Archive for February 12th, 2007

The Big Trip – Day 2

Sleeping on: the car mats as a mattress in a tent

Mostly listening to: jose gonzales, lisa loeb, buena vista social club

Weather: initially cloudy, clearing to glorious sunshine

KMs on clock: 480

Eating: bacon & eggs on toast

Coffees: 2

Humerous shop name of the day: three times a lady (size 16 plus)

Woke in the shed after a great nights sleep and headed into picton for the paper and brekkie.

From picton across the north of the island takes you along queen charlotte drive and through marlborough sounds. A glorious sub-tropical type place, with coves and inlets.

Driving in NZ is a series of 10 minute bursts before the next stop and get out and take a photo. It’s stunning. People have holiday homes dotted around the sounds only accessible by boat

We parked at the start of the big walking track and split the group. I took the kayak round the coast to a wee beach and si and ruth walked it there. Wonderful wee paddle i must say. Had lunch on the beach and then si took the kayak back and me and ruth walked it back. Back at the car park, me and si confirmed that the kayak will indeed hold two people but only at the price of the whole thing becoming more of a submersible.

We could spend weeks here. It’s depressing looking at the map as we’d only made it 20KM out of picton and we were already content to stay there the rest of the time.
But intrepid explorers that we are we pushed on. Making it to nelson. A mm or so further west on the map that you’re not looking at.

Nice place. Ruth diasaggreed. Found a campsite just outside. A slightly spaced out recptionist told us to pitch the tent anywhere. Tempted to try it out on the roof just for reaction.

Went into town for food and found it practically deserted except for some stoned suspicious looking teenagers outside some dodgy bars. Found a wonderful malay place instead and settled there for the night. If only cause the service was slow.
So now all settled in our respective tents. Ruth and si realsising that the double air mattress they brought isn’t big enough for two – what were they thinking…
The batteries in my torch have ran out and the site seems to be being invaded by ferral cats keen for free food. We’ll be lucky if we make it through to day light. Especially seeing as it’s only 2130.

The Big Trip – Day 1

Still sleeping on the floor.
Mostly listening to: josh ritter, the ricky gervais podcast
Weather: cloudy with rain
It’s not meant to rain round here this time of year. I kind of feel bad that they’ve come all this way and it’s raining. That somehow it’s my fault. I need to stop feeling guilty for silly things.
Da rang me in the middle of the night. Initially just a phone call in the middle of the night that had nothing but static. Rang me back five mins later to tell me it was him ringing but it was nothing important. Cheers for that one. I’m now wide awake and paranoid i’m gonna be attacked or robbed or something horrible.
Spent the morning packing. Though it was hardly taxing cause we were bringing everything. Kayak, three bikes, the dishes, the cutlery, the bedding, the guitar. It’s a big car and we manahed to fill it, leaving nothing but a morsies shape hole in the back of the car.
As i locked the flat i had the brief moment of fear and anguish that i always do when leaving home for any period of time. And that was it, i’ve just called it home. And i know it’s not. And it doesn’t really feel like that, but for that moment it washome – akin to the bare empty room i left 5 months ago.
3 and a half hours of the ricky gervais podcasts and half the east coast later we made it to wellington. It was grey, not a particularly inspiring drive.
Read the paper in the car waiting for the ferry, and wishing there was a loo nearby.
There used to be a sea-cat style ship between the islands but it only ran for a few years. The cook strait is notorious for bad weather, and the cat was cancelled so often it had to close down.
So we’re stuck with old fahioned ferrys. When you can see the rust from 200m you begin to worry. Morsies commented on how few life boats there were. I exaggurate.
Standard procedure on boarding a ferry.
– walk round the whole ferry, identify comfy seats.
– identify loos and cafe
– obtain coffee
– enjoy bracing, diesel scented walk outside.
– realise the comfy seats you identified earlier are now occupied by snoring truckers.
– Sit on the plastic seats. Count yourself lucky
There was a guy sitting outside by himself with a lap top and headhones who was recording lyrics for a song of some kind. Oblivious to the laughing children he was singing in his best metallica ‘I’m entering into existence’, or some typically pseudo-metaphysical angst ridden lyric.
Coming into marlborough sounds was pretty spectacular. It was raining but still spectacular. I thought it was like arriving in inverness. The neill family were kinder. (initially had that as ‘neill family was kinder’ but changed as i was unsure of the plurality of it. If they’re married then maybe they’re one flesh so i could get away with it… Answers on a postcard to the usual address)
In a rare moment of forethought we’d booked somewhere to stay in picton (where the ferry docks). Five minutes from the boat and we were behind a dutch couple who were trying to find out if the groffen (how many effs in that again…) family were staying there that night. The recptionist was very patient.
So now i’m curled up in the top bunk of a cabin eating crisps.
Now when i say cabin, i don’t mean the log cabins of road trip 2006 fame. These ones have no pretensions. To describe it as a shed may be harsh on the sheds of the sheds. It’s large enough to swing a cat in but only if it had a short tail or you were a dog lover.
Two double bunks with pillows, a kettle and toaster, a tiny table, a guide to picton, a bizzare timer device that seems to serve no purpose and thankfully – a blow heater.
So now we’re toasty and comfy and engrossed in our fine literature. Simon in the jonny cash autobiography and ruth in ‘a short history of tractors in ukranian’
Have also been adopted into the team neill handshake, involving at no point a handshake. I’ve been banned from going into the idiosyncrasies of my brothers marriage. Which is probably a good thing cause i’d be so busy with that i’d have no time to tell you about the sights…or the rain.
Apparently tomorrow will be sunny. It’s (the great forecasting service on the interweb doofer) been saying that for three days now…


February 2007