February 2010


Here we have swimmer crab with caramelised onions served on grilled eggplants, side salad of summer produce (and basalmic vinegar), and some plain couscous.

And it feels like we’re getting back to normal. Things have been pretty up in the air in the last few months, but they’re settling down again. Now that Chef Du Plunge is more independent and able to boodle about doing his own thing there is less hands-on care, and Dad can spend some time poaching crabs in a court bouillon, shelling them, and cooking himself and Second Chef a dinner that isn’t spag bowl or grilled cheese on toast.

Not that there is anything wrong with either of those two options!

We bought these crabs live at the riverside markets in the Hutt, and my goodness they were delicious. Next time I’ll run a photo series on shelling and cleaning them.

But until then!

Been a bit quiet here in Sunny Newlands*, but we’ve finally made the move, and things are finally starting to come together. The shifting itself came off without a hitch, but getting everything unpacked under the watchful gaze of a wee toddler has resulted in a rather piecemeal settling in.

And on average we’re liking it. The upsides are the additional space, which is really a nice to have, and the yard, which is a lot of fun. I’ve mowed to lawn twice so far, and with the real man’s tool, a hand-mower. Worked up a pretty good sweat today, and actually felt like I’d exercised! Trimming the hedges was fun last week too.

Otherwise we’re spending most of our time planning furiously. We got onto these great people at a place called RightHouse, and they’re going to help us spend a taxpayer subsidy to get the underfloor and ceiling insulation up to code, along with removing the current ducted gas-heating and replacing it with a heat pump (again with the subsidy). Then we start to look at things like repairing or replacing some of the gib, putting in better wall insulation, and generally sprucing the place up for winter.

I’m telling people that I’m earning my HandyMan Badges™, and it is in fact a lot of fun. Chef Du Plunge in particular is loving the running about, as everyone told me he would.

But hey, he’s 15 months old. EVERYTHING is fun!

We’ve also started calling the place The Treehouse, and for good reason. Here’s the view from the main bedroom for instance.

Stops the neighbours perving in, and looks great until the end of January!

The main downsides are that it is much more expensive living out here, and almost entirely because of the cost of transport. Having to pay to get to work (or to pretty much anywhere), is a real drag, and a cost we’re having to accommodate.

But at least it’s nice and quiet. After three years on Cuba Street the noise was finally getting to me. Here though, the trees rustle and roar. Having spent time under the water the trees in fact sound a lot like the surf breaking over rocks, all SWOOSH followed by pause. And let me tell you, you’re gonna want to like that noise up here…

*not actually all that sunny.

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