Clearly it’s time for a cheerier note to enter this blog after the misery of the last post. First up, the weather: we’re now entering the third sunny Wellington day in a row. For any New Zealand city that’s a pretty good record. What makes it more special is that this is the city that had to coin the phrase ‘You can’t beat Wellington on a good day’ to account for the lack of said good days. The weather has been pretty dire, and I’d started to pine for an English autumn, so the sun has provided much-needed relief.
Next, running into people. Hasn’t happened that often yet, oddly, it feels. Where’d they all go? I say that, but just saw an old friend in the coffee shop next door (curiously the same old friend in the same coffee shop as a couple of weeks ago), and ran into an old colleague yesterday who was literally running past the Beehive. On that note…
Fitness. They’re all at it. Everywhere you look there’s someone in expensive sporting gear doing something sweaty. Seriously, you can’t ride a bike without riding it fast, you can’t walk to work without doing it quickly, and you can’t go for a run without going up and down the steepest hill you can find. I guess I’ll acclimatise, now that I’ve stopped the smoking again and started to cut down on the comfort eating, I could start running again, though I’m tempted to smoke/eat/drink/get fat/etc, just to spite the place.
Onto trivial matters, I’m still confused by the way the water goes down the plughole. I think it’s clockwise but I could be seeing that just to prove the point that Down Here We’re Different. The sun definitely goes the other way, of that I’m sure, but for the plughole I’ll need further research.
On Saturday 15th September we left London and flew to Wellington with our toddler. It was shit. The day started badly with the boy having a febrile convulsions at 4am. If you’ve ever seen a kid having febrile convulsions you’ll know it’s something you wish you’d never seen. I can’t describe my fear at the time and won’t try. Ambulance called and a trip to UCH A&E followed. He was given the ok to travel but later that day started shivering and turning blue. Another hospital trip for him and his mother, this time to Whittington. Again, ok to travel just dose him with paracetamol to manage whatever virus was hitting him. So we packed, in a rush, while some very good friends cleaned our flat and brought us food, and later that day headed to Heathrow.
Here’s a word of warning about Heathrow: never go there in the evening. In the morning it is chaos, in the afternoon it’s worse, and in the evening it’s diabolical. Things got worse when our luggage weighed in at 95kgs against an allowance of 69. Shit. Off to excess baggage with our prized and pricey Bugaboo and it’s now somewhere between London and Wellington. (We’ve bought a cheap buggy to see us through and have remembered why we never buy cheap – it’s shit.)
The journey itself started ok. Our boy slept more than half of the first leg of the flight and behaved pretty well for the rest of it. Wandering aroung Hong Kong airport for a couple of hours was ok too, as was the first couple of hours of the second leg of the journey when he slept. Then he woke up and we became one of those families. You know the ones with the kid who won’t sleep and won’t be entertained and won’t stop crying? Yeah, that was us. I haven’t known tiredness that like since he was born and very young, but combining tiredness with trying to entertain him to stop the crying was one nightmare I won’t forget. All those little things you take for entertainment last about five minutes, then it’s back to him being pissed off that he’s stuck in this dark, cramped and noisy plane. It came to an end eventually – we got stares but we also got plenty of people offering sympathy and support and encouragement for what we’d undertaken. He finally fell asleep as Wellington airport came into view, just in time to avoid greeting all the relatives who’d come to meet him.
Today marks two months till departure.
In the shower this morning I saw the water running down the plug anti-clockwise; I’m recording it here so I remember to check which way it goes in the southern hemisphere. Everyone I’ve ever asked says it’s bullshit that it goes one way in one hemisphere and backwards in the other. What they don’t agree on is whether that means it goes one way in both hemispheres or both ways with no preferred direction wherever you are. The only thing anyone agrees on is that something odd might happen at the equator but I’m not sure they know what that might be (or whether it has anything to do with water and plugs).
In any event, this morning it was running anti-clockwise. I flicked my foot around at the plug for a bit and made it go the other way but it didn’t look so happy. It reverted pretty soon after with very little encouragement.
So try this one: get an empty bottle and fill it with water. Now turn it upside down and give it a flick of the wrist anti-clockwise. It makes a nice little whirlpool in the bottle and is empty in no time. Now try it the other way. Which was quicker? Which was smoother? Hang on… Hmmm, not much in it. I reckon anti-clockwise by a nose. Now I just have to get Down Under and remember to try to it there.
Speaking of Down Under, ever notice that the sun there goes the other way?
So it’s official: we’re moving back to New Zealand, leaving London, our friends, our jobs, our neighbourhood (the good and bad), our local off-licence with Budvar for £1.30 a bottle, our walks on the New River (and now and again on Regent’s Canal), our blasé approach to a critical terror level, our disgust at Uth culture, our infuriation with public transport (but our joy when it works, which it often does), our lazy acceptance of the educated middle-class cleverness that makes so much of London life work, our knowledge that the Tate and BM and BL and the V&A and National Gallery and the NPG and all those other things are just there on the off-chance we want to go, our access to the most wonderful city parks in the world (and yes, we do go to these), and so much more… all this we’re leaving.