Thursday 24 March 2016 – Auckland, New Zealand.
It has been an interesting few weeks since I last mentioned looking for a flat to buy, or made any visits to Folkestone, the main location I was looking at flats in. It has been a slow start to the year at work and I have been a little nervous about getting a mortgage I could not afford to pay if I was suddenly out of work. I have taken a break from flat hunting until things become more certain. I am a little disappointed that I have had take a break from finding my own place, but it has also been good to take a break. My three day weekends are my own again!
Earlier in the year El and I booked return tickets to New Zealand, it has been almost a year since I was last there and 24 months since we were there together. Like all visits this was to be short, and hopefully sweet. We had 12 days in New Zealand followed by three days in Hong Kong on the way back to London. It is a lot of money, but it will be good to see family and friends.
With so much on at work we have employed a contract applications analyst who will cover for me while I am away, and then do the grunt support work when I return, so I can concentrate on some projects that are coming up. It has been so busy these last few weeks I have been really looking forward to the break!
I have also been looking forward to some nice weather too, we have had a pretty mild winter in London, no snow (yet), so it has not been too cold, but it has been grey and damp and the thought of 21 degrees in Auckland was very exciting. Naturally, the day we left London was glorious.
Our flight left London on Tuesday evening, we had a day at work to contend with, which is never fun, and even less fun was lugging big suitcases on the tube through rush hour traffic. We left home at 7:00, hoping there would be less people than 7:30. There seemed to be more, oh well – at least the walk to the station was nice.
We flew Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, it was a full flight, and unusually for me I slept for four or five hours of the 11 hour flight. I was quite happy with that outcome. El has a much worse flight than me, poor girl. Mine was aided by a couple of red wines at the Heathrow before the flight. I watched a bit of inflight TV – most of season 6 of Archer, and one movie. The entertainment options were not too bad. We had just under two hours in HK airport, we stay here for two days on the way back to London and I am really looking forward to that – especially after my last ill fated visit to the city. It was all looking rather grey out of the airport window.
I didn’t realise the flight on to London was code-shared and on an Air New Zealand plane, I may have planned differently and grabbed a few more Air NZ air miles for next time. I recently found out I am going to be a grandfather again, my oldest son and middle child, Dom’s partner is expecting in October. He lives in Aussie and sadly I will not see him on this trip. I will come back to NZ and Aussie once the baby is born, hopefully using some air points to either improve the flight or reduce the cost.
We were seated over the wing on both flights, which meant there was no spectacular view out the window – a waste of a window seat really ! I put the camera away after taking this picture, didn’t seem to be much point.
We left the terminal slightly late and missed our take off spot, this ended up with a massive delay in leaving and we were in the plane for over an hour before take off. It really adds to the joy that is long distance travel ! it was another very full plane, El had a better flight than me this time, so I guess we were even !! The 10 half hours to Auckland seemed to take forever, possibly because we lost a day – we left on Tuesday and arrived on Thursday morning. Wednesday failed to exist for us. We did watch the movie Wild, which I have been wanting to see, I also watched the final Hunger Games movie, the second Divergent series movie and four episodes of the TV series Blindspot. Got them all out of the way, though none were on any particular must watch list.
We landed on time fortunately and ever more fortunately had a quick trip through customs and out in to the arrival hall where my mum was waiting. It was really good to see mum again ! We haven’t Skyped for a while, and of course we have not seen each other since I was last here almost a year ago.
Unlike London, Auckland was grey and warm – 21 degrees and quite humid. We were, apparently, very lucky to have just missed a really bad storm that blew through over night. With heavy rain and high winds it would have made for a lousy approach and landing, and I really hate those !!
We are staying at mum’s place for a few nights, and not long after we arrived my youngest son, Aiden arrived with his son, and my grandson Mason who is about 20 months. He was a little cautious about these strangers for about the first two minutes, but soon settled in to playing and interacting with us. It must be unusual to see me face to face when he would normally only see me on the computer screen, I was very much out of context.
He is a delightful wee boy, and very hard to take a photo of…. he loves cars, bikes and trucks. Like most boys his age I expect.
Mason takes his food very seriously.
Aiden is teaching him to pull faces, a skill that he will obviously need later in life.
Aiden and Mason left soon after an early dinner, I was falling asleep on the couch by 7:30 and ended up being soundly asleep in bed by 8:30. I had a great, and very unexpected sleep too!
Lovely to see mum, Aiden and Mason today and looking forward to seeing my daughter, Mel and her partner, Dickie tomorrow.