1. Sometimes a wintry southerly will strike in Spring.
And there's no better thing to do than hoody-up and have a cup of tea with the latest Frankie magazine (whose cover-model by the way, is wearing a shirt very similar to one I picked up from the Royal Oak Salvation Army shop recently for about $6). Frankie always makes me laugh, and the recipes are written by the lovely Lucy, whose blog the Kitchen Maid I really really quite fancy. Check out this parfait - chocolate and black doris plums; win win win.
2. The love of lambs and love of lamb conundrum which I face every spring can be cured with both some quality time frolicking in the park, and some quality time in the kitchen.
Take some diced lean NZ lamb, marinate in a little natural yoghurt and a little lemon juice and some fresh rosemary, grab ye some pizza bases, rub in garlic, get some baby spinach and some red onion on there, lightly panfry the lamb, add to pizzas, grill with plenty of feta cheese and whatever else takes your fancy and serve with a yoghurt dressing full of fresh mint (preferably from your new herb garden).
3. Scrabble is a great game
And if you have no one to play against you on a cold lonely Monday, there is plenty of fun to be had simply by spelling out rude words and silly messages to yourself. Honest...
4. Journeys will continue to test ones sense of direction (or lack thereof) well into adult life.
That prickly feeling in your armpits that you've really messed up will not get any easier to deal with, despite acquiring experience and age and degrees to your name. You will still feel stupid when you realise you have missed a turn off, or a roundabout exit, or a giant glaring sign indicating where your destination is. You'll feel better if your little sister is in the car. You'll feel worse when you decide ringing your older, wiser, directionally intuitive sister in the UK is a better outcome than calling your Mum. Who you inevitably end up calling, and who is at your destination, and to whom you end up confessing that even though you have both been driven to Matamata from Auckland numerous times in your youth, you have a feeling you're not quite on the right track when you're somewhere near Ngaruawahia. "Ngaruawahia?!" she shrieks down the phone.
The outcome will be worse if your sister in the UK, who you know is not a morning person, is very unimpressed with being woken up, and is not at all interested in talking to you, or why you're even calling. It will worsen still when you suck it up and do call your Mum, who offers directions which you try your hardest to remember and visualise (no easy feat, believe me). What she doesn't know when you show up at your Aunt's for your Oma's funeral the next day is that her directions were scantily followed, and that you not only ended up asking for further directions twice in Hamilton, you also were sent on a back road by an innocent passer-by on her Sunday walk. The guy at the gas station sent you towards a rose garden and a golf course, and you ended up not only enjoying the sunset through Cambridge, you nearly lost it when you ended up driving through some small village as it was swiftly getting dark and you had no cellphone reception. Once back on the main road ("the 26!"), you still managed to both have to ask for directions from the fruit shop man heading into Morrinsville, and when excitedly taking photos at the first 'Matamata' sign you see, you still manage to nearly take the wrong exit, you will make it eventually. It will be a roller coaster of emotion, but thankfully it will be filled with lots and lots of laughing.
You will very much enjoy the quality time with your family, and catching up with cousins, and with plenty of beautiful tulips you'll give your dear Oma a lovely send off.
5. Road trips are vastly improved with a decent lunch before you leave
Especially if the trip is going to end up slightly stressful (and nearly as funny as The Trip the movie, which I highly recommend, but probably not quite as funny. Don't get me wrong, my sister and I are funny, but Steve Coogan? Hilarious).
Is there a food more perfect and versatile than a well made BLT? I dare you to think of one. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, these consistently hit the spot. Bailey and I hit up Nosh before disaster roady of the year, and with freshly made sourdough, free range bacon, ripe avocado, lettuce, juicy tomato and the deal breaker - caramelised onion jam, these babies were beautiful. Other acceptable contents include mayo and relish, in my humble opinion, and don't forget the cracked pepper and a little salt.
6. Road trips demand good music.
Me, driving: "Put something good on. Um, maybe the Shins or something?"
Little sister: "Do you want to hear something good? Or something amazing?"
Cue: Shania, Celine, Bette Midler and us, singing at the top of our lungs. Which was probably half the reason we took the wrong motorway exit to be fair. (Now is not the time though to go into the story from the day before, when I had found Mum's Beaches soundtrack on the stereo at home and cranked it very loudly while making banana bread. If there's one singer who is seriously underrated, it's Bette freaking Midler. I unashamedly love her.)
We both commented "we should have iphones!" as GPS would have safe and soundly got us to Matamata in less than the nearly 4 hours it took us from Auckland. But in hindsight it wouldn't have been anywhere near as fun. As well as reminiscing about Mum's Beaches CD, we also reminisced about car trips with Oma and The Carpenters Greatest Hits on cassette. That lead to conversations about Karen Carpenter having the voice of an angel (and a pretty sweet fringe too I have to say) and more loud singing. Baby baby baby baby ooooooh baby. I love you I reeeeally do...
It was amazing. But I digress.
7. Auckland's best Malaysian food can be found at KK Malaysia on Manakau Road.
The night before said-road trip, a few friends and I queued and waited for a table, and woahwoahwoah: hands down the best Malaysian I believe I've ever had. The deep fried tofu with chilli and peanuts, the beef rendang, the whole fish, the mee goreng and the roti, all come highly recommended. Here's a more comprehensive review than what I have just written. Expect to wait for a table (at 7pm we were told to come back at 8.20pm, and did that and still stood on the street for 20 minutes) but know that it's worth it.
8. Broken hearts make for better blogging
and one friend who was at that dinner is currently blogging up a storm, about Auckland and heartbreak, and she articulates what I used to feel in an honest and beautifully well-written way. Perseverance is the key where I'm concerned though, and despite the fact that "part-time-lover pie" "happily single pie" "boozehag pie" "scared of commitment pie" "boyfriend pie" and "relationship pie" all don't have quite the same ring to it, who knows what the future holds. In the meantime...
...or some cake, or a cookie, or some gingerbread. Or just have a gin. x