2005-09 (SEPTEMBER, 2005)

Milly Comes Out To Play - Wellington, New Zealand

CroquetThis weekend (plus Monday) my youngest sister, Milly, came to stay. She arrived on Saturday morning and we hardly let her catch her breath before we were out for breakfast at our yummy local café, Breakers. We returned home to compile a picnic lunch before heading out again, this time up to Kelburn Park to join in on the Kelburn Park Croquet Club's 'Give It A Go' day. Our novice threesome was joined by the experienced Wendy, who showed us how to play Golf Croquet (the simpler of the two forms of Croquet, the other being Association Croquet). We whiled away a very pleasant hour playing this most enjoyable game before retiring to have our picnic in the park. The only black spot of an otherwise perfect afternoon was a phone call from the Croquet Club to advise me that I'd left my bag (complete with GPS, camera and book) inside their clubhouse - booger. On Saturday evening we all (including the still portable Holly) went out for dinner at the excellent Café Istanbul - totally yum!

Sunday was a quieter affair. We began with breakfast at the ever-popular Chocolate Fish Café (not as good food/coffee as Breakers, but a waterfront location to die for). We were joined by my old friends Andrew and Linda and their 8-month old, Nico. It was great to catch up after a long break since we'd last seen them. Great to see what we're in for when Holly gets a bit older too! Plans for the rest of the day were stifled by getting out-of-sync with Holly's sleeping pattern, so a much-anticipated hike over the hills above Seatoun fell by the wayside. Instead Milly helped me assemble a solar-powered lighting system to complement my solar-heated outdoor bath project. Andy cooked us a slap-up dinner and I whipped up a plate of brownies for dessert in front of DVDs.

On Monday I was back at work, but the girls spent the day shopping in town (after a bit of a slow start). Holly seemed to be the beneficiary of most of the acquisitions. We dropped Milly back to the airport after dinner. A most pleasant visitation all round!

Andy & Holly Out, Mum & Bex In - Wellington, New Zealand

TulipAndy & Holly flew off to Sydney on Wednesday morning for 6 days of visiting friends. They got away without too much bother despite the best efforts of QANTAS staff and systems to bestow misery before you've even left your home city (Qantas are the second worst airline I've ever had the displeasure of dealing with).

My mum arrived to stay on the Thursday evening and we spent the rest of the night chin-wagging and catching up. She was left to her own devices on Friday (I was still at work). Bex, my eldest younger sister, arrived down from Auckland on Friday evening and we barely let her catch her breath (and lunch - bit of a bumpy landing into Wellington) before we were out to dinner at the superb Tinakori Bistro - best steak I've ever eaten.

On Saturday we went out for breakfast at Breakers and then the girls headed into town to attend the World Of Wearable Art 2005 event, which they enjoyed immensely. I spent the time touring plumbing shops and assembling ingredients for my latest DIY project.

On Sunday we took a stroll around the Wellington Botanic Gardens' Spring Festival and had a late lunch in Ford's Café across the road - most pleasant. The afternoon then turned a bit dreary, so we pootled home and watched DVDs until it was time to drop Bex off at the airport. She too was flying QANTAS, so her travel plans were naturally as screwed up as Andy's had been. She got away eventually.

Mum stayed on in order to see Andy & Holly who arrived back very late on Monday evening (actually early Tuesday morning - QANTAS struggles with Daylight Savings, a challenging concept that most of the rest of us have nonetheless got to grips with).