2004: a demi-SATWOTH

A beach.  With Mark in the reflection, if you look closely enough....Well, it so happened that Mark was down under in May 2004, ostensibly doing some work (consisting mostly of being nice to the New Zealand and Australian Governments while trying to concede nothing on aviation rights).  Since he had a free day at the end, it seemed only right that the essential components of a SATWOTH should be done: that is to say:

i) a trip to the Hunter Valley to buy more wine than is feasible;

ii) a pissed evening drinking most of said wine and posting absurd messages on the InterWebNet;

iii) going up-diddly-up-up in a plane; and

iv) having some beer at the Lord Nelson.

And all four of these were duly done.  In that order.  Audy (Mark's assistant on his tour of the antipodes) was duly packed off nervously to meet his Auntie Colleen for the first time since he was about five.  And so David and Mark set about the normal business.

The Hunter Valley

It must be said that David has made quite a discovery in the form of the Calais Estate, who were knocking some really good stuff out, and let us have quite a lot of it during the tasting.  (Except that David had to drive, ha ha!).

And the result was predictable...

A pissed evening

Ah, well, not many photos of this.  But the photo above looked rather different by the end of it.  Some terrible verses about Emirates' ability to lose Mark's luggage were posted (he now knows all the good clothes shops in Wellington, and after enough drinks will bore people with his tales of trying to buy an emergency pair of pants in Auckland airport on a Sunday).

Going up-diddly-up-up

Now this is more like it.  Lots of pix to play with here.  Mark, being, as he is, useless, had left his digicam in London (actually probably as well, as, given his luck with luggage, it would probably be somewhere in Abu Dhabi at the moment), but David lent him his really rather splendid camera.  The only complaint was that the autofocus was too good, and it would inexplicably pull into sharp focus on the crud on the windscreen instead of the wonderful sights ahead.   But here we go anyway...

David vainly wrestles with the controls of the plane while Mark regrets not having got round to writing his will.

But we're away at last.  Ooh, isn't it a nice day?

And there's that bridge.  And that Opera House.

And, of course, that beach.  Full of poseurs with surfboards.  Even though it's winter down here.

Trees, rocks and water.  And, as usual, Mark has found a perilous place from which to photograph them.

And down we come again.  A different exposure time might have got the prop out of the picture.  Oh, well...

Beer at the Lord Nelson

Ah, yes.  Well, Mark remembers that some photos of this were taken.  And that the beer was, as normal, very good.  And that, as normal, a wedding party was taking up most of the venue.  (There was, alas, no sign of the callipygian waitress mentioned in the 2001 diary.)

But, it has to be recounted, Mark (who wasn't having a great week as far as cameras went) agreed to take the films back to Blighty with him to get them developed, transferred to digital, uploaded etc. etc. there.  So he conscientiously put them in a safe place so he wouldn't forget to take them with him.  A couple of weeks later, he posted a plaintive message asking David to have a look round his flat to see where the films were.  David duly found them (which will surprise anyone who has seen his flat) and posted an edited-highlights CD across the world to Mark.  Without any photos from the Nelson.  Ho hum.

Look, we're trying to sort out some kind of event, probably in Europe, in 2005.  We promise to do better then.  Honest.

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