Domestic Bliss

Trip Start Jun 06, 2011
Trip End May 22, 2012

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Where I stayed
Our own flat
What I did
We saw Mr Potato Head

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fri 25 Nov – Thur 8 Dec

LK: We have now been in our fantastic apartment since Friday 25 November, only with one potential last minute hitch with the cleaners not turning up that morning. We didn't care if the flat was piled up with old baked bean cans, we were moving in and the cleaners would have to work around us the next day. It was surprisingly tidy and more spacious than we had remembered. We have rooms to spread round our meagre possessions. We ran out onto our new balcony to make sure it worked.

KK: It didn’t, it instantly collapsed under our combined weight and we were pitched screaming into the street where our ignoble corpses were pecked at by filthy pigeons while the people of Auckland had a party. Well no, obviously not but we have somehow had our standards lowered to such an extent from campsites and hostels that we expect anything good or nice to be undeserved. We writhe like Uriah Heep from David Copperfield (which I have just finished wading through on the Kindle – Jesus H but it goes on): "oh a flush toilet and hot water what with us being ever so 'umble I daresn’t say we ever imagined such a luxury".

LK: What might be the fly in the ointment is the exact nature of what goes on next door: the noise of    a forlorn, devouring vortex that suggests a portal into another dimension. It’s going to be hard work having to ponder the nature of different realities every time we step outside our front door. And we have stepped out a lot, the first major Auckland event (the day after the election when we had a first class view of TVNZ’s coverage on their balcony across the road from ours) we attended was the Farmer’s Santa Parade. In our part of the crowd a very stern young Chinese man demanded I took his picture, then demanded I took his picture again. KK suggested for this picture he might like to include the Parade in the background, as well as his companion. Then we turned our attention to Christmas matters in the baking heat. “Oh man, look at the size of this Mr Potato Head,” is something that I can’t imagine saying ever again.

KK:  The Art Gallery is 10 minutes walk away, the library is well stocked and there are many parks to explore. You will notice all these activities are free . We did – because we have become terrible misers.  This is mostly because everything seems to be at least twice as expensive as we expect. The sensible explanation is that there are $2 to a 1 but we have remind ourselves of this on an almost daily basis. Splendid news then that Karyn from the Lucha Lounge found me a job. I reviewed a show there for a local magazine and LK took pictures in return for guest lists for The Damned.  The show was splendid to our live music starved ears; Heart Attack Alley, a 3 piece with two gals (1 guitar, one sings) and a chap on a harmonica doing the kind of grimy blues that demands strong drink. This was followed by Delaney Davidson(who Karyn described as New Zealand’s Tom Waits) a gentleman with a vintage suit and an acoustic guitar who weaved such a spell over the audience that at one point many of them were waltzing.  The next week the review and LK’s best picture were printed in local magazine ‘Volume’ with our names in bold print. Meanwhile, Christian (Karyn’s fella – do try and pay attention) is trying to tempt me out of my footballing retirement.

LK: Karyn has also influenced our fitness regime by lending us the most astounding book “Born to Run”, by Christopher MacDougall. It’s too early to tell if us two are actually born to run as three sessions in it still feels difficult, but we are running early mornings in a safe, clean city and no one’s laughing at us (yet). We have other friends too: remember Edward, our magician acquaintance? We bumped into him on Queen Street and he did some card tricks for us. He’s good: when we got home we discovered he had made our toothpaste disappear.

KK: As chance would have it ran a request for updates as to the whereabouts and meeting points of Newcastle fans across the World. We replied and within a week had heard from 16 other Newcastle fans in New Zealand. The problem as to seeing games is that the 13 hour time difference means games can kick off between 1 and 9 o’clock in the morning here. We agreed to meet a lad called Hosam for the recent Chelsea match that kicked off at 01.45 here and invited everybody else. No sign of Hosam (we can only presume he saw us and fled the premises) but a couple called Vint and Gill did turn up and they were brilliant fun. They have been in NZ for 7 years and are still terribly torn by missing friends, football and music in Newcastle (he likes punk rock, she used to work in Trillians) and recognising that they couldn’t match their current lifestyle back home. The match was a bloody disaster and we didn’t get home until 05.30 but we have been promised Yorkshire puddings and Bisto gravy at Vint and Gill’s place on Sunday.

LK: There is a splendid array of food options in Auckland City – we’ve already taken advantage of a $10 lunch special at our local Mexican, and The Cake Boutique sells the most delicious Danishes, as well as making you feel like you’re in Alice in Wonderland. We have our own basil plant on the balcony, bought at the Saturday morning farmers’ market. We’ve been to the Art Gallery for a guided tour; a display of Japanese Ichiban drumming which appears to be an energetic manifestation of music as martial art; and a talk on the Italian painter Guido Reni. At the other end of the scale, we’ve sauntered along the ‘K’ Road, clocking the cheap Vietnamese and Lebanese restaurants in amongst the trannie bars and rough edged characters. Maori cultural tours are lined up for later this week. It’s a ten minute walk to the sparkling turquoise harbours where competition grade yachts are moored and we haven’t been cold once yet.

KK:  Today we bought a $34 dvd player and some second hand films. New Zealand TV is mostly terrible and when it’s not it is fair riddled with adverts. It took about 3 hours to watch “Little Miss Sunshine” last Sunday. But we have not spent all our time gallivanting, drinking and lollygagging, we have also got into quite a work routine. I have written reams of unpublishable waffle for my next book that LK must beat into some coherent narrative. I don’t help myself by renaming central characters and then having to go back and change all the old names. Today I was working on a sub-plot where a serial killer is murdering men with comb-overs in the 1980’s.

LK: For my part, I am researching background facts and figures for our best-selling travel book. So we’re going to stop you getting the rest of it for free, not really, but we are treating ourselves to a Christmas break. As our restlessness has been replaced by excitement and contentment at the same time, we can’t keep writing about the relative merits of New World vs Countdown supermarkets and other mundanities of our day to day lives (isn’t that what Facebook is for?) You don’t need to know that our only concession to Christmas decoration is a little plastic kiwi in a santa jacket and hat with a jingling bell. OK? Move along now, nothing to see here.

KK:  In short, dear reader, that’s it for a couple of months. We will pick up when we pack up. In the mean time big thanks to those of you who have been good enough to keep in touch, it is always welcome and heartening to hear from y’all. Do treat yourselves to a splendid and indulgent Christmas.  Cheers x

LK: x
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Ruth on

Do you know HOW COLD AND HORRIBLE it is here just now?!! I thought I'd settle down to catch up on the last few blogs from you, but the sight of dolphins and you sitting around in bare bloody feet just made me puke!
It'll have to wait now till I've got a hot water bottle, mug of hot chocolate and a less selfish frame of mind!!!
Till then then?!

Ruth on

ps check out my nephew on u tube

Paul Tomic on

Happy Christmas to you too. Thankfully, the fucker is banned here and so I shall be supping flat ale and eating Kongpo Chicken for want of anything more festive to do. Huzzah!

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