Saturday, January 27, 2007

Who Cut The Cheese?

I’ve given Wellington the boot, along with Kenny, my road manager, after he rather ostentatiously chucked his Glo-Mesh on the shag pile over the type of mineral water being served at our luxury hotel.

Hence I’ve washed up here in Rotorua (try getting Wossie to say that), aka Fartopolis, in the thermal springs region of NZ’s north island.

Situated in the crater of a volcano, surrounded by whiffy old geysers, polite excuses such as: ‘Oops, I’m sorry, that must have been the dog’ are rendered entirely unnecessary in Rotorua. A bit like Boredstares Harbour after they’ve scraped all the sand away and flogged it to builders for 50p a ton.

This is Rotorua’s splendid Thermal Bathing Hospital. Opened in 1908, the gaff fell into disrepair when NZ’s NHS pulled out in the late 60s. It’s been restored, however, in the last 15 years or so, and is now luxury apartments. No, er, sorry, getting a bit confused there, it’s actually a beautiful public museum, gallery, and cafe.

These magnificent gardens have been here since Edwardian times, as have the bowling greens. Bit like Ellington Park, eh? Er, no, still a bit disorientated there.

Ah, now, here’s a memorial to some brave chap who died in the Boer War. Note the nose chopped off, various graffiti, er... nope.

Public works of art abound, and this one proves it’s possible to make a joke in Maori. Commissioned for the Millennium, it’s called ‘Waitukei’ (Y2K – geddit!?!?!!).

Blimey, NZ’s having a bit of a reactionary effect on me. I’m beginning to sound like one of those Thanet Lifers over on Dr Biggles’s blog. How is it, though, that a country which ranks a mere 34th in the world economic league, can put so much effort and resources into keeping its towns, parks and public spaces in such tip top condition, and all we can manage are luxury apartments, knackered khazis, car parks instead of pools and a derelict M&S?

Answers on a post card please to:

Richard Eastcliff
The Old Buffers' Home

No comments: