Monthly Archives: January 2018

Still clinging on to holiday mode.

Despite the moon boot I’m wearing because of a small fracture in my ankle, I am still managing to get away on holiday. I have recently been down to the Wairarapa and stayed in the lovely little town of Greytown. not true to its name, it is far from grey and has been voted prettiest town in New Zealand and I’m inclined to agree with that. The main streets are lined with lovely villas and the historic buildings house some stylish wee shops. I was on a non-buying effort but I couldn’t resist the art shops and paper shops.

I spent far too long in the Kotare Art Gallery.  I loved the cards done by local artist, Janet Atkinson.

KOTARE ART STUDIO & GALLERY GREYTOWN

Kotare Art is the working studio of Greytown artist Sandy Wong; best known for her New Zealand bird and tree paintings, owls, anthropomorphic steam punk characters and the occasional abstract.Sandy was absolutely lovely and I bought (sigh, as usual), a bird for Sam and a butterfly sculpture for my sister’s birthday.

Sandra Wong, butterflies. You can buy any number you like.

The other shop I returned to is a small art shop called The Village Art Shop. Janie Nott is a quirky artist whose husband runs the shop and I have bought her cards before as they really appeal to me. They are full of whimsy and humour.

To “shop” the main street, allow yourself a few hours as there are plenty of good cafes along the way. As always I like to look at the real estate and dream of the country idyll. The good thing about the Wairarapa is that there is a train to Wellington.

Of course it is also wine country and we had fun tasting and eating at local vineyards. Here I am enjoying a platter at Loopline Vineyard.

We also enjoyed an informative chat at Olivio Olive Grove, tasting not only the pure olive oil but also the cumin, chilli, vanilla, lemon etc, infused olive oils. The owner recommended some of them with icecream desserts.

If you haven’t had the Mount Bruce Pukaka experience I can highly recommend it.  At the risk of sounding daft, seeing the white kiwi really was a magical experience.

She is really quite a large bird.

Here she is in the dark. We had a front seat view as she pottered about right at the front of the enclosure.

From the website:

On 1 May 2011 Manukura, little white kiwi, hatched. This was a delightful surprise to the rangers and team at Pukaha as she is the first white kiwi to hatch here and, as far as we know, the first white kiwi to hatch in captivity.  

You can see Manukura every day in our nocturnal kiwi house. She shares this with another North Island Brown Kiwi called Turua. We are hoping that in the future they will be more than ‘just friends’ and will mate.  She has quite a cheeky personality and at times is a little mean to Turua and chases him around. It does make for great kiwi viewing though!

Manukura is not albino (where there is a lack of melanin that makes pigmentation white and features pink eyes) she is pure white which means she is the rare progeny of two parents who carry the recessive white feather gene.

Totally cute overload.

There were lots of other interesting things to see too and you can incorporate a bush walk as well, if you aren’t wearing a moon boot.

   

We managed to include a small detour to Napier on the way home especially to visit Pasifica restaurant, As their website says, “You will not find white table clothes or snooty waiters. instead, you will enjoy true kiwi hospitality and generosity. Pacifica offers world-class food, an outstanding concise wine list, front of house staff that are knowledgeable, friendly, and professional in a relaxed quaint setting in the heart of Napier.

The above is is all very true and the wait staff are the same people who have been there each time we have visited. And it is very reasonably priced too with their degustation menu of five courses at a modest $65.00. We chose the seafood version and I was lucky enough to be the non-driver so I also did the wine match. The chef is Jeremy Rameka and the maitre’d is his wife Natalie who is absolutely wonderful.

This was the menu on the night we went but it changes every day.

I began with a bubbly called Squawking Magpie. Their website says, “Squawking Magpie, Gimblett Gravels is the flagship label, presenting wines of richness, strength and complexity, from a refined, elegant Chardonnay to a deep, concentrated Cabernet Merlot.” I don’t know about any of that but I bought two bottles of the bubbles on the strength of my one glass.

Image result for squawking magpie bubbles

The other memorable drink for me was the dessert match, a very sweet syrupy sherry (?) perfect for rich desserts. I am no wine connoisseur so take my recommendations with a grain of salt but I do trust Pacifica.

I was lucky enough to be given this bottle the next day by my dinner companion so I now need to replicate the divine chocolate bread pudding.

On the way down I realised I didn’t have much reading material and the forecast was rubbish as well as the restrictions of my moon boot so we stopped when I spotted a book sale in Tirau. For the princely sum of five dollars I found in very quick time, some books to read.

in summary:

My favorite TV series of all time was One Summer by Willie Russell. It must be close to 35 years old now but fantastic as long as you can translate the strong northern England accents.  He also did Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine. This book was a great holiday read.

The next book I read was Cleaning Nabokov’s House. I knew nothing about the author but again, it was a fun holiday read and I finished it in a day or so, so was engaged enough to read it at two sittings.

Three others to go but as it’s book club tomorrow night again I will have another book to read too.

Finally, don’t miss Three Billboards Outside Ebbing

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

 

Frances McDormand 
as Mildred Hayes was superb. 
Happy January and if you are back at work I hope it is all bearable. FG

New Year Resolutions

#1 Cut out sugar.

That one lasted until 2 pm whereupon I decided it would be good to get rid of the sugary things in the house so I wouldn’t be tempted. Consumed two chocolates, one milk choc bar mini, large slice of butter-iced Christmas cake.

#2 Read more, binge-watch Netflix less 

Finished The Music Shop today by Rachel Joyce. 1 point to me. It was a nice Christmas read. She’s The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry writer. It has a similar flavour and style but a bit more charm.

Points off to me as spent afternoon binge-watching Sensitive Skin, Canadian version. Now tempted to find UK version as Joanna Lumley stars in it, although Kim Cantrell was pretty good.

#3 Get outside every day. Nope, blew that one as well. Still got moonboot on.

# 4 Reduce amount of time spent on Facebook watching cat videos, surgeries gone wrong and other weird shit. 

So don’t watch these. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/7625230/The-10-best-cat-videos-on-YouTube.html

Have been marginally better but it is only day one.

#5 Write a blog a week if for no other reason that just writing. Tick day one, week one.

# 6 Go to more plays and art exhibitions. Technically not new year but last week I went to the Corsini exhibition for the third time. Enjoyed this visit the most for some reason. Maybe more selective. Always a soft touch for cherubs.Such a good feeling going with my AG membership card. I can take a visitor too so if you want to go let me know. This is a good gift I think.

After the Corsini we went to

Yayoi Kusama: The obliteration room

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Also spent a lot of time across the road at the Fingers Gallery trying on the Karl Fritsch rings as though I could afford them.

Developed a minor passion for Warwick Freeman’s white butterfly brooch. (Hint, Sam if you are reading this, my birthday is in April and they are $150, much cheaper than Karl…Mum.)

Image result for white butterfly brooch NZ designer

Enough resolutions. At least I have taken down the angels already. I hate looking at old stuff, including plates on the table after eating at a restaurant and old Christmas stuff after Dec 27. However, apparently in the UK Easter buns are for sale and that’s just silly.

I

Handy tip: if those Commando hook tabs break and you are left with a well-stuck hook, do the following, heat with a hair dryer and then use cat gut or dental floss and gently ease down the back of the hook and voila! it comes off without leaving a mark.

Heading off to the Wairarapa for a few days tomorrow, so happy new year people. Let’s hope we see a lot less of the orange blob and N Korean nutter this year. FG