Jet Set Pet
Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
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It was another blissful night off work and I'd not long arrived at the Pig for a few swift ones and a dabble on the Karaoke.
I was stood at the bar yapping to young Aaron when a big Geordie fella came over from a nearby table and pointed out a twenty dollar note that had inadvertently dropped from my pocket as I'd pulled out some cash. Half an hour later I ended up joining him and his wife for a natter.
It turns out Alan and Michelle were here under extraordinary circumstances. Get this: they'd just won the National Lottery 'Jet-Set' and after successfully answering a second batch of questions last week, they'd since found themselves enjoying the magic of New Zealand in immensely lavish style. The BBC were busying themselves arranging and planning everything in great detail and were making sure that Alan and Michelle were treated like film stars. I sat and listened to the story. It really was a chance in a million, an experience of a lifetime and they were loving every minute of it. And they were wonderfully down to earth: one of those genuine everyday couples who work hard but still smile, and who this time, as it happens, had just fell lucky. Their enthusiasm was bursting like a split pipe and it was a great pleasure to be on the receiving end. They were my kind of people, real people, the 'salt of the earth' as some might say.
Alan explained how in a couple of days they would be leaving. Depending on their success with the new line up of questions, they would either be flying home or on to another unrevealed exotic location. It was all very exciting. He invited me to join them at Monty's on Sunday morning for a farewell toast before they fly away in the early afternoon. I said I would. Then I stood with Michelle and watched in shock as Alan jumped up on to the stage and belted out Great Balls of Fire with a hysterical energy. It was his first Karaoke ever. He was on fire!
Michelle told me passionately how she'd felt an instant connection with New Zealand the minute they stepped off the plane - reckoned it's the most amazing place ever. She became a little emotional too when she spoke of leaving. She said she couldn't bear the thought of going back to England and wants to live here. She's going to discuss it with Alan.
Alan told us how the BBC kept thrusting hundreds of dollars in to his hand each day for pocket money. He didn't know what to do with it so he went and got me a pint. They left shortly after to get some rest before the next fun-filled action-packed day that awaited them.
I'm not sure how long the BBC website will keep this running but you should be able to follow Alan and Michelle's progress by 'clicking here'. If they make it big, let's hope they remember that daft Midlands lad who shared the beers and the banter with them that night in Queenstown!