New Year (2008/2009) in Christchurch
So, we finally managed to spend a Christmas in New Zealand. It was a fair effort to achieve as our thoughts were quite often elsewhere and there's also something strangely 'wrong' about spending Christmas sitting on your deck basking in the sun! Soon thoughts turn to the New Year and a similar predicament as to what to do, where to do it and how to do something a bit "Kiwi".
Well, we heard there was a cricket match on down in Christchurch soon after the New Year, and as the company that we keep in Christchurch is always enjoyable - featuring question beers, The Days of Pearly Spencer and regular visits to the Supershed - then we decided that we might just be able to have an enjoyable New Year down South.
As regular readers (if there are any?) may have worked out from this, we were spending New Year with Pete and Chantal who have featured on this website more than once in the past - mainly on the "Australia" tab at the top of the page. Further entertainment was added this time around by Pete and Chantal already having two visitors - Richard and Erika - who were part way through a World Tour which had already taken them from Kent through various areas in America and which still had a few stops left to go.
Whilst at Pete & Chantal's there's always something going on to entertain and sure enough shortly after our arrival in Christchurch we were out on the road with Chantal, Richard and Erika and off on the long, but scenic drive to Akaroa. The drive to Akaroa was eventful, getting stuck behind a NOMAD Camper van which drove at about 50 km/h on parts of the road where it was impossible to overtake but managed to speed up significantly whenever a nice straight bit or road or a passing lane turned up. If you were this pillock then please learn to drive with a LOT more awareness and thoughtfulness for other road users. ********.
So as to avoid the increasing frustration with the camper drive from reaching boiling point, we pulled over at a view point to take a few pictures. In an amazing coincidence, one of Andy's work collegues - in fact the guy he sits next to at work - happened to be in exactly the same place at the same time. Weird. After a short break we continued to Akaroa where we enjoyed some local fish 'n' chips, an ice cream and a good walk around the town.
We headed back to Christchurch in mid-afternoon and spent New Year in the city at a very pleasant pub which sold locally brewed "real ales" and also provided a band or two to entertain the masses. It was fairly low key, but suited us down to the ground.
Shortly after New Year, Richard and Erika departed New Zealand for the next leg of their grand tour - Australia. This allowed us to settle into the Christchurch rhythm - taking a cycle ride, a kayak and, of course, to the esteemed SuperShed with the small hope of finding some bargain basement Amsoft games for my brother's birthday (don't ask, but he would have loved it!).
Eventually, the time came round to go and watch the cricket. We left Pete and Chantal's house in fair weather. We parked close to the ground, but missed the start by a couple of overs due to leaving a bit late. We arrived at the ground, got in and on the way to our seats it started to rain and the players went off. The rain bucketed down and down. Lightning forked across the sky and was almost immediately followed by thunder. After about 45 minutes, we decided that there was no way that play would ever get under way so we made a run for the car. On the way back to the house, we passed a parked car where the water was lapping up against the door sill. So, we made it all the way back to the other side of Christchurch and perched ourselves on the sofa and relaxed. For about five minutes. We then got a text from one of Chantal's friends still at the game saying that play was due to start in half an hour. In disbelief, we checked the internet and true enough, play was due to start in thirty minutes! I have to admit that the drainage at the AMI Stadium must be pretty damn special!
So, we headed back to the cricket to watch the worst "One Day International" I've ever seen. The players found it very tough to grip the ball, which meant that the ball needed to be towel dried after every ball; slowing play down to a snail's pace. It also didn't help that the local crowd seemed to have no idea how the game is played. Some pillock sitting behind us shouted "Hit it HAAAAAAAAADDDDDERRRRRR" every time a player left the ball. When, on a couple of occasions, a batsman skied a shot straight in the air he'd then exclaim "THAT'S THE STUFF" then adding "NOT HAAAAARRRDDD ENOUGH" when the ball was caught by the wicket keeper barely seconds later.
The West Indies prevailed in the game, but it certainly wasn't a victory for the spectators!
The next day we headed back home to Wellington after another enjoyable stay Down South.
A few photos from our trip away in Christchurch:
Top Left: On the way over the hills towards Akaroa. The inlet looks a stunning blue against the rolling hills and the hazy blue of the sky.
Top Right: Jenny on the Jetty at Akaroa. The harbour was extremely busy on the day we were there with boats taking passengers out onto the water to swim with and to spot dolphins.
Right: Some cygnets on the Avon River in Christchurch. And people say the river's polluted! Awww.
Bottom Left: AMI Stadium, Christchurch where we hoped to see some One Day International Cricket. Whilst we did see some cricket, it rained torrentially for a while and reduced the number of overs in the game as proved by....
Bottom Right: The rain was so heavy that the televisions around the stadium lost all signal. Lightning forked across the sky and the roads ran with water. At least a couple of inches of rain fell in the space of about an hour... Yet we still managed to see some cricket!