Land Of The LETS Green Dollar
Copyright � James Taris


Overlooking the city of Wellington.

2. Wednesday, March 26

Euthenasia, Gooseberries And Wind Turbines

Today was earmarked as my Wellington sightseeing day. John Grant had a full agenda of his own, so the LETS members who volunteered to be my tour guides for the day were Catherine Rowe and John Gilmartin.

I'd been on the computer all morning, so I was pleased to get away from it by lunchtime. Catherine was the driver, and she took us to a popular lunch venue opposite the Green Dollar office in the city � the Elderly Citizens Club.

We all had the soup of the day (beans), a homemade sandwich (egg and salad for me) with tea and cakes afterwards. But we'd timed our visit a little awkwardly. Soon after we began our meal, a presentation took place at the back of the room just next to our table. And for the next few minutes we were competing with the speaker for attention as we tried to make conversation amongst ourselves while he drowned us out with subjects such as euthanasia and hearing aid subsidies. We were definitely losing this challenge, so we quietly gathered our belongings and moved to the other end of the room to complete our meals and converse uninterrupted.

From there we went to the local community gardens where Wellington LETS had recently claimed a plot of their own. Catherine had sewn it with a variety of vegetables and she was very proud to see her plants looking very hardy indeed.

Then Catherine brought my attention to a large bush on an adjacent plot.

"Have you ever had Cape Gooseberries?" she asked. Well, I hadn't.

"Would you like to try one?"

I can never refuse an offer to taste a new and unusual food, so I reached down and plucked one of the numerous pods from the supple green branches. These pods were about the size of a walnut, but hollow with a tissue-thin casing shaped much like a ribbed teardrop. And inside of it was a small yellow fruit about the size of a marble, and similar in appearance to a tiny round tomato. It had a sour tang to it, but tasted pleasant nevertheless. In fact, I enjoyed it enough to have a second one.

Catherine said there was a windmill nearby, so I eagerly asked to see it. While I was in Holland I'd only seen one windmill, so I was intrigued to see what New Zealand's representation was like. But John said, "You mean the Wind Turbine."

The Wind Turbine was a modern construction built in 1996 on top of a nearby hill in Wellington. It was there as an experiment to see how much FREE wind-generated energy it could produce, though I'm not sure how it was faring. But the view from this hilltop was magnificent. We could see the city tucked away to the left in a picturesque setting of cloudy skies, blue seas, and sprawling green hills. But as I looked down from the hill towards the city, I couldn't help thinking how small it made the capital look.

Living In Sin

"Do you drink Kilkenny?" John asked. That was music to my ears. So we made our way towards The Innkeeper. Happy hour was from 5 - 6pm, and because it was still early, we made a detour for the nearby Organic Food Market and whiled away our time amongst the filtered water, non-preservative added foods and pest riddled (but tasty) fruit.

As we walked into the pub John Gilmartin immediately recognised a couple of his friends, Trevor and his partner Rosemary. Trevor had already had a few drinks (I could tell), so he didn't mind telling us that he'd wanted to marry Rosemary 3 years ago, but because Rosemary was a Catholic divorcee, the church had refused to allow it. With a twinkle in his eye, this 69 year old man then told us they were just as happy living in sin. Rosemary's giggle verified she agreed with him.

We stayed with our new friends till well after happy hour, and allowed Trevor to entertain us with some of his more amusing recollections. And the one that kept cropping up all the time was his encounter with a cleaning lady who was polishing the floor of a shower recess and, from the angle Trevor was looking at her, left little to his imagination. And no matter how much we prompted him, he refused to elaborate any further.

This article is taken from the ebook,
Land of the LETS Green Dollar

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