Day 6: Whanganui


Yesterday we caught the train from Wellington to Palmerston North and then drove to Whanganui for our show at Space Monster.

I bought my breakfast from the New World at Wellington train station. It was a Broccoli salad.

We boarded the train just before 8am and after two hours of sleeping through all of the spectacular scenery we were deposited on the platform at Palmerston North.

📸 Bob Frisbee

We picked up our rental van and forty minutes of Tristan’s expert-level driving later we were in Gonville, Whanganui, meeting our good friend and host Anthonie Tonnon. Anthonie didn’t waste any time and straight away took us on a guided tour Gonville and the surrounding suburbs, focusing on the tram routes enjoyed by the residents of Whanganui back in it’s glory days.

📸 Frank James Denton.

The tour culminated in the seaside suburb of Castle Cliffs with a lunch stop at Citadel cafe. Next we picked up some equipment for the show and headed to the venue where for the next few hours Bob worked extremely hard to piece together a working sound system from the bits and pieces at the venue. He did an amazing job and the show sounded great. Anthony played an incredible set to open the show up and we had a thoroughly enjoyable time playing a small and intimate room.Beth of the day goes to Anthonie for great tour guiding, an excellent lunch recommendation, organising a fantastic show, and for hosting us in his beautiful Art Deco bungalow.

Day 5: Wellington, pt 2


Yesterday we had a leisurely day in Wellington and then played our second show at San Fran.

My breakfast was baguette with tomato, golden kiwifruit, and mild cheddar.

After breakfast I spent a couple of hours reading before heading down to the meet Tristan at the Basin Reserve cricket ground to watch the Auckland Aces battle the Wellington Firebirds. Highlights of the afternoon included seeing Black Caps star Lockie “Roll ups” Ferguson close Auckland’s batting line-up and shortly afterwards open up their bowling.

We had a quick soundcheck and then went to a Vietnamese and Fish & Chip restaurant for dinner where I enjoyed a stir fry and a pineapple fritter.

Wellington once again brought their great energy to the show and we enjoyed a warm reception as did A.C. Freezy.

📸 Alex Freer.

Beth of the day goes to Bob for a great dinner recommendation and for making the pilgrimage to see Ronnie Van Hout’s “Quasi” installation.

Day 4: Wellington


Yesterday was the fourth day of our tour (non-consecutive). We flew to Wellington and played the first of two shows at San Fran.

We all met at the beautiful Air NZ domestic terminal of Auckland Airport and after checking in headed to the Koru lounge for breakfast. I had toast covered with scrambled eggs, Spanish beans, and hash browns.

After a short flight and a moderately scary landing at Wellington airport we headed into the city where first we checked into our hotel and then we headed to Radioactive FM to perform four songs live on the airwaves.

Next we walked over to San Fran for soundcheck and then ate dinner at the pasta restaurant across the road. I nearly scored a point for ordering an Aperol Spritz with my meal but it turned into a minus one when the drink turned out to be decidedly average due to the heavy-handed incorporation of flat soda water.

Later on that evening we were treated to a superb set from A.C. Freezy which culminated in a cover of Sheryl Crow’s ‘If It Makes You Happy’ to celebrate tour manager Anthony Metcalf’s birthday. Our own set went down a treat with the Wellington crowd and they were a pleasure to perform to.

During the show we again capitalised on our captive audience to announce some of the changes to our bird of the year campaign. We had discovered earlier in the week that there was already a very strong campaign underway for the Rockhopper penguin and we decided it was better to throw our weight in behind it to ensure that our nation’s top elected avian official was at least from the penguin family.

There was soon a spanner tossed into the works however when a pre-election poll showed the Kākāpō in first place closely followed though by another superb NZ penguin the Hoiho. Although they aren’t as cute as either the Rockhopper or the Tawaki they are a worthy choice being a critically endangered species with only an estimated 1700 breeding pairs. They are also our best chance of getting a penguin into that top job so we have decided to officially endorse the Hoiho for BOTY 2019.

📸 Philip Griffin.

After the show we continued to celebrate Anthony’s special day and eventually wound up at a cocktail bar where I enjoyed a martini that contained the best olives I have ever tasted.

Beth of the day goes to Jonathan for starting his day with a Mimosa, photographing the restaurant menu so Anthony could order remotely, and for figuring out during soundcheck that it was my phone in my pocket causing my bass to hum loudly.

Congratulations Jono, this was a good day’s work.

Day 3: Christchurch


Yesterday we drove back up to Christchurch and played a show at Blue Smoke.

We were so endowed with the previous morning’s breakfast that we headed back to Precinct to sample more dishes from their enticing menu. This time I ordered the sriracha chilli scrambled eggs with parsley, parmesan, crispy shallots, orange chilli oil, lime creme fraiche, and a side of confit thyme mushrooms.

Tristan was in the driver’s seat for the first half of the journey and took us all the way to our favourite bakery on the outskirts of Timaru. Sadly Davo’s Fishing Hunting N Good Coffee was closed but we cheered up a bit when we saw the giant bacon and egg pie on display at Ubake.

Midway through the afternoon we arrived at Blue Smoke and bashed out a quick soundcheck before heading to check in with our wonderful host Russell, father to two thirds of New Zealand’s best band Hans Pucket. We also took the time to catch up with Fritz who I’m proud to announce has recently been named Dog Of The Nation. Congratulations Fritz!

Driving through Christchurch we were thrilled to spot a real life cricket game and cross that box off the tour photo bingo list.

As well as getting to play alongside the fabulous Mousey again we were joined for this show by our friends A.C. Freezy who sounded disturbingly good.

It was a low scoring day yesterday with none of the Beths getting any points up on the board. Luckily though there was someone who didn’t seem to be frittering away their time on this earth, and that was Bob Frisbee who ordered and ate two meals at breakfast, and only wore one tshirt for the whole weekend without smelling bad.

Congratulations Bob, we look forward to having you along for the rest of the tour.

Just a gentle reminder that the Tawaki remains the best option on which to spend your Bird Of The Year vote. Did you know that they are a very secretive bird, building their nests in caves and crevasses, under tree logs, and in near impenetrable vegetation. Don’t hesitate, go out and vote.

📸 Colin Miskelly

Day 2: Dunedin, pt 2


Yesterday we played our first show of the tour at The Captain Cook Hotel, supported by Christchurch band Mousey.

We all had quite a sluggish morning but eventually managed to depart from the motel and made our way to Precinct where we enjoyed a superb brunch.

I ordered the sourdough crumpets with red compote, cinnamon toast crunch, liquid cheesecake, and syrup.

In the early afternoon we drove to Dunedin airport to pick up our tour manager Anthony Metcalf and our sound engineer Bob Frisbee, and then headed to the venue for soundcheck.

We snuck in a quick cricket game before dinner and while it was a fairly tough and unpredictable wicket there were great performances from some of our star players.

The show was sold out and brought in a very excited and energetic crowd. Mousey got the night off to a great start with a rousing and dynamic set.

It was a privilege to perform to a New Zealand audience again and we tried to show our gratitude by providing the citizens of Dunedin with some valuable information about a cause that we in The Beths are extremely passionate about at the moment.

The Bird Of The Year election is fast approaching and there is only one correct candidate to vote for. The Tawaki is one of New Zealand’s four endemic species of of penguin. They only stand 65cm tall but have one of the longest penguin pre-moult migrations recorded to date, swimming between 3500 – 6800km on their journeys.

Sadly due to settler-introduced predators such as stoats the Tawaki population has been in decline since the 1950s and they are now the third rarest species of penguin in the world with only an estimated 2500-3000 breeding pairs left.

There has never been a penguin put in a position of power and it’s time for that to change. Vote Tawaki for Minister of Birds 2019.

📸 Thomas Mattern.

Beth of the day goes to Anthony Metcalf. He did some furious problem solving throughout the evening including sourcing an extra monitor speaker for the show, sourcing duct tape when the venue didn’t have any, and posting the wifi password in the group chat.

It’s great to have you with us on this tour Anthony, I can’t wait to see what you achieve in the coming weeks.

Day 1: Dunedin


Over the next three weekends we are playing a number of shows around New Zealand; the first time we have played on our own shores since February.

Yesterday we kicked off our tour by flying down to Christchurch where we rented a van and spent the rest of the day driving down to Dunedin.

I started my day with a breakfast of fried eggs on toast, with a side of cherry tomatoes and cucumber dressed with lemon-infused olive oil.

We met at Auckland airport at 9.50am and swiftly checked in our luggage with no dramas, hitches, or tizzies. We even almost breezed through security without a hiccup except that Tristan got pulled aside to have his kickdrum pedal inspected.

Please excuse the blurry photo.

There was a bit of time to spare before the flight so we made our way to the Koru lounge (we aren’t bougie, it saves money by not having to pay for extra bags all the time) where Liz displayed her true strength of character by eating an iced Afghan and packaging up another two for the road.

On the flight Liz again overachieved by lending me her Nintendo switch so I could play Untitled Goose Game. I managed to get the gardener wet and steal his keys but couldn’t figure out how to make him put on his sun hat.

After a bumpy descent into Christchurch the pilot managed an impressively smooth landing and swiftly disembarked us at the terminal. To complement this stellar service we arrived at the baggage collection to find our guitars already waiting for us, a feat managed by few airport luggage teams.

Our van was waiting for us in the pickup area and in no time we were on state highway one heading south. At the midpoint of the journey I scored an easy point for finding us an excellent bakery to stop at for lunch, which gained me back the point I had lost for leaving my carry-on bag on the plane.

Right next door to the bakery Tristan and I enjoyed a good coffee at Davo’s Fishing Hunting N Good Coffee.

With our stomachs satisfied we continued our drive, past Oamaru and through the Waitaki District wetlands, arriving in Dunedin in the early evening. We checked in to our motel and after a small drama involving the motel-owner having to come and re-enter the login details for the Netflix (if you are reading this Kevin we didn’t log out, we promise) Liz found us a good local takeaway shop and we ate burgers and chips for dinner.

The rest of the evening was spent watching The Fast And The Furious, and Fast Five, and drinking one of Dunedin’s famous local ales while playing the Fast And Furious drinking game which can be found here.

Beth of the day goes to Liz for Afghan consumption, sharing of game consoles, and a rock solid dinner recommendation.

Congratulations Liz on winning the first BOTD on New Zealand soil 🇳🇿🇳🇿🏆

Day 16 Singapore, pt 3


Yesterday we spent our final day in Singapore. In the morning we visited the National Gallery and in the afternoon we spent a couple of hours at the Gardens By The Bay.

For breakfast I sampled a Singaporean speciality, chicken on rice.

We spent a short but enjoyable time at the National Gallery, the highlight of which was the powerful but spectacularly un-photographable Nowhere by Jane Lee.

Sadly we were only able to spend a couple of hours at the botanical gardens but it was a mind-blowing experience. The first greenhouse we visited was the Cloud Forest, a 58m high dome that replicates the cool moist conditions found in tropical mountain regions in Southeast Asia and Middle and South America. It features a 35m waterfall and a 42m high mountain completely clad in epiphytics (a plant that grows on the surface of another plant) such as orchids, bromeliads, begonias, and carniverous pitcher plants.

By the time we left Tristan was so enthused that he begged me to let him put together a flower of the day segment. Looking into his puppy dog eyes I couldn’t turn him down so now please take the time to enjoy this exquisite write up that he has poured his heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into.

Rose GrapeMedinilla magnifica

A stunning sweet-smelling species native to the Phillipines. It is characterised by rose coloured “florets” (flowers) growing in “panacles” (a much-branched “inflorescence” (a cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches)). It obtained its name in 1820, 3 years into a voyage to the South Seas made by French navigator Louis de Freycinet. The on board botanist Charles Gaudichaud-Beaupré named the plant after José de Medinilla y Pineda, the then governor of The Marianne Islands (now known as Mauritius).

Golden Kangaroo PawAnigozanthos pulcherrimus

Native to South West Australia, I was delighted to be reunited with a previous FoTD contender in Singapore. With its rhizomatous root system (similar to Lotus or Turmeric), evergreen flowering and important role in attracting pollinators such as bees and birds, I firmly believe it deserves a second chance at the honour of the title.
Desert RoseAdenium obesum

A member of the Dogsbane family that is evergreen or drought deciduous (it can drop its leaves during dry spells). I admired its pink tubular flowers and it’s stout, swollen basal caudex (stem). But watch out! Its roots and stem contain a toxic sap that is used on arrow heads for hunting large game throughout Eastern and Southern Africa. The sap is also an effective fish poison. Hunters mix sap with water to make a concentrate which when released into slow flowing rivers will stun or stupefy fish, making them easy to catch.
“Merlin-and-his-Beard” Phragmipedium Longifolium

There was a special orchid exhibition during our visit to cloud forest and although the competition was tight, this was my favourite. I cannot sumarise it better than the entry on Travaldo’s plant care blog:

It is a medium to large sized, warm to cool growing terrestrial or lithophyte with very short stems. It has imbricate, distichous, conduplicate, leaf-bearing sheaths carrying several, linear-lanceolate, dark green above, pale green below, arcuate, acuminate, conduplicate from the middle to the base, up to 80 cm long, 1-5 cm wide leaves with the lower leaves being shorter than the rest.
If you would like to purchase one for yourself they can be bought for the very reasonable price of €30.

There you go.

Please don’t forget to vote for your favourite flower in the comments below. Results may be announced!

Beth of the day goes to Tristan for this write up as well as for photographing close to 150 different species (of the roughly 250,000 total at the gardens) of of plant in the short time we were there.

For those of you who are still hungry for more plant content I will leave you more of Tristan’s handiwork, a beautiful collage that in this case required no begging or pleading to be offered a spot in the limelight.