I know I had confused some by saying Happy Birthday to me after Julia and I had done the skydive but it was done as a subtle reminder.. or warning ..heheh and to check who was really reading this!! The best thing about celebrating the big 46th in NZ was the fact that it went on for a total of 48 hours. I felt like royalty.. a 2 day birthday with the time difference. The first texts started coming in on Saturday and the final ones today Monday the 28th. Thanks to one and all and I am grateful to everyone for all their kindness, support, love, best wishes and taking the time to send or offer greetings. I had a fantrastic day!!!
It started off badly though... tragedy of tragedies my porraige boiled over in the dodgy microwave but just as I rounded the corner cursing into the dining room of Barnyard I was greeted by birthday candles burning brightly on a packet of caramel tim tams and a chorus of multi tongued "happy birthday" coming from all the fellow backpackers and staff. The two girls were grinning like cheshire cats at getting things set up without me suspecting a thing. I knew that there was definitely something up with Julia the day before in the supermarket as she was skulking behind the aisles and peering up and swivelling her head around like a KGB agent!! I was marched outta the shop by Carmen announcing " Ve vill leaf NOW!!" ( Apologies Carmen but I have to add the german bit in.. Your english is brilliant!!)... I duly obeyed but slightly concerned that Julia did not know we had left. Anyhow she planked her backside in the car with a big smug look on her face so I should have guesssed she had been up to no good. The absolute darling presented me with a Skydive bag with my 200kph 15000ft tee shirt which she had gone back to Wanaka airport a few days after the great event. She even said she met her tandem dive buddy the guy who was attached to her as she hurtled herself towards earth. He recognised her and asked her was she back for more.... believe you me when you are attached to someone that closely you remember them VERY well! She asked him did he remember that loud bald never shut up Paddy I was with.. can you remember his size?? Hmmmm she got it perfect and I was very humbled with the fantastic treatment I got.. One of the highlights of the holiday! Julia headed off and was heading on a Penguin misson.. she was damned if she was leaving NZ without seeing one in its natural habitat. Even in Doubtful Sound on the ship the other day she nearly knocked a few of the few fellow travellers overboard when someone said " is that a penguin in the water"? I never saw someone charge so quickly over to the side of the boat! Nothing or no one was gonna stand in her way! Pity she did not knock gleeful Gina or Clicking Chuck overboard! We hugged our goodbyes knowing that she will probably be having a few pints with me in Henchys over the next few months or else I will be holed up in a beer tent in the Ockotoberfest in Munich drinking beer for brekkie and eating pretzels!!
I was gonna have just one more cuppa and head off to god knows where. Well it was lashing and I just kept drinking coffee, tea and having a laugh at the table with the staff and Carmen. She then got up hugged me and headed off to Invercargill. I just kept on chatting to the others and drinking more tea. Looked at the clock and it was 1pm. No point in moving now, so I booked in for another night. The staff of Jackie( loud New Yorker) Lyn (Cornwall) and Barry (Dublin) ended up chatting and doing tim tam slammers for the afternoon. Great chats and sorting out lifes problems.. I am great at doing that for everyone else. Gave Barry and Lyn some advice on CV writing and updating and then Barry and I went for a long walk by Ta Anau lake in the evening sun... Pizza salads and the 3 litre vino for dinner and they all helped me finish it even the Texas couple of Fred and Leanne.. So to those of you thinking I drank it all my self and have a problem ... NO! I only had three glasses. It was great that the others helped me cause I think my filling problem is probably being caused by the cheap plonk weakening the molars!
Its now Monday morning and 11.30 NZ time.. I think its 23.30 Sunday at home as the clocks went forward?? I was waved and hugged goodbye by the staff of the Baryard.. Jackie is now by best pal! Just before she left to do her duties she bellowed "where is Dermot John Francis Mulky and gave me a bear hug that would do Arnie Schwarz proud!!. Anyhow off to the Bluff... I think the southernmost point of NZ. with the exception of Stewart Island. Sitting at the side of Manapouri Lake writing this and the wind is howling but the sun shining brightly. Autumn and winter are approaching as the first snows were on the mountains this morning and some trees are changing colour. Other things are changing colour too.... I gave in and packed away the shorts!!