#graffiti #mural (at Christchurch)

#graffiti #mural (at Christchurch)

#rose #sculpture (at Christchurch Botanic Gardens)

#rose #sculpture (at Christchurch Botanic Gardens)

#odeon #theatre #christchurch

#odeon #theatre #christchurch

…and that was 2013

So here I am in Christchurch. My travelling is over and I’m looking forward to settling here for a while, providing I can find a job. I’m also looking forward to making friends, I was meeting new people every day while I was travelling and it feels weird when that suddenly stops. I’m gonna try and keep the blog going but I doubt there’ll be as much to report, though I have done loads of stuff while I’ve been here already that I’ve not blogged about - I’ve been to the hot pools at Hanma Springs, been down to Timaru to see Mark (groomsman) and Jannah, I worked as a Butcher for a day, me and Emma went to a cracking house party with Sarah (where we made some friends… or at least we talked to some new people), and I’ve been exploring Christchurch for myself and finding some cool little places (mainly coffee shops).

As wanky as it sounds 2013 has been, without a shadow of a doubt, the best year of my life, and not just for the travelling. I’ve met some brilliant people, been to some brilliant places, done some brilliant things and generally had shit loads of fun, starting with Sarah and Karl’s wedding way back in December (I know that was last year, but this is my blog so I’ll do what I like). It was such a good day and I was made up to have been involved in the organising of it.

Though I’m not into football as much as I used to be, last season was the best season of my life. Bradford City got to the final of the League Cup as well as getting promoted, meaning two trips to Wembley for me and the father (not religious father, just my dad). I went to some brilliant gigs, usually with KirkyB (Sam) by my side, including my third Gaslight Anthem gig. Had many a night in with Paul putting the world to rights like two ageing bachelors. Had loads of absolutely brilliant nights with my mates from work (I hate when people write things like ‘you know who you are’… but in this case, you all do). I had the honour off passing on my crown to Jag, at the fiercely contested ‘Real Man Challenge 2013’ up in Newcastle. I did a campaign for Weetabix which turned out to be my favourite ads I’ve ever done. We (me, Stew, Col, and Roham) made the Music Video for Micky P Kerr, which I am immensely proud of. What we created, on next to no budget, is very impressive. It also won an award, which is nice. The birth of my [first] nephew, Joseph Karl Samuel McDonald, was a particular highlight of the year, especially the honour of him having my name as one of his middle names. And there was the welcome revelation that spending a year living with your parents, as a fully grown adult, can actually be a bloody good laugh.

I’d had an amazing summer before I even came away, mainly thanks to the four months I was with Amy. Whether it was because we knew it couldn’t last or not, I’ve never clicked with a girl like I did with her. Our trip to Centre Parcs was a laugh a minute, in fact, everything we did was. I also fit in plenty of time with the family on the run up to me leaving, which I’m really glad about looking back, especially the camping trip to Scarborough with Sarah, Karl, Meadow, Phoebe, Joseph, Amy and Dylan.

Then there’s the travelling! As you well know (unless for some strange reason this is the first post you’ve read) travelling has proved itself to be the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve met so many people and made some genuine friends. I met some brilliant people in both Boston and New York, and had an unexpected yet really enjoyable two weeks in the Florida Keys. I did a jam-packed tour of the west coast of the USA, with my four days in San Francisco being the highlight. Though I loved my time there, I didn’t find anywhere I wanted to settle in America, but that all changed almost as soon as I landed in Australia. Melbourne just felt right, as did most of the cities I’ve visited between then and now, in both Australia and New Zealand. I had an unbelievable trip up the east coast of Australia, taking in Frazer Island, The Whitsundays, and finishing off with a brilliant week in Cairns, then coming over to New Zealand and having a superb month travelling round with Higgy.

Then the year was finished off pretty much as it started - with an amazing wedding, this time with me being Best Man!

So, I’m nearly 30, I don’t own a home, I’ve not started a pension, and at the moment I don’t even have a job. I feel even further away from knowing what I want to do with my life than I did before I set off, and I have no idea where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing come this time next year… and I bloody love it, it honestly feels so liberating. I just wish I could see Meadow, Phoebe and Joseph every day.

I know this blog post is a bit deep for me, and even bordering on narcissistic, but I can live with that… again, it’s my blog.

Happy New Year.

Christmas in New Zealand

On Christmas Eve we tried our hardest to make it feel like we were in England. We closed the curtains, turned the aircon down low, got an Indian takeaway and watched Elf. I got myself wrapped up in a onesie that Emma brought from England for Mark. It doesn’t fit him as it’s too snug around the genital area so he gave it to me. It’s too snug for me as well, but it doesn’t really bother me, I even went to collect the takeaway in it which, looking back, probably wasn’t the best idea. Sarah (the other Crossley sister) also came round for Christmas Eve so that we could all wake up together on Christmas morning (not in the same bed). Being the children of the house, Emma, Sarah and myself got sent to bed earlier than we would have liked so that Mark and Leanne could sort all the presents out for the morning. Sarah did as she was told but me and Emma pissed about for ages to try and sneak a look at the presents.

We agreed to get up at about 7.30-8… I was woken at 6.45 by Mark and Leanne jumping on my bed. Still, it was Christmas so I put my Christmas socks on (a honeymoon present from New York), grabbed Santa (large Santa teddy that had slept in bed with me), and we gathered downstairs where the presents had been sorted into individual piles. I’d got loads, I couldn’t believe my luck. Not only had I got my Christmas package from home which included some drawings from Meadow and Phoebe, I’d got loads of presents from Mark, Leanne, Emma, and Sarah, like trainers and a really nice Tshirt, and, to top it all off, Katie (Bridesmaid) had even sent us all presents from England. She sent me loads of Reece’s chocolate and a Dr Seuss book - ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go’. What a legend.

I Skyped Meadow, Phoebe and Joey, who performed various dances and sang a few songs for me, then me and Mark got to work on the breakfast BBQ. Unfortunately the BBQ decided to literally catch fire. Mark, being the super hero that he is, quickly detached the gas and dragged the BBQ away from the house. After several wet towels, it finally went out and we got back to work. It felt nothing like Christmas day as it was, and having a BBQ for breakfast made it feel even less so, but the weather was spot on so it would have been a waste not to have one. We had bacon, burgers, eggs and cheese on English muffins - essentially a better (much better) version of McDonald’s.

After breakfast we headed to Sumner Beach for no other reason than to go to the beach on Christmas Day. I took Santa. The beach was busy and it felt even less like Christmas. We stayed for about 5 minutes then went back to the house to start pigging out and get ready for Christmas dinner. We set up a long banquet style table in the middle of the room and all chipped in with decorating it. It all looked very posh and I did some little place names. We were joined for dinner by Leanne and Mark’s friends, Maria and Martin, and their kids, Michael (16) and Ben (10), who brought even more presents!

Leanne and Maria had done the lion’s share of the Christmas dinner and it was bloody lovely. We all ate loads and I carried on getting full when I’d stopped eating. So, as I was still getting full anyway, I decided I may as well carry on eating for the rest of the day. We spent the evening drinking, eating, playing games, and being merry. It was an absolutely brilliant day but it really didn’t seem at all like Christmas. I finished the day off nicely by Skyping the rest of the family before going to bed, extremely full, and extremely happy.

image

Perhaps Leanne knows me a little too well.

Perhaps Leanne knows me a little too well.

Christmas morning in New Zealand. Note the warm weather. (at Christchurch)

Christmas morning in New Zealand. Note the warm weather. (at Christchurch)

Things I see, things I do, things I think, while gallivanting around the globe.

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