At the end of last week we flew to New Zealand and spent a couple of days in Petone, near Wellington. It's an interesting suburb on the Northern side of Wellington Harbour. It was once the home of several smelly industries that discharged their waste straight into the lower parts of the Hutt River, the Korokoro stream, and even directly into the harbour itself - a freezing works, soap factories, a battery manufacturer, a manufacturer of chlorine bleach... All of those industries are now gone or are operating in a much cleaner fashion, and the local area has become a much more desirable place to live. I loved there in 1987 and since then it has become much prettier - the mainly wooden houses are being brought back to life and the transport options to the city are much better - buses with wifi! (Sydney, take note.) It's commuter heaven: right on the water, low-rise and attractive, and a short bus or train ride along the harbour to work.
The motel was small but spotless, and the cafes on the main drag are really amazing. (BTW, we haven't had a bad cup of coffee since we arrived: kiwi cafe culture is grand, beginning with steak sandwiches in Hataitai when we arrived - Real Steak!), Best of all, Petone has the Holland Rd Yarn Company, where several skeins of Tash's hand-dyed yarn found their way into our bags. And two skeins of Fybrespates from the UK, which we didn't even see in the UK, grabbed Sandra's hand and forced her to shove it into her bag.
Then we travelled through the Wairarapa (another favourite cafe in Greytown, the Greytown Deli and Cafe), and had a coffee with James and Ian in Masterton. We've been in a hotel in Palmerston North for a couple of nights, but Sandra has flown to Auckland for a conference this morning. My daughter Lizzie and her daughters will pick me up in an hour or so and I'll spend a few days with them before I fly to Auckland to join Sandra. We've had two amazing breakfasts, one in Cafe Cuba and one in Barista - I lived in Palmie from 1991 until 1998, and it's good to know that the best cafes are still in business and still operating to a high standard.
We also found a fabric shop yesterday where cotton prints are presently $8 a metre. As I'm planning a sewing binge over Christmas, this was very exciting. I bought the ends of several rolls.
I'll post later with some photos from Lizzie's garden, and more adventures. Tomorrow I'm planning lunch with the lovely Deborah. Squeee!