Today is the first real day of my holiday. Officially it started on Tuesday night, but the last four days have been taken up with Christmas and family, which aren’t conducive to holiday at all.
My last day at work was a successful one. I was able to keep a fairly low profile, just like I have in the rest of my time with the company. My colleagues very kindly bought me two books – Andre Agassi’s autobiography (I’m just past the crystal meth, or gack, phase) and Vroom with a View, an account of a journey from Milan to Rome on an old Vespa. We had morning tea and lunchtime drinks (I was happy to pay for them), after which I cleaned my desk, packed a box of memorabilia, said my final goodbyes, then I was off.
I took the 7:30 flight to Christchurch and stayed the night at Uncle Dan’s – he and his wife Anne live on Memorial Avenue, just yards from the Airport. Dan has lost even more weight. Though his surgery was a success, the weight loss is a real concern, and his illness seems to have affected him mentally. Sadly he appears to have given up on life. He showed me some pills he’s recently been prescribed, supposedly to help him put on weight. Citalopram. I was on that for nearly eight years. During the first year I did indeed gain weight, though I doubt the medication had anything to do with that. Whatever, his illness has now become mental just as much as physical. On Wednesday morning we drove down to Mum and Dad’s place in Geraldine.
We spent Christmas Day up the Rangitata, at a place called Stew Point. There were seven of us – Mum, Dad, Dan, Anne, another of Mum’s brothers, his third wife, and myself. It’s nice to get out of Auckland; it would be hard to find a place less like Auckland than our Christmas picnic location. I sometimes think of Geraldine as being in the wops, but this was the real wops. It was blowing a gale up there. It wasn’t easy trying to eat ham and turkey without being savaged by a bull or my paper plate disappearing.
Yesterday I met up with Phil in Timaru. His mother lives in Waimate. The carnival had just started up so we tackled the crazy golf course. Phil beat me by six shots. The hole that replicates the Port Loop Road was my undoing. Phil flies back to Auckland today, and will soon be meeting his Danish girlfriend. Last night Mum and Dad had a barbecue; it seemed everybody was there. I wasn’t in the mood for all that food and drink, and having to explain my, er, career change. Now everybody has gone and I can breathe a sigh of relief. I no longer have to explain anything.