In Wellington

Greetings from Wellington… well, Upper Hutt, actually. I’m staying at Sherlockfan’s place, and being fabulously well looked after by her and MrFan (whose computer I’m using).
After a boring day in meetings on Thursday, I met Sherlockfan in town and she whisked me off to Upper Hutt and dinner, after which I almost immediately fell asleep – 5 am starts to catch planes don’t agree with me! The next morning I was a little more awake, so we went to visit a craft shop with 30% off sale (like I said, Sherlockfan really knows how to look after a visitor! :-)). It was a fabulous shop, too – Hands now has a serious competitor for my affections… if only I lived a little closer. I could have spent a serious amount of money, but I managed to restrain myself to just one kit (which I’m sure will be revealed here when I start work on it (assuming of course I actually find some free time in my life to start doing real craftwork again…)).
Next stop was the Fig Tree cafe, where Sherlockfan had set up an OBCZ. Unfortunately although its location was originally ideal, the owners have since shifted a couple of large drinks fridges in front of it, so it’s now really hard to get at, and pretty much invisible. And as the shelf is built-in, it can’t be moved 🙁 I did leave a couple of books there though, and the amazing chocolate brownie I had made up for the disappointment of the OBCZ.
After our morning tea break we headed off to Lower Hutt, to the New Dowse gallery. A couple of the galleries were closed while they were installing new exhibitions, but there was enough to keep us entertained for an hour or so. First was a fascinating exhibition of innovative technology and design, including an office chair that shifts to support different postures without you having to manually adjust it (pity it had a no-touching sign – I would have loved to sit on it and test the truth of that claim!) and a clip-on garden room for the outside of apartment buildings.
The next gallery had a video installation. Outside the room was a sign warning of nudity, and they were right – we walked into the room to be confronted with a giant screen full of full-frontal from a man floating on his back in a pool. He then slowly sunk under the water, with the ripples distorting his image more and more, then (after what seemed like an incredibly long time) rose to the surface again and the cycle repeated. I could kind of see what the artist was trying to do, but I’m afraid my sense of artistic appreciation was being overridden by concern over how long he had to hold his breath for!
Upstairs were the real treasures. First a wonderful exhibitions of sculptures by Andrea du Chatenier that had a gorgeous sense of humour about them. They were women (based on classical works) carved from polystyrene, kind of roughly carved but at the same time with incredible detail (you can tell I’m not an art critic, can’t you :-)), with blonde wigs and gold clothes or shoes. My favourite was a nude based on the Wollindorf Venus, with real butterflies pinned to her and wearing a pair of delicate gold high heels (which the notes said were Jimmy Choos). There was such a lovely sense of the ridiculousness of vanity about her.
The notes said the other upstairs gallery had photos of local teenagers, so I wasn’t expecting much, but it was fantastic. The photographer was incredibly talented, and had captured perfectly that weird half-child, half-adult state of teenagers, with that teenage egotism of being certain that they are unique in the world and destined for greatness. Each portrait was paired with a photo evocative of what maybe the teenager was really destined for – a glamourous girl next to a supermarket, a boy in uniform next to a dead sparrow. It’s hard to describe, but the photos had incredible impact.
Oh, and especially for TexasWren, we spotted these dolls in the gift shop, and thought they might inspire you:

(sorry the photo’s a bit rough – I was trying not to been seeing using my camera!) They were made of leather, with big buttons for eyes, and zips down their fronts, so they looked like they were wearing leather jackets 🙂
In the evening, we went into Wellington and met Edwardstreet and Newgirl at The Library – no, not an actual library, but a library-themed bar. The walls are lined with bookshelves, filled with books donated by customers (in return for a free drink). Of course, the clever Wellington Bookcrossers have commandeered a shelf as an OBCZ, and are slowly expanding it to take over adjoining shelves.

After a drink we walked round to Oriental Bay to a seafood restaurant overlooking the harbour. Nothing posh, but the fish was really good (says me, who’s not normally a huge fan of fish), and a good time was had by all.
Today we’re heading over to the Kapiti Coast for a bit of an explore. The weather, incredibly, has stayed good – after two solid weeks of rain it’s amazing to see all this blue sky – so should be lots of book-releasing opportunities.

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