by barbznz

Simon and I were off to Christchurch, Mum was getting married again and she paid for our flights. I was a little worried about going. As excited as I was I could help thinking of the last time I had been away. My nana had died and I was worried something was going to happen. Marty told me not to worry, things would be fine.

We had a stop over in Wellington. I didn’t now that if you flew out of Rotorua you could get a direct flight, This meant a particularly long day for Simon. He was 21 months.  Would it did mean was , he cried most of the flight from Wellington to Christchurch. Our Prime Minister Rob Muldoon was on the flight so I didn’t feel to bad about upsetting the passengers.

It was my first trip to Christchurch. I had lived on the West Coast of the South Island but never been to the East Coast. Flying in, the first thing I noticed was how flat the land was. There didn’t appear to be any hills until you came to the Southern just seemed to go on for miles.

Mum met us at the airport. She drove us back to her place. She talked about the wedding and how excited she was. Bill was wonderful. Occasionally she slipped and called him Ivan. It remember thinking how strange that was.

Mum lived in Kaiapoi just north of Christchurch. It was a lovely little house. My Aunty Dorothy and Uncle David lived nearby in Rangiora and I got to meet my three young cousins for the first time. Tanya was a year older than Jenni and Natasha was a year older than Suzanne. Steven was a year younger than Suzanne. It was great to meet them.

Simon took a real shine to Uncle David. Truth is, I fell in love with him when I was eight. He was tall dark and handsome, an airline pilot. I decided though to let my aunt marry him as he was far to old for me. He actually a year younger than Marty. Funny how things work out.

I met Bill when he came home, He looked like a fun bloke. Simon liked him as well. He was quite shy of my mother though. He had only seen her a few times and was quite wary of her. Bill was from Liverpool but had been in New Zealand for years. They looked quite good together but I had to admit he reminded me of Ivan. They had similar builds and smiles. He was younger than Ivan though.

Mum took us to see the sights. We went to see the Cathedral. It was beautiful. At the square we saw the Wizard of Christchurch. He was amazing. talking to everyone about everything. Simon went up to him and he said, well this lad has a bright future in public relations why he might even become a wizard like me.

It snowed when we were there and we went up onto the Port Hills to see the snow. Mum took up to Hamner Springs were we had a hot spring. It was lively and the hot water with the snow around.

On the Friday, we got a call from Marty. Ivan had died in his sleep. His landlady looked in the phone and ours was the first number. I couldn’t believe. I had been right, I had bad luck around going on holiday.  I wanted to fly home straight away. But Marty said, you can’t do anything, you may as well stay where you are and enjoy the wedding. I couldn’t think of any worse. I had no idea how I would cope with such a happy occasion when I felt so miserable

That night I couldn’t sleep. I remember watching the tennis on the TV. Chris Lewis was playing at Wimbleton, as an unseeded player and a New Zealander at that,  he got into the final. Bill was very kind to me. He sat down with me and said he didn’t expect me to be the life and soul of the party at the wedding. It was okay if I stayed in my room. He would understand. It really helped me get through.

The wedding was nice but ill timed. It was the same afternoon as an international  rugby test. after the ceremony the men and I went into the sun room to watch the rugby. Trouble was, we had rule in our house. The TV always went off when we had visitors so every now and then Simon would toddle in and turn off the TV and say, no TV for visitors. I would shoo him out to play with my cousins and we would watch the game again.

Mum wasn’t very happy about the rugby but hell it was a test match and it was in Canterbury, I mean really what else would you expect.

Simon was charming everyone and helping himself to any empty glasses so he got a bit tiddly. I drank a lot more than I usually would, in fact it is probably the last time I got anywhere near drunk. But I didn’t. I just wanted to go home.

I wanted to say goodbye to Ivan.

© Barbara Hart 2014