! Very funny. So, we grab a table at a coffee shop and enjoy each others company. We get in some last minute photos of the family, before Jenny, Dewi and Ioan set off. Goodbye’s are horrible, I prefer ‘See you later’s’. Which, fortunately, this is! I’m planning on coming back here at Christmas for a week or two depending on work. It’d be great to actually have some sun during my Winter chasing that is 2010. 3 winter’s in one year is not fun I’ve decided. So, Mum, Helen and I go upstairs to catch our flights. It’s quite lucky, my flight to Wellington leaves 15minutes after theirs, so I can see them off before I go to board. Time flies, as it would in these last precious moments. I can’t believe that I’m not going to see either of them for 6 months now. It’s all getting a bit ‘real’. Time to say, ‘See you Later’ again… and they’re off. So, alone. Solo for the next 6months. But it’s all very exciting. I feel sick with anticipation. This is probably the most anxious I’ve ever been. Firstly, flying nerves. On top of that fear of the unknown in my career over the next 6 months, meeting Stuart and the emotional rollercoaster that is saying goodbye to my family. Still, somehow the guy next to me on the plane manages to strike up a good conversation, Somehow!! He’s off to visit his son in Wellington with his wife, and flies this route quite often. Apparently our landing is incredibly good, the turbulence in Wellington can be so bad some flights are turned back. The flight is funny, we have the ascent, the seatbelt lights are turned off for 5 minutes, then we start the descent, it’s THAT quick! Stuart meets me off the plane and we pick up my bags. We go back to his to drop off my bags, and then out again to the supermarket. Hmmm, I can’t remember the name of it now, but it’s so bizarre in it’s layout. A café in the middle of huge fridges selling enormous wheels of cheese
. This is the most open-plan I’ve seen a supermarket here though. Unlike the warehouse-style of Pak’n’save… urghhh. We pick up a nice bottle of wine and discover that the Wellington food and drink festival, ’Wellington on a Plate’, is on this weekend, good timing. So back home we look up some restaurants and decide on Boulcott Street Bistro. After a couple of glasses of wine, we head out to the restaurant. It’s quite busy, but lovely. Dimly lit with dark mahogany woodwork. I hear some hometwon local accents which make me feel a little bit homesick, a Geordie first ordering a bottle of champagne - yes it sounded funny. We have about an hour’s wait, so foolishly order a bottle of wine to enjoy in the bar. By the time we’re seated, it’s gone 9 and we’ve drunk more than half a bottle each! We skip straight to mains. I order the Beef, wow, amazing. I get it Medium/ Rare Hanger Steak, a first for me, but not something I regretted. Maybe if the lighting was brighter, and I could see the blood? Probably. We get a crème brulee with poached pears to share for desert, also incredible! After dinner, Stuart takes me to a bar that his housemate works at. Now I feel like I’m in a city. The buzz of a noisy bar would always be a good wake-up call no matter where you are in the world. After probably too much to drink we get a cab home and a good night’s sleep.
This morning I’m woken by Rhys’ ‘Alarm clock’… aka that epic fail of an exhaust! But, up, showered and ready to go fairly quickly after that. Lucky that the calving has slowed down, as Dewi and Ioan are able to see us off at the airport. Helen drives with Jenny in the front directing, whilst Ioan, mam and I share the back… mainly regurgitating Rhys Darby’s skits, much to the confusion of Mum! We get to Kea for 11am, I have a final quick clean of the camper and we enjoy some coffee whilst they check over the van. Amazingly, we are charged for nothing! Despite having nightmares over the last few weeks when we had a run of everything going wrong… it was all fine! We get the shuttle to the airport, and print our boarding passes. We are here horribly early we can’t even check in our hold luggage. Whilst meandering through the terminal, we randomly bump into Dewi, who has just arrived from a job he had to do. So funny, he just casually walks along, as if it was all pre-arranged, when in fact he left his mobile at home, and meeting up could have been a total drama