Summer just got wound back three notches.
It was a stunning morning in Wellington as Mary dropped me at the airport. There were clear skies, bright sun and flat calm.
I was early for my journey, so I had a chance to see the sights for a bit over an hour. Inside the terminal, “Middle Earth” was everywhere. Overhead, a giant sculpture of Gollum chasing trout dominated the food court.
While I wouldn’t suggest it should remain as a timeless piece of art or anything, I have to admire the skills at Weta Workshops who are superbly skilled and practiced at this sort of thing.
It stands up quite well to closer inspection.
Meanwhile, across the runway, a Gulfstream was sitting in the sun, and my first thought was that some executive from New Line/MGM was in town for the festivities. As I looked closer, I realised that while our own government might run around after such minor power figures, the US government was far less likely to provide a USAF jet. I have no idea which dignitary was in town, but thought it must be a nice way to travel.
Another visitor to the airport was a BAe 146 “whisper jet” or “grasshopper”. I Think this one was owned by Vincent Aviation and is based at Paraparaumu. As it took off I had a strange nostalgia for the days when Ansett Airlines forced our own national airline to begin competing.
Since I was travelling by Jetstar, I am happy to report that they are still forced to compete. I am happy to report that my flight was on time, staffed by a very pleasant cabin crew, and I had a very pleasant flight.
I was heading to Invercargill to see my brother. Oddly the cheapest way to do that was by flying to Queenstown and then driving with my son Andrew the two hours or so to the Southern city. By the time the plane past Blenheim, there was thick cloud everywhere, and I saw no land until the flight dropped through the cloud in the Kawarau Gorge just near the Crown Range Road.
Cold, grey, chilly weather greeted me, with spiteful rain. It must have come as an unpleasant shock to all the lightly clad young things who were returning from the joys of the Hobbit premiere in our sunny capital. Andrew and I grabbed a “Subway” meal (still the most reliable and moderately healthy fast food meal I know) … and we were on the road. Somewhere south of Kingston a cloud of black smoke was rushing towards us and I recognised it as the Kingston Flyer. Unfortunately, we could not find a place to stop in time for me to set up, so the only evidence I have is this blurry hand-held shot taken across the driver and on all the wrong settings. But I am so pleased that the old girl was saved from the slow decay that seemed its fate during the bankruptcy that I had to include it anyway. Sorry for the quality.
I am happy to report that my brother is in much better state than I feared, and I shall start the homeward journey today.