One of Doug’s most likable qualities is his ability to laugh at himself. As he brought the tea round this morning (that’s another of his likable qualities) he confessed that he didn’t feel too good. After downing a skinful aboard the freighter, he stopped off at the Wairangi, another yacht, + forced down a few more. (Just a quick digression – Wairangi was the yacht Dave had had high hopes of getting onto. When it arrived a couple of days ago, we were very disappointed to see that he was not aboard. Obviously, we weren’t in a position to enquire as to why, but he must have been pretty dejected. I just hope that didn’t depress him so much that he gave up on New Zealand + flew home. Ho hum.)
Anyway, on disembarking from Wairangi, Doug toppled straight out of the dinghy into the water. In addition, he was also feeling pretty sheepish now about his extra crew member – he wasn’t sure what his wife’s reaction would be. We even discussed, tho’ not too seriously, upping anchor + slipping out of port before she contacted us again.
After breakfast, we collected Heather, + set off to do the other thing we’d planned to do ever since we arrived – walk the track across the island, going past a huge imposing rock called “The Needle”. A friend of Dick’s gave us a lift out to the beginning of the track, + we walked from there. It was a good walk. There were some steep sections both going up + coming down, but none of them were difficult since there were always steps formed by roots + handholds of trunks + branches. So tho’ Val + I, who haven’t been hiking for ages, found it hard work, it was still pleasant. The way down the other side was the most picturesque, first with huge ferns, then a sort of bare branch stuff (not a very horticultural description, I’ll admit.) Heather + Val grabbed a swim in a pool, but it looked a little cool to me, so I was happy to sit + watch them + sup from the provisions we’d brought along with us – beer + sandwiches. It was no place to linger tho’ – far too many mosquitoes, so we pushed on. Stopped by a waterfall, but this was close to the other end, so there were a few people about, so on we went. As we came down to the road on the other side, we met a lady with a baby chick, looking for its mother – aren’t people nice, really? And then it was our enormous good fortune to finds a shop open – we all had an ice-cream, + I had a doughnut as well. Life is short, so it might as well be luxurious.
We hitched back home with no trouble, + Heather went off to do some washing, while we went back to Thyme for a rest. We’d arranged that she was to come over for dinner tonight, + she did, of course a bit late, but that’s Heather. Doug’s friend Don Durell also turned up for a drink or eight, + that turned out pretty well, since Doug entertained Don up in the cockpit while we 3 got on pretty well down below, swapping a great load of addresses. Eventually, after much rum, + really not a great deal of persuasion, Don agreed to join us for dinner. Problem no 1 was contacting his wife, but in typical Rarotongan style, Doug contacted the local radio station on his VHF, + they passed on the message. Problem no. 2 was relatively minor – I, being the duty cook, had to make meal for 4 stretch to 5. Simple – we already had an extra steak, + I mixed up some powdered mash to elongate the veg. So the banquet turned out to be: steak, roast and mashed potato, baked onion, broccoli + carrots. Pretty good, eh? Especially when we’d all drunk more rum than was good for us, + Heather had brought a bottle of wine. For pudding, we had Tony Hancock in “The Radio Ham” – at our request, Heather had borrowed Tony Hancock tape from Blue Moves. It went down very well too, so much so that after Don had finally dragged himself off + home to bed, we listened to the “Blood Donor” on the other side. Bloody magic!
If you’re not from an English background, you probably know nothing of Tony Hancock, a comedian from the 50s and 60s, and with the two episodes mentioned real classics.
Enjoyed the walk – we have been restricted from such things for some months now. But soon enough we will be in New Zealand and our own masters once again.