Returning to Lyttelton, my home from 2008 to 2010, after 5 years was a bit surreal. We’d both changed a fair bit see. I had grown older, slightly hairier on my body and less hairy on my head, and had a girlfriend. Lyttelton had survived three major earthquakes, thousands of aftershocks and was deep into the rebuilding process, with old bars and businesses demolished and new ones rearing their heads. Like I said, we’d both changed.
We got picked up from the airport at midnight by dear old Rachel Morton, endearingly late and more endearingly, totally unchanged. She had arrived in Lyttelton with me and G back in ’08 and was the one that stayed around. Things have worked out quite well as she’s now a radio producer and a TV presenter. When I’d left her she was a barmaid. So on second thoughts, she has changed, well her job has, but 5 years on it was the same mental Rachel who disagrees with all my movie opinions and spends too much on novelty beers and ham. However, she did let me record an advert for her station, RDU, which veered nicely into Partridge territory.
Upon returning somewhere you used to call home you instinctively look for familiarity. Luckily for me, the grand old Coffee Company had recently reopened, it’s owner Steve very generously offering us breakfast on the house and then immediately regretting this when I ordered the most expensive thing on the menu. The same faces were all there, peppered with new ones of course, and although the places I used to work were all resigned to dust, there were some genuinely great replacements. The Saturday market was absolutely mobbed (or “on wheels” as the cool kids or people from Yorkshire say) and I was most impressed with Cassels and Sons brewery, which was struggling to make ends meet when I left and now a bona fide hop empire. It felt like Lyttelton and Christchurch in general, were round the curve, beyond taking stock and getting by and moving on to better things. The sun was shining, the harbour looked splendid and I was a happy man indeed. We hired a car for the insanely cheap price of $21 a day and set off to see the South Island.
Catriona tries to get Scout to enjoy the view.