Dear all,

Greetings from Wellington, one of my favourite cities in the world where I have had many a happy time during my three visits to this wonderful country. Last night was Wellington Bluegrass Society, one of the finest gigs on the planet and once again it was absolutely wonderful. Thanks to everyone for giving me such a great night and particularly to whoever wrote ‘you were amazing’ on my mailing list! Made me smile no end. God I love New Zealand. And a huge thanks too to the charming couple with whom I shared the Perth hotel drama (see a couple of entries back) who came to see the gig.

So then let me bring you up to speed. After my last blog came Canberra at Smiths Alternative which was a cracking little gig in a brilliant venue. I wandered outside afterwards and played fetch with a random dog and listened to a highly intoxicated man playing actually rather good piano on the public piano. Next up it was the relatively short trip to Braidwood which was a lovely little place and I had a cracker of a gig in the hall there as well as beautiful accommodation courtesy of Sue. The next day was the most definitely not short trip to Upper Lansdowne, a beautiful part of the world and no mistake. I was put up in the most magnificent house with wildlife roaming everywhere. I can honestly say I have no idea what creatures made the noises I heard when I woke up in the morning! And the gig…well honestly it was one of my favourite ever gigs. Just a wonderful atmosphere in a packed house. Truly brilliant.

Then it was back down south to play in Camden for Live n Lounging which was a very nice gig indeed and great to catch up with my old skype student Ben. Then it was a thoroughly early start to fly back to WA for three more gigs in Maylands, Bunbury and finally Lesmurdie. The first was a cracking little gig called the Summer Supper club hosted by the wonderful Jane and Neil and great to see my old friends Paul and Karen from Stafford! Then to Bunbury – a little bit of a weird gig in the end owing to some time mix ups so lots of people ready for a 7.30 start weirdly forced to wait til 9 for absolutely no reason at all. Ah well, I still enjoyed the gig and I had a chance to check out Margaret River as well which was a lovely place. Finally to Lesmurdie for a brilliant gig at the Hills Folk Club which also featured my old university friend Kira Slater too. Lovely stuff!

Then to New Zealand which has delighted as it always does. First up was my first appearance in Tauranga at the Barrel Room. I really enjoyed this gig and was very struck by what a musical street the harbour front was with music coming out of every boozer. Loads of people were out too, in the pubs enjoying live music. Anyone would think live music was a good idea eh? Anyway next it was to the wonderfully weird Nikau Cave and Cafe which involved a gig in a cafe and a tour of a cave. I rather enjoyed both and the cave tour was a good workout that’s for sure! I also decided it would be good to shoot a couple of videos in the cave because I’m a very silly man. Thanks to Rob for filming and carrying my banjo an awfully long way to make it happen. Here’s the vids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BfZKTIOtAA and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RcpRLp9B8s.

A welcome day off followed before a gig at the incredible Sound Lounge in Te Pahu. This is a mighty gig, a house concert like no other that’s for sure with a magnificent 80 seater venue. It was great to have it so packed and with such a great atmosphere, I loved it. Thanks to Wayne and Paula for being so hospitable too. Next it was off to New Plymouth to play at the 4th Wall Theatre which was once again a lovely night and truly superb CD sales! Then to Himatangi Beach for a gig at the Community Hall hosted by lovely people and rather impressive drinkers Rene and Renee. Then Wellington, as detailed above.

So that’s roughly where I’m at. Off to the south island tomorrow on the early ferry. Playing for my fare!