Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fish and Chopin

Met up with an old friend today and a new one: a fellow Inca Trail climber from three years ago (the one who channelled his inner mountain goat and stayed in front all the way, despite being rather more stricken in years than all of the rest of us) and his wife here from England for the rugby. So what do you do on a free day in Auckland?

You go to Waiheke, of course - even if the weather wasn't the golden day we were promised, it was still worth taking the ferry over, mooching around Oneroa, eating lunch on a deck looking over the bay, polishing off a bottle of Kennedy Point, and then popping up the hill for what was, cheerfully, our third helping of an island institution. Lloyd and Joan Whittaker have been putting on their ninety-minute show for I don't know how long, introducing and demonstrating their wonderful collection of musical instruments from a dulcimer to Paderewski's concert grand, with in between harmonicas, accordians, pianolas, glockenspiels, organs and more. They play everything from Old Macdonald to Chopin, by way of Lloyd Webber, and at the end the audience is welcome to have a go. It was a great success with our visitors, and entirely a delight, even third time around.

Back in the city, it must have been about our fifth or sixth time to Kelly Tarlton's underwater world and Antarctic experience, with two sorts of penguins happily sitting on eggs in their snowy underground enclosure, and more varieties of sharks gliding over our heads than we could shake a stick at. There's always something new to enjoy, and lots of old stuff to enjoy again, and more things to learn. Did you know an adult octopus can squeeze through a hole the size of an old English penny?

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