It's now 18:30 on 31 Dec, and I'm going to a hogmanay party at 20:00, so just time to update on a few of the more exciting things that have happened in NZ so far. More details later.
Went to the South Island for a few days, taking the ferry from Wellington to Picton, and hiring a car in Picton. On the outward ferry, I went out to the foredeck to get a view of the scenery. As soon as I walked through the bulkhead to the foredeck, my expensive new lightweight frameless glasses were blown off my face right into the briny. So quickly that I didn't realise they had gone for a while. Now Wellington is famous for being windy, but this was a more a blast than a breeze. Luckily I had a pair of prescription sunglasses with me, so could still drive the hire car, but it was a bit hairy driving in the dark. I couldn't get a replacement pair till Christchurch, so must have looked like a bit of a poser for a couple of days.
We spent Christmas on Neil's nut farm near Masterton (about 100km north of Wellington). On Boxing day we decided to walk to the local pub. Now the pub is only about 3km away as the crow flies. Only problem is that there is no road, and access is by following a river. I see you imagining a nice gently flowing river with grassy banks. Not quite. It flows quite fast, and the banks are covered with impenetrable bush. So the only way is to walk along the shingle as far as possible, then ford the river to the shingle bank on the other side. We had to ford the river six times to get to the pub, and when we got there it was shut! So back again another six times. On most crossings I was up to my knees, but unfortunately on at least one crossing I was up to my hips, with the consequence that my mobile phone and digital camera were both ruined. My insurance company will be thinking I'm a bit careless!.
Things I have now done for the first time: Ridden a quad bike; used a 'sit-on motorised lawn mower;
Things still to do: Flying lesson was booked for 29 Dec, but was cancelled due to low cloud/fog. Rescheduled for 5 Jan, so watch this space.
Off now to celebrate the end of 2009 before the rest of the world.
Best wishes from Frank