Sunday, 18 January 2009

Cat walking - the new craze?

Today I've seen two separate instances of people taking their cat for a walk. This seems just plain wrong.

Incident #1 took place right outside our flat where a group of people drove up and parked and then took their cat out of the car and played with it on the grass. The cat seemed reasonably content until it was required to return to the car.

Incident #2 saw an elderly lady walking her cat in a harness along Oriental Parade. The cat looked most put out (understandably) at being treated like a dog and was refusing to walk at all.

What will be the next trend here in Wellington? Stick-insect surfing? Guinea-pig triathlon? I'll let you know.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Welcome to the food temple

Moore Wilson's is a Wellington institution. It started out as a wholesaler to the restaurant trade, but is now open to all. The deli fresh section has recently been refurbished as is now somewhat like a conventional supermarket in appearance. There you can get lots of great fruit and veg, meat, breads, dairy products and coffee. This is also the section where they have one member of staff devoted to tending the orange squeezing machine. You can smell orange zest from along the street!

The fresh section of the store is great, but it's when you cross over to the grocery section that the magic really begins. First there is the real cash & carry section which is a full-on warehouse. You can by in bulk here - there's enough rice to restock a paddy field. Anthony only just managed to stop me heading off with a kilo of dried chillies today.

Next to the cash and carry is the alcohol. Now I've blogged about Gerry's on Old Compton Street on London before (, but Moore Wilson's is Gerry's on a grand scale. You name it, they're likely to have it. Upstairs from the booze is the non-food section. Need glasses, plates, knives, a mop, a heater, cookery books, bedding? You'll find them all here. This may sound like an advert for the shop, but for anyone who's into food there's nothing to beat it.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Rush Hour

Wellington Harbour is the commonly-used name for Port Nicholson. I took this picture the other day with a container ship coming in. A cruise ship is already in and the Interislander ferry from the South Island is also approaching. The only thing missing is a small ferry that goes across the harbour to Days Bay.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Baking bonanza

I like to bake, always have done. My Mum is a good baker and she taught me well. When we moved there was a whole box of baking equipment - one thing that Anthony didn't complain about me bringing.

I've noticed that in the UK a lot of people don't bake. There are of course many that do, but there are many more that don't. Baking supplies in UK shops vary, but are normally limited to a small section of shelf space (usually next to the jam).

New Zealand, on the other hand, is a nation of bakers. Buying baking supplies here is like shopping in the 1950s, 21st Century style. Baking supplies are not corralled in a small section in close proximity to the preserves here, they have a glorious aisle to themselves.

Let's start with the basics. Baking powder, baking soda and cream of tartar are all there, not in little pots, but in full sized packets. They are there for people who will use them and come back for more, not leave them at the back of a cupboard following some half-arsed attempt to make cupcakes 3 years ago because they saw an article in Cosmo about how cupcakes are trendy.

Muffin cases are another example. In the UK many places don't have them, and those that do usually just have them in white. Here they have lots of designs and sizes, you can even get ones specifically for savoury muffins (my latest are a fetching red chili design).

Whatever else New Zealand may be, for me it's turning out to be baking heaven.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Resolutely no resolutions, almost

At this time of year I have been known to indulge in making a few resolutions for the year ahead. You know the kind of thing - eat less, move more. This year I'm not making any.

Well, I'm kind of making one. We've made it all the way over the New Zealand, the least we can do is to make the most of it.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Belated review of 2008

At this time of year reflection is inevitable, and 2008 has been a bit of an odd year, so I'm taking the opportunity to look back at what went on.

Obviously moving to New Zealand was a big event from the last 12 months, but it wasn't everything. It's been in our minds for a few years now, but to make it happen has given me a huge feeling of empowerment. I don't know how things will go here, but no is not the time to dwell on that. It'll be what it'll be, all we have to do is to do our best and have fun.

So, back to 2008. On the job front we both had changes. I discovered that I could survive pretty uncomfortable work conditions, but I couldn't do it for long, or without the support of some very good friends. Anthony discovered that quitting your job on your second day can actually work out in the end!

I made my first trip to Asia in January, not knowing that I'd be returning within the year. There were also a couple of great trips to Lyon, somewhere that I will miss and hope to return to.

My Grandad's 100th birthday was the high spot of the year for me. I always knew that he would make it, but it was great to see him on such good form, surrounded by family.

Who knows what lies in store in 2009, but I wish you all the best for the next 12 months.