|Pat and little Ben share a cuddle in the kitchen|
I’m not that sure how the New Zealand economy has been of late, but the Kiwi Prime Minister John Key will be delighted to know, that over the last seven days Pat and I have done our level best to pump a significant sum into it. But I run away with myself. Let’s backtrack.
Our journey out here was a bit of a faff, with a fair degree of uncertainty along the way. The connections we had to make in Sydney and Auckland relied on our plane leaving Heathrow on time-ish. In reality it left nearly three hours late and even with his foot to the floor (or whatever they do to make these planes go quicker) we found ourselves at one stage, looking forward to a day in Sydney, while we waited for a suitable flight on to Auckland.
The flights themselves were fine and it proved to me, once again, how much more comfortable I am in one of the exit row seats. Definitely worth the £100 or so, especially on the 12-hour leg from Dubai to Sydney. The Airbus A380’s that Qantus use are great planes. Very quiet and very comfortable.
|Granny and Livi get re-aquainted|
I guess that most people know that `The Lord Of Rings` films were all shot in New Zealand. Arriving at Wellington Airport it’s hard to avoid the obvious references to the trilogy and beyond. The film’s director, Peter Jackson, lives about a mile from the airport, most of the post production was in the city and a huge model of Gollum hangs in the departure lounge patting a passing fish. And for good measure the facia on the terminal proudly displays that you have reached “the middle of Middle Earth”. It is said that if you travelled into Wellington when each of the Lord of The Rings films was being premiered, your passport would not have Wellington stamped in it but “Middle Earth”, which is pretty cool if you are into all things Tolkein, a bit stupid if you’re not.
For such a small city it has a lively sporting and cultural programme and there always seems to be something going on, This weekend is the international rugby sevens tournament, where fancy dress seems compulsory (for the spectators at least).
|A pre-match drink for the "Duff Beer Men" and "Super Mario's" en-route for the rugby 7s tournament|
Erica and James live in Karori, which is a leafy suburb to the north of the city, though it’s only a 12-minute drive to the CBD (Central Business District) of Wellington. They moved into their new home on 1 December, so this was the first time we had seen it, though what with Skype and Whatsapp, we were very familiar with it. The ground floor is our investment. It’s just a large room, which we will eventually divide into a bedroom and a living room. There is already a good bathroom down there and a laundry room, that we hope to convert into a small kitchen in time.
|Our ground floor flat, which will be divided and filled with furniture over the next two weeks|
French windows run down one side of the wall and lead into the sub-tropical back garden. I was anticipating that there would be a lot of gardening to do, and I was not wrong, but it’s not hard graft. It’s good soil and I am concentrating on the front garden first, and dodging the rain showers. The last couple of days have been wet and windy, which is a common combination in Wellington, though temperatures still hover around 20, though we have been promised 23 to 25C through much of next week, which is hot for around these parts.
|Pat couldn't resist this leather reclining suite...|
|and I got my Bose sound system sorted as well|
|Pat arrives back at the house with more stuff|
So we have been busy sourcing a three-piece suite and something to put all our clothes in. Then there’s been a telly, internet, a good music system, bedding, and along the way we have to think about a car. We were going to lease one, but now think we’ll bite the bullet and buy one, but then again we might not bother at all and hire one as and when we need one.
My sister Carol is also out here at present. Her daughter Lucy is currency living in Auckland with her family, and Carol and Rob have been here since early December. They go back to the UK next week, but flew down during the week to see us. It seemed bizarre to meet up, such a long way from home.
|With my sister Carol and her husband Rob|
So that’s about that. By the next blog we should be a bit more self-contained with furniture and somewhere to put all our clobber. It’s lining the floor at present.