Monday, 8 August 2011

Middle of New Zealand

Mum and I went to the Cloverlea  market this morning for vegetables. It was a windy day so the clothes and jewellery stalls weren't present, but plenty of chunky vegetables.

My sister-in-law says that ever since the day the bus that was meant to pick up her mother from the stop failed to call into Johnsonville, she's been a little nervous that it will happen again.
We saw it go sailing past over there on the motorway,” she said pointing to the hills. I could see the silent line of cars and trucks running along, as if on a conveyor belt.

However, there was no cause for alarm, the bus duly arrived. It was even a little early. Wielding her clip-board, a nimble, blonde bus driver stepped lightly down the steps.
Have you got a ticket?” she asked me.
Full of confidence I pulled out my print-out. Then at exactly the same time as she did, I saw the date: Thursday 4th August. Wasn't today Friday 5th of August? Uh-oh. 'Adventures With Kay' strikes again. 

I don't know how many times I'd examined that ticket to make sure I had the right time, the right day. Why didn't I ever notice the mistake I'd made with the days in my original booking? I guess you read what you believe should be there. Especially when you book on-line.
Luckily for me there had been someone else the bus needed to stop for in Jo'Ville, or we would indeed have seen the bus go sailing down the motorway. Luckily too there was room on the bus. 

My sister-in-law tried to make excuses for me, bless her.
She's the creative sort,” she told the bus driver.
The driver takes no notice. “Have you got your boyfriend in here?” she says as with some difficulty she man-handles my (I confess, I pack heavy) suitcase into the luggage compartment. She didn't wait for my reply (which now that I've had time to think of something clever, could've been, “No, not this time, just a few books.”)

My sister-in-law and I are still standing there laughing nervously about my mistake.
The driver motioned at me, growling, "Get on the bus".
I understood then not to expect any blonde solidarity. Anyway, I need to get used to that as  I'm more silver (euphemism for grey) than blonde now.

And so the bus sails away on down the motorway with me on board. Off to Palmerston North to see my mum.
I pass some of the time it takes to get there – two and a half hours – imagining what it must be like to drive a bus. I guess much like a car, except way, way more back end. 
The driver switches on her microphone to tell us there are three rules; no alcohol, no smoking and no shouting at the driver. She means it. Just the other day, she says, two men who were inebriated and causing trouble, got left by the side of the road and with a very long walk ahead of them.

After we leave the coast to head inland on flat roads, there are no landmarks to speak of. I remember in the 80's when we used to make this trip in our brown Vauxhall Viva. Our sons were very young. Somewhere along the straight bit of road, just before you get to Palmerston North, they'd start to get tired and scratchy. We'd get them to look out for the rocket and a front yard full of gnomes – or was it a yard full of miniature jockeys? Maybe it was both.

The bus pulls into Palmerston North. I get out and look for Mum. She's always been easy to spot. I used to look for the red hair; these days I look for the whitest head of hair I can see.

After sampling the one Mum made - and polishing off what she had left - I just had to make some more. I used to make this slice years ago now. It has been too long.

'Citrus Fudge Slice'

125 g butter

½ tin condensed milk
Zest and juice of one lemon
Zest and juice of one orange
1 packet Superwine biscuits, crushed
85g dessicated coconut

Citrus Icing

25g butter
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp orange juice
2 cups icing sugar

Grease an 18cm x 28 cm Swiss roll tin
Melt butter and condensed milk, add juice and zest
Mix biscuits and coconut in bowl and add melted butter
Press into tin and refrigerate for four hours
Ice with citrus icing and decorate with citrus peel.


Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Oh, you silver-haired-mother/friend-o'-mine, you! :D (Another exotic dish you've made. And just how much butter would that be???)

Kay Cooke said...

Joyce - Loads n loads of the stuff! heehee

Paul Halpern said...

Enjoyable to read your travel account. I recall (from travels many years ago) that the Wellington region is lovely. Then again, so is the rest of NZ!

Anonymous said...

Oh my! I am always compulsive about looking at travel booking documents, worried that I will do something like this. We leave on a trip in 2 days -- it's about time for me to start fretting about getting to the airport for a 7am flight!

Enjoy your trip!

Anonymous said...

Don't know why Blogger has decided that my open id name is my blog name. I must have changed some setting inadvertently. It's me, Anne Camille (aka Cam).

Kay Cooke said...

Paul - Time you cam back again for a visit Paul - bringing your family with you this time!

Anne - I knew it was you! Great to have you here - you'll be fine re travel bookings. Enjoy your trip. :)

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