Morose weather. Trouble with Melba in Oamaru, between Dunedin and Christchurch: ignition locked, key won’t turn. Turns out to be a key problem. Locksmith is hours late, but we make a cannonball run and reach Christchurch before nightfall – 250 kilometers in under three hours. Good ole Melba.


Sullen skyline. Brooding. We’ve been told Christchurch is the most English of New Zealand cities and we can believe it. Dour, and dull.  Also the food is lousy.


Buskers and a giant chessboard in the city square. Potatoes and kumara – yams – from a vendor beneath the tower of the Anglican cathedral. He slaps some cheese and sour cream on top: “Eight dollars.” All-day wind and misty non-stop rain. Electric tram and red British phone booths, and a fine museum.


Guy Fawkes celebrations each night this week, in every town. Christchurch boasts the biggest. Fireworks at night to commemorate foiling the plot to blow up Parliament. Should be the other way around. We toast Fawkes from the lonely veranda of Dux de Lux, a local brewery, keeping our seditious opinions to ourselves. Good lagers at Dux de Lux by the way.


Melba gets up to 125 kph on the Southern Motorway getting out of town. A new record. Atta girl Melba.