8 January 2015

Christmas and new year in Wellington

For Freddie's first festive season, we flew over the Tasman to stay with Tom and Averil for a couple of weeks in Wellington.
We arrived at midnight on Christmas eve, or basically at the start of Christmas day. The next morning, we gathered to open presents and introduce Freddie to his relatives.

Ralph's googly eye glasses went down particularly well.


and Marlow were in attendance, all the way from Featherston.

Shaun and Vilma had travelled all the way from London to get freaked out by Fred. 

Sam and Jessica

Tom's office is exactly as I wish my office to be someday. He sits in there working on cartoons and scripts for films.

Fred, Lena and Beau jostle for a spot on Rosie's lap.

It's a great place for doing this sort of thing.

Me'n'Fred doing that sort of thing

Fred smouldering away in the pram, studiously ignoring his cat. 
Here he is dispensing some wisdom on Sanae.

We paid a short visit to Featherston to visit Gen, Jake and Sadie.

A very happy Jake and Sadie
We had a bbq in the backyard. I really like this photo for some reason. Sometimes I think I should just post the four or five photos I took that I really really like in that time period instead of telling the story of a trip, but then I decide against it.

Fred and Sadie doing some catalogue work. To all readers who are immune to the charms of my baby, I apologise for all the baby photos. There are some kids coming up.

Sadie laughing at Rosie
The next day, we drove on to the Hawke's Bay to Kerry and Marty's farm, to surprise Jen for her birthday and generally marvel at nature.

This is Olive, a frontrunner for cutest living person.

Another strong contender is Stella. Cute kids everywhere!

Here she is with her dad Andy

Kerry and Fred share a private joke out on the stoop. Minutes after this photo was taken, I was stung on the chest by a wasp.

Contender for best backyard award

They have lots of lovely animals, including four horses.

And a cricket pitch, and chickens.

I was quite impressed by this scene.

On the way back to Wellington, we drove straight past a great looking skatepark and stopped at this one. This is up there with Hitler's skatepark in Berlin for the worst I've ever seen. The 'funbox' on the other side is just sitting on some grass!

I was struck by the hideous beauty of the unskateable ramp. Perhaps I will work this up as a series.

Looks like a murder scene or something. Maybe it's the remains of the last person who dropped in?

Yep, it's been a while between sessions.

Back in Wellington, I had a fantastic new year's day session with a lovely chap named Craig. He recently took up skating again after dropping it back in the early '90s. He's a born again skater, full of enthusiasm and excitement about how wonderful it is to skate. "If you can skate, you should skate," he said. I agree.

He took me to this perfect mini ramp with his friend Eddie who hadn't skated for four years. A couple of locals turned up and commenced skating better than any of us could ever dream, the way locals tend to do. The fellow on the ramp is called Switch Pat. He sort of always looks like he is going backwards. The other guy was named Nolan - he's over there on the left in a red hat. He ollies into pivot fakies, that kind of thing. He told me he lives up on the hill near the ramp, and to get there he just puts an old shoe on his right foot then skates down, using the old shoe to brake, then puts on his good shoe to skate the ramp. The hill would probably be considered a mountain if it was in Australia.

The next spot we went to was this very interesting, yet incredibly difficult DIY spot. Apparently it's been there for ages.

And finally this dream ledge spot, perched on top of a hill overlooking the town. It's a bit rough and weathered, and I immediately fell really hard on a marble ledge, but I have to say this spot rules.

View of the baboons in the zoo on our walk home.

On another occasion, we went to the big skatepark on the waterfront.

Ralph rode his bike around

I rode my board. It's a good plaza-style park, but weirdly uncomfortable to skate. Perhaps it was just me. I like how they've waxed up all the little bits and pieces that aren't supposed to be skateable. Sam was taking photos.


The main feature is this three level bowl/pool. It's terrifying.

Fred has grown up so much in the past two weeks. He used to just sit there and look at you quizzically, but now he pretends to laugh and smile at Tom's 'jokes'. 
Rosie and a few leaves.
We went along to a day of the NZ vs Sri Lanka test match at the lovely Basin Reserve.

Bucket hat gang (quizzical look in full effect)

Red Badge

Ralph and his cousin Lorna get on like a house on fire

We decided to walk back from the cricket.

It was quite an epic trip, punctuated by spontaneous toilet breaks, tantrums and breast feedings, and a stop at the supermarket for flowers and beer. 

The picture of responsible fatherhood. I observed during this trip that I quite enjoy the absolute surrender of being a new parent. You just never know what's going to happen next, so you may as well try and enjoy yourself.
Then the two weeks were over. This was the view on the morning of our departure.

So nice and misty. We flew back to 38 degrees in Melbourne.