Well here I am at Auckland airport ready to depart for home. I have in fact been ready to depart for some time thanks to the extraordinary cretinousy of Emirates as my flight is delayed by three hours thus buggering up my connection in London so I’m going to be rather late home unfortunately. As you can tell I’m really enjoying hanging about at the airport.
Anyway it does at least give me chance to think of just what a wonderful country I have just spent a month in. I wondered whether it would have that same magic for me as last time and oh my it sure did. I have never felt quite like this at the end of a tour – I’m normally ready to go home and not too fussed about leaving a country even if I’ve liked the place! But this time I can’t deny there is a bit of a tear in my eye about leaving New Zealand. I have met so many wonderful people here and had such a happy time I was beginning to feel part of it! I want to thank everyone who came to a gig, organised a gig or put me up, fed me and gave me a smile – it was just wonderful.
Since my last blog I had a busy couple of weeks beginning at the Captain’s Daughter in Havelock which proved a brilliant gig. I’m not normally the biggest fan of playing in restaurants as I tend to find music and people sat round a table eating don’t go together terribly well. But this was very much billed as a gig and it worked wonderfully!
Next up I was due to play at the utterly wonderful Mussel Inn in Golden Bay but sadly circumstance decreed otherwise owing to a car accident. I was totally fine but everything took a while to sort out as I had no phone signal at all and was still a long way away. Huge apologies to those that came and to the venue which last time gave me one of the most extraordinary gigs of my career. I’ll be back!
Anyway moving swiftly on it was to Picton next for a cracking gig at Le Cafe and I didn’t leave anything important behind at all, nothing at all…Anyway the next day featured a drive back to Picton from Havelock (where I stayed) to pick up the things I didn’t leave behind after the gig and once myself and banjo were reunited it was off to Nelson to play the wonderful Boathouse. This is a simply terrific venue that is brilliantly run and the audience were absolutely brilliant. Apologies to the lass who decided to bound onto the stage and was sent away – I hold the view you should never ever do that but if I was a tiny bit blunt I apologise.
Then it was off to Dunedin for two gigs at the New Edinburgh Folk Club and then a house concert hosted by the excellent Don Milne. I enjoyed both of these gigs very much and some travelled a fair old distance to be there so many thanks to those folks. Then it was the long drive up to Kaikoura to stay for a night before getting the ferry back to the North Island the next day.
Finally, four more gigs on the north island. Mainly Acoustic in Upper Hutt proved to be a lovely gig in a cracking little cafe and then it was up to Himatangi Beach for a wild gig at the Bowling Club – this tour’s Mussel Inn perhaps! It was a great night and thanks to Rene and Renee for being brilliant hosts as last time. Then it was Wellington Bluegrass Society which was quite simply one of the finest gigs of this tour and many a tour. A brilliant audience – attentive, musical, responsive. Then a final appearance back in Auckland at the famous Bunker as part of Bunker Hill Unplugged and this was a wonderful way to finish the tour. Never have I felt such affection for a foreign country – New Zealand you are just fantastic.