A leisurely morning once again – grapefruit, cereal, toast + marmalade, tea. They have their own version of Weetabix here, called Weet-bix, which is coarser-flaked + stays much crunchier. Then, slowly, we got ourselves together + headed into town, this time getting a ride, from a guy called Frank, who owns another boat along the pier. First off, we trotted round to the Photographic Shoop to collect our photos. They were all ready except the one which had come out of its cartridge + which we’d dropped into the developers ourselves. Maybe that means it’s been spoilt – ah well. We quickly found a tea-shop where we could sit down + examine them. Just a quick word about the tea-shops here. They’re very English, + very numerous – seemingly about every fifth shop. One particularly wonderful thing about them is that they all seem to provide a big pot of whipped cream that one4 can dip into at will, gratis, to put into one’s coffee.
The photos were, at first, rather disappointing. Lots of them were rather dark, tho’ there were a couple of real classics, especially a sunset one of Moorea. Actually, when we looked at them again later, they didn’t seem at all bad. Better light, I suppose. This, the main job of the day done, we walked out of town to the Hotano Village, one of Tauranga’s tourist attractions. It was quite a walk, but the weather was pleasant, + it was just like being home in England. We walked past the boys’ school, where they were all piling out for lunch, all dressed up in their uniforms of grey jumpers + grey shorts. The village was moderately interesting, but really a hotch-potch of different eras + styles. Some of the buildings had a real interest, but the most disappointing thing about it all was the lack of life in the place. For what are probably very sound commercial reasons there are only people to man the shops, + generally people the place on certain days – generally public holidays. For the rest of the time, the place is as dry + dead as a museum… without the scholarly validity of a museum – a sort of dull Disneyland with no rides.
Hitched back to town, stopping off first to buy a bottle of wine, + the lady in the shop gave us a glass of sherry each. How nice, eh? Then back to the boat, for showers, hair-cutting, etc. – we were off out to dinner in the evening at David + Jinty’s. David picked us up + drove us round to his house, + we had an absolutely gorgeous meal of hogget (that’s not pig as it sounds, but two year-old lamb, + quite delicious) with loads of veg + then fruit + cream for pudding. If I were to voice a very slight criticism, it would be, I think, that for me a big meal is really made by the complementary presence of loads of booze, but that’s more of a fault in me than anything else. After dinner we sat in the lounge + talked for ages. Not, really, that the conversation was especially wonderful + sparkling, but we were reliant on being ferried home, + didn’t really think it was our place to suggest pushing off. As it turned out, we didn’t leave till about 1, + the evening could have profitably been shortened by about 2 hours, but really we can’t complain + it was a very pleasant time.
I think one of the things about getting older is an increasing appreciation of “pleasant” times, and a realisation that not everything has to be exciting. I remember feeling puzzled as a child at how my parents could spend so much time just talking… but now, of course, like most people, I have become my parents.