30. Nelson

Sunday, March 12: Heavier rain overnight, clearing to cloudy during the day, a bit of drizzle in the evening

Elizabeth’s

Another relaxed breakfast with Elizabeth and Friederike. I took it it was time to start reckoning up so I gave Elizabeth a copy of the book which I dedicated to her and she asked me to sign her visitors’ book which I was happy to do. Having secured Elizabeth’s permission to leave my case here for the tramps before moving elsewhere, I confirmed a booking which turned out to be at the end of the street. Then it was to be a morning for sightseeing. The ladies had had differing success tangoing last night, with the younger Friederike having a better time and Elizabeth rather frustrated at not being able to find enough men.

After driving up a hill, there were a couple of views of Tahunanui on the one side and the Grampians and other hills on the other. At one point there was a very long stairway downwards (and subsequently upwards again) which we took for a bit of exercise. Then it was down to the beach, although everything was full due to the Weetbix Tryathlon that was beginning to wind down. The ladies wanted some coffee so the beach was not the place, and Elizabeth continued driving along the harbour until she had a parking spot and we walked into town from there. A couple of historical plaques along the way commemorating a saline bathing pool, and closer to town there were passenger lists for boats that had arrived in the 1840s. Inspecting the names I discovered two German boats, one with a number of East German looking names, and the other whose names might have been from Northern Germany, but were not patronyms (i.e. unlikely to be from Schleswig-Holstein or Denmark). We strolled back someway to the Boatshed where flat whites were on the menu for all, and chocolate cake for the ladies. The sun was beginning to make an appearance and I got a little sunburnt in the process.

Back here at around 2:00 the ladies got into their tango gear (Friederike & I watched a tiny mouse run into the house, but the cat was fast asleep, and it managed to escaped back into the garden unharmed), then they were off to their dancing. I had a couple of the last slices of Friederike’s bread with the pastrami again, which finished that off, then the final apple. Time was moving on and I managed a short trip into town for the last of the supplies (couldn’t find any 300 mL bottles of milk at the second Countdown – for the macaroni & cheese – so made do with a small bottle of cream instead) and before that had booked a table for dinner tonight, just in case everything was full again. Also picked up $300 in cash which should be (just) enough to last until the 22nd. Back here the eggs had to be boiled. I noticed one of them had a manifest crack, so I swapped it for one of Elizabeth’s #7 size; and the ceramic field hob was a little tricky to work, but eventually got the water to boil and put the eggs in. Most of the eggs now cracked of their own accord; the water was brought to boil again for 30 seconds, then cooled down with cold water to 30°; and brought up to simmering (and, unfortunately a second or two of boiling) and left that way for 11 minutes (jumbo size eggs, let’s see on Tuesday morning what the result looks like).

I had sent a message to the next hostess, Genie, about briefly introducing myself before taking off on the tracks, and she replied in the affirmative that we could meet after 5:15 by which time it was. Finished preparing my eggs and cleaned the pot, then took off to find Genie’s flat; again after asking some friendly natives I was eventually able to find her and her place and was shown around. Should not now be much of a problem.

Returning once more I shaved and had a shower, sorted out the clothing for the walks, tidied up a few things and was ready to leave for my reserved table with about 20 minutes to go for 7:00. The New Street Steakhouse (New St) was what I had chosen because they had two lamb shanks with two side dishes for $28.5, and that is what I ordered with sautéed potatoes (skin potatoes boiled then briefly fried) and a green salad, together with a large Guinness for $10. One of the shanks was a bit less meaty than the other, but together they were quite a meal and should last to the top of the mountain tomorrow, and both were as tender as a baby’s bottom. The potatoes were cooked just right and I can’t remember eating so many vegetables in the ample salad. Excellent stuff.

On the way back it was time to time the walk between Elizabeth’s and the i-site for tomorrow: 16 minutes. Drizzle was starting up as I left the bar, and I realised that I had left the swimming towel & togs on the washing line. Back here for the final time today I put the towel & togs on the bed to dry, got the stuff I wanted to listen to on the ipod downloaded (yet again) and am charging the camera batteries. As I write the diary the drizzle has turned into rain from GKW and I still have to check out Karamea, write a review for Elizabeth & check the rainfall/forecast for tomorrow to see if I have to pack everything in to plastic bags.