When I hear the word paua, this is what comes to mind – a gloriously shiny, multi-hued, mainly blues and greens, shell which is often used to make decorative ornaments or jewelry. In fact, I have a earring or two made from this unique resource.
So, when my sister’s mother-in-law asked me if I wanted to try grilled paua, I immediately replied “Yes!”
And so, that night, after an 8-hour drive from Auckland to Wellington, I enjoyed my first taste of lightly grilled paua with a squeeze of lemon. So, what did I think? Yum, tastes just like chicken!
Note: I forgot to take a picture of the delicious grilled paua because it was already late at night and I was hangry. I have to say that it tastes better than it looks though.
When we arrived at the lighthouse, I looked up at the seemingly neverending wooden steps built into the cliff side and wondered to myself “Am I really going to do this?”
The stairs were steep, it looked like they were at a 30 degree angle, and oh there were so many of them! I was worried that I’d be winded halfway up and then get stuck on the steps, and emergency services would have to be called in. After all, I’d just completed an unplanned one hour hike at the Putangirua Pinnacles.
Eventually though, I got out of the car and mumbled to myself “If I don’t do this, I’ll regret it the second I’m on the plane on the way back home.” So, off I went. Despite the fact that my legs were already feeling wobbly.
The official website for the Cape Pallier lighthouse stated that there are 253 steps but the signboard at the bottom of the steps declared something different. Someone had scratched out “253” and wrote “251” instead. I intended to count the steps as I made my way up but with the steepness of the stairs and breathlessness that assailed me, I stopped at 27, so the actual number of steps will remain a mystery to me!
It must’ve taken probably 10 minutes for me to reach the top, only because I stopped many times and whenever there were folks heading down and past me, I gripped the handrail with all my might, refusing to move. I had this vision in my head that if I continued upwards while they past me, Bernoulli’s principle would be in effect and I’d be blown off the stairs! Though my counting abilities failed me, my imagination was working more than fine!
Of course, after catching my breath and enjoying the view around me, it was time to leave which means going down the perilous wooden steps which either numbered 253 or 251. I said a little prayer that I wouldn’t fall head over heels as I looked at the journey downwards that awaited me. Eeeeeeeek!!!
My brother loves black pudding and for many years he’s tried to persuade me to give it a try. The first time he asked me to try it, I poked at it and said “Why’s it black?” To my utter disgust, he answered “Blood, mainly.” Since then, every time he tried to get me to try a bite, I’d pull a face and respond “Ugh, no.”
On December 9th 2016, before heading into Kew Gardens, my mother and I decided to grab a breakfast at Tap on the Line, a pub located right at the Kew Gardens Station of the London Underground. It was one of the prettiest-looking pubs I’ve ever seen. It had a domed glass roof and extensive outdoor seating. As it’s right on the train platform, from inside the pub, you could see trains come and go, passengers embarking and disembarking. I could sit there the entire day, sipping tea.
We perused the simple breakfast menu and I immediately knew what I wanted to get –
Full English, pork sausage, Mrs. Owton’s bacon, Hampshire black pudding, beans, tomato & mushroom, free range eggs to your liking, toast.
I was famished and couldn’t wait to try my first bite of black pudding. “Why do you suddenly want to try black pudding?” My mum questioned as she’s perfectly aware that for years, I’ve resisted. “Well, at least once I try it, if I still think it’s ugh, at least my future protests will be an informed one.” To my ears, that sounded like a perfectly logical and reasonable reason. My taste buds were getting ready to be ugh.
The full English breakfast
Black pudding hiding beneath watercress
My breakfast came and without wasting another minute, attacked the black pudding. I somehow thought that it would be crumbled but instead it was served sliced, like two hockey pucks. I broke off a little piece and popped the black pudding made mostly with blood into my mouth.
It was DELICIOUS!
Like sausage, slightly game-y and the edges of the black pudding, which were toasted (I think), tasted crisp. Yum!
So, I tried black pudding – yay me! – and I definitely will again!
This year I turn 40 years young! Yes, 40. Forty. Empat puluh*.
Mostly, I’m okayfine coming to grips with it but there’s a not-so tiny part of me that’s still in denial.
The tendency, when you hit one of those landmark ages i.e. 18, 21, 25, 30, 35, is either to celebrate it in a big way or pretend you’re not celebrating a landmark age. I’ve done both.
For many years, I was 29. The year I turned 30, I convinced myself that I was turning 29 Part 2, and the next year was 29 Part 3, the next 29 Part 4, etc…By the time I turned 3529 Part 7 35, I’d come to my senses and said “Fudge it! I refuse to be ashamed of my age any more!” and since then, I’ve tried to do something memorable every time my birthday rolls around – drove cross-country alone, traveled to Siem Reap.
So it’s June 2016, and feeling a little glum that in 6 months I’ll be turning 40, I thought perhaps I’ll just pretend again that I’m not hitting another landmark age and instead tell people that I’m turning 39 part 2. A voice inside me shouted “No! Don’t be so pessimistic! Embrace this age!” I told that voice to shut up.
Seriously though, that voice kept coming back and that’s when Project #40thingsat40 came to life. I somehow convinced myself that instead of being depressed at turning 40, why not commemorate this year by learning, experiencing, doing 40 new things and then tell the world (realistically, those handful who read this blog) about them!