PAUL K LYONS
JOURNAL - 1975 - JUNE
At about 7:30 I go out for a run on the beach with Doug, one of my flatmates, a medical student - we run as far as the rocks - it is cold and tiring but good. Later I go with Lisa (another flatmate) to a jumble sale and to a pottery exhibition, and then have a long talk with Doug. In afternoon I write letters to Gwenda, Home, and Jamie. Stay at home in the evening reading or so - Lisa, friend and Doug bring some beer back and we watch an old movie 'Georgie Girl' and fall asleep in front of the fire.
Sunday 8 June
A walk and talk and picture-taking with Doug on the beach. Sarah cooks a good lunch. Doug is always working, Sarah is moping, Jan is always complaining, Lisa talks a lot. Nobody wants to go to Lanarch Castle so I go off hitching alone. The castle is small. I walk around and over the hills running from cows, getting dirty - some fine views of the peninsula with bays on both sides.
I am on the road again, but this time in a fast car and dressed in a suit and satying in motels with TVs and electric blankets. I chat to a chemist and a doctor and then zoom off to Alexandra for more appointments. I'm not feeling clean and sharp but dirty and dull. I drive to the look-out and check out the ranges - The Remarkables - they are quite interesting. I play a little darts and watch telly. In the UK, 67% to 33% voted to stay in the EC.
A good chat with Dr Pezaro in Wanaka and then I drive on to Queenstown - a really beautiful place - blue lake and snowy mountains. I only have one appointment, then bum from coffee bar to bar drinking and reading. I meet briefly some Australian nurses who gave me a lift once from Christchurch to Dunedin. I am bored and so go back to the motel and watch television - a good documentary on the DC10 that crashed because the cargo door came off.
I wander around Queenstown in the morning - really beautiful and cold. I talk to another Canadian doctor who is travelling around too. I race back to Alexandra but can't get an appointment to see the Yugoslav doctor and fat nurse. I manage one doctor at Tapanui and head home.
Gore is a dump. My highlight of the day is drinking a shandy at the Falls motel in Mataura, where freezing workers drink their wages away, where middle-aged women have cigarettes hanging out their mouths, where there are mountains of ash and spilled beer and missed pool shots.
I'm up at 7:30 and race to Lawrence, I wait in the waiting room but the doctor hasn't got time to see me because he pranged his car last night. I hit the road to Milton, make another appointment, breakfast, shoot through to Balclatha Hospital, where I have a long chat with Pierre Lalme (a Canadian who came overland about the same time as me and is going to South Africa at the end of the year). I suss out the chemists and library and return to the hospital where I sit around for quite a while. Two doctors ask me to join them for coffee, and we have a long discussion on all the Sandoz drugs. They invite me to join them for lunch but I have to see more doctors. All in all, I see eight doctors today. When I get home there is nobody here, but there are concrete ramps everywhere. Doug cooks a typical NZ Asian meal. I watch a lot of TV, then go to the Cook where I natter to Chris about computers. All Blacks beat Scotland 24-0.
I read a little to start the day, then ride into town without shoes on - shit, it got cold for my tootsies - to a jumble sale where I buy a jumper. On the way back, I am shouting over and over again 'feet don't die' louder and louder. I watch a bit of table tennis and squash and rugby, and do some painting. I'm sitting listening to Joni. Clare and Vicky are supposed to be coming down to Dunedin this weekend but they haven't contacted me yet. I go for a run on the beach. At the Fortune Theatre, I see Absurd Person Singular which is very funny. After the theatre, we go to Lisa's sister's flatmates 21st birthday party. I talk to a few Home Science ladies and to Sarah (Jan's paid assistant) about her desire to meet a rich man. We conduct a short survey: 'Do you respect the rich, yes or no?" There are more no's than yes's. I feel easy and enjoy myself. Toward the end, after Lisa and Sarah have gone, there is a heated argument between a couple of photographers - a mock Pom-versus-Kiwi battle.
It feels so good to be in the warm because it is snowing and raining outside. It's just the sort of day to write letters and get my diary up to date. I try a bit of painting and Ross has a go too, but we both end up with slates of brown.
23 June, Invercargill
Oh, the joys of travel and finding there are five other reps in town and none of doctors can't see me - what a hassle. I end up seeing a diagnostic radiologist and hanging around the hospital. There is a pretty girl with a fine smile at the Southland Hospital Board who gives me the names of the geriatric homes. All day I am thinking I should go back and ask her out - but no, I don't, I must be really stupid. In the evening, I see the film Romeo and Juliet - Olivia Hussey looks really beautiful in the film.
There's a lot of Ceylonese doctors in Invercargill, no Indians but maybe 10 Ceylonese doctors. The day goes quite well. I go to some excerpts of opera (La Traviata and La Boheme) at the Civic Theatre - part of Concert 75. Opera always sends me to sleep (I recall the Rise and Fall of Arturo Ui at the Sydney Opera House). All the leading ladies from Invercargill are here in their furs.
I race up to Winton and out to Bluff only to find that the doctor is on Stewart Island. Bluff is pretty dead - three pubs but none looked interesting. Invercargill isn't a bad place, some interesting old churches and some pleasant parks. I visit the art gallery in an old large house outside the town in the middle of a small forest - it's a deserted place with not much art but it is quiet and I heard my footsteps all over the house. In the evening I go to the White House Tavern where young lovers go to listen to the band on a balcony. I watch one hell of a stupid film and finish a library book on Maori legends with some interesting paintings.
This diary is getting so boring, no landscapes, no poems, no people sketches. Life is very steady and full of every day occurrences. Now, I lie in this motel room in Te Anau, wishing I was on the road. Earlier I visited the Youth Hostel and stayed listening to the travel talk. I was walking with one guy on my way back to the hotel, he asked me what I do, I said I was a traveller and he said, we all are. I picked up a couple of hitch-hikers which made me happy. I also had a couple of close calls with the traffic cops. But what am I to do de-bore this diary. I just read the beginning again 'Here beginneth the 2nd book of travels of Paul Lyons', well fine travels they are ha ha, in and out of motel rooms and doctors waiting rooms.
The mountains and lake are so beautiful this morning as the sun is rising into the clear sky. The moon becomes more and more invisible and faint as it disappears behind the snowy mountains. All day snow-covered ranges of mountains are visible, either in the foreground or background. It really is all so beautiful, it reminds me of the Himalayas. After a good chat to a young Ceylonese doctor at Te Anau I race to Tuatapere for an appointment there, and then on to other appointments. All day, it's race race race. Then, I race, race, wanting to get home, but have to slam on the anchors when I see a cop. I'm going to get caught soon without a doubt and then I'll lose my licence. A drink or two at the Cook with Chris. I play scrabble till 3:00 or 4:00, and then I go for a walk on beach. Letters to Maya, Des, and Jo and Rog.
A very, very ordinary Saturday. I go to a jumble sale, clean the car, eat fish and chips for lunch. In the evening I go for a drink a the Cook and talk to Chris about oil painting.
Sarah, Ross and I whizz off to the peninsula to watch some motor cross, quite exciting. I also trip to the peninsula end and pay $2 to see an albatross colony. What a rip off - there are steep cliffs, and shags around the rocks but no albatrosses. We drive back via Highcliff road and visit the Chasm and Lover's Leap, the latter being quite spectacular with sea rushing in under a rock arch.
Mike is down for three days. I meet him at the station, take him to the motel and breakfast with him. I explain about the lack of work to do and talked through a few of my interviews. Later I have drinks at Mike's hotel, meet Trevor Scott, one of my predecessors in this job, and Roger Wilson who used to be Carol's boyfriend. Letters to Phil, Maya, Home, Julian, Colin.
Paul K Lyons
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