Barry flew down to Wellington yesterday to see his son Tom for a few days before we abandon him and leave NZ for another five and a half months – he’ll be 20 in August so I’m sure he’ll survive OK.
Today was mothers day in NZ so I took Barry’s mum out on the local steam train from Gisborne to Muriwai (just a half hour jaunt each way) and then out for lunch at his brother’s cafe in town. It’s also her birthday on Friday when she’ll be 86 years young – wow! She just missed getting the prize for the oldest mother on the train this morning – pipped to the post by another passenger who was 86 last December!
I have just four days left to work, then four days off to help Barry get everything sorted before we head to Sydney next Tuesday. I may get more excited once I’ve finished work – so much to complete there and so little time; but whatever isn’t finished will have to wait until they find someone else to take over my job, I’m sure lives won’t be lost!
It’s getting pretty cold here in the evenings and mornings – down to about 7 or 8 degrees C – by Gisborne standards that’s blooming freezing though possibly not by UK ones! Our log burner is keeping the house warm – no such thing as central heating here for the vast majority of kiwis. But then when the North Sea gas supply runs out in the northern hemisphere, everyone who’s grown up with and can’t live without gas central heating will have to find another way – and it’s not so bad honest!
Unfortunately the news seems to be that there are still some issues with the volcano in Iceland so it’s in fate’s hands as to whether we actually fly according to our schedule - we can only hope for the best. Tragically, a friend of Barry’s who he talked to a number of times before we planned our narrowboat trip last year, passed away suddenly last week. He’s been going to UK or Europe for the past few years, buying a narrowboat, travelling around for up to six months and then normally selling it before returning to Gisborne. Barry was inspired by him and gained some really useful advice. Apparently, on his way to France a couple of weeks ago, his flight was diverted due to the volcano and he was stuck in Korea. I believe that the minibus he was in crashed and he sustained a few broken ribs and was hospitalised. He improved over a few days and was about to leave hospital when he had a heart attack and died. It’s so sad, he should’ve been on his boat now cruising along. Once again it brings me back to the adage of seizing the day – but at least he’s been having some fabulous boating adventures for the past few years. May he rest in peace …