Wednesday, January 04, 2006

So, This is 2006?

I'm already feeling like I want a refund! I was so unenthused about getting back to work that yesterday, despite it being only mid-afternoon as I drove through Oamaru, I stopped and booked into the YHA. It created the illusion that my break wasn't quite over - to the point that I almost booked into Stafford Gables as well. It was a nice pause, allowing me to check out the two new coffee shops, one of which (Steam) even does its own roasting and, what's more, allows its customers to roast their own. I could only imagine what sort of disaster it would have been had I been set loose: I was content to let them do the job. The other, Short Black, had stunning serving staff but very underpowered coffee.

But Oamaru was also the scene of the third (and admittedly most trivial) disappointment of my trip: my $10 hairdresser has gone out of business. The horror! The horror! Slightly more disappointing was when I turned into Huia Street, in Palmerston North, to check out the house I used to live in: it was gone! So, too, was every other house in the street - it is now basically a paddock of hay overdue for cutting, into which concrete tongues periodically intrude and in the middle of which a solitary garage remains. But most important was the news we received on Boxing Day: in the early hours of the morning, my Uncle Broomie had died. Not that I knew him very well - my one lasting recollection of him is how he made me, when I was 11, spend the day in the hot Southland sun, picking up potatoes. A few years ago, he and my Auntie Jean moved to Riverton with big plans to start a guest house of some sort but such was the state of his health that they never even got started.

The holiday away was pretty uneventful: I had wanted to get away about 1 on the Thursday before Christmas so told everyone I was leaving at 3:03 as I knew from past experience that that was more likely. I had no idea that it would be after 7 before I finally hit the road or that I'd be sitting in Amberly eating an awful pie a mere 3 hours before ferry time. Had to hurry the last bit. My special treat for myself was to stay in something called the Wellesley in Wellington: actually the Wellesley Club, the kind of place where Supreme Court Judges take their clerks to dine - all oak panelling, clawfoot baths and billiard tables a mile long. Thanks to wotif, it was almost as cheap as Webster's parking - $3 for a half hour!!! After Christmas with the folks (and the obligatory boat trip in my brother's tin can, this time on Lake Roto-Iti), I got as far north as Tauranga, where my brother has just bought a hugely expensive house, before heading down the East Coast for home. I did like Tokomaru and Tolaga Bays and spent a fair while admiring the collection of David Brown tractors used to pull boats in and out at Mahia: of that entire sector of the trip, however, I was most impressed by Opotoki - it had a good vibe to it and I loved the Two Fish cafe. If I'd been sensible I'd have stayed there a bit longer and taken a short-cut to Napier, or missed Napier out altogether: evidently I am not.

New Year's Eve, unlike last year, was spent in company: a free, all ages, open air Fur Patrol gig in the Palmerston North Square. The audience was a major annoyance: where I was, it seemed to be comprised of mid-teens, predominantly female. They'd get the start of a song and squeal with excitement. Fine, no problem. Then they'd get a text and squeal with excitment. Then they'd see a friend and squeal with excitement. Then they'd take a breath of air and sqeal with excitement. Then the crowd would rotate, there'd be the start of a new song, and so the process went. But it was good to see the band again: Julia was in fine form. Some clever dick wanted her to do some covers of some good music: she agreed to do some covers of that great band, Fur Patrol. A few clamoured for Lydia but it was curiously absent from the playlist - despite featuring in their Wellington gig (apparently).

In Christchurch, I did something shocking. I stopped at Riccarton Mall, as I always do, and went into Borders. Nothing shocking about that, but I spent more than an hour in there and didn't buy any books!! (well, except for a curry cookbook and a Lonley Planet diary). In fact, the whole trip was a bit short on book buying: I stole a copy of Chuck
Palahniuk's Haunted from some hostel's book exchange and bought Zadie Smith's latest and that was about it. Oh, and I stopped in every Warehouse looking for $5 bargains, not unsuccessfully. But my sights seem to have been more focussed on the audio-visual - I looked at lots of bigscreen TV's, DVD players and so on and seem to have got back home with a van stuffed full of DVD's and a Home Theatre System I accidentally bought off trademe on its way to me. I think I know what I am doing this summer!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,

We are Steam Coffee House Oamaru and having read the review, thought we should clarify: we are coffee roaters but as accommodating as we try to be, customers CANNOT roast their own coffee beans

Steam Coffee House

8:15 PM  

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