Freesteel Blog » Becka goes to China

Becka goes to China

Thursday, March 7th, 2013 at 12:08 pm Written by:

Last Saturday I bid farewell to Becka at the start of her 6 week caving holiday to Wulong in China. By the time I got home from the airport she was already on the Skype getting bored at her stopover in Helsinki.

So much for that whole lump-in-the-throat parting show at the gate, I thought.

I would like to embed one of those 3D earth images of where she is in the paragraph below, but I cannot find the GPS coordinates. I’ve heard the Chinese are sensitive about foreigners mapping their country in case they are preparing a land invasion by an army, so I can’t find the data on the webpages, but I believe she is joining the 2013 version of this expedition.

My objectives in these 6 weeks alone is to (a) paint the garage floor, and (b) not hurt myself hang-gliding.

Painting the garage floor requires me to actually get to it, given that it is rammed full of equipment of which 90% is pure junk. We have quite a small dust-bin, so I cannot afford to miss any of the weekly garbage collections as I undertake a massive chucking out session. I’ve got about six diving drysuits that I should get rid of right away. Maybe I’ll keep one, because I made it myself with glue, a sheet of neoprene and a lot of hand stitching. That’s one of the reasons I have so many of them: I developed the notion that I could buy someone else’s piece of junk and repairing it myself, because if I could make one from scratch then fixing would be easy. On the whole this worked, except for the fact that you have gear that doesn’t necessarily have much life left in it, and eventually all these bulky chickens come home to roost in your garage.

Still, it feels like being unfaithful to gear that has served you well through happy memories. So it goes. Got to be ruthless. I don’t feel the same about the caving wellies, of which we have about 20 pairs cluttering up the floor and shelves. Maybe because they’re not recognizable. But most of them haven’t got holes in them; they’re just missing their tread and are somewhat slippery when it comes to mud.

For some reason we have collected about 14 spare diving masks. I don’t know how that happened. The ones we took out to Bull Bay last month weren’t even any good (mine was split in the nose), so I guess we keep buying them to replace what we are using without checking the mounting junk pile.

Luckily they came in handy on Tuesday when about a dozen members of the swimming club were encouraged to learn to play underwater hockey, and we were overflowing with novices who didn’t have any gear except those little swimming goggles. They’re gradually getting into shape, but for now they’re all over the place. It’s quite striking just how much better I am at playing than them; it feels like I can take on a team of six novices and win the goal every the time. But after six months of practice (if they keep at it), they’ll be whipping my ass, being half my age and much stronger at swimming in the initial case. (I can barely swim without fins.)

I also had to play underwater hockey on Wednesday, because our two weekly sessions have been put on consecutive days. And on Monday evening our club played an away game over in Manchester, and it was a stunning success: we scored one goal. The other team scored 12, but that didn’t matter, because our normal score is nil and it’s only a question of whether the other side gets to double digits or not. Usually this depends only on how long the game is and whether a significant amount of time is wasted arguing over a foul. Now I have two evenings off before we play at the Manchester Octopush tournament on Saturday. Fortunately there is a British team training event scheduled for the same day in Loughborough, so that is likely to take out some of the fittest players from the other teams. We, on the other hand, can barely pull together enough folks for one team and normally have to borrow other players. Becka has been avoiding all of this for the past few months because she has been going to Chinese lessons on such days.

In the meantime, my calendar is being filled up with places to go, like Bristol, Cambridge and London, and the weather has turned bad. So I won’t hurt myself gliding, because there won’t be any gliding. On top of this, I’ve got six different programming projects I was hoping to hit on while she was away, imagining I could work on them outside of hours in the evenings and early mornings when I would otherwise be interacting. However, there has been no progress because I can’t summon the inclination. Instead, I am enjoying the silence without the radio or the TV on, thinking about how I could rearrange the garage. Once I get that done, my mind will be clear, won’t it?

At least I don’t need to spend so much time cooking right now. I made a butternut squash soup on Monday, and it lasted in the pan for three nights. I have to scale down the amounts now I am alone and trying to eat normally. I hope I get through the food in the fridge before it goes off. I’ve put Becka’s breakfast cereal in the freezer so it doesn’t go stale while she is away. Aside from that, nothing much is going on.

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