As contentment grows so my world narrows; from the universe to New Zealand. From NZ to Wanaka. Soon it will encompass only the house Diane has loaned us out of kindness to refugees (non huddled masses section). We're happy hiking,unfashionable dressed drinking DB and eating pies. Kiwisation is working and Pomerania turning into an unhappy land far away. Feels good.
We've been walking for exercise. I made heavy work of it slow and stiff pretending to keep stopping to blow my nose which has been constantly running since we came or to photograph the view-which is lovely though like all NZ Beauty it just sits there looking cold and beautiful while I plead desperately for it to inspire me
Walks are another NZ Con. They always minimise driving distances pretending to do in three hours with a stop for pies a distance which takes us six. Walking is worse. Seeing a sign for a lakeside walk to the waterfall we decided to do it. Only other people on the walk were a Chinese couple (Linda asked them where they came from and they said "Auckland") plus a few cyclists hurtling past without bells to warn us to get out of the way. The walk took us an hour and at the end a native gently explained that there was no waterfall. Just Waterfall Creek and that's another few miles (kilometres they call them) up the hill. We gave up in despair and trudged back. In the rain.
Wanaka itself is a collection of sheds at the end of the lake. Some of the sheds are brightly coloured with restauranteurs, Kiwiana sellers and ice cream makers stood outside their shops waiting for customers who don't come, a crowded Whaka Pai and a thronging pie shop and the bigger sheds stashed away in a little valley out of sight. This includes another big Mitre 10. Why do they need such enormous Mitre 10s in a holiday resort. Do the millionaires spend their weekends doing plumbing and DIY?
What's happened to the number eight fencing wire the all purpose Kiwi tool?
Nothing happens in Wanaka. People sit around reading travel supplements to the local papers about holidays in Europe, Canada or USA with pictures of Lake Como,Yellowstone and the Rockies. Why bother when you've got Wanaka. Indeed the most dramatic event since the gold rushes was a march for the environment on Sunday. Several hundred people including lots of kids carrying placards bigger than they were paraded through town while the tourists chomped on their pies and Kiwi breakfasts and ignored them,not realising that the end of the world will include Wanaka
Wanaka will be crammed with folk come the Christmas break when all the cities close down and everyone goes to the beach, the lakes or the hills. That as I've often remarked would be the time to invade NZ and occupy it, so that when the Kiwis come home and back to work they find the cities run by Jihadis, men with beards occupying Parliament and the courts operating Sharia law. I was going to say "that'll surprise them"but on second thoughts I'm not sure they'd notice.
Linda has caught the Rogenomics bug (undiagnosed when I first came) and is busy thinking of businesses she can introduce to make her a millionaire. The two current ideas are a factory for taking the stones out of olives which will then have an enormous sale now that every magazine newspaper and television programme is about food.I have to explain gently that they can probably do it cheaper in China like everything else.
The second money-spinner is the sale of whole fresh chickens ("chooks"they're called) apparently these days you can only get frozen whole chook or little chook bits in the supermarket so there'll be an insatiable demand for whole fresh chook for Christmas dinner just like when she was a kid. With any look she'll forget the idea or move on to some other insanity like breeding whitebait in home fish tanks. Rogernomics has perverted people. In the old days she'd only have thought of cleaner toilets.
The other occupation has been reading-if only we could do it while walking but that's probably forbidden by the NZ hiking and related trades association. In my time the literary greats were back-blocks books like a River Rules My Life or Crumperature. There's still a lot of that. No Crump but books on life on the Gorge River ( not exciting) or Martindale but no Crump any more probably because the hills are alive with the sound of helicopters looking for animals to kill rather than smelly men killing them on foot.
The main gap now is small town stuff like God Boy and End of the Golden Weather and suburbia-lite which no one has written about -and good writing has moved on to Big City life-hence it's only about Auckland but bloody good stuff by Charlotte Grimshaw built round contemporary issues politics and people. Probably in an intimate society like NZ where its more difficult to write the truth and the politicians are only semi literate smaller democracy the best way of describing the crude realities of politics and the true personalities of politics is to fictionalise it.
I have to report quiet contentment creeping over me. Every day in every way I get more Kiwi. Though you won't get me watching rugby.