Entertainment NZ style...

Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
Trip End ??? ??, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Saturday, November 15, 2008

From what we had heard there would not be a lot on offer in Invercargill in the way of entertainment.  How wrong you can be! We have had the Scrabble out a few times - not my favourite game but made a lot more enjoyable when played outside in the evening sunshine with a bottle of Lindauer Special Reserve Brut Cuvee at $12 ! So what does Invercargill have on offer.......?
Theatre and Music: Our first foray was to see the Invercargill Repertory Company's production of "Stepping Out" which was a funny and moving film starring Julie Walters.  A comfy, purpose built, banked theatre.  Good so far.  Wine on sale - which you could take in with you.  Even better.  The production......although very enthusiastic, apart from one brilliantly played character it made the Parish Player's productions seem like something at the National.  Having said that, we will be going to the Christmas Pantomime.  Following that we saw a production of "Art" (by Yasmina Reza and was on in the West End for many months, with an everchanging cast - we saw it with Warren Mitchell and Bill Nighy) which was superb and very entertaining. Next, our first visit (in a gale) to the Civic Theatre - a rather fine Edwardian theatre reminiscent of Wimbledon Theatre.  We heard the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra accompanying a kiwi bass-baritone (complete with tattoos) called Teddy Tahu Rhodes, who has appeared at the New York Met and with both Scottish and Welsh National Operas.  He sang a range of operatic arias which were followed by some Richard Strauss tone poems (too sickly sweet for my taste, but none the less, very well played).  The following week we saw the Royal New Zealand Ballet in a splendid production of 'Don Quixote' - which I have to admit I had never heard of, although I had heard of La Bayadere by the same composer (Minkus) which I have seen on the ROH programme at Covent Garden.  Sir Jon Trimmer starred in his 50th year with the company.  Coming up are Shakespeare in the Park and Billy Connolly.
Art & Museum: Well, there's the Southland Museum and Art Gallery in Queens Park - we've only doen one room of the museum so far. Also, just at the Northerm boundary of Invercargill is Anderson Park, with a lovely house containing works by various New Zealand artists and lovely grounds.
Radio & TV: TV can be quite quickly dismissed.  We have access to 4 channels.  Numbers 1&2 are a bit like BBC 1 & 2, TV3 a bit like ITV and Cue TV - a bit like........not sure how to describe it.  It is a local channel with a news and lifestyle spot everyday and I was asked to appear this week to talk about Prostate Cancer, as Movember (aka November) is prostate cancer awareness month and men (and I suppose women) are encouraged to grow a mustache (hence Movember) or beard, and so I had another 15 mins of fame (actually it was about 2!).  It also has a few imported programmes, a lot of self-learning programme linked to SIT (Southern Institute of Technology - based in Invecargill), courses and other home-made programmes, some of which have slightly shaky camera work.  But, it fosters a good community spirit so shouldn't be criticised too much.  I have found a few good radio channels - Radio NZ National which is a bit like Radio 4 but with more music, some very, very good interviewers and good coverage of both national and international events.  Just before 7 am each morning, instead of 'pips' it plays a different New Zealand birdsong each day!  Saturday mornings at 7 is "Country Life' - a bit of a cross between our Countryfile and Farming Today, which is quite helpful when making conversation with patients in thisa rural environment.  I've learned about 'tailing' during the lambing season, the north-east coast of the South Island and it's water shortage, Tea Tree growing and Asparagus - the season of which was just starting when we arrived but with gloomy predictions of quality, which I'm pleased to say has now been resolved by unseasonable rains.  They had fabulous soundbites from the 1950s, where some delightful lady asparagus grower was asked what she like about asparagus and answered, in a very plummy BBC style accent, "well,  it's long, hard and has a lovely big head"!  Could have come straight out of 'Round the Horne".  You can still listen to it on  www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/countrylife/20081017 for another week. This, and the Omnibus edition of the 'Archers' on the Internet, keeps me in touch with country life (I was very sorry to hear about Peggy's stroke, but feel it is time for Jack to go into care).  We also have a classical channel, one similar to Magic and one to Gold, so plenty of choice.
Cafe Culture & Restaurants: A surprising number of cafes and bars, several of which have tables and chairs outside (at times!) and as well as always having fantastic coffee and tea selections (including Japanese green tea with jasmine and daisies) have fresh home cooked cakes and savouries. Not the variety of restaurants found in big cities but good, fresh NZ fare with hearty portions at a very reasonable price. There are a few 'international' restaurants e.g. Chinese, Thai, Indian, Italian but really one spaghetti con vongole is much the same as another....
Cinema: Five screen cinema with special 'art-house' films on Wednesday evenings. We went along to see 'Brideshead Revisited' one Thursday at 11 (in the morning that is) and apart from 1 other person had the cinema, with it's huge comfy seats, to ourselves!  Rather like a private viewing AND no-one slurping Coke or rustling and crunching popcorn.  Today we have been to see Ricky Gervais in 'Ghost Town' which was very good but we did have to share the screening with a half full, but well behaved, auditorium.   
Pub Quiz: Wednesday evenings are quiz evenings at 'Cobb & Co' - a friendly, spit and sawdust sort of pub but with good beer and food.  At the entrance is a notice requesting that you take 'hoods' and 'beanies' off!  The quiz is free, high tech (questions on a wide-screen, wall mounted, plasma screen TV) and with bar tab vouchers as prizes. We go along with Jane and David Tulloch and Emma (CNS)  as one team ('Waterworks' - no need to groan!). There are usually a couple of other hospital teams there. We have come second twice so far and won $50 each time so have not had to buy a drink yet!  The A&E team always do very well - we keep trying but are at a bit of a disadvantage as there are usually quite a few kiwi questions. 
Other events: Sunday morning is usually spent at the Farmer's Market held in the Southland Boys' High School - a building very reminiscent of my old Grammar School. Fresh coffee, a cake or savoury and a chat with the stall holders or hospital staff bumped into, pass an hour.  The Sunday paper is bought on the way back - they don't arrive in Invercargill until about 11, as they arrive by air and the first flight doesn't land until 10!  Yesterday was the Invercargill Corporate Rowing Competition and the hospital had 4 teams in - Medicate, Resuscitate & Quadriceps (forgotten the fourth - someone had suggested Fornicate but was rejected!). Had our first sausage sizzler (see below) and saw Santa in a life jacket...
There were 4 teams in each race and each boat had to have at least 2 women in the crew.  There were a few rammings (by accident!) and at one point, with a close finish, the PA announcer said that such & such a team had won because they stopped rowing first!  Not sure how that worked but no-one objected.
Fresh air:

Plenty of places to go for walks, some short and flat, some longer and some hillier (very hilly around Bluff!).
At the back of the hospital is Kew Bush - a remnant of the rainforest that once covered Southland.
Lots of birds and unusual flora and feels as though you're in the tropics but without the monkeys or the humidity!There's plenty of fishing - I was invited on a trip yesterday but was on-call so went to the rowing instead. There's both sea and river fishing, the former a bit dependent on the weather as the Foveaux Straight between Stewart Island and the mainland can have dreadful sea conditions when the wind comes from the Antarctic and Southern Ocean.

Kiwi-speak 8 & 9: 'Sausage Sizzler '- a BBQ'd sausage in a piece of white bread - a bit like 'pig in a blanket'.
'Give us a fair suck of the sav, mate' - ex-Oz and means 'Don't take more than your fair share' or 'give me a chance to say something'.
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tizwoz on

entertainment section
Why are you up at 7am on a Sat morning?

mertonkiwis on

Re: entertainment section
Not actually up and out of bed - problem is it is light at 6am and there are a lot of noisy birds entertaining us with a dawn chorus!

mertonkiwis on

Comments made easy
This is esp for Andy Bradbury and Billy Dunsmuir who do not seem to be able to add a comment, despite trying. Go to the bottom of the blog and where it says 'Post a new comment', click and post a new comment. Clever, eh??

mertonkiwis on

Re: Tv Fame
I'm working on it! I thought 'Ask Dr Chris' would be a good title as everyone seems to know everyone else in NZ and are on first name terms.

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