Parapets and ANZACs

Having finally got the front door code and decided that the new shoes needed an airing, I left the relative safety of 37b to walk into the town of Methven. Past the beautiful wildflower meadow with the white horse and the distant mountains, adorned with a large handwritten “Free Horse Poo” sign, (2 Dollars per bag scribbled out).

Aiming for the smart Memorial Hall with its I-Hub, I sauntered along the hot pavement, walking on my memory foam in a cautious pair of socks. The female assistant, barely visible behind the counter, popped her head above the parapet and assessed me with a practised gaze. “Browsing?” She said helpfully, but it was really an order.   So I browsed the curly leaflets dating back to 2019 (not their fault – it’s the pandemic…).

There was a big sign saying “Art Gallery”.  Always up for a bit of art, I wandered lonely as a cloud into the hall, peering at empty passageways and closed doors. Instead of art I found an interesting ANZAC display about local people, and a few poppies. There was even a creepy manikin dressed in some sort of flying uniform. This was carefully placed behind a door so it was able to surprise visitors interactively as they entered or turned to leave.  

Browsing politely, I realised that the art was scattered at long tasteful intervals in the corridors. Some of the pictures were even adorned with prices in the hopeful 200 Dollars range. Having spent a reasonable amount of time perusing these works of art,  I returned to the I-Hub where parapet woman had been joined by a mate and was enjoying a chin-wag, paying no attention to the elderly couple who were unfolding maps in the corner and getting in a muddle.  I clutched my leaflets and perfected my browsing mode some more by admiring Bill Irwin photographs, home made knitted woolly hats and various types of locally made soap.

At last I decided that I must approach the desk. My lurking presence was acknowledged.

“I am looking for information about the Transalpine Train,” I asked in a non threatening and conversational way. “Is it a good idea to look online?” BIG MISTAKE.

“Oh yis, it probably is!” Came the reply, but as I showed no sign of withdrawing into Browse mode, she remembered that she was at work and turned to the computer hidden ingeniously in the desk. “I suppose I can have a look”. Her friend turned out to be even more helpful than the computer and by the time I left I had been assured that I would not want to stay at Greymouth (said with a grimace) for a whole night and would be much better hiring a car to drive to the Pancake Rocks and staying there instead. I left with humble expressions of gratitude.

Methven, Canterbury Plains

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