It was time to return to Auckland where we had an apartment booked from Friday 23rd December. After a slight detour to the Botany Town Centre shopping centre for a spot of shopping, we made our way to the Remuera
area of Auckland where Neil and his wife Kate live. They kindly offered to put us up for the night and took us out for a few beers and a meal in the area.
The next morning they led us back to Onehunga where we dropped off our van, Herpie, and they then gave us a lift to our apartment at Quay West, with a stop for some food in Ponsonby.
The apartment was great, our first proper home with a kitchen and bathroom since we left our flat in London in June 2004. We had 2 TVs, with satellite, a DVD player and a music system.
We did some last minute shopping on Queen Street on Xmas Eve and enjoyed the space and facilities of our apartment.
Christmas Day was quiet and relaxed, we both opened our presents in the morning and had a late lunch after watching part of the Queen’s Speech on TV. I did well in presents, getting a Lego Darth Vader pen, a copy of The Two Towers (I’m re-reading Lord of the Rings), and some funky little catroon figures called Major Moulty’s Amazing Magical Plastic Band .
We received packages from our parents with cards and presents which made us feel much closer to home. We used Skype on my Powerbook with my new Bluetooth headset to call home for much less than a normal phone call, though the quality wasn’t great, probably due to the low throughput we were getting on the Woosh wireless broadband setup that came with the flat.
We haven’t done a huge amount in Auckland, though we have used the gym in the building and had lots of home-cooked meals.
On Friday 30th, I broke a tooth, the one that the dentist in Thailand said would need root canal work when we got home. We got an emergency appointment at the White Cross Medical Centre on Ponsonby Road on New Years Eve. The excellent dentist there started a root canal procedure on the tooth with the intention of covering it over until I could get something more permanent done to it. As he worked he found that he couldn’t get into two of the three root canals as they were “calcified” so he ended up having to take the tooth out and sewing up the resulting hole.
That put a bit of a downer on our New Years Eve celebration as my mouth was bleeding quite badly for a while and I had to take pain-killers and antibiotics. Vic was also unwell with stomach-ache so we had a quiet night in, heading out to the balcony at midnight to watch the fireworks from the top of the SkyTower and send text messages to our friends, a full 13 hours before the UK saw the New Year in (which is a bit mind-bending if you spend much time thinking about it).