This was a splendid family dinner for Rosie's birthday at a nice old French restaurant down the road.
I ordered snails! They tasted like mushrooms. The first one was mentally difficult, but the rest were very enjoyable, what with all the garlic and butter.
We hit the road to visit Rosie's mum Helen, under extremely wintry conditions. Apparently, the ocean was to my immediate right, but I couldn't see it. We drove through some completely nuts hills, like playing a really scary video game for way too long, on the most difficult setting.
Helen lives and runs a beautiful old house/cottage/barn/huge estate type thing where people have weddings and such, in the Wairarapa.
Rosie enjoying the non-molting coats of poodles Bailey and Vespa.
In a nearby town, I spotted another of Scottie's business interests in NZ, complete with ace signwriting and a genuine smoke-house out the back.
Did a bit of op-shopping, to amusing if not overly fruitful results - I was hoping for a cheap SwanDri jacket. I did, however, manage to find the most unusual magazine ever published.
And a genuine old portable trouser press that an urban dandy would kill for.
Saw this outstanding skatepark while desperately searching for a toilet.
Showing my unbridaled love for kiwis.
In repeatedly thwarted attempts at skateboarding with 11 year olds, I got about two minutes in at this seemingly computer-renedered rollerblade haven in Napier before it started raining again. Trivia sidenote, apparently Dave Crabb built the vert ramp. You remember him.
Next stop: Rosie's auntie Sue's place. She has a great Bengal cat called Ted.
Man, we drank a lot that night.
Cousin Alice and Aunty Sally. Needless to say, all of Rosie's clan share her mastery of a good gag.
I was introduced to perhaps the sharpest exponent of this finely honed wit: Nanna Joan.
Stopped briefly at another wet and difficult skatepark (though I'm sure it's a lot of fun with softer wheels without a red wine hangover)
Next stop: Kerry's farm in the Hawkes Bay.
A few of Rosie's best friends had gathered at this amazing animal haven.
After dropping a watermelon off a shed roof so the pigs could eat it, then eating like pigs ourselves, we played some poker. Emma had a special claw for gathering her winnings.
Twister! I made up some shit about having a sore knee to get out of playing.
The next morning, there was a beautiful frost.
As the sun warmed up, only the shade remained frosty.
Mono and Marty, Kerry's worthy sidekicks.
Andy and Jen.
The beautiful farmhouse.
They keep pigs, horses, ducks, chooks, pheasants and of course, sheep!
This is literally a view of their backyard. Holy crap!
We went for a walk around the backyard.
Delicious, freezing water.
A strange swampy forest - the native flora of NZ is really quite different to Australia.
Emma's gumboots were lowtops, so Kerry transported her across the swampy bits.
She wisely chose to squelch through this bit rather than accept my offer of assistance.
It is a beautiful place, wish we could have stayed longer. But we had to head back to town.
We visited the Norsewear outlet in Norsewood, to purchase some awesome socks like Edmund Hillary used to kick around in.
Stopped in at another op-shop, with similarly amusing results.
A genuinely frown-inducing icecream. Black Doris plum and Creme Fraiche, so delicious!
Rosie's selection: fig and honey, and the best coffee icecream I've encountered in all my years.
We polished it all off with a lovely pizza dinner prepared by Sam.
And now we're back! Tess is loving it.