I struggle with winter. Lord knows how I would have coped as a member of the Ingalls family trapped in a log cabin for months on end with metres of snow outside and only Pa with a violin for entertainment inside. I know I live in Auckland that doesn’t even get that cold, but when winter rolls around, all I want to do is hibernate. I don’t want to go anywhere, and I don’t want to do anything – particularly listen to fiddle music.
Just to illustrate how much my brain goes to mush in winter – exhibit A
My gym packing for Monday morning. Somehow I managed to not only put two completely different shoes into my gym bag, they were both for the right foot. How does that even happen? Actually I think the headstand workshop and 10km run on the same day may have also impacted on my mental processes.
So in an effort to try and combat the winter blahs, and the potential threat to Mr Brett and Ms Billie of me getting cabin fever, I arranged a couple of excursions which forced me to leave my winter besties Mr Couch and Ms Blankey. I am really glad I did. A very jolly time and indeed informative was had.
The first outing was to see American comedian Beth Stelling. I didn’t know anything about her, but the price was right. The venue had a special, buy one ticket get one free and we definitely got our money’s worth. She is one bright funny woman.
But not only did she impress she was also very well supported by two Kiwi Chicks Louise Beuvink and Angella Dravid.
I liked Louise’s set, she tells a great yarn and had a pooh joke that I know Lauren would have adored. But I have to say I was most impressed with Angella. She was very funny and sweet and self deprecating, which is quite a lot to pull off all at once. I did see her afterwards and tell her how much I enjoyed her work, she loved that and gave me a hug. I then realised that Louise was right beside her #awkward.
While I was looking for information about Angella, I found this story of hers. Heartbreaking and empowering at the same time. She really has been one busy girl.
Before we went to the show, Brett took me to a lovely whiskey bar called The Jefferson, in Fort Land. I don’t drink whiskey, but this bar was very cool and welcoming at the same time. The staff were just lovely, and the barman let me taste a couple of wines until I found one I liked. Nice work barman. Who knew it would take me 15 tries until I found a wine I liked? So if you like whiskey – some people do apparently, give it a go.
Because I managed to survive going out on Wednesday, on Thursday night we went to the beautiful (but freaking cold) St James theatre to listen to a discussion about Public Art. Hosted by Metro editor Simon Wilson, with Chicago-based curator Mary Jane Jacob as the guest speaker. It was interesting to hear her take on what public art is and why it is important. She framed art being vital for a functioning society and indeed democracy. Art for everybody. Of course the struggle for councils and governments is paying for art and artists, when people are stuck in traffic for hours at a time or haven’t got a place to live. But a city doesn’t just live on roads alone and tidy berms alone.
I can’t wait until the St James theatre is done up – such a beautiful (but at the moment freaking cold space) I know when it is restored, everyone will say why didn’t we do this sooner.
Then if all this wasn’t enough excitement for Ms N Bugle, Sister Julie visited for the weekend. That’s right, we had a visitor from Sydney. Tres excitement. She is a wonderful guest and it is always lovely to have her visit. She had 3 requests.
- A yoga class
- A run
- Lunch somewhere nice
These I was able to fulfill, and rather well even if I do say so myself.
Firstly the yoga class, on Saturday morning the lovely Jaqui from The Centre Yoga Chaturanged and Downward Dogged us for a wonderful 75 minutes (that doesn’t quite sound right does it) It was awesome anyway.
Following restorative coffee and recovery time, we then went with Mr Brett to deepest darkest Parnell (not our usual part of town) to the newish and fabulous restaurant Woodpecker Hill. It has had very good reviews and they are absolutely deserved. Imagine slow cooked Southern meats with an Asian twist. Beautiful.flavours and a lovely space as well. I mean I nearly took a photo of the toilets, they were so beautiful. But I didn’t, I just concentrated on the food porn. This is the 14 hour slow cooked beef, which tasted just as good as it sounds.
The boys from my work are incredibly passionate about bar b q and the virtues of low and slow cooking, and they seriously get very excited about the food here. Probably just as well it is in deepest darkest Parnell and not just up the road from Intuto HQ.
If I was to have one criticism, it is that this is quite a pricey establishment (and rightly so) but most of the tables are quite small, and are very close to each other. So if you take your honey here for a special night out you had better hope that the people at the surrounding tables are the sort you want to spend the evening with as well.
After all that excitement a quiet night was spent at home, there was a rugby game on somewhere down the line, but we chose to watch Kingsman – The Secret Service instead. I loved it, a funny take on James Bond movies. It had a great cast too.
An inspirational tweet was sent to the Dragons, but unfortunately the Cowboys must have lassoed it, as the Cowboys won 18-12. But we are still number 4 on the table and we did have a few players were out due to injury, so not all doom and gloom at all.
The Warriors had a bye. Yay 2 points for resting. They are currently number 7 on the table. Good times. Next week they are playing the Storm at Mt Smart, so I am sure they will be feeling dangerous and happy to be in front of the home crowd.
The final activity on Sister Julie’s list was a run, and we managed to fit that in as well. At 7:15 am on Sunday we ran along the cycleway that heads west from Pt Chev. I quite enjoy this because it is mostly flat (apart from the nasty hill at the end when you get back onto Carrington Road) and if you head out for 5km you nearly get to Te Atatu, and then you have no choice but to run back. This ensures you do run 10, rather than taking shortcuts and only doing 6-7, as a certain blogger has been known to do.
I have never done this run before on the weekend, and I have to say the cyclists we came across seemed a lot more cheerful and happy than the ones I see during the week. I suppose there is a big difference between cycling for fun with your mates on the weekend and having to head into work.
As I usually run on my own it was great to have Sister Julie for company, especially as she has done a lot more than me – half marathons and a marathon even. She was able to share some handy hints – breathing is good. And she kept me at a steady pace, which made the run far more enjoyable.
It was also very enjoyable to stop at the halfway point for a quick photo.
You will notice one runner seems quite well rested and the other quite manic. This might be due to relative fitness levels or that one of these runners is just quite manic.
Anyway it was an awesome way to start a Sunday. Not that this needs to be done every Sunday. There is a lot to be said for lolling and ordering breakfast in bed.
Sister Julie then hit the road as she was heading south for the rest of her time in Aotearoa, whereas I spent the remainder of the day walking slowly, moaning and resting. I do feel it is important that one works to their strengths.
And while I did this I made very sure to be mindful and grateful for a few things including
- I am fit and healthy enough to stretch myself, touch my toes and run in the way and then get out of the way of cyclists
- I have more than 2 pairs of shoes to wear – even if I do confuse them sometimes
- Snow doesn’t bank up outside my door – even though I remember the Auckland snow flurry of August 2011
- I get to eat and drink very well. Sometimes at even more lovely places than Brett and Natty Manor
- I live in a city and a home where art and music (not necessarily fiddle) and books and theatre and comedy and all the glorious things that help make life worth living are appreciated
- My two teams are in the top 8. Yay!
- When my members of my family visit, we get to do interesting and fun things together. And sometimes they even bring gin
- I have fabulous friends who also like gin, and even me if I over indulge in it’s juniper goodness
- My lovely daughter Lauren may do things that makes me despair sometimes. But I will never have to apologise for her being cruel in the way Pebbles Hooper was this weekend
- And last but certainly not least, I get to look at 2 gorgeous furry faces each day. I don’t think Brett will thank me for sharing a photo of him. But here is the other gorgeous face I get to see. Needless to say it makes me smile