Joe, an enthusiastic surfer, joins us at the cafe, in the port. He says he is helping his stepmother empty the basement of her house, overflowing with collections of her late husband: toys, beer bottles, stamps, National Geographic, in short, more or less everything that he could collect. This gruelling process requires them to send the collections to Britain to be sold at auction. He believes they won’t find anybody in New Zealand who can buy as many items. He then told us that when his first wife died, he felt able to get on with his life only when he gave away all they had in common. He met his second wife recently and they have ended up with two of everything : they even share a dozen bikes. He therefore concludes, simply and philosophically : too much stuff, too much food, too much booze. It pretty much sums up the feeling that overcomes me more and more often when I am in big cities (but not only) and find myself in a mall or other crowded area of shops. At first, I am delighted by the novelty, but then I quickly feel overwhelmed by the weight of things and food, we are constantly exposed to. Then I see the same stuff sold in charity shops, and tell myself that I could easily furnish an entire house with what is there but, above all, that the earth could take a ten year break to release the earth of the surplus that we seem to have accumulated. Buying anything has therefore become for me an increasingly complicated process. Thanks to Joe, I feel a little less alone.