February 16th 1983

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Sandra with cows and cat

Rich left for work at some indescribable hour, tho’ he was good enough to leave an early morning cup of tea.  I stayed awake just about long enough to drink mine, then fell rapidly + solidly asleep again.  So, as usual, by the time we were showered, breakfasted, packed… it was late.  Had a strange encounter with Rich’s landlady, who was evidently very suspicious of these 2 strange creatures inhabiting, however temporarily, he flat.  However, we bade her a cheerful good morning + were off on our way again.

Hitched + bussed to town, + while Val trolled off to buy our concert tickets, I sat + minded the bags.  She returned successfully, tho’ at a price – they were about $17 each.  Her turn now to mind the bags, while I went out to Ganesh to see if I could arrange transport out to the concert, plus a bed for that night.  I achieved both, + then returned.  Our plan now was to leave Auckland for a day or two, + then return for the concert.  We’ve seen everything we want to see around the place, + would only be bored hanging around for a couple of days.  So, we’re off.

Caught the bus to, yes, you guessed it, Green Lanes,+ began hitching.  Things really didn’t go too well tho’, for quite a while, but eventually got ourselves a short ride with some guy.  This kicked us out of the proverbial frying-pan into the proverbial shit, since on this ramp there was no decent place for anyone to stop.  Eventually, a delivery truck took us a few miles to a far better place.  Surprisingly, tho’ our luck was no better, even after the solitary opposition had shoved off.  Eventually, another Kiwi hitcher came along, + tho’ he did the polite thing, + took up his station further along, it didn’t do wonders for the old self-confidence.  However, he proved himself to be good bloke, for when a car did stop, beyond him even, he waved us along, + managed a ride for all of us.  It was a lady travel agent who picked us up, just returned from a trip around the QE2, in dock at Auckland.  She was going to Huntly, our destination too, so that was perfect.  We were visiting another Bruce Mackie contact, a son of Sybil + Alan in fact, called Bruce, + wife Sandra.  I phoned when we arrived, + Sandra, who answered, seemed pleased to hear from us, said she’s come out to pick us up.  They have just bought a new farm, 120 acres or so, with about the same number of cows.  Sandra seemed nice, bubbly + friendly – I wasn’t struck by Bruce, far more dour, much more the farmer type.  For a farmer’s wife, Sandra is remarkably feminist, + clearly has a mind + opinions of her own.  They treated us very well, immediately breaking open the booze, + feeding us a most excellent meal of home-prepared fish + chips.  Other than that, we just chatted for a while, not till late obviously, because of early morning milking.  Then to a huge + comfortable double bed, with all the advantages that confers.

Our usual good fortune with the hitching, even if there were times when it seemed we were finally to be left in the lurch. No lurch, however, but another example of kiwi hospitality, taking in people they had never met.

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