Has it really been that long?!
Trip Start Sep 10, 2007
55Trip End Aug 2008
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Where I stayed
Doesn't time whiz by when you're having a grand old time, eh?
Ohmigod, I've gone native!
I really didn't realise quite how long it has been since we last spoke (kinda), now you can all see what kind of ungrateful son I am and how Mum must have suffered over the years. But as the old saying goes, don't try to teach your grandma to suck eggs.
Nope, I've not got a clue what that means either, or why I included it here for that matter.
On a slightly more salient note there is a few things to catch up on and in time honoured tradition I will follow the well honoured time tradition and take them in order
After I returned to Wellington after a week with the Logans it sounded like they had a rather jolly time up north without me. After visiting the home of kiwi surfing (dude) in Raglan, they met Kat's sister and bloke at Auckland airport and headed up to the Bay of Islands. Lovely accommodation and fantastic snorkeling seemed to be the order of the day with only one minor wobble from the newly titled "Stropsicle".
It was back to Wellington for them (and back to cleaning for me, although a diet of Pot Noodles does save on washing up) where we had a great meal out in one of our local eateries.
One evening we met Kat's parents in Te Papa, Wellington's main museum. Now I'd learnt that Te is often used in Maori (we live in Te Aro for instance) and rather boringly means "The", but I'd made the mental leap in my head that I was going to a museum that evening called "The Daddy"!!! Imagine my disappointment when I found out it actually means "The/Our Place".
The following weekend was the Easter break and we shot out of work early on Thursday and caught the ferry across to South Island and a mammoth drive to the top of the island. Only in kiwi land can you go from North Island to South Island and actually end up further north than you actually started....
We headed for Golden Bay (the bit that looks a bit like the pen's slipped when drawing the place as it's a 30km long spit)(I don't care who you are, in anybody's books that's a big spit) and got there at about 9:30 having missed sunset but welcomed by our advance party (Hannah and Matt had made their own way there)
We had a lovely few days catching some late summer there and celebrating Hannah's birthday. We went to the Abel Tasman park for a day on the beach with the most friendly Oyster Catcher you'll ever meet, and the following day we went to the world's clearest waters (accordingly, although Benito in Brazil looked just as clear to us) and then to take in that big spit.
Please permit me to have a mini rant. There was a seal lazing on the beach minding his own business when a family of fecking eejits went over to it. Obviously bored by his placid nature they decided to taunt it to make it perform, scaring it and making it run off (well lollop) in to the sea. Funnily enough they didn't see the irony when I went up to their 3 year old and did the same to them.
That'll learn ya, you ignorant yobs!
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ,7, 8...better now. Thinking happy thoughts...
It was a real shame to see Katharine's folks go
Although I could go back to scratching myself, burping and doing all those other things that Kat has said "I do" to which I try and hide from polite company.
Since then, we've largely just been in Wellington. We did have one eventful trip out to the other side of the bay for a run though which dented my pride in more ways than one, causing a small road accident. Just a prang which left one of our rear panels squished out of shape but shook me as it was genuinely my fault, although the lucky part was that the other accidentee was another car and not a poor pedestrian.
At least it was all made worth it. We were heading to the Pencarrow 'fun run' which threated rain but stayed dry for the time we were out. I was pretty rubbish and missed the time I wanted by nearly 2 minutes but Kat outdid me by entering the 5km Race. And she was the first woman back! Admittedly, there were only 3 women entrants and she was beaten by a 9 year old who'd not entered the "run" but the "recreational" (you can't call it a walk as speed walking is pretty popular and the true walkers get upset if you enter a walk and you skip a couple of steps) but in my eyes she's a gold medal winner!
Then this weekend just gone was Anzac day and a bank holiday. They take this far more seriously than back home with all the TV and radio stations having related programs and loads of dawn ceremonies marking the occasion. It was quite touching to see so many people out and about genuinely marking the day.
In true ignorant Brit form though, we headed up to Taranaki (the lump on the side of the North Island) for a long weekend on a farm stay. On the Saturday we headed to Mount Taranaki for a walk, but I don't think either of us realised quite what a walk we'd do. The weather was forecast to get wet in the afternoon but the bloke in the Department of Conservation centre seemed to push a 6 hour walk and once the challenge was laid we weren't going to be chicken.
I did see him checking the mountain rescue number when we returned back to his hut after half an hour as we'd managed to get the wrong direction at the ONLY junction there was on the entire walk.
With a 50c map in hand we headed back out. Unfortunately I didn't realise quite what "scoria" was, so his warning of a tough, steep section went straight over my head. We'd climbed about 1,000m (vertically that is, including well over 2,000 steps!) when we hit the final 500m climb on scoria which turns out to be loose volcanic scree. One step up, half a step back and a topple over to one side was pretty much how it went. I ended up scrabbling on all fours and Kat, quite understandably had a wobbly moment after falling over 3 times in the same spot. Just for the record, I'm sure it was all my fault.
But fair do's to both of us, we did make it to the top of Fantham's peak and felt very proud of ourselves as we sat eating our lunch with clouds whipping past us and the occasional glorious glimpse out to the coast and the sea beyond. We only saw one other couple stupid enough to do the walk and two blokes who'd taken one look and turned back. Bring on Mount Cook, then Everest I say!
The walk back down was far more like skiing (except for the 2,000 steps which was much more like shaky-leg torture).
It's 2 days later and we're both still feeling the after effects. In fact I don't think I'd have got Kat out of bed the following morning except for the fact that we were staying on a farm stay and there was pig feeding to look forward to. Was it really wrong that we gave them our left over ham sandwich?
And now it's back to the wind of Wellington with winter almost on top of us and the long nights getting longer (bring on the violins). Luckily we've got pub quizzes, car fixing and the Wellington Comedy festival to keep us entertained. Oh and wedding planning, would you believe that I'm listening to a CD of wedding marches as I type...if it hasn't happened to you yet then don't laugh, it'll happen to you too!!
On that bomb shell I'm off to listen to another version of Ave Maria...
Looking forward to seeing you all in the not too far distant future (3 and a bit months and counting!)
Nick & Kat