Saturday, December 26, 2015

First holiday’s end

Today is Boxing Day, which means, that the Christmas Holiday is over for another year—except, of course, it isn’t. Because today is Saturday, the Boxing Day public holiday will be this coming Monday, giving us a four-day weekend. As it is most years.

We were in Hamilton for Christmas Day, having breakfast in the morning, then dinner later in the afternoon, all served buffet-style, which made it very low stress. Traditional ham was part of both those meals, and we added a leg of lamb for dinner, slow-roasted on the BBQ rotisserie (the lamb was juicy and not nearly as fatty as roast lamb is usually). I also made good ol’ American pumpkin pie, which some of them had never had before.

Aside from that, the day was filled with the usual holiday things—hanging out with family and friends, eating a bit too much and, yes, drinking a wee bit too much. However, I recently switched to lower-alcohol wines, which means I don’t get blotto, even if I overindulge. My current favourite is Kim Crawford First Pick Pinot Gris Lighter (you may need to enter a location and date of birth to establish you are of the legal drinking age in your country). I quite like this one in particular because it doesn’t taste much different to the regular First Pick Pinot Gris, both of which taste lighter than the standard Pinot Gris that I’ve tried. I started having these lower-alcohol wines to reduce unnecessary calories, but the lower alcohol is a bonus for other reasons, too.

We headed back home this morning, and got caught up in traffic jams leading to Te Awa/The Base for Boxing Day sales. Most roads leading to the shopping centre were blocked, so we had to go a slightly different way. As we neared the mall, we saw mall-bound people getting ticketed for blocking an intersection, something I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere else.

Once we were past that shopping area (there’s a lot more to it than just the mall—a lot of big box retailers are in the area), traffic eased pretty dramatically. We drove on to a new service area at Horotiu, just before the expressway heading back to Auckland. Only the BP and a Subway have been completed so far, but more is under construction.

We got petrol, some drinks and snacks for the road, and we decided to go through the car wash. We pulled into the entrance lane to find we were behind two cars—one in front of us, and another that had just started the wash. Once we finally got in, things were going okay, and then the programme just stopped—absolutely nothing happened, and with the car all soaped up.

So, we drove back the service station part and the attendant told us to drive back around, and he fiddled with the controls for a bit, trying to reset the machine. After a few tries, he was able to do so, re-entered the code, and we were able to pull back in. He said they hadn’t given them an instruction manual in English, so that’s why it took him a couple minutes to figure it out. It worked the second time. This was the only time that’s ever happened to either of us.

After that, the trip back was largely uneventful, but when we passed the southbound exit to State Highway 2, heading to the Coromandel, there was a VERY long queue that was completely stopped. The holdup seemed to be an accident, because we passed two ambulances heading to the exit, then two more the other side of the Bombays, all heading South.

Apart from that, it was pretty normal: Very full carparks at Ellerslie Racecourse for the Boxing Day races, and there were long queues exiting southbound to go to Sylvia Park shopping centre and Mt Wellington.

In general, southbound traffic was heavy, then it got a little heavier heading North, once we got over the Harbour Bridge, but still not as bad as southbound had been.

Once we got home, we stayed there.

I never thought about taking any photos this year, not even of my pie; no particular reason, I just didn’t. Christmas Day isn’t the sort of thing one can write about in advance (except, maybe, if it was a remembrance sort of thing), so without photos, I really had nothing at all to post (I didn’t have the time or energy to do a post made of words alone).

In contrast, I had the two posts for Christmas Eve ready to go in advance, one auto-posted before I got up that day, the other I manually posted later that morning  (all I had to do was click “Publish”, because it was all uploaded and ready to go). I can certainly see the benefits of preparing posts in advance like Roger Green does.

And that’s the story of my Christmas Holiday—with two more days to go…

Related: Digg points out how even now, no one really has any idea what the origins of Boxing Day actually are.


rogerogreen said...

I know you've been there a a couple decades, but I'm still fascinated how well you've assimilated, using petrol, et al.
And you're right. No blogging will likely take lace this weekend, so having posts in place is useful

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

I made a conscious decision to switch to New Zealand language and spellings the moment I arrived because I knew I'd confuse myself otherwise. In the years since, I've sometimes forgotten what the American equivalent word or expression is (for things that I don't talk about much, obviously). I've also come to realise that some words/expressions that I thought were "American" may actually have been regional, or even used just by people I knew, so I'm sometimes a bit careful about translating the Kiwi words/expressions into Americanese.

I've already got some early-stage drafts for posts for next year, so I may be getting more done in advance in 2016 than ever before.