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Saturday, 23 July 2011

Na caverna da Weta (Parte 2) In te grotta della Weta (parte 2) In the cave of the Weta (Part 2)

First, my apologies to Gaia, who is Italian, not Brazilian. Benvenuto
We finally got back on the bus at the Roxy, to travel the 1km to the Weta Cave.  I say finally, because first we had to do the obligatory "Count the number of passengers and chase the incontinent ones out of the toilets" game.  Plus an ageing hubby who sat down beside his wife of 60 years (married) declared she wasn't there and insisted on getting off the bus again to look for her.

If I ever get that bad, please just shoot me, or at least give me an overdose of Barbiturates and Whisky (Malt, I've got to go in style)

At last at the Weta Cave.

Now I know I'm a bit of a simpleton (I'm a teacher for G*d's sake, what did you expect; f*cking Einstein) but I really expected a bit more. It was basically an opportunity to buy a lot of collectible models and T-shirts produced by Weta Workshop.  Admittedly, a lot of the models on display were superb, especially those produced by Doctor Grordborts, who is an unashamed lunatic of the extreme Jingoistic persuasion.  Reference his book for boys containing "Adventure, Technology, Violence  (and Sex)"

See a clip here:

There was a 20 minute theaterette (I know it's twee, but that's what the bloody sign said) video of the history of Weta Workshops and Weta Digital, quite amusing.

Unfortunately, about ½ of the bus group were either in the toilets or were so hard of hearing that they didn't hear the announcement that the SHOW WAS ON NOW, so they missed it.  Then those of us who actually made it to the show at the assigned time has to spend another 20 minutes mooching around the Cave until they'd watched the second showing.  It was raining outside, and the bus driver had buggered off (to the pub I suspect).

One of the modelsI wouldn't mind owning

AT LAST we were all back on the bus (cue the "who's not here" game again, toilet search, de rigueur calls of "Where's my wife?" followed by "She died 5 years ago you dozy bugger") Sorry, I made that last bit up, but I don't exaggerate by very much.

Then on to Lunch.  I wasn't quite sure where we were going, but I trusted my Beloved.


No,no, I don't mean she's not my Beloved, she is and will be for evermore (until Alzheimer's strikes, but I won't care then) but she trusted the organisers.

Dear Reader, we ended up at the Fisherman's Table in Oriental Parade in Wellington.

Well we eventually ended up at the Fisherman's Table in Oriental Parade in Wellington, but first we sat in a parking bay in Evans Bay, where the bus driver regaled us all with his stirring tales of Marine Engineering and the historical importance of the almost completely rusted away boat ramp and rails which could be just distinguished through the by-now steamed-up windows. I could almost hear what he was saying through the sounds of emphysemic lungs wheezing desperately for air and the refined gasps as various grades of fart gas were released into the environment (why do you think the windows steamed up? Do you know the percentage of H2O in fart gas?

I do. I’m a Biologist.  And it’s not nice.

At last we pulled out of the parking bay and set off for the Fisherman's Table in Oriental Parade.

But we were still too early (now the reason for the driver's diatribe regarding the loss of the Marine Engineering craft in NZ became obvious.  He had been given instructions to waste time.  Again) so we had a mini-tour through Wellington, and I spotted the Beehive (The NZ Parliament building).  Three bloody times.  To be fair it wasn't all a delaying tactic.  From the curses and oaths (which would have made Dr. Grordbort proud) coming from the front of the bus, our driver had either:
  • Got Lost
  • Forgotten that Wellington had One-Way Streets
  • Forgotten that whole new bus routes and pedestrian routes had just been changed.
  • Become infected by the last semi-lethal dose of Octogenarian fart gas

Then we arrived at the Fisherman's Table in Oriental Parade in Wellington.

It sounds good, doesn't it?

It has one of the best positions of any restaurant in any part of the world.  A big semi-circular building, right on the coast of one of the best natural harbours anywhere.

The views are outstanding.


We’ve been twice before to this place, and once to its sister restaurant on the Kapiti Coast, and while both have fantastic views, the food has been unrelenting shite.

Apart from the salad, today was no different.
The one redeeming feature is the Eat All You Want Salad Bar.
Since my last meal had been ½ a slice of toast with a scrape of butter very low fat spread (including cholesterol absorption blocking agents, the long term effects of which have still to be determined) and a molecule thick layer of marmalade (my Beloved was watching me) I was rather hungry.

I loaded up the platter (a sneeringly small glass plate about ½ the size of a normal side-plate) with a mixture of potato salad/coleslaw/beetroot/stuffed olives/many, many pickled onions/bean and pasta mix, all topped with a very generous portion of mayonnaise (not that disgusting crap that Kiwis call mayonnaise, made from a mixture of condensed milk and vinegar)

I felt my Beloved’s eyes on me as I was first to the salad bar, but what the Hell, a Man’s got to eat, even rabbit food.

We ordered our mains, and as I almost picked the nice plain Fish and Chips; I felt my Beloved’s foot grate on my toe-bones.  “I think I’ll have that nice and healthy Hot pot of miscellaneous fish bits in a tomato broth” I said, with a plaintive note (not a whine, never a whine) in my voice.
I was hungry again, so I loaded up the salad platter from the salad bar again. This time I felt not only my Beloved’s eyes on me, but those of many of the bus party and especially those of the (rather cute) French waitress, who looked on my mountainous second platter with alarm.  She could probably see the profit margin going down the drain.

I had just finished the second salad platter and was wistfully contemplating a possible third when the Hot Pot arrived.

I cannot fault them on the quantity, the bowl was full.
I cannot fault them on the amount of fish-parts present.  Mussels, prawns, shrimps, squid, octopus and quite large pieces of fish were all present, as were 4 wedges of lime.  The bowl was filled with succulent pieces of tomato.


There was no real taste.  What was missing was any real flavour.  No Herbs.  No garlic. NO FISH TASTE.  It would have been easy for them to make a simple fish stock with all the bits and pieces of piscine anatomy floating around, but no effort had been made.

It was almost like the Chef (Ha) had simply dumped a tin of chopped tomato into a pot with any fishy bits he had to hand and just heated it.

Mussels.  Responsible for more food poisoning than any other seafood.

I didn’t eat the mussels, they looked decidedly dodgy; but I crunched (the squid was more like rings of silicone rubber) my way through the rest.  A bit of buttered bread would perhaps have been nice to sop up the tasteless juice, but I was told that bread was “extra” as was chips. A beer would have been nice, but I remembered I was driving later, so I stayed with cold water. 

Quite honestly if it wasn’t for the salad I would have really felt cheated.

I had finished.  Everyone at the table had finished, so I stood up to leave, then I was told (hissed at really) to sit back down.  We were too early, and the organisers hadn't planned to leave for another 25 minutes.

Unfortunately, when they saw me stand up, many of the other bus group thought that it was time to leave as well.  We ended up with a milling crowd of the aged, wandering around in a purposeless mob, asking "Are we going yet" .

Eventually the organisers admitted defeat and we trooped and shuffled of to the bus.

I'll skip the details of the rest of the return trip, but I will say I was ever so glad to get home.

And I was ever so glad to have a refreshing and invigorating "wee nip" before collapsing into the sofa.

Never again.


  1. Scotty you writ a wonderful blog! ;)
    Are the Weta people the ones who want to put up a sine near your airport? I read about that.
    We italians are great fans of seafood but i don't think i will be eating it if i ever come to your town!

  2. Bela Moana: Thanks for the comment. The sign (Wellywood) was proposed by Wellington Airport, but it was seen as too cheesy (lacking in taste) even for Kiwis. I'm not a great fan of seafood, but there are many much, much better restaurants in Wellington; like Logan Brown or Shed 51 or even Martin Bosley at the Royal Yacht Club.

  3. TSB - Gave up on the Fishermans Table years ago.
    Found it tasteless like your experiences. Weta Cave also a big disappointment unless your'e into models (those minature figures - not the human ones). Again could be so much better. Really just a glorified souvenier shop. For a decent fish feed I would recommend Ortega Fish Shack in Marjoribanks St in the city. Superb. A bit pricey but worth it. Your trip out for the day bought back memories of when my bairns were at primary school and I used to volunteer as a parent help for school trips. Did you have a good old "sing song" on the ride home on the bus?

  4. "regaled us all with his stirring tales of Marine Engineering and the historical importance of the almost completely rusted away boat ramp and rails which could be... "
    The old slip is of significant cultural heritage to Wellington people. Many a time me and Richard's dad's boat was hauled upon those rusting rails for inspections and survey thingies!

  5. Valley Girl: There's lots of good fish and chip shops around, I have no idea why the organisers chose the Fishermans Table. i did hear a lot of comments like, delicious, superb, so maybe it was only the Hotpot that was crap, but I doubt it.

    Yes, songs were sung. "Land of Hope and Glory", "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" and "Bury me with my arsehole plugged" (I must admit I hadn't heard that last one before.)

  6. Did they sing "Rolling home" too?

  7. Did they sing The Lord is my Shepherd? I like it when they sing about me.

  8. Second; AJ; Richard[ofRBB]: No. No other songs were sung (or hummed). Thankfully.

  9. Scotty some funny people coment here. Is Angry Jesus a friend of yours? Are you a catholic? I didn't understand the hum bass solos coment. I think you attract funny people who want to be like you no? ;)

  10. Bela Moana - TSB has many followers. Some of us know him from "real life" through being current or former working colleagues. I would not say we are trying to be like him. We just understand his twisted sense of humour, which is so precious when you work in a hellhole like NLHS or the field of educating adolescents. The world needs more folk like TSB.

  11. Bela Moana: You have to be a little bit careful in our blogs, there are some rather disreputable characters, and some who we are pretty certain are figments of their bloger's imagination. Do you really live in Italy?

    Valley Girl: Thank you, but Nuova Lazio isn't quite a hellhole. I admit some of the kids are a bit challenging, but if they just took Ringo out and shot him, life would get much better.

  12. I live somewhere else?
    Sì, e io sono il papa! (thats an old italian saying my father used)

    Why is this area of your country called nuova lazio? Is it like lazio to look at?

  13. Hi Bela,
    I must put my hand up and admit that I coined the phrase "Nuova Lazio".
    You probably haven't visited my blog, Richard's Bass Bag, but, although TSB (Scotty, to use your term) has made his blog into the most viewed blog by far, many of the traditions and terms used by blogs in this area of the woods take their lead from my humble bass bagging blog.
    Here's a very old post, going back to when TSB was still in short pants:

    I became interested in Italian after playing a two bass concert with an Italian bassist. I took lessons, over a considerable time, but unfortunately there is not much call for speaking Italian where I live. It does retain a special place for me though because I am a musician and Italian is the language of music.
    I was brought up on words like allegro, presto, largo, forte, and the like.
    Wattie's Spaghetti was a personal favourite too, but that's another story.
    So there you have it. If you do visit my blog,
    you will notice that the dates are in Italian. Rest assured that a little of the culture of your wonderful country is alive and well down here - in Nuova Lazio.

  14. Bela: Could be, you see we tend to be a bit paranoid around here, and Richard [of RBB] (the old scallywag) has a habit of pretending to be somebody else. Actually; pretending to be many people at once. He can be a bit worrying, splendid chap though he is.
    He also speaks a little Italian, and can use Google translate, so we tend to be cautious.

    As regards Nuova Lazio, it's named after the old area of Lazio near Monte Cassino. We call it Nuoval Lazio, because after our kids have finished with it, it looks just like the area of Lazio after the 8th Army bombed/shelled and generally blew the hellout of it in 1944.

  15. Ah, TSB, but I know phrases that aren't on those translation sites. Actually, I'm shocked, I just typed a couple of naughty phrases in and the English came up!
    Though here's one that slips past as 'a saw'...
    una sega.
    Think of the action of a saw and you'll be able to guess its other meaning.
    Naughty me!

  16. Yes TSB, you are correct, Bella is a reconstituted alter ego of Richard's. Kind of like the 'Cherry 2000' in the closet he brings out when Shelley is away.
    I clicked on the Home page and it took me to the cloned site he made of my blog sometime ago (where did he learn to do that?).

  17. Richard [of RBB]: Really.

    TC: I thought so. Don't know about cloning your blog; weird. And a bit naughty.


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