Weird things will never cease.
I am back in Wanganui, staying here for my first night in about 16 years - I'm delivering some training tomorrow and decided to drive up today, as I wasn't all that keen on a 3 hour drive before a full day's work, oddly enough. It is decidedly strange being here.
Good things first. I'm staying in a brand new motel called 151 on London, which I'd definitely recommend to anyone: very reasonably priced, brand spanking new, really swish modern black and white decor (with styly square taps and what looks like a massage shower - haven't investigated this fully yet) - some of the units also have spa baths. It comes equipped with flat-screen, lots of Sky channels including Discovery, although I've been sticking to Sky Sport for the winter Olympics, and a very modernist leather rocking chair which I like. Also one of those plush faux fur throws I've been trying to convince hubby would be good on our bed at home. And the mint chocolate pudding I went hunting for...!
Odd things: went for a drive around town after I checked in. Very little has changed: Kowhai Park still has the octopus swings and dinosaur slides, Durie Hill Tower still there, some different shops down the bridge end of Victoria Ave, old schools still there. I still remember my way around without a map, but I feel uncomfortable here. It's really true that you can't ever go back: the town is still there, but it's not the same. I'm a different person. On my way up Durie Hill, I was trying to decided if I'd ever come back here. The answer was "Not if I could help it". I didn't really enjoy it all that much when I was here, and I'd find it really constricting now. I don't think hubby would like it all that much, and there's nothing here for small daughter in the way of really top class schools, not like what we have at home.
Part of the reason for the drive was to see if there was an evening service in Christ Church, which is the Anglican church I used to go to now and then (often at Christmas Eve) - unfortunately there wasn't, and my old haunt of Wanganui Central Baptist didn't either (which is a change). That's the other reason I don't think I'd like being back here: I can't go back to WCBC, and I'm not sure what kind of Anglican church Christ Church is. It was quite progressive back in the mid-90s, but things change. I'd be looking for something like St James: fairly high-church, and not sure if Wanganui can do that!
It is odd being here. I know the town, but I don't belong. I remember where everything is, but it's different. It feels very small and constricted after living back in Wellington again - especially when I consider the stint I had in Auckland too. And strangely enough, I've been in a lot of provincial towns in this job and not even the really little ones like Hawera and Morrinsville felt as provincial as Wanganui - but then, this may be my memory of the town overlapping what I see. I don't know. All I know is that I feel like a stranger here, and yet I know the town like the back of my hand. It's very strange and I don't like it all that much. I'm glad I've not booked the second night: I can just leave after my job tomorrow and head home. It's 3 hours drive, but it's a nice trip and I'm very familiar with the road.
That was a good bit: I liked the drive up. Lots of good memories on that road, and I saw some lovely light and cloud effects, especially when I was doing the Foxton/Himatangi Straights and southern Manawatu. I also enjoyed the turn into south Rangatikei and heading towards Wanganui, which is very picturesque (but not a patch on the gorgeous countryside my sister and brother-in-law have been exploring - check out these gorgeous piccies from their recent tripping around off-road in the South Island!).
Anyway, better go and investigate that shower!