Sunday, October 15, 2006

Holiday? What holiday?

It seemed like a good idea at the time. My dissertation on The Third Policeman was due in last Friday, and I had a conference to speak at on the Saturday in New Plymouth. Since I had only ever stayed the one night in New Plymouth, I thought I'd take a short break. My first problem came when I couldn't get a flight up there on the Friday without paying a million dollars or so; since Thursday was much cheaper I thought "oh yeah, I'll get my diss done and have an extra day up there - sweet as". Famous last words - three hours before I was due to catch my plane, after working on it all night, I sent off a worried email to my supervisor to see what the extension policy was. Luckily he was OK with a couple of days, but those couple of days were my so-called holiday. Ah well, it is all over now - I have caught up on my sleep after the all-nighters I had to pull to get the thing finished (I wrote myself to the point I simply could not write any more - if I was running a marathon, it would be a collapse 50 metres short of the finish line) and I am having some interesting trademe purchases turn up, bought as a displacement activity.

It was not all work: as part of the conference, we had a very nice dinner at Arborio in the wonderful Puke Ariki complex - it is a combination information centre, museum and library which overlooks the Tasman sea, right on the waterfront.

Of course, I was also able to check out several of the fine cafes New Plymouth has to offer - about the only good thing Tom Cruise has done in a long time is to come to New Plymouth to film The Last Samurai which inspired half a dozen cafes to open. One thing I could not handle about the town, however, is the way everything closes at midnight - no all night supermarket, no late night kebabs or fish and chips, no lamb curry pies - just whatever can be scavenged from a service station.

The other thing I did while I was up there was to take a quick trip on the Forgottenen World Highway through the Republic of Whangamomona (a town which seems doomed to die - all buildings save for the pub are derelict, and it seems to be the place where men come to grow beards) to Taumarunui to see my mum, and then back through the near ghost town of Ohura. Curiously, the town has not died because its major enterprise, the prison, moved away: instead, the prison had to close because no-one was willing to live in Ohura to staff it. So, now there is a 97 person prison sitting empty and for tender, while prisons are bing built at enormous cost elsewhere in New Zealand.

One thing I haven't done is to find a replacement for my camera, the one I sold in a fit of exasperation when I could not upload pictures to my computer and then found the solution.
Here is Anika Moa, playing at the Oamaru Wine Festival, way back in March. I have been assiduously bidding on suitable replacements - several imes I have found what I thought to be a great camera, gone away to have a coffee before commiting to the purchase and come back to find someone has done the buynow thing. I seem to have a nose for a bargain, but an inability to close the deal. In fact, on Friday night I found a brand new version of the camera I have most bid on, this one was in a shop downtown and still cheaper than most have sold for on trademe. Me being me, I went across the road to a competing shop to check out the price: sure enough, when I got back to do the deal, some fellow had jumped in and scooped up the bargain - the last for sale at that price in all of New Zealand, according to Bond & Bond. Ah, well, here is another shot of Anika, who I did not go to see when she was in town on Friday, because I was kidnapped by students and taken to dinner.



Blogger Jessie said...

"here is another shot of Anika" .. and that's Anna Coddington on the right. She's cool :)

11:36 AM  

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