New Year, New Zealand

Raglan, 31.12.2019

Tuesday morning started slowly and we knew we needed a plan for New Years Eve as it was somehow New Years Eve morning already... A leisurely stroll around the town led us to Raglan's Harbour View Hotel. We had a discussion with the bar staff to discover that they were planning to use a courtesy taxi to ensure that people got home safe. There aren't conventional taxis here and certianly no mention of Uber which is reserved for the big cities only.

We arranged to be picked up and dropped off, free of charge provided we were happy with going home at a randomly determined point based on when the designated driver was free. Turns out, she had given up drinking when pregnant with her first child (good call) some 25 years ago and simply never taken it up again. Pretty useful but being the resident driver and part-time fight breaker-upper (probably not her actual job title) in an occasionally rowdy hotel bar, she was hardly at risk at missing out on any of the antics that go with the intoxication.

She picked us up from Kev's place, which would form our home for the next few nights. This is the first place we stayed in Raglan, ran by a guy who seemed so chilled - emphasised by the fact that he'd just dropped an old military ship in the middle of a field, rather than build a house. On this occasion, Ellie went to meet him to pay our bills and he was uncharacteristically stressed out by the fact we had driven in without speaking to him. We saw him again later and he was much more relaxed, as it happens, for herbal reasons.

Raglan on New Years' Eve is an odd place. We had been told by a local about a parade and (as this is one of the founding rules of our travel here) we simply had to go along. The only problem was that no-one seemed to know when it started. We plumped for the earlier time of 6pm with a view to watching the entertainment do it's first lap before heading back with ample time to get ready for the evening's festivities. Typically, it started at 7.

Now, I'm not saying don't get too excited about the New Years' Eve parade in Raglan but if you've been to Ilminster carnival, you're fairly likely to be underwhelmed. The general gist is that people (who presumably need to get their car across town whilst the road is closed for the parade) simply dress up and throw sweets at children. Entertaining for them, and incredibly time consuming, but hardly a spectator sport (like baseball perhaps?). There were bagpipes at the start which was cool to hear as we weren't exactly expecting that whilst so far away from traditional Celtic territories.

We just made it back to Kev's place on time to open a bottle of wine before our lift arrived. It fizzed up everywhere but felt somehow celebratory?

Once in town, things had started to kick off and the Hotel bar was filling up. We'd heard that there was a DJ planned for later in the night and this would take place in the courtyard with a $10 entry fee. Once suitably lubricated, we decided to venture out that way but needed cash to pay the door charge. Weirdly Ellie's card wouldn't work and mine had apparently reached it's withdrawal limit (which presumably was some kind of mistake...) so I tried Jane's card. It worked! No idea how as it's the same account but it's all good.

We got outside at exactly the right time, with remixes of Usher eventually merging into Guns N'Roses. The classic rock stint eventually came to an end but not before we took some great videos of Jane using her crutch as a microphone and throwing the "mic stand" around.

As 2020 began, so did the fireworks and we were fortunate enough to be able to see them through a gap in the fence. Happy New Year everyone!

(Barely) Working Title: How to retire in your twenties


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