Thursday 30 March 2023

Early days in Olek's visit

 In the main, I will let the photos tell the story...

Olek eats meat and we don't, and cooking for vegetarians is different from cooking for meat eaters. My cooking style has changed considerably! To make sure Olek had a meal that he would love (i.e. not a pumpkin and kumara curry ...) we went to the Roast Shop. The meal was so big it was best served in a bowl!

The day of the big bake - 9 loaves of sourdough. Yay!!

Olek, David and I tried out putting up the BUG, i.e. the Blow Up Gazebo. Olek was assigned the role of pumper upper - well, he is by far the youngest of us all.

And then it was time for Olek to practise putting up his tent - important skill as he'd be sleeping in it for weeks once we went away.

Amazing how much like his dad he looks!

The BUG is up and the tent is getting started.

Tents are so much easier to put up these days.

The fly is on.

And now for the camp stretcher.

David heading over from Brian's place to our new place before the carpet was due to go down. He loves his new backpack vacuum cleaner! I don't, because the hose is the perfect height to knock ornaments off bookcases ...

Olek wanted a swim so off to Waikanae Beach we went.

And in he went

And under
5'11" next to 5'1' ...

and 5'6"

The battle of the folded washing and the tea towel was ON!!

That battle became the tipping point competition - could David withstand the force and height of an 18 year old?

We moved stuff from Brian's before moving day to lessen the load on the day. I wanted to use the trolley for these cases, but Olek was sure he could carry them all at once. He was not wrong ...

And off he goes

The next day was actually moving in day - so more about that in the next post.

Wednesday 29 March 2023

Olek is here! (And has been for 30 days...)

 I wrote this on 3 March and for some reason, probably because other things started to happen, didn't get the photos in or the post uploaded. Given today is the penultimate day of March, that is pretty bloody slack of me! 

Your task, as you read, is to cast your mind back to the beginning of the month ...

 It is all happening for us at the moment - and all in a good way!

On Wednesday, Olek arrived from Scotland and it was fabulous to see him after 3.5 years. We last saw him in about September 2019. 

We watched his progress towards us on FlightRadar24. Here he is landing in Sydney. We were still in bed at Brian's place.

Friends reunited. Olek has always been a big Mel fan! And we are big Olek fans. He is just lovely.

Dinner was build your own burger - meat for Olek and not meat for us ...


He may have just travelled halfway across the world but he still trashed us at Quiddler, dammit!

Taking account of his jetlag (he declares he doesn't have it) and our tiredness from the moving and scone making activities, we haven't done a huge amount so far.

But today, David had an appointment at the opthamologist in the city, so he headed in on the train, and a couple of hours and 9 sourdough loaves baked later, Olek and I headed in to town. Of course, it wasn't only sourdough by the 3/4 dozen; it was also a batch of cheese scones and a batch of lemonade scones with butter and jam (before the sourdough was cooked in 3 loaf batches) plus a vege curry (while the last batch of sourdough was undergoing the heat treatment).

When we got into the city, we fully expected David to be ready to meet us, but no - he'd had the drops applied before we left Waikanae, and then he waited and waited. Olek and I were parked and in the dining room of the Thistle Inn - oldest pub in NZ apparently. The main reason for going there was that there is a Thistle Inn in Crossmichael (Scotland) where Olek lives - and he was there a few nights before he flew out to NZ.

Yum - hummus with pinenuts. Mine.

Spicy prawns - definitely not mine ...

Olek and I walked over to Parliament grounds and then back to where the car was parked - David had arrived and was eating sushi in the sunshine.

Then off we went to Zealandia, a wildlife sanctuary within 6 minutes' drive of the heart of Wellington. It is years since David and I went there and I wonder why it has taken us so long to go back. It is great, and such a boon to have such a sanctuary within such easy reach of the city.

You can learn lots more about it here  The staff and volunteers do a fabulous job keeping the native birds and other fauna safe from predators. One of the things they do really effectively, if predators breach the fence (which is over 2 metres high and also buried into the ground to prevent burrowing) is their tracking and trapping programme. One thing they do have to maintain vigilance about is dumb humans cutting holes in the fence so their bloody cats can have free range and access to the fauna. AAARRRGGGHHH!!!  

The takahe - such a cool bird with beautifully coloured plumage. They are an endangered species so it is great that they can live her protected from (introduced) mammalian predators.

These bushclad hills are just over the ridges from the city and suburbs. We were standing on the bridge over the old dam.

The kaka at the feeding station - birds are not stupid (except pheasants perhaps who don't know enough to get off the road when cars are coming ...) These kaka operated the pedal to open the box without hesitation and then sensibly took the food up into the trees to eat it.

And they can balance one legged on the branch and clutch the food in the other claw.

One of the two tuatara we saw. The other was much bigger but better hidden. Zealandia has fenced their habitat off but has also provided boxes for people to stand on to see them over the fences - very useful for kids and other short people...

Two of my very favourite men.