Epilogue: Oh, that’ll do

Things from my notebook that I couldn’t wrangle into any sort of narrative

Heroin capital of NZ

After I’d checked in at the hotel in Christchurch, I went up to my room, swiped my room card and opened what I thought was my hotel room. Instead I found myself in a small space, faced with three doors. I felt like a character in an adventure video game.
You are in a corridor. In front of you are three doors.
> Turn RIGHT.
> Use CARD on DOOR.
> Open DOOR.
> Walk into ROOM.
You are standing in your hotel room. It is quite nice.

Christchurch smells like cigarettes, like the late ’70s, like an small European city that’s on a budget airline route.

All the nighties in Ballantyne’s seemed to be those neck-to-ankle jobs. Not many people know this, but these nighties are actually classed as a contraceptive device under the Medicines Act (1981).


I was on the free bus, sitting on a seat that faced into the bus. A man across the aisle kept giving me the finger. I was about to flip him off back, when I realised he was doing it to his friend who was jogging alongside the bus, giving bus guy the finger. That’s true friendship.

At the museum, a group of schoolboys observed a mannequin representing a forefather of Christchurch with a hearty beard. “There’s George Bush,” one of them remarked.

George, bush, in happier times.

I had a really good latte at C1 Espresso. It tasted like honey – not sweet but mellifluous.

The central Christchurch bus exchange is right fancy. It’s like a domestic airport terminal, with waiting areas, seats, screens full of departure times, and sliding doors that open when a bus is ready to be boarded.

I went to the local Regent cinema and was greeted with, “Hi! Are you here for the Taste of Italy evening?!” No. “Oh. That’s all right.” The cinema I ended up in had its main entrance below the screen. Whoever designed it like that obviously hates movies.

Q. What would you do if you suddenly found $20,000 in your bank account?
A. Big OE! You can get to Sydney for, like, $100 and I’d go there and stay with my sister and have girls over all the time and heaps of parties and stuff.


“He owes me. He owes me $25.”

A half-arsed idea about the cone being a recurring shape in Canterbury – the Chalice sculpture, the airport control tower, souvlaki. And what is a cone but a rollled up plain?

Discussed with Pauline the concept of a “bad coffee town”.

I thought I saw a light on in an upstairs window at the old Post Office, but it turns out to be a window boarded up with plywood.

The old Post Office looks like it would have been the envy of New Zealand back in the day. At the annual Postmaster’s conference, did the Dunedin Postmaster General say, “Gosh, it’s so hard getting the windows cleaned all the way up on the sixth floor of the GPO.” And the Tauranga Postmaster would be like “Yeah, woteva.”

A lot of women in Southland have the same haircut. It’s short and very functional. Possibly a bit spiky on top, with some lady-burns down by the ears. Maybe gelled out the back like a gunshot exit wound. And usually with some sort of concession to femininity, like stripy ’90s-style DIY highlights.

The Otago Settlers Museum has a video reenacting what seasickness would have been like for the first European migrants. This was a popular viewing choice among the museum visitors. Yarrr! Oi be sick!

Three pears were arranged on a windowsill at the Dunedin Airport. Oh, sorry – the still-life fruit models convention was last week, etc.


One thought on “Epilogue: Oh, that’ll do”

  1. Lovely pictures, lovely writing, as per usual. For the record, my favourite was part 6, but they have all been good.

    (I have a collection of pictures of mailboxes with variations on the no junk mail sign – I may be slightly obsessive about it. But that’s very much by the by.)

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