April 19th 1983

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0

Slept well on the motel floor.  At least, we did.  Poor Ken was kept awake by Val’s snoring.  It was exceptionally loud, even for her… but then, she does have a cold.  As agreed, Val + I struggled up early, + ventured out into the cold + dark, tiptoeing past the motel office, + off to kill an hour and a half or so.  We walked for a while, sat in the wind + read for a while longer, even managed to find a cup of hideous but hottish coffee, before it seemed we had been out long enough, + could return for breakfast.  As no-one was in the office when we did so, the whole pantomime was a little bit pointless, but at least we showed willing.

After breakfast, we drove a little thro’ Dunedin, which struck us as a most attractive city.  K + A decided to visit Olveston, Dunedin’s stately home.  Not my choice really, but I was happy to join in with the arrangement, tho’ Val decided to sit + wait for us.  Her motives were, I suspect, entirely pecuniary – she certainly errs on the side of frugality; is, in short, a tightwad.  I enjoyed the tour – the house was small enough for one to accept it intellectually as a home, altho’ indeed an opulent one, rather than the cold + barren museums which masquerade as stately homes back home.  Our guide did over-elaborate on the names + origins of the works of art around the place, which was a pity, but as an insight into a home, it was good.  Ken, I’m afraid, was distinctly unimpressed.  He has the scientific mind.

We paid a brief visit to the magnificent railway station, + then departed.  The journey north was rather dull – we stopped for some lunch at Oamaru, where I took the opportunity to buy Ken + Anne a present – the latest Footrot Flats book.  Unfortunately, Ken also took the opportunity to buy the same book for himself, thusly, as he said, bursting my bubble.  Still, it could have worked out worse, since Ken gave us his copy.

Finally arrived at Christchurch early evening, first checking in at K + A’s motel, before they very kindly ferried us over to Darvel St.  They extended us the warmest of invitations to visit them in Alice Springs, but I reckon the chances are pretty remote – it’s so bloody far.


A quiet evening was spent – the doctors in the house were very friendly, welcoming + without care.  Good news – our tickets safely arrived, a letter from Val’s mum, + another from Sue Colman.  Sue painted a pretty gloomy picture of the prospects of employment in Oz – we shall see.  She is leaving Oz soon to fly home, so we may well not see her.

Shame about the snoring; Val was dreadful at one time, but seems to have cured herself in recent years (or more likely a reaction to regular prods from me.) And a timely example of the sort of frugality referred to yesterday, Val not going to the house in order to save just 2 or 3 dollars.

And at last a farewell to Ken and Anne, who had been gracious and very welcome hosts. We didn’t make it to Alice Springs, and in fact never saw them again. We did keep up Christmas card correspondence for a year or two, but then they sent us a card thanking the British for allowing American planes to fly from the UK to bomb Libya (I think that was what it was.) Now, I might write and gently explain that we were not fully in favour of the assistance provided, but then we simply cut off contact.

Photo is Dunedin railway station.

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