Outings 4

I went sand-yachting with them them and friends of theirs. Great fun tho’ I wasn’t game to try it without a pilot sitting on the back telling me what to do. The first time even that didn’t help as I steered mercilessly for the sea (by mistake!) with the owner of the yacht proclaiming dramatically, ‘Not the sea!!’ and jumping off! It capsized but luckily you can’t fall out because of the seat belt.

She’s rather good value but I don’t know why we’re all supposed to enjoy meeting. I’m told by X the wives are getting together for jolly luncheons now, awful idea.

I’m going out to lunch tomorrow with one of our rather sedate friends to meet a woman in this parish whom umpteen people have told me I’ll like and is supposed to be the backbone of the church, but she hasn’t appeared yet and no one seems to have heard of her!

I do wish you’d been with us on our seal trip – you have to see them to believe it – masses of them and by walking about a mile and clambering over rocks you get nearer than is comfortable if they start barking and clambering towards you. It was v. rough and great blocks of them came in on top of the waves like surfies and managed not to be bashed on the rocks but I can’t think how.

Another place we tried gold panning with a cake tin we got no gold, but picked about 2 lbs of raspberries, gooseberries and strawberries – it must have been a miner’s garden about 100 years ago.

Re the ‘leisurely climb’ in X’s letter: it took me 5 days to get full use of my legs back… and the gash in my right leg caused by tripping over a horizontal tree trunk cost me 1 tetanus injection and a course of antibiotics.

This afternoon was to be an excursion to a seal colony but we left the Dimp behind and in 50 yards were covered in sandfly bites – the ‘grand swelling’ variety seem to live here and X has got about 15 around his eyes – one eye barely open! We therefore gave the seals a miss and decided to swim. We actually never went above our knees cos it was so dangerous but still got completely soaked!

We went over to Skippers up the Shotover river. The road in is distinctly one-way and very windy with precipitous drops on one side. However the main threat is from rampaging tourist buses, who seem to think they own the road and drive as if they’re not even prepared to debate the issue. Once there we had a picnic lunch outside the now abandoned Mt. Aurum sheep station homestead. We then went and investigated some of the old gold tailings. There are some fabulous relics there which leave a very clear impression how the sluicing was done and a feeling of awe at the enormous labour involved in winning the gold.

Friends up the road phoned this morning and asked us to drinks tonight, some friends of ours we introduced them to are going, and I suspect this is why the last minute invitation! However for once I won’t be proud, it’ll be a chance to wear my new shocking pink suit!!

the pink suit

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