Day 8 on Anchor Island. 31st December 2009. Hogmanay!

Rainy morning so lots of hut jobs, mostly cleaning for me while the boys tinkered with stuff, fixed things and did computer jobs. Rain stopped in the afternoon so the boys went to change Elwin’s transmitter on Western Loop. I did a quick feedout run for Sass and Rooster on Blowhard after I’d prepared mushroom soup and veggie lasagne for our last meal of 2009 (Edmond’s cookbook is amazing, recipes are foolproof). Met boys on my way out and on their way home, came back to find Tim had made a delicious looking colourful carrot and beetroot salad. I had also tried to make Russian fudge in the morning but by late afternoon it still hadn’t set. It tasted good enough to provide several days worth of sugary softness, but didn’t cut it for Hogmanay, and thank god it didn;t because Tim made the most amazing variation of cranachan with boysenberries, full cream and oatmeal – a very Scottish dessert. I mentioned that it would have been nice to listen to some Scottish music as I was remembering how Hogmanay is celebrated in Scotland, and Tim remembered he had 1 Scottish song on his iPod, so we listened to Frankie Miller’s ‘Caledonia’  to round off our feast. By this time the alcohol was already freely flowing and Tim and I were feeling immensely patriotic and forced Steve into pretending just for a few minutes that he too was a proud Scot! After dinner we enjoyed a beautiful Riesling by Peregrine. I enlightened Steve with a Still Game Hogmanay Special then we got the playing cards out around 8pm, aware that New Year was still a long 4 hours away…! So we played lots of card games including Up and Down the River, Uno and Japanese Snap (which seemed to go on forever, but our competitive streaks emerged and as no-one was willing to concede defeat easily, it was almost midnight when we next looked at the clock). We did have card game interludes however, during which time Steve took the candles from the Emergency Box and stuck them into a couple of empty beer bottles on the table to create a bit more of an ‘ambience’ and we played a game of Roxanne. Roxanne is where each person starts with a full bottle of beer. The song ‘Roxanne’ by The Police is played. You choose the phrase ‘Roxanne’ or ‘Put on your red light’ before the music starts, and each time you hear the word/phrase you’ve chosen during the song, you must take a drink of beer. It’s a difficult game to play without laughing and spilling beer! This is the point when I became rather wasted. Having drunk all, the beer, whisky and wine, we took the last of the Brandy out to the bench, but thought that since we had no neighbours to consider, that it would be nice to listen to music on the bench (approx. 50ft away from the hut on edge of the rocks that meet the ocean). We blasted the car stereo, our only source of music. Outside, the weather was terrible, but we were determined to see in the New Year sitting out in the wind and rain, and just so we didn’t miss it, we went to the bench 10 minutes before midnight. We couldn’t hear any music so we made our own. Tim and Steve did some bad rapping about hut life and then we created our own version of John Denver’s ‘Country Roads’ which went something like ‘Country Red, Take me home, To the hut, I belong, Rollercoaster, Anchor Island, South West Fiordland, New Zealand’. Then it was 12.00am! We wished Happy New Year to each other and to our compatriots, the deer hunters on Resolution Island by shouting across the ocean to them, which I’m sure fell on deaf ears! Before calling it a night, Steve and I took the opportunity to have our first dip in the sea of 2010, even though it was freezing cold! We returned to the warmth of the hut to discover the speaker covers had been blown off the speakers by the volume of the music we had hoped to try but forgot to listen to from the bench, and that the car stereo didn’t work anymore. No visit from Rooster tonight. Maybe he had maybe alternative arrangments with his kakapo friends, what with it being Hogmanay and all. Most memorable New Year of my life!

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