This week’s small pleasures #261

Another week and a new month, the last month of the year, summer, festivities….yes folks it is December already. The vaccination passport system came into play here in New Zealand on Friday, which now means you not only need to check in with a QR code everywhere you go, but for venues such as restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas and museums you also now need to show your vaccine passport. Personally, I have no issue with this, and am more than happy to take the extra few seconds when going somewhere.

But so to this week’s small pleasures…which range from cheery morning ‘hellos’ from familiar strangers walking their dogs when I am on my way to work, to hearing that the herring has arrived from Sweden to the Swedish shop in time for Christmas, to lighting the candle for the Second Sunday in Advent (see featured image). All these things have brought a smile to my face this week. We have had some lovely warm, sunny days…but the weather has now broken and this morning 25.6mm of rain fell in Wellington in the hour up to 5am, with another 17.4mm in the following hour. Ah well…..

Seeing the cherry stalls popping up all over the place indicates summer is here and Christmas is not far away. We treated ourselves to rhubarb and custard tarts from Arobake and picked up some great looking vegetables (from beans to asparagus to crisp cos).

On Saturday evening, we headed over to the Aro Valley for dinner at Rita (review coming up on Wednesday). We stopped off at Garage Project’s Taproom for a quick drink before dinner – a venue where you can try a range of the brewery’s beers. You can see me taking a photo below!

On Sunday, Karl and I and a couple of friends went on the “Grand Circle Rail Cruise” a special train journey from Wellington that goes through the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa to Palmerston North before heading south to the Kapiti Coast and back to Wellington. Organised by Steam Incorporated, a group of enthusiasts who restore old trains and offer up various excursions, the trip took us through the South Wairarapa, using freight only rails between Masterton and Pahiatua. The journey went through the Manawatu Gorge to Palmerston North, then back down the Kapiti Coast to Wellington. Below you can see the train coming into Wellington station, featuring the restored diesel locomotives pulling the fleet of classic red “steel” cars. It was a lovely trip, though the hot, humid weather was not the most pleasant.

What were your small pleasures this week? Here are some other blog posts from a few fellow bloggers looking at the good things in life. 

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on


  1. Taking a train trip – what a lovely way to see the countryside! There used to be a delightful Apple Express that did a round trip from Port Elizabeth: such a lovely experience that was too. Sadly it runs no more and we are the poorer without it. Thank you too for sharing my Christmas story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, what beautiful countryside. Even though the weather was hot and humid, it must have been such a pleasure to ride through those rolling green hills. Also, really like this line: “Seeing the cherry stalls popping up all over the place indicates summer is here and Christmas is not far away.” So very different from a New England Christmas and fun to think about. Thanks, as always, for the mention. After Christmas, I hope to get back to featuring posts from other blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Taproom features lots of Garage Project, a local brewery, beers. Some of the ideas they come up with are quite inventive…some work, others don’t as you can imagine!


  3. Sounds like you had a very festive week … apart from the check-ins when you enter stores, your descriptions sound almost, normal.

    I love that there are restored steam trains you can take a journey on … what fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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