New Zealand Tour 2013
The Great Jizz Gig In The Sky
After an enjoyable car journey north from Dunedin, Lofty and I arrived in Renwick, wine capital of the Marlborough Region.
Unfortunately we were too late to enjoy the fruit of the vineyards on arrival, so I had to content myself with wine for breakfast the following day as we visited three vineyards and had lunch in a fourth before catching the ferry to North Island. Lofty was my kind chauffeur for this latest alcohol-fest.
Almost as soon as we reached Wellington we bumped into the Blades.
Since meeting up with them my beer intake has risen empirically, and my eyes are now displaying "FULL" signs - when I can keep them open, that is.
Two months on tour are finally beginning to take their toll, and I may have to give up drinking for a week when Herbie arrives with us in Auckland.
Young Thomas Blade is now possessed of a Warnie-like Australian accent, and I have determined to buy him a two week residential elocution lesson in Rotherham for his twenty-first birthday.
Famous Cornish jazz musician Five-O is also here, but is somewhat harder to pin down, even though we are all staying at the same motel.
Vague text messages alluded to a number of jazz gigs he intended to watch, although we have heard that there is a shop in Wellington centre called the Cosmic Corner, which specialises in dispensing Himalayan mind-altering herbal cigarettes, so we suspect he may be spending some of his time in there.
Eventually, Five-O joined us in the Office pub the night before the Test. He was in a slightly worse for wear state, and bumped into several chairs and pillars on his way to our table.
As we had been drinking quite copiously ourselves, a number of schoolboy jokes confusing 'jazz' with 'jizz' were cracked - after all, this is how the New Zealanders would pronounce the word - until the lovely waitress came over to advise us that 'last orders' was imminent.
We asked her name.
Cue thirty minutes of rude drunken giggling, and I'm sure the poor girl hadn't got a clue what was amusing us all.
Day one of the Test found us on the famous Wellington grass gravity slope, where a gradual slide down the bank during the day is impossible to arrest.
The weather was windy and quite cold, a portent of what was to come.
Martin and his lovely wife Sonia have now joined us, and they are staying at the same hotel in Wellington as the 'Gullivers' tour group - given the relative age differences between Martin and Sonia and the 'Gullivers' mob, I hope Martin and Sonia got their room at half price!
I spent much of the first day wandering around the Basin brazenly plugging the imminent Addis Army book, "England's Secret Army - Midnight's Tour Diaries 2008-2012", which is a joint business venture by myself and Freddie. Available soon on Amazon at only £9-99 - sorry, I just can't help myself!
The Maori Reconciliation Office were most obliging in providing free photocopies of our flyer, and I handed this to most of our friends around the ground.
Billy the Trumpeter has taken a copy, and I also managed to collar Tim Abrahams from Sky Sports News with it, although I will have to check the bit about our teeth-colouration comparison from the last Aussie tour before publication, I think, so as not to risk possible offence to Mr. A!
Day one featured an amazing decision by New Zealand to put England in, followed by solid if unexciting batting from Compton and Trott, building a platform for the hitters later in the innings.
In the evening we all drank with Martin and Sonia in a rather odd bar, The Bangalore Polo Club.
Very expensive, and the place is a Wellington poseurs paradise.
Large bowls of monkey nuts are placed on each table, and the punters eat these as they drink, throwing the shells onto the floor.
All very untidy and unnecessary to me, like a dark and dingy Wetherspoons, wading knee deep in crunchy nut shells each time you leave your table.
On Day two we decided to forsake the grass bank and the company of the Barmy Army and instead sat on the benches at mid-wicket, where a number of interesting characters amused us.
A local chap, with a Stone Roses hat, large sideburns and 1970's shades - who was quickly christened 'MancElvis'.
An obnoxious Brummie guy with a 1950's style haircut, who had consumed far too much wine, and abused people randomly as they went past us - he quickly got up the nose of Mrs Blade, who had been partaking of her own 'Sheffield Special' recipe drink for most of the day:
"Take six small bottles of soft drink Mountain Dew and two large litre bottles of cheap, strong cider. Take the caps off the Mountain Dew, and pour it down the sink.
Replace the missing liquid with the cheap, strong cider. Take to the cricket, smile at the steward and start drinking - soon you will be smiling at everyone - except the obnoxious Brummie guy!"
Great things were expected today from KP and he almost delivered - a lot of people around us considered a knock of 70-odd some kind of failure, which astounded me.
KP really divides opinion amongst the England fans. There is admiration for his talent, but quite a lot of hostility too, and I still haven't really seen anything obvious to warrant the latter.
Matt Prior did treat us to a powerful knock which livened up the afternoon.
When Stuart Broad came in to bat, he was greeted by loud applause.
" I don't know why you are all clapping" I shouted. "He will be going back to the pavilion in about five minutes."
As it happened, I got that forecast badly wrong.
Broad lasted exactly six minutes, and scored six runs. His batting has been atrocious all tour and there is no way in my book he can currently be considered an all-rounder.
In the evening we retired to the Office pub - except for Five-O, who was indulging in more jizz.
When he joined us later in a wasted state, we both entertained Jess the waitress with a drunken duet of 'Summertime', before leaving the Office as it closed and then finding another random hippy bar on the way back to our motel, which kept Five-O, Mr Blade and myself amused until about 2am.
As this had been a relatively quiet night for Mr Blade, anticipating his first Test victory no doubt, he amused himself further by drinking white wine on his motel balcony until 5am, while Julie and Thomas slept soundly inside.
Day three of the game dawned. Lofty would not get up, and I made a mental note to send more voltage down through his electrodes tomorrow morning.
We saw Martin sat on the other side of the ground on the grass bank. He was highly visible. His orange hat must be made out of old lighthouse bulb material.
New Zealand were scuttled in their first innings by six-wicket bowler Broad short of the follow-on target, but only lost one further wicket in their second innings before stumps.<.
England were once again frustrated by 'two-metre' Peter Fulton, the dogged opening batsman.
However, the long-awaited Test win for Mr and Mrs Blade seemed within tantalising touching distance. Two full days left, and only nine wickets to take!
In the evening, we met Posh Margaret's gang, together with Steve Higgy and his mate Martin, for a meal at the famous Beijing Chinese Restaurant, patronised by no lesser lights than the Chinese Ambassador and Peter Jackson, the eminent Wellington film director.
I had done some early negotiating with the owner of the Beijing to enable our group to bring their own wine at a reduced corkage rate, and the fifteen or so people who attended did not disappoint with the volume of vino they brought to our gathering.
Nigel and Helen had already been drinking at the races earlier, and were spangled before the first bottle of Chardonnay was opened.
As the noise level increased, and the numerous wine bottles were greedily drained, we were soon the only patrons in the Beijing on a Saturday night, and if Peter Jackson had called by looking for Orcs to feature in his latest 'Hobbit' movies, he would have discovered several likely contenders.
Carnage. We all stayed resolutely put until every last drop of wine had been consumed and to be honest, I do not have the courage to revisit the restaurant before we leave Wellington in three days time.
On Day four, the cricket was rained off at lunchtime, so Mr and Mrs Blade, Thomas, myself and Martin retired to the Office for more beer, while Five-O entertained himself with some mid-afternoon jizz, and Lofty watched the practice of the warm up of the rehearsal of the Grand Prix on television. Which I'm sure must have been riveting stuff.
During our beer session a number of hostile, gloating text messages were received from Herbie, in which he predicted that Mr & Mrs Blade would not, after all, see their long-awaited Test win.
Unfortunately, Hannibal Herbie has been proved correct.
Day five of the Test was a total wash out, and when I saw 'two-metre' Stuart Broad wandering through Wellington Centre at 2pm in his shorts and England gear with a bag of washing on his back, I knew for sure that the game had ended in a tame draw. I engaged briefly with Mr Broad, but resisted the urge to have my photograph taken with him, as there was no box nearby for me to stand on.
The Blades have now left Wellington to drive up to Auckland somewhat disheartened, I think, after witnessing yet another draw.
Don't worry, Blades, you will get there.
Take solace from the arrival of heavy rain to greet Herbie's arrival in New Zealand. With a bit of luck he may slip on the plane disembarkation steps resulting in serious injury.
It will be the ultimate in cruel irony if England win the final test match in Auckland after Hannibal Herbie arrives and the Blades have returned to Adelaide.
That surely couldn't happen - could it?
Believe it or not, I attended a jizz gig with Five-O yesterday evening.
A sixteen piece 'orchestra' crammed onto a tiny stage in a jizz bar called 'Meow'. It must be called that because of all the cool cats that go in there.
The players consisted of four saxophonists, four trombonists and four trumpeters, with just one guitar - and the resulting sound was somewhat unbalanced to my ears, having been raised on Manchester guitar music.
After listening to the complete works of Count Basie for over two hours, we had a drink with some members of the band, and I offered my constructive criticism as follows:
"Too much sax leads to poor quality jizz."
As we drank at the bar a shaven headed guy approached and Five-O attempted more simpering flattery.
"Why, hello, dear chap. Honoured to meet a fellow jizz musician. Are you playing in a band here this week?" He said.
"Not here," said the shaven headed guy. "I'm playing later in the week up in Auckland. I'm Joan Armatrading's drummer!"
I am not in love......but I'm open to persuasion....
A further report will follow when we hit Auckland once more, and to finish, a kiwi joke.
Q. "How do you know when the London plane has arrived in Auckland?"
A. "You can still hear the whining three hours after the engines have been turned off."
Bon Voyage, Herbie.
Love, Midnight xxx