ANZAC Day, 2013 Edition

25th of April is ANZAC day in New Zealand. I wandered down to Leeston for the local parade as I normally do and as well as taking our Daughter down so she could march with the Girl Guides I dragged the camera along for the ride.

There’s nothing spectacular about that at all, I’ve taken the camera along to a number of ANZAC parades, Dawn services, wreath laying ceremony’s and to be honest probably a few letter openings as well when I used to work for the local rag.

Even the really good photo opportunities are the same year in, year out, unless someone does something exceptional. The photos on this page could be from any year in the last ten and you’d probably even have the same people in most of them.

What caught my attention was how many people came to the local parade this year. Every twelve months the gathering seems to get bigger here in rural Canterbury and the crowd is more varied every time as well.

Even some folks with peculiar political leanings who I’d have thought would avoid anything with a whiff of military involvement came this year to lend their support, and to remember.

Remembrance was the theme of the local mayor’s speech this year, and it’s that which seems to resonate so well with many in attendance, including myself, who have not lived through any of the hardship of our forbears.

It’s just an observation and I don’t aim to over analyse, glorify or make much of it. I thought I’d just share the unspoken observation with the ones I made via the lens today.

It’s been a while.

It’s not that I didn’t have anything to say, it’s just that I keep on convincing myself I was too busy to say it. Or something like that.

Since I last posted lots has happened that’s noteworthy in my world, so I feel a little guilty for not saying at least something.

In the Online marketing / SEO world two cute black & white animals wreaked havoc on my working days. Penguin and Panda had a very real affect on the bottom line at work and for reasons that I’m struggling to understand our reaction to these changes has not been as swift as previous algorithm changes.

We use to roll with the punches but now we’ve managed to institutionalise slow somehow.

I think we’re finally getting some progress but the last eight or so months have been a bit weird. I’m sure describing the inner workings of my workplace here is not appropriate so suffice to say that after a great deal has been said and done there has been a great deal more said than done.

On the home and hobby front I got my amateur radio license about thirty years after first studying for it. I’ve been enjoying being a ham and probably should have done it long ago.

I’m a geek at heart and ham radio is one of the oldest forms of ‘geek’ around. That and it fits in better with my spare time and although you can easily burn large piles of cash on radio gear it doesn’t cost you anything to own once it’s on the desk.

That’s in contrast to the motorbike which was costing me $1,000 a year even if I didn’t ride the thing in insurance and registration costs.

So in 2012 I said goodbye to my trusty Yamaha FJ1100. It actually felt like cutting a body part off to be honest but I was never much of a solo rider and the group of folks I used to ride with have dispersed and moved on to different things. It had got to the point where I’d only put a few hundred k’s on the clock between Warrants on the bike.

Kate and I spent a lot of time on that bike and in the 15 years I owned the beast spent over 150,000 k’s trundling around Aotearoa. Fond memories but I’m not sure if I’ll buy another bike.

My last fling was to the March Hair in 2012. I really enjoyed the ride and traveling back through the Mackenzie was immensely cathartic having spent too much time working and not enough living it was a relief just do live for the journey.

The down side was that the rally itself was strangely depressing and catching up with friends who have become distant physically and emotionally in a contrived social setting in less than perfect conditions was awkward. Smalltalk was difficult and although I had a good time while I was there I can’t recall much about it without looking at the photos. Maybe I’m turning into an old fart?

Don’t get me wrong though, some of the great people we’ve met over the years from the seat of the bike are still our best friends it’s just that the friendships have sustained far better than my love of the bike it would seem.

I suppose a 2-year catch-up can’t be complete without mention of the earthquakes here in Canterbury as well. There is nothing that I can write that has not already been written though.

We had little real damage out our way and where I work was only 6k’s from the epicentre of the fatal February 2011 aftershock which changed so much in Canterbury.

Unfortunately having little damage doesn’t get you away from the weird that is dealing with insurance companies and EQC. I hope to be clear of that this year. Maybe.

My place of work despite having a loathing of cute animals spawned from Google HQ has survived the earthquakes and managed a modicum of growth since then so I count myself lucky compared to many who lost so much in the aftermath of the wobbly ground.

Well. I’m sure there is something else that’s happened since March 2011, but at least now I can tell folks who ask why I’ve not posted to my blog for a while that I have indeed put digits to keyboard. I might even get back in the habit, but don’t hold your breath.