Monday, 23 April 2012

The harbour, coffee and kids

I stopped at the Tug Boat today for coffee, after venturing back to the gym for the first time in weeks. It was a typical Wellington day. The sun was shining, clouds racing across the sky, and there was a brisk northerly, chopping up the harbour, bright white tips to the waves. The Tug Boat was set up about 15 years ago (maybe more) at a permanent mooring as a restaurant. It has had numerous incarnations over that time, but now – thanks to the demolition of the building over the road, the popular cafe and Wellington institution The Parade Cafe has moved into the tug boat. They’ve brought all their successful notes – outside seating, protected from the southerly, that now looks over a small beach and playground where this morning a little girl in pink fluffy coat and hat played, high tables and stools downstairs looking out to the view, good coffee, great salads, excellent service, and lots of other yummy things I try to ignore. They’ve installed booth seating in the centre of the cafe, and two fireplaces that bring a really cosy atmosphere in a wild winter storm.

I like the booth seating, but today they were dominated by lots of mothers and little children, and I wanted some peace and quiet, so I headed into the nose of the cafe, with a 180% degree view of the harbour, hills and Oriental Parade. I pulled out my e-reader, but took time to look around. To the north, a huge container ship, shaped like a brick, was being pushed into a wharf, ready to load up with – most likely – pine logs. Several other freighters were anchored in the harbour, and the navy frigate HMNZS Canterbury was moored at Queen’s wharf.  I turned south, and admired the boat-sheds lining the beginning of the Parade; bright and blue in the sun, the masts from the yachts in the marina waving in front of them produced interesting geometric patterns.

Suddenly I felt a jolt, then a gentle swaying. It wasn’t an earthquake, and it made me smile. The wind and waves created a very gentle rocking, reminding me I was on a boat, and producing in me a happy and relaxed feeling. That was odd – I’m not usually a lover of the sea, but perhaps memories of the big ship in the Mediterranean rushed back and filled me with pleasure.

I turned to look back at the city, and suddenly realised that all this time I had been looking past the Overseas Terminal – the long pier where my brother-in-law and his new (first) American wife held a reception on their return to New Zealand back in the 1980s, where we enjoyed a casual Italian pizza restaurant for a short time in the 90s, and where most recently – operating as a conference centre – where I taught a course to a small company on developing and maintaining their client relationships.   I suddenly noticed that the building had disappeared.  It was now filled with construction workers, and soon will become an apartment building. The views will be wonderful – but I wonder if I could live there given the fear of a tsunami. (Mind you, is it any worse than the fear of an earthquake living in a house on stilts on the side of a hill?)

Suddenly a piercing, high-pitched, mega-decibel sound broke my reverie and hurt my ears.  “Fire?” I wondered, thinking it must have been an alarm. No, it was one of the children in the booth area. I sighed, wondering if it would be rude to shut the door to my section of the cafe. When a second scream was emitted, longer and louder, I stood. As pleasant as the view, as mellow as the coffee, and with no other concerns or emotions other than concern for my ears, it was time to go.  

Walking back to my car, I saw a mother and toddler heading to the beach, the little girl dressed in the very un-beachlike attire of a fluffy pink jacket, skirt and tights, and a purple hat.  I passed a pregnant woman.  And realised as I got into my car I wasn't at all bothered by the onslaught of fertility I had observed this morning.

Note:  Yes, I've cheated, this is very similar to my post on A Separate Life.

14 comments:

  1. It's called "repurposing content," lol. ; ) Great little slice of life.

    By the way, I have had to temporarily take down my blog -- a distant cousin stumbled onto it & posted a link to one of my posts on our family Facebook group (!!). I managed to delete her post & link and made my blog private before too much damage was done (I hope...). I'm hoping if I lay low for a week or so, it will all blow over. :p I'll still be reading & commenting in the meantime, though!

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    1. Loribeth, I can't believe your cousin (distant at that!) did that without your permission! Talk about "repurposing content!" What an invasion of privacy. Argh! Though I am glad that you haven't gone private - I was desperately trying to see if I had your email to say "what about me?!" I'm sure I wasn't the only one.

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    2. If I ever do decide to go permanently private, I will let you know. ; ) But I'm hoping that going offline until the dust settles will do the trick. It was such a flukey thing, how this cousin found me -- I messaged her to explain while I deleted her post (thank goodness I'm one of the group admins) & she apologized. The post she linked to was about my grandparents, not IF related. I wouldn't mind people reading just that post, but I don't especially want them poking around the rest of the blog. I'm hoping that even if they got a notification with the link, they will try it & it won't work, & after a try or two, they will give up & move on & forget about it.

      In the end, I guess it's not the end of the world. But it IS annoying. :p

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  2. You do have a way with words - you painted a lovely picture with them... I live in a city that is not known for anything more than small minds, state pride, and big hair. The scenery is dismal and gets worse all of the time, so it's so nice to think about what distant climes are like.

    I'm fine with "repurposed content" there's no guarantees that I would see every post every time, so it's all new to me. :)

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  3. I love this post! I felt like I was beside you, experiencing the gentle rock of the Tug Boat and taking a trip down memory lane. I'm glad the onslaught of fertility didn't ruin your moment. It's too serine.

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  4. I've not been out in boats much in my life, but when i have i've found it very relaxing - if i don't get seasick!

    You do have a fine grasp on words, images, and feelings Mali. Good job. I'm glad you're at a point that things like this don't have the tug of longing anymore.

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  5. awwww, love it, not least because I can totally picture it as I read what you wrote (although cheating slightly!).
    Never noticed the OS terminal had gone - when did that happen?!!
    I drove up to Khandallah today and came down the little winding road, noticed those moored ships in the harbour amongst all the sparklyblue - like being on top of the world. I always feel like its just a backdrop, not really real, like it can't possibly be THAT beautiful!

    Tsunami risks, yup, we always think of that when we see those houses perched right out on the coast at waterlevel. So many houses built into sides of hills here - doesn't bear thinking about for a Big'Un. Stilts would definitely make it interesting :-/

    yay for non-pang days aplenty

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    1. I live in Ngaio - and so know the road down from Khandallah well. It really is spectacular isn't it?

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  6. It is a gorgeous picture. I felt like I was rocking on the boat with you.

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  7. Here from ICLW LOVE Ur post!!!! The picture that u painted was beautiful thank u so much for sharing!!

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  8. That sounds amazing - apart from the screamer! Definitely sounds like you'll need to go back when it's quiet.

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  9. I think anyone's peaceful morning would have been disrupted by the screamer.

    I envy you your boat/coffee house. We don't have anything nearly as interesting where I live.

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  10. Beautiful post! I love this little slice of life moment from your day, as it gives us a sense of what your life is like, but with the nod to fertility in it. Those moments where we notice "this no longer bothers me" are very sweet in my mind.

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  11. I can picture that view oh so well... from the views to the young families and all it brings. I have never made it to the Tug Boat.. It's on my list now for my next trip home. (in the meantime, I played the role of American wife eating pizza well here last night).

    Great job capturing the ever changing Wellington landscape... I can see it so clearly in my mind from your words.

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