3 July, Dunedin

For the last three days Jan and Sarah have been preparing their trip to Wellington. They leave early this morning in Sarah's little Mini.

4 July

We are all set to go skiing at 3:00 as planned when Ross rings up and says he doesn't really want to go. So, there's a lot of fuss about whether we should go or not. Ross claims he is sort of committed to going to see Maxine in Invercargill. Instead, we play Scrabble and go on a tavern tour. First to Outram then Mosgil and then Fairfield. I am drinking like a madman - playing Thumpers, a drinking game. I make a real fool of myself. I try hitching home at one point, and then I'm caught taking a beer jug on the bus. Boy am I sick - they call it chunder here. I sleep in the cold for hours but am sober by the time the others drive home. Feel ace by the time we get back.

5 July

Ross goes to Invercargill. I swim with Lisa and do a jumble sale. By the evening I have a rotten headache. I sleep all night on the sofa while people come in and out - Lisa goes to the pictures with her squash partner.

8 July

Ross and I go to the beach. After half a jug or two and a game of Scrabble we decide to zip off to the peninsula - it was after midnight. First we go to Lover's Leap and then to Sandfly Bay but it is too dark to find the track. The car gets stuck in the mud and the boys have to push it but the wheel spins and covers them with - hee hee. Then we go to the chasm but Ross and Chris decide to 'rustle their windcheaters' in the back. Lisa and I wander down a bit and then decide to charade that I've broken my ankle. The others don't believ it so we just stay down their and have a smoko until they come looking for us. Lisa and Ross are crutching me back to the car when I break loose - they are not pleased. Next is the lighthouse which is quite a way - all the time the others are drinking beer - the two in the back fall asleep. But, when we get to the lighthouse, we find it is on private property and there are houses with lights on so we turn back and drive crazily home at 3:30 in the morning.

9 July

I go to Oamaru today, and see ten doctors - no long waits. A Canadian and Aussie share a house by the hospital where they are house surgeons.

10 July

I am supposed to go to Spanish classes but forget.

11 July

I go to a poor jumble sale, and a poor auction. A garage mechanic keeps me waiting for half an hour. I go to the bank, to Hallenstein for woolly socks, to the post office. We are due to leave at 3:00. Ross rings and says he can't make it until 5:00 so Chris, Lisa, Graham (he works as a technician at the phys ed school where Lisa studies) and I play Scrabble and booze. We feign drunkenness when Ross arrives, and I rip the blue pair of my Sally Army trousers running to the bog. Ross is not convinced I'm not pissed. We race into town to get his skis and then we are off, after. We eat in Milton and do a pub crawl, with log fires and ginger cats, on the way to Queenstown. The Skippers is worth a mention, as is the Clyde pub where we play some darts with the Maoris and drink until 10:45. On arriving in Queenstown we are cold and tired. We try a friend of Graham's, a pseudo lot, and then Ross decides to break into Maxine's crib (holiday shack). We light a fire and fall asleep crossways across the room.

12 July

Skiing - wow - pretty cool. It costs $4 to hire the gear, and $4 for a chairlift ticket. I spend all day Saturday getting my feet, walking up the slope and falling down. Ross and Graham are way off up the mountains. Lisa is a sort of expert beginner. By the end of the day I can ski straight snow plough but I can't turn any corners. I am sore and wet and cold.

13 July

I improve a lot. I can ski down from half way in 20 minutes with only ten falls. I see Carole and Liz. Lisa and Ross see all sorts of people they know. It's quite a whaz skiing, but it feels so unnatural with such big feet, and it can get damn cold when you forget to brush the snow off. There are thousands of people here and there is a 20 minute wait for a chair lift. I can almost turn after today.

15 July

I have a quick chat with Liz Begg at the hospital. She is attractive but a little haughty. In the accident and emergency quarters I talk with a few doctors, one of whom was Binny, the hubby or boyfriend of June, we chat about travelling again. I promised to visit. In the evening, I go to a medieval-to-contemporary festival of music, poetry and dance at the Allan Hall Theatre. I see Vicky's sister. Later I drink with Chris in the Cook who tells me that last Saturday he had rung me about June's party (Chris didn't go, but I would have done for sure) June is involved with the folk club and the Bush Band which I saw the other Sunday.

16 July

I drag myself out of bed, sit in the fire until warm, make sausages on toast, read paper, get dressed, go to the post office, go to the Toyota dealer to see about a car service (there's some funny business about the service booklet - I think Carole, the previous owner, has been telling a few fibs). I go to Wakari Hospital, and natter to Thompy, but there is nobody else to see. I check the lecture room to see if there's a psych lecture. Before going home I buy a birthday card for Mel and bump into Liz Begg again. Later I go across town to the Medical Centre, but the doctors are too busy, so I come back home again. I eat eggs and mash for lunch. At 1:45 I zip over to Wakari again, but again nobody can see me. In the psych department, I have one good long chat with a house surgeon called Malcolm Mus. I go home to write letters and reports. A telegram arrives from Mike. He wants to know where the No. 1 problem report for the conference is. So I work on that. People start arriving home. Doug goes to the shop a couple of times and cooks tea. Ross takes me to the post offic. A policeman visits about a no-lights offence I committed in Christchurch 100 years ago. A game of Scrabble with Jan that is very slow. I miss the news (I normally watch the news).

25 July

It's my final day in Timaru. My life is not exciting enough to fill the pages of this diary. I race up to Christchurch at the end of the day to Margaret's sister's house which she is taking over along with Clare and Peter and Vicky. Margaret is acting as one of the horses in Equus - so we go to see that. It's quite good but there is some weak acting. Afterwards we have a card party with lots of hot punch. I feel extrovert so have quite a good time. I sleep on the couch in the front room.

Saturday 26 July

I am up and reading hours before the others. Viv, Margaret's sister, is more interesting than her sister. She is a teacher and skier. I quite like her. Clare and Vicky are on teaching practice. Marg and I go to Jo's friend's flat. Jo, the Swiss guy, flies to London on Monday, and then on to Zurich. He and I whizz down to Dunedin keeping a sharp eye open for the cops. I pick up three hitch-hikers. One of them is an Aussie doctor, a practising Catholic. He stays the night with us, and promises to be more tolerant in future towards medical reps.

The hurry back to Dunedin (rather than stay the weekend in Christchurch) because of a folk evening at the university - I think it will be as good as last Sunday. Doug and Roger come with me but it's really terrible - the Bush Band play all night - there are too few people and the place looks empty - no atmosphere - the lady I am hoping will show doesn't - I dance scraggily.

Sunday 27 July

It is a bit of a rush to catch my plane - Ashok, Ryan, Mike and another new guy are all at the airport to meet me. Mike takes us to a hotel. I talk to Ryan about the job mostly until it's time to go to Annette's for drinks. A boring Sunday evening. Brian doesn't show his face and gets a bollocking for it later.

28 July

We are now being taught an advanced course - how to probe, close alert, etc etc. selling techniques. The evening is free, I go into town, to the Independent Theatre 'What the Butler Saw' by Jo Orton. I remember that I've seen this before, at the Casson in Cardiff. It isn't as good this time. Later I am running to catch the bus when a car pulls up and offers me a lift. The girl in the car says her boyfriend does things like this all time. I try to say I do too, but the guy has deaf ears.

29 July

We all (the whole of Sandoz NZ) go to the Jade Garden for Chinese food - good food and slightly more interesting chatter

30 July

This evening is the official opening of the Sandoz building - wholesalers, accountants, insurers, owners, neighbours, everyone is here. There is food and plenty of drink and it's all one hell of a drag. Mary and Annette drift off, and Les says we can go too. So about 8:30 we vamoose.

31 July

I get a bollocking for leaving the party early. Gordon and Mike both have a word about my attitude again. We are learning about to how to apply the new techniques to Visken etc, and about problem solving. Mike is very enthusiastic, and he's certain he's got the best sales force in the field. I can only laugh looking around at the motley crew. The evening is free. I borrow Brian's car and whizz into the university where there are various things going on including a folk gathering. I have a short yarn with a Pom who came overland very much in my style - hitching and going off north and south.

August 1975

Paul K Lyons


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