THE DIARIES OF PAUL K LYONS - 1975
I was evacuated from Darwin, and spent a month at a quarantine station in Manly, Sydney, with glorious views over the bay, care of the Australian government. But it was too hot for me, so I flew to Christchurch, New Zealand, and set about looking for a job. (Having arrived in Australia/New Zealand before the end of 1974, when the law changed, I was entitled as a British citizen to work without needing a visa or permit.). Luck was very much on my side, when, before long, I landed a position as medical representative, based in Dunedin. The job came with a new car, a whacking salary (for a hippy traveller!), and little in the way of direct supervision (my bosses being in Auckland). And - can you believe it - the job actually obliged me to travel regularly throughout the south of the South Island, visiting GPs wherever I could find them (to explain the benefits of Sandoz pharmaceuticals).
In Dunedin, I quickly found a room in a shared flat, close to a beach, and I signed up for the local folk club. I acquired a bicycle and a beautiful ginger/white kitten. I called her Ginquin, and she rode around with me at the weekend - whether on the bike or hitchhiking - in a woollen shoulder bag, her cute little head poking out. The year was full of adventures, exploration and discovery, more Enid Blyton it has to be said than Ranulph Fiennes. But, at last, I was starting to mature, to blossom even, and, finally, I lost my virginity. I could not have been further away on earth from home, but also I could not have been in a place more stunningly beautiful. A near-empty paradise of rolling green hills, pastured and forested; of craggy snow and/or glacier-capped mountains with adjacent ski fields; a myriad of picturesque beaches and coves.
Diary 2 covers the extent of my stay in Dunedin, from March 1975 to February 1976, and it shows the extent of my blossoming, as it were, in that poetry competes for space in the pages with news of my bustling social life.
Paul K. Lyons (September 2007)