Kurow: visit friends, Jumpgate and Rribbitt, who are setting up an orchard on a lifestyle block. Maybe I will go visit them again and help pick fruit. I should be a good picker as I hate eating fruit, so I don’t eat as I work.

Hanmer Springs: we took the water in the thermal pools. Recommended.

Nelson: Caught up with the cousins before they left on an overseas trip to Britain and France with their boys.

Wellington: six days in the capital city. Less flat than Dunedin, more upward in perspective. Did all the things I like doing in Wellington: ride on the back of a motorbike; a burger from Abrakebabra; a visit to Graphic Comics; and to Te Papa, where I saw the artefacts on display from the Presbyterian Archives in the Scots exhibition: a communion cup, flagon, and tokens. I found a snugglesafe on sale for cheaper than I could buy it in Dunedin. Tao has yet to be convinced by it. Also saw the latest novel by China Miéville, Un Lun Dun, a young adult novel set in a fantastic alternative London. It’s a different writing style to the New Crobuzon novels, and I took my time in warming to it; I’ve still got 70 pages yet to finish.

I found a friend in Blenheim whom I hadn’t seen since highschool. We went back to Cust to by a feather stick from Route 72. It was a craft shop and cafe. They were a little shocked because we were buying it for Tao! I insisted we go into Christchurch to visit Tête â Tête, a vintage clothing & accessories shop on Hereford Street. We only had half an hour on the parking metre. I still came away with three shirts.

Our last night was in Rakaia. The snow came down to 200 metres. I left my mother in Dunedin as she travelled home to Invercargill. Tao is looking glossy after her stay at Penzance Cattery. I must find out what they fed her.

All-in-all, a good break. When can I do it again?