Of Spring Rolls And Birthday Bashes

The shortest day has come and gone. Roll on spring! What a month it has been and, in the middle of it, I celebrated a milestone birthday.

Tasting plates at Sky City’s Masu were outstanding. Photo supplied

I didn’t want a big party so I had the family over for a Sunday lunch, which I had catered, and it was wonderful.

I told the kids that it would start at 12 noon and they had to be gone by three for ‘old people time’. Not that they took any notice as bedrooms had been allocated and most stayed the night. Dinner comprised leftovers from lunch – the best sort of entertaining.

The following weekend, we went to the Community Newspaper Association conference in Rotorua and the experience was made much better when Rural Living picked up the award for Best All Round Lifestyle Magazine, while our sister publication EastLife was runner-up. We know Rural Living is popular in our area but it is nice to be recognised by our industry as well.

Such a busy time! The daughters decided they would give me a surprise for my birthday present, so the Saturday following the conference, I was picked up early and the driven to ‘wherever’ started. My preferred music had been loaded into the car audio system and off we went.

We headed on to the motorway, then came off at Nelson Street, stopping in Federal Street outside the Sky City Grand Hotel where valet parking had been organised. Now I was getting excited as I hoped we were going to the East Day Spa but still the daughters gave nothing away. Sure enough, yes, we were booked in for a 90 minute stone massage. It was fabulous!

Afterwards, as we floated back to reception to drink our special tea, I thought that was it, but, no, there was more. At midday, we were booked for lunch at Masu, on Federal Street. I love Japanese food but this fare was exceptional. I had miso with clams (cockles, I think) and then an array of small, shared dishes.

We left the restaurant, picked up the valet-parked car and, with Queen playing, we left the city and headed south. It was such a lovely day – just me and the girls – and one I will certainly remember.

That rounded off three weeks of busy birthday stuff for me. But, then, within the following two weeks, we celebrated another two birthdays, this time for both sons. Now we have a little breather from birthdays but it won’t last long as both girls celebrate their special days in July and only four days apart!

However, with the weather finally cooling, I think I will hibernate until these long nights become shorter. I’ll hop into my warm bed with a good book and wait until spring. See you next month.


Reay Neben is a Franklin resident and publisher of Rural Living.