November 1st 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
The Bay of Islands

Another wonderful night in wonderful sleeping bags.  Then breakfast, then into town.  We debated getting in touch with the Fruit Pickers’ Assn., but came to the conclusion that really we decided we preferred staying with + working for Don, so left it.  Unfortunately, there was no reply to the no Don had given us, so we went back to the camp-site + packed up our stuff, then came back into town again.  I rang again then, but tho’  we got a reply this time, the lady told me I had a wrong no.  Ah well.

Don had given us directions to his house, so we walked out there.  We were fully laden, of course, so it was a bit of a heavy hike, about one and a half to two miles, but we stepped it out, + it wasn’t too bad.  That was when we had our problems.  We misunderstood Don’s map, + couldn’t find his house.  Each of us walked to the end of that blasted road, + no-one knew don, or had seen his white  mini-bus.  We began to think it was all some sort of elaborate practical joke, or even something more sinister.  We were about to go + camp on the corner of the road + wait there, when, partly by looking again at Don’s map, + partly by a sort of sixth sense, we explored an unlikely-looking driveway, + found the place.  We sat out on the back porch for the rest of the afternoon, tho’ I did pop down to a local motel to ring Cedric – he wasn’t in.

When Don arrived, he was most apologetic about being late, about the state of the house, about everything.  He is a very nervous, highly-strung man, tho’ very amiable too.  His wife left him – it seems he turned to religion in a big way.  He’s connected, I think, with a severely fundamentalist group called The Brethren.  I admire him tho’, because he is the only person I’ve ever met who actually practises true Christianity, in the sense of gentleness, unworldliness, generosity, the simple-ness of his life.  We had a fine meal, after which he took us for a ride in the van.  And then home, hot milk, + bed.  Don is so remarkably anxious to please.  And it’s us who should be just falling over with gratitude.

It’s been a while since I have commented on the technology we had no access to back there; nowadays we would no doubt have access to some sort of GPS or whatever to help us find our way, but then we were, quite literally, lost. Though it also proves that, if forced to, we could manage without. And, w2ho knows, may have to again, if the coming storm materialises.

Don was demonstrating his true Christianity… but then again, we encountered any amount of kindness and hospitality, and that was by no means confined to those who were religious.

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