Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Dave, Fionnuala and I waved goodbye to Nigel as we left the priests’ retreat home, and headed for Johnny B and Mel B’s BBQ for the afternoon.

Here we actually had a chance to properly catch-up with them. I’d only met Mel once before the wedding – by Richmond Bridge last October – and I hadn’t seen John since that day either. I also picked-up Nigel’s shades for him, which he’d left behind at the reception last night.

At around 4:30pm, with proper catch-ups done, Dave, Fionnuala and I said our goodbyes to Mr and Mrs B, and headed into Wellington City for what little was left of the day.

I only had a checklist of three things to do in New Zealand’s capital city, and these we achieved quite quickly.

We caught the famous “cable car” (actually a funicular railway) up the hill…

visited the Wellington Botanical Gardens…

... and after strolling back down got to see New Zealand’s parliament building, which is disturbingly called “The Beehive.” (P.A.T.C.H. Work anyone?) I’ve been determined to see this ever since Tim Downstairs had shown me it from above on Google Earth.

After this I bought a banana and some other supplies for my train journey home tomorrow, before we crept into Sacred Heart Cathedral for the evening service, where the English priest knew exactly what to do when I crossed my arms.

After that we got lost, and discovered the one really big difference between Wellington and other capital cities of the world – everything was shut.

I have never been a fan of Sunday trading, and very rarely buy anything on Sundays, but I do think entertainments are one those exceptions, because they help people to relax on their seventh day off. (protesting that shopping is a form of relaxation is just twisting things) Anyway, once we’d found the road that contained the theatre, (and Topol in Fiddler On The Roof, which we didn’t go to see, apart from anything else because I already saw him in it about 20 years ago in Wimbledon – long tour) we went into Nando’s for a last goodbye dinner together. Nando’s is an international restaurant chain that holds a lot of good memories for me, particularly dinners with my colleagues in Kingston, and fellow Brit Karen in eerily-similar Botany.

The conversation somehow got onto the story of my coming to New Zealand. I recounted my crazy life at the youth hostel, the blessings of the free food shelf, the car I crashed, the Korea family, and my flatmates today. Having also spent some of our time recounting my 6-day visit to their place in Sydney in 2005, it occurred to me what a useful memory-aid this blog has become. I knew what we’d done on each day partly because I’d written it up and read it afterwards.

Finally we drove to Tawa to rendezvous with Aaron from the wedding yesterday, at whose house I would spent tonight. As I made a bee-line up the steps to ring a virtual stranger’s doorbell so that I could sleep the night there, Dave remarked “Just look at him – he’s so used to this.”

Actually I felt that I hadn’t done this for a while, and I almost missed the adventure of living in an unfamiliar place and skidding through on God.

Aaron answered the door, I shook Scottish Dave’s hand, gave Fionnuala a very genuine hug, tried and failed to give her a donation towards the weekend's petrol/car hire costs (I didn't stand a chance), and then they were gone into the night to their own borrowed accommodation.

Aaron and I sat up for a while, discussing how neither one of us watched TV, while we watched TV, until eventually we turned off and turned in.

Yet I had forgotten something. Something very important. Something that had begun this whole weekend.

I had forgotten that I can never sleep before travelling.

Day #1 of 4 here.
Day #2 of 4 here.
Day #4 of 4 here.


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