I looked for Jedda and Pirate-Anne but you must have both arrived late. Jenny what happened to you? You didn't ring!
Guys, I've been on such a high all week, not only because of Alan and the Strayhorns but also because Nan and her hubby Phil have been staying with my hubby and me! Very little time on computer as we've been out and about but I couldn't sleep last night so gave up by 1am and have been on computer all night. So now I've got a post to tell you about the past week...... Brace yourselves. It's a long one....
I've posted photos on Facebook if you're interested.....
Life has been fast and full the last few days and it’s been so hard to find even the briefest of time for the computer. We’ve been painting the town red ... well ...... maybe just pink?
The day before we picked up Kris, Nan and Phil from the airport I saw a green hat on sale and decided to buy it for Nan to wear to the concert as she’d posted that she was very sad that she wouldn’t have room in her luggage for her ‘signature’ green hat or her boots. I thought buying it for her would give her a buzz as it was very similar to her own. I pinned on the AJ pin she’d sent me for Christmas to make it even more like hers. Then I hoped Roger, Mark and Monty would see the hat and give her a wave, as they know her and that she always wears that hat to any AJ concert she attends.
Shane and I picked Kris, Nan and Phil up from Sydney airport early Sunday morning then took them to see some sights around Sydney: Opera House; Harbour Bridge; Circular Quay; The Rocks and Sydney Tower (formerly Centrepoint Tower). Oh wow! We’ve never been up Sydney Tower either but, oh!!!! The view! The view! Watch for those photos on FB! I’m no photographer and my camera is pretty crappy but I hope you get the idea and if you ever come to Sydney you’ve simply GOT TO go up that tower and see it all.
Nan started to feel pretty sick by this time (still recovering from pneumonia remember?) so we skipped out on Darling Harbour which was next on the agenda. We took our wonderful new friends home for showers and a rest but they were so keen to go with us to our church so off we went. (There was a big Nancy shriek when she spotted the hat on her bed, so I guess that means she loved it!) Some of you might know of Pastors Darlene and Mark Zschech of Hillsong Worship fame? They are our new pastors and church ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By the time we returned home again our visitors had got their 5th or 6th wind and were too buzzed and tired to be able to sleep. Poor jet-lagged people!
Monday morning Shane (my hubby) had to return to work, so us remaining 4 intrepid explorers moseyed on down to the Australian Reptile Park, where kangaroos roam the picnic area and you can buy feed to give them. I cannot get over the blessings God poured out on us! I’m an Aussie, as you know, yet I cannot GET OVER what happened during our visit. We visited the platypus. I HAVE NEVER, EVER seen one so active! Often they’re asleep in the burrow. We visited the koalas. They’re usually asleep in the trees. THEY WERE SO ACTIVE! Climbing around. Eating. (Sheesh!) We visited my favourite lizard – the frill-neck lizard. Usually they sit quietly on the branch of the tree and you’d think they were stuffed. As we stood there looking at them the carer came in to feed them and ..... well...... you guessed it! It just takes money. (No, hang on! That’s Alan’s song!) I meant to say .... you guessed it! They really put on a show.
By this time I was just standing there watching for the next blessing to dump on their heads! Wow!
Before leaving early (mustn’t be late for ‘THE CONCERT’ that night) I introduced Nan and Phil to the Australian ‘meat pie with sauce’. Now THAT was another winner. (Gayle, I want you to notice in the photos which T-shirt I wore to the Reptile Park! Thanks a million! Love it.)
Now what can I say about the concert? There aren’t words! There just aren’t words strong enough and powerful enough to be able to tell you all that’s in my heart. Suffice to say it’s now 2am Tuesday morning. I’m so tired I’m punchy but I can’t sleep. I am still so wired! Well, I’ll try to tell it all.....
Terry, I was wearing the beaded and fringed shirt you gave me a couple of years ago. I was threatened with a mugging over it (fortunately the girls were joking). Another guy wanted to swap it for the right to stand on the seat in front of him to take photos. (Thank God he was joking too!) Thank you for making me that shirt. I LOVE it!
Phil, Nan’s husband, insisted on shouting us AJ tour T-shirts. Then he insisted on swapping tickets with Kris who was to have sat just below the nose-bleed seats. So Kris (from Western Australia), who, along with Shane and me, had never seen Alan in concert, go to sit right up the front, in Section A, Row 4. Thanks so much for your incredibly generous heart Phil!!!! ( I’m in awe of that man.)
As we waited for the concert to begin Nan went over to talk to one of the security team to ask if we’d be allowed to stand by the stage once Alan and the Strayhorns started. While she’s talking to the security dude ..... out comes (drum roll please......) Roger Bob! He’d seen ‘THE GREEN HAT’, recognised Nan and came down to say hi. She called (shrieked, more like) out to me to come over and meet him. What a warm, friendly, incredibly nice guy! Big hug; photos; chatted quite a while, then a promise to see if he could get us some pics – the ones Alan throws out to the crowd.) Before he left us I asked him if he’d mind giving, from me, each of the guys a little clip-on koala (- waving an Aussie flag, of course) and maybe, just maybe they might like to wear them onstage and later give them to their children as a souvenir. He was more than happy to take them out to the others and that delighted me more than he could possibly know!
So we sat down again and a little while later I looked up and saw Monty on the stage peering at Nan in ‘THE GREEN HAT’! (Man! You gotta love that hat!!!!) I elbowed Nan hard enough to knock her off the seat (more or less – less than more) to draw her attention and I think she may have shrieked again, I can’t remember, but she grabbed Kris and me and dragged us over to meet him too. Somehow I got there first (and I promise I didn’t shove her out of the way) and was totally blown out to be hugged and greeted so warmly. What a terrific person. Oh, I like this guy too! We chatted a while and before he walked off I asked him about the koala and he grinned and assured me it was on his cap.
Roger popped back a little while later with those pics for us and once again I was moved by his kindness.
Do you have any idea what it meant to me that Roger wore his little koala on the strap of his guitar throughout the entire concert? And that Monty wore his on the brim of his baseball cap for a song or two, then moved it to his mike stand? I laughed to see this little koala bobbing around, weighing down the brim of Monty’s cap! Golly it must have annoyed him, blocking his view, but he did it to please me and for that I am so touched! THAT was the cherry on the cake of one of the best nights of my life! Thanks Roger and Monty – you’re pretty special people. (Big hugs guys!)
Now, I ask you ..... how could the night possibly get any better? Yet somehow it did. Alan was as wonderful as ever. He evidently sang longer than he usually does – 2 hours he was out there for and Alan and the Strayhorns were ....... magic! Simply magic! What joy to absorb that incredible music and atmosphere. Nan dragged us up (didn’t have to try too hard) to the edge of the stage – well, almost the edge of the stage. There were these huge speakers between us and it but we were pressed up hard against them. Then Roger began to play that bass guitar and my heart was pounding in rhythm with him! I thought we were ‘having a moment of deep and meaningful harmony’. But then I realised it was simply the vibrations of these monster speakers. (Gee sorry about that Roger. LOL.)
I won’t do the usual concert review thing and talk about what he wore and such – just look at the photos. But I WILL say that there was so much to look at and absorb: from the special effects; the excitement of the capacity crowd – full right up to the nose-bleed seats - Aussies who’ve waited YEARS AND YEARS to see Alan and these wonderful Strayhorns; the smiles Roger sent our way(yes we saw them Roger); the bobbing koalas onstage .... AND Alan as he wove his magic over us all as we revelled in the privilege of being the blessed ones who managed to get tickets.
After the concert was over (sob!) we hung around again to say goodbye to our Strayhorn friends and Monty signed ‘THE GREEN HAT’ for me. Of course Nan won’t be able to take home with her for the same reason she couldn’t bring her own. So, now it’s mine again. He couldn’t find a marker to sign the hat so I borrowed one from one of the security guys (who didn’t get to give permission as I snatched it as I asked if I could borrow it). Hmmm. Monty and I know he signed my hat but it will remain an open secret, I guess, as no-one will be able to read it. It wasn’t the easiest surface to write on. I’m sad that I missed the chance to ask Roger to sign it too. I love it to bits and you’ll see my panda wearing it if you look at the photos I plan to post on FB first chance I get. (Look for my ‘AJ/Americana’ corner?)
Our car didn’t use any petrol as we drove Kris back to the airport, then the rest of us drove home again, as we were all floating on Cloud Nine the whole way home! What a night!
After 2˝ hours sleep Shane was up and off to work, poor darling. Nan, Phil and I went for a walk around my hometown of Budgewoi. Nan fell in love with the beach and so we were there for quite a while, looking at shells, absorbing the peace and enjoying the view. Roger Bob – you wanted to ‘get away from it all’ for a bit? You should have been with us. Check out the pics.
More meat pies for lunch (different flavours of course). Then a drive to Norah Head Lighthouse where I lived as a little girl. Nan and Phil LOVED the beach, rock platform, lighthouse etc. Sadly we missed a tour over it by only half an hour. Lots of photos later we got back into the car and followed the coastline south, through The Entrance, Blue Bay, to Crackneck Lookout. Gorgeous view. More photos. Then home again. Well, that was the plan......
My car was rear-ended by a young guy who wasn’t paying attention. It was a pretty hard hit but thank God Toyota Corollas are fantastic little cars, and the hit was straight on so the damage isn’t as bad as what it could have been. Hopefully I won’t be out of pocket for the repairs. What is much worse than the damage to my beautiful little car, is that Nan has a rather fragile back from previous injuries. So this smash up the back has hurt her quite a bit. Instead of a lovely evening relaxing outdoors and fellowshipping with my parents, we spent the time in a Medical Centre waiting to see the doctor. Thank God the damage is muscular, not skeletal! She and Phil are still asleep at the moment, of course (what idiot would be awake at ..... hmmm it’s now..... 3:30am?). There’s too much buzzing around in my head and I can’t sleep. I managed 3 hours so I guess I’m going to be pretty ‘punchy’ again today. I couldn’t stand lying there awake any longer when I really wanted to share all this with my friends and try to work out how to post pics for you all to see.
Today is my last day with Nan and Phil (Shane will be at work again today) and if Nan’s up for the long drive I plan to take them to Nelson Bay. Gorgeous views; gorgeous beaches; and a chance to buy some souvenirs for friends and family back home.
I also plan to give them an assortment of Aussie foods to sample: vegemite on SAO biscuits. (No! No! No! Vegemite is NOT disgusting if eaten the right way! A very thin spread NOT A GREAT BIG DOLLOP YOU DILLS!!!!) They knocked back the opportunity to sample emu, crocodile and kangaroo (thank goodness – I’ve never eaten any of that either – but it’s a touristy thing to offer), so we’ll substitute that for a good old Aussie-style hamburger. Forget that MacDonalds guff! We can follow that up with some pavlova, macadamia nuts and good old ANZAC biscuits. So I guess Nan will probably tell you what she thinks about all this..... LOL.
I am so going to miss these wonderful new friends and I hope and pray we’ll all get together again someday. If I could convince my man to leave Oz long enough to visit it would be sooooo great!!!!!!!!!!!!! And yeah Sharon, I'd love to take you up on your offer too .... if I can budge him.
Hugs y’all (does that sound American or what?)