A Time of Farewells

Our
time in Wellington is drawing to a close, and on Friday 3rd April we
will be flying home. Since last week we have been engaging in a round of
farewells, either to friends and colleagues or to favourite locations in and
around Wellington. On Monday 23rd Ian hosted morning tea in the
Research Division, and put on a display of the life drawings he has done while
in Wellington, and encouraged colleagues to buy some in aid of Oxfam. He got
rid of a few, and raised $100 for the charity.

 

Last
Wednesday Sandie had her farewell morning tea from NZCER, and they gave her a
range of gifts (cake slice, coasters, and salad servers, all decorated to
remind her of New Zealand). On Friday she had drinks after work with colleagues
at the Abel Tasman Hotel, which Ian joined in. Later we had a meal in the Black
Harp and cocktails at Coyote, two of our favourite pubs in Wellington.

 

On
Saturday the weather was sunny, not very windy and reasonably warm. We drove
north of Wellington to the suburb of Tawa, which we didn’t know, and explored
the centre, including coffee and muffins in the local bakery. We went for a
walk through the bush and up to a ridge overlooking the town, before coming
down and driving to the nearby home of one of Ian’s colleagues who was hosting
a barbecue for the members of the unit in which they both work. There were
about 20 people there, including partners and children, and we had a really
good social occasion. The house is lovely, with great views, and we didn’t
leave till after 9pm.

 

On
Sunday the weather was still good, though with more wind, and we set out on a
circular walk taking in a lot of the western suburbs, including favourite parts
as well as unexplored places. First we walked through the Botanic Gardens to
Thorndon, and then up and over Tinakori Hill, getting the usual panoramic views
over the city and the bay. We descended into Wadestown and had coffee and
muffins at the cafe there. Then we dropped down into Trellisick Park and walked
through Ngaio Gorge by the stream, enjoying the tranquillity. We walked out of
the gorge to Crofton Downs, where we had drinks at the Village pub.

 

We
carried on down the road to Otari Wilton’s Bush, a large botanical and nature
reserve, and walked through alongside the river. We came out the other side and
then crossed over and up the hill to Karori Cemetery. This is a massive place,
with (mainly ancient) graves as far as the eye can see. We walked through there
and up to the main road, where we went into a cafe for ice coffees. There was a
big 60th birthday party there, and they were putting on some kind of
performance in honour of the birthday girl. From there we walked back down the
main road to Kelburn, having completed an excellent 11-mile tour of some of the
high spots of the area.

 

On
Sunday night our friend Rose came over and we took her to the Breton Bistro in
Kelburn, where we had a nice meal and a pleasant evening together. She has
kindly volunteered to store some of our stuff here in case we come back.

 

Sandie
actually finished work on Monday 30th March, and since then has been
packing, tidying, sorting things out, and visiting friends. Ian is at work all
week, leaving Sandie to get on with it. On Wednesday he had his official
farewell ‘do’ at the Ministry, with food, drink, balloons and embarrassing
speeches. He recited a farewell ode composed for the occasion, and received
gifts of a model of a Maori waka (war canoe) and two t-shirts (one says ‘Data
is singular’ and the other ‘I survived working at the Ministry of Education’).

 

Also
on Wednesday Sandie went to the last session of her folk dance group, going to
dinner with them beforehand. Thursday will be the last of Ian’s art group
sessions, and on Friday they are threatening to do yet another farewell morning
tea. Saying goodbye is sad, and we shall miss the people here and lots of
things about living in New Zealand. But we look forward to seeing our friends
and family in the UK again, and our new grandson Sprog, whenever he appears.

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