Swans, snapper and a trip to Auckland part 1

After last Friday’s earthquake and aftershocks, it was a pretty normal week, though I kept thinking my office was shaking every time I heard a squeak or rattle.  The weather wasn’t too bad either, and Misse Moj and I even managed a short time out on the terrace.

IMG_0896Misse Moj keeps his eyes out for other cats

On Friday evening, I headed up to Auckland for a much needed break, to visit friends, Tamsin and Martin, and go to the ballet.  We started Saturday with an excellent full breakfast with bacon, eggs, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms and toast to fortify us for the day ahead.  They have not long moved into their new house, which has a great garden and terrace space.

IMG_0901The garden with the tangelo tree that supplied the fruit for last week’s cake

IMG_0909

Butters the cat relaxes on the terrace

We spent the day at a wedding of some friends of my friends.  It was a lovely ceremony, clearly personal for the couple, and was held in a local restaurant/bar.  There were some really excellent nibbles served before the ceremony – little smoked salmon tarts, meatballs, spoons of a sort of noodle/meat/wasabi mixture (I think! Definitely wasabi though), goujons of fish to dip in tartar sauce and small melba toasts with tomato, pesto and mozzarella.  Despite our breakfast, we all managed to consume quite a few of these!  Lunch started with some bread to dip into an olive oil and pomegranate molasses combination which was delicious.  I chose snapper for my main dish, which was served with fried potatoes, broccolini and a hollandaise sauce and definitely a good choice.

Tamsin’s Mum collected us later on and we headed off to the ballet.  This also gave me a wee chance to see a bit of Auckland at night, including the Sky Tower close up.

IMG_0911Sky Tower

A few weeks ago, I saw the dress rehearsal of the Royal New Zealand ballet’s production of ‘Swan Lake’ here in Wellington, so I was really forward to seeing it ‘properly’.  We had fantastic seats in the middle of the front stalls, which gave a great opportunity to watch the footwork and see all the elements close up instead of from the upper circle like at the dress rehearsal.  We were also really lucky to see the ‘star cast’ of principal guest artist Gillian Murphy and RNZB star, Qi Huan.  Murphy is a brilliant technician with nice, long legs, who proved to be a better Odette than Odile, though her 32 double fouettes (with a couple of triples in there) were near perfection.  Huan was light and elegant and a good Siegfried.  We were all also particularly impressed by Medhi Angot in the Neapolitan dance – someone to watch perhaps.  I am still unsure about Von Rothbart in this production (not evil enough), but it is a minor point.  Read about the company here.

We went to see the production at The Civic Theatre, a magnificant building completed in 1929.  The design of the foyer is clearly oriental, with elephants all over the columns, buddahs in niches and all sorts of other ‘exotica’.  The main auditorium has turrets, spires and panther statues with glowing eyes on either side of the stage.  The ceiling is a deep blue with glowing stars, apparently known as ‘the atmospheric style’ of theatre design, the atmosphere attempting to emulate being outdoors. You can read about it and see pictures of it here.

While we were watching the ballet, the All Blacks beat the Wallabies 27-16  in Wellington.  So, a good Saturday all round!

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