RIP 2014

Giant tree

2014 started with the smell of woodsmoke, the sound of guitars, and the word girlfriend sounding new and thrilling in my mouth.

This year I have:
x moved houses,
x seen more live music than ever before,
x had my hand held so tight while I cried in a tiny plane,
x bought one-way tickets to London,
x fallen in love with a girl and a cat,
x gained friends and lost friends,
x worked hard, so hard, and been rewarded in my career,
x re-joined the gym,
x only been tattooed three times, and
x almost completely failed to learn how to drive.

This year I didn’t feel the need to keep a list of “good things” that happened. So much was good and so little was bad. It seemed superfluous.

It’s passed in a blur. this year of 2014. But the happiest blur. I am so looking forward to 2015.

I have been thinking about resolutions and I’m resolved to just a few:
x save money & minimise possessions
x travel as much as possible
x stay active and engaged
x make my hair more like Taylor Swift’s.

Right now I am on my way to the beach where I will see in 2015 with the smell of woodsmoke, the sound of guitars, and my best girl by my side.

Beautiful birthday flowers

A very Selfie (stick) Xmas

2014: Pink table

In a small house populated by three girls we ended up with three selfie sticks. It was a ridiculous and amazing Christmas and while I’m sure they were probably joke gifts? I will be using mine assiduously.

My selfie stick was a big hit

My selfie stick was a big hit

(though, honestly, I’m pretty excited to have it for travelling)

My selfie stick was a big hit

As a side note, I’m thinking perhaps I either need to dye my hair blonde or shave it all off to fit in with my family.

Pavlova with Turkish Delight and Raspberrie and Pistachios

This year I made a pavlova topped with tinged-pink cream, raspberries, pistachios, and turkish delight.

2014: Pink table

New Plymouth: there and back again

New Plymouth in a weekend

This past weekend it was the annual Tattoo Festival and you know what? My adorable girlfriend drove us all the way up and back again.

New Plymouth in a weekendHad this sweet dagger added to my arm by @brooketattooer yesterday (the tip is straight when my arm is) at the @nztattoofestival

Arriving just minutes before my appointment to get stabbed, I had a dagger added to my other arm by Brooke. We wandered the festival, bought a few presents, and watched a daredevil couple perform.

New Plymouth in a weekend

That Saturday night in New Plymouth the options for entertainment were: the Tattoo Festival, the Seekers at the Bowl of Brooklands, or the annual local Christmas parade.

We found a pub two blocks back from the street and sat in the sun drinking beers and watched the children watch the parade.

(at a distance: really the only way I like children)

New Plymouth in a weekend

Overnight, we stayed at a fancy hotel called the King and Queen Suites and I don’t think I’ll ever stay anywhere else in New Plymouth ever again – the bed was a gigantic white cloud.

(I felt terrible leaving my colourful-plasma mark on the sheets.)

New Plymouth in a weekend

The Govett-Brewster gallery is currently closed for renovations so another trip to New Plymouth passes without me visiting. One day I’ll get there.

Instead we drove back down the Island stopping at all the places with signs which had piqued our interest on the drive up.

New Plymouth in a weekend

Near Hawera we stopped at the Tawhiti Museum and almost balked at the $12 entry fee. But, you know what? For a small museum in small-town New Zealand, with a lot of displays including mannequins, it was an excellent excellent place to visit.

New Plymouth in a weekend

New Plymouth in a weekendNew Plymouth in a weekend

New Plymouth in a weekend

On the drive up the country we flew (at the speed limit) past a man, parked near the entrance to “William Birch Pond”, surrounded by chickens. Yes, chickens. And roosters.
I couldn’t work out if the man in the car had brought his chickens to the park or if, perhaps, the chickens lived at William Birch Pond. I had to find out.

New Plymouth in a weekend

It turns out the chickens and the roosters live at William Birch Pond. The more you know.

New Plymouth in a weekend

New Plymouth in a weekend

We’d also seen a sign on the road shouting “HISTORIC PLACE. 800m” and 800 metres later, a sign shouting “HISTORIC PLACE. CAMERON BLOCKHOUSE” and an arrow pointing down what appeared to be a private driveway.

Of course we stopped.

New Plymouth in a weekend

I’m not sure what we were expecting, but the “enter at your own risk” sign seemed ominous.

New Plymouth in a weekend

THE Cameron Blockhouse (not a memorial for a man called Cameron Blockhouse) is a small red shed at the beginning of a farm. It’s pretty empty inside.

New Plymouth in a weekend

It’s the kind of place you walk inside, read the sign, look around and say “… huh.” before departing again. But if I’d never visited, I would have always wondered about HISTORIC PLACE, CAMERON BLOCKHOUSE.

New Plymouth in a weekend

Our final stop was Ratana. It was open and empty and quiet.

Ratana

You know, I like New Plymouth more and more each time I visit. Perhaps I’ll move there after London.
(I’m kidding. Maybe.)