Laun­dry gets an air­ing on the road

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By JO MCKEN­ZIE-McLEAN

A 59-year-old woman wasn’t go­ing to let her­self get wrung out try­ing to catch a ride home to Cromwell with a vin­tage wringer wash­ing ma­chine. In fact, it took less than an hour for Jen­nifer Gra­ham to get a ride from Raes Junc­tion to Cromwell ear­lier this month, thanks to an Alexan­dra busi­ness­men who could not bear to leave the ‘‘in­trigu­ing lady’’ stranded in the ru­ral Cen­tral Otago coun­try­side. Jen­nifer was dropped off at Raes Junc­tion by truck driver Mar­lene Gra­ham on her way to Dunedin. Mar­lene, who also owns Ban­nock­burn An­tiques and Col­lectibles, had sourced the ‘‘im­mac­u­late’’ old wringer wash­ing ma­chine for the an­tique-lover. ‘‘We thought, how are we go­ing to get it home?’’ Mar­lene said. ‘‘Ev­ery time I was go­ing past [in the truck] I was full, then [Jen­nifer] said ‘I will just hitch down with you and then hitch home with it’. I thought she was nuts. I said, ‘who is go­ing to pick you up with a wringer wash­ing ma­chine’?’’ Mar­lene laid a $20 bet Jen­nifer would not get a ride, then left her on the road­side ‘‘dressed up to the nines’’, with a pink para­sol and a suit­case full of strops and a ratchet. Jen­nifer said she fol­lowed her brothers’ hitch­hik­ing ad­vice: don’t walk, ’ and smile and wave at every­body. ‘‘Ev­ery­one went crazy, toot­ing and wav­ing. I just smiled and waved at every­body. The trucks go­ing the other way thought it was fab­u­lous, they just laughed.’’ Four-wheel-drive tour op­er­a­tor Rob­bie Cricket, of Alexan­dra, came across Jen­nifer wait­ing pa­tiently at the old Raes Junc­tion pub carpark where he pulled in to swap ve­hi­cles with his son. Mr Crick­ett said he was talk­ing to his son ask­ing if ‘‘that lady is OK’’ when she yelled out, ‘‘Cromwell’’. ‘‘She was pretty in­trigu­ing. She is a flam­boy­ant, colour­ful char­ac­ter. I ended up tak­ing her all the way to Cromwell be­cause I didn’t like her chances of get­ting so lucky again.’’ He had to stop off home first though to check in with his wife. ‘‘I wanted to show my wife, be­cause I was go­ing to be back later than she was ex­pect­ing and she would hear a story about me pick­ing up a strange lady.’’ Jen­nifer said she ‘‘shifted around a lot’’ and had been in Cromwell for about a month hav­ing come down from the North Is­land. She had hitch­hiked – usu­ally with a suit­case – around New Zealand for the past six years and loved it. ‘‘I just love hitch­hik­ing and I love peo­ple. The peo­ple are amaz­ing. I find them fab­u­lous, great fun and friendly. I am slightly wild and love new ex­pe­ri­ences. I en­joy life and I don’t let any­thing stop me from do­ing what I want.’’

Un­usual sight: Jen­nifer Gra­ham at­tracted mo­torists’ at­ten­tion while try­ing to hitch­hike from Raes Junc­tion to Cromwell with a vin­tage wringer wash­ing ma­chine re­cently.

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