Archive for the 'ducks' Category

The Big Trip – Day 18

Weird kind of day. Si and ruth’s flight was in the evening. So we had a day to fill and little idea of how to do it. It was sunny which gives you a few more options. So we ended up at the beach and me and si trying to turn the kayak into a surf board again.

It got a little bit messy. Si isn’t too hot at knowing where is head is in relation to the kayak wheb he comes off. This means he gets whacked on the head by it quite a bit. Today he caught the corner of the kayak on his jaw, sending him underwater for longer than I would have liked, and brought him up with a curse or two on his lips. Well I suppose they would have been curses if he could have moved his jaw to form the words. He’ll live i’m sure.

This manage to fritter away the time till 2pm. Only another 3 hrs till I could safely dump them at the airport and be rid of them. Kidding, honestly…

It frustrated me that I had these people with me who I love so dearly and we were struggling to fill our remaining few hours together. Maybe I was just annoyed that they were going home and i’d miss them. I’m not particularly good at expressing any kind of emotions towards most people, particularly my family. My fondness for them comes across as a sulky, sullen, form of grumpiness, which is only subtely different from my routine sulky, sullen, grumpiness.

I’m not good with goodbyes. I’ve watched too many movies and maybe I expect them to be more like that. All the ones I go through just seem a bit awkward. We sat in the airport cafĂ© and drank our coffees (morsies on the hot chocolate) and passed the time as best we could.

And so i’ll not see them for another four months. Which is no time at all really, in the grand sheme of things. But i’ve spent 6 months here already getting used to the idea of not having my family with me and now I have to do that again. If it sounds like i’m moaning, then i’m not. Si said – you can always come home. And it’s true, i’m in the wondeful position of being able to do pretty much anything. I could come home at the drop of a hat.

I’m still not going to though.

And so I went back to the car park and got in the RVR and realised how bad it smelled, and that it was mostly my shoes so even with them gone it wasn’t going to change. I bought the paper, turned on the miserable old git music that I love, that i’d been banned from playing and drove back to town. Parked the car and spent the whole evening, walking the length and breadth of chistchurch and lying in the park watching the ducks and sizing them up for bowler hats.

The Big Trip – Day 17

Mostly listening to: some random jazz stuff in starbucks
Eating: dodgy chinese food
Coffees: mucho grande lattes
Place names of the day: armagh st/sydenham/belfast – all in christchurch

Si managed a total of 14 and a quarter hours in bed last night. Though that’s more than just a night. He has a capacity for sleep unrivalled. I was too hot in the sleeping bag and too thirsty from the indian we had last night. I had a bad night’s sleep.

We got up at 1105. The latest i’ve been up in NZ since I came here. Again it was grey and a bit cold. Weather has not been kind to us in christchurch. We went to a nearby beach and walked along the front and it felt a little bit like newcastle on a cold day. Not quite what we had planned.

Talked about how we’d improve ducks. This mostly involved redesigning them with bowler hats, canes and possibly a monocle.

The afternoon, I spent between a bookshop and starbucks, while si and ruth got their souvenir shopping done. I could spend a lifetime between bookshops and coffee places. Though no matter where you go, there’s always someone sitting in the comfy sofas, like they live there or something.

I bought the rather ambitiouslt titled ‘a short history of the world’, coming in at a tidy 665 pages. I never really liked history at school and anyhow it was only ever about some irish blokes and the spanish armada. Now I have a bit more interest. If only for getting the answers in pub quizes and being able to say that i’ve read world history.

Si and ruth are playing cards. Or rather ruth is beating simon at cards. They play either rummy or some kind of competitive speed solitaire that I don’t understand. So far simon has thrown one tantrum and thrown all his cards away, and currently he appears to be strangling morsies. Wedded bliss. He now appears to be sulking. Most entertaining. Oh, he’s just lost again…

The Big Trip – Day 16

Mostly listening to: (DJ Morsies on the ipod) the feeling, the fratellis, damien rice, jose gonzales, the magic numbers.
Sleeping on/in: a bunk bed in a ‘lodge’ in a holiday park. Has very much a halls of residence vibe. There’s even some pumping bass coming through the walls now… It’s 9.10pm, can you not see we’re trying to sleep?!?…
KMs: 3460
Coffees: two huge ones. Winner
Eating: indian (from restraunt called two fat indians)
Weather: cloudy, just started raining. Not amused.
Place name: Belfast (suburb of north christchurch)

Our volcanic paradise was a bit different this morning. Covered in cloud it just wasn’t the same. We took a rather scenic, if not undrivable, alternative route into christchurch.

Right at the beginning of the drive I noticed a new wee lamp on my indicators on the dash. Kind of like a genies lamp. Rubbing it brought forth no genie. Next option was to be low on oil.

Now i’m not particularly good on car maintenance. I have a perfectly good father for that kind of thing. And the car is a little (10000 km or so) overdue for a service and even a wash. So the oil light came as little of a surprise.

So like men we popped the bonnet and looked at what was under the hood for a while. There was a small family of possums and some dirt from 1972 and this dirty great thing known commonly as ‘the engine’. We nodded knowingly, as men do.

The problem with the car is it’s japanese. So the manual is in japenese. So when the light comes on telling you to look up pg 37 of the manual then it’s not much use.

We dipsticked the oil (i can do that much) and found that the level wasn’t where it was meant to be – between the two marks. In fact it was not even on the dipstick at all. Not good.

We went to petrol station and talked knowingly about oil to eachother in the shop, neither of us having a clue what to buy. The shopkeeper (a middle aged woman) came over and pointed us away from the screen washer we were erroneously looking at, towards the oil. And after she’d persuaded simon that buying oil for a petrol car would be better than the diesel he had in his hand, we were off.

Next problem was getting the stuff in. I found the oil cap easily enough. It was helpfully marked ‘oil’. The problem was getting it in without spilling it over the hot engine. This was where the manual really came in helpful, as rolled up it made an excellent funnel.

Done with the oil, we proceded to check a few other things. Which wasn’t so much checking as asking eachother ‘what do you think this bit does then?’ give me a human body any day. Not that I understand them any better, just that that they’re more likely to tell me!

We found a tupperware type tub, similar to the one for the windscreen washer fluid. It was marked simply coolant and in someway connected to the radiator. Using the the brain cell between us, we figured it was for cooling the radiator. Though the tub was completely empty and gave the impression it had been for some time. Car seems to work without it anyhow.

Car maintenance 101 over, we hit the road.

Spent the afternoon in christchurch, drinking coffee in the square and walking round the botanic gardens watching ducks.

Ducks have featured rather heavily in this holiday. Partly because they’re the only creatures that don’t want to run away when si tries to befriend them. I have to say that it’s rubbed off on me, and I could now quite happily spend an afternoon watching ducks in the park.

We did see a rather ‘plumpish’ couple feeding the ducks and considered that maybe they were trying to lure the ducks to capture and eat them. Dear knows what they thought we were up to – si was trying to sneak up on sleeping ducks so he could pick one up.

I imagine there’s laws against that kind of thing. Though I supose it would be a point of interest in your CV – criminal record – twice arrested for duck lifiting…


July 2022