As always, we will ride to raise money and awareness for Zimbabwe’s pensioners with ZANE Australia as our charity of choice. Nicky Passaportis and her team work tirelessly to change and save the lives of those pensioners who lost everything in the hyperinflation.
Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to climb Mt Everest. He was also an All-Black supporter.
According to Google, Sir Ed submitted in just 16 days via the southeast ridge route, even though he was on foot, whereas it took me 29 days to climb the mountain on my bike. In my defence, I overshot the top of the mountain by 13 meters, plus I got distracted by World Cup rugby, plus I got further distracted by a veritable forest of gum trees falling on top of my powerline, rendering me powerless and Jenny without water to wash her undies.
Before I am accused of being easily distracted, please know that 6 huge gum trees, each 30 or more meters tall, came crashing down in a windstorm two weeks ago, and for the windstorm read tornado, absolutely obliterating our incoming power line. My internal power lines also got nuked, including those that power the generators and the boreholes, so no power also translates into no water, which is a snag because hell hath no fury like a wife who cannot launder her underwear. I’m not saying Sir Ed had it easy or anything, but I am betting Sherpa Tenzing Norgay didn’t get all Mr Grumpy Pants when it was suggested he revert to the Jeremy Clarkson inside, outside, and back to front system of underwear rotation.
Two weeks on and we’ve managed to power up the generator and a borehole, so Jenny’s broeks are back to being lemon scented. But as I type, my main 33 KVA overhead powerline remains underfoot, true story, I have to step over it to get out of my garden, even though I phone the power company morning, noon and night, and in between. And the worst, two days ago, I caught some children using one of the fallen aluminium cables as a skipping rope, even though it is thick like their arms. I rushed to tell the supervisor of the power company about the very real risk of fried kids and he was horrified, and very quickly moved me to the top of the list to be fixed, but not before I hired in a lumberjack to clear the timber, and not before I bought the replacement concrete poles, 4 of them at $400 each, and also not before I hired in a crane truck to transport and install the poles, also @ $400 per pop. Ed Hillary was such a lucky fish. NB You gotta love it. My lumberjack’s name was Perseverance.
And in between all of the above, I had to squeeze in watching the rugby, mostly through my fingers, including the final, but only just. Predictably, the solar inverter conked out 20 minutes into the first half, just after Sam Cane got yellow carded. Luckily though, I was able to power up the standby inverter just in time to see Sam’s card get upgraded to red. Alas.
But the TMO aside, what a game of rugby. I am hugely bummed that the All Blacks didn’t lift the trophy, but fair play and congratulations to the Springboks on their victory. I have decided to process the All-Black loss with maturity, over the next 4 years, before moving on. I would also like to apologise to those friends who tried to call me after the game to compare notes, but I have misplaced my phone and don’t expect to find it until next Tuesday.
But what a tournament it was. And what a good place world rugby is in with England ranked 5 in the world losing to the World Champs by just a single point, ditto France ranked 4, ditto New Zealand ranked 2. And you can’t talk about world rugby without mentioning the Irish who have been the best team in the world by a country mile for the last 2 years, and also Portugal, but not Australia. Sorry Eddie but you guys were really crap.
Even though my nerves remain thoroughly shot from watching France 2023, I cannot wait for Australia 2027. The All Blacks look to be peaking nicely, with a new coach , and hopefully a new game plan that will involve all 15 players. I’m just hoping we have power back by then.
The Old Legs rode up Everest in October to raise money and awareness for Zimbabwe’s pensioners. A big shout out to my fellow mountain climbers for taking up the challenge, especially Dave Marock and Stan Waters from Cape Town, aged 70 and 81 respectively, who climbed Everest on their e-bikes. Chapeau gentlemen and thank you for taking up the challenge.
We still have cyclists out on the mountain- Al Watermeyer and Clem Henon, both of whom got off to a late start because they packed their cell phones in their tents, and Gordon Kent in Toowoomba, Australia and Simone van Iperen who is being cheered on by her one-year-old son, Asher.
For the record, the King of Mountain was captured by Adam Selby, very closely followed I think by Jordan Ballantyne in Vic Falls.
We rode the Everest Challenge for Peter Shaw who needed an urgent operation to remove a tumour from his oesophagus. Being able to put a face to the cause makes the harshest hill easier. Peter was on the table and under the knife for a marathon 8 hours, but I am very pleased to report back that the operation was successful, and just in time. I am even more pleased to report that we were able to smash our fundraising target and will be able to roll over a considerable amount towards our next operation.
Fortunately, or rather unfortunately, our waiting list for surgeries is longer than one of our Tours. Next in line will be a toss-up between 3 knee replacements, 2 hip replacements, a lady’s op or the urgent removal of a lump. I so wish we could do all of them at once. Alas.
In closing, R.I.P. Chandler Muriel Bing.
Until my next blog, Have Fun, Do Good, and Do Epic if you can – Eric Chicken Legs de Jong
* Names and images may have been changed for privacy reasons
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Thank you – Nicky Passaportis ZANE Australia
Please donate to support pensioners struggling to survive in Zimbabwe
Any assistance is greatly appreciated and goes a long way to giving our pensioners a better quality of life and lift the pressure of money worries which is very debilitating emotionally.
(Donations made to ZANE in Australia, are tax-deductible)