Trip home was very very good, was well pleased with it. In no particular order:
- Great weather. Got a sweet red base-tan. 40°C when I landed in Melbourne on the way back. -1°C when I landed in London, with snow.
- Didn’t spend enough time with family – for various reasons. Mostly my own doing – just being dumb. Trip to Taranaki was understandably short as I was driving sister, niece, nephew – and then had weird block in my head about “going backwards – wasting time”. Then had weird hang-up about only spending as much time with one side of the family as I had with the other. And then Brent went and got married, and I had to postpone visiting Mum. Then I got sucked into Hawkes Bay – weddings, beach, sun, drinking… just general “being on holiday”.
- Definitely should have spent more time with niece & nephew – but never sure how much help/hindrance I’m really being. But the time I did spend there was awesome… Meiken asked me to stay instead of going back to London, which was nice as I figured she must actually kinda like me… but also tugged the heartstrings a fair bit. Helped Cohen out with his engineering a bit… at 18 months he’s actually building towers of blocks – not just smashing them down. Which I don’t know if it’s normal or not, but it impressed me anyway. And when I built up the nerve to hang out with Masen too (he’s the loud intimidating type), we seemed to get along well enough. We’ll see what he really thinks when he can walk and talk.
- New Year’s Eve on the beach. The way it should be. Purple Goanna’s at 10 paces. A spot of night-swimming. Watching the dawn. Daiquiris. Beach cricket.
- New Zealand – wow. I never really agreed when Katie talked about going back, and being surprised at how ‘small-town’ everything seems. But this time, I did kinda get that. But then – I guess I was in small towns. Driving into Hastings Pak’n’Save carpark, was a moment. But, I rather suspect driving into Scunthorpe’s Asda carpark, if it’s got one, would be a similar experience. So yeah – no Katie, I still disagree. Same shit, different logos.
- Coromandel – that was certainly some stuff to show off how ‘rural’, or ‘small-town’ NZ can be. A couple of nights in Coromandel Town – providing the social glue at a backpackers, doing some swimming, cooking and eating heaps of seafood, introducing foreign backpackers to the Swappa-Crate. Good times.
- Taupo – got myself a fishing license, went fishing, caught so many fish – but we only had a little boat, and they were all too big, so threw them all back. For the taniwha to have.
- Ate so much icecream. Drank so much beer. Ate so much seafood. Ate some pies. Ate some pig. Drank so much wine. How much? Soooo much. So much that I don’t fit any of my clothes now. Need to spend some time exercising so I can fit in all my new suits and what-not… but still too relaxed from holiday.
- Wedding #1: Brent married Daniela. Who I introduced myself to with a “nice to meet you”. Only to be reminded that it had also been nice to meet her two years ago, at Matt’s wedding, when I had in fact insisted on being her bridesmaid at this wedding. So yeah – good start to being Head Bridesmaid.
- Wedding #2: Claire married Ludek. I didn’t say “nice to meet you” this time, being once-bitten. It would have been suitable on this occasion, but not going to risk it. Cooked a pig, with Hayden’s assistance, for the wedding. Did some karaoke. Played the piano, and nobody shot me. Looking forward to the Away leg of that wedding – Czech Republic in July… do I motorbike from London, or train from Vietnam?
- Melbourne – hot. Visited people, kept Nathan’s dog occupied, put the finishing touchs on the base-tan. Read some Faraway Tree to Eli. Got all jealous of people who live in places with an actual outside area.
- London, cold, snowing. Landed, got home – walking through snow in my non-waterproof kung-fu slippers. Showered, found I didn’t fit any of my suit trou any more. Went to work… managed to stay awake all day. Came home – went to pub for dinner to force myself to stay awake. Managed to stay awake (or close to) until 9pm or so. Off to bed. Jet-lag, sorted. Managed the same on arrival in NZ actually… with opposite technique. Slept all the way from Auckland to Rotorua, got there… an hour or two of pretending to be another day – then off to bed at 11 or so… slept all the way through to 6am-ish. Jet-lag, sorted. Man, I’m good at this international travel nonsense.
Now – waiting on some reasonable temperatures to see if the Spectre still runs. And trying to save some money so I can do all (or most… well… some) of this again in May.