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Full Circle

Day 148: Kaikoura to Christchurch

Kaikoura, New Zealand 
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On the road to Christchurch.
Michael Palin - Full CircleLast night I was lulled to sleep at the Norfolk Pines Motor Hotel by the sound of waves breaking and the comforting assurance of having the Pacific Ocean on the other side of the road. This morning the Pacific seems to have gone. A thick chilly mist shrouds my little cabin. I could be anywhere. Then I hear I a light tap on the sliding door and the voice of my terminally happy host, John, announcing breakfast. He assures me it's only sea fog and will lift before long, which is as well as I have an ambitious plan to cycle to Christchurch today. John can't resist a chuckle and, as he brings in my breakfast tray, he has to tell me the latest mirthful event in his life. In this case it's an old friend's funeral he went to yesterday. Evidently the coffin wouldn't fit in the hole - 'They tried it every which way'. In the end the gravedigger had to hack one of the handles off with his shovel. The cups and glasses rattle with his laughter as he sets them down.

There is a call from London to say that the Daily Express has run a story about Helen's operation. Other newspapers are very interested and at least two are thinking of despatching reporters to find me in New Zealand.

Time for me to get on my bike. As John predicted, the sun quickly burns off the mist and I'm curling along the coast road in perfect conditions with a Mediterranean mixture of pine, palm, gorse and scrub on one side and, on the other, rocks thick with flabby fur seals, lying on their backs, enjoying the freshly-unwrapped morning sun.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 148
  • Country/sea: New Zealand
  • Place: Kaikoura
  • Book page no: 205

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