October 28th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Val with her blanket… and a sign

We attempted Phase 2 of Operation Clean-up this morning, taking in our sleeping bags to get them dry-cleaned, our cover story being something to do with having a new fastener fitted.  Rich gave us a ride into town, + while Val sat + finished a blanket she’s been crocheting, I dragged the bags into a dry cleaners.  Encountered a large snag, tho’, when they said it would take a week, because of having to let the toxic fumes dissipate.  Fair enough, I suppose, but still a bit of a pain.  We decided to give up on the idea – unfortunately, this meant we had to carry the blasted things around all day.  Ah well. 

The good news was that our black + white films had been developed.  There were some good, some not so – about what one would expect.  We found ourselves a sunny spot, + I wrote letters while Val carried on crocheting.  She wanted to get it finished, because the whole point of doing it was to sell it, + we reckoned the most likely bet was Auckland.  However, it took her longer than she’d anticipated, + the morning wore on.  Gradually, more + more people assembled all around us, until we realised that we’d chosen as our quiet spot the assembly point for a large political march.  It was quite funny to see Val busily knitting away, while the militants milled around.  In fact, everything was very peaceful + good-natured, with an amplified singer to jolly things along.  Even if his repertoire did consist of just 2 songs.  I decided I didn’t want to join in tho’ – man in the mass doesn’t appeal to me greatly.  He’s at his worst then.  It was a big rally tho’ – 30,000 we later learned – all assembled to protest Mr Muldoon’s wage + price freeze.  The gist of the protest seemed to be that prices aren’t frozen but wages are.  Which would cause difficulties, one must agree.  However, since I don’t intend to get into a discussion of NZ politics…

Val finally finished her blanket, + we set off on a tour of the shops, trying to sell it.  It was a thankless task.  Not that the blanket wasn’t nice, but there is a limited market for that sort of thing, + we had no idea where the suitable shops might be.  After some depressing trudging, I finally recalled a craft co-operative shop I had heard advertised on the radio, so there we went.  Val finally was able to see the man in charge, + he liked the work… but couldn’t take it because it had dyed wool in it, + the shop only had “natural” products.  A real body blow, that was, because although Val wouldn’t have received money directly, there would have been a good chance of selling it there for a very good price.  I was able to crow a little, since I hadn’t approved the dyed wool, but that was poor consolation.

By this time it was far too late to do anything, tho’ we had hoped to have bought bus passes + gone on a tour.  We were off to John + Margaret’s tonight, + were going to meet M at her place of work.  We’d even arranged for Rich to deliver our packs there, so we wouldn’t have any humping to do.  M took us home, where we had a cup of tea, + then when John arrived home from work, we all went shopping, + then back again for dinner.  A strange evening, + a little disappointing –  I had expected to enjoy it more.  M snapped at her kids too much, which put me on edge, + tho’ she could be very friendly at one moment, all of a sudden she would close up + appear disapproving.  Again, not a trait calculated to put one at one’s ease.  The booze didn’t really flow as I’d expected either, which I suppose is one of the problems of socialising on a weekday.

Not sure I like myself very much at present. The idea of “crowing” over such a thing does rankle particularly. And our ever more devious concealment of our condition grows more uncomfortable by the day.

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