It takes Spring and a flood to get me cycling. How long had it been since I’d ridden my bike? Months. So much building work, travelling, teaching, deadlines. But now with the sun out after the flood and the whole valley tingling with energy – the sheep being shifted on Rough Ridge, the lucerne being […]
Sun, how missed in a country valley. It hasn’t been a year for wildflowers. The blue vipers bugloss straggled on through summer, but it’s the white yarrow now that dominates the verges as we cycle past. At a distance their massed planting are frothy and bright. Up close the flowers are delicate and airy. And […]
The Ida Burn is bank to bank again, snow melt and the rain that fell last night. We take our mountain bikes for a change, interested to check the state of the creeks, and head down the rail trail. Just out of the village there’s a pear tree in full white blossom. Its fragrance perfumes […]
When you live in the coldest valley in New Zealand (-21 degrees last year) firewood is a big priority. A neighbour, Pete, came over with his log splitter and my bike stayed put till every golden log was split and stacked against my lime washed walls. Firewood laps the house I’d lost my confidence a […]
Dressed in cycling gear, helmets and gloves, Quintana and I pause in the kitchen to listen to a scientist on National radio talk about the melting ice sheets. It’s a loop he describes – the warming oceans melting the ice, the less ice the more the oceans heat up. The warmer the oceans, the stronger […]
The blue hustings have come down from the hayshed down the road, and now the dominant colour all through the countryside is green. The willows have finally unfurled, there are scrawls of willows along the Ida Burn, in paddocks, beside ponds. The lucerne down the valley, where the rainfall is higher, is almost knee deep. […]
Hail for a change, this spring morning. A friend rings and I leave the fire when the sky quietens and go outside to weed the lavender and bulbs while I talk to her. We discuss the coming protest about the big irrigation schemes in Canterbury. She’s unable to go; I will go for both of […]
Sleet moves in a swathe across my paddock towards the Dunstans. Bartali and I sit by my fire discussing the possibility of a bike ride in an hour, when we’ve both done some work. I’m reading Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space (five years after building my strawbale house) for research for an essay. So much […]
It’s not blossom, but the small withered crab apples adorning the trees through the village look like red flowers (without my glasses on), as if the trees have bloomed all winter. It’s a fine, still day and we head up the valley. Neither Bartali nor I have newspapers up our shirts. That’s how we know […]
This morning frost, and yet, beyond the silver sheen of grass and tussocks, a line of eight cyclists. The first group of riders on the rail trail for this coming season. Later in the day, the cyclists safely at their destination, the wind comes up strongly from the north west. The long grasses on the […]
Jillian Sullivan writes fiction and non-fiction for children, teenagers and adults. Her work has been published for over twenty years and includes four novels, three collections of short stories and over sixty short stories for children and adults, published in New Zealand and America.
- Teaching memories America 2019 July 29, 2019
- Cycling Central Otago – Day 22: Late winter, Ida Valley July 29, 2019
- Cycling Central Otago – Day 21: Spring and Floods December 17, 2018
- Cycling Central Otago – Day 20: Hoar Frost June 5, 2018
- Cycling Central Otago – Day 19: Sun May 22, 2018
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