I’ve been given a bit of a “razzing” by friends for neglecting to write up the weekend the last couple of years, so here’s a belated attempt to do that…it will take a few posts! We’ve now settled into a bit of a routine of flying over on the Wednesday and having a party in the County on Wednesday night as a catch-up with all those friends we haven’t seen over the years. As we usually don’t have much time between arrival and the start of the party, the original theme of lounge-wear – first chosen because many of us couldn’t make the Thursday night lounging at the Hawkes’ Bay Club – has turned out to be a good, relaxed first night option.
The trip over was a bit of an unprecedented disaster, as they held our flight from Sydney up so a large group of passengers could make the connecting flight. Nearly two hours delay, and making the connection in Auckland was impossible. At first we thought we’d miss the next flight as there were only two seats (self-sacrificing Sandra was telling us to go on ahead, which was most certainly not going to happen! Leave no woman behind…), but by the time we’d arrive at the domestic terminal, they had three available. As it turned out, we were only delayed by an hour, and by the time we’d settled in to wait with the traditional sparkling wine at the cafe, Mike turned up, having flown in from Brisbane – we were on the same flight, which did much towards consoling us to the delay!
As I’ve always said, flying into Napier sets the heart soaring – there’s nothing quite like looking out and making out first the pines along Marine Parade, then the Dome, and then other familiar landmarks.
Leigh and Martin already had everything under control for the evening – glasswear arrived, we popped down for an extra dozen bottles of wine for our guests (blatant plug: the County does excellent deals on organising catering and drinks), and as we raced to quick shower and change, Leigh was tapping on the door of the room with a welcome glass of Moët. Never were we more glad that it was a case of tossing on the loungewear – I was just wearing an Edwardian teal kimono-influenced gown (consider it very early Deco dress!) with a hair-hiding evening cloche, while Jill and Sandra had soft PJs.
I love this night – over the course of the weekend, with so much going on, you don’t always get to spend as much time with friends as you’d like. This was a change before the whirl all began to enjoy a chance to see people. We stay in touch during the year via social media, calls and the odd visit, but it’s always welcome to see so many people you’ve missed. We were treated to a fantastic sunset on the balcony, and the 1920s Jazz played on (later comment from Mike – “I’d forgotten how many songs in how many languages were written about the Charleston!”). We always make an effort not to party too much before the party – a fatal mistake – but a very good time was had by all, and it was the perfect prelude to the party to follow.