Martin Crowe starting new chapter post-cancer
Wearing a cap and dressed up against the cold.
There have been some dark days lately but today couldn't be better.
Wife Lorraine is away getting her hair done, Chats picked him up from Wellington airport and Evan Gray sorted accommodation at the peculiarly named Ohtel.
Martin Crowe has written a book and had his body invaded by a foul disease since I saw him last.
With the cap on, he doesn't look a helluva different but he's been to hell and back with cancer and that would change anyone.
The old Crowe was intimidating, emotional and tough on people. The new Crowe seems more compassionate, a better listener and looking to mend strained relationships.
Crowe is pretty hard on himself these days. He claims he has worn a mask for years and says his failed comeback to top level cricket a couple of years was a man going through a mid life crisis.
"I feel as though I'm taming the ego and putting it in the right place.
"The soul is being able to breath again and through that I am getting a bit of peace."
"As soon as I found out that I had cancer I went into battle mode to find out what I needed to do and what it was. I pieced it all together. It has been hard, but I've come out the other side."
Crowe still has three to four months of chemotherapy ahead of him but is in such a positive state of mind that he feels he has won the battle.
Part of that is keeping his distance from cricket and mending relationships with people like Geoff Howarth, John Bracewell and Ken Rutherford.
"My relationships in general were based on me not having a clue who I was," Crowe said.
"There was a good person in there, it has just taken 50 years to find it.
"If he (Bracewell) walked through the door I would say 'hi' and I might even say sorry. It was a two way thing. I took it personally. No one else did but I did.
"I've text Ken quite often regarding Hamish, just one or two thoughts and a lot of good will. Our paths will cross soon when he (Ken) comes back to New Zealand.
"I never had a grudge with Ken. We never had words. We were just chalk and cheese."
Questioned further about his ability to cut off completely from a sport where he touched greatness, Crowe clarifies his position.
He doesn't watch games but casts an eye using the written media.
That explains how he can pass judgement on matters that leap out at him. He can't understand why New Zealand would use a makeshift opener in Luke Ronchi at a time when one-day cricket allows for two new balls. He's also not a fan of the raised bat stance, saying it is foolhardy against the bouncing and moving ball in test cricket.
The difference, he says, is that he just makes observations these days. In the past these things consumed him.
"I am a cricket addict, I can't go there again. It runs so deep."
"I've lived this mental struggle, sometimes depression. I just can't let anything go."
Crowe has written the rest of the year off to concentrate on his health.
He wonders if his future could be in the health industry, perhaps in a mentoring role for those going through what he has.
Note: Crowe launched his book Raw in Wellington last night.
The Dominion Post