Tuesday, February 21, 2006

the wonders of Welly

I knew it was too good to be true, I was saying to Kate this morning I was feeling unusually awake, especially having provided breakfast at 7am... it's now 7.45pm (well it was, the phone rang and it's now somewhat later!) and I'm back to propping my eyelids open again. I'm blaming the weather as it has been sooo humid and headachey today - definitely a weather front on the way. However I've had a few days of bounce and energy so shouldn't complain - if the weather leaving me feeling like Tigger one day and not very how the next is the worst I can say about Wellington then it can't be that bad now can it =)

In fact this last weekend has been fantastic - been meaning to post for days...

It all started on Friday when a fairly mundane trip to the bank turned into a mini adventure (without the car...). I was wandering along past the lagoon and a rather large platform was being constructed on the water which looked like it wasn't going to leave much water uncovered, strange.... ah yes, the fire festival thingy for the Volvo Ocean Race... a few yards further it sank in (what it meant that is, not the raft) - the Volvo Ocean Race!!!! Already? Wow. There were people standing on the waterfront looking out at the water, maybes they are watching for a yacht coming in, so I watch for a wee while but don't see anything more impressive than usual out on the water so carry on taking my usual shortcut round the waterfront to the bank.

This was where I really did question my ability to think beyond the instant moment, to get to the bank I had to pass by Queens Wharf and yes, the Volvo Ocean Race yachts (not my pics I haven't got my film developed yet) - so much for my shortcut! However as ever I had my camera in my bag and got a few shots of them moored up, then pushed through the crowds to pay in my cheque. Being a glutton for punishment and wanting another go at getting a decent photo of the Pirates of the Caribbean banner the right way around I wended my way back the same route, watched some footage on the big screen of the yachts in action (far more impressive than them bobbing about with sails stowed and oilskins hung out to dry from the boom) and then finally realised what the people on the waterfront had been watching on my way past the first time - dolphins!!!! Three of them playing around in the harbour just 20 yards or so from the waterfront.

It was amazing watching the dolphins who seemed totally oblivious to the fact that there were hoards of school kids jumping off the wharf into the water nearby, and they seemed to like the busker. No point even trying to take photos (you see that dark streak in the water there, that's a dolphin that is, honest...) I just sat on the edge and watched them for ages. Would have sat for longer but I had a meal to cook for folk coming round and so the chilli that was going to have sat and slowly mellowed in its flavours ended up being somewhat rushed but no-one seemed to mind! Good company rounded off the day nicely.

Saturday saw a trip to Thorndon New World in the car with Frances - ok, not the most exciting date for most people's diaries but believe me when buying 48 rolls of loo roll at a time getting a lift makes my day! Then another meander along the waterfront catching the start of the Latin Beat celebrations before heading off to the cake tin to be baked whilst watching the Black Caps beat the Windies (translation - off to Westpac Stadium where it was very hot - when in the sun - to watch the New Zealand cricket team beat the West Indian team in a One Day International, and if you don't know what one of those is don't worry it'd take far too long to explain...). My first proper ODI, and my first ever cricket match where the team I was supporting won! Well Scotland vs Pakistan doesn't really count as an ODI and I've never seen them win, not that they always lose, just always when I'm there... Chris who I was with was supporting the Windies which seemed only fair as we're both Brits - one for each team! Some fantastic stroke play by the Windies but they also skyed a few too many catches and the fielding of the Black Caps appeared flawless.

After the match I left Chris to catch the end of Latin Beat and continued along the waterfront homewards... a warm still night (we do have some!), with clear skies, lots of stars and wonderful reflections of the city lights on the water. It really was Wellington at it's best. There's hardly any city light polution compared to Edinburgh so we get great night skies here. Had it not been for the fact that I had to set up for guests breakfast and get up early enough to feed them and set up for Meeting (having not managed to squeeze that in inbetween everything else!) I'd've been tempted to just sit and watch the world go by again and soak it all in.

As if that all hadn't been enough for one weekend I just managed to get up Mount Victoria after lunch on Sunday in time to watch the start of the next leg to Rio of the Volvo Ocean Race (hence all the Latin Beat stuff the night before). There was a flotilla of small boats accompanying the yachts out to the Cook Strait - great to see them under full sail, spinnakers and all. Much as I've dreamed since childhood of going on a Tall Ship or any ocean going sailing boat I think I'll hang out for a chance to go on something a little more sedate and built for stability and comfort rather than speed. Beautiful to watch as they might have been I prefered my vantage point on the hill to the prospect of being on 70' (no longer than a narrow boat!) of sleek nautical engineering powering through the swell with another 3 weeks to go before Rio with Cape Horn en route...

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