March 4th 1983

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Hitching

I was able to pick up my mended glasses this morning.  It cost $10, but was otherwise a great relief, having spent the last couple of days squinting thro’ the one remaining lens of my other pair.  Also sent off a quick postcard to mum, to wish her a happy birthday on the 7th.  It won’t arrive in time, of course, but that can’t be helped.  Doug then dropped us off at a suitable hitching point out of town, + we said goodbye.  Once again, I can’t say I’m entirely sorry to say goodbye – I certainly couldn’t drink like we’ve done for the last 2 nights for very long.  It’d kill me.  Still, it has been good to see Doug again – I can’t imagine we’ll ever see him again.  Which is sad, in a way.

It didn’t take any time to get a ride, + a really long one it was too, over the vast majority of the journey.  We hoped to get all the way to Wellington today, + this was a good start.  Our driver was not exactly a sparkling conversationalist, but kept things going along, + fortunately Val was in front for most of the journey, so had to do the talking.  There were 2 beer stops, which held us up a bit, annoying since we weren’t in the mood to indulge ourselves.  But at about mid-afternoon, we found ourselves on the side of the road again, + here our luck rather worsened.  We continued to get rides, but they became shorter + shorter as we progressed, another 3 or 4 more, finally dropping us at a town called Levin, still about an hour and a half from Wellington.  We felt ourselves lucky to be in a town out of the wind; ever since we’d been dropped, the wind had been howling round our ears.

We continued to thumb for another hour, but, finally accepting defeat, we bought a bag of chips each, + set out to find a camp site.  Fortunately, there was a cheap municipal one within easy walking distance (even tho’ we did get a ride for the last few hundred yards), + tho’ it was rather full, Levin playing host to the NZ rowing championships this week, we found ourselves a good level site, pitched tent, made some cocoa, + went to bed.

Onwards then, and southwards, heading towards the South Island. It was indeed the case that we never saw Doug again, but we maintained a regular Christmas card correspondence. As with most lives, they end sadly, and in Doug’s case this involved the loss of his eyesight. Still, he remained cheerful, and only dies last year, so it was quite an innings.

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