5am jetlag ramblings

December 18, 2006

Apologies for the long silence. I’ve been in New Zealand, giving a paper at a conference and indulging in a spot of R&R.

It took me 5 flights and around 36 hours of travelling to get back from Queenstown to Heathrow, finally arriving back on Saturday morning. Jetlag-induced insomnia has now kicked in with a vengeance, and I’ve been wide awake since 2am. Instead of lying in bed cursing my inflexible body-clock I thought this would be a good chance to resurrect the Diaries with a few photos from the trip.

French Ridge Hut

The corrugated-iron French Ridge Hut is 1400m up the side of Mount Aspiring, one of NZ’s highest peaks. Me and tramping-partner Lauren climbed up here with our 16kg backpacks, feeling mighty pleased with ourselves. On arrival, we met two Ozzies who’d just spent 18 hours climbing to the 3000m+ peak, surviving regular showers of ice blocks falling from the high bluffs leading to the summit. Put our little ramble into perspective.

Toilet at 1400m, French Ridge Hut

The aptly-named ‘long-drop’ toilet at the hut is precariously perched on the side of the mountain. In New Zealand, even going to the bog is transformed into an extreme sport.

Lunch, below French Ridge Hut

We survived in the bush on packet soups, freeze-dried ready meals, scroggin and porridge. At night, we dreamed of curry and beer.

Morraine lake, Mount Aspiring National Park

The South Island is a land of nature in the raw. We walked for two days without meeting a soul to reach this glacial lake, the headwater for the Upper Wilkin valley. The thunder of distant avalanches provided the soundtrack for our approach to this giant bowl of rock and ice.

Dissappearing Tarn

We took a swim, hiking boots and all, in the ‘Dissappearing Tarn’. Smelt a lot better after this.

I’d intended to get lots of thinking done out there, hoping to return with a clutch of dreams and schemes for 2007. I’m sure I came up with some sound ideas, although all I can remember now is a firm resolution to buy a bread bin. Sick of throwing away stale half-loaves.

13 Responses to “5am jetlag ramblings”

  1. Welcome Home Gastopunk, We’ve all missed you.
    And have a great Christmas.

  2. Henrietta Says:

    Welcome Back Gastropunk! Thought you’d gone for good!

  3. The Phantom Says:

    Welcome Back Indeed! Don’t forget to put the sprouts on to boil right away!

  4. gingerwinger Says:

    What amaaaaaazing scenery! We’ve missed you. Are you going to give us some inspiration for Xmas lunch!!???

    Glad you had a good time.

  5. Leo Says:

    Phew what a relief to see you are back…didn’t realise how much I enjoyed the site until it didn;t get updated!! Magic pics. Now for Christmas and mega order in to Riverford veg and what do we do witht he Winter Box then????

  6. amalee issa Says:

    …and about time too. each day I’ve clicked onto your blog wondering if you had gone the same way as Notorious F.A.G… (seriously, click on his Ex-website, it was amazing!)http://notorious-fag.blogspot.com/ don’t you just love the web?

    your blog is great. please keep at it. and welcome back to your known and unknown readers.


  7. oldbirdofdevon Says:

    I too have been clicking from time to time, feeling increasingly forlorn. But now you’re back and that’s good. Hoorah for gastropunk!

  8. gastropunk Says:

    thanks for all your messages. it’s good to be back. now it’s time to get cookin’…

  9. academicmum Says:

    Good idea about the breadbin – now that really made me laugh out loud – thank you – a good start to the day.

    How often do we go away to sort out our heads only to find that the best thing to do is to throw them away entirely for a while – sounds like you did just that! But hopefully there was lots of mulling going on in the background and you’ll get clarity from your fresher bread.

    NZ looked absolutely beautiful…..

  10. crzy_rgntnn Says:

    Glorious return, Toaster. Always a joy to read a rambling post!
    Of course your trip looks tiny in comparison to the “Adventures with the Riverford organic veg box” that take place in your kitchen (BTW, has a cowboy -or maybe the Polish builders- helped you to tie up that poor cabbage in that way?)
    Anyway, have a great leaving do and don´t forget to have a bloody Mary on my behalf (oh, a veg drink, how appropriate…)
    Lots of love to you and your maths chick. Have a happy xmas and all the best for 2007.

  11. Lauren Says:

    Oooooooh – you made me famous! Cheers for the tramp “Gastropunk”, it seems so very long ago already. So sad, so sad. This is the first time i’ve looked at your site for yonks and i am insanely jealous cos you actually write quite well and have the will power to keep doing it, unlike little ol’ me. There, i said something nice 🙂
    Cheers for sending my pen knife back, i missed it so, handy for cutting toenails and the like.
    As for “We took a swim”, erm, I took a swim Gastro, you just dipped in up to yer nipples and squeeled like a girl!
    I have no food-oreinted comments to make, but the tramping grub was good, cheers love. Happy New Year to you both 🙂

  12. Lauren Says:

    ps. can you make my smileys back into text ones please? i don’t like those yellow guys

  13. gastropunk Says:

    hey lauren, glad to see you’ve finally dropped in to the diaries. yes, twas a fine fortnight in the mountains. the new zealand summer seems so long ago now, woke up to a blanket of snow over norf london this morning. brrrrr. almost missing the wellington wind… hope your move to your new pad went well. And, no, I can’t change yer smileys back to text… you’ll have to find a fiendishly clever work around… : )

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