Well, when reading ‘back’, you should probably add ‘on the internet from the other side of the world’. London is now a hazy dream – P and I are ensconced in a new flat in Auckland, beginning to be ensnared in the trappings of reality again.
|CENTRAL AUCKLAND FROM THE SUMMIT OF MT EDEN. WE DROVE UP THE VOLCANO AND ATE A CRAPPY BURGER UP HERE AND FELT LIKE WE'D COME HOME|
The trip was fabulous. Three months, 11 countries and all the food and drink you can shake a stick at. I acquired a fabulous tan swanning around the Mediterranean; lost a fabulous tan dripping in cover-up cotton in monsoon rains in India. I regained a happy, happy little paunch from the ingestion of tasty treats. Honestly, the FOOD. Thanks to Elizabeth David, an omelette and a glass of wine became the theme for Provence. Well, more like an omelette followed by several glasses then a wee snooze or a walk…
I’ll return to the trip and its absolute gloriousness later. Right now, I’m gazing out a new office window. I no longer look at the Aldgate Roundabout with red buses swinging and tootling merrily away; I now have a large slice of sky and glorious, glorious Auckland Harbour peeking at me from between buildings. Yes, I haz a job. One that I think I will not whinge about in the same painful way that I did in London (ha! I hear you say. Never say never – I’m a good wee whinger!).
|NO CAPTION REQUIRED. THIS CAPTION IS TOTALLY REDUNDANT, YET I CAN'T STOP MYSELF|
One of our first weekends back inTamaki Makaurau we went to a friend’s to watch the All Blacks play the Springboks (rugby – ubiquitous, 6-nights-a-week, all-too-kiwi rugby) and found ourselves in a cab rapidly flying through the city at about 10.30pm. I felt nervous and edgy until P pointed out it was the feeling you get in a deserted space in a big city – ripe for a mugging, in other words. But here, that’s normal. 1.5 million people who live spread out, generally in single family dwellings, do not mass on the street on a Saturday night.
However homesick I’ve been, I’m pretty happy here too. I have many old friends back which is such a blessing, considering what a poor correspondent I was. I have already been to visit my family (who live elsewhere in NZ) twice, which has been a pleasure, full of gumboots and horse and moving the cows and walking in the countryside. My sister K lives in the city within half an hour’s drive. Many of P’s family are here too – our nephews have been a delight. The coffee. THE COFFEE. Brunch, the best meal of the day, is unbelievably good here. I ache in a good way from rejoining my old gym and attempting to beat my body into submission. My commute does not involve walking over Tower Bridge and revelling in history or the distinct seasonality of the Northern Hemisphere, but it does involve a whole lot more sky and trees, which is wonderful. At 6pm, rush hour is over and you can dawdle home without being mistaken for a gawpy tourist.
|THIS MORNING. ABOUT THE FIRST DAY IT HASN'T RAINED EN ROUTE. AUCKLAND DOES NOT WANT ME TO HAVE GOOD HAIR.|
It’s bittersweet being back; I’m just so glad summer is rolling around here again. You, there in London. Drink a cosy pint for me and watch some leaves. I’ll be thinking of you.