Having relaxed in Waiuku for a few days, (read “forcibly confined to bed due to post road-trip flu”), I suddenly became thirty.
Thirty years old, not something cool like thirty feet tall or thirty thousand pounds richer. Time is a constant but this monumental event somehow appeared out of nowhere...
On the Friday (T-minus 2 days), we headed to Central Auckland to grab dinner with Laura and Rich at Cotto. This cosy Italian restaurant is nestled in Auckland’s main Street, the infamous “K Road”, so named as most anglophones struggle to pronounce “Karangahape” easily, (go on, give it a try!) We enjoyed a number of amazing sharing plates and free flowing wine whilst we traded stories about our experiences in the country so far. These were (unsurprisingly) a little removed from those of our city slicking friends, but we all agreed that NZ is an amazing place to be. We continued the evening’s festivities in a slightly over-zealous manner and embraced the collective headache the following day.
Having barely recovered, we headed to our local watering hole, the Cosy (Manurewa Cosmopolitan) Club, with our hosts (the Ashworths) and a few family friends for a birthday dinner and more drinks. The Cosy Club is like a tradional working men’s club back home on steroids. It’s roughly 5x the size that you’d expect, with a choice of beers to rival ‘Spoons and more pool tables than you can count.
Given that New Zealand has the approximate population of the city of Manchester, this was a shock when we first visited back in early March. Experience has proved that committed members, paired with cracking live entertainment, including (possibly) New Zealand’s best Elvis impersonater, can see these venues thrive.
Everyone made a real effort to make my first winter birthday feel as normal as possible and we had a really nice evening, complete with Jane's carrot cake baked to the family recipe. I decided on bright blue icing so it looked like Sonic the Hedgehog, but with better graphics. It was presumably tastier than an actual hedgehog too (if my old Springer Spaniel Lola’s reaction was anything to go by).
We made it to my actual birthday the following morning and, having had a few days on the beer, I planned to do absolutely nothing (because I'm old now). This plan was quickly thrown out the window when Jane bounded down the stairs and announced "We’re going for a drive"...