Comfort in familiarity

October 8, 2008

There’s no getting away from the fact I’m in a foreign country.  For all the language is the same, the architecture, mix of cars, landscape, flora and fauna are all very different to the UK.  Faced with such differences, I seek comfort in familiar things.  The easiest place to do this is in the supermarket.  Cheddar cheese, HP sauce, Lea & Perrins… all of these are pretty well identical to the products I’ve long bought.  Others, although the brand is the same, have small differences…


There’s an unmistakable retro feel to the packaging of PG Tips here.  No pyramid bags, good honest rectangular tea bags.  No knitted monkeys, just the Indian lady picking the tea.  And it tastes just as good as I’m used to.  Bloody good job too, as like any true Englishman I’m addicted to tea.  Cups of brown joy!

I think that was my Gran’s tea set.

With other goods, although the name is the same, the brand is different, and the product contained within is definitely not the same.


That is not good shit.  I like Marmite, real Marmite in a rounded glass jar, which takes the roof off your mouth if spread too thick.  This stuff is plain wrong.  Even Lidl’s own brand Yeast Extract tastes better.  This excuse for Marmite tastes like clingfilm melted under the heat of a baboon’s armpit.  Disgusting.  At least Vegemite doesn’t pretend to be the real stuff, unlike these mountebanks.

Happily, I have found real Marmite.  It comes in the right jar and everything.  But because these fraudsters have stolen the name down here, it has to be called “Our Mate”.  Still, my morning toast is saved.  And I can have good tea to go with it.


Hitting the ground running

October 8, 2008

I dreaded the 29 hour journey.  Anita is hard work for an hour on a train, what flying halfway around the world would be like I didn’t dare consider.  As things were, I hadn’t considered the hypnotic effect of in-flight entertainment on a child who doesn’t normally have a television to watch.  She watched every movie, some twice, slept lots and only occassionally was difficult.  Perhaps the best summary was on our landing at Wellington, where I’d let her have the window seat, she laughed and shouted “again!”.

For this hopeless crank, the worst thing about the flight was the fact that we didn’t have a 747, instead having a 777.

We were met at Wellington International by two of Diane’s new colleagues, and we were driven to our apartment.  It is stylish, spacious, and has an amazing view. 

So that’s it.  We’ve arrived, after an uneventful but long journey, and we can’t rest yet!  There’s still a lot to sort out.