Sunday, 14 June 2009

Poker, Prohibition & Pain

We recently hosted our first poker game, attendees were as follows:
- James Bond
- The Oracle (from the Matrix)
- Amy Winehouse
- Andy Two Guns
(see photo below)

The result was a 3am victory for Andy Two Guns and a mental note that blinds must be increased at more regular intervals!

Continuing the gangster theme, on Saturday night we made it to a restaurant we’ve been meaning to get to since we arrived in Auckland – “Prohibition”. A fantastic place themed as a 1920’s speakeasy, gangsters, molls and everything from glassware to the toilets (copper – no less) in true New York speakeasy style (see photo below).

As Kiwi winter has kicked in running along the coast is no longer such an attractive proposition, so squash is the new exercise of choice. Having not played for over a year the only thing that has been achieved so far is a paralysed status akin to Paul Sheldon in “Misery” – post hobbling.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Time Flys ..

It’s been quite a while since the last update so if anyone still is reading, sorry for the lack of news. For the latest installment here’s what’s happened over the last 6 months –

• We were visited by Rob & Bernie Lanaway on their round the world honeymoon and did a road trip to Bay of Islands together for J’s 30th.

• Thanks to / courtesy of Matt Green I was thrown out of a plane at 30,000 ft. Please can no-one ever ask me why we call him the Bad-Man!

• We’re both still working – Me at Bank Of New Zealand in HR and J at AIG. We continue to live near Mission Bay and plan on staying here for another 12 months.

• We’ve started to make friends. Beaker, don’t get worried they’re not “proper” friends – we’ve yet to go to a scream pub at mid-day on Saturday, watch the football all afternoon and stagger home only to return the following day for the cycle to begin again.

• We had our first wedding anniversary on April 18th 2009. Neither of us can believe an entire year has passed since our big day. To celebrate we spent the weekend in a vineyard North of Auckland (at a B&B – not just hiding out amongst vines).

• We’ve had a couple of trips down to Christchurch to see Hoppy and Michelle and their new arrival Oliver. It still feels odd that a friend from the UK that I met for the first time in NYC has ended up on the same small island on the wrong side of the world.

• I’ve learnt to drive! Note that I’m not saying I’ve passed any kind of practical test – But due to somewhat dubious legal loophole I can drive over here on my Cook Islands driving license. Anyway, legal technicalities aside we’ve bought a little sports car (see pic).

• The car has meant we’ve been able to really get out and explore NZ (rather than being restricted to central Auckland). One of the highlights has to be something of a kiwi hidden gem – The Kai Iwi lakes in Northland (about 3 hours north of Auckland). The lakes are set amongst natural forest and the sandstone geology means they’re all surrounded by beautiful golden sand beach. See pic below.

• After nearly a year here in New Zealand we have still yet to find a consistently good curry house. It seems no matter where you go the premise is simple – use the same base for all curries (everything from Korma – Madras) and then simply add chili as applicable. Poor show NZ.

• After an amazing summer in the sun, winter is now arriving (June) and the weather in Auckland ranges from tropical storm to clear sky to mist to hail, and that’s just in one morning.

• Writing this we’ve just watched Man U win the premiership. I’ve already put a bet on for Pool to win next year.

• As The Bad Man has somehow charmed / convinced or possibly drugged a lovely young lady into agreeing to marry him, we’ll be back in the UK for the wedding on December 26th 2009. We’re back from December 19th to December 30th 2009. It’s only a taxi ride, a flight to Hong Kong, a flight to London, a train to central London, a train to Doncaster and then one final taxi ride …… it’s nothing really.

• Finally, and this is probably our biggest news – We’ve secured 5 year visas for NZ and have also been invited to apply for residency. It’s looking like we’ll be here for some time to come. Get planning your visits – all are welcome!

We both still miss you all!