February 6th 1983

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Chris on the hill overlooking Waitangi

A Sunday, begun in the usual way with chores, breakfast, football on the telly.  Today was Waitangi Day, the cause of all the fuss, so with the important things done, we hitched into town (with a policeman, naturally) to see what all the fuss was about.  Not much, as far as we could tell.  Just a few hundred people milling around, not doing very much, not knowing what was going on.   A few Christian groups preaching to the converted, some food stalls, even an occasional protester – all very mild.  Tregadullett, in fact (that’s the new word.)  It seemed that the ceremony only got going during the evening, so we gave it up as a bad job, + hitched home again (with some more policemen.)

Marion didn’t want us to start work till 9 or so, all the policemen being busy until that time, so we could allow ourselves the luxury of a leisurely meal, + then go to the Cascade to watch the cricket until work called.  New Zealand blew it tho’, + lost, making a NZ-Australia final.  Still, it’s only Kerry Packer cricket… which is the excuse I have to give.  And then work.  The coppers took quite a while to get going on the old booze, but when they did… Marion left at about midnight or so, + Wanda + Jo had both been sent home, so I was on my own, with instructions to close up when they stopped drinking.  They were pretty much on the rage, telling dirty jokes + getting drunker + drunker, but I thought I was going to get the cage down at about 1.30, when suddenly the place filled with another bunch of coppers, + off we went again.  This marked the rowdiest period – a Rugby scrum in the lounge, a mock-Maori challenge, much, much drinking.  Val + Sherylin were in the bar, enjoying the fun, having drinks thrust at them, being chatted up – flirtatiously in Val’s case, more seriously in Sherylin’s.  I was asked many times the details of her emotional attachments, + wasn’t believed when I said I had no idea.

However, at 3.15, I managed it, seized my opportunity, + shut the gate, + was almost out the door when some police bigwig, marched in.  He seemed surprised, + mildly upset, that the bar was shut – possibly because he was very, very drunk, + “personally countermanded any orders these men may have been given.”  I was prevailed upon to open up again, which I did – at which point another 20 or 30 drunks walked in thro’ the door, the odd sailor as well as policemen.  They’d been told, it seemed, that we had policemen staying with us.  When they discovered we hadn’t, most of them left, so after another heavy little bout of drinking, I was able to close up + get out.  Sherilyn gave us a lift, which was nice of her, especially since that also entailed taking one of her admirers.  At River Park Val + I got out + left her to fight her own battles – beneath a bubbly exterior I think she’s quite capable, + there won’t be too much chance of being raped by a policeman.  Or maybe not.

Well, that was quite an evening, and all sanctioned, not to say ordered and orchestrated by the long arm of the law… mostly engaged in bending to allow much consumption of alcohol, until the very wee hours. Which all makes for that extra bit of money.

My final comment is particularly off the mark right now, especially in the UK, with various reports of appalling behaviour by our own police much in evidence… with one or two of them now serving very long sentences.

February 5th 1983

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Not sure if you’ve seen this one before

Arose late, which seems to be the order of the day ever since we finished day-time work.  I can say we, since Val too has finished work at Twin Pines.  For the last day or two, she was dragging herself somehow through the morning, without even milder than mild enthusiasm for the tasks she had to do – when one loathes getting up because of the work one has to do, it’s time to quit.  It doesn’t matter that much, since she starts work at 3 at the Cascade with all the extra work there is to do because of the policemen.  I, as usual, turned up at 5.30,  but had very little to do, beyond an early rush, + this time it was my turn to be dismissed early, at about 9, instead of Jo.  I was quite unreasonably annoyed about this – some sort of pride (false) in my own indispensability, I suppose.  And it gave me a chance to watch the cricket, which can’t be bad.  England were very unfortunate, the weather playing a considerable role in leading to their defeat, meaning that their chances of reaching the final of the series are considerably reduced.  Which is a shame.  It’s been an excellent series, but will all come down to a severe anti-climax if Australia do the expected + win.  But in any case, the games have attracted a lot more fans to the sport.  Even Val has shown some interest.

And so our time at Twin Pines, at least, has finally ended – the first of the three to go, but as we are still making money at Cascade, will carry on there for a little while yet.

Not sure that my interest in the cricket will be much understood beyond the cricketing world – basically the old Empire.

February 4th 1983

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Pretty certain that I’ve used this photo, of Bill and Marion, before, but I am getting pretty desperate for photos, and I don’t suppose it will do you (or them) any harm to repeat it.

Arose even later than usual, 11 or so, so hurriedly cleaned the block + then shot in to Paihia.  Main reason was to collect re-prints of a couple of photos,  but they didn’t have them ready – my envelope had been put in the wrong box.  And to buy a Time… which hadn’t arrived.  So, since I completely forgot to visit the travel agency to check up on our tickets, the visit was a total waste of time.

Back within an hour, a spot of lunch with Val, then an afternoon lazing by the pool – another brilliant afternoon.  Work.  At last the blue hordes arrived, but weren’t difficult to serve, so Marion’s precautions – not only Jo + myself but Wanda, Ian’s wife, as well, were a little severe.  I was released at 10.45, with the bar still open – seemed silly to me, I reckon they might still have been busy – so Val + I had a respectably early night.

Even more of a non-day than usual, it seems.

February 3rd 1983

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Ian, the new chef (looking much the worse for wear) and his wife

Rising late + chores performed, I hitch-hiked to Kerikeri.  My good fortune was to obtain one ride all the way- my bad was that my chauffeur was a Christian, + a recent, enthusiastic, evangelising one at that.  However, I paid my fare for the ride in listening, + declined his invitation to come to a meeting with as much politeness as possible.  In town, first disposed of a few books in the Book Swap, acquiring only one in return, “Last Exit to Brooklyn”.  That + “Pere Goriot” were the only worthwhile tomes present, + tho’ my experience of French, or for that matter European, literature is scanty, I couldn’t face the serious Gallicism which Balzac represents to me.  The Red Cross shop to dispose  of a large bag of by now unnecessary + unwanted clothing – including the brown shirt that was once Dad’s, + my navy blue jumper, 2 of the last relics of clothes from England.  A hamburger, which dripped fat down my best trousers.  The Post Office, to bank more money.  We’re up to NZ$5000 now, not a bad sum.  I treated myself to a pair of sturdy socks, + then home.  A more pleasant ride this time, with a huge + jolly (why do they go together) + wealthy Englishman, who spends 9 weeks of every year here.  Home to more of “Daniel Martin” + then work.

Work is such a more pleasant place since Ian, the new chef, arrived.  He’s a Pom, with a good sense of humour, tho’ not well-educated.  Also Art, our introduction to Haruru Falls, is there, since we’re so busy, + between them they have the place running smoothly, happily, + well.  Still not completely over-run by policemen – I don’t know where they all are, + Marion leapt in early to close the bar before those that were there returned from the pub.  I retired upstairs + watched “Dirty Harry” on telly.  Not a bad film – the real highlights for me were the San Francisco setting, + spotting Chris Pray in a tiny part.  Vicarious fame, huh?

I may be wrong, but I seem to recall our financial target had been considerably less than the $5000 mentioned here – a testament to our serious hard work for the past few months.

Interesting to have a face from our San Francisco days pop up on screen – it has been quite a trip, with quite a chunk yet to come, seeing as we are on the other side of the world.

February 2nd 1983

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Waitangi Bay and historic flagpole

Almost a non-existent day in the land of my memory.  I washed some clothes, I remember… + on such small events the world turns.  It’s depressing, immensely.  I’m heavily engrossed in “Daniel Martin” at the moment (the moment of writing, 2 or 3 days hence), + Fowles reminds one that telling a story is more than describing the events.  Or at least can be.  Which means that “Feb 2nd – Did the washing” is not really telling the story at all.

The weather has changed, become brilliantly, scorchingly hot, a flawlessly blue sky.  It makes the days idyllic, poems in an anthology, something that will become well-remembered, a favourite memory but not the true pattern of events, not the real story.

And to work in the evening.  Just a few more policemen, not the invasion of boys in blue I’d been led to expect.  They worry one tho’.  They’re here for Waitangi Day, a national holiday to celebrate the famous treaty when the Maoris were put in their place (I am not knocking it – I know little of it) which centres, naturally enough, on Waitangi.  And which has become, in the last year or two, a focus for demonstration + protest.  Hence the police, who all seem to be itching for a fight, + who are, it seems to me, not the kind of sensible, reasoned + patient peacekeepers one would hope for.  But they do drink, + keep me working until 1 o’clock, this morning.  For once, Marion was pre-empted + not allowed to close at 10 – she really doesn’t seem to want to make money.

Yes, thought I had mentioned Waitangi. It was becoming quite a bone of contention and protest – hence all the policemen.

February 1st 1983

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Waitangi colonial house interior

What a way to start a month!  I felt awful, still very drunk, but hungover as well.  Eventually I could stand it no longer, + came down to the block + made myself throw up.  Then returned to sleep some more.  After which I was just a bit better, + able to force myself to eat + drink, while doing the washing.  Even food didn’t have its normal immediate curative effect, so, the washing done, Val + I trolled into town to post letters, buy some food, + have a banana milkshake.  This ws just what the doctor ordered, + performed wonders.  Home to tea (with a great deal more relish) + then work once more.

It was a late night, there being just a few more policemen, all of whom seem to be big drinkers.  2 new members of staff – a new waitress, Sheryline, who seems to be very nice, + a wine stewardess, Jo, whom I was supposed to train.  However, since there was clearly nothing for her to do, Marion sent her home at 8.  She seems pleasant tho’, + is company for me.

Have realised I made no comment at all on another heavy drinking session last night, but my sins clearly caught up with me. Ah well.

January 31st 1983

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Colonial house at Waitangi

I gave the block a thorough cleaning this morning – well, it was about time.  And when Val returned from work at about 11, we both went up to a flat, which River Park has rented, to clean that.  It was a really nice place with a fantastic view thro’ a big picture window out over the falls. It was enjoyable working with Val again, the work wasn’t difficult, + we were paid cash for it, this presumably not being part of our rent.  (Neither was Val’s work over the weekend incidentally – another $30 for the kitty.)  And then Val was off to work early at the Cascade – they’re supposed to have a lot of policemen arriving (to prepare for potential trouble over Waitangi weekend.)  Marion thought they might be very busy.  But in fact, she had virtually nothing to do all afternoon.  I was rung up + told I wasn’t required.  So I read DM for a while, then strolled up the hill; to visit Robert once again.  He was very friendly + we sat in his caravan + chatted + drank beer till 8, when we went over to the pub.  More talk, more drink – chatting + boozing with various individuals + groups, + then on to a party down in one of the caravans on site.  Here things became heavy – more beer, wine, bourbon, Glayva, + some dope.  Val turned up, having tracked me down successfully, + was able to eavesdrop my drunken chatting up of some young female – dazzle ‘em with words, mate – the sound, not the sense.  And after a while we went home.  I don’t have the stamina for such affairs that I once had.

First of all, an apology for the non-appearance of this blog for the past few days. Nothing more dramatic than technology failure – our internet supplier here at home has been down for about a week. Indeed, a week! Which has proved to demonstrate just how reliant we are on it nowadays. Our home phone operates off the internet, I read the daioly paper off the internet… and of course Val works from home, running an IT company, so that was pretty disruptive too. Anyway (crossed fingers and all that) all is well again. Till tyhe next time, I suppose.

I thought there was some reference to Waitangi coming up, so have a few Waitangi-related photos to pad out the blog – not specially relevant, but at the very least New Zealand based. I am fairly sure I describe the importance of Waitangi in the blog soon enough, so I@ll save comment till then.

January 30th 1982

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The sheep shearer at work

Sunday.  Val working once again, so I took my time in arising, cleaned the block fairly cursorily, + off to the football.  It ws alright, but all the excitement has been taken out of the Championship by the fact that Liverpool are romping away with it.  Again.  Ho hum.

In the afternoon, we borrowed Todd’s tape recorder, + I spent a fruitless half-hour trying to record tape to tape, + transfer the best of the tapes we were no longer going to keep onto one tape.  But no go. So I recorded the NZ pop chart off the radio instead.  While Val began, unsuccessfully, to begin a letter-tape to send home.  Something about the machine thwarted her.

Val had to work in the evening but I didn’t, so I strolled up to visit Robert.  He was just on his way out to go + have dinner with Tom.  A bit embarrassing really, tho’ I wasn’t too upset about it.  And hearing on someone’s radio that England had beaten the Aussies, so kept us in with an outside chance of reaching the final of the triangular series going on in Australia, cheered me somewhat.  England lost to NZ the other day in ridiculous circumstances.  We’d set a record score, then allowed the Kiwis to better it.  I was surprisingly depressed about the whole thing, especially since I’m not really a cricket fan.  I returned home + started reading “Daniel Martin” by John Fowles, the book Val had given me for Christmas.  And so far, at any rate, I’m enthralled.

Mostly news of events away from Haruru Falls – sports of various kinds, none of which seems to be going spectacularly well.

January 29th 1983

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Val worked for Sue this morning, helping to clean the units.  I had intended to go to Paihia with another attempt to buy a Time, but by the time I’d got up, done the washing, + cleaned the block, it was too late – this is New Zealand, you know, + shops shut on Saturday afternoons.  So we spent the reast of the day relaxing by the pool, feeling miserable (still).  Wrote a couple of letters, to Graham + Sue, + had a swift swim, then showered, + work again, without the slightest enthusiasm.  I was in a bad mood, largely, I think, because I was hungry + didn’t get fed again – a right pain.  Grabbed a couple of beers when we left, + called in on Robert on the way home – there was a quiet sort of party going on  there when we went past, so stayed for about an hour.

A familiar pattern for me when encountering new people is to take an instant dislike, and only later discover that I quite like them after all. Defiinitely appears to be the case with Robert. There are, alas, no photos of Robert, and I can’t say I remember him at all, except through the diary.

The photo references the other mysterious omission from the diary – a trip out to visit a sheep farm, and to see some shearing. Neither of us has the slightest recollection of such an outing, nor how we might have got there, but the p-hotos are in the album nonetheless.

January 28th 1983

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Val playing quoits

Slept late this morning (I wonder why.)  However, didn’t feel too bad, especially once I’d got some breakfast inside me.  I was then able to raise the energy to go up to the shop + to clean the block.  Big news of the day was a letter, finally, after all this time, from Graham.  A good one too – he was his usual amusing self.  It didn’t really help tho’ – still I was affected by an unutterable sadness.  I can’t even explain it – perhaps something of a backwash after the events of yesterday.  Val is feeling something of the same, she tells me.  Apathy about staying, moving on, returning home.  And having extra time on my hands doesn’t help.

In the afternoon, Val + I went into Paihia, mainly to bank the money we’ve earnt, + to buy a Time.  Except there weren’t any Times.  Ho hum.  Back early, + then read + wrote, before I had to go off to work.  A Con-Tiki tour in, but they soon all buggered off on a disco cruise, so I was able to close the bar down at 8.30.  I hung around for ages tho’, waiting for Athena, whose last day it was, so we could go to the pub for a drink.  However, Victoria, the other waitress, was her usual chronically lazy self, so Athena didn’t get finished till after 10.  No dinner either.

A regular feeling, of simply wasting time, which tends to affect us whenever we are stationary for a while. It is a relief at first to escape the daily toil of where to stay, how to get there, etc, but does leave more time for introspection.