New Zealand diary
(I will endeavour to update our travels and adventures in (and out of) New Zealand when I get a chance.)
Having left Heathrow airport on 6th April, we finally arrived in New Zealand on 8th April 2004. This is the day before Good Friday, and we have a week to explore before Dan starts work. In case you’re not sure where it is, here is a map showing where New Zealand is in the world.
For a more detailed map of New Zealand click here.
We explored some of the North Island when we were here in NZ on holiday in September / October 2003 (click here for our photo album from the trip). As you can see from the thumbnail image on the left (click the map for a new window containing a larger image) we took a route that covered a reasonable amount of the island.
We flew into and out of Auckland so our journey began and ended at the northern most point in red. We essentially took a trip down the west side of the island visiting such places as the Waitomo Caves (thousands of glow worms), Tongariro National Park (world’s fourth oldest National Park and a dual World Heritage site), arriving in Wellington at the southern tip of our journey. From there we travelled back up the eastern side of the country.
We went via Napier, Taupo (the largest fresh-water lake in the Southern Hemisphere), Rotorua (area of natural geothermal activity), Hobbiton (just outside a place called Matamata), Mount Maunganui and back to Auckland to fly home.
When we arrived at Easter the weather was glorious. We took the opportunity to explore a bit of Wellington while the sun shone (some of the photos are under the ‘Wellington’ link on the left).
(The first few months were mainly spent settling in. We bought a car and bought a house. Kate found a job (although she went for a couple of interviews and has still not heard back from the companies involved. That says a lot about the importance they place on Customer Service, eh?!) and then got promoted within about three weeks!)
Visited Martinborough in the Wairarapa. Lovely little place with many vineyards, and some shops selling local wine and cheese. We had a coffee in a cafe and bought about four different cheeses to take home and try, plus two bottles of local wine.
We went to see our first NPC rugby game at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington. It was Wellington vs Taranaki. A top of the table clash. The Westpac stadium is known as the Cake Tin because it looks like, well a cake tin, obviously. It was a great game, helped by the fact that Wellington won 73-28! The weather was gorgeous. It being a 5.30pm kick-off, the game started in bright sunshine, then ended under floodlights as the sun set.
Our seats were pretty good, and cost $56 (c.£20) for both of us including booking fee. Less than we paid for one ticket to the Bath vs Newcastle game we went to in the UK last year.
The Lions were in the final of the NPC Division One championship. The way it works in the NPC is similar to how it now works in the Rugby Premiership in the UK. Each team plays each other during the season (although only once) then the top four teams go through to the semi-finals. First plays fourth and second plays third with the winners playing in the final. Wellington were top of the table and won through to the final but got beaten by Canterbury (40-27) in the final so lose out on the title. Oh well, them’s the rules I suppose.
It’s labour weekend this month (Monday 25th is Labour Day). In typical fashion the weather turns out to be horrible (foggy and wet) but we decide to take a drive up to Otaki Beach (about 90kms North of Wellington along SH1) on Sunday having gone for brunch at the Chocolate Fish Cafe.
We sit in the car at the beach and decide not to go for a walk, given the wind was blowing at about a million miles an hour approximately, obviously!). We then take a drive and stop for a cup of coffee (and a piece of chocolate cake!) at the Brown Sugar Cafe. The setting is lovely (see photo on the left) even if it is grey, wet and windy! We drove to Gibbons Flat at the edge of the Tararua, which involved about 19kms along unsealed roads. Given the road was quite windy and was wet because it was raining it wasn’t the most pleasant of drives. In fact, a couple of times Kate had to close her eyes and not look down as she isn’t the biggest fan of heights! Still, it did give us a chance to discuss baby names. We agreed on a few. We disagreed on a few. We’re not near having to make a decision yet, though, so that’s ok!
Our other rugby team, the Hurricanes announced their squad this week. They are the Wellington based team that plays in the Super 12 – a league made up of 12 teams: 5 from NZ, 4 from South Africa and 3 from Australia. (It’s to become the Super 14 in 2006 with extra teams in SA and Oz.) No great surprises (not that we’d know!), although it’s early days yet as the league doesn’t start until next February!
On Halloween the weather was nice (the start of summer at last?!) so we decided to head up to the Botanical Gardens for a look around. It’s possible to take the cable car up from the City Centre, but we decided just to drive up. We had a lovely walk round what turned out to be only a fraction of the gardens.
In the garden was an interactive sundial – you stand on the current date with your back to the sun, then stick your hands over your head and the shadow is supposed to point at the current time. However, when we did it we couldn’t quite get it to work! (See one of the photos in the gallery page.) It may have been due to daylight savings time differences, although the instruction plaque said that adjustments are made for that.
Not being horticulturists we probably didn’t fully appreciate the subtleties of the different varieties of trees and flowers. What we did appreciate, though, was being in the middle of a peaceful garden only 10 minutes away from the centre of Wellington.
We moved house in December, although it still wasn’t finished when we moved. Despite having at least 10 weeks’ notice of our proposed settlement date the day we were supposed to move in saw people still working on a few minor things. Minor like lighting, heating, and power, that is. In fact, we looked at one of the houses in the same development back in May when we bought our previous house, and very little seemed to have happened between then and now. Anyway, we’re in now, and hopefully don’t have to wait too long until the last bits and pieces are finished off.
Christmas in Kiwi-land
We had talked about going for a completely different Christmas Day, and do things Kiwi style – a barbecue on the beach. Unfortunately Mother Nature decided that she was not going to give us the bright sunny day we had hoped for. In fact, she had given us weeks of British Summer weather in the build up to Christmas – not cold, but overcast and raining most of the time! It was a nice memory of home, but we had been hoping to experience something different! So in the end we decided we would just go for a walk on the beach instead of the whole hog of having a BBQ (not something that could have been done in the UK this year, at least, not without many layers of warmth!). See this gallery for some photos of us on the beach on Christmas Day.
Apparently turkey is not big at Christmas over here – literally. From what we’ve been told turkeys are generally smaller than chickens so people don’t tend to go for turkey much at Christmas. So to be a bit different (and given that we are in New Zealand) we decided to have lamb for a change. So having had some breakfast, opened our presents and gone for a walk on the beach (which is only about 5 minutes’ drive from our house, in case anyone was wondering!) we came home and had lamb, roast potatoes, peas, carrots, broccoli, sprouts (well, it wouldn’t be Christmas without sprouts, would it?!) followed by Christmas pudding and cream. Mmmmmm! Lovely!
Unfortunately, Kate had to work on Christmas Eve and again on Boxing Day, so we didn’t really get a chance to do much this year. Hopefully, though, we may look to do something different next year, as Kate will still be on maternity leave, and Dan’s office basically closes for two weeks. We might look to take Slug away for the first family Christmas.
In case there’s anyone wondering (that includes you, H, and you, Hannah!) yes, Kiwis do have Christmas trees and, yes, they do decorate them with lights, baubles, tinsel, etc. Yes, they do send Christmas cards, many of which have traditional pictures of snowmen, wintry scenes, etc. despite the fact it’s (supposedly) summer. Yes, they do sing Christmas carols, and yes they do go round the houses carol singing (and, yes, they are as bad as they are in the UK!) No, they didn’t have lights / illuminations in Wellington (but then as someone pointed out, given it doesn’t get dark until about 10 o’clock at night it wouldn’t be worth it). Yes, they did have a Christmas parade, although this year it took place on 21 November! Yes, shops do start getting all their Christmas stuff out early. We first noticed Christmas stuff not long after we had got back from the UK – in September!! Yes, many people do leave it until the last minute to do their shopping (although given that Wellington city only has a population of about 180,000 it didn’t ever feel very busy (to Dan, at least, I’m sure Kate might argue given a busy few days at work in the lead up to Christmas!))
Well now that 2004 has finished and we have emerged into 2005 it has been clear that 2004 was a year of considerable change for us and 2005 is going to be the same! In 2004 we changed jobs, moved to approximately the other side of the world and discovered we were expecting a baby. Apart from that it was the same old same old! 😉 2005 promises to be full of even more change with Slug’s expected arrival in May likely to change our lives forever!
Summer’s here … or not!
Having had pretty miserable weather in the build up to Christmas and over the festive period we are looking forward to a change for 2005. It turned out to be the coldest December for 60-odd years, and the windiest since records began back in 1870-something! There were a number of stories on the news about British families coming over to NZ for Christmas and to enjoy the summer weather having had to stay indoors as it was so cold and miserable! There was also mention of a couple of American tourists who landed in Auckland took one look at the weather and immediately got on a flight to Rarotonga (one of the Cook Islands) to spend their holiday there instead. (They were lucky they could afford to do it!)
Still, at least we experienced nothing as bad as the awful tsunamis that struck on Boxing Day. The only thing we got was an earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale that hit Wellington the other day. The epicentre was in the Wairarapa (approx. 30km away from Wellington) but it made our house shake which was quite an experience! At first Dan thought it was one of the cats trying to get into the wardrobe but then realised both cats were sound asleep on the bed. Kate felt the house wobbling (she was still in bed!) and realised it was an earthquake. Apparently the E&Y office shook quite noticeably (not surprising given it’s the tallest building in Wellington). We’d been told by a number of people since we arrived that earthquakes are pretty common in Wellington, but this was the first one we had actually felt ourselves. It was one of six that occurred in fairly quick succession all within a fairly small radius.
Still, it’s not all been bad. The beginnings of what might tentatively be called summer have arrived. We had five or six days in a row of brilliant sunshine and blue skies. The Wellington ‘breeze’ meant that it didn’t feel excessively hot, although Kate managed to get sunburnt despite the copious amounts of factor 30 she was using! In typical British style, though, the last couple of days have been cloudy and overcast, but it’s not what you would call cold, even if it’s not what you’d call hot either!
Given Kate didn’t get much time off over Christmas, we have booked a week away in February. We are going to catch the ferry across to the South Island and spend a week exploring the top of it. Hopefully we will get a chance to visit Blenheim (part of the Marlborough wine region), Kaikoura (well known for its whale and dolphin watching), Christchurch (apparently a very ‘English’ city), Arthur’s Pass (on one of three routes across the Southern Alps from east to west) and Greymouth (the largest town on the west coast and known for its seascapes).
We’ve also got a few visitors in the next couple of months, with Dan’s Auntie visiting Wellington in February and a friend of Dan and Kate’s visiting in March. Let’s hope the weather has picked up a bit by then!
Well the weather continues to be lovely, although there was a lot of fog early in the month. This closed the airport for a day and a half, but it was strange driving in to town and heading up Mount Victoria finding ourselves rising above the fog and looking down on it.
The international sevens comes to Wellington on 4th and 5th February, and Dan managed to get double passes for both days for free! Let’s hope the games live up to the expectations. The atmosphere was very different from a "normal" game of rugby as there are lots of games to watch (a game of sevens is seven minutes each way) and a lot of people come to the game in fancy dress. The emphasis is very much on having a good time rather than focusing on the rugby. (For the record New Zealand won, which went down very well with the local crowd.)
We have just got back from our holiday in the South Island. We had a great time and were very lucky with the weather (mostly). An overview of our route is on the right showing where we travelled (click the map for a larger version).
We basically caught the ferry to and from Picton at the north west of the island, then travelled in a clockwise direction down through Blenheim and Kaikoura to Christchurch, on to Geraldine then across via Arthur’s Pass to Hokitika, Greymouth and Westport before returning via Nelson. See our travel diary below.
Saturday 12th February 2005
Although the day looked a little cloudy it turned out to be bright and sunny. Having done the last minute shopping (for the cats, of course!) we set off for the ferry. We weren’t quite sure what to expect, not having caught the ferry before, but in the end it was easy. Easy, that is, apart from for Kate who had a job to get in and out of the car because the parking spaces were quite narrow! The journey was pretty straightforward and, as we were on the Lynx, only took 2 and 1/4 hours.
We drove briefly through Picton, but didn’t stop, and headed off for Blenheim. We hadn’t realised, until we had already booked the time off and the ferry, that the second Saturday in February is the Marlborough wine festival in Blenheim where around 10,000 people descend on the area to sample the delightful food and drink the region has to offer. This made finding a place to stay quite a task but eventually we managed and ended up staying at a lovely motel on the High Street.
It was a lovely warm night and we took a stroll to get some food. We ended up having thai, which was nice: spicy without being too hot. On the walk back we stopped for a rest in Seymour Square to look at the fountain. It had looked good on the walk out – a fountain in front of a little clock tower – but on the way back it was lit up and looked even better. We sat quietly, enjoying the evening: 9pm, just starting to get dark, and a pleasant 17 degrees.
A quick read through the Rough Guide suggests there’s a couple of pubs/breweries in Renwick, only a few kms away. So the plan for tomorrow is easily developed: farmers’ market for a look round and some breakfast, then to Renwick for a decent beer and some lunch before heading off to Kaikoura to prepare to watch whales.
Sunday 13th February 2005
We woke bright and early (well, by our standards anyway!) to glorious sun and bright clear sky. Sunday morning is Farmers’ market morning in Blenheim so after a wake up cup of coffee we decided to take a look. There were about 20 stalls selling all sorts of things from bread (yes, we bought some) to olives (we bought some of those too) to chilis (yep) and cheese (need you ask?!). Kate reckoned that Jeff would have loved it.
From there we headed to Renwick to have a look round a brewery, but we were too early (nothing to do with Dan wanting a drink … so he says) so we headed off for a drive round the vineyards instead. We stopped to have a look round a little craft village place, with a quilters barn, a place selling a wide range of olive oil (we bought some chili olive oil) and liqueurs (we didn’t actually buy any of these!), as well as various locally made wines.
The drive down to Kaikoura took us down the coast road where, about 25kms outside of Kaikoura itself, we saw a seal colony. The Ohau seal colony is literally 10m from the side of the road. There is a lookout viewpoint from where we took some photos.
In Kaikoura itself we stayed in a ‘delux’ cabin at a camp site. It was fine for what we needed (we could have slept 3 more people in the room if we’d wanted!) although Kate described it as a wendy house (judge for yourself on the right). We took a drive through the town centre to the coast at the end of the peninsula where Kate finally got to see some penguins! (There are a number of signs on the coast road near where we live warning of a risk of penguins on the road and Kate has often complained that she has never seen one.)
Tomorrow is whale watch day. According to the weather forecast the fine weather we’ve been having is due to give way to rain and thunderstorms. Let’s just hope they hold off until after our trip.
Monday 14th February 2005
Well, apparently it rained during the night but only Kate heard it. That and the trains chugging up and down the line just outside our room (it wasn’t really just outside, but in the middle of the night it sounded as if it was!) However, by the time the alarm clock wrenched us back into the real world, the clouds had all but disappeared and the sun had returned, promising some more lovely weather.
We had some breakfast at the whale watch centre (coffee and a bacon and egg sandwich mmmm!) and sat out in the sunshine watching a group (pod? school?) of dolphins enjoying themselves in the water about 50m out. On the coach on the way to the boat we were told the average number of whales seen per trip was between 1 and 2. However, the sea was reasonably calm and the trip prior to ours saw a couple of whales so it looked promising.
In the end we had a great trip seeing about 7 or 8 whales, including 2 together at one point. About 5 of them did a deep dive so we got lots of glimpses of the ubiquitous whale’s tail just before it disappears. Just when we thought the trip was over and we were heading back into dock, we saw a school of dolphins. Dusky dolphins to be exact and there must have been 100 of them. They were happily jumping and spinning in the air and swimming round the boat. Unfortunately the wet weather forecast yesterday had materialised so it was wet watching the dolphins. It had been cool watching the black clouds roll in, the sky turn dark and seeing the lightning in the distance though.
It meant the drive down to Christchurch was pretty wet too, although we didn’t mind too much as we were in the car. Finding a motel proved to be a minor challenge as we hadn’t pre-booked and it’s high season, but we found one in the end. We had a bit of a wander round the city centre, although we did spend most of the time trying to shelter from the rain. Still, there’s more time to have a look round tomorrow, and the weather’s supposed to be brighter too.
Tuesday 15th February 2005
Yesterday’s forecast said it would be cloudy but clearing in Christchurch, and sure enough we woke to find the sun doing its best to shine through the clouds. By the time we’d checked out and headed into town to look round a bit more, the sun had won the battle and the clouds were all but gone. We’d had a chance to wander round a bit last night so headed straight for Cathedral Square. This looked much more cheerful in the sunshine and it didn’t take Kate long to spot the Louis Vuitton shop nearby! Three hours later … no, only joking – Kate satisfied herself looking at the bags in the window so we weren’t there for long – we sat and had a coffee (and a cinnamon roll!) while Dan commented on how many tourists there were (so what exactly were we then, Dan, eh?!)
Once we had stared at the Cathedral for long enough (there was some sort of flowery festival thingy inside so we didn’t go in) we headed south out of Christchurch on SH1 to Ashburton. Having arrived at Ashburton we couldn’t see any reason to get out of the car so headed north-west(ish) to Methven only to repeat the remaining-in-the-car game and heading south west to Geraldine. The scenery in this area, though, is absolutely stunning and made the journey a pleasure: bright sun shining on the Southern Alps with just the tops of a few still with snow on. The roads were clear so we tootled along, obeying the speed limit at all times, of course (yeah, right!) glad we were in an air-conditioned car and not out in the 80-odd degrees outside.
Geraldine is a pretty little town with plenty of places to eat and drink as well as having the largest jumper in the world (per the Guinness Book of Records, apparently). It also has a little river running through it along which we took a gentle evening stroll (ahh, how romantic!)
Kate has been feeling pretty tired today (must have been all that sitting in the car that has exhausted her!) She’s a little bit worried about it, as the last time she felt like this Sluggy was putting on a growth spurt. It looks as though Sluggy’s big enough already, though, without needing another spurt!
Wednesday 16th February 2005
The high pressure system that was causing all the good weather has moved north and been replaced by a low front bringing with it cloud and rain, according to the lady doing the weather forecast on TV last night, at least. That meant the sky was cloudy and the temperature noticably cooler when we got up. We headed into Timaru for some breakfast before retracing our steps back through Geraldine, stopping on the way in Winchester for Dan to have his photo taken next to the sign! (Well, he couldn’t resist an opportunity like that!)
We spent most of the rest of the day in the car, partly because we were travelling (and we find that easier to do while inside the car) and partly because it rained and rained and rained. To be fair, we made it almost all the way to Arthur’s Pass in the dry. The journey was quite different from yesterday, though, as the snow on the tops of the mountains had virtually all gone, and the cloud was lower covering a lot of the view. However, once we had arrived at Arthur’s Pass the heavens opened and it rained, no poured, for the rest of the day. As Kate commented, the rain didn’t ease up even for a moment – it was one of the most consistent downpours we have experienced.
We therefore decided not to stay in Arthur’s Pass beyond lunch and headed straight on to Hokitika instead. Apparently Hokitika is on the coast, which therefore presumably means the sea is nearby. However, we were unable to see anything apart from the clouds and the rain. Let’s hope for better weather tomorrow!
On reading some of the Rough Guide to New Zealand before going to sleep, Dan noticed the following: "no discussion of the West Coast would be complete without mention of the torrential rainfall, which falls with tropical intensity for days at a time". Oh. Bugger.
Thursday 17th February 2005
Sure enough, we were woken by the gentle pitter patter of torrential rain on the … well, on everything really – the window, the roof, the ground outside … According to the guy in the hotel there had been 10 inches of rain since the previous night, and, judging by the state of most of the fields and rivers we drove past on the way to Greymouth, we can well believe it. They weren’t so much fields as lakes with grass in, and weren’t so much rivers as raging torrents.
Dan commented on the drive to Greymouth "looks like the sky is brightening a bit". Yeah, that’s right, Dan, keep telling yourself – you might start believing it!
We stopped in Greymouth for some breakfast and for Kate to look round the Jade factory, but were soon on our way again up SH6. About half way between Greymouth and Westport is a place called Punakaiki known for its rock formations which resemble a stack of pancakes and from which the rocks get their name. Luckily the rain had stopped so we took a stroll to see the rocks before heading on towards Westport.
Just short of Westport we took a detour to see the Tauranga Bay seal colony at Cape Foulwind. However, given (a) it was weeing down with rain again, and (b) we’d already seen plenty of seals on our holiday so far, we decided not to bother venturing out of the car. Instead we headed on to Westport to try to find a room for the night. (We made the mistake yesterday of not ringing ahead to book a room so found the motels were full and ended up staying at a place that was probably very nice 20 years ago but didn’t quite match the description in the AA guide. It described itself as "the best kept secret on the coast". Well we’re not quite sure what the secret was but it certainly didn’t reveal itself to us!) The strategy was successful and we ended up with a lovely motel room with an en suite bathroom, cooking facilities and Sky TV for $25 less than the room with a bed and virtually nothing else we had last night.
Having had a bite to eat we took a drive on the road to Karamea. The area is sub tropical and has lots of different plants and trees from those we’re used to in Wellington. On the way back to Westport we were glad to see the return of the sunshine which we hadn’t seen for over a day! The clouds cleared slowly to reveal plenty of blue sky which we’re hoping will last into tomorrow as we head towards Nelson on the last full day of our holiday.
We had dinner (and had had lunch too for that matter) at a place called the Denniston Dog, at the recommendation of the lady at the motel. The place was great, with a good atmosphere, good food and good service. We had starters, a main course and dessert, plus a couple of beers and Dan had a coffee all for $58 (about £20). We didn’t even mind that it rained on the walk back to the motel.
Friday 18th February 2005
In stark contrast to yesterday morning the sky this morning is clear and the sun is shining. It is one of the warmest days of the week, and certainly one of the sunniest.
We leave Westport and make the journey across to Nelson. It looks as though the area didn’t get as much of a deluge as the west coast did recently, as most of the rivers we pass are flowing quite gently and some have very little water in.
Having sorted out our last room for the week (it will be strange sleeping back in our own bed tomorrow night) we head into Nelson for some lunch, then take a drive up to the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park, just past Motueka. We drive by a nice looking area of beach so decide to stop for a stroll and a paddle. The water was actually nice and warm although Kate took quite some persuading before she would check it out for herself.
Today was our last full day on holiday as we get the ferry back to Wellington tomorrow night. Kate has spotted another market that we plan to go to tomorrow morning, then we’ll head back to Picton and the ferry home.
Saturday 19th February 2005
The weather on our last morning looks set to be another scorcher. We find the market more easily than we fear and have a good look round the fifty or so stalls. Kate is pleased that almost all the stalls had home-made or home-grown products for sale. We buy some possum fur lined booties for Sluglet which will hopefully help to keep its feet warm during the cool winter months.
After a bite of brunch at a lovely coffee shop we head off on the journey to Picton. The drive is again a lovely one taking us through some breathtaking scenery via Queen Charlotte drive. Arriving in Picton just after 1 o’clock, and with our ferry not leaving until 7.30, we decide to enjoy the sunshine so head on to Waikawa. There we sit out in a little harbour area and Kate reads her book while Dan goes for a swim (the water was much colder than yesterday, in case you were wondering!)
When we’ve had as much sun as we can take in one go, we head into Picton where we have a bite to eat followed by a stroll round the shops before heading off to the ferry terminal to await the ferry home.
The 2005 Super 12 season has well and truly started, with our team (the Hurricanes) having won their first three games, all of which were away from home (two in South Africa, one in Australia). We have bought season tickets to cover the Hurricanes home games and then the Wellington Lions games later in the year. In true Hurricanes style, though, having won three on the road they lost their first home game and only narrowly won their second. We’ll just have to hope they start playing a lot better soon if they’re to compete for the semi-finals. Annoyingly, it’s a couple of the Australian teams that seem to be playing the best, along with the Crusaders.
Kate has now finished work and has started her maternity leave. She hasn’t been working for long enough to get any maternity pay, but is technically still employed by them. Hopefully she’ll be able to keep herself amused for the weeks before the baby arrives, but she is slightly concerned about going stir crazy!
A friend of Kate’s (Erica) also happened to be finishing work at the same time as Kate, so the two of them decided to organise a leaving dinner. We went to Uncle Chang’s (Kate’s favourite restaurant and, in fact, the place we’ve been to on all (both) our previous wedding anniversaries). As well as Kate, Dan and Erica, there were Tash, Emma, Alice, Nat, Alistair (Nat’s boyfriend) and Lisa. Kate got some lovely presents from everybody (see here for the photos).
We have been shopping for a few extra bits and pieces, mainly for the house, especially given we’re going to be having a number of visitors over the forthcoming months. While we were out we couldn’t help buying something else, though. A picture of it is on the right. What do you think it could be? Any ideas? Have a guess then click on the photo to see if you were right. I’ll give you a clue – think seasonally….
We have finally got round to putting up some curtains and blinds in the spare room and nursery ready for our forthcoming guests and Slug respectively. We’ve added a couple of pictures to a gallery (here).
Our friend Nanette came to stay with us for a few days while here in New Zealand. In true Wellington fashion she experienced pretty much every type of weather you can get here! She landed in torrential rain and grey gloomy skies. After she’d been here a couple of days the sun came out and it was warm and bright. Then when she came back to Wellington having spent some time travelling round the South Island, she experienced a southerly wind and some fog! Luckily the day she flew on to Australia was sunny and calm so there was no problem with her flight! It was lovely to see her as we’d not seen her since we were back in the UK last August.
One of the people Dan works with was working in Auckland for most of January to March. One weekend in March instead of her flying back to Wellington for the weekend her boyfriend was planning to fly up to spend the weekend with her in Auckland. Unfortunately Wellington was experiencing a period of extended fog (it basically lasted for about a week!) and meant that the airport was closed. To Ruth’s surprise Andrew decided to get in his car and drive up to Auckland instead (for those that don’t know, it takes about nine hours!). He texted her on the Saturday morning announcing he was downstairs and, while Ruth was showing him round the apartment she had been staying in, he got down on one knee and proposed! Needless to say Ruth was surprised for the second time that day, but quickly said yes! (She’s been walking round with a big smile on her face pretty much all the time since then!)
Ruth and Andrew are planning to go to the UK in July as part of the good old Kiwi OE so have decided to get married before they go. They have set a date of 28th May and Ruth has asked Kate to make her dress for her. Luckily this is working out perfectly so far, as the fact Kate isn’t working means she has plenty of time both to work on the dress and to get some rest. It is also helping to take her mind off worrying about Slug too much and is helping the time to pass more quickly. (With Ruth and Andrew’s permission we’ll put some photos from their wedding on here once it’s happened.)
Kate has been feeling rather upset about the fact that she has not been able to make her friend Jude’s dress for her wedding, which coincidentally is also on 28th May but is taking place approximately 12,000 miles away from us.
Nothing much happened in May that we can think of. Hang on, I’ll cast my mind back again …. nope, nothing comes to mind. Pretty quiet month really. Just the same old same old. Oh, I suppose you could always count the birth of our first born as "something"!!