Hooray I can hear my dear reader shouting as I once again take up the Tesco Hudl tablet to continue to reassure them I am alive, kicking and continuing my journey with a new challenge.
I started the first full day of my 6th decade in a cold tent as the rain came down as predicted. I felt a bit hungover and tired after last night ( or is this how I’m supposed to feel at fifty?). David emerged also looking a bit worse for wear but keen enough to play rugby still and he phoned Rik to leave message he was available. David made us both english breakfast (followed by my 50th pavlova cake and my biscuit presents) while i did the blog (the end? One). We then hung around waiting for a call back from Rik but didn’t happen (what a let down!). We did have a chat with a “morbid” Israeli guy (or are they all a bit like that?) And with an interesting older american guy “the pirate” who’d been crewing on a yacht in the south pacific for 2 years and had visited most of the Polynesian and Melanesian islands. He had a house in Hawaii but said wherever he currently was his home (wasn’t that a song about a hat?!). He was having a break during the cyclone season and had come south to visit Southland (good job he came south eh?), he’d been to Stewart island and come face to face with great whites while in a shark cage (him not the sharks!).
When it was time for kitchen to close for the “morning clean” David and I walked into town and explored the city of Invercargill. Visited a great second hand shop with just about everything in it, a pawn shop, a “dungeons and dragons” type place, and then the Hayes “shop come museum”. Hayes is a massive place with loads of departments, each one seems to have an exhibit of motor bikes and motor cars. Pretty cool place really, had free coffee and loop of DVD films including original Italian Job with Michael Caine and the Fastest Indian. Invercargill women have probably been dropping their men off there for years to give them some respite care (I’ll leave you to decide who is happier!)
I think I like Invercargill but it is one of those places that you can see in different ways. It is well spaced out with wide streets, has an open feel about it, strange how retail, industry, leisure and residential are next to each other, some parts are run down but it mostly seems a looked after place and the park probably tips it in as a thumbs up!
After finding the ” No fees” university’s centre of human performance was closed on Saturday (I’d hoped to ask if they could do a fitness test on me to gauge my biological age against my current fitness age….and whether they have ever encountered such perfect calf muscles before!) we split up in afternoon, David supposedly to book his bus to Christchurch, get a haircut and look for a mattress. I went back to museum, I site and looked round the aviary and park area. Once I’d sat down indoors in warmth of the Isite I felt really sleepy so had to get up and go outside. The park in Invercargill is very nicely laid out and well maintained and I enjoyed looking around it including the aviary. David arrived just as I was heading back to campsite for a nap (amazing how I now need naps when only been 50 for one day!). We walked back together and had a brew instead.
David wants to come with me to the Catlin’s now, maybe to Dunedin. Asked if that was OK with me, I said it was fine and that I enjoyed his company (when he caught me up!). I think i may be getting a bit paternalistic and want to look after him. We had a shared dinner of coated chicken drumsticks and salad. Very nice and there was loads of finger licking (our own fingers not each others).I watched a slide show of the american “pirates” voyage arouns the pacific and his swim with sharks. All very interesting but I did come away a bit less impressed with him as he didn’t seem to have any interest in what we were about, he may be a bit deaf though as when I asked questions he answered, but with something else than the answer…e.g. Question.. Whats your name by the way? Answer “This kid in Fiji was an Albino”. Now that is either a very unusual name, he wasn’t listening or he was a bit deaf!?
I had a relatively early night, settled (you see i’m now using older person language) about 10.30pm. We are Heading off to the Catlin’s tomorrow, hoping to make 300km trip to Dunedin in 3 days! Contemplating whether I can cycle all the way back to top of the south island by 24th April, probably not but you know I like a challenge!