They gave her the royal treatment: cabin, silver service, exercise in Hagley Park (as it is a large ship, various parts are labelled after Christchurch landmarks. She says she didn’t visit Manchester St).
The ship appeared right out in front of our home on Tuesday morning.
We all stood out under the flagpole in the rain, gawking at it. It looked absolutely massive after all the piffling little boats that have visited lately. Then the Sea Sprite was fired up and they whisked her ashore. She arrived cuddling a little black petrel, which had parked up on the deck in the stormy weather overnight. Worried that it might end up in the rotors, a crewmember snatched it up and handed it to her as she boarded the helicopter. Everyone was thrilled to have her back, especially me. However, there have been a few niggly little problems that underline the need to re-integrate a returning member of a community very carefully.
First, she committed the cardinal sin of sitting in John’s seat at the dinner table. No-one said anything until midway through the main course. Then, this morning, she made her cup of tea in Gareth’s cup! Gareth is not a morning person, and Craig and I have had a running challenge to see who could be the first to get him to return our “Good morning” greetings. So far neither of us has achieved more than a silent wave.
We have realised the need to warn her she is inadvertently committing a social transgression. I have devised a secret signal to let her know in case she gives Chauncy the big fork with bent tynes, sits in John’s outside chair, upsets Craig by neglecting to do her morning dishes, puts meat in the vegetarian fridge or swears at the Pukekos.
Such are the perils of island life.