Friday, November 10, 2017

Green Intentions

It has become quite a tradition in our household to go to the Green Expo each year at the TSB Arena in Wellington.

I find it rather inspiring that so many businesses are interested in becoming more eco-friendly and that equally so many people wish to live a more sustainable lifestyle. I realise that all of the business are ultimately interested in making money, but if they do it in a way that encourages us to think about how much we consume and the way we use things, then its got to be a good thing, right?

The expo was packed as usual and full of interesting and very earnest sellers. We picked up our traditional stock of organic peanut butter, reusable food wrap and information and leaflets on electric cars and sustainable roofs. The kids ate as many free samples of ethically produced chocolate and organic coconut yogurt as possible, so much fun was had by all!

After strolling around the expo we headed next door to Munchin to have some pretzels and burgers. It was also a good location to observe the preparations for the football match that was going on later in the day. The All Whites vs Peru. 

I believe the guys in this picture are members of the All Whites. This is judging by the reaction of people who burst into applause as they passed! I have no idea about football!

We spotted loads of soccer fans as we wondered around Wellington including this chap who was dressed up as a Mummy for the match.

It was another beautiful day in a city that Ed Sheerhan has recently claimed is his favourite :)

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Last Guy

Autumn was always my favourite time of year when we lived in the UK. This was solely because it meant it was time for Bonfire Night. My Grandparents lived in a small Surrey village called Brockham. If you picture an idyllic English village in your mind then Brockham would probably have met most of your expectations. Its set around a village green with a church and is reached along winding narrow country roads.

As soon as the first leaves begin to fall people start to collect piles of wood and other combustable materials in the centre of the village green. By the beginning of November they have created an enormous bonfire in front of the village church.

On November the 5th we would travel a couple of hours in the car up to stay at Nan and Grandads for the night. We would wrap up in hat, scarfs and gloves, and join in the torch lit procession to light the bonfire. Yes they really did hand small children lit torches made from oil socked rags tied to branches. It was awesome. Only a few people were unfortunate enough to loose the odd strand of hair.

We would then have cups of soup, watch the pig being roasted on a spit and end the evening with fireworks.

I have to say I miss this. In New Zealand it is just not the same. Understandably as its not Autumn there are no bonfires and the fireworks, although good, start late at night as it's spring. It also lacks the whole pagan atmosphere that the British bonfire nights tend to have. After all it is all about burning someone alive. It is a good bit of gruesome fun which unfortunately this former British colony finds difficult to replicate. And perhaps that's the point, maybe it should not be trying to replicate something that originates on the other side of the world. Maybe it should be creating its own traditions.

However due to the large expat community Guy Fawkes is still big here and Wellington Council puts on an annual firework display in the harbour. It is pretty spectacular watching the fireworks light up the harbour from one side to the other. The atmosphere in the city is great. The waterfront was full of families like us this year, wrapped up against the wind and eating food from the many stalls dotted along the water.

This was the last Guy Fawkes fireworks display the the council is going to put on. They have decided to celebrate Matariki instead. This is the Maori name for a cluster of stars that rise in mid-winter and signifies the start of the new year. I think this is a far better idea and more appropriate than celebrating a thwarted attempt to blow up the parliament of a country on the other side of the world!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Rabbit Island - Mapua

I am not a big bike rider. I used to be as a child. I would ride my rattly old blue bike everywhere. However as an adult my rear end is less forgiving and I will only ride bikes with extra comfort seats. Both the girls are bike mad and so whilst on the South Island we went to Mapua and caught the ferry across to Rabbit Island to have a go at the cycle trails.

The ferry is fully equipped to carry bikes across, which clearly make up the bulk of the load. Once across the other side there are various different trails you can follow which take you past the estuary, through woodland and alongside the picturesque tidal beach.

It was one of the most enjoyable bike rides we have been along as a family. It was interesting and challenging enough to keep the thirteen year old amused and flat and easy going enough to keep us happy.