An open letter from Dunedin

Okay Canterbury…

Now you’ve done it.

This was supposed to be raid, for heaven’s sake! This was war. But when we crossed the border between Otago and Canterbury what met us? Nothing! Where were the barricades? There weren’t any.

We stopped off in Timaru for lunch. No sign of the armed militia, no cavalry. By the time we’d got to Ashburton we’d taken off our Viking helmets. They were really too warm and the horns kept poking through the roof of the bus.

Things got worse when we reached Christchruch. There were all these smiling hosts waiting to show us to our rooms. There were comfortable beds waiting. They took us to a barbeque!

At least the weather was inhospitable.

The element of surprise was completely ruined by all that publicity. I walked into a bar on Sunday evening and everyone shook my hand and said they hoped we’d have a good time. I was miserable.

And the venue? Talk about comfortable? I hated it.

Well we performed for you and you applauded, more than politely I’m bound to say, which some of our party appreciated. Softies. The one satisfaction I had from that evening was that nothing could have prepared you for our secret weapon: an octogenarian, deaf in one ear, accordion player with a line in antique, off colour jokes. Thank God for Cyril Sharpe.

And so a 20 year old tradition was successfully revived and a return visit is planned for May. Well let me warn you now Canterbury. When you come to Dunedin on Saturday 19 May we’ll be ready. There will be no easy rides, oh no.

BY GOD, WE’LL SHOW YOU HOSPITALITY!

Richard Dingwall

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