March 20th 1983

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Oliver (Andy’s Holden that we were borrowing)

Up at a ridiculously early hour, partly to ensure we met Andy, not having a fixed hour in which to meet him, + partly to ensure disappearing from the camp-site without paying.  In both, success.  Quite a walk to town, of course, especially with full, or over-full, packs, but we were outside the PRO by 8.  Our precautions proved sensible, as Andy was there shortly after (thus scotching my plans to catch up on my diary.)  We had deliberately banked on him not turning up, to guard against disappointment (the creed of the pessimist) so it was both relief + joy to hear his cheery tones.  Rory, a tall + gregarious Irishman who had also been on the Abel Tasman track, was also in the car, so it was pretty crowded with the 4 of us, plus packs, plus all of Andy’s gear, but we were just giving Rory a ride out of town.  The fact that it did not work out quite like that was nobody’s fault.  Andy’s idea, which we rapidly fell in with, was that he should walk the Wangepeka trek out to the West Coast, + that we should take the car + meet him at the track end in 4 day’s time, + in the meantime have the car for our own use.  Rory was left to decide where he wished to disembark.

We dropped Andy off, + then, after toying with the idea of visiting the Nelson lakes, decided to seize the opportunity of driving down to the Fox + Franz Josef glaciers.  This suited Rory admirably, so he came along with us.  His company proved something of a mixed blessing – it is nice to talk with someone new (+ the money was nice – his share of the petrol) but he tended to expound at rather greater than normal length upon his various travels at virtually every opportunity, most notably his travels in South America.  It was, I’ll confess, something of a relief to drop him at Greymouth Youth Hostel, + find ourselves a motor-camp.

It took us a while, but it turned out to be a good one.  Nice lush green grass to pitch the tent on, a well-equipped kitchen, + even a lounge, complete with colour TV.  So, once again, a relaxing evening – the programmes weren’t up to much, apart from a good rock programme called Radio With Pictures, but it was warm + pleasant + homely.  The bad part of the evening came when our home was dismantled at about 11 by some joker who came around pulling out tent pegs.  Nothing personal – he hauled down 3 or 4 tents.  We thought at first it had been even more malicious, that a couple of our guy ropes had been cut, but we decided they had just snapped.  Our tent is really on its last legs – the guys are rotting, the nylon is mildewing, it sags in the rain, + doesn’t keep out the water.  I think it’s about due to be pensioned off.  Sad really.

Good to be on the move again, and with our own transport, for a few days at least. And the fact that we acquired an over-talkative Irishman was but a temporary inconvenience (alleviated by his company and his money.)

It does seem that our tent is coming to the end of its serviceable life (but it has some work to do yet!)

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