Sunday 25 December 2016
Its Christmas Day and we are off to New Zealand. Avoiding our Christmas Day obligations perhaps? The day starts with an early morning alarm, as I have water all the newly planted seedlings in our garden (with a bit of luck they won’t die while we are away) and finish packing. At 6:15, bang on schedule we call an Uber and although he is “8 mins away”, 20 mins later we are still waiting.
Although I’m getting nervous, in all reality it’s fine as we have ample of time. The thing is that I get very anxious about getting to the airport on time, once I’m there I’m fine, that’s when H starts getting antsy. I have this repetitive bad dream about having to get to the airport in a ridiculous timeframe, frantically packing and running around in mad circles, it never ends well.
I have surprised H by getting an upgrade to business class for our Virgin 8:45 am flight to Wellington. Virgin emailed me an offer to bid on an upgrade. I put in the minimum offer (rated – very weak on the website) and, bobs your uncle, yesterday I was informed the bid was successful. Benefits – no lining up with “the poor people” to check in, express x-ray and passport processing and pre-flight drinks (yes a Bloody Mary and champagne and it’s not even 8:30 yet – happy holidays) and snacks in the Air New Zealand lounge. And that’s before you even get on the plane!
The 3 or so hour flight pass pleasantly with a silver service breakfast and a hand-held entertainment device. Also, getting off the plane first, through passport control first, luggage first and customs first (Wellington airport is practically empty) is also to be recommended.
We pick up our Hertz hire car and fine ourselves very quickly on the road. It’s an easy and scenic 1½ hour drive to our rural destination. Easy except for the bit up and over Rimutaka Hill (Kiwis have an odd sense of humour calling this a “hill”, its more like the mountain pass in Lord of the Rings), to Peppers Parehua in Martinborough, our home for the next 4 nights.
Our lovely cottage (# 15) is wonderful and being at the back of the property, very quiet. The cottage is beautifully presented and has a roomy kitchen, lounge area with a comfy sofa and automatic fireplace (real fire at the push of a button), separate bedroom with king size bed and large bathroom with a spa bath. Out the back is a small private terrace, a soft green lawn, a massive old pine tree and views of the surrounding dairy fields. Alas, being at the back of property also means dodgy internet.
Cause its Christmas Day the restaurant isn’t open for dinner and I have pre-organised (how extremely efficient of me) dinner and wine for our room. It’s a Christmas banquet! A seafood platter complete with prawns, mussels, smoked salmon and soft shell crab, also a cold platter of pork roast, duck confit, grilled fish, roast potatoes and vegies. And to top it off steamed plum pudding with custard. A veritable Christmas feast.
The rest of the night is spent lazing in front of the fire, watching Christmas Carols on TV, opening our Christmas presents and knocking off the bottle of Palliser Chardonnay and a bottle of duty free Louis Roederer champagne. Merry Christmas to one and all!