Max and Paddy Ride Again……

Max(ine) and Paddy were on their jollies. The evil Brian Potter had given them a whole year off the doors at The Phoenix, and so they’d taken to the road in New Zealand. They soon settled into a routine, Paddy driving, and Max…. well Max had worn a very deep groove in the passenger seat. But both were happy with this situation (there was no way Paddy was going to let Max drive, who had never driven an automatic before) and Paddy was surprisingly enjoying the Burstner i300’s tiptronic gear box.
A routine had been established, and this usually started with Paddy climbing over Max at about 5am to go for a wee, and hence waking Max up. But once Paddy was awake, that was it – up, up ,up and away! So Max was rudely kicked out of bed and told to prepare. For the day ahead. Such was Paddy’s enthusiasm that he made Max a cup of tea every morning. Paddy was then out of the van watching stunning sunrises and smoking ceaselessly while Max eased herself into the ardures ahead. Ever since Paddy had foolishly passed under those low branches and severed the TV’s aerial there was no breakfast telly for Max. So Max had to make do with New Zealand radio. And New Zealand radio is actually worse than English hospital radio. In fact, it’s even worse than Radio 1 if you can imagine that. Local New Zealand radio is generally made by amateur idiots who have no clue about broadcasting. But on the positive side, musically it was like listening permanently to an 80s radio show. Brilliantly, the adverts for local shops were on a par with listening to a 4yr olds idea of self promotion. Even Paddy fancied he could get a job as an radio-actor over here.
Max and Paddy would consult the weather forecast on a daily basis, and generally head for the sun. So currently this meant the east coast. However, a small sojourn further north to Abel Tasman had introduced them to the terrible demonic nerve-wrecking destructive qualities of the New Zealand sandfly. My God! Paddy had once thought the Scottish midge to be bad, but that had no comparison to this ceaseless blood-sucking parasite! It was worse than Theresa May!!! Only tonight (and too late) had Max and Paddy read the “Sandfly” chapter in their guide book, which starts – “Sandflies on the South Island are HORRID. No two ways about it, they are awful and will drive you mad within a week!” Bloody hell! Paddy was used to being eaten alive by every insect previously known to man, but these were something else!! Even Max’s feet were now looking like a baboons arse…. In a desperate attempt at comfort, today they had spent a massive part of their meagre budget on 80% Deet. The next thing to buy would be a tenon saw to carve all four feet off in a desperate attempt for some relief……
But still. It’s better than working, and the itching is still a minor irritation compared to a General Election….
As the morning progresses, Max and Paddy normally stop at a cafe in some picturesque spot for a Flat White (formerly known as “a coffee”) and the chance to use some free wifi. Wifi in NZ generally costs the same as a 6 bedroom detached house in Mayfair.
A later stop will usually take place at Pak n Save (NZs equivalent of Asda) for restocking of necessities such as beer. And cigarettes. If desperate, they may buy some food too. But the most important item is always the “Beer of the day”.
Normally, a camping spot has been chosen ahead, and Max and Paddy like to reach it by 3ish at the very latest. This gives them the chance to settle in, and assess the chosen “beer of the day”.
Later on, Paddy is turfed out of the van by Max in order to bbq whatever meat has been purchased. Cruelly, this always takes place at dusk, the very peak activity time of the starving Sandflies. Paddy now has to protectively dress accordingly. And because it’s dark, he also has the need for a head torch. This gives him the demented look of a cross between a nuclear biologist and a crazed gynaecologist. Max sits in the van, smugly pretending she doesn’t know what all the fuss is about……
Paddy has a strange obsession with seeing seals in the wild. His obsession is being well sated.
Max has a strange obsession with filling the chemical-toilet up to its limits, and then watching Paddy empty it. Her obsession is being well sated.
Max and Paddy often write to their South American cousins, Paolo and Carlotta. That’s just a completely different world…….
But. It’s still the very very greatest life that Max and Paddy have ever known, and New Zealand is just as amazing, if not more so in a different way, than South America. And until the dreaded day comes around that they have to take on the duty of The Phoenix’s doors again, all will be well.

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