After early morning on board the Milford Mariner, we disembarked to retrieve Busby from his overnight car park. (Actually, it was a coach park so his personal space was accordingly larger.) We headed back along the road towards first, Te Anau, and then Queenstown.
The morning was clear and sunny which made the touristy attractions en route more appealing than they had been under the grey skies of our inbound journey. The only stop we made, though, was at Francine’s swathe of lupins to see what some sun might do to their array of colours.
We filled up with fuel again at the cheap unmanned station in Mossburn and took the opportunity to top up our caffeine levels, too.
Our secondary [backup] satnav cable had failed completely two days ago heading towards Milford Sound so now we made another visit to the Maui base on our way into Queenstown. Fortunately, it still failed when the staffer plugged it in so we were issued with a replacement and yet another spare, “just in case”. The new cable got us to our campsite with no glitches.
We checked in, drove to our so-called pitch and plugged in to the mains. No power. I tried another connection point. Same story – no power. Our mains connection cable had failed again. [Sigh, or utterances to that effect.] Once again I undid the van-side connector and jiggled with the cable, ramming it home more securely before retightening the connector. Relief, we had power but we’ll need yet another visit to Maui on the morrow.
More fun was to come. Quite close to our gravel parking space was a small shack with two toilets and two showers. It looked basic outside but was actually well appointed within. Franco needed to avail himself of the toilet and entered. I locked the door. There were actually two locks on the door, one integral to the handle and the other mounted above the handle. I threw both locks.
Nature having been attended to, I undid the separate lock before attacking the integral lock. You can sense what’s coming next, can’t you? Would the integral lock turn? No, of course not. I tried again, this time attempting to turn it in both directions because I couldn’t really remember which direction had engaged it. No movement in either direction. [Ed: well, you’d had your movement by then :D] I tried pulling the door towards me before again trying to undo the lock; still no joy.
This was far too much like a scene from Carry on Camping. Sid James was locked in a toilet that refused steadfastly to release him. I actually considered trying to climb out of the window but it was seven feet up and, from the toilet seat on which I would have had to stand, there was a stretch of about three feet. Apart from also doubting my 64-year-old agility – a man’s gotta know his limitations – I’d have had to exit head first through an 18-inch/0.5m gap to fall inelegantly onto the four waste and recycling wheelie bins positioned five feet beneath the window on the outside.
Barbara Windsor (a.k.a. Francine) had now heard the commotion caused by Sid in the loo and turned up to lend assistance. Sid explained through the now-fully-open-though-perhaps-not-open-quite-enough seven feet high window, that Barbara’s tits were very nice but that he was stuck in the loo. After suggesting a few things that I’d already tried and/or discounted, such as clambering out of the seven feet high window, Barbara wiggled her way off to see the site staff and summon assistance.
Sid sat back on the loo seat for a few minutes to wait during which time Charles Hawtry, another camper, had seen and heard the interaction between Barbara and Sid, in his multiple failed attempts to escape. He tried to help. I saw arms through the obscured glass fiddling with the outside of the locks and door but again to no avail.
Enter Kenneth Williams, the site manager: “Ooooh, ‘allo, I don’t like the look of this!”
I didn’t much like the look of it either. Kenneth got me to explain that I understood how locks worked, that there were indeed two locks, one of which I had undone successfully, but that the second integral lock refused to budge. More shoving and rattling of the door and its locks ensued as the cast of Carry on Glamping continued to assemble.
Eventually and for completely unknown reasons, with a mixture of Kenneth Williams pushing and working the outside of the door while Sid James pulled and worked the inside of the door, the problematic integral lock at last swung into action. Sid was out in the fresh air and reunited with Barbara and her impressive chest.
Glamping? I know I’ve been here before but check out the crowding and pitch quality on this Queenstown Top 10 campsite. Only pictures can convey what will almost certainly be my most undying memory from New Zealand. I’ve seen it with my own eyes but still cannot believe it. For this you pay NZ$50 [~£28 depending on current exchange rates] per couple per night. I’ve never paid £28 for a campsite in my life. The facilities on the campsites are excellent – they need to be ‘cos you can’t really do much on the pitch – but the pitches themselves suck.
I felt most concern for the couples in what are little more than converted cars, pitched on very limited gravel, with no space in the car, save the driver and passenger seats, and no space outside the car. Sure, you can sleep there but that’s all.