29 November 2011

Nice Folks

We landed on the South Island on Saturday, but Anne & Roy gave us yet another reason to return to Wellington.  They're so warm and hospitable, with such lovely interests and friends, it was hard to leave.

Hurdy Gurdy
Anne's hurdy gurdy

Julien on banjo

We were lucky to be able to accompany them to a Christmas party for the local "folkies" in Pukeroa Bay. Everyone packed into a room as best they could and one (or sometimes two) at a time, the musicians played a song until everyone had a turn.

Santa squeezebox


The music ranged from Christmas songs to a ballad of an Australian prostitute. It was amazing to be surrounded by such talent. During some songs, the room at large began to sing along, voices surging around us like a choir. The Christmas songs were especially moving when sung as a group.

Singing ladies

The next night, we went to Mojo Invincible, a cafe in Wellington, for an open mic session emceed by Roy. Sam participated again and we all had a nice time. I shot some video but I won't be able to put it on YouTube for a while due to limited internet usage.

Sam at the folk club Christmas party

HelpXing along with us at Anne & Roy's was Mary Claire, a very nice Irish girl my age with whom we might spend Christmas in Christchurch!

Roy also deals in classic cars, and we had the chance to visit his showroom in Lower Hutt. Wow! If you know me, you know I love classic cars, old graphic signs and taxidermy, so I fully appreciated his decor.

McGuinness Classics

He has a '57 Chevy with 88 miles on it.  The interior is one of my favorite colors.

Sam's favorite
Sam's favorite, naturally, was this classic Mercedes.

Roy even has a taxidermy moa!  Moas are extinct flightless birds from New Zealand up to 12 feet tall.  Roy's moa is not just any moa.  It's the one that used to be in the National Museum in Wellington before they expanded into what is now Te Papa Museum.  There were three in the lobby: two parents and a juvenile, and Roy's moa is the momma bird.  Moas were hunted to extinction by the Maoris before Europeans arrived, so the model is actually made of cement and dyed seagull feathers.

works in progress
Works in progress.

We also found time to stop by the Botanic Gardens in Wellington. I love Botanic Gardens; they're always full of such nice plants.

Flower wall

Pink fuzzies
My new favorite tree: Euphorbiaceae, Acalypha hispida, (Red Hot Cat’s Tail), India

Awesome plant
Another new favorite: Gesneriaceae, Columnea gloriosa, (Goldfish Plant), Costa Rica

Plimmerton evening

Goodbye, North Island! We'll be back.

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