Having covered hot pools and then the Coast, now we're on Stewart Island in the hope of just once winning a Sunday night pub quiz, writes Pat Veltkamp Smith in And Another Thing.
We sit at tables of brainy- looking people but even brainier scoop the pool.
The whole room is full of knowledgeable folk.
It sits you back on your heels, that.
But talking of brains and know- how, isn't it awful when a whole lot of that goes when one person shifts?
Like, this week, southern songstress Maureen Calvert, our doctor's receptionist for close on 30 years. She's retiring - to sing, have fun, catch up with grown children, grandchildren, further north and in Australia, all of that.
She was there way back in the mid-1980s when Dr Heather Thompson, widowed, had her surgery at home in Yarrow St, the biggest maternity practice.
She'd kiss each new babe on arrival so they'd know how welcome they were.
Maureen, herself widowed, was there when Dr Heather moved in with Dr Foote and Dr Tooke in Don St, Invercargill.
We delighted in having Foote, Tooke - and Chook.
Then in 2000, Dr Heather retired to Dunedin and dear Dr Rob came, only to pass away late last year.
And no-one has come since.
But with Maureen there - source of info, memories, courage and cheer - things were OK.
Like Hellen Giles, who was close on 40 years in the practice - not exactly medically qualified but sort of socially skilled, reassuring, mercifully freed from the current medical need to tell all.
Dr Heather and youngest daughter Janet came down and with a clutch of older original patients we had lunch for Maureen and fell apart with the laughter that so often emanated from the waiting rooms she had manned.
I know there's a great shortage of GPs.
But what would worry me nearly as much would be a dearth of warm, funny women who can lighten everyone's load.
- © Fairfax NZ News