I’m Back

lopdell-houseIt’s been a busy few weeks, but I’m finally back in a space where I feel like I have time to start blogging again.

I won’t go into everything that’s been going on, except to say that it’s all good, positive stuff, just stuff that’s kept me too busy to a) sit down and type, or b) do much that was worth typing about, at least in the context of The Culture Project.

Among my various commitments was a visit to New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, to visit my brother and his family, who have recently moved up there. During my stay I was fortunate enough to have time to catch up with my best friend, Becks, who also lives in Auckland, and she took me out to the suburb of Titirangi, where we visited Lopdell House, the centre of the Titirangi arts precinct.

In addition to offering some stunning views of Auckland, Lopdell House is home to a small gallery which, during my visit, featured an exhibition of exquisite pencil, pastel and ink paintings by local artist Tony Brown. These large (roughly A2 to A1 sized) works were incredibly detailed and vividly captured everyday scenes of New Zealand life, such as youths jumping off a bridge into a river.

Auckland also has wine shops, something which Whanganui is sadly lacking (at least my local supermarkets stock a decent selection), and I picked up a bottle of New Zealand Gamay Noir, a varietal I hadn’t tried before. Apparently it’s the main grape in French Beaujolais, although of course in New Zealand we can’t call it that. The colour was stunning – a brilliant magenta – and the flavour was a new experience, being light with raspberry notes and almost reminiscent of rosé, but of course more tannic. I drank it with my brother’s delicious roast lamb dinner, but sadly the eight-hour drive home in a warm car didn’t do the remaining half-bottle any favours, and I had to tip it out.

So even in the midst of my busyness I’ve managed to enjoy some new cultural experiences.

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