Up for a shower + breakfast, + Val sewed a Union Jack, that we’d bought in Auckland, onto the pack. Then Mr Pedersen packed us into his van, + drove us first into Whangerei, to see the reconstruction of the Bounty, which was moored there, + then way out beyond the other end of town. He pointed out the farm that he had owned as we drove past it. It was all very sad. Being a bachelor is all very well if one is young; but the perils catch up with one along with age. No children, no family, no interests. At least Mr Pedersen is not poor – he flies home to Denmark for 4 months each year – but he is still lonely.
The road was rather empty, but after a little while a minibus stopped for us. There was just one bloke in it, + he seemed pleasant enough. He was going to Keri Keri, which was where we’d decided to head, but first he took us round by the coast road, from which we could get a better view of the Bay of Islands, + down to Paihia, a nearby town. We’d explained we were looking for work (we explain this to everyone we meet in the hope that they’ll be able to help), + he stopped there to buy a local paper. He also bought us 2 guides to NZ (which we later discovered cost about $9 each) + then tea, plus sandwiches, plus cake. Totally amazing. We drove on to Keri Keri, + he showed us some of the sights before dropping us in the centre, giving us his address + phone no in case we should need accommodation or help. An amazingly generous fellow. His name is Don Somerville, by the way. I sat down on a wall where he’d dropped us, while Val went off to explore a couple of the tourist attractions. Five minutes later, Don was back. Incidentally, he said, if we didn’t have any luck with work we could come + stay at his place, + he could find us some work, about $30 a day each, around the house + garden. Thanks, I said. Val too was rather stunned when she returned to learn the news.
We lugged our bags 5 mins out of town to the Aranga Motor Camp, + booked in there, $7 for the 2 of us. It was a pleasant place with a lovely view over a stream + some woods, + very well-equipped, with a kitchen, a laundry room, hot showers + a trampoline. After we’d pitched the tent we both had a bit of a bounce, then lay around in the sunshine. Now that the sailing trip is off, the weather has turned marvellous. In the evening we cooked up a splendid stew with dumplings, + chatted a little with the people in the kitchen – 2 Canadians + a Kiwi. Then back to beautiful warm sleeping bags.
Away from one generous host, and on to another, or at least the prospect of one. And then a pleasant evening on our own, which we have rather missed. Later on in our travels (no plot-spoilers) we were able to come up with a name for the position of feeling obliged to some one else, and therefore somewhat in their power… but I’ll save that until it happens.