It’s not really anything I get nervous about. I used to but now it’s something I quite enjoy. Maybe it explains my love of biographies, I enjoy meeting new people, learning their stories. We wandered up from the bottom of the house, I’m feeling the apprehension coming from Claire. We walk into the kitchen and are greeted by two big smiles. Claire’s father and sister. From there it’s seamless, conversation flows back and forth, I feel the warmth in the room. Claire’s mother arrives back from the shops with the breakfast, the introductions are over. It’s strange how fast things feel normal in these situations.
Breakfast over I head out for a swim. Supposedly it’s good for my back which has been playing up for weeks but I just think of it as a vigorous exercise I can do without pain. I’m the worse swimmer though, I don’t like to get my hair wet so there is absolutely no head under water stuff for me. After my 30 minute swim I noted a few things, in Melbourne I’m a slow lane swimmer but in Auckland I’m a fast lane swimmer, no-one gets naked in the showers (apart from me) and there is hardly anyone swimming on a Saturday morning.
The morning passed and we climbed on another plane off to Palmerston North. The flight was a pretty easy hour up in the air and upon landing I did something I’ve done for the first time. Walk from an airport to the place we were staying. Saying that it was only forty minutes and I did manage to get a picture of me under a large sign saying ‘toot if you love Palmy’. Obviously to me this all talks about my love of chicken parma but to others it may talk about the city we’ve just arrived in.
We arrived at our Airbnb which was a nice house on a quiet suburban street. Have to admit since Claire has introduced me to Airbnb I have begun to love it. The places you stay really are a bit more homely than a roadside motel. The house was large, four bedrooms of which we only require three and a nice fully fitted kitchen. Where we prepared and cooked a functional yet delicious meal for Claire’s parents and sister who drove down from Auckland.
We briefly walked a quick 10 minutes down to the local supermarket where my eyes lit up at the amazing selection of beers I hadn’t tried before. Claire shopped the rest of the store whilst I spent 10 minutes wide eyed in the beers department.
The night was lovely. We all sat round the table, eating, drinking, talking, doing crosswords with a mixture of serious and not very serious conversation. Sometimes the best of times are the simplest of times. It was a lovely evening full of warmth and laughter.