J R Hartley
Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
Show trip route
It was my last night off and I'd ambled in to town to grab a bit of internet time, potter around the shops and take in the views. Chicken was also in town and we decided to grab a quick coffee and possibly a snack before she headed off to work.
We were stood outside the Vudu Café on Beach St pondering our options when a tall figure, who clearly looked new to the area, walked past us and stopped just up the hill a little to peer in the window of a souvenir shop. It took a few seconds to register. Then I turned my head back to Chicken. 'See that bloke there? I recognise him. I think I used to work with him.'
Her face lit up. 'Go and say something then.'
I hesitated for a second before walking over and calling out his name. As he turned round I was more or less stood right in front of him. It didn't quite register. We both stood there for a moment with our mouths hanging. 'Bloody hell!' he gasped, and we embraced clumsily before standing back for a second take. We shook hands. He shook his head. 'I'm, I'm speechless.'
'And me. I dunno what to say.' I was in shock.
We stood without spoken word for a few moments staring at one another in total dumbfounded surprise, like two people would do who'd just bumped into each other by pure chance in a distant and remote corner of the world. He looked different. He looked older. And more distinguished. But then I look older too. Only more feeble. It was all very surreal.
I worked with Scott Davies back in the Ademco days for about four years. And it must be at least four years since I saw him last. Out of nowhere the words exploded and the questions and answers and whole conversation bloomed into a mass of broken sentences which shot off at random tangents. It turns out he's only here for a couple of weeks to have a poke around. He's been touring the South Island in a hire car and had just arrived in Queenstown. When he walked past us, he'd just enjoyed a hearty meal in Monty's before meandering around on foot, namely Beach St, at just the precise moment we were stood there like lemons. What are the chances? If there'd have been a spare table in the Vudu Café we'd have most likely been tucked away in a corner somewhere with our heads stuck in a menu. He'd have no doubt walked right on past and we'd have both been none the wiser. Amazing. Old Scotty D!
It worked out perfectly: I was off work and he'd got all night so we went over to Brazz to catch up over a few cold ones in front of the fire. Chicken joined us for a quick handle and kindly took a photo before shooting off to work. It must have been mad for her listening to the Midlands accent in stereo.
We stayed out all night and talked and talked. It seems a lot of water has passed under the bridge. We went over the road to the Pig and I introduced him to a few friends. He's totally stoked by New Zealand, which of course I can fully relate to. He could see how much I was by how excited I got talking about it all. Actually, I was just feeding off his enthusiasm. It was so good to see someone from where I'm from be so utterly blown away by the comparison. We dubbed it the world's best kept secret, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he packed up and moved out here permanently.
Seeing Scotty D totally topped off my week. He's a thoroughly genuine down to earth fella. We swapped email addresses. I don't know exactly where I'll be but if he's coming over to this part of the world I'll definitely catch up with him again.