History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” (Thomas Jefferson).
As 2016 slips quietly behind, with little more than a few ticks on the clock (if you have one that ticks), it’s a good time to reflect on the year that has been. Lord Acton once said “History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul.” And so with that in mind, lets turn on the light that was 2016.
I’m not one to make New Year Resolutions – mostly they are just one more goal to not fulfil. And there can be plenty of them without adding another. Mostly, this year has been an interesting, although at times stressful, year. My oldest daughter, Zoe, left home to embark on a journey of learning as a University Student. That was a little stressful, but no where near as stressful as my son getting his car licence and the subsequent having to compete with him for use of the car – those of you that have sons and have¬† gone through this will know what I mean (yes, mum and dad, that includes you). And then there was the health conditions that manifested their ugly heads that made it hard to exercise, as mentioned in previously entries in this blog. I have also had ongoing problems with my voice over the last year which has made certain activities and situations very frustrating, with lack of (sometimes no) volume and sometimes a very unreliable voice. Interestingly enough, my preaching hasn’t really suffered and has actually been enhanced somewhat by including my wife in my preaching appointments – it’s a quite unexpected blessing to be able to share the pulpit with my wife!
The year just gone wasn’t all stress, though. Actually there were some great things happen this year. Eliana and I got to travel on a railway that neither of us has travelled on before from Bairnsdale in Victoria’s far east. We had some great times away camping, hiking and exploring Australia’s eastern states with visitis to Griffith, Young, Weddin Mountains National Park near Grenfell, Jindabyne and Kosciousko National Park, Bombala and the South East National Park in New South Wales (NSW), Mitta Mitta, and Omeo (and the surrounding region) in Victoria. There were also a number of day trips. I got to explore some interesting railways that have been converted to rail-trails in the Otways in Victoria’s west, and to explore parts of Victoria’s high country on my bike. And while on the subject of bicycles, I saved up enough money in 2016 to buy a brand new mountain bike this year which has made exercising and exploring heaps more fun. The last time I got a brand new bicycle was about 5 years and around 15000 – 20000 cycling kms ago.
Here are some cycling stats for 2016:
  • Distance travelled: 5615km (more than the distance between the southermost point of Tasmania and the northern most point of Cape York Peninsula, the norhernmost point on the Australian mainland, via the most direct route. And roughly half way between the 2014 and 2015 distances).
  • Amount of time to travel those kms: 262.5 hours.
  • Average speed: 21.4kph.
  • Elevation gain: 23611 metres (2.66 Mt Everests).
  • Rides: 215.
  • Average distance per ride: 26kph.
I also became a member of a Gym in 2016, the plan being to increase my upper body and arm strength –¬† something my cycling generally doesn’t increase.
On a more intellectual note, I have been learning Biblical Hebrew for the last few years, and this year saw me actually starting to read a Hebrew Bible for myself in the original language, which has really been a very slow but extremely pleasant and mind expanding experience. I have gained a much greater appreciation and love for the Bible, and the God who inspired it, as a result. And I’m looking forward to more of the same as I continue through the dynamic and descriptive world that is the Hebrew Bible in 2017. I also almost finished a Certtificate III in Fitness, which when finished will allow me to be a Gym Instructor / Fitness Trainer, something I have been interested in doing for a while. While I enjoy the “software Enginerring” / Web Programming that I currently do (and will continue to do), I have been feeling a lack of human interaction in recent years since since I started working from home. And while the computer work is helpful and necessary, I want to be able to make a personal impact on peoples lives in the area of Fitness, which is why I embarked on the fitness courses I am doing in my spare time.

And the holidays continue…

This is a follow-on from my previous post. Photos will be added in a future post.

Last Thursday and Friday the weather was rather inclement – thunderstorms, quite a lot of rain, high winds. So my base for those few days was my parents-in-law’s house. I pondered what to do over those two days, especially regarding my bike, which really needed some repairs to get it back to workable condition after the failure of the aforementioned vital part failure. The component on the rear derailer that had failed was beyond my ability to fix, so I decided that I would take the bike by car to the nearest bike shop some 50km away. The bike mechanic estimated the repairs would not be able to be done for a few days due to his workload and would be about $150. That blew the budget for the holiday out of the ballpark, but couldn’t be helped.

Over the Thursday and Friday I found some contentment reading a book about Martians and Venusians. If you have read such a book you will know that one I am talking about. On Friday the (whole) family arrived for the weekend. Sabbath was spent having a bible-study and lunch at the house of one of Rebecca’s aunties, and the afternoon around the in-laws house, and walking along the River Trail at Wahgunyah. Quite a pleasant way to spend a Sabbath.

Sunday dawned a little overcast but otherwise pleasant, so I borrowed a bike from the in-laws, and went for a ride. This ride was a mix of asphalt road, farm track, bike trail and rail trail, and by the time I had returned I had ridden around 32km but no where near the amount of climbing I had done during the earlier days in the week. Then in the evening once we got home I wanted to go for a ride but there were only two bikes I could use – a 20″ rimmed K-Rock foldable bike, and a $20 26″ Mountain Bike which I purchased while in Geelong back in February. The Mountain Bike had a rear flat tyre and as I couldn’t be bothered fixing it I opted for the K-Rock. This bike was aquired from my father-in-law to take to Nowra when I had to go here for week for work back in May as it as the only bike I could take on the CountryLink XPT train for free. While I was there in Nowra the rear brake assembly failed so I replaced it while there. The bike itself is quite tough but not designed for rough surfaces and with those 20″ rims it gives the impression of not being able to go very fast. So I trundled off on this 6 speed wonder. At least I thought I was trundling (ie, not going very fast), but when I got back and synced my ride to Strava I noticed the average speed was the fastest average speed of any ride I have done for quite some time. That little 6 speed low-geared ‘morris mini’ of the cycling world turned out to be a great bike on the 20 or so km ride, and I even got a KOM on one of the segments towards the end of the ride!

Today, Monday, dawned and started with an aborted ride along the road near the house. The weather forecast for the day was for 30 degrees celsius, clear skies – seemed like too good a day to waste. When looking through the garage I found a rim and mountain bike tyre that still had air in it (which meant there was no puncture in it) that had the same number of gears and was the same size as the one on the mountain bike that was flat so I swapped them and headed to Wagga Wagga to explore some mountain bike trails there at the Pomingalarna and Silvalite reserves, and along the Kapooka Bikeway. This was the first time I had ever really done any riding on trails designed for mountain bikes, and it proved a lot of fun. The $20 mountain bike worked great and I had a great couple of hours exploring the aforementioned reserves, then headed home for some lunch and a relaxing afternoon.