Minnie de Moocher.

Hey, folks here’s a story ‘bout Minnie de Moocher. This time she is no whorrrrre de – coocher, but a German traveller that I seem to have had passed on to me by two other travellers. If you have been following my previous blogs, you’ll know that I walked the Queen Chazza Trail with three Germans. I thought that it was slightly odd that all of them, two blokes and a lass, were sleeping in a tent that was only just big enough for two, provided they didn’t mind the risk they’d end up spooning each other. But when there are three, the only way they could possibly fit inside together and maintain personal space was if they dug beneath, and created bunk bed style shelves in the wall.  Since there was no tell tale sign of earth moving equipment or a pile of dugout soil, I assumed they must have been very good friends. It turned out though, that the two guys (Jabba and, err, lets call him Hans) were travelling together and had picked up Francine, (but from now I’m calling her Minnie) in Picton.

She had met them at one of the hostels and had discovered that they were travelling toward the top of the South Island. Would it be possible if she shared the journey with them, help cut down the fuel bill, and other expenses? “Yes, hop aboard!” they cried, pleased for the help with their mounting petroleum addiction. My, they thought as she clambered aboard their small estate car, what a lot of luggage she has. Indeed, there was vast amount of luggage that Mini hauled with her, a ruck sack as large as she, a bursting bag of dirty laundry and even a bag full of books and maps. Wrapped over all of this was a tomato red, Arctic ready sleeping bag. How could one as small as she manage to carry such a load, Jabba and Hans pondered as the suspension groaned beneath the extra weight. Halfway through their journey, Hans announced that he and Jabba would like to hike the Queen Charlotte Trail, and would Minnie care to join them? This put Minnie off somewhat, for she wanted to keep going toward the fabled Golden Coast, said to be north of the Abel Tasman Wilderness. “Will we be there for long?” she enquired of the two.

“Nay,” said they “but a day we shall be. Tonight we camp and tomorrow we hike, then ‘tis off to the nearest town for a hot bath and a pie!” They were all agreed, and toward a likely looking place on the map called Cow Shed Bay, to set up and camp for a day.

When the trio arrived, and camp was set, t’was Minnie they found to be with out a bed. “Oh no,” she cried, “What shall I do?” This problem they puzzled until one brave lad cried

“Thou shalt kip with us, the space may be tight but we’ll get by, and tomorrow to the trail we’ll fly! Oh look, who is this chap? A bewildered wanderer, driving and trying to read a map!”

This is the bit I turn up and have already explained, so I’ll drop the ye olde English and get back to the point (Note to self, never write your blog whilst drinking extra strong Scrumpy).

After the hike we stopped in a pub, Jabba (yep, his real name) got offered a job and had to go back toward Picton the next day. This meant Minnie needed a ride. I sort of knew what was coming and was happy to take her, I had already talked to her about hitchhikers and fuel etc, but I was waiting to be asked. I didn’t know what was happening, she was always fidgeting with her phone. I got my answer the next morning, a banging on my window. At first I thought it was probably the Ranger coming around, because I hadn’t filled in my payment slip properly. But no, it was Minnie. Jabba and Hans had gone early to avoid him, but I wanted to lay in, so had paid the camping fee.

They had left her, with her mountain of stuff, hanging around in the spot they had pitched on. She had gotten bored of waiting for me to wake up so decided to do so herself. At seven thirty in the sodding AM. We both needed showers, laundrette etc, and we agreed to find these things in a hostel. “We should find a big one, then they don’t notice if you use their showers, then we can carry on.” she suggested. I raised an eyebrow at that, I wanted to save cash and had often thought that it would be dead easy to do, but I’m just too…honest. After the palaver in Havelock, we drove to Nelson. For some strange reason my music player had stopped working and hers was the only source of sound we had. (God, why didn’t she have some music I liked, most of her’s was in Spanish!)

When we reached Nelson, we found a hostel called “Paradiso”, a stop off place for the tour buses that go around. I could’t be arsed to carry on driving so having found the out the price just to park in the car park, I decided to stay there. Minnie didn’t like this, and was instantly looking for someone to continue her travels with. I reminded her of the fuel, only about NZ$12.00. “Wow, that is a lot. We need to find two or three more people to share.” So she drew up a poster advertising that I had three spaces and drew a list of the destinations I was heading! I had not even heard of some of them!

The next day, after enjoying the first night there, I decided to spend a second night and go and see the city. All that day, Minnie spent talking to people about travelling with them. She did get together with a German bunch and I thought that that would be the last I saw of her. On the third day, I was getting ready to go, but had to get her things out of the van. “Oh, are you going toward Golden Bay?” I said I was, and when are you getting your things out of the van? “My friend is not yet awake, he was in a nightclub until very late. But if you are going, maybe I can ride with you and meet him later? I was getting a bit annoyed with her by now, I was starting to feel used. I reminded her of the fuel bill, seeing if this would put her off. But no, she said she’d contribute so off we went again. My music had started working again, thank God.

By the time we got to Kaiteriteri, the fuel bill I worked out at NZ$25.00. “Very expensive, isn’t it?” says she. The first thing she did, literally after I had parked, was go to the first camper van she saw and ask which way they were headed! Then she just wandered off, leaving me with all her things. I got myself sorted in a campsite and waited for the phone to ring with her enquiring where I was. I was damned if I was going to call her. She had met up with some lads from the hostel, and was headed back there with them. “I can get to the Bay tomorrow with them, there are four of them and it will be cheaper for me, I think.” I said fine, but you still owe me for the fuel. I was waiting for the inevitable. “Oh, I do not have any cash on me. It is all on my card. Maybe when I see you, or when you travel down the West coast, I can get it for you then?” And there it was. I had been used like a bus and now she was getting off because the fare was too high. I wasn’t even surprised. I watched while she transferred her things into a second car, occupied by four of the lads I had seen at the hostel. When she had done they could barely shut the boot lid. Feeling miffed, I began to set up my bed for when I got back from the pub, it was a Saturday night after all. That is when I found a tomato red, Arctic ready sleeping bag, folded away with my mattress. That’ll do nicely instead of cash Minnie, I thought to myself grinning from ear to ear.

Poor Min, poor Min, Poooooorrrrr Miiiiinnnnn!!!!

Mini count:- 13

Sorry, once again, no pics because of slow internet and limited time!

About Steven R Harrison

Greetings! Thank you for having a look at my blog. On here you will find my epic adventure around New Zealand that I undertook in 2011-12, now available to buy with more pictures and in hard back entitled 'Blogs, Bikes & Jelly Beans' from Lulu.com and Amazon. Since returning to Blighty I have been writing my next novel, Attack of the Atomic Airships, which will soon be available to buy from all the usual channels. For now though, since my travelling days are 'on hold' for the time being, I hope you will enjoy some 'Flash Fiction,' that is, fiction of around 1000 words or less. The subjects are varied, but usually gravitate toward SF. The first one is called Continue? Yes / No. I hope you enjoy it!
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