My partner and I went on a trip to Rarotonga in January and it was bliss. It was my first overseas holiday as an adult and the goal was to do as little as possible. We ate fish burgers every day and rode around the island on our scooter. We splashed out on accommodation and stayed at Muri Beachcomber, which was worth every penny. Being able to use kayaks and SUPs every day and living on the beach for the week was heaven.

January is off-season for the island and can be a stormy time of year but we lucked out and the weather was beautiful and the island was really quiet. Apart from one traumatic experience of a giant cockroach crawling across my face while I was half asleep,
it was probably the best week of my life.



When I was on a seven-month contract as the house drummer on a cruise ship, I was asked to babysit a magician's duck for $100 while he went back to the States for two weeks to get married. The job description was to clean Quan's cage each day and fill up his food dispenser but I felt really sorry for him, as he was being kept (secretly) in a storage cupboard in the ship's theatre with no natural light. I'd let him out to stretch his legs for half an hour or so and I'd hang out with him, despite finding him intimidating.
The crew had Friday nights off in Victoria, Canada. On the last night of my ducksitting, I had returned to the ship after soaking up the local culture for a number of hours, and realised I hadn't fed Quan that entire day. My friend Monique and I ran up to check on him and it was immediately apparent that he was furious. When I opened the cage, he barged past me and flew straight for Monique, who was standing in the open doorway.

She ducked, so out he went. We chased the liberated bird around the theatre for the next 30 minutes. At some stage I tripped over a seat, which resulted in a broken toe. Quan crapped all over the place.

When the magician returned to the ship with his new wife, we were reprimanded by the cruise director and given formal warnings. I still got paid my $100 but duck babysitting is definitely a miss.

Drummer Tom Broome will perform in a five-show run of Valerie at Q Theatre from July 17-21, as well as Stimmung Choir Sings Our Lady of the Flowers on July 19-20.