Thursday, March 17, 2016

Tour de Coromandel - R&R

Remember that beach from yesterday? This is how it looked today, our official rest day here at Waikawau. Well, we'd had such a wonderful run of perfect weather, and it is autumn after all - it had to end some time. And when better for it to rain, than on the one day when we have nothing to do but lie around, nap, and take it easy?
Some jobs always need to be done, of course, but once the horses were fed it was back to the tents and trucks (many of the horse people shuttled their vehicles along each day, and some of them were palaces. Well, compared with my little tent and old-fashioned stretcher, anyway).
The marquee was, as usual, the centre of social life, offering hot drinks and a bar (come 3pm), cards, chat and music, and a TV showing a slideshow of the photos that the marshals took of us every day, or a movie. What with all that, and some reading and snoozing tucked up in our sleeping bags, the day passed very pleasantly, and when dinner time rolled around, despite the lack of activity, no-one found their appetites diminished when Ivan brought out his piece de resistance for the week:
Afterwards, it was the grand charity raffle, when all sorts of goods donated by the trek participants were auctioned off by a proper auctioneer to raise even more money for the Tour de Coromandel's multiple sclerosis charity. There was everything from a week in Queenstown to a toy horse, by way of cowboy boots, bottles of booze, 4 hours with a handyman (waterblasting, pruning, cross-dressing, candlelit dinner just some of the services offered) and a t-shirt.
Not just any t-shirt - Steve's still-warm Hobbit movie animal team t-shirt (he was the animal wrangler on all those movies, plus lots of others), which aroused a lot of, er, competition. He was thrilled, having been a bit disappointed that the Tour had fewer participants than he'd originally envisaged, to find that in the end the overall total raised for the charity was $12,000 - not bad for around 100 people. No wonder the marquee was buzzing till late into the night.

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