Our leaving present from the orchestra was a Movies-Trip, a guided tour of some of the film locations around Wellington, mainly, of course, Lord of the Rings, but we did get a bit of Kong as well...
It was a really fun trip; most of the location spotting was done up in Mount Victoria, and included Dunharrow and Weathertop:
(just imagine Aragorn surveying his army, or the Nazgul slinking through the mists towards the hobbits)
the tree where Frodo and Sam cooked the first night:
with maybe a couple of hobbits?
There was also the shortcut to the mushrooms, which was the first scene filmed of anything (just over 10 years ago...), and where one of the stunt men dislocated his shoulder falling down the hill (good job they weren't letting the stars do their own stunts at this point! They only did the last tumble down the bank)
This was also half of the "Get off the Road" location (the other half was another point in the woods)
Unfortunately, the tree they hid under was actually a fake one (as they needed the flat road for the horse to be able to walk on), but the hollow was still there:
We also went to the hill that the Nazgul looked down on before the race to the Ferry:
Looks more like a donkey to me!
A couple that weren't actually Hobbiton woods, but are still nice shots of the woods (and did feel vaguely familiar - possible setting up shots?)
We then headed over to the Mirimar area of Wellington (also known as Wellywood due to the number of studios there) to have a drive round the various factory sheds that are hidden studios (due to the secrecy around a lot of the projects, they don't advertise that they are filming studios etc to avoid having too many people trying to nose in!). We did pass the ship that was used in King Kong, but didn't stop for a picture (it was starting to rain at that point); we will have to try to get out there at some point. Once the ship had been used for filming, it was no longer sea-worthy, and so the studios sold it to a businessman for $1. He had planned to sink it outside of Wellington harbour to make an artificial reef, but has been held up with various issues (Ted didn't say what they were...), and so he is stuck with a non-seaworthy boat on his hands in the meanwhile!
We then went to the Weta cave, parking round the corner from the studios
We saw Peter Lyon's car; the chief swordsmith for Weta drives a baby blue tiny Nissan with Swordz as his numberplate - some of the swords that he makes would not fit in that car!
All in all, a good fun afternoon - well worth doing!
In other updates, I'm now not going to hear about the Heat 'n' Click job until Thursday, as they now want me to meet the new sales manager (which I see as positive as if they were going to reject me, they wouldn't go to all that trouble). I've also got an 'informal meeting' tomorrow (Weds) with the directors of a GIS company; I sent them my CV on spec, and, whilst they don't have any vacancies now, they would still like to meet me. Not bad for a bit of networking, but I'm not going to bank anything on it. It's also a bit of a yomp out - I've got to get two trains. Fortunately, the office manager is going to pick me up from the station, otherwise it would be a bus ride as well!
I've started work in the greenhouse; cleared out the top layer of the soil (which was covered in a leafy-mossy plant) and dug up a load of mini-bulbs (a plant with clover-like leaves, but grown from bulbs - unchecked, they have spread throughout the soil in the greenhouse!). I've also planted some seedlings in starter-pots (not put them in the soil yet; I'll wait for them to sprout first as I want them to have a bit of size before putting them up against whatever weeds are left in the greenhouse soil!), so, fingers crossed, I'll have chillis, capsicum peppers, broccoli, spinach and basil over the coming months.
I also had a long walk this afternoon (felt I needed some air), and went back down to the river (trying to find my way into one of two reserves which are marked on the map, but I am beginning to suspect that they are only reserves because there is no way a house could be built on the steep sides of the hills!). There I discovered that the duck mafia has produced the next generation, and spent about ten minutes watching the ducklings.