The Wellington summer post
by little red pen
A funny day to be writing this, with 140km winds and the rain gusting in. It’s been nice though, and will be again, so I shall reserve the snark. In any case, I’m tucked up in a café while Ian braves the zoo with the boys, so it behoves me to be civil.
Ian’s up here for work reporting the Summer News, and we’re his hangers-on. We did this last year too, and we were a bit quicker to get into the swing of capital holiday mode this time. We’re only halfway through the visit, so there might be more to say later.
In the meantime, lists, I think. With illustrations from an event I wasn’t part of.
- Dear family friends standing together as their baby boy was baptised, a little oasis of loving calm that we didn’t completely ruin by arriving late and dramatic after a delayed early morning flight.
- Rabbit wearing full soccer kit — Barça shirt and shorts about five sizes too big, knee-length socks, boots, plus red-framed sunglasses — and walking along the street eating his first chocolate éclair. His face a perfect mix of wonder, delight and determination to finish the damn thing.
- The Cat, who has a tendency to freeze when grown-ups attempt to engage him in conversation, confidently and politely advising a couple of women about which bus would take them to the railway station. Also his strong sense of the necessity of giving some money to anyone busking or begging.
- My lunch today — a coffee with cream, a tasting platter of small and delicious vegetable dishes, flatbreads and crackers. I feel vaguely greedy and conspicuous, but mostly very happy. There’s a salad of garden vegetables (chard, slivered carrots, radishes), beautifully dressed and enriched with nuts and dates, there are pickled plums and salsas of avocado and eggplant, there are creamy potatoes, green beans in a tomato sauce, a soft, spicy tangle of onions and capsicums, and a little dish of capsicums, olives, walnuts and herbs.
- The boys playing in the rocks at Plimmerton, looking for crabs and discussing the characteristics of sea worms/centipedes.
- This lunch, obviously. It’s like my Platonic lunch ideal, the lunch of all my dreams and desires and imaginings. It’s from the legendary Lido café, and you should try it if you ever get the chance. The chef is going to send me the recipes. None of the staff seem to have seen the dish before, which makes me wonder about any number of things, but mostly makes me hope they get a taster soon. I think it’s only just made an appearance on the summer menu.
- Pizzas at the Mediterranean Food Warehouse. We walked up to Kelburn through the bush and via a soccer match. The children scrapped like feral warthogs until the food arrived and peace descended. The adults shared a glass of red. We worked out which European and Asian cities we each most resemble.
- Lunch at our friends’ house in Petone. Beautiful food, a soccer match on the lawn and another at the school, easy, enlivening conversation, the kids enjoying each other.
- A café lunch in Plimmerton, but only for the gossip, which cannot be shared.
- Still to come, I hope.
- Football matches on Sky.
- Working through maths and reading activity books with the Rabbit, who is VERY KEEN.
- Bouncing along the street with the Cat while he assembles dream football teams and I nod sagely from time to time.
- Seeing friends.
- Running and walking up lots of steps.
- Buses, trains, no car.
- Long, ranting conversations with my fella.
- Discovering that GoFugYourself recapped a TV series of Wolf Hall, which brings together, I don’t know, at least ten of my favourite things in this world.
- Visiting my favourite ceramics and knives shop.
- Walks along the esplanade.
- Family football matches. In case anyone was missing the theme.
- Popping into Unity Books every time we walk past.
- Riffing on the new family insult: you great, big … potato.