Monday, April 15, 2024
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ColumnistsPeter Nelson's TravelsPeter Nelson's travels - Still in Dunedin

Peter Nelson’s travels – Still in Dunedin

by Peter Nelson

 Jocelyn needless to say is a very welcome rosy-cheeked sight.  The same old scenario playing out once more to a slightly different tune.  Really really good people here.  Especially Jocelyn.  Especially Jocelyn.  I am bowled over by her enthusiasm, to say nothing of her blossoming cheeks.

Chaotic as usual, no less than.  Staying with Jos is like being in an airport at Christmas.  Everyone’s loopy and no one has the slightest idea where anyone else is.

Elton John chanting away next door.  Puts me in recollect of rainy eves listening to tunes around the fire in Mt.Eden.  We went to this pub to see Luthor, reckoned the best rock group in Dunedin.  Quite good actually, and they did “Your Song”, and that also reminded me of greener days in the northland of North Island.  But the bartender can you believe it, didn’t know how to make a White Russian.

Ever seen a more beautiful city?
Ever seen a more beautiful city?

Lover’s Leap.  So they tell me.  No one leaping here at the moment except a few sheep.  However it looks a fairly effective place to do one’s leaping, should one be so inclined.  At least 300 feet down to a cold sea and some black and singularly unforgiving rocks.  The sea is just so bloody unsympathetic, that’s what I like about it.  You gaze at it through eyes misted over with misery, thinking of doing yourself in, and the sea just doesn’t give a tinker’s damn about this last and greatest of human dreams.

Nice beach out of town.
Nice beach out of town.

A nice spot altogether.  With a wide white beach that has no footprints on it but mine own.  And a gull rookery.

Swelling feet or shrinking shoes from this infernal eternal wet weather, which is it?  Ah well no matter.  Bought some new desert boots, at least now I have the freedom to venture out without having to wait hours for the bloody streets to dry.

Sitting in the sun in the shade waiting for Jos.  Waiting for Godot with a beet-and-chicken-salad sandwich.  The University of Otago has the greatest per-capita milk consumption of any academic microcosm.  Is that why all the students’ cheeks are so rosy.  Or is it the post-colonial moral climate which makes them easily embarrassed.  Swigging milk and wolfing down the chips as the sun streams down.  Still waiting for Jos.  Waiting for that radiant face, all sunshine and sparkle.  Can you photograph a face like that I wonder, the way it makes me light up just to see her approaching.  Clouds moving beneath the sun like a kingdom under the sea, what a smile she has, both shy and eager and blooming blooming blooming.  If this were spring I’d probably be in love again.  But this seems to be autumn, the time for rolling on.

Do these guys know how to build a train station, or what?
Do these guys know how to build a train station, or what?

Hmmm, and this young lady sitting across from me is either playing footsie with me under the picnic table or else she has mistaken my shin for a wooden post.  A natural mistake, I suppose.  Placidly chewing on her apple, unaware of the passion she inspires, raven-blonde hair and a green apple and good lord what a short skirt, all grass-green and earth-brown, what is there about eating an apple in the sunlight that becomes such a sensuous act.

‘And you can tell everybody this is your song.’

Stretching, burning, maddening shadows, the dusty yellow curtains of sun beneath the pines, here’s Jos finally, silver points of expectation shining in her eyes, breathless, hello.

Then Jocelyn’s nice long goodbye hug here on the road on the outskirts of Dunedin.  She’s just come from the BeerGardens and she’s a bit tipsy, so she smiles at everything I say.  What a grin.  Those tiny tendrils of flame.  ‘It’s so easy to show your love.’  She wears a flowing white dress.  If only she were a little taller.  If only I weren’t already in love.

If only I weren’t all ready …




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