Monday, February 12, 2007

The Folks in the Boonies...

Well, here it is - finally! The post you've all been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for... (sorry it's a bit tardy but I've been very busy, honest!).

So, three weeks with the folks - how did it go?


We had a fabulous time showing them around the area, our house, our friends and some distant locations such as Queenstown. The weather was really kind to us considering it's been an awful summer so far.

So hold on to your hats, here's a whistlestop tour of their 3 weeks in Godzone...

After a couple of days getting their bearings and chilling out, Mum and Dad's old friends , who live in Blenheim on the northern coast of the South Island, came to visit. We sat around on the deck with a few drinks and then went off to Oxford (19km's away) to Jo Seager's cafe for a lovely lunch in the scorching sun!

Later that evening we met up again in Christchurch and went to the Casino where Warren and I got in to a $1/$2 no limit game and came out on top, Mum and Margaret went on a trawl round the pokies and the boys sat and drank whiskey in the lounge!

A few days at home to get over the food and drink and then we were off to Queenstown. We'd booked an early morning flight from Christchurch so we were all tucked up in bed early, right?


My garage Christmas bash was to be the night before the flight. It was to be a dinner at a vineyard with the "Raise the Roof" barndance afterwards. We got all dresssed up and, armed with 5 wineglasses, boarded the minibus at our front gate (our boss, Dyland, was driving us all!). We were greeted by Rebecca, his wife, and quite a few bottles of fizz! We then proceeded to drive up roads I didn't even know existed, to houses that were out in the boonies, and picked up the rest of the staff members before heading to the vineyard.... we managed to drink a fair amount of the champers en route!

Arriving at the vineyard we all poured out and limbered up for some yee-haa'ing and dosey-doe'ing. But... it seems they had overbooked and here we were, all dressed up with nowhere to go, and half cut....

Not to be outdone Dylan pointed the van for Chch and Rebecca got on the mobile phone. Within minutes, and during the MOST popular evening for Christmas do's in the whole year, we'd managed to secure a table for 10 at Santorini's - a Greek restaurant.... uh oh!

Well, what an evening! Mum and Dad were due to pick us up at 10.30pm so that we'd been in good shape for the next day... but at 10pm we rang them and told them not to bother!! I believe it was shortly after that Woz and I were to be seen, and photographed, dancing on wooden barrels in a "drunk Greek-stylee" in front of the entire restaurant (not sure if that was before or after the huge conga line that went out in to the street and back in through the kitchens!!).

Ok, ok - there's a barrel pic coming!

I'll let Warren carry on from here as my memory gets a wee bit fuzzy!

...The restaurant empties by 10.30. We are the last to leave and head off for the minibus but there is a quick change of plan on route. The police have have set up a road block at the end of the one way street we are on and are breath testing the driver of EVERY car they see. Rebecca is our driver, she has a couple of drinks earlier in the evening but nothing for hours. She is SURE she is fine but we head off on foot to an irish pub just around the corner for an hour to make sure! The place is wall to wall people with a live rock band playing. We head to the pool tables and take over a table for an hour. We finally escape the pub around midnight.

Tick tick tick.... Midnight(ish) (Still not too late for our early flight)

We head back to the minibus only to find the roadblock still in effect. We notice we can get the minibus over the kerb in the carpark and so avoid the block. We are off at last and head around the top of Hagley Park only to find another roadblock, no escape this time. Rebecca will have to run the gauntlet of the breathalizer after all. The officer flags us down, smells the amount of booze in the air in the minibus and asks Rebecca out so he can get a clear reading. And... it's.....OK. We are finally on our way, it's half midnight.

(Turns out the roadblocks were part of a Christmas drink drive clampdown using a near lockdown over 3 days that resulted in 10'ss of thousands of drivers being stopped and tested.)

Tick tick tick.... 1am- ish (Still not too late)

We are about 20Km from Christchurch on the West Coast road and about to turn off to start the first of the drop offs when one of the others notices a car off the side of the road with flames licking the roof. The minibus stops and we pile out to see what is going on and if we can help. At first look it looked like a crash but we ascertain the car is empty. The flames become huge and pops and squeals so everyone moved back as a call is made to the fire brigade. While all this is going on a small read hot hatch with two "lads" in it comes from a gravel road at speed, doesn't stop and screams off. We stay with the car until the firebrigade turns up. We tell them all we know then continue onward.

Tick tick tick.... 1.45am - ish (Hmmmm, getting late)

That was the last of the "problems" we would encounter for the night but by the time we scoot around Canterbury's unmetalled roads, dropping people off, it's near 3am by the time we get home. We then sneak in to our own house like a couple of naughty kids so not to wake the parents!!!

We did manage the 6.30am wake up call!!

Handing back to Helen for the next chapter....

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