Thursday, December 30, 2004

Christmas in Pauanui

Things did not go at all according to plan: that had involved a circumnavigation of the North Island checking out the best pies, breads and fish and chips (Kate Camp, one of my favourite local poets, thoroughly recommends a place in Patea, and I have fond memories of one in Wairoa). Instead, and I think there is a lesson for all here, I made the mistake of booking Webster in for a warrant. Since this was a full week before Christmas, it never crossed my mind that this might cause me problems. Fool: the warrant peope decided that he needed a new drive shaft, then every wrecker in the country, when asked for said part, offered vast sums of money and multiple highly nubile sex partners if I could locate one for them. Well, that's how difficult it seemed, and it is only today that I have been reunited with Webster. Wierdly enough, the mechanic working on it before Christmas had located one but gone off on holiday without telling anyone - we had no idea until it turned up this morning.

I have spent most of the intervening period in dirty old P North, which merits an entry of its own, but HAD to get out of town for Xmas. The family was gathering at Pauanui - since my brother married well, we have a house there - and Avis came through with a great deal so I was off. My one stop was Matamata - I had vague memories of getting excellent fish and chips there and recalled the place as being just a counter behind a pull down shutter thingey. Easy to find, but for the fact there were two such places, side by side - I went for the one with the most people, it was called KD or KB or somesuch - not Broadway Takeaways, that is the other place (it may well be good too) and was very happy with my haul.

Christmas lunch was a fight with the Coromandel seagulls for brie, ham and lettuce sandwiches - thanks to my brother having Christmas lunch with his inlaws, mum and my other brother were at a loose end, so a loop around the peninsular, via Hahei and Hotwater beach etc was a nice way to spend the day. Christmas dinner was the normal affair in our family, and many others I am sure: lots of food, wine (we voted unanimously that the 5 star champagne I had brought along to try was crap), rum and a squabble over who would do the dishes. Somehow, we forgot to have dessert, but the next night when we finally got round to it, my nephews were exposed for the very first time to Pavlova. I have no idea how that had not happened earlier, given that my brother has a supermarket and all, but there you go. Such was their love for pav, that one of the three was gone before we all sat down to dessert, and the other two had no time to mourn its departure.

I made my first New Year's resolution on Boxing Day - I am not buying a speedboat, probably ever. My brother bought his a couple of Christmases ago, but this was my first excursion, and I can't say I liked it too much. I didn't feel sick or anything, nor scared, but the continued buffeting by a fairly calm sea was just uncomfortable. Much nicer was the little trip we took around the Waterways - the canal system put in so that all the owners of the flash houses (one was on the market for $4.5 million) had somewhere to tie up their boats. It felt like we were cruising around Remuera in a rusty old HQ Holden, although a lot of houses had a lot less class and style than said Holden. They were just BIG and obviously expensive.

I think the only other point of note about Pauanui is that for a couple of weeks over the New Year period, they run to having a bakery/pizza and burger bar/coffee place open for 24 hours a day. The coffee is, alas, very average.


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