Monday, August 10, 2009

Love weekends away!

Mark and I have just got back from a superb trip to the picturesque Bay of Islands for the 2009 Jazz and Blues Festival ( We went with our good friends who absolutely love Jazz and we actually shared an apartment that had separate bedrooms (funnily enough) and bathrooms.

Friday 7th August, 2009
We managed to get away from Auckland in the late afternoon and started our drive up North. We made really good time, and I read my book until it got dark. We got to Paihia in 3.5 hours, which was pretty good considering it was a Friday. We waited about half an hour for Raewyn and Roy to arrive, and then popped into Franks on the waterfront for a drink, before heading into the ‘mall’ to get our badges from one of the venues.

Unfortunately, the bouncer at Cruza Bar would not even look at the tickets that we had that said “you can exchange these for badges at ANY venue”. So Cruza Bar, you get a fail this time! I am about to write a letter of complaint to the manager of this bar, and also the organizers as I was disgusted. This bar will NEVER get my business.

So a little dejectedly we headed down to the Paihia Pacific Resort, where the welcome was much friendly. We told them the problem that we had, had and they were a little annoyed on our behalf. Watched Barry Charles, who was extremely talented as was his amazing harmonica player. He isn’t really my style, but I could not help but admire talent. We then watched the first part of Shingle Bob’s set. I do not know where to start on this one, they are amazing! Their lead singer is fabulous and a true performer; awesome interaction with the audience. I could not stop talking about them all weekend. As a venue I think that the Paihia Pacific is a bit tired, and they definitely need to look at ventilation or air conditioning for next year.

On a side note, I was a little surprised to see that the Lighthouse Tavern/Bar was shut. I spent a lot of great ‘single girl’ nights there with friends, and for me it holds a great deal of memories. From the time that I had so many beers brought for me, the bartender leaned over and said “just tell me when you want your next beer, otherwise they will get warm” to doing the splits in the middle of the bar and our tongues turning different colours from all the Vodka Cruisers!

Saturday 8th August, 2009
We started the morning with a beautiful Salmon Omelette looking out over the bay from my favourite cafĂ© (aptly named ‘Over the Bay’). I had decided that it was best to catch the ferry over to Russell early and get a good seat the Duke and stay there for the afternoon. So we wandered around for a bit and then had another hot drink and some chocolate cake, whilst watching the beautiful fish in the seawater tank at 35°. Mark and I then hoped on a ferry and managed to score a great table in the corner, and we settled in for an afternoon of great music, wine, beer and nibbles.

The lineup included Shingle Bob, Good Oil, Shimian, Brilleaux, Kokomo, Funky Do Da's and Riverhead Slide. I absolutely loved Brilleaux and Shingle Bob! We then went back to the Paihia Pacific which was absolutely packed! We sat outside in the foyer and had a drink. Met the girls selling the Brilleaux CD’s and then brought a couple for the drive home. We then popped back to our apartment and watched a bit of Telethon and then went to bed.

Sunday 9th August, 2009
Another lovely breakfast up at Waitangi, and then we drove up to Kerikeri to see the farmers market. I was really excited about the farmers market, but I was a little disappointed when we got there. Perhaps I am spoilt by our local farmers market in Oratia. Anyway, we brought some goodies and tried some crazy hot chili sauce!! We then drove back towards Auckland and stopped in at Makana confectionery where we got to drive some divine chocolate. There are no nasties in these yummy treats!

Got home and had cuddles with our cats, and then had a rather relaxing afternoon watching the end of Telethon.

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