Three things were meant to happen today but didn’t.

I was meant to write a match report on yesterday’s barnstorming eight-wicket triumph over the Black Caps by England.
I was meant to return to Auckland, via Rotorua, by bus.
I was meant to stay off the beer.

None of the above happened. Let me apologise for the first and explain the latter two.

Gentlemen and scholars, Gareth & Barney offered me a lift back to Auckland. Bus and Roturua versus car and Lake Taupo?
I’ve done buses and I’ve done Rotorua. I’ve been underwhelmed by both. You do not get Bob Dylan, Doves and re-mixes, and quite decent ones at that, of Noel Gallagher songs on the bus. You probably don’t get them in Rotorua either.
You also don’t get pastiches of modern cricket journalists and lists of the top five films of all time. And nowhere on Earth is Belinda Carlisle more appreciated than in Barnie’s car.

You also don’t get detours like this on the buses.

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The Huka Falls, just north of Taupo. Brutal, breathtaking, beautiful. Nearly as good as Lightwater Valley in Ripon, according to Gareth, as always unwavering in his loyalty to the county of his birth.

Then there’s the third one. My nemesis. My Achilles heal. Also, sadly, mostly, my raison d’être.

You can try, really try, to have a rest from the beer for a day.

And then you go to Brothers Brewery on Wellesley Street in Auckland. Once again, and in the most unlikely of places, this great country continues to amaze and beguile.

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