Tuesday 8 May 2018

Bloody jazz and an almost black eye

It was a day full of animals and the outdoors. Sheep, naturally, but also penguins, albatrosses, kiwi, takahe, Angus bulls, alpacas, horses, deer... Plus lakes, mountains, beaches, boats, helicopters, bikes, bungy jumps and inflatable rafts - and all the activity that goes along with that stuff. Only trouble was, it was all indoors. I can't remember when I last spent an entire day inside with only about six breaths of actual fresh air between hotel, bus and convention centre. All a bit of a contradiction. And the tattooing was unexpected.
TRENZ is also pretty tiring - so much talking! And listening! I can't decide who has the harder job: the buyers and media, like me, listening all day, paying attention, remembering information, asking questions - or the sellers, delivering the same spiel over and over again, for hours. It was good though to meet so many enthusiastic people, keen to share their bit of the country, their unique activity, their  way of life. Quite a few were owner-operators, always genuinely eager to talk about what makes their patch different from - and better than - the rest.
And it was especially good to be offered so many yummy things to eat and drink, from my first whitebait fritter for years to surprisingly tasty haggis (traditionally presented) to some inventively-named and genuinely Seriously Good chocolates. 
The final delight was the tenderest, tastiest lamb chop I have ever eaten, which went some way towards making up for my having mistaken the time that the comedian was to do his set at the evening cocktail function, and turning up too late. I waited vainly for him to appear while enduring the best part of an hour's horrendous jazz - honestly, you would not believe how long they dragged out The Girl from Ipanema with their ghastly "wabbeda wabbeda tish tish ga-blap bap tiddly piddly drivelly meaningless squeaky shrieky pish pish drr-bap bollocks" (thank you again, Ian Martin). It felt like an appropriate way to end a day that had begun in the small hours with a visit to the loo in the dark and whacking my eyebrow on the bathroom door handle as I bent over to sit down. Sigh.

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