In May, I made the momentous decision to move from Auckland to Wellington. It has been an interesting time as the two cities are so different, some days I feel like I’m in another country. But I am gradually learning the nuances of life in this weird and wonderful town and slowly adjusting to its different pace. During this time, I have been emailing a friend with my observations of life in Wellington, so I thought I’d share a few. Continue reading Despatches From Wellington
I love the early morning light at Piha, and it is one of my favourite times to take photographs as only a few walkers and surfers are around. Because of the hills behind, the sun only sneaks over about 30 minutes after sunrise, so until then there is this lovely ambient light. One of the things I’m learning about landscape photography is the inclusion of active elements like animals and humans to bring it to life, so I was really chuffed when an early morning swimmer dashed across. I quickly snapped an image and I think this is one of my favourite shots as it gives a great sense of proportion to Lion Rock and the hills behind. My camera is a Nikon D5200 and I have a 16 to 85 DX lens, which I am slowly mastering. It was just on the landscape setting.
Every Wednesday, a small community of Aucklanders hurtle out of their offices and dash down to Westhaven marina to go sailing around the Waitemata Harbour for a couple of hours. They are the people frantically shopping at Victoria Park New World at 10 past 5, grabbing chips and beer, before racing down the marina berths, tearing off their shirt and tie, to get aboard the boat before it leaves.
Yacht racing is a huge adrenalin buzz because of the enormous potential for something to go wrong. You see, yachts are a living swarming mass of ropes, sails and rigging, all under huge tension just biding their time until they can tangle, snap it or disappear up the top of the mast where they sit and taunt the crew, daring them to just try and retrieve them. Sails become clingy infants, desperate to stay onboard and wrap around a comforting mast, or even better, a crew member, instead of flying free. Even better is clipping a hapless bowman around the ears as the sails flick through a tack.
The sea yearns to sit inside the cabin so it sneaks up through the toilet the moment you aren’t looking. And it needs its offerings – winch handles, sunglasses and hats – all waiting for their chance to escape into the wide ocean. The ocean loves badly tied-down sails and on a good day, a full boat. And when something does break, it is not a gentle snap – it is a huge bang and crack as sheets and wires whip through the air (a trifle overstated here, but you get the idea), seeking a potential victim. Despite this, or perhaps because of this, (who knows?) yachties are among the most fanatical of sportsmen.
Just why this is so probably requires years of in-depth psychological research, or perhaps it is simply a result of too much sun. Maybe it is best summed up by Rat: `Nice? It’s the ONLY thing,’ said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. `Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING–absolute nothing–half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,’ he went on dreamily: `messing–about–in–boats; messing—-‘
The great mugginess ended last night as the wind rushed up from the south. Thank goodness. The night before was one of the ickkiest in memory. Almost a 100 per cent humidity, I had cold shower in the middle of the night to try and cool down and confused the cats who figured it must be time for breakfast even though it was still dark, so they got up and sat outside the laundry. Foolish creatures. I figured it was probably a bit early for a really cold beer (see previous post) so I had a glass of water instead, then threw half of it over my head. Time moves in fits and spurts when you wake up in the middle if the night. If you are lying somwhere so uncomfortable that it may as well be your coffin, it goes by in triple slow time. If you are desperate to get back to sleep because you have a big meeting the next day, it goes by in a flash and suddenly the alarm goes off and you feel as if you have had only five minutes sleep the whole night. Especially when you are alone. If you have company, well that’s another story altogether! Except if you are married, then they are just a big old toaster oven in bed with you.
February in Auckland is always muggy. It is the type of weather very cold beer was invented for. Which raises the question – who did invent beer? A quick check of the source of all slightly dubious knowledge (Wikipedia rocks) reveals that it is one of humanity’s oldest forms of alcoholic beverages – back to Neolithic times even. So beer came before God then. Beer possibly wasn’t invented – it was more likely discovered after Mr Bachelor Caveman forgot to wash out the prorridge pot and went hunting for a few days. On his return, lo and behold, a bubbling fermenting pot of something interesting. And like all single guys he thought: “Hmm I wonder what that tastes like?” And so beer and hangovers came into the world.
It isn’t summer until the strawberries are here – and the strawberries are here! New Zealand strawberries are the best in the whole world, and they taste the nicest on the the same day they are picked. Sorry rest of world – you miss out. Whipped cream, a sprinkling of icing sugar – heaven! Work well with champagne and ice cream too. And we have universal health care too. Who would want to live anywhere else?