February 2011

Hi Folks

Well, the second month of the year has come and gone. I had a great day on the 5th of February at Tiny and Loie Heathcotes music day at their property near Paparoa. Along with a crowd of country music lovers from Auckland and Northland as well. The weather was hot and some took advantage of the swimming pool to cool off during the day. Thanks to Tiny and Loie for their hospitality.

On the 11th of February we headed off to Barham, NSW , Australia. It was an early start on the Friday as we headed off from Whangarei to drop the car at the lock up near the airport. We were shuttled to the international terminal and after checking our bags, paying the excess baggage and reshuffling our hand luggage to get them both under 6kgs we headed through customs and into the duty free shops to chose our selections and get them put aside to collect on our return.

Then it was into the plane for the three and a half hour flight to Melbourne. It was pretty uneventful considering we were flying Qantas. I managed to watch Jimeone on Ice during the flight what a crack up he is I had tears in my eyes, not too sure what Annette was watching Mrs Bucket I think. Oh by the way we were about an hour behind schedule so we knew when we landed that it was going to be a race to get to the bus which would take us to Barham. Luckily the customs guy took it easy on us and our stack of cds he said they were having an amnesty on cds that day and let us carry on through. All we had to do now was find the bus. A harder task than you may think considering no one in Melbourne speaks English or so it appeared. The bus was late which gave us some extra time to find out where it actually stopped, which we finally did. So, we loaded all our baggage and took our seats for the four hour bus trip up through Victoria to Kroondrook and across the Murray river into NSW and the town of Barham just on the other side where the festival was being held. The floods had just been through the area and there was still flood water on many of the farms. A lot of crops had been damaged and hay bales ruined. We both could not believe how flat the place was. There were no hills for as far as the eye could see and the roads were straight and flat. A little narrow in some places I thought not much room if you happened to meet someone coming the other way.

We had left Whangarei at about 6:00am that morning and arrived in Barham at around 8:30pm their time. Ruth was there to meet us and take us to our accommodation for the first two nights which was right next to the golf course. I can’t recall if we had dinner that night I don’t think it mattered much as we were both pretty beat.

Saturday we just took it easy as we knew we had a big week coming up. Ruth and Joyce took us to the RSL to show us where we would be performing. We went to dinner at the golf course’s Chinese restaurant Saturday night which was a short walk down the road and then prepared ourselves for the week ahead. I also must mention that on the Sunday Ruth took us to our permanent accommodation for the rest of the week. It was an amazing brand new apartment type house which was finished and furnished immaculately. We couldn’t believe our luck. It had three double bedrooms a bath and shower, air conditioning, plasma tv, dishwasher and a sauna. So we were set for the week well and truly. Any doubts or fears we may have had about making the trip were totally put to rest just with the accommodation. The rest would be a bonus.
The week was full on so I will try to be as concise as possible and try not to waffle on too much. I will explain the set up of the RSL first. At one end of the building was the stage and dance floor which was one venue. At the front of the building was a café area quite big with a small stage and seating for about 50 or 60 people maybe more which would be the second venue. Between these two areas was the main club area with the bar and gaming machines. The club also had its own restaurant and small bistro. It is one of the largest clubs in NSW due to its close proximity to the border with Victoria. This is where we would be performing three to four half hour sets every day from the Monday through to the following Sunday.

Our good friends Barb and Dale Goldsmith travelled all the way up from Adelaide to spend the week with us. They looked after us making sure we were well fed and watered during the week. Thank you so much for that guys. They also shouted us a ride on the Murray River which was very interesting and gave us a nice break from being stuck inside the club all day. We also ventured out to a place called Kerang one evening for dinner with them.

We met some awesome people during the week and had a great time entertaining all the folks who attended the festival. In the main venue they were on the dance floor from the time the music started until it finished every day. We really appreciated the way in which they accepted us and the music that we played. Everyone made us feel welcome and asked if we were able to come back next year which was a real buzz. We must thank them all for buying our cds also. We look forward to seeing you all in the future.

Some of the other entertainers we met were; David and Heather Hoffman who are a duo act like ourselves and are very popular at the festival. They gave us a lot of help and encouragement. Tom Maxwell and his wife Lynn, Tom is a full time bush ballad singer with a great sound and selection of cds. Tom Routledge and his partner Patsy who also shared the apartment with us, Tom does an excellent tribute show to Marty Robbins, Gene Pitney and Roy Orbison. Zane McKenzie a young man with cerebral palsy who sings and plays key boards, just amazing and his wife Kylie who is expecting their baby soon. Stephen R Cheney and his soon to be wife Nerallie, Stephen is a regular performer at the Bay of Islands festival and a popular one at that. We were privileged to be able to attend Stephen and Nerallie’s commitment ceremony held during the festival. Royden Donohoe and his marketing manager Micheal, Royden was the winner of Australia’s Elvis impersonator competition in 2010 and does country just as well. We hope to see him at the Bay festival in the near future. Cameron Mason and Tim Farren two great singers from Victoria. Tim is also getting married soon and we wish you both the best for the big day. George Farnham and his wife Lillian, George was one of the sound men during the week and is Australia’s answer to Johnny Cash. Thanks for all your help during the week George much appreciated. Thanks also to sound man Anthony Tenace for working so hard during the week to give us the best sound he could. We look forward to seeing you all next year. One of the highlights of the week was the Jim Reeves Tribute Show featuring Jim’s nephew John Rex Reeves. John performs a four hour show in which he talks about his life growing up with Jim and performs some of his greatest songs. He had the crowd mesmerised with his stories and songs. We could have sat there for five or six hours just listening.

As I said the week was pretty full on and before we knew it it had come to an end. That is not before the finale show on the Sunday evening where everyone had to dress up and do a variety act. Considering that they sprung it on us only a couple of days before hand I thought we came up with a pretty good act. I’ll just say

we did the song “The Happy Wanderer” and you can see the pictures for yourselves.
Thank you so much to Joyce Yates and Ruth Morpeth for inviting us over to the festival and looking after us so well we had a ball. We are definitely available to do it again.

All that was left was the four hour bus trip down to Melbourne the three and a half hour flight back to NZ and the two hour drive home and that was that.

The following Friday saw us back with our friends at the Dargaville RSA talking about our trip to Aussie and singing up a storm. And that was the month.

Take care and keep it Country

Annette and Kim

January 2011