As I’ve probably said before, new year’s eve is a weird night for me. I never really know what to do. Part of me thinks “it’s just like any other night, what’s the big deal?” But another part of me thinks “you’ve got to do something! It’s New Year’s Eve!”
Now I love fireworks. But I hate going to them. Although I know I’d be fine, I really dislike dealing with large, sweaty mobs of drunk people (appealing though it sounds!). And just as much, I hate not having a clear and quick escape route from said mobs – ie, no taxis, and driving is out. Buses don’t provide an escape route from the mobs, they just cram you into a select portion of the mob – with fluorescent lighting!
This year was the first year in, well, ever that I’ve had a boyfriend at new year’s, and it seemed like it would be nice to spend it with him. The only problem is that Lachlan was down on the south coast at beach mission. Sounded like new year’s would be fun though, the team was playing a bunch of covers for the party people at the campsite, as well as screening the 9pm fireworks, but it was a long way to go and I wouldn’t know anyone else there except for Lachy, who would be onstage all night.
But all it took was a text from Maddie, whose fiancé Tim was also in the band, saying she was going down for the night, and I was in! It was initially going to be a surprise, that I would just turn up and let Lachy see me in the crowd, but I am a hopeless at keeping this kind of secret and also like to share the excitement (I was talking about this with Rod recently – he had organised a surprise trip for him and his wife, and later she said although she loved it, part of her would have liked to have known about it in advance because the anticipation of something lovely happening is such a big part of the enjoyment).
It seemed like there wouldn’t be anywhere to stay, because people who have annual camping holidays and take new year’s more seriously than I do, had already had plans in place for ages. I thought I could probably manage to sleep in the car somewhere, a thought that had my mum quietly hyperventilating in the background. But I managed to find a room at the Bomaderry Motor Inn on wotif.com which was only about 30 mins away from Crookhaven Heads, where Lachy’s beach mission was. Although it was more expensive than camping, it was a really nice place that had been refurbished recently, so it was a good, comfy and quiet spot to head back to at the end of the night.
I arrived at the Crookhaven Heads Tourist Park in time for the team dinner, and got to chat with a few of the people on the mission team. I recognised some of them from NTE missions at Wild Street, and of course everyone was very friendly and welcoming.
As a side note, if you don’t know much about beach mission (or ‘family mission’), it’s something organised each year by Scripture Union, where teams of volunteers go and stay at campsites and caravan parks (here’s an article from the SMH about it). They put together kids’ programs and activities for families, and try to get to know holidayers and talk to them about Jesus. Although it isn’t something I’ve ever had any experience with, many families along the NSW coast head to the same caravan parks year after year for their annual family holidays. Beach mission teams are often made up of the same people each year too, which means that they can actually get to be familiar with the people they meet there. I heard an encouraging story about some kids actually approaching one of the team that day and asking for a Bible because they had decided they wanted to become Christians and wanted to know more about it. From the team’s reaction, I gather that sort of up-front response is rare, but they faithfully keep going back to plant the seeds of the gospel and hope that someday, somewhere, they will bear fruit.
Not long after dinner, the revellers began to gather in the grassy area behind the mission team’s main tent, and the band got underway.
The setlist had been chosen specifically with the audience in mind – last year they had a jazz band play and it didn’t go down too well, so this year was full of covers like ‘Working Class Man’, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’…etc. They went down pretty well! At times it was a bit like live karaoke, with Lachy inviting members of the crowd up to sing drunkenly and out of tune through their favourite songs.
I think my fave was ‘Piano Man’, with Lachy on harmonica and a crowd of 200 belting it out at the top of their lungs.
After the fireworks, the second set and pack up, I headed back to my motel room (and was very glad not to have been sleeping in my car). I made some tea, watched the midnight fireworks on the flatscreen TV, then went off to sleep in a deliciously comfortable bed.