November .. or Yes-vember as my positively-thinking buddy, Montmorensy, calls it – has been quite a month. And it’s not over yet …!
The first of the month was relatively sane. We packed my Anna de Gerolstein off to Motukarara Murray to become a racehorse, I did a broadcast to Australia … But the second? Now, these days, invalid that I pass for, I only do one thing a day. If I have an event in the daytime, I don’t go out at night. And vice versa. Not so, on Friday 2nd November 2012.
Up in the morning and out to Rangiora for my acupuncture session, then after lunch a visit from some of the students from NASDA with whom I revelled several hours before they drove me to the big city for the celebration of dear friend, Richard Marrett’s, half century of birth-years. This festivity meant I couldn’t watch -- so much is one day! -- our little Livia degerolstein running at Melton Park, Victoria. Riccarton Function Rooms don’t show trots! But Richard looked up the race on his magical phone-machine and … she had won!
Was the day over? Oh no! When the party came to an end at midnight, I was driven to Christchurch International Airport where, at 1am, Berlin buddy Paul Graham Brown was hitting New Zealand. Thank goodness for North Canterbury Shuttles, who limo-ed us to Gerolstein … where at 2am we cracked a bottle to celebrate Paul’s first foot on New Zealand soil ... and Livia’s eighth win.
Recovery made (for both of us – I was ‘jetlagged’ too!), Paul started out on his ‘holiday’. We worked out a magic combination of jaunts, work and relaxation: he drove Red Ted to Kaikoura, to Akaroa, to Hokitika, Reefton and Nelson ... we had a day at the Rangiora Races, a dinner with our closest friends and, most importantly, we paid a visit to NASDA. Well, you don’t have a musical-theatre celebrity in town and not introduce him to the students of that excellent academy! The previous month they had had Elaine Paige. A hard act to follow? Not at all. Ask the kids!
Richard and Paul interview-chatted, the students asked a million questions about being a writer, and musicals in Germany, Paul sang a couple of his numbers … and then I announced the ‘Paul Graham Brown Prize’, for competition among the students, singing the works of the maestro. And a graduation barbecue at Gerolstein for all the graduating students …
And in between, there were relaxing sunny twilights – after all the horses were in bed – on the Gerolstein verandah, mid the peacocks ... and some relaxing not-so-sunny twilights (well, it’s only spring) curled in front of the telly, supping bubbly, dining on Wendy’s sausage casserole, roast lamb, or home-made pavlova…
Well, we didn’t want to let him go home saying he hadn’t experienced New Zealand!
Two weeks – it seemed like so much longer. And so much less. And now Paul is back in Berlin … but a little of him remains. We had only one foal this year. The little son of my beautiful Elena de Gerolstein. He has been christened ‘Mr B’ and his racing name will be Dynamite Paul, in honour of our guest.
Mr Brown … meet Mr Brown.
There’s still a week left of Yes-vember. What else can happen … phewwwwww!