Let's make the most of the sunshine while it's here and go out for lunch, I suggest to my mother. We head for the Gardens, following a lavender trail, to reach the rose garden
where we spend a dreamy few minutes admiring the colours, scents and varieties.
My mother comments that she'd heard that roses are so popular because they remind men of women's breasts. Okay. Didn't know that Mum. And cabbages too, Mum said. Okay ... didn't know that either.
Mum is very patient while I take my shots. You and your sister are both the same she said, always taking photos of the roses.
This one was called Disco Dancer. The sun was very warm. Luckily we both had our hats on.
A young mother who is trying to persuade her small, squirming son to wear his sun-hat, points us out.
"Look! Those two ladies have their hats on." (She didn't say 'two old ladies' did she?)
We head towards where we believe we can get a cup of tea and a sit down.
Now that is the kind of garden I would love, I say. A wild, English country garden ...
Look at those foxgloves!
Dammit, the cafe is closed.
Mum needs a sit down. She wants to sit under the tree by the frisbee throwers, but I say No let's push on to another seat over under the oaks. I don't trust those frisbee throwers.
When we finally get there, we find the seat nearby occupied by a sixty-something year old man in a schoolboy's hat, shorts, long school socks and a scarf. He's eating sandwiches and drinking tea from a thermos. "Happy New Year!" he says cheerfully. Maybe we should have sat by the frisbee throwers after all. (At least it's not like in Japan where some eccentric middle-aged men dress up as schoolgirls!)
Still nothing to eat or drink. I head for the world's steepest street and a cafe out that way that might be open or might not.
It wasn't. Mum had never seen the steepest street in the world.
It is pretty steep, she says. Then she says that she's feeling a little dizzy.
"Must be the heat, " she says.
I never thought I'd hear my mother admit that Dunedin was hot. We head for McDonalds.
I'd like a Big Mac and a milkshake, Mum says.
We eat it in the car on John Wilson Drive with its ocean views. We have the windows wound down so we can hear the waves and get some relief from the heat. (With our unreliable summers, I feel I need to use that word 'heat' as often as I can, while I can.)
"That was lovely," Mum said as we pulled up at our house. I was relieved to hear it.
My sister texted me - You made our mother walk in 28 degree heat!
Maybe I need a little more practice at taking my 79 year old mother for a walk. (Difficult to achieve when she lives in the North Island and I live in the South Island). She's gone now to stay with my brother and his wife for a couple of days. They told her that they have put a couch out on their front verandah for her to sit in the sun and read. There is also mention of a hammock. But we all agree that there may be some difficulty in getting her out of it again! We chuckle at our mental pictures of Mum being unceremoniously tipped out and left stranded on her tummy. (Well, that was my mental image anyway. Naturally I can't really speak for the rest.) But maybe best if Mum chooses the couch. And no more long treks around rose gardens. In the heat.