After a frustrating delay with the infamous Jetstar we arrived in Auckland and 'The Rendevous' where we saw the familiar faces of Gail, Jenny and Math. It was so nice (and emotional) seeing them again. Rob and Chris had gone looking for us so we caught up with them just a few minutes later. Everyone looked really well and the conversation started flowing immediately. This was soon brought to a pause when, not much later than our arrival, a swanky chauffeur driven car pulled up. Nan, Darren and Mel had arrived and looked really good after such a long journey-1st class and living it up with The Beckham's makes ones journey more bearable! With everyone together and in high spirits it was starting to feel a lot like Christmas!
M&D had already done a rekky of the area and found a great little place for everyone to eat. It was like a very posh food court where people can sit together but order from different restaurants; this was perfect for a group like us! After delicious food we had a few drinks at a bar and everyone got pretty merry. Us 'youngsters' went out to bring in Christmas with some style (cough cough) below is a bullet point account of what (I can remember) happened!
· James and Rob disgusting Gail with some obscene comments, after not seeing her for over a year!
· Jenny, Mel, Chris and I getting pretty deep in conversation and thinking we were better than then the immature boys-we were clearly also chatting rubbish.
· After a few 'one more' drinks Gail and Chris went back to The Rendezvous and we managed to find, a bar with some tuneage.
· I got ID'ed and as I was wearing tiny denim shorts, I know what you are thinking-hoe bag, but, to be fair to me we hadn't planned on going anywhere beyond a bar near the hotel! The bouncer let me in as I exclaimed 'look what I am wearing, where would I keep my ID?'
· Luckily he didn't bother checking anyone else as nobody had theirs but everyone else was more appropriately dressed!
· Jenny and I absolutely ripped up the dance floor with some grrreat moves.
· The rest joined in dancing after some more drinks and we took over half of the floor.
· Rob and Math spoke to a group of girls they knew from somewhere, we got bored so dragged them away.
· Darren and James pulling out some classic dance moves and Mel was strutting her stuff!
· On the way out Math dived into a pile of cardboard boxes, he loves them!
· Rob managed to push me over, makes a change, and I fell into the gutter.
· We went to McDonalds where James had to borrow money from Math (not Jenny) to buy himself a small feast.
· Darren saw Christmas in with an authentic Auckland McDonalds experience-a triple Big Mac!
So that was the evening that I remembered and a very fun one it was too!
There were a few hung over faces in the morning but with nothing to do, food preparation wise, everyone was free until lunchtime. I spent the morning running around the hotel in between rooms trying to see everyone, getting James in certain rooms so we could open our presents-tough life! I did manage to practice my sprinting technique on Gail and Chris's (G&C) corridor; it was just so long and straight! By lunch time presents had been distributed, everyone who was feeling a bit delicate felt better and we were ready to demolish the NZ Christmas dinner. Jenny had thought ahead and provided everyone, including Dad, with a pair of festive socks and a Santa hat. As you can imagine we were the envy of everyone in the Hotel and to bring even more attention to ourselves we were the last group in the big dining room, by far the biggest and loudest and were sat on the far side of the room! We had a huge table to fit us all on and James and I were nominated to sit at the head of the table with our respective families sitting near us. Our high class demeanour and the good British name soon took a turn for the worst. Someone from the Wiper's thought it would be funny to explain the swearing pictures they like to do to wind Gail up. Obviously most people are shocked at the disgrace of James, Jenny and Rob but my Mum and Nan thought it was hilarious. Consequently we don't have one decent picture from our Christmas lunch as at least one person is sticking up their middle finger, or little finger if they are confused! After a lot of food was consumed including curry and James demolishing half a turkey we retired to the lobby/bar. Mum had prepared some craft activities which went down a storm. We made it competitive and everyone got involved, Math and I clearly won, we were the best in every way! Nan and Gail were paired together and were very amusing together as they seemed to resort back to primary school with a lot of funny arguments and shouts of 'Miss, miss'. Jenny decided to brighten the place up, so after we had all created our masterpieces she went about sticking them around the bar, again to the envy of everyone else in the hotel! We played some of the Mansfield/Smith favourite silly games including chase the ace where Chris and I took it to a nail biting end. After all the excitement we were feeling a little lethargic so chilled out on the sofas with more comfortable clothes on (new pyjamas!). Math managed to speak to Aunty Carol and everyone back home and we spoke to Kiwi when he was sober, a new experience for me! For me this Christmas was such a good one, James and I are so lucky we have amazing families that will come all the way to NZ to see us (and Rob and Math!).
Dad the chief organiser had planned a day at the races. We all adorned our nicest clothes and set off for Ellingham race course. We had a table right at the front of the room so we could see the horses racing just outside. Annoyingly because there were too many of us two people had to sit on the next table. M&D volunteered but were stuck with a group of very rude people who didn't appreciate sharing. We gave them a lot of hacky looks and made comments of our own back and I think they realised it wasn't a great idea to mess with us. Other than these horrid people the day went really well. There was a lot of betting and a little bit of winning. Lunch was amazing, another buffet but with top quality food including lobster, lamb chops, ribs and steak it really was the greatest buffet ever! Throughout the day everyone put their losing ticket into a box and then one name was pulled out and they were given a free bet. Not one of us had won so when the biggest race of the day came along and the most money was provided all of us got very excited when Bus Pass Nanny got pulled out of the draw! Nan had won and went on to win with her bet, possibly the person in our group who didn't need to win but she is always lucky and this was no exception! Jenny took luck into her own hands and stole a horse, not a real one an ornament from the table! James, Rob, Jenny and Math were entertained for ages with a young boy dancing in the outside section; I think Jenny may have stolen him as well if she had the chance. It was another great day and we chilled out with some drinks and chicken leg in the evening.