It Took Jacinda To Get Me Into Pyjamas

What I put on or take off to go to bed is not something to discuss on Swimwatch. Swimwatch is about sport. My night time uniform falls outside the description of sport. Or at least it should. What happens in my or anyone else’s bedroom is better filed in the drawer named “Private”.

However something so significant happened this week that normal good manners may need to be compromised. I have told you about the operation I had on my arm that required a visit to Auckland Hospital. Sadly they found I also needed a second procedure at North Shore Hospital. When I’m done with all this I plan to start a tourist guide business visiting Auckland medical facilities.

It is off the subject but in the two weeks I have been in two Auckland Hospitals you would not believe the stunning views. Some rich Remuera toffs would pay millions to look out at the scenes I’ve had in the past two weeks. In Auckland Hospital my window looked over the Hauraki Gulf out to Rangitoto Island. Small boats snapped at the ankles of huge container vessels. Cruise ships full of Americas slid into port, credit cards poised to boost Queen Street shops. I could only hope Uncle Sam’s finest were unaware that Sky Tower fumes could well damage the benefits of that expensive deep-sea air.

In North Shore Hospital my window looked out at Lake Pupuke. For readers unaware of Lake Pupuke – I was until this week – it is a most attractive sight. Wikipedia tells me it “is a heart-shaped freshwater lake occupying a volcanic crater (or maar) between the suburbs of Takapuna and Milford on the North Shore of Auckland, New Zealand. Separated from the sea by less than 200 m at one point, it has a circumference of about 4.5 km and reaches a depth of 57 meters.

Aquatic recreation of every sort seems to go on there. Sailboats, canoeing, rowing, those guys who incredibly paddle surfboards standing up and one lone swimmer. I’ve seen them all this week. In fact the physical activity gave me an idea. At 4.5 kilometres around perhaps Alison could do her Monday run around the lake. And at 57 meters deep perhaps Eyad could do his Waitakeres swim for this week as four laps across and back. Generously I offered to sit at my hospital window and time them both. I was certain that Arch Jelley and Arthur Lydiard would think the idea had considerable merit. Sadly wives and young people are not what they used to be. Both declined my princely offer. One retreated to the comfort of the Millennium Pool to swim a set of 10x500s while the other ran 5 kilometres in 33.38 minutes on a treadmill in our local gym. Things are not what they were in my day.

But back to my night-time attire. Since I was twelve years old my eight hours in bed have been spent in either togs (swim suits for non-New Zealanders) and a t-shirt (but only in winter) or a pair of Jockeys (underpants) and a t-shirt. Freedom is what I called the uniform. No masses of cloth and buttons to get tangled up in the sheets. No additional heat to sweat through the night. For sixty years togs, underpants and a t-shirt have served me well.

But this week, North Shore Hospital changed all that. No, they said, my underpants and t-shirt would not do. Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister, required pyjamas in her hospitals. So here I am in a light blue top and trouser suit bottoms number. The designer label is cool. It is underlined in a soft pastel green. Along with iconic names like Burberry, Valentino, Off-White, Givenchy, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and Prada I have a pair of labeled “Hospital Property” pyjamas. In fact the label is so famous it appears 56 times on the top and about 70 times on the trousers. I can understand that. We don’t want people running away with state sponsored pjs.

So thank you Jacinda. The pjs are great and (seriously this time) the medical care is first class. Now back to my window. Let’s see what’s happening on Lake Pupuke.

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