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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 27, No. 10. 1964.

Dining with Thurbage

Dining with Thurbage

Balancing a plate of prime goulash in one hand and a chocolate blancmange in the other, I sought vainly for familiar faces. In desperation I sat at the first table with a free seat.

"May I sit here?"

"It's not taken." The student who spoke laughed. He wore a suit and a dashing cravat decorated with horses which appeared to be answering an urgent call of nature. I attended silently to my goulash; well, as silently as one can attend to goulash.

"Charles was stone drunk in Wanganui last week, and Murray rolled his Volkswagen in Palmerston."

They all laughed, the girls displaying rows of immaculately straightened teeth.

"I haven't seen Charles since the Marsden Ball."

"Neither's Margot!"

The laughter shrilled again.

"Excuse me. You didn't go to Christ's did you? Have I seen you somewhere? A girl whose hair had been combed forward into a ball of string leant forward and addressed me.

"Do you mean me?"

"Yes. Did I talk to you at the Marsden Ball?" She pronounced talk as "tawk."

"Well. Eh . . . not the Marsden Ball. Could you pass the salt?"

"It must have been the Nga Tawa reunion. My God, what a hooley!"


"Rutherford is still driving the Rover too fast. I nearly had kittens on the way to Gisborne!"

A young man arrived at the table. He dusted pipe ash off his waistcoat.

"I say. Have you met Ashley?" The girl was talking to me again. I raised my fork in salutation.

"No. I don't think I've had the pleasure . . ."

"Meet Ashley Crawford."


"I'm Ashley Crawford."

"He was at the Nga Tawa reunion. Ash," the girl explained significantly. I stood up and we shook hands. He had a weak, sweaty grip.

"Sprained my wrist on the MG gear shift." Smiling wryly, he flexed the proffered wrist carefully. "Sprightly little brutes, MGs."

"A woman scorned ..." I added with studied relevance. My goulash had cooled past the point of no return. I turned to the chocolate blancmange.

"Well. Back to the grind. Work, work."

"Wait till you do three units full time! Nearly missed ski-ing week this year."

"Ski-ing by day—she-ing by night. Ha. Ha. Ha." The waistcoated young man banged his pipe on the ashtray to emphasise his Joke.

"Well. Buon giorno, ci vedremo." The girl with hair like a ball of string stood up and left.

"God. What an accent!"

"What else can you expect after only one month in Sicily!"

"Do you speak Italian?" Somebody was speaking to me.

"No. Well . . . French, a little. Expressions like par venue."

"Ha, ha, ha."

They got up to leave.

"See you at Woodford House do. God. I must get some new shoes!" The waist-coated young man waved his pipe at me, changed into second gear with the spoon in his Ice-cream sundae, and left.

I waved good-bye with a swift yet firm upward motion of my spoon

"The ISC is like the mating of two elephants," said Gwyn Morgan, associate Secretary for Finances, Cosec, in his speech to delegates at the ISC dinner.

"It is announced with loud trumpeting, it is carried on at a high level and it takes two years before it produces results."