Touted as the oldest population in New Zealand, Thames was an exercise in futility and certainly not fertility. Every firm body an oasis in a desert of lumpiness, our presence in the town was like a broken foot rest on a lazy boy. Thoroughly annoying. Last time we were here we got shut down by noise complaints from a Freemason’s meeting just up the road, and when they ambled out in their penguin suits eyeing us up and down like the rubbish that we are, that’s when I knew we’d be back to fuck more people off. The lady with that bovine essence at the backpackers was surprisingly warm to us, our respectful behaviour from our last visit having glossed over any concerns she’d had when we checked in the first time. That time she had spewed forth every minuscule rule onto the reception desk in front of her in a venomous spit, essentially giving us a greeting not quite as warm as a wet fish across the face. This time around she was more than happy to espouse bullshit about how the cat had a gene that grew it sheep’s wool instead of fur. They didn’t even get angry when we checked out a little bit late and hung around drinking instant coffee while they collected sheets and swept spider webs from the deck. Helen was watching Once Were Warriors in the lounge. She was from London and thought Tem was a pretty good actor. We told her he further explored his acting chops later as Boba Fett which I’m sure dazzled her. Lilly pretty much told her what was going to happen just before every scene but she didn’t seem to mind and didn’t even care that we drowned out the sound playing shit as pool and darts and drinking home brew. Just as she stated that she loved New Zealand headlines the Campbell Live segment about driving dogs aired on the large, much too square television made from a strange fabric. I wondered whether they should have made them wear flat caps for their short but somewhat shaky drive. To be honest I’m not sure how they’d go on the eye test, I found it difficult and I consider myself able to read. The next day the Germans were trying to bike the length of the country and didn’t seem to want to engage in too much conversation but I extracted from them that they were headed to Paeroa. Paeroa is NZ’s top rated small community of 2012 according to the proud signage. Fuck Paeroa. I was quickly amassing evidence that nobody comes to Thames to party. It was becoming clearer and more transparent that this was a haven for undertakers. We have just been sitting around playing ‘spot the varicose vein’, had a munchie and now on the road to Whitianga… Well Cook’s Beach actually.