Day 3 of the tour commenced with another hearty breakfast. Despite many of the band stating their healthy eating intent I notice copious amounts of full English cooked breakfasts being consumed. I guess the excuse is that it sustains us all for another full day as we travel down to Ballina.
The coach is fully laden with all our luggage as we head on to another hotel. The upbeat mood this morning has been tempered by Martyn Bryant's revelation that googling the next hotel suggests we may have been spoilt for the first two nights of our tour! Thanks for that Martyn! I'm sure that this negativity will be proved wrong.
The coach arrived in Gold Coast where the roads were being prepared for a Motorsport event - as we did a circuit of the track I'm not sure we set any circuit records but it gave the band a glimpse of the Gold Coast city area.
The last time the band were here in 1994 we were able to enjoy a game of cricket and have a swim. And so in all our travel gear we made our way to the beach. I think the sight of a band of pommies in travel gear, with trousers rolled up, all having a paddle made an amusing site for the rather more scantily clad clientele on surfers paradise. We even managed to coax some surfers into letting us pose with their surfboards - seeking any opportunity to evangelise to the natives.
Our short sightseeing time ended at the top of the Gold Coast Q1 tower where we enjoyed a burger or Caesar salad lunch accompanied by fantastic views of the surrounding area.
A short stop at Byron bay, the most easterly point of Australia main land, enabled the band to take in frolicking whales, sharks and sting rays all from one splendid viewing point. We also caught our first sight of a wallaby with her joey.
And so we arrived in Ballina. A quick tea at the local corps hall before heading off to the venue, the RSL club.
The programme aptly commenced with Illuminate (Andrew Wainwright) as the venues lighting was somewhat lacking! The audience warmed to the band, especially the solo contributions by Carl Nielsen, Richard Woodrow, Stephen Williams and Andrew Mercer. The band's choral group made its first appearance strutting and swaggering their thing to God Is The One, communicating the gospel in a light hearted way.
It seems that whenever and wherever the band present The Kingdom Triumphant, it speaks to people. It may seem strange that Christmas is soon upon us as we present the message of Christ's coming on this very warm spring day in Ballina but I felt members of the audience were clearly challenged and uplifted. This was evidenced by the band as we moved amongst the audience at the end of the evening.
And so ends another day on the tour as we get to our hotel. And by the way, Martyn was wrong - the hotel is fine!
Written by Staff Bandsman Nigel Hills