On Friday night, it snowed in the suburbs of Wellington. It also snowed in my heart. Okay, so that’s actually total and utter bullshit, but I did have a really crappy night, because no one wanted to go out or stay out, and I was like all “oh, but this is the last time in forever that the normal group can go out” but it didn’t happen, so I ended up at the fucking Malthouse with Anji and her workfriends, and then Karen. I did manage to get away with only spending $6 on beer and a bit more on some chips though, so that was the only highlight. Oh, and I took the bus home and so was on the couch by 10.30pm. Bleh.

Part of my grump came from thinking about how grumpy the weather was and how I’d have to drive to Castlepoint the following day, and I so didn’t want to (*). But as it turned out, the weather was fucking gorgeous on Saturday. I picked up Chrisana at 11, and then went to Katy’s to get her and Puck and her flatmate Jacob. Trying to fit all them and all their things in my little bittle car was interesting. After we went to the supermarket and loaded up on SO MUCH food, we had to unpack everything and get the boys to play tetris to fit it all in. That’s what boys are for, after all.

I filled my petrol tank all the way up for the first time since I’ve owned the car and my head went boggle at the fact that it cost $56, when it used to be $35. Many jokes were made about the Hutt as we drove through it. CDs were sung along to by me, which was unfair since I’d told Katy she’d have to walk if she sang. But my car, my rules. Heh. I was imagining it’d be like an hour and a half to get there, like it sort of is to Martinborough, but oh no, it was a solid three hours, splashing through flooded roads on the way there and considering whether or not to stop the car to change a sign in the field with an explicit picture on it from ‘This is a life, not a choice’ to merely ‘this is a choice’. We eventually decided to do it on the way home instead.

I hadn’t been to Castlepoint since I was ummm 8ish, so I had no idea what to expect. As we headed out deeper and deeper into the countryside, our conversations became more and more focused on zombies, and survivalism. Castlepoint itself seemed like a tiny little place, and yet the hill we drove up to find our house reminded me of Churton Park, all new houses that seemed unoccupied. The place Katy had rented for us, Magic Thymes, was lovely though, in a very early nineties split-level kind of way. I grabbed myself a room and set off to laugh at and disobey the signs in the toilets that stated “if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down” and “if it’s pee, let it be, if it’s poo, flush the loo”.

Since everyone had been drinking in the car except for me, of course, since I was dridving, I quickly cracked open the cask of red, and we sat on the balcony, looking at the water tanks and the empty lot beneath us and out to the sea. Everyone decided to go for a walk, and I was tempted, but I decided to volunteer to stay behind to get eaten by the zombies first wait for Ash & the other carload to show up. There are worse places to be than on a balconey in the sun with wine, cashews, JPod and Black Holes and Revelations blasting out of the stereo down the right-of-way. After about half an hour or so I saw Ash’s car driving up the hill and going to wrong way just as we had done, so I stood up and windmilled for all I was worth, until eventually they saw me and I could give them strange pointy directions as to where they were supposed to be going. Ash drives the same kind of car as me, except hers is dark green. She parked it next to mine and we left them alone to make babies together. She thinks mine is the female car, because it’s white, but I know that hers is the female because it has a rack. Hehe, I am so hilarious.

Since I had done my duty and guided in Ash, Jo, Helen and Kartini, I was free to take my iPod, and roll up my trousers and trot up the little hill behind the house to take in this view:

Bloody gorgeous it was too. I followed a very very muddy little track around for five minutes and found a bench to sit on and listened to ‘In the backseat’ and had a wee little cry at the beauty of it all and also my remaining grr from the night before. Then I laughed at what I thought was Puck and Chrisana and Jacob scaling the top of the tallest peak because it was a long way up. It wasn’t the warmest of days ever, but I still wanted to get down to the beach. The only access looked to be a long way away though, and I wasn’t keen to scramble down the hill in the mud, strangely enough, although the two glasses of wine I’d had made for some serious giggling every time I slipped, so I went back to the house where we assembled a feast. A FEAST.

It seemed like everyone had brought along their favourite snack bits, and Katy is even more of an over-the-top entertainer than I am, so she’d bought six kinds of hummus (to be fair, she was staying two nights to our one). Platters of goodness were assembled, and Peaches CDs and various iPods were played. Have you tried peanut butter pretzels before? Holy crap they are awesome. So is wine. So is good company that just sits around talking and eating and drinking. That’s pretty much my idea of perfection right there. The boys started the fire, because that is what they needed to do to feel manly, and we drank some more. Eventually we split into four teams to play Scrabble. Katy and I won, despite the hardcoreness of some of the players. Me, I’m more along the lines of “well, if you can define it, I’ll let you make up words”. Not that I’m too easy-going or anything, honest. Puck and Ash pulled Who wants to be a millionaire? and Trivial Pursuit off their respective cellphones and we freestyled competition, although I tried to make everyone buzz in. You know who else liked their trivia under control? Yeah that’s right, the NAZIS. There was no 021 coverage at the house, so 8/9 people were cellphoneless. I don’t wear a watch, so with no need to keep my cellie around, I had no idea what the time was ever. We found Grease in the house’s collection of videos so we put that on and had a lengthy singalong.

Eventually everyone was outside smoking and looking at the thyme bushes around the door and checking up on the cars’ humping progress (they acted all coy when we were around), and I was like OMG HOLY SHIT look at the sky, and made people turn off the outside light, and it was just amazing, stars EVERYWHERE, so bright, and the Milkway arched overhead, and being (just a little bit, honest) drunk, I was like “wow, it’s like the Dukes of Leisure are playing and we’re at the star dome!” and I climbed up to look out at the back harbour again (*). More drinking was done. Gorgeous cake was eaten. Good times were had. More walks were taken in the mud, this time with handy cellphone flashlights. Good times.

In the morning, I didn’t feel quite so flash. In fact, once I finally managed to get a bathroom, I was sick for quite a while. Of course, I should have been happy that I wasn’t eaten by zombies, after a lengthy discussion had concluded that my being a virgin (ish) wasn’t going to save me. But instead I sat on the floor to put my clothes back on after my shower and considered crawling downstairs but settled for sunglasses and a duvet instead. I took my coffee and sat out on the deck and thought “wow, this looks just like an XP screen” and died a little more inside. It’s not my fault! I was raised in Tokyo, dammit! But while I lazed around on the couch drinking hot chocolate listening to Ryan Adams and Patti Smith, Ash and Jo went off to the carnie store for toilet paper and cooking oil, and most of the rest of the girls bustled around doing the dishes and cooking breakfast. Once again, the food array was dazzling, and heavily seasoned with magic thyme. We had mushrooms and potatoes and toast and avocado and bacon and kransky sausages and everyone else also had crumpets and salmon and eggs. After that I felt much much better. More lazying around was done until finally at 2.30 I was in a state to drive again, just as the second night’s shift showed up (*), so we scarped off so we wouldn’t have to do the dishes. Muhahaha. We chased Ash for a good while, until she went the wrong way, and then we got in the lead. They caught us up in Featherston when we stopped for a pee break, but since they were all about antiques and gelati, we won. And I made it home in time for The Gilmore Girls. Yay! Countryside is good. I like it a lot. I wanted to stay forever.

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