Saturday, October 03, 2009

A new world -

of wearable art.
A previous winning garment - 2007 if I recall right...

There are some events in a person's life that deserve to be commemorated in style. One of those is a 40th wedding anniversary. Well, at least we agreed that it was an appropriate thing to make into an excuse to have an expensive - and expansive too - weekend off.

One of the things we have promised ourselves for quite some many years has been the annual "World of Wearable Art" event.

This uniquely NZ event is, by their own promotion, "indescribable". It is a competition. It is undeniably entertainment. It started as a personal desire of a Nelson woman to transfer art to something wearable; not as body paint but far more sophisticated than that. That was 20 years back. The show has since been sold to Wellington City.

So it was that last Thursday SWMBO and the probligo climbed into the silver budgie and got themselves transported from Auckland with 16C and gentle SWers, to the 6C and light SE'ers of Wellington. For those who live in "temperate maritime" climes no further description will be necessary. For those who do not, I can not imagine living in snow for three months of the year either.

Checked in, checked out, showered and shaved, and then dinner was sought. As time was disappearing somewhat rapidly and we had not been able to (completely) agree what we wanted, or to understand what the hotel was providing, we ended up with a $60 per person set menu as part of the hotel's promotion of WOWA. What a time to try and work out the "polite" way to eat prawns (the Aussie king variety). The beef filet was acceptable. The desert - what was it? I can not remember. Wellington weather being what it is we (wisely as it happened because it rained, twice, during the trip) taxi'd from hotel to Events Centre (yes, that is what it is called).

Thursday night was the opening night of WOWA, and in the absence of the cash required to buy a stage-side table, or the influence to nab an awards night seat from the hoi-polloi, this was the best night we could choose. It gave us the opportunity to outwit the judges; and we think that we did because we still think our award selections were far better then theirs. Anyhoos, any show that starts with the Topp Twins wandering on stage initially in the dark like patrons who have got themselves lost somewhere twixt door and seat, wondering "why the f??? are we here?", and then combines two hours of non-stop entertainment with the showing of "clothes art" in five different classes passes any description other than "Go see it for yourself!!".

Wellington weather being what it is we were able to walk from Events Centre to hotel completely dry though almost suffering from exposure (hypothermia) by the time we returned.

Friday was spent with the exploration of immediate vicinities. Our hotel (if you must know) was right at the nor'west end of the central city a step or three from Parliament and the rail station. So during the morning we covered most of Lambton Quay, Featherston St and the area down to the waterfront. That included Wellington Museum (not to be confused with Te Papa a Tongarewa which is scion of the National Museum). The Wellington Museum is well worth the visit too. Interesting, well presented, with several probligo family connections even if the name was not mentioned specifically.

As I mentioned at the beginning, one of the excuses for this weekend of excesses was our 40th wedding anniversary. That event was celebrated Friday night. We had hoped to eat at one of NZ's finest but again did not have the where-with-all to buy someone else out of their table, so there was a couple hours spent Thursday afternoon debating the likely risk attending the choice of one (of the very many) other eating establishments around town. We got it down to a choice of two, from which (sorry Bisque at Bolton) we selected Arbitrageurs. It happened that Arbitrageurs was an easy walk down the street from the hotel, the weather was fine if somewhat chilly but sufficed to refresh the appetite.

So a very delicious meal was enjoyed. I will start with the recommendation. If ever you find yourself in Wellington at the same time as having a desire for good food and wine, then I would stake my life on Arbitrageur providing the necessary satisfaction at the very least provided that the chef remains under the present management. The only caveat is that it is not the cheapest eaterie in town. The other side is that the food is absolutely first rate. The cellar is enormous. We shared three courses and wine by the glass to match our respective selections at a total cost of $180. We came away with the feeling that we had spent very wisely. For the record the selections were; Pea and ham soup, beef casserole, creme brulee for her; vegetable soup, roast pork loin in piece and creme brulee for the probligo. Oh, and finding Arbitrageur is not easy. There is only a single wood door to the street with a discrete sign over. Inside, seating (by my count) for about 80.

That said, a sleep-in on Saturday morning was almost compulsory. An energetic walk to the far end of town for breakfast was well-rewarded with good standard NZ fare in abundance (Vivace, thank you) followed by more walking through the "entertainment precincts" of Manners Mall, Cuba St mall, and the near eastern end of "town". In between times we thought we should go have a look through parts of Te Papa that we may not yet have seen. We got no further than the main foyer where there were people presenting and celebrating PRC's 60th birthday. That made for a couple of interesting hours between lunch and heading back to the hotel. There ensued a fairly serious discussion on food for the evening meal given that a) we were pretty near broke; b) travelling back to Auckland the next day; c) still felt well fed from the previous evening; d) wanted something fairly simple to eat.... and ended up selecting Habibie, a "Lebanese" restaurant in the entertainment district we had frequented during the day. An enjoyable meal with friendly staff for a very reasonable $75 including a glass of wine.

Sunday. A day of rest for some. A day of worship for others. For us it was up at 6a.m., no breakfast, and taxi to the rail station. Rather than travel by silver budgie back to Auckland and then spend the rest of the day doing chores we had decided that we would take the silver dinosaur (in the form of The Overlander) and spend some 12 hours watching the scenery passing by at close range as against 4 miles down. There was an element of trepidation in this because the weather had been so foul as to likely preclude any interesting scenery but we were most lucky.
The mountains were magnificent. The greens in the bush and fields were straight from McCahon.

To add to the attraction was the addition of truly dinosaur propulsion between Fielding and Taihape in the form of a WAB 4-6-2 steam locomotive. What is more it was fed with real live dirty COAL.

Lunchtime at Ohakune...
It was a very tired probligo and wife who were met at Britomart just after 8 that evening by a rather lost but definitely not prodigal number one son who kindly completed the circle for us back to Howick.


T. F. Stern said...

Congratulations to you and your spouse on your 40th anniversary. You must be looking forward to spending your entire life with this one special person; if you could, would you extend that to include the eternities?

The probligo said...

Hmmm, trick question...

As a concept, "the eternities" could be taken in the mythological sense that you mean.

The concept does also have a scientific sense which for me I can seriously answer "Yes" to.

That "Yes" is taking the idea that something of me and she will survive in some form for a small while yet.

In the form of DNA, hers will outlast me because every one of my and her daughters daughters will pass on her mitochondrial dna for a start.

In my case the dna will gradually dilute as members of the line from me marry out/procreate into other dna lines. Probably a good thing. The odd throwback to a probligo should be enough to keep the family on its toes.

Most of the atoms in my body will be replaced if I last another 25 years. There might be a few laggards hanging about... Will they survive "an eternity"? I think that the half-life of a proton is some lengthy time (say 1,000 years. There is a better than Schroedinger's cat's chance that one or two might see the end of days. Will they remember the probligo? Problinot.

Then there is the vexing problem of measuring "eternities" as well. I think that after a few hundred thousand years, I would be frantically sick of my own company. Certainly the boredom would have set in a long time prior. What is the current estimate for the life of the universe? Assuming that "big bang" leads to "big crunch" and there is increasing doubt it will it seems.

TF, thanks for the thought. Now, I gotta go pull myself out of the depression. RRRGGNNNHH, YYYTTTRRRGGG!. GGGRRRRRaaaaHUH!.