Saturday 3 December 2016 – Auckland, New Zealand.
I have been back in London for six days now, and am suffering immensely from jet-lag induced tiredness. I have been struggling to find the motivation to knock this post off, and am doing so just as a sense of completeness. I was anticipating not having any work until the new year, but am starting again on Monday, at least in a temporary capacity. I am still looking for something more long term. I will miss having the days off to get more self organised and motivated for 2017 – but it is so good to have some money coming in!
I arrived in Auckland on 21st November, had a day in Auckland before heading off down to Nelson, at the top of the south island, to see my sister’s family and stay with friends for two nights. My son, Aiden came with me on the trip and it was really good to spend a couple of days with him. I wrote about that trip a couple of posts ago.
I had no plan for my time in Auckland, stay with mum and just hang out. Maybe catch up with a few of the friends I did not see when El and I were here earlier in the year. I deliberately did not hire a car this time, which meant I was more ‘home’ bound than I would have been if I was more mobile. Mum does have pretty good access to public transport, which was also a factor in that decision.
After that big walk I did up Ben Nevis on Thursday I was a little concerned about going mountain bike riding on Saturday morning. I have not been on my bike since November 2015, so this was going to hurt. Hurt it did… I was so unfit, my riding buddies destroyed me! We went riding at my old stamping ground of Woodhill Forest, except it is totally different now. All the trails I rode, including the ones I made have been logged and there is nothing left. A new area of the forest has opened up and the trails there were really good. The trail builders have done a brilliant job. It was just a shame I was not up to it, slow riding up and slow riding down… I need to get fit again!
I went back to my friends place that night for dinner and a catch up with other friends, we went to the local supermarket for wine and beer and I was amazed at the huge range of pinot gris available in New Zealand. Heavenly ! We do not get much of it in England, all Italian pinot grigio, not to my taste. I am a New Zealand wine snob.
Over the next few days I made quite a few trips into the city, sharing the journey between bus and train. I had family Christmas shopping to do plus I was keen to visit Auckland Art Gallery and the museum.
I love the art gallery, and visit every time I go to Auckland, there is always a change to the main NZ gallery and the special exhibitions are worth checking out. One of my favourite spaces in Auckland.
This piece certainly has resonance in this weird, politically messed up year.
I was really lucky with the weather while I was in Auckland, there was a little rain, but not on any of the days I was out, from the gallery I walked up to K’Rd and bought myself three albums from the Flying Out record shop; another thing I do whenever I come here. It was then on to the museum and the New Zealand music exhibition. I was not happy having to pay $25 to get into the museum, I am used to museums being mainly free, and that price is really expensive.
Though the music exhibition was really good, documenting some of the bands I loved, and still love. It was great to see Martin Phillips’ from The Chills Leather Jacket, which was left to him when their drummer tragically died far too young from leukaemia, as well as the infamous 4-track owned by Chris Knox that recorded so many of those brilliant early Flying Nun records.
I am not a huge fan of Auckland, it is a fairly dull city; the beaches and coastal parks being a massive exception, though unusually apart from the trip to Murwai I made with mum I did not get out to the sea at all.
I do love the central Britomart train station though!
The rest of the time was spent catching up with family and friends. Drinking and eating were a feature of the rest of the trip, I had some excellent dinners, lunches, coffees, beer and wine and left the country a few pounds heavier than when I arrived, and I was only there for ten days!
It was fabulous to catch up with my grandson Mason, he is two and a half now and a real character, loves his Duplo, cars, trucks and anything else with wheels.
It was a good trip, lovely to spend a few days with mum, great to see friends and family, but by the end I was looking forward to going home. My mum, son, grandson and me. Four generations in one room.