Perfect holiday: a view of the sea, and a potty
Last updated 11:35 03/04/2011
You should see what I can see. I am on holiday. Three perfect days of holiday. Away from the concerns of work, earthquakes and a hospitalised mother-and-sister set.
It's possible no-one ever had it as good as me right now. I'm at the bottom of the South Island, in a place just out of Invercargill called Awarua Bay.
I'm here because one of my oldest and dearest friends, Yvee, has moved out of the metropolis known as Invercargill to a crib (bach to those of us north of the Waitaki River) with her girlfriend, two dogs, a cat and the newest additions to their family - three sheep which will come to be known as Lawn Mower, Lunch and Roast.
They're like Tom and Barbara off that old TV show The Good Life but gay.
I'm enjoying the peace and quiet after what we can all agree has been a pretty hectic and traumatic time.
Yvee and Lee's crib looks out to the sea along a stony beach, and if you ignore the hum, you can almost imagine the Tiwai smelter is nothing but a pretty lighthouse.
Yvee and Lee are living in their crib and I'm in the freshly painted and carpeted sleepout, toasty warm under a crippling four duvets and two blankets (they know I like to be warm at night).
I'm so far away from city life that relaxation is being forced upon me.
The closest I get to work is writing this column, but I'm sitting up in bed with the keyboard at my fingertips and my view is spectacular.
This morning, Yvee delivered her computer and pulled back the curtains.
To be fair, I was a little sleepy still but the first thing I said was, "Oh no, there's a fire."
That "fire" was only the most blazing orange sunrise through the trees. It's gone now and I'll be a little late in delivering this column but it was worth it just to stop and watch the colour fade.
The closest I've been to an aftershock was last night when a log of wood slipped in the fire. The log was only re-settling its position after burning, but Yvee saw the brief look of high alert in my eyes.
This state of high alert was soon dimmed with red wine.
The closest I can get to worrying about my unwell mum and sister is a crackling phone call as I roam the property for clear reception.
I am in generator-powered heaven.
But it would be out of character to accept this full joy and end on a high note. I've got one or two complaints that I'd like to air with the management of my rustic hotel.
The Good Life comes with a composting toilet. As a person now termed an "earthquake survivor" I suppose I should be accustomed to dealing with ablutions in all sorts of manners.
However, Yvee is laying down rules I'm finding complicated. I won't be too graphic but we have to do things that involve scattering sawdust and burning toilet paper.
If this is what we must do to save the planet, I'll do it but I can't say I like it.
Complaint number two, the hotel management (Yvee) rang a few days before my flight.
"Can you pick up a piece of pottery I bought off Trade Me please? It'll just be carry-on luggage," she says.
So I picked up the item, only to find it wasn't exactly "pottery" as such, more precisely, it was a potty.
And as airport customs X-rayed my carry-on luggage with such wonderfully professional poker faces, I couldn't help but ask: "Did you see what was in there?"
"Yes," they said. "But you're leaving Christchurch, you shouldn't need anything like that elsewhere."
My thoughts exactly, but hotel management has stashed the potty in the corner of my room.
And on that note, I must extract myself from this restrictive number of blankets and ask hotel management what's next on my relaxing agenda.
- The Press