The original plan for the day was to high-tail it to Turangi for the night, but after the burn from yesterday I thought better of it. I need better protection, I needed a shirt, which meant I needed Taupo.
Now a shirt is hardly the attire of a typical MAMIL (middle aged man in lycra), but I needed something practical and I remembered my days on the Costa. In Pies de la Cuesta we used to arise early to beat the heat and nothing served me better than a big, light, open shirt and collar.
So it’s up at 6am for Jed’s extra strong and a double dose of daring do (porridge), a wave to my American friends and I was back on the river trail out of Mangakino heading for the world. Or in this case Taupo.
The day was like many previous, humping hill and hollow. A pretty country, yet unremarkable except for one chance encounter..
All at once he lept from the scrub and stood there, four footed in the middle of the road, it was ram lamb!
With not more than 15 metres between me and him, I swiftly pulled up to a standing straddle. Tough piece of road this, facing rock on the right, steep drop on the left and me at the base of the incline. I know he was feeling cornered and thinking escape. Me, I was thinking chops.
We both stood our ground, staring each other down, then he saw that savory glint in my eye (or be it my mirror finished aerodynamic eyeware) and immediately turned and made haste. With little hesitation I dropped a gear and gave chase.
The incline was steep… he bolted… I gained… We weaved through oncoming traffic like a slow motion version of a New York car chase. Was it the French connection or a French rack of lamb? I didn’t know, I was ravenous in pursuit. Then as unexpectabtly as he appeared he was gone. Leaping high and wayward like only a ram lamb can, he found a fence and made good his Escape.
I pulled up, resting elbows on my bars watching as he bound off through the thistle, I’d been thwarted!
Green with envy
Later in the day it was a time for reflection, as I sat there in the turbid green waters of the Debretts public pools. I’d been on the road more than a week and covered a lot of ground. Yet way over there beyond the great lake lay the mountains, but they will be tomorrows mountains for tonight I must eat.
I dawdled back to my tent, dreaming and grumbling over what could have been. Of roast lamb, of chops and of sausage, but reality was a going to be a choice between 10 minute rice risotto or 10 minute spag’ bol’.
At least I found a shirt.
Todays top track: The Stranglers – Golden brown