I have always loved travelling, but fate has decided that I should get to travel comparatively little in the flesh – so all my life I have travelled in my mind, through books and movies and stories and pictures that my favourite old-boys bring me from around the world. I travel through their eyes and minds, and I don’t regret it: it’s so much safer, less taxing, less hectic, less of a strain on the pocket... all strong arguments for someone getting on in years, and no longer eager to exert himself as much as he was twenty years ago!
One young man, just back from a trip to
He (let’s call him Mr. X) was tanking up at a petrol pump one day, when he saw a smartly-dressed man, obviously a well-heeled businessman or executive, who had just driven up in a Mercedes, reading up a notice saying ‘Help wanted for a day’ for some sort of manual work. On finding out that the manager of the pump was willing to hire him, he took off his coat, rolled up his sleeves and set to work at once. It took him only a few hours. As Mr. X found out afterwards, he finished his work, collected his pay – a bunch of small notes which he didn’t so much as look at – shoved it all into a collection box for some sort of children’s charity, and drove away. By way of explanation for his ‘weird’ behaviour, he only said that he had driven into town to look up a friend, and learning that it would be a few hours before they could meet, and not having anything to do, and being unwilling to spend his time guzzling away in a bar (one of the few pastimes available), he had opted for this one-off job.
On hearing the story, Mr. X decided on the spot that this was the country where he wanted to live. He has been there for about five years now, and holds the status of a permanent resident (something like a Green Card holder in the
If some of my readers feel that this sounds like a fairy tale, I shall only say that I am glad that such places exist on this planet (still), and I hope I may be able to die in one. Physically, too, NZ is a dream: hardly any people around, lots of unspoilt natural scenery, endlessly variable weather, all mod. cons, decent folks… to me, it sounds like heaven!
Another old boy, Tanmoy, has been stationed in
I shall be delighted to hear more such interesting and unusual stories from other ex-students scattered around the globe. The really good ones will be narrated here…