I wanted to be free today, to wander aimlessly and have random conversations.
To sit in a bar on my own and talk to strangers.
To be a tourist in my own city – Wellington – I can do that.

So, after a lovely morning of ballet and family fun at Waitangi Park, Dan headed off with the girls for the afternoon.

I took myself off for lunch at ‘Molly Malones‘ and sat upstairs on the balcony bathed in sun. I ate, drank and read the newspaper from beginning to end with no interruptions (other than, ‘Is your food okay? Can I get you another drink? And intermittent screams from the ‘Extreme Bungy‘!).

My friend Lucy, who’d I’d arranged to meet up with later on, was across the road working out at the gym and I had to refrain myself from texting her – I knew she’d appreciate hearing I was supping beer whilst she was working out! She has a bit of history at Molly’s – her name is etched in bronze on the wall as a member of the Guinness ‘100 Pint’ club!

Half way through lunch I got a text from Dan to say, ”Charli’s riding her bike!’ Go Charli! Earlier in the week Charli asked me to take the stabilizers off and she’s been foot-pushing her way around the house hundreds of times. Occasionally she’d get her balance and glide along, but wasn’t managing to get her feet up on the pedals and take off. She decided the Kilbirnie Recreation Centre was the place to conquer her fears – on account of the smooth surface and less risk of scrapped knees (Charli – you have great logic!).

Back to lunch…

Mmm, it felt so good to be free in my own head space! I love Molly Malones as it’s frequented by both locals and tourists alike. Half the bar staff are on working holiday visas and a good conversation is never hard to come by. It’s the sort of place you can go by yourself and not feel awkward. There’s usually someone reading a paper, writing postcards or planning the next leg of their travels. In the evenings live music rocks the bar and everyone tries their best to do an Irish jig – or a bad take on Riverdance!

After lunch I ambled along Courtenay Place and the various bars and restaurants. I delighted in having time to browse books (adult ones at that!) in peace and chose a beautiful book for Lucy called, ‘Going the Distance: Women Outdoors in New Zealand‘ by Tess Redgrave, with photographs by Becky Nunes.

I met up with Lucy at ‘Parade Cafe‘ on Oriental Parade. It’s an adorable place which the most wonderful ambiance, service and food. Lucy and I quickly opted for a beer (though the coffees and smoothies are top notch!) and had a great catch up. We’d managed to grab the window seat overlooking Oriental Parade, from where we saw everything from a bridal party and a stretch limo, to enthusiastic fitness fanatics and a woman staring through the window at us mouthing the words, ‘I need a coffee!’. The lady had the most adorable ‘Toy Poodle’ and didn’t want to leave her dog outside alone – so we did the honours and dog-sat ‘Gisebelle’ whilst the lady grabbed a take-away coffee!

Walking back to Courtenay Place for a cab home we couldn’t resist ‘one for the road’ and stepped into one of our favourites – ‘The Tasting Room‘. With dark wooden benches, deer’s antlers and dim lighting it feels like a retreat in the heart of Otago and it’s a great place to people watch.

After our final drink (yes it really was!), we bid each other farewell and went our separate ways. It felt great to have a few belly laughs with a truly great friend.

And I got home in time to see the children before bed and drink lots of water to avoid a headache in the morning! 🙂