Monday, January 30, 2012

One night wonder

This weekend it was a quick trip down to the farm for one night for Dave's 50th birthday. I was so close to missing the plane I had to run from the front of the airport to the gate, luckily Claire was standing guard, making sure they didn't go without me.

As per usual, there was a lot of amazing food.

Along with a marquee that managed to withstand some pretty strong wind.

And Isla, who had her parents all to herself for the weekend while her brother and sister stayed with their grandparents in the Wairarapa. She was the centre of much attention and performed quite admirably.

I got tired of answering the usual questions over and over again, 'Where are you living? Where are you working? Do you have a boyfriend?', so went to bed at about 11pm. I must be getting old and grumpy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


This is a house on my street. I am glad I don't live next door.

This is my brother at the golf driving range on Monday. I managed to consistently hit my balls past the first target! I also learned that no one says 'crush' anymore.

My love for hydrangeas is growing. Look at the little blue dots in the centre of each flower! These are right outside my front door.

Having gotten rid of some stuff while packing to move, I am now trying cull more as I unpack. Tonight, 103 programmes have seen the inside of the recycling bin. It was difficult, and I almost changed my mind, but I think it's for the best.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

View from my window

My week was very boring this week because I kept having to come home and pack; and also frequently wail, 'Whyyyy do I have so much STUFF?'

Then, yesterday, a beautiful sunny windless hot day, I continued to pack until 3.30pm when a truck and two men arrived and helped me shift. While I am very grateful to my Dad for the five times he has travelled over the hill with a trailer, parked in awkward places, and carried my things up and down stairs, from now on, I am always gettings movers. It took less than an hour from when they arrived at my Newtown/Berhampore house until they were closing up the truck and I was paying the money at the Aro Valley house. They didn't have to share the carrying of anything, unlike Dad and I: 'Okay, stop! I need a rest for a minute!' (that's me, halfway up or down a flight of stairs, trying to help carry a bed). One guy carried my BED on his SHOULDER. And then my bookcase! Although he did say, 'What kind of wood is this? It's really heavy.'

Anyway, all the packing and lugging of boxes (I did still help, I was just so happy not to have to carry really heavy things) was worth it because I love my new room. It has the best bay window ever (with cute latticework on the inside) and a view of trees and old houses. It also has a FIREPLACE. It's black with red tiles, but it currently has a whole lot of boxes in front of it, so I will take a photo when it's all pretty and I have things arranged on the mantlepiece.

The house itself is a classic old Aro Valley house, so it's going to be cold in the winter. But I like it, old houses are always so much more interesting than shiny new ones. There's a big white hydrangea bush right outside the front door, and one of the flatmates has put little vases of hydrangeas throughout the house. This is very fortuitous, because I decided the other week hydrangeas were one of my favourite flowers. Remember this?

This morning, while I was getting milk out of the fridge for my cup of tea, I looked up and saw this! A skylight! Skylights remind me of Room, a very good but very disturbing book.

Then, I had breakfast sitting out in the little back courtyard. Dream! The people next door have a lovely terraced garden behind their house which ends with beehives up the very top. I'd never thought about whether people could keep bees in what is essentially the central city. It doesn't feel like the city though, we're down the end of a dead end street, surrounded by trees and hills. Yet Aro Video, Aro Cafe, Arobake and all those other good Aro things are less than five minutes walk away. I love Wellington.

Anyway, now I'd better keep unpacking (I am determined not to end up with boxes still sitting around in my room three months after moving in, which is what happened last time) and then go do some cleaning at the old house. Oh moving, I hate you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Further Fleet Babes, CMS Fail, and Toasted Marshmellows

Turns out my flatmate took an excellent photo during the Fleet Foxes on Friday night. I guess it helps that he is much, much taller than me.

On Sunday we had the first classic movie Sunday of 2012. I chose the movie and it was terrible. I thought it had all the makings of a CMS winner - the lead actress won an Oscar for it, I'd heard the title before, it had Harvey Keitel, Kris Kristofferson, and child Jodie Foster in it and was directed by Martin Scorcese (not that I know anything about him), and there was a photo of a woman with amazing hair on the back cover.

Don't ever watch Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Basically, Alice cries. A lot. She's also really awful to her poor son who gets dragged around with her and left in motel rooms alone all evening while she works as a singer in bars (despite the fact that she's actually not that great at singing and she appears to have a very small repetoire of approximately two songs). The woman with the great hair was a highlight but overall, even the 1970s fashions couldn't keep the movie interesting. A terrible classic movie start to 2012 for which I take full responsibility.

Although Alex made a tart and it was yum.

On Sunday night my two English flatmates assembled a tiny BBQ they bought for $15. We sat outside slightly burning things and then eating them. We watched the clouds turn orange and then toasted marshmellows.

It was great.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fleet Babes

This is a frame from a comic by Sarah Laing about the Fleet Foxes. I love Sarah's blog of her comics 'Let Me Be Frank', so I hope she doesn't mind me using her work as a visual aid to make up for the absence of photos in this post.

Last night I went to the Fleet Foxes at the Town Hall. There were hipsters as far as the eye could see - checked shirts, Wayfarers, facial hair, satchels, skinny black jeans galore - and the ones that amused me the most were a group who stood up in the back row of one of the seated areas above. There were about five guys and a girl, one of the guys had massive headphones around his neck, as if, at any moment if he got bored, he could just start listening to something else. They stood absolutely still most of the time, staring down at the band very intensely and kind of intimidatingly, expressionless. The few times I did see them move it was to nod their heads and bodies up and down to the music a little bit, but not too much. I hope they had a good time...

I definitely did! I had a bit of a dance (as much as you can when you're packed in amongst people and the music isn't really dance-y dance-y a lot of the time anyway) and sang along. I haven't been to many gigs where I know all the songs, the only big concerts I've been to are Goldenhorse with the NZSO at the Michael Fowler Centre and Carole King and James Taylor at the Vector Arena (both with my Mum), so I wasn't sure if it was gig etiquette to sing along. But the band was so loud (the sound was great and the Town Hall is a really nice venue) no one would have heard me and I couldn't help it. I knew all the words to every song but one, so I had a GREAT time.

The band didn't really talk the whole time, they said 'thank you' at the end of every song, one of them said something about 'I keep thinking I'm going to walk out of here tonight and the world is going to be ending, you know?' (No, actually, I don't know; why are you saying this? Is it the extreme wind or do you just think about the world ending every night?), and another said, 'Thank you so much, you've been the best crowd of the tour' (most likely a lie), but that was actually the full extent of the onstage talking. No banter for the Fleet Foxes. It didn't matter though, I was there to hear them play, not try to be funny or cool so it was fine with me. It was amazing how many times one of them swapped instruments - flute, guitar, saxophone, double bass. And their harmonies are pretty awesome.

All in all, I'm so glad I went. I love them.

In other news, I have taken no photos this week which seems strange but I have been too busy trying to find somewhere to live, which I have so now I can start packing. I'm going to miss Newtown with all its colourful characters and excellent cafes, but I'm looking forward to living in Aro Valley again after three years. The room I'm moving to has the cutest fireplace and bay window, so I will once again have a view from my window. Ch-ch-ch-changes.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I spent this weekend at Longwood. My friend Frankie invited me and we drove over after work on Friday. It was a weekend of delicious food cooked by her Mum, endless cups of tea in proper tea cups, croquet (I won two out of three games, turns out I am good at a sport! Granted it's a leisurely sport you can play while wearing a maxi dress), feeding chickens and collecting their eggs, reading, a trip to Lake Ferry for fish and chips (the last two photos), listening to National radio's Saturday evening old music radio show, and watching movies (I fulfilled my holiday wish to watch Little Women, I felt like I was about to burst with love for the movie the whole way through, I have seen it so many times before but I have now decided it is definitely my favourite movie ever; Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Christian Bale...actually everyone in it is amazing, I cried when Beth died, and watching it in a big old house was almost too perfect to be true).

There were so many things I wanted to take photos of (including the very old falling down greenhouse which is beautiful in a ruined kind of way), but I had to refrain because it felt impolite to keep whipping a camera out in someone's home. Such a great weekend, I felt very fortunate.

On Thursday night I had dinner at Adrianne's new house (she made impressively good carbonara) and then we popped down the road to The Embassy to watch Melancholia. Beautiful, but freaky. I wish I'd read what it was about properly before going to see it.

And seeing as this is turning into a movie round-up, over the Christmas holiday I watched Basquiat which was great. It features David Bowie as Andy Warhol which I was not expecting. Some time before Christmas I watched Beginners which I really enjoyed. It was touching without being sentimental and Ewan McGregor is a babe).

Thursday, January 5, 2012 the blog!

What started as a way to document the progress of my newfound love of knitting two years ago, has since become a way to document the nice things I do and see, places I go, and people I spend my time with. That's a lot of 'I' and sometimes I feel a bit strange about documenting my life on the internet. But really, it's for me, no one is forced to read it, and when I went on my overseas jaunt in August, it turned out to be an excellent way of keeping my family updated on what I was doing. So, the blog lives on.

It's made me take heaps more photos than I used to (like the one above, a fence I walked past in Eastbourne on Monday), which I'm happy about, and I like being able to look back and see what I was doing last year or the year before - even though I rarely do. And I get to write, which I also like doing. Actually, if I added up all the words I've written on this over the past two years I bet it'd be novella length, at least. That's kind of a depressing thought. Maybe I should rename the blog, 'I could have been a novella'.

To celebrate the blog's birthday, I've changed the wee pictures in the header (having done it once before, you'd think it would have been a quick and easy process. It wasn't). Roses growing in my aunty's garden at the farm in the Wairarapa, my favourite photo from my holiday (the Sacre Coeur at sunset with jetstreams in the sky, taken from a little windy street behind it, a few hours after I arrived in Paris), and some very successful ginger crunch.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Picture perfect

I forgot to document the Christmas cards I made this year! Once again I used the old stick-a-photo-on-some-nice-card trick. This year the photo was from my outing to The Roxy cinema in Miramar. The hanging lamps seemed suitably sparkly and festive. I had a whole lot of double sided stickers left from the Christmas cards I made in 2010, they're actually for sticking photos into photo albums, but they work beautifully. I was, once again, disproportionately proud of my simple skills.

Yesterday was my last day of freedom before returning to work, so Kelly, her friend Andy, and I caught the train and went winetasting in Martinborough. Upon arriving we had to fortify ourselves with brunch at The Village Cafe at the Wine Centre, and then we meandered our way out to Martinborough Vineyard.

What may appear to be trophies to the majority of the population, was apparently confused for a spitoon by some lovely wine tasters who had gone before us, because the middle trophy had red wine in it...

The weather was lovely, the wines were excellent (although, I don't actually know anything about wine, I just know whether I think something tastes nice or not), and we had a yum platter at Margrain Vineyard which is where I think I got my terrible sunburn from. It was a surprisingly cheap day - $20 return on the train, $4.50 each way for the bus from Featherston to Martinborough, and $5 at each vineyard to taste all the wines - which, at most places, was then refunded if you purchased a bottle. Obviously we spent more because we bought food, but I was surprised how little it cost to fake being a wine connoiseur for the day.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hello 2012

This morning it was sunny and the weather forecast indicated it would stay fine (after a couple of rainy days that put a dampener on welcoming in the new year) so I decided I would do something I've wanted to do for years but never gotten around to: get the ferry to Eastbourne.

Just as I was about to leave the house I got a call from my sister who was in Wellington playing tour guide to an Irish 'friend' she made at the New Year's festival/mud bath La De Da. So I met them in town and off Megan, Kevin, and I went to Eastbourne.

The ferry landed at Days Bay and we walked around to Eastbourne village; a lot of places were closed because it was a public holiday (still, I was surprised how many were closed) so we ended up having lunch at a pub. And then it started raining. We walked back round to Days Bay to wait for the ferry and decided to have a cup of tea and shelter in the cafe, but they were closing. So we sat shivering for a wee while and ended up getting the bus home, to avoid shivering for another half an hour. So, not a wholly successful day but it was a nice outing and I definitely want to go back when it's hotter and more of the cafes and shops are open.

Yesterday Kelly and I went to the new Muppet movie, it was so cute! I did some inappropriately loud laughing which I always enjoy, and got to see the new part of The Embassy. Then we ended up drinking the evening away (above is my first gin of the new year) and having dinner at Scopa. Not a bad first day of 2012.