|Ok, so we have finally landed in NZ, the land of the long white cloud, the all blacks, the Maori's, and all the chaps from London who have headed back for the Clarky/Chamberlain wedding. It all started rather badly. Apart from arriving at midnight, and having to face Clarky and Lamby fresh from a local pub, I was vigorously accosted by a Maori woman at Customs. This woman must have been all of 6"6 tall, and probably the same wide. She woulda played for the All Blacks if she didn't pose such a threat to the safety of opposition players. She probably would have used the glove on me if they coulda found one that fitted.
The object of her attentions was my innocent little hacky sack; 5 years she has been by my side, kicked and squeezed and lovingly fondled from London to Durban to Indonesia. Apparently, this gentle, sweet, hand-woven hacky sack posed a Clear and Present danger to NZ environmental security and had to be either confiscated (for 4 weeks) and nuked (at a cost of $40 to me) or confiscated and destroyed (for free). Now what sort of civilized country puts that sort of pressure on a paying guest at 12.30am??? Its immoral and should be condemned. Its the Guantanamo Bay of the hacky sack world. I felt violated and humiliated and it wasn't just the bad Nepali shirt I was wearing ($1 at the market in Kathmandu). It became imminently clear that this behemoth (and please understand I am not being unkind to this woman, just trying to accurately portray the threat I was facing) had never heard of Rights, Hearings, Appeals, Arbitrations and the Right of Every Citizen to Bear a Hacky Sack. I kissed my little Sack goodbye (and no, I haven't had a rib removed, if you're wondering). The woman-mountain did have to wash my hiking boots for the same reason, however, so I did kinda score a small moral victory. Serves the hacky-stealer right.
Anyways, we were then collected by the lovely Janelle, followed eventually by an intoxicated Clarky and Lamby. It was like being at a crime scene where the heroine saves you, with Batman and Robin arriving 30 minutes too late, at the wrong scene, and drunk. Aaaaaaanyways, we headed off to the new Clarky lovepad in Newtown, Wellington, a lovely old house being faithfully restored. This would include a new garden deck that Clarky watched his nephew build a few months ago. My kinda renovations.
The following day, it was straight into the new Clarky Automatic 4x4 (I mean, what the ... ??!!??) and off over the Rota-something mountains to the beautiful wine-farm district of Martinborough, where the joyous event was to take place. Its a classic old town, resplendent with renovated 19th Century buildings (well, 19th Century in the rest of the world, but probably 1970's in NZ), one main street, and a plethora of plonk-producing farms. Very very pretty. We checked into our chalet and headed off to what would become a firm favourite on our stay in NZ ... the local Pie Shop. These are good pies, to rival good ol' Saffa pies, and to put to shame the sloppy gunk that passes for pies in the UK (how can they invent it, but be so bad at it ... actually, why does that sound familiar ... cough cough ... football ... cough cough).
The wedding itself was fantastic, and passed off without a hitch and without Janelle coming to her senses. Janelle looked absolutely stunning in her gown, whilst Clarky looked ok. The Master of Ceremonies was the indefatigable (read between the lines) Carey Farrell, aka Keg. His witticisms and natural charm won the crowd over, (one little drunken incident with Janelle's employers and a tall pot plant aside). The flower girls (daughters of said employers) were just the cutest lil thangs you ever did see, and the relieved hug they gave each other when their duties were over brought a moistness to most eyes. The moistness to my eyes was brought on by the lurid pink shirt that Dave "the estate agent" Cleary was wearing. Then again, I, in my lurid purple Nepali shirt (refer to Customs incident above), should not have been casting too many stones. My gorgeous little lotus blossom, however, was looking stunning in her orange Nepali blouse, and, what with the crap summer that NZ had, was definitely the best tanned gal at the party.
The father-in-laws both gave chortling speeches, as did Clarky, including a hecklers-put-down of the century when Cleary (he of the pink shirt) demonstrated why men and champagne just don't mix. The food that followed was top dollar stuff, whereafter the rest of the party proceeded to get riotously intoxicated on wine, beer and champagne. Its one of the benefits of my reborn-teetotalling that Fuzz and I were able to flit about the party chortling heartily with much mirth and merriment at the drunken antics of the guests, before dazzling them all with our dancin' skills when the music kicked in. Well, Fuzz woulda been dancin with me, were she (along with Charlie, Nicky, Charlotte and Janelle) not drooling over the smooth-singing jazz impressario with the tall dark looks, penetrating eyes and the silky voice (not my words). Skanky tarts.
Lamby (sans the lovely Joanna), Keg and Nelson (sans the lovely Charlie and Nicky who were still hanging off the jazz singer) and Tane (sans any pick up abilities at all) were also to be seen flitting about the party in various stages of undress, although I must report that not one incident of nudity is to be reported (and this apparently includes the Honeymoon Suite).
Alas the party ended (as all parties must) and we headed back to the chalets. Our room was temporarily installed as after-party HQ with the boys and gals crashing on over to push on through. Much lewdness and banter followed, before Fuzz finally peeled Matt off my belly (its best you don't ask) and the party moved on. Well it did eventually, as the fact that the beautiful Charlotte was sleeping in our room was like an open pot of honey on an ant farm. Various chaps made numerous bold and daring attempts to storm the defences in order to whisk the poor lass away to a horrible end almost certainly devoid of any orgasm. Fuzz was one step short of boiling oil and tar in her magnificent defence of Charlotte's chastity, in scenes reminiscent of Salaman's attack on Jerusalem. Of course, this included locking me bound and gagged in the cupboard for fear that any thoughts of a threesome might possess me. The night eventually passed without any incident and the feeling returned to my hands and legs soon after Fuzz untied me.
But the party didn't end there as on Sunday we all headed off to Anita and Davin's (Janelle's employers) country house in the area, and even Keg was invited. This magnificent old house with surrounding farm land reminiscent of an old western-style ranch, hosted a top quality braai (bbq) and pool session as all the drunkards recovered with hearty doses of meat, salad, bread and more beer.
All in all, an absolutely fantastic weekend, and the beginning of the new life of the Clarky's as they embark on the wonderous event that is matrimonial bliss, together, forever, loving and holding and caring for one another to the exception of all other temptations. Uh-huh, oooookay ... clear evidence that the Marriage Officer at the ceremony had hit the champagne bottle a little earlier than most :-)