Keeping up with my blog is becoming a real challenge. It probably only takes me a couple of hours to rattle off some of my thoughts and memories, but finding those few hours is a real challenge.
Work is super busy; I am generally there for about seven thirty and still banging away after five. Couple that with the forty minute commute each way and by the time I get home I have had enough for the day. That and the wife gets a little sniffy if I don’t at least talk to her for a bit. But today on this beautifully clear, sunny autumnal morning. Wifey is at work, Lola is sleeping in the sunshine and I have some time to catch up with you all.
It’s funny how this has grown, I just stated it out of a whim, a couple of silly emails and the want of something to do during lockdown. Now I miss it if I don’t get time to write.
I have even started formulating what an Isolated Salesman might look like post Covid. I have some ideas but sadly despite everyone’s good work we are a little way off normality yet. Whatever that might look like? I don’t think it will be the same county we left nearly six weeks ago, or at least not for a good while yet. I suppose it does give us the opportunity to change. In my experience change is always for the greater good despite what it might feel like at the time.
Back in the UK I had the unenviable role of working with a team managing organisational change. The service I worked for was being transferred to another organisation. TUPE applied but even so there was a lot of worry and angst from the staff. There were redundancies but on the whole those who transferred across were happy.
I am sure in the coming weeks and months companies across New Zealand and the world for that matter will have to relook at their business model, a lot has changed in six weeks and will continue to do so for a good while yet. Those that don’t change and react to these new times will fail. Now is not the time to open the doors and think it will be business as usual, it won’t be and not for a long time to come. The decisions and choices we make now will define our futures.
Thl have been very open in talking about this, it’s already very visible that there are moves a foot to transition the business into a different direction. Foreign tourism will be a very different beast for a good time to come, and I am sure will no longer be the main driver of the business. How it will look is for smarter people than me to figure; I have my thoughts, only time will tell how accurate I am.
On a lighter note the opening up of golf courses has been a blessing. We can only play in our bubbles, I have been able to go out on my own and hide the embarrassment of what five weeks without swinging a club brings to my game. I was never Tiger Woods but right now I am worse than I have been for a long time. Hopefully at level 2 I will be able to get a couple of lessons and try and get my game back on track. Either that or I will have to take Lola as caddie/golf ball retriever.
Austria, my second favourite place in the world, you can all guess my first. When we left Italy and the lakes we headed north towards the Dolomites. The Dolomites are a mountain range located in north-eastern Italy. They form part of the Southern Limestone Alps and extend from the River Adige in the west to the Piave Valley in the east. The plan was for us to drive through the mountains to Austria. This truly was one of the most spectacular drives of my life and it would appear one I have very few pictures of. This drive is real Top Gear stuff, winding roads, hairpin bends, amazing scenery and the biggest bridge I have ever seen.
First we wind our way out of Italy and into the Dolomites, the scenery is breath-taking. I have never been a skier and often wondered why people chose to throw themselves down a big mounting in the freezing cold. Especially when you can go in the summer months and experience the amazing greenery. The green hews, the flowers, this vistas, all quite stunning and I am sure not the same when it’s all cold and white. The idea was to drive the five hundred odd kilometres on one day but we weren’t prepared for how stunning it would be. Remember my old adage if you see something interesting stop, well we stopped more than we started. It got to the point where we simply had to drive past interesting and beautify looking things or we may well have been seeing snow in the Alps. Then we came over a small rise and looked down into the Brenner Pass. The Brenner Pass is a mountain pass through the Alps which forms the border between Italy and Austria. It is one of the principal passes of the Eastern Alpine range and has the lowest altitude among Alpine passes of the area. This one hundred percent is where you are going to find Purple Cows. In case that reference didn’t cross the international divide, Purple Cows with it’s traditional cow bell was how Milka chocolate was advertised. Seas of purple cows in Austrian meadows eating the finest pasture and producing the finest milk for the best chocolate. That Milka was a German company was lost on the Austrians, they lapped it up. Next time you watch skiing on the telly and you hear the cow bells you will know where it comes from. Milka have been a massive sponsor of Alpine skiing for years.
I digress, we were at the border. These where the good old days of free travel around Europe, we had crossed many countries boarders and seen no one. Perhaps an abandoned hut would signify you had crossed but that was it. Austria wasn’t much different, only in their case they had a little place selling Vignette stickers. These stickers record that you have paid the road tax that allows you to ride on the motorways. There not a lot of money as I remember and we definitely needed one, we are still on track for the Europa Bridge. The Europa Bridge or Bridge of Europe is a 777-metre-long bridge carrying the A13 Brenner Autobahn over the 657-metre Wipp valley just south of Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria. The bridge spans the Sill River, and forms part of the main route across the Alps. The longest span between pillars is 198 metres. It also hosts a 192-meter Bungee Jump, the fifth highest in the world. I won’t be trying that. I will however be negotiating our little VW along six lanes of motorway to Innsbruck, there is a downhill ski jump I want to see.