November 5th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
The kitchen at River Park

Remember, remember, etc.  Just a year ago that we were busy at Brent + Liz’s, building a bonfire, preparing food.  Time flies, so they say.  They’re right.  Spent the first part of the morning simply getting ourselves ready for leaving – washing, breakfasting, packing.  When Don called in at about 10.30, we were just about ready, which was a blessing.  Don was uncharacteristically brusque, + informed us he didn’t have to take his van to Auckland after all.  However, he didn’t renew his offer to let us borrow it, so we let that pass.  I rather think Don had become a bit fed up with us, + having found a way out of continuing his generosity, was not keen to throw it away.  We didn’t like to put him on the spot, + could hardly complain at the treatment we’d received.  In any case, financial considerations aside, we weren’t really displeased to be getting out on our own again.  And Don was giving us a ride over to the Falls, which, with all of our new extra gear, would otherwise have proved a real hassle. 

The weather was pretty foul, drizzle between the showers, when Don let us out.  Val went round to Art’s place first, but as we expected he wasn’t in – she had hoped he might know of somewhere in the area we might stay.  So, that proving a flop, we walked down to the River Park Motor Camp.  It was raining too heavy at first to put up our tent, so we sat in the kitchen + had a cup of tea.  NZ camp-sites are really pretty good – they generally have hot showers, a laundry room, + a pretty well-equipped kitchen with electric rings + a fridge.  The kitchen at this one is a bit small, but the advantages are a good view + a fair-sized swimming pool.

When the rain eased off we pitched the tent, + then trotted off to hitch in to Paihia, about 2 miles away.  Got a ride with a nice man, + then we wandered around town in the rain.  There’s nothing like a holiday resort out-of-season in the rain for depressing the spirits.  Still, we bought some glue to fix Val’s sandal which had broken, + 2 shirt buttons for my cuffs, since I’d returned Don’s cufflinks to him, so that fixed us up for work.  Then we sheltered from the rain for a while, before heading back.  We called in briefly at the Bella Vista, but Cedric wasn’t in again.  In any case, even if he had been there, it would only have added confusion.  What we really wanted was a daytime job to combine with the Hotel.

Back at the camp-site, Val went off to pay the lady, + was quite a time doing so.  When she returned, it was with the possibility of another job, a daytime job, + with free accommodation.  Sounded like the answer to a prayer.  It seemed they were looking for a couple to help out with the cleaning + general maintenance during the season.  However, one job at a time, so I changed, showered, had a cup of tea, + toddled off to work.  Tonight was far easier than last night, I knew my way around the drinks rather better, + wasn’t so afraid of messing things up.  A real bonus was that Julia, a motherly lady who worked in the kitchen as prep-chef, fixed me a meal at the end of my shift – roast beef, taters, beans + carrots.  Magic.  There is one miserable girl who’s been hanging around the bar the last two nights, just sitting there moping.  I think she used to have my job, which might explain her to some extent, but I haven’t enquired into the matter too much, as I’ve no desire to enter into the politics of the place.  Bang, fizz, sparkle – that’s for you, Guy.

A shame that our time with Don ended on a rather sour note, but it is something we encountered pretty regularly: a relationship which initially was all warmth and generosity, but which suddenly turns. I suppose people come to the belief that they are being taken advantage of. Still, as one door closes…

And the job at the hotel, the Kiwi Lodge, seems to fit the bill, and is probably enough to keep our money supply topped up, though nothing like enough to start squirreling some away. But if they continue to feed me…

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