Dear Miss Maggie,
It is said that every disadvantage has it’s advantage. Recently I learned that that is true. For the disadvantage of having had to tear myself away from your soothing nearness, had the advantage of experiencing what probably was the biggest adventure of my lifetime to date!
It all started with me being locked inside a room all day long whilst outside all kinds of people were walking forth and back along the window carrying my parent’s stuff into a big truck. Not that I cared too much about that – I’ve been locked inside a room before and as long as I’ve got my food, water and a cozy place to sleep…
And, once the truck was loaded, I got to get to spend some time with Aunty Donna – how cool is that? Aunty Donna brought her supersucker, and boy that supersucker sucks! I’ll tell you more about this later.
But then Aunty Donna left. And my dad put me in my pink carrying case. At first I was quite timid, wondering what on earth was going on. But it turns out he put me – in my case and all – in the cabin of that truck! And it got worse for the truck started to create enormous roaring noises, and everything around me started to move and shake! That was it, the moment that I had to start letting everyone know I was hugely disagreeing with what was going on. But hey: when you’re in a carrying case that is all zipped up, then you can’t get out. So, what can you do?
I’ll tell you what you can do: you open the zip and escape! Not immediately, of course. It took me a little while to figure out how a zip works. But by the time we were queuing to get aboard The Interislander submission was bestowed upon the zipper. So, like a Jack-out-of-a-Box there I was: Fitz-out-of-a-CarryingCase. Hey, there is a reason why one of my titles is “bearer of big balls”.
Not too surprisingly I was quickly caught and put back into my case. Nevertheless, I now knew how the zip worked. So in a matter of minutes I was out again. Too bad that that was exactly the moment that my dad was backing up the truck boarding the Interislander, in the dark, with very limited visibility, over a narrow onramp. Lesser men would have seen nasty words ousted and would have crashed the truck into the onramp barrier, but not my dad! Came pretty close though.
As a result of my brave escapist talents, I was allowed to spend the crossing of the Cook Strait sitting in the cabin of the truck as opposed to being inside my carrying case. Probably because my parents knew that putting me back in my case would be of no use at all. I’ll tell you what though: the ferry crossing was not enjoyable for me…at all.
Lots of weird, loud noised. Lots of strange, scaring things happening all around me. And then the view! Being stuck in the trucking area of the ship, this is what you’re looking at:
Still, it’s better then what some of the livestock on the upper deck had to endure…
But my parents had, of course, the best view.
Crossing the Strait seemed to take forever, but when my parents finally returned I was just so happy that I curled up in my mom’s arms and basically stayed there for the vast majority of the trip.
Picton was dark. A whole town covered in Lady Darkness’s blanket, with not a soul in sight. Anyone who has every read a description of a desolated, deserted town by the master storyteller Stephen King needs no further explanation of the impression Picton left. I’m confident that one day, several years ago, Stephen King drove off the Interislander in Picton at nighttime and just put to paper what he saw. And vóilà: a horrorlegend was born.
Disturbing Picton’s serenity with a roaring diesel engined truck felt very invasive. Almost as invasive as interrupting a twenty minute sitcom on television with four to six advertising blocks, ten minutes each (hi, TVNZ).
Leaving Picton did not take too long however. Neither did reaching the next checkpoint on the map: Blenheim. And after that: the majestic eastern seaboard of New Zealand’s South Island. Not that my parents got to see much of it with all this darkness, but for me there still was an overwhelming lot of interesting things to be distracted by. Especially because they were all things I hadn’t seen before. Especially when you’re in a moving truck. And especially if you’re safely in your mum’s arms.
What I did get increasingly worried about though, were the toiletesque arrangements. Did I really have to do a wee in that litter tray my mom was holding on her knees? Surely you’re joking? Being a man, I came up with a brilliant solution for this: I decided to hold it in for as long as I could.
Which turned out to be Glenavy. Impressed as I was with being able to hold it in for so long, I do owe a big apology to the local petrol station holder. You see, once I had done my business in the litter tray (thanks dad for avoiding the potholes), we pulled over at the Glenavy petrol station. Not for petrol, but in search of a rubbish bin to dispose of my effluent. A public rubbish bin was nowhere to be found, but I did see my dad walking toward a private rubbish bin around the corner, in the garden of what clearly was the garage holder’s house. After five seconds I heard a vicious canine (redundant) starting to bark, and after six seconds I saw my dad walking back around the corner in a much quicker pace, my wrapped up former bladder content still firmly in hand. My dad then made his way to the other side of the petrol station where a little pile of already formed rubbish was, just outside what clearly was the entrance gate to afore mentioned garden of the pump holder. Apparently that was how long my dad could hold it in as well, for I saw him putting my contribution on top of that little pile before adding a contribution of his own. No patronage, yet a generous good morning gift. Thank you, mr pump holder, please come again!
Whilst handing out apologies, I also owe one to a truck driver somewhere south of Oamaru. I’m sorry, mr truck driver, I really didn’t mean to honk the horn so loudly for several seconds, just as we passed you. I had no idea that jumping on the steering wheel would make that happen. I was just trying to help my dad drive the truck.
My third and last apology goes to the mutton pies from McGregor’s Bakery in Palmerston. Whilst my parents thought you tasted fan-tas-tic, I didn’t like you. Sowwy.
Anywhooties, my dearest Maggie, there is lots of boxes to unpack (and jump and hide in), so I will bid thee a fond adieu.
Take care of aunty Robyn for me!
All my paws and best fishes,