Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Mount

This is the second installment of my Easter Break.  You might want to read the first installment before starting this.

After all that eating of fish and chips and failing to dance some members of the group decided that the only course of action was to walk it all off.  Let me show you a photo of Mt Maunganui and let you come up with your own idea of where we might be walking to.

Yes.  In this picture of downtown Mt Maunganui (just across the bay from Tauranga) the most prominent feature is The Mount itself.  No argument was to be brooked - to the summit we would climb.

Please don't be mislead by my military career.  I am not a soldier - I fix planes for a living.  A couple of push-ups and a deep breath does not seriously constitute a healthy fitness regime.  (Although, lets be honest it's better than nothing at all.  I really should get fit.)  I decided to compensate for my slow progress by singing.  This would be my excuse.  "I couldn't climb fast - I needed my breath for singing!"  I hoped no one would tell me to stop.  The Agent managed to be in front the whole time - running parts - in bloody knee-high dress boots.  I swear to God, that woman is trouble!  Somewhere near the top I swapped out song for poetry.  Not because I ran out of songs (or breath) but because I felt like Sam needed a bit of congratulations for his stirling effort.  The poem was my favourite (and one of two which I can recite by heart) - Rudyard Kipling's If.

Reaching the summit made me feel as though I had earned my greasy dinner.  It was only a shame that the day was so dreary.  We'd hoped to watch the sunset from the top - and we could have if it had been sunny.

When we descended again to the base it was decided we would go back to the backpackers and drink and play games.  Apparently they'd all played pick-up-sticks the night before, but I had something more challenging in mind.

See my other Cthulhu blog entry here.

It's one of those games which is very tricky to get your head around, but once you've got the hang of it there's only fun to be had.  It's a comical game, and cheating is never looked down upon.  Neither is bargaining and ganging up on people.  In the words of Monty Python's Beard Salesman: "You have to haggle!"
To be honest, this was one trick Trouble (intent on world domination) didn't quite get the hang of.  In the end it didn't matter cos we'd all had too many ports & wines & glasses of evil to concentrate properly. I grew bored of always explaining the rules (it's easier when more people teach less, instead of one teaching three) and we ended up talking into the night instead.

The next morning was ANZAC Day.

For my foreign readers, ANZAC day is the day we take to remember the sacrifice of the men and women who have given their lives fighting in war.  It is not a day to glorify war - or their sacrifice, but a day to bow our heads in respect for those who fell, and to acknowledge that we must never forget the cost of war.  ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps.  At the beginning of the 20th Century Australia and New Zealand fought together for His Majesties Forces, and today the word 'Anzac' is still used to portray any joint venture between these two great countries.  It no longer has to be specific to our respective armies.  But back to the present.
I had packed my dress-uniform for the ceremony and despite my inebriated evening still managed to haul my arse out of bed at about 0500 in the morning.  Trouble joined me (she made me a cup of tea and everything, I take back everything I ever said about her... !!) and when I was all uniformed-up we drove to the cenotaph.

It was raining, but the ceremony went ahead because it was never going to be otherwise.  The cenotaph was guarded by ATC cadets who conducted themselves to the credit of their squadron.  I was not in the parade (for the first time) and was very moved to see the veterans marching past for the service.

Normally the service is timed so that the Last Post, Prayers and Reveille occur as the sun rises over the ocean.  This year there was no sunrise, but the sound of waves on the beach and the sky lightning around us was still very moving and, oddly, peaceful.  We were even treated to a fly-past.

Normally I would have finished the service with a trip to the RSA to take the time to speak to veterans and friends, have a hot toddy and whatever else they might be serving behind the bar.  (Hey, it's our culture to drink, and we're drinking to the fallen.  It wouldn't be the same otherwise.)  But this day I wasn't going to know anyone else there, and Trouble wasn't too keen so we headed back to the backpackers.  At this point it was still 0645 and the building was dead quiet.  She curled up on the couch for a sleep and I watched Anzac programs on the television.  My Great Auntie Mae was on the breakfast show.  (I have just searched for videos of it on the 'net but alas, it is not to be.)

Aaand that is pretty much the end of the exciting-ness of a trip to the Mount for Easter.  The rest of the day was dreary, so was spent relaxing about the backpackers and wandering around the shops downtown.  In the afternoon Trouble and I went for a wander onto one of the little peninsulas you see in the picture I took from the summit.  We caught a movie (Suckerpunch, not that great but not too bad either.) and went to bed early.  Tuesday was the drive home and I had work in the evening so we didn't really stop to be tourists.  Maybe in the next post I will show you the LPs I bought in the second hand store.

So that's it - my Easter is all gone now and it's back to the grindstone.  Which reminds me - I have to go get ready for work.  Again.


Maalie said...

A great post Sez!

Sez said...

Thanks Maalie :D

Nick Ward said...

Smart, fun and filled with big helpings of "you" great writing!