This is the night: New Brighton’s moment in the limelight.
For this one evening, once a year, the city comes to our humble suburb to watch a vast amount of money be transferred into sparkles and twinkles and booms off the end of the pier. People flood into this place we call home in their thousands, in their tens of thousands to watch the fireworks extravaganza. Our bars and eateries coin it in big-time. The restaurant Salt on the Pier is booked out ages in advance, and our community cannily hosts a twilight market. People pack the beach; families with picnics, shrieking groups of school friends, Rest Home residents ferried in fleets of minivans, and everything in between. They’re all here.
All except (for the most part) us residents. We’re at home, because we know to our cost that an empty house is an open invitation on this night when everyone is down at the beach. Tonight, it’s coffee and biscuits in the goat paddock; imported Hob Nobs, to be precise. Call it a nod to the origin of the tradition; one that really makes very little sense to us in New Zealand in 2014.
Leia wonders why there’s no Hob Nob for her
But we try not to get too bent out of shape. For one night a year we let the city loose in our place while we hunker down , our community coffers get a nice little boost and our cafes and restaurants make up for that rainy July evening when they only got one table of two in, and then they opted for the blackboard special and the cheesecake with two spoons. It’s not a bad trade off.
Besides the view’s not that bad from the goat paddock.