Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Dear Susan,

Further to my holiday series, I just remembered a wonderful trip I had to Norfolk Island. Our dear friend Sally invited me to be her assistant tour guide to twenty... eighty-plus, hearing, sight, culturally challenged seniors.
Norfolk Island is commonly known as the paradise for the Newly Wed and the Nearly Dead. At the end of the eight-day trip, I belonged to the latter group.

I met some wonderful people in the tour group like beautiful Katrina who had escaped from a home for the terminally 'inane'. She liked to ask endless questions of the local guides.

" Who owns the chickens?"
"No one."
"Someone has to own them."
"No no one owns them; they're feral chickens."
"Where do they lay their eggs?"
"Anywhere they like."
"Who collects the eggs?"
"The feral farmers!!!!"

Tour guides have to have all the answers.
 Beautiful Katrina had had a hip replacement. I know because she showed me her scar.

Norm was the eighty-four-year-old adventurer. He would try anything once. As soon as we reached the hotel Norm stripped down to his budgie smugglers and dived straight into the pool. His hearing aids didn't like swimming so Norm spent the next seven days lip reading and shouting at everyone. His spirit of adventure flagged a little on Italian Night. Having never ever experienced anything more culinary than a lamb chop with carrots, potatoes and peas. He was confused by the choices of three entrees three mains and three desserts, all of which involved an Italian flavour. Finally, he settled on the soup and a small serve of the LA SAG KNEE. In deference to the waiter serving Norm, I suggested he have pears for dessert because I didn't want to hear what Norm would do to the word TIRAMASU. Norm's wife ordered the spaghetti and complained because they served her 'bloody pasta'. She'd expected a tin of  Heinz and a can opener.

Maria was the group's hypochondriac and spent more time in the hospital than she did at the hotel. She came down with Norfolk Island Nervosa which had her excreting liquid from every bodily orifice as she lay on the pristine bathroom floor of Fletcher Christian's great great great very repulsedgranddaughter.Maria put her regurgitation down to the scrambled eggs she'd had for breakfast. Sure the eggs were from feral hens and collected by feral farmers but I had another theory. I think Maria took ill because she'd eaten her eggs, spent three hours hatless in the midday sun, gone for a walk and missed lunch, arrived back at the hotel and thought she'd join Mary for a drink before dinner. Maria didn't like the taste of alcohol so she sampled Mary's  'Sex on the Beach' cocktail and decided that the mixed drinks were quite palatable. Three 'Orgasms' and two 'Bounty Bombs' later Maria staggered out to the bus. It was about thirty minutes later that she wasn't feeling well. Call me cynical but I don't think feral eggs were Maria's problem.

Joy was not, as her name would imply, a bundle of it. She had forgotten to pack her Prozac. She'd got lost in Sydney airport and had to be removed by two armed guards. And that was before Border Force. She was never on time for the shuttle bus and after three days we all chipped in and sent her to the infirmary for a new prescription of mood enhancers. Nothing much changed. She was just more relaxed about being late. After six days the rest of us went to the infirmary for a Prozac prescription so we could endure Joy.

Norfolk Islanders are quaint. Your Christian name can be Antonio or Guido as long as your surname is Christian. They delight in their past to the point where they dress up in period costume every week and re-enact floggings, dysentery, scurvy, keel hauling, and hangings. They love their Norfolk Pines, their cows, their feral chooks, their ancestry, their ruins their funny convict nights and Wednesdays. The town closes at midday on Wednesdays so everyone can go down to the pier and watch the supply ship unload. The merchandise is delivered to the local shops and on Thursday the population can go shopping for anything produced before 1958.

I'm not saying I  wouldn't go back there. It's just that I want to see so many other places like Kabul, North Korea and Rookwood cemetery.

I do have some more stories of my horrordays but I'll send them later. I have some ladies coming over for afternoon tea and I have to whip up a dip

Love Janet

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