Merry Christmas, Everyone! The Christmas kiwi is brought to you once more!
On this fine day, I wanted to wish you all a happy time…and I wanted to depart the regular Christmas food over-indulgence craziness (when combined with the excessive spending on gifts most people don’t really need it is all pretty disgusting when you think about it!) to reflect on pizza.
I had a pizza in a restaurant recently which had the following toppings…chorizo, prawns, squid, anchovies, tomatoes, aubergine/eggplant, red onion and of course mozzarella. There was also a little black pepper ground on the top.
The ensemble piece was nice enough but I couldn’t help reflect that less is sometimes more. Prawns, squid and aubergine do not really taste of much at all and I felt they did not really belong on the pizza…the taste was provided by the anchovies, onion, chorizo and tomatoes which could have been there without the others.
When the same three toppings do not provide much in the way of texture to the experience either I thought that the chef really did need to calm down a bit. To continue the Christmas theme, it is a bit like wishing you hadn’t invited certain members of the family round because they inevitably cause a scene and spoil the occasion for everyone else. 🙂
Anyone got any favourite topping combos? How about Christmas pizza toppings that work?
I am not entirely sure where the phrase “Going Dutch” comes from…perhaps the Dutch were famed at some point in history for sharing the cost of meals…or maybe you had to wear orange while eating?
Anyway, I must tell you that in New Zealand, paying for meals on a shared basis is a breeze. When everyone has finished eating, you don’t ask for the bill, instead you go to the till on your way out and everyone pays for what they had individually (and generally by Debit/Credit Card).
I have never seen this in the UK, where instead you end up with the utterly ridiculous scenario of people passing the bill around the table and putting down enough cash to cover their part of the bill (and of course many don’t have the right money and so need their own bit of change)…it takes ages and is crazy by comparison.
The only downside to the NZ way, however, is that if you are last to pay and have dined with less-than-honest folk, you might get stung with a larger bill than you expected…
After discussing the idea of going back to the UK last time out, how about discussing the experience of having visitors to NZ?
There have been a several now, mainly family, and there have been a number of things I have observed…
- If you communicate using FaceTime or Skype the euphoria of seeing someone again is lessened because you basically only saw them last week. You certainly realise how marvellous technology is nowadays.
- With each new visit, it gets increasingly difficult to play the tour guide as you want to try to keep it fresh for yourself while showing the popular best bits too. Surprisingly, some visitors give little thought as to what they want to see and do after flying to the far side of the world and instead want you to think of things. Showing folks around your new home is a real pleasure for a few days but is not something you could really do for the same person twice (unless you also want to do something yourself of course) so anyone planning a second visit should be prepared to get out there and explore more on their own!
- How long until you outstay your welcome? It doesn’t really matter where you live or who your guests are because you will eventually run out of things to do and talk about and at this point it is can be challenging if you can’t fully relax because of the constant task of hosting. I think that a week at most at both the start and the end of their holiday seems like plenty of time for visitors to stay with you – that way you get to hear about their trips too in the interim period in addition to any shared adventures.
- Accepting that visitors might want to chill out a bit (and recover from jet lag) while on holiday, it can be awkward if they are content to stay in your house all day for several days in a row. When you run out of tour guide options this can be frustrating, especially as it feels a tad impolite to go out on your own. A run of poor weather won’t help with this either – especially when NZ TV is so bad.
- Going away from your house and staying elsewhere with your visitors is a good plan as it is fresh for all but definitely consider multiple vehicles otherwise you could end up being a tour guide again when you really want to relax. A group of people generally doesn’t all want to do the same things at the same time…especially if there are niche interests involved. Best to work out if one car works for everyone beforehand.
I will need to note my own points when I eventually return to the UK for sure because I want to see people but not outstay my welcome, respect their space and try to find activities to make it feel like a holiday for all (host and visitor alike). It is of course great when people make the effort to visit, but everyone needs to be realistic, pragmatic and respectful of each other…especially where family members are naturally abrasive and prone to argument.
Anyone have any creative ways to approach this kind of thing?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of going back to the UK for a holiday recently. I have a few reservations because I left the UK for various reasons and the idea of spending a lot of money to go there, maybe relive some of those frustrations and feel like nothing has really changed (or even that it is worse than it was) is concerning. I also worry that maybe I have such a good time that I don’t want to leave again (just to give a glass half full perspective).
When I think about what such a holiday could look like, I’d love to catch up with friends, 99% of whom I haven’t seen for almost 3 years now. I’d also very much like to see family who have not visited NZ yet, and of course those who already have.
I wonder if I would be able to treat being in the UK like being a tourist and revel in sights such as Durham Cathedral (above) as there is nothing in NZ like that? I wonder how many people would visit me if the holiday involved booking somewhere in a different part of the country (or even another country) and inviting folks to come there? How would people feel if you just saw them for a day or two and then moved on to the next person (which is pretty likely)? Could family be trusted not to be jealous if you just happened to spend a little more time with someone else than themselves? What if the UK part of the trip was just part of the trip with a holiday somewhere else tagged on at the start or end of the trip – would people understand the need for that too?
So many questions. Anyone got any thoughts?