Monday, 26 September 2011

The Cloud

I love a road trip as much as the next man so it was a happy 3 hours on Saturday afternoon which found my Dad and I motoring over the Bombay Hills and into Auckland excited about spending a weekend together where the the focal points were the New Zealand v France game on Saturday night and Fiji v Samoa on Sunday.

We ditched our kit in Mt Eden were we were staying and headed down to the Queen's Wharf on the waterfront, keen to get hyped up for the match and sample the hospitality Auckland had laid on.  On this large stick of concrete jutting out into the harbour we went to The Cloud, a temporary structure where you can watch bands and try delicious tapas sized bites from stalls set up by some of the best restaurants in New Zealand, each accompanied by a wine chosen especially to match.  I chose kingfish ceviche marinated in salt and seaweed which was set off by a vodka, feijoa and pear cocktail, venison and watercress pesto with a spicy pinot noir and seared beef with tamarillo on brioche which brought to life the most fruity little red as I tipped it down.

We left this impressive culinary oasis and headed to Shed 10 to sink Heinekens.  The long hall crisscrossed above us with enormous rolled steel joists and what looked like hundreds and hundreds of ancient railway sleepers.  My Dad told me this was the first building he set foot in when he arrived off the boat with his parents and sister in 1963 to live in New Zealand for 6 years as a teenager. I can't imagine how evocative it must have been for him to stand and drink beer with his daughter and son in law (the husband was up in Auckland watching the rugby with a separate crew) and cast his mind back to being a fresh little 13 year old handing over his passport, ready to start life on the other side of the world.

Warmed by the food and beer we all headed up to Eden Park and watched New Zealand lay to rest the ghosts of the last two World Cups.  The match on Sunday was fantastic.  Is there a friendlier, more relaxed nation than the Fijans?  The big lad behind us shouted words of encouragement to his home country but when they faltered or lost possession he hooted with hilarity and shrugged his shoulders deeper into his Fijian flag.

We had a close shave with the petrol running out on the way home (Daddy said 'I suppose there's no point in asking you not to tell your mother, this'll keep her going for a good 30 years') and, as always when I'm with my pa, brilliant chit chat.  We relived the good old days, drummed up a few businesses sure to rake in millions, told silly stories and laughed.

Next weekend we are off to see England v Scotland.  I'm going to go all out with my supporter's kit.  Feel free to make suggestions.

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