IT WAS AN EARLY START at Kate’s house with most people waking at about 7am. Through the moans and groans the group’s spirits were lifted by the smell of organic bacon frying in the kitchen. Kate was clearly aiming to follow the most lavish dinner of our trip with the most lavish breakfast. She’s going to be a hard act to follow. After packing our gear Robert heralded us from the buss with a “final boarding call” over the PA and we were shortly all aboard the Fort Knox II bound for Wellington. Spirits were so high that fifteen minutes down the road an emergency return trip to grab Di’s wallet caused nothing but amusement.
We had a quick stop in Levin to grab a snapshot outside Darren Hughes’ office and have a chat with the friendly Otaki locals. Upon arrival in Wellington we jumped off the bus, left our luggage at the fabulous YHA (thanks Holly), to meet the Wellington Central MP, Marian Hobbs, for lunch at Wholly Bagel. The friendly staff coped admirably with our ever-changing orders and were amazingly tolerant of our frequent furniture rearrangements.
After lunch we headed across the road to Vincent’s Art Workshop. Vincent’s is a place with a truly open door policy – while well used by people with mental health issues, everyone is welcome – anyone who’s feeling creative can go to make some art. We spent about three hours at the centre where we painted an exhibition space wall, cleaned up a little, and got a feel for what its like working in such a creative environment, and one overflowing with personality and talent. Thanks to Glen, Gus, Sam, Theo and the others for their hospitality and enthusiasm!
From Vincent’s we took our banner down to Cuba St Mall and continued to have it filled with messages from young people. The variety of messages never ceases to amaze. “I love Tuis” was our pick of the day by one of our younger contributors.
Dinner was at Masala where we were joined by Tim Barnett, the MP for Christchurch Central. Tim couldn’t stay long, it’s not a well known fact but he’s quite the Scribe and P Money fan. Following dinner we hit the streets with five large bags filled with condoms to distribute to New Year’s party goers in the city. By this time we were as cheerful as those on the streets and found ourselves in Civic Square counting down to the New Year. This was followed by the unavoidable dancing and singing to 80s hits [video to be posted shortly if I can smuggle out a copy - ed].
Today marks the end of an era. Murray, our trusty bus driver leaves us tonight. A heartfelt thanks to Muz who showed spirit and spunk in taming the beast of the Bedford. Legend has it she’s cracked many a driver. Not Muzza. Thanks too to Mrs Muzza (Kim) for releasing him for service, we couldn’t have got this far without him. Cheers from us all! – JOHNATHON