So, I went over to Waiheke with my friend Rachael to see her sister Miranda Hawthorn's art exhibition at The Red Shed at Palm Beach. We had a nice lunch, ate an ice cream in idyllic surroundings on a Summer day....
... with 651 people crammed on to a ferry, I stood by the gate so as to be near life jackets and exits.... only to hear myself say, "Shall I hold the penguin?"
Never heard myself say such a thing before!
The ferry staff were transporting an injured penguin to a refuge.
I held the penguin in a box while they roped the ferry to the pier, opened the gates, etc. Then I saw the crew person hand the box to an elderly lady. First off the ferry, I walked alongside the woman and learned the boxed bird was to go to the Bird Lady in Rothesay Bay.
The woman said, "Traffic will be horrible. It had to come on the 4 PM ferry!"
I replied that I lived near the Bird Lady and could do the delivery if she liked. She gripped the box tighter.... until I said I was a member of NZ Forest & Bird.
So Jane and Richie arrive to collect me and stroll along the nearby picnic area, ... only to find me with a penguin in a box under my arm!
Off we go to the local Bird Lady who invited us in to see what the problem with the penguin was, and to see the rest of her guests; kingfishers, young tui, wood pigeons, young gulls who had washed off a flat roof and down a pipe into the gutter at the feet of a compassionate passerby, a rosella, other penguins and an adolescent Morepork owl!
"Shall I hold the penguin?" may be the oddest line of dialogue I ever utter.
For more about Sylvia: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/north-shore-times/9261296/On-a-wing-and-a-prayer