Palmerston: Day 24

It's only about 17 km from St. John's Waikouaiti to St. Mary's Palmerston, so we were finished by lunchtime. We set out just after 8, just the three of us and Mary who wouldn't mind me telling you she is not in the first bloom of youth. She walked briskly all the way, conversing with each of us in turn. It was great to have her along.  We walked out through the town and spent most of the trip walking on the shoulder of SHW1. We passed prosperous looking North Otago farms, a few forests and the occasional stylish house with a B&B notice at the gate. There are a few small hills and several bridges, most of which, oddly, seem to cross the Pleasant River.

We walked steadily, stopping around 10 for a breather, and arrived in Palmerston around mid day. We were met by Juan Kinnear, the the priest in charge of Waikouaiti and a small group from the local parish who had prepared a tasty lunch of sandwiches and savouries. St. Mary's is a pretty stone church with a surrounding garden and a snug little parish hall. We prayed in the church, dined and then headed South again to spend a last night at home.

For the last few days we have been returning to Dunedin when the day's walking is done, but the return trip to the starting point has been getting, obviously, longer and longer and tomorrow we will need to be on the road at 7:00 to gather up the team and the luggage and make it back to St. Mary's for an 8:00 am start, so for the rest of the Hikoi we will be billeted. This afternoon, with time to spare I managed a few tasks I had been wanting to get on with. I had a profound conversation, made a hospital visit and delivered my car to Benjamin for use during the next few days. I skyped my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter and conversed with her while she ate macaroni cheese. It was a full and satisfying afternoon, but it was a distraction. As much as I enjoyed the various tasks of the afternoon I do feel the need to be concentrated wholly on the journey as we enter the last few days.

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