickled each other with the fluffy ends.  He rode the rest of the way to Belt Road in the buggy, Sam rode the scooter alongside us.  It was high tide and the waves were crashing on the beaches and foreshore and we could feel the salt spray on our faces.  As I walked along with the boys my sadness dissipated and I felt grateful, grateful for Rory's second chance at life, grateful for all the good people around us, and grateful for the lovely day in my home town.  We had lunch with Nana and Poppa at home then headed up Mt Taranaki.  There was a strong onshore wind from the west so it was a bit cold and exposed for an afternoon on the beach, but the mountain was completely clear and too much of a temptation for us to ignore.  We drove up to East Egmont and it was hot.  We walked up the mountain to the bottom of the Manganui ski field (30 minutes).  Rory walked a little then I carried him.  We had a snack outside the Hut and the view was breath taking.  We had travelled all the way from the sea to the mountain and it was lovely way to begin the first day of the rest of our lives.

Yesterday (Thursday) we visited the bike shops to try and sort out a bike for Rory.  His balance is very impaired and he will need training wheels to ride, likely for some time.  He is too big for the little bike he first learned to ride on (which can be fitted with training wheels), and the bike which he does fit, handed down from Sam, has gears and cannot be fitted with training wheels or modified for them.  We are keen to get Rory onto a bike to increase his mobility and confidence.  Fortunately Nana had an old bike in the garage which Sean managed to fit training wheels on.  We will probably have to fit a buckle on the left peddle to hold his foot onto it.  Currently his left foot slides off the peddle and he gets tired of putting it back on and trying to hold it there.  We may have to look at sourcing a special bike in the future if he cannot ride unsupported.  Mid-morning we drove to Stratford to check out the Taranaki Regional Council offices, homes for sale, and have coffee with the lovely Brenda from Dargaville who drove down for her sisters wedding at Dawson Falls.  It was lovely to see Brenda, and I never fail to be amazed at how glamorous and energetic she is, even though she was up at 3am for the drive south!  We had a quiet afternoon at home then went to tea with Nana and Poppa, Uncle Guy, Sacha and Corbyn at the New Plymouth Club where Poppa is on the Committee.  After dinner we walked up to Pukekura Park to see the Festival of the Lights.  Around half of the Park is decorated with coloured lights, and there is a special pathway where all the white on your clothing glows white due to fluoro lights.  The kids liked Grimace the Gorilla swinging in the trees, and were thrilled when he jumped down to the ground for cuddles and to pick the cooties from Uncle Guy's hair.  I liked seeing the glow worms on the glow worm trail.  Rory nodded off in the buggy as we were home late, but none of us saw in the New Year.

On Wednesday Sean, Sam and I went for a run around our Te Henui circuit and were hot, sweaty and tired when we got in the door after 20kms so we spent a quiet morning at home.  After lunch I spent some time with my good friend Mandy who has resolved my laptop problems (thanks Mands).  The laptop has been a valuable tool for us this year, and I don't know how we would have managed without it.  Many of the other long-stay families at RM House have them and they enable us to keep our lives together, especially from a prolonged distance.  Mands and Dianne have been our unpaid technicians on many an occasion.  Without them we would have crashed and burned a while ago.  It was a warm afternoon so we went to Lake Mangamahoe to feed the ducks and Canada geese.  The geese and goslings were cute, they came close but were nervous hissing with their tongues to the delight of the boys.  I did some spotting on the lake and saw a number of scaup and some coots.  As the weather cooled off we headed indoors to Pukeariki, the Museum of Taranaki.  They currently have an exhibit called Taranaki Fortunes which outlines how the province grew in prosperity due to dairying, energy, and a number of other enterprises.  There were many old photos and Sean and I were struck by the tragic back ground, dead and dying large old trees.  On the wall there was a large oil painting of Mt Taranaki surrounded by cut and burning forest.  It reminded us of Avatar, and it was sad so much was lost in the pursuit of creating new lives and money.