“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mt Eden Prison

Behold, the new Boston Road Train Station: directly next to Mt Eden Prison. This is where I get off to walk to work at Auckland Hospital. Ok, it's a very cool old building, I'll grant you that. However, isn't it a jarring juxtaposition? A prison just does not belong next to a train station, much less a busy road (the motorway is just up and to the left of the photo). What's more, there is a DOOR into the prison for easy access.
True, it doesn't appear to be used much. Actually the prison is really interesting to me, I like to imagine taking off my underwear, wrapping around a rock, and hefting it over the wall to see what would happen. Ha ha! The station was moved out from under the trees, and is now totally exposed and hot, so I'm not too happy with the new location. Also, because it's down a slope, they put a fence across the top. Today I had to jump the fence to run to the train, because the gate through the fence requires you to backtrack to the tracks crossing, which would have lost me precious seconds and thus miss the train.
While I'm on the topic of crime and punishment, I'll reveal my husband's new hobby. While illegal in the US without a permit, distilling alcohol is still legal in New Zealand. He used to brew beer until we moved to San Diego and discovered a wealth of delicious craft beers. In NZ, good beer can be found, but it is expensive. We particularly like the Epic, Hallertau, and Galbraith's brews, but they are not easy to get our hands on, and also cost plenty (as a good quality craft should). Distilling gives a bit more "bang for the buck" and is easier I guess- you just put 5 kilos of sugar in a big carboy, and yeast, and stand back. I don't know all the details, but the end result is basically pure alcohol. He then dilutes it down and adds a bottle of flavor. I have so far resisted drinking his "fake" tequila, because the real stuff is made from agave plants, and I'm a purist (and a snob). The gin and scotch, however, are rather tasty. Below is a picture of his set-up.

We have made a second trip to the restNumbered Listaurant Squid Row on a Sunday afternoon to take advantage of the 2 for 1 pot of mussels and happy hour drink specials. This is a terrific deal and the big pot of mussels is delicious. We've also returned to the Kumeu Beer, Wine, and Food Festival. This year, it rained, but it was clearing by the time we went. Though bad for the event, the rain made us happy because it wasn't crowded or hot. We enjoyed visiting with the brewers of Croucher and Epic beers. The Auckland Beer Festival is comming up, but I don't know if we'll go- we also have the Kumeu A & P show, CheeseFest, and the Northland Field Days, where we intend to shop for a water tank for our new garage.