December 5th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Pete’s telegram

Val’s birthday.  Not only that, but Val’s 21st birthday.  I know it doesn’t have the same significance socially + politically as of yesteryear, but still there’s something about it.  Don’t you think?  Luckily, Val’s fell on a Sunday, so she was able to commence it with a lie-in – it  would have been a pain if she’d had to get up + go off to clean Twin Pines.  I was first awake, fortunately, so could get her 2 cards ready for her to wake up to.  One was from her Auntie Mary, t’other from me.  She was suitably pleased when she emerged from slumber, so we proceeded to continue the celebrations in the most suitable manner, when she climbed into bed with me.  Unfortunately, it was only about ten minutes later that there was a hammering on the garage door to call Val down for a telephone call.  Ah well.  This turned out to be a telegram from Pete, so I suppose I shouldn’t grumble – it was the first time we’d heard from the bugger since we left.

Down for breakfast, + Keith was there waiting for us.  He’d been to the dairy already, so we had a loaf of fresh bread.  More than that, he’d been a very good boy, + bought Val a big bar of chocolate + a huge punnet of strawberries.  He then joined us for breakfast, contributing his sausages to our bacon + eggs, so we were able to have a real feast.  By the time we’d ploughed thro’ the toast + honey, it was time to trek over to the Cascade to watch the football – Keith didn’t join us, not being specially interested.  We’d deliberately avoided finding out the news, results, etc from last Saturday’s games, so it was far more exciting.

In the afternoon, we hitched into town, along with Keith + Marnie, a Canadian girl that he knew.  We’d hoped to have been able to go out on the Hobie Cats they have for hire, but they weren’t out plying their trade.  The weather was pretty lousy in any case, so we all went to the Shipwreck Museum instead.  It is one of Paihia’s few attractions, so really can’t be missed, + we’d had it strongly recommended to us, but really I found it a bit of a disappointment.  Not that it wasn’t interesting, but I don’t think it was worth $2 a head.  When we came out, it started to bucket down, so we sat in the shelter at the gateway to the Maori settlement, + swigged the tequila sunrises I’d brought along.  Just another thing to keep the day going with a swing.

More quoits when we got back (when Val beat me for the first time ever – I’d like to pretend it was a birthday treat, but it wasn’t) + then the swiftest of swims – it was bloody cold, + we had to get ready to go out.  Val had let on during the afternoon that Marion had let the cat out of the bag about her birthday dinner, which was a bit of a pity, but there you go.  We both dressed ourselves up pretty smart, Val with her new gear that she’d  acquired + adapted from the St John’s shop in Kerikeri.  We strolled over to the Cascade, where Val discovered we were dining with Bill + Marion + Sue + Wayne.  I then gave her her presents from me, + Marion gave her one, so she was able to have an exciting little time opening them.  It was better having other people around – romantic candlelit dinners for 2 are all very well but we do see an awful lot of each other, + don’t generally have much chance of company.

The meal was excellent, really well cooked + tasty, and we washed it down with plenty of wine which, what with drinks beforehand + the Irish coffees + liqueurs after, made us rather drunk.  Val’s final surprise came with the arrival of a birthday cake, complete with candles.  I think she enjoyed the whole thing.

We somehow staggered back home, the fresh air having a disastrous effect upon my sobriety, so that Val quite literally had to lead me up the garden path.  We collapsed into bed, + were lulled to sleep by listening to Val’s new tape, Peter Skellern’s “Astaire” – it was ace.  By the way, Val had a card from her mum delivered during breakfast, so I reckon that just about made her day.

Quite an eventful day, so it was good that it fell on a Sunday. And all seems to have gone well with celebrating Val’s day – breakfast, a telegram, a trip out, presents, dinner… There are various photos of events during the day, but as I am short of pictures to illustrate our time in Paihia, I shall be using them sparingly (likewise photos of Twin Pines grand opening.)

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