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December 17, 2006 

Weekend Hi Jinx

We finally got away to Ballarat this weekend, on a long awaited trip (well, long awaited for me, anyway - we postponed in October). The reason was that Pete's bass teacher, Rob, was playing in a gig (which he doesn't do too much since he stopped playing professionally) with a blues player that I wanted to hear. So we booked into the hotel the gig was in and layed our plans.

Which of course were destroyed on Thursday when I was told that a friend who's been travelling was in Melbourne for one night only - Friday. We delayed heading off to have a barbeque with them, so we didn't arrive in Ballarat until 10pm. By which time the hotelier had headed off, so we crashed a 21st birthday party and made the bar staff get in touch with him. By the time we got to bed I had written a long list of things that would mean I was never ever going to stay at the Eastern Station Hotel again. Looks nice on the website, doesn't it? HA! The only saving grace was that due to being guests we saved $30 on tickets to the gig. For your interest, a few things that I hated:

-- the all pervading smell of cigarette smoke and greasy food, which made me feel ill
-- the lack of glasses in the room which meant we couldn't open the bottle we'd taken and take the edge off the pain
-- the lack of toilet roll (and this pretty much clinched it - there was none when we arrived and it didn't get replaced until around 10pm on Saturday night)
I shan't go into the little things that annoyed me (like not being told we had to get there before 8...)

Thankfully Sovereign Hill was fantastic and we spent a happy few hours poking around there on the Saturday. It's kind of like Beamish (for those who that means anything to). We watched a sweet making demonstration and had a school lesson, aswell as just enjoying the sights and sounds. We didn't go to the candle dipping, wheel making, underground mine tour, gold panning, or any number of other things that were available. We'd seen a lot of them during our travels, and I wanted to get into town and buy some toilet roll!

The gig was fantastic, so by now the good well outweighed the bad. Geoff Achison is an amazing guitarist and musician, and the rest of the band were pretty phenomenal. Watching his first set, an acoustic set, I was close to tears. Only one person has made me feel quite as inadequate a musician - given me the knowledge that I'll never, ever, however hard I try, be that good - and that was Maxim Vengerov. I swear there were four people playing guitar, and I have no idea how he got some of those sounds out of that instrument. He does tour the UK, so if you get chance, go see him.

Even the hotel didn't seem so bad after that!

Today we've wrapped Christmas pressies, sent off the last of the cards (hopefully) and tried to tidy up a bit. I just can't get the enthusiasm up for Christmas yet. Maybe next weekend will be different!