52. Auckland – Skeptics in the Pub

Monday, April 3: A little cloudy and changeable, quite hot in the afternoon sun; heavy rain predicted for the evening

Walking: 22.3 km

Tracy’s

Tracy had to get up early for work and by the time I was awake I could hear the garage door go up and the car start. Day for a real shave today, and then breakfast of the last of Tracy’s eggs, three breakfast sausages, all on toast, OJ, about ⅓ of the yoghurt, and coffee. Had a brief look on the net, but really wanted to get walking to Pak’n’save to see what their vegemite costs.

As I walked along Glenfield Rd couldn’t really identify where Archer Road left and continued on to the Glenfield Shopping Center and beyond before turning back and finding a bit of a map in the public library, and made my way back and eventually found the turnoff. Nice views of Rangitoto and downtown all the way. Reached the supermarket, but their price ($6.39) was more than I had in mind from New World, so I returned empty handed. As the whole trip had taken much more time than originally planned, and a bus was due in a couple of minutes, I waited for it to take me back to the Highbury shops.

Tried the library in Birkenhead for printing and they were able to print out the Frankfurt-Hannover train ticket for 20 cents. On the way back I stopped at New World for some fruit (some pretty pithy mandarines, seedless at least), six jars of vegemite for the special club price of $5.99 (reduced from $7), and some beer. Checkout person put seven jars on the bill, and that had to be rectified. With that out of the way I returned to Tracy’s where I first of all made some fried cheese sandwiches for lunch, together with the chocolate biscuits remaining from yesterday (a muffin had joined them in the meantime), two of the mandarines, and some lemonade; then the dishwasher had to be emptied and the dishes from today loaded into it.

The tent was now well & truly dry, so it was packed away and shortly after getting this done, Tracy returned and proceeded to get into what appeared to be running gear.

I was debating whether to take the Super Shuttle or the ordinary bus (albeit a Sky Bus) which with an online ticket would only cost $17, plus the bus trip to town ($5.5) if I could negotiate the longer walk with all my luggage to the top of the hill @ Mokoia Road, and the connection between getting off at Lower Albert St and to wherever it was that the free shuttle for the Sky Bus leaves from. Resolved to sort out the downtown issue on my way to Skeptics in the Pub. Tom had messaged me on FB that he was leaving for the US tomorrow and wouldn’t be able to make it tonight.

Four o’clock was just past and I asked Tracy about washing a minimal load in her washing machine, and was given the OK. Will see about some last washing tomorrow. Not much was washed at all on this trip. She then offered to take me in her car first just up to the top of the street, and then to the Highbury shops. Once out of the car, the bus – a double decker – pulled in to take passengers before I could say boo, and I went up to the top deck where there was a front seat free to enjoy the views.

Once in downtown I had to reconnoitre the departure place for the homeward buses, should I have to find my own way home. The buses for Highbury and beyond now depart from around the corner in Quay Street. Apart from that the departure times seem to have been regularised, so that getting back will be a little easier than it once was.

Wandered off in the general direction of the Sky Bus shuttle stop and found that it was well marked, so I will be deciding tomorrow on a complete itinerary. Then on to Parnell where I arrived very early, checked out the shops and all the eateries up and down the street before deciding on a Windsor Royal Hamburger & chips for $21 at the pub itself (Juice Bar, Parnell Rd, now closed).

Eventually some skeptics turned up. I was offered a beer by Susan & Craig, Steve had brought in a whiteboard, and after a short discussion with Gail and her husband, the show could begin. Content can be found here: The Skeptics’ Dilemma 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. I hope I kept it short & sweet. A couple of questions (but perhaps not as extensive as the first visit) and then that was it. One John offered me a lift home, which I accepted. Craig & John got copies of the latest book, which leaves two for Rayna & Tracy. That should be enough, if Chinara doesn’t reply.

Some rain had come down as we made our way to John’s car, and it certainly was humid, but it was not as bad as predicted. Time to start winding down.