Thursday, 29 October 2009

Sanctuary Sounds

My Sister and Brother in Law run a small music festival twice a year. It has good line ups of acts, runs from 2:00pm to 1:00pm on particular Saturdays and has free camping on site. Food and alcohol can be bought on site (no BYO!).

It's a very pleasant and relaxed atmosphere is a lot of fun. Each festival is themed and the site is transformed each time to conform with the theme and several acts will build their show around the theme. Past themes include

  • Through The Looking Glass - an Alice in Wonderland theme
  • Out of This World - future space
  • Aquarius - Hippy fun
The theme of the next festival is "Under the Sea". More information plus photos and videos can be found on their website

Friday, 23 October 2009

Stairway to Heaven

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Conference stuff

Yesterday was a very full on day for Camille and somewhat less so for me. Camille started at 5:30am which is incredibly early for her. However, being the conference organiser she was required to be on hand for pretty much the whole day - so it was up and breakfasting, checking e-mails and ensuring certain things were in order prior to heading to the conference facilities at 6:30am. I headed down to be there by 8:00am when the attendees were supposed to be arriving.

It was a long day and I thought it went very well. The Sky City staff were excellent. Nothing but praise for the woman who was our main liaison for the day.

My role was pretty much limited to helping people who had experienced problems with the membership database. For the most part this was in the shape of "I can't recall my login details" and the answer was a quick demonstration on how to retrieve their login details. It was a bit of an eye-opener for me though as I had considered the way I had written the database login retrieval and its display to be fairly straight foward - and it is for people who are used to computers and the internet. However, many of our client's members are older and are not very computer/internet savvy and need more of a guide. I'll have to think about this and see if I can produce a more obvious method.

The day went on. There were presentations on all sorts of subjects that I know almost nothing about though I do know more now. Meetings were held, breaks were taken, lunch was eaten, displays were perused and vendors spoken to. The end part of the conference day at Sky was the organisation's AGM which was, I gather, very successful with a number of important points being resolved.

Then it was off to the Muddy Farmer where a large bar tab and been plunked down for a cocktail/drinks evening. We had organised a small map to show the attendees where to go as the bar was a few minutes walk from Sky. And here Google Maps let us down again! We had printed a map off from Google and given it to all attendees so out of towners could find their way to the bar. The map was WRONG!

I ended up standing on a street corner in the middle of Auckland holding up my Executive conference card in an effort to flush out conference attendees from the milling crowds. It was at this point I discovered that I have an almost complete lack of authority. I ended up with about 30 attendees gathered on the corner who all ignored my instructions on which way to go though they did listen to me when I said "The map is wrong!". They insisted on asking a passing policeman who had no idea where the bar was. However, he was a Figure of Authority and he eventually directed them to head down the street where I had been trying to get them to go.

The Muddy Farmer was a good bar. We believe all those who made it there enjoyed themselves. Camille and I eventually made it back to our hotel room by 9:00pm or so.

It was a long day.

The photo above is of the main conference room set up for the 240+ attendees.

Friday, 16 October 2009


Last night when ordering breakfast I decided to have something different. Any ideas on what it is? None?

Seared salmon, pickled ginger, steamed rice and nori. Quite a tasty wee dish though the stock was a little salty for me.

Hotel Hotel

In Auckland again and in the Sky City Hotel, not the Sky Grand Hotel. Back in June we stayed in the Sky Grand and I wondered at the difference between the two hotels, the SG being a 5 star and the SC a 4 star. We are staying in an executive suite in Hotel 5 which puts us on the top floor. We have a large living area and large separate bedroom, both larger than most people's living rooms/bedrooms. The bathroom is separate from the toilet and shower and there is a dressing room. Not too bad.

However the 4 star rating kicks in with
  1. No bathrobes!
  2. No bottle opener
  3. No utensils of any type at all except for 3 teaspoons
  4. Lots of other small bits
The one that really gets me is the lack of bathrobes. You get used to things like this in hotels. Even the Jimmy Cook provides them in their standard rooms. Yes; one gets used to them and so fails to pack them. This can cause embarrasment in the morning when breakfast arrives - so I made Camille get up and answer the door.

I'm pretty suprised by the lack of various items in this suite. Have they forgotten to stock it or did they deliberately remove everything just in case we decided to pack our bags with extras? Either way, it's been noted down along with a fairly long list of other things about Sky City Hotel which I won't go into here - suffice to say we won't be organising any more conferences here unless they buck their ideas up.

Mystery Headshot

Any ideas who/what this photo to the right is of? None?

It's the back of Oscar Kightly's head. We saw him and some cronies in Napier airport when we were on our way to Auckland. He was being affable with a group of people, some of who wanted their photo taken with him.

I was tempted to do the same but decided he might not appreciate an almost 50 year old man running through the airport like a lunatic screaming "OSCAR, OSCAR! I can give you some hair if you need it" and so did not.

When we got on the plane, Oscar was seated right up in the front row on the right hand side and we were seated as far back from him as you could get in the rear seats on the left hand side.

I was jealous of all the leg room he must have had.