North & South


All great missions begin with a chunder.

This is what’s known in the trade as a killer intro – and grudgingly, I have to admit my husband had nailed it.

That’s the problem about travelling with a fellow journalist; it breeds a certain competitive approach to Face-book posts. Still, at last count, my perky report (“Well, that was a pretty memorable birthday!”) was narrowly ahead on “likes”. Not that either of us is counting.

It might have been the result of a little over-indulgence at my splendid pre-birthday dinner at Social Kitchen in New Plymouth the night before, where the evening was bookended nicely by a “Juno Know What I Mean” cocktail to start, made with locally distilled Juno Gin, and a baked cheesecake with torched marshmallow and lemon curd to finish. Or it might have been the way I catapulted out of bed like a bolt of lightning when the alarm went off at 6am, and spent the next hour feeling a little odd, with my sense of balance decidedly off-kilter. Either way, the poor shuttle driver transporting us to the drop-off point had barely navigated a couple of inner-city blocks before I had to exit the van, stage left – neatly redepositing my breakfast into the paper bag from whence it came.

Our guide for the day, Katrina Shepherd, must have wondered if she’d need the rescue helicopter on speed-dial, or whether it would be possible to piggyback me out if I collapsed somewhere

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