Like the stretcher-bound Anthony Quayle in The Guns Of Navarone, there’s been several times I’ve wondered whether it would be best to go on without them. Sat like a dead weight at the bottom of the rucksack, taking up valuable book space, I’ve thought about leaving them behind in exchange for an interesting curio or a souvenir t-shirt. Now I’m in New Zealand their value has rocketed higher than the international career of James Tredwell.
New Zealand is not a place for espadrilles and not only because of the suspicious looks they attract from some of the lock forward shaped locals. New Zealand is a place for real shoes.


Behold! My ‘callipers’ as they have been Christened, rather harshly I think, by an old pal of mine (Hello Chubbs!). Either way, for five bucks with staff discount from the factory store (Thank you Laura, I’m still very grateful!) they are worth their weight in gold over here.

So with a few hours to go before the start of play, weather permitting naturally, at The Cobham Oval, I thought I’d have a bit of a stroll around Fun-Gary (If you’re reading, hello Wilstead FC legend Mr Ward!) and the surrounding area. Heading up from the Town Basin to Mair Park then up to Mount Parihaka (Pack it in smut fans, it’s a Look Out Post….) it was two hours rewardingly spent and a reminder, as if I needed one, as to why this country is so close to my heart.