Tag Archives: travel

A family funeral

Last week I headed north for a family funeral. The funeral was for my father’s uncle, who was quite an old man. It wasn’t terribly unexpected that he had died and he had been sick for a while.

In a way it was a good chance to get the family together. I got to meet an uncle’s new wife for the first time. I also met a cousin who lives in another country and who I haven’t seen for many years. I was living in London for a few years until 2012 so I missed a few family get-togethers.

In a way it was also a little depressing. An interesting man had died and I probably hadn’t seen him for abut 10 years. Maybe more. He had been surrounded by a vibrant community in a small town who all mourned his passing yet the death doesn’t really change my daily life in any way.

Also, it felt like the family was the most important part of the funeral and related events. We had parts to play in the funeral service. We were treated well by local people that we met.

But I felt like a bit of an imposter. I hadn’t seen my great uncle for years but because of a blood tie, I was considered more important than his friends that he saw every week.

Funerals are a useful time to reflect on life of the deceased and what they have achieved. Remember that you can’t take those achievements with you unless they are shared with others.

Funerals are also a useful time to reflect on your own life and where it is going. Are you going to be the only person at your own funeral? Might pay to work now to avoid that.

Earthquake tourism in Christchurch

Over the weekend I spent a few days in Christchurch. In 2010 and 2011 there were a series of large earthquakes in and around Christchurch that caused a lot of damage to the city. These were probably the most destructive earthquakes in New Zealand, at least since the Napier quake of 1931, if not earlier.

This was my first visit to Christchurch in a number of years and was a rather sobering experience. Continue reading Earthquake tourism in Christchurch

Northern Explorer AKL-WLG

Growing up in the seventies and eighties, there was a certain amount of romance to travel by train. In a bygone era, steam trains took people across the nation and across the globe. Well, small parts of it at least. More recently, the rise of the motor car and cheap air travel has significantly reduced the appeal of rail travel.

In New Zealand, the rail network is pretty limited and has declined during my life. Now, the train that used to travel twice daily between Auckland and Wellington is now only thrice weekly. And even that infrequently still is in danger of cancellation.  Continue reading Northern Explorer AKL-WLG