Saturday, 22 December 2012

Week 32 - It's Christmas! It's also a football festive special!

Johnsonville @ sunset
Hello Everyone!
Wow, It's really hard to believe that it's December 23rd already, and I don't mean because we have all survived the end of the world! (as predicted by the Mayan's civilization for December 21st!). I simply mean that one year ago today I had no idea that I'd be here in New Zealand 365 days later!
It's finally felt a little more like Christmas for me this week, and that has been helped along by a lovely evening with some English friends, eating mince pies, and cake, and also by my love second favourite Christmas time activity - watching football! 

This was a really great night, hosted by Derek & Steph - (English couple who moved out here a little before I did, and I used to work with Steph breifly a long time ago!). A waterfront walk in the glorious sunshine, and a 30 minute train ride to Johnsonville (plus a walk up a big hill) led me to their home, filled with their friends and colleagues, some of which I have met before at Steph's birthday drinks back in June... Steph's iced mulled wine was seriously scrumptious! I wish I had pictures, but spent the night enjoying teh great company, interesting conversation and as you can see from the pictures, a beautiful sunset over Johnsonville! 
Johnsonville @ Sunset
After an invite through a friend (Jess), I thought it would be rude not to go on the third annual Wellington Phoenix 12 stop pub-crawl for the Christmas fixture against the Central Coast Mariners! (CCM). 7 stops before the 5:00pm game and 5 stops after! I thought getting good hearty breakfast was important, so I stopped my The Cuba Street Bistro, for a 'Big Breakfast' - and to see my friend Tibo, who works there. I then met the "Yellow Fever" crowd at the 'Four Kings Pub' for the customary photo! The second pub was the Mac's Brewery (See below!) where we were met by an Egyptian guy who wanted to video us wishing his favorite Egyptian team a message of support! 

Phoenix fans at Mac's Brewery
The best bit about this second stop, was chatting with two guys (Dave from Stockport and Ian from Preston). They told me a little bit about the history of the phoenix, but better yet Ian gave me a free ticket for the game! Saving me at least $32! Brilliant! The next stop at St John's (The old St John's station) was a far more relaxing affair! Last weekend they had free table-tennis and croquet outside this bar. Yesterday was just very comfy beanbags which myself and Jess took much advantage of!
Jess chilled on St John's beanbag
Me enjoying the comfort of a beanbag!
'Yellow Fever' fans!
After a quick 30 mins at St John's the Yellow Fever marched along the waterfront, much to the amusement of many an asian tourist group! After another 30 minute visit- this time to the Dockside, we moved on to the 'Foxglove' (one of my favourite places to have a drink by the water). The great thing with this place is the outside patio area upstairs! It's so comfy and has a few loungers you can just stretch out on! It was so comfy we decided to stay there until and miss out the next pub! 
Me way too comfy at 'Foxglove'
So, it was onto the game itself... and as we approached the stadium and the weather improved dramatically and turned into a hot sunny day! Perfect Christmas weather? I was not so sure! ( I miss the cold winter). Still, I could not have asked for a nicer day and I happened to notice that the latest cruise liner had docked, right next to the stadium - just another reminder of the joys of living by the sea! 
Sunny Santa Stadium!
Check out the boat!
The game itself was a reasonable game, with the Phoenix failing as usual to give the visiting goalkeeper any problems, and failing drastically to make a good cross! Still, they managed to equalize towards the end of the game, which meant we went home happy with a 1-1 result! Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of the day were the crowd's outfits, see below! 
Sunny days! 
Colourful fans!
the phoenix Santa

Jess @ me & the game!
After the game we strategically skipped the first pub, to get plenty of time, and a good seat and the 'Royal', and then had a tip off that there was an after match party, with the players at a bar in the city centre. Jess had a friend there, so we abandoned the pub crawl and headed off to 'The Grand', where the kindly bouncer turned a blind eye to us walking in the door! We got to the second floor, and whilst the bar staff were busy, casually wandered through the 'closed private function' area, into a room filled with a few fans, and most of the Phoenix team! Jess had won a signed shirt in a competition the day before, and the player that gave her the shirt, came over and aid hello - like they were mates! A couple of other players passed and stopped to say hello, and even to say bye when they were leaving! - Very down to earth! We got a couple of pictures, including the one below with Danny Sanchez!   
Me & Jess with Danny Sanchez - Phoenix player!
So, as the Christmas films (Polar Express, Scrooge & Bad Santa) finally get shown on tv here, I'm going to have a quiet evening in, feeling Christmassy! Also, Liverpool gave me a perfect early Christmas present with a 4-0 victory over Fulham this morning at 06:30, so I'm a little tired - especially as it inspired me to go to the gym after! 
On a final note, thanks to those of you that sent cards, emails, texts and Christmas Messages in advance. Despite really enjoying life here, I am really missing everyone back home, and get a bit nostalgic at this time of year!
Regards from New Zealand!


  1. Wish you happy new year to you and your family ..Really nice place to visit..

  2. I am an Occupational therapist, since 1997. My husband and I want to move to New Zealand and become residents. I am 47 years old, do you think we would have a good chance of being accepted? I am afraid my age could be a problem.. He is a successful day trader which could improve our chances. What do you think? And is there a demand for experienced OT's there right now?