Hapless romantic gets picnic after all
4:00AM Friday Sep 26, 2008
Paul Fowler is unlikely to forget the result of his efforts to create a memorable occasion for a special lady - but his story does have a fairytale ending.
Mr Fowler, 22, was mortified when he saw his abandoned picnic on the front page of a local paper and read that police, wanting to rule out any foul play, were considering searching Rotorua's Blue Lake.
The abandoned picnic has been the talk of the town since the story broke on Monday, as locals pondered the mysterious find of a laid-out picnic on a lakeside beach.
Mr Fowler arrived at the Rotorua police station just an hour before a search of the lake was to begin on Wednesday.
"I was so embarrassed ... I didn't want to be sent a bill of $100,000 for the search," he said.
Rotorua police were called last Thursday after someone found the laid-out picnic, complete with blanket and food, on the beach of Tikitapu (Blue Lake).
Despite a search of the tracks around the lake and inquiries made at the holiday park on the other side of the lake, police found nothing.
They contacted Rotorua's Daily Post on Monday, hoping some publicity might lead them to who had left the picnic.
Mr Fowler, who works for Coca-Cola, had taken 18-year-old Emily Bartlett out a few times and had set up the picnic at the lake last Tuesday after she hinted it was something she would like to do. He planned to use the picnic to officially ask her to go out with him.
"I definitely wanted to make it memorable," he said.
But there were a few problems, not the least of which was that Miss Bartlett didn't turn up.
Mr Fowler set up the picnic about 2pm and drove back into town to pick up his prospective girlfriend.
However, she sent him a text asking if they could meet later because she was meeting friends.
The couple didn't meet up until later in the day, by which time it was too dark to head out for the romantic lakeside picnic.
Mr Fowler returned to the lake the next day to pick up the picnic but found the road closed off for logging in the area.
"Then I just forgot about it until I saw it in the paper."
Mr Fowler set up another picnic near the top of Mt Ngongotaha on Saturday, where he asked her to go out with him. She said yes.
- DAILY POSTWhat a story to tell the grandkids, huh?