Movie nights


To quote Morrissey ‘ Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.’

My parents are early adopters. Along with the microwave oven (see below post about Alison Holst in our kitchen) they also were among the first people I knew to own a video.

My brother and I were beside each other with excitement but there was one problem – my father wouldn’t let us hire videos.

‘They’re too expensive,’ he cried.

We were bewildered and outraged (often our normal pre-teen state).

‘It’s only $5 to hire a video,’ I reply.

‘$5 is a lot of money,’ he replies back.  I know realise $5 was a lot of money in 1987. It would be like $50 today?

I pointed out that there wasn’t much point in having a video player if we couldn’t hire videos to watch. I’m sure this helped my case.

My father came up with a solution.

‘I’ve recorded lots of things off the TV.’

‘Raiders of the Lost Ark, The 1987 World Cup and Are you Being Served?’

He replied with the classic parent end of discussion – ‘It’s that or nothing.’

I have seen Raiders of the Lost Ark 12 times….

We have initiated ‘Friday Night Movie Night’ in our house. However we have discovered that our local shop hires DVDs for $1 on a Monday and the local library for $2 anytime (but we have seen those).

Our children pulled out Raiders of the Lost Ark last time we were there and asked for it.  Fortunately my husband remembered the grizzly scene in it and we decided it would have to wait a few years.


Party ideas – with a twist

2012_Ithink 022

Disclaimer – the photo has nothing to do with the topic…I just wanted to post and couldn’t find an appropriate photo.

One of the best birthday celebrations this year was a relatively inexpensive idea hosted by an amazing woman I know.

One of her favourite things to do is exercise and I have to say that it has taken me half my life to realise that nothing makes me feel better about life (and cope with ‘the winter blues’ or whatever you want to call it…) than exercise.

So her idea for her birthday was:

– She found an inexpensive space (okay, that could be the tricky part but there are halls that can be hired for $10 an hour or may be you have a big lounge)

– The day was two exercise classes taken by her friends – yoga and then pilates (you could do both or one or none)

– We then all shared the classic ‘potluck’ lunch together.

There were around twelve of us who had a great time, laughed lots, felt amazing at the end of the lunch and no-one was exluded due to not being able to afford it (and the birthday girl didn’t spend huge amounts of money either.

The best thing was she spent the day doing something she loved due to a bit of planning and thinking with a twist.

Car Games

When we first moved to one income – when I was on maternity leave – and child Tahi was 6 months old our car stereo died (just at the start of the trip on the Ferry from Wellington to Nelson!).
Replacing it never crept that high up the priority/affordability list and so we didn’t. I used to sing songs to Child Tahi; when child Rua came along he hated my singing and the only song I was allowed to sing was Lola – one of my favourite songs of all time. Child Rua thought I was singing about one of his favourite book characters –, no that’s not what you and Mummy are singing about…

Lyrics are below for those of you not familiar with the Kinks song.

Once, when we were in my parent’s car – and they had the radio on – child Rua, then 3, said ‘Mummy where is the other man in the car?’ as he had never heard a radio/stereo in the car before!

One bonus of not having a radio/stereo for five years (we have one now) is that we my boys got used to talking, playing games and ‘making our own fun’. We play endless games of ‘I spy’ – and have even extended it to ‘I hear with my little ear’ and ‘I smell with my little nose’ (generally when we pass a piggery).

Our favourite car games are:

  • I spy (it is amazing how inventive you can be when you live in the country and there is hills, grass, sheep, cows, fences…ummm)
  • The car colour game, where you keep count of all the cars you see that are the colour you have selected – this can be tricky if there are not many cars around. We tend to have several colours each and also one person might have ‘all the trucks, motorbikes and motorhomes to count. I saw variation on this on an ad – count the squashed opossums on the road.
  • Telling stories – my boys love hearing stories about ‘back in the day’, when I was their age. Child Rua likes to tell stories about his own world that he has invented.
  • Singing songs: Once child Rua became 4 I was allowed to sing songs again.
  • The desperate song. My mother invented a song when we used to travel down to visit my aunt when we were kids called ‘I think we’re almost there’ (to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell) in which you alternate ‘I think we’re almost there’ with ‘I think I can see (insert people’s names you are going to see).
  • Now we have a stereo we often just listen to music when we go somewhere in the car and I miss the inventiveness of not having a stereo; however child Rua insists on at least one game of I spy usually.

    Lyrics to Lola by The Kinks

    I met her in a club down in old Soho
    Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry-cola [LP version:
    C-o-l-a cola
    She walked up to me and she asked me to dance
    I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice she said Lola
    L-o-l-a Lola lo-lo-lo-lo Lola

    Well I’m not the worlds most physical guy
    But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine
    Oh my Lola lo-lo-lo-lo Lola
    Well I’m not dumb but I can’t understand
    Why she walked like a woman and talked like a man
    Oh my Lola lo-lo-lo-lo Lola lo-lo-lo-lo Lola

    Well we drank champagne and danced all night
    Under electric candlelight
    She picked me up and sat me on her knee
    And said dear boy wont you come home with me
    Well I’m not the worlds most passionate guy
    But when I looked in her eyes well I almost fell for my Lola
    Lo-lo-lo-lo Lola lo-lo-lo-lo Lola
    Lola lo-lo-lo-lo Lola lo-lo-lo-lo Lola

    I pushed her away
    I walked to the door
    I fell to the floor
    I got down on my knees
    Then I looked at her and she at me

    Well that’s the way that I want it to stay
    And I always want it to be that way for my Lola
    Lo-lo-lo-lo Lola
    Girls will be boys and boys will be girls
    It’s a mixed up muddled up shook up world except for Lola
    Lo-lo-lo-lo Lola

    Well I left home just a week before
    And I’d never ever kissed a woman before
    But Lola smiled and took me by the hand
    And said dear boy I’m gonna make you a man

    Well I’m not the worlds most masculine man
    But I know what I am and I’m glad I’m a man
    And so is Lola
    Lo-lo-lo-lo Lola lo-lo-lo-lo Lola
    Lola lo-lo-lo-lo Lola lo-lo-lo-lo Lola

    Swop a top

    A long, long time ago (even longer if I am doing something very glamorous like changing a wet bed at 5am – not mine!) my friend and I were in a comedy group and we decided to write a second sketch involving beer, just so we could open up a second beer on stage. We thought this was very rock n roll. We wouldn’t drink that much – just a few sips, however we did finish them after the show (I can’t stand waste). Even more rock n roll (even more so than Kate Winslet’s husband) was the time we drank our props the night before the Comedy Competitions in Hamilton (and I drunkenly called KFC to see if they delivered) and we had to buy some more.

    So the swop a top idea (I did not invent it – I heard about it don’t know why it is called swop a top, probably because of the excellent rhyme, you can swop more than tops) came about because I:

    a) needed an excuse/a way to get rid of my 15 years of opshopping gear (my mother once counted my jackets when I was 17 – I had 28) before I went on my O.E.
    b) needed an excuse/ a way to drink gin and tonic during the week.

    I invited a group of friends around and invited them to drink and try on clothes and then take home anything they fancied. They left with about five bags each and I took the rest back to the opshop.

    For me the only rule of swop a top is to bring any item/s of clothing that you still like but you never end up wearing; it just sits in the wardrobe. Everyone brings clothes and they all end up either in a pile on the floor or (if you’re really fancy and organised) on a rack. Then everyone starts trying on clothes. I’ve never been one for ‘rules’ for how many items people can have or getting ‘agreement’ as all the ones I’ve hosted or been to have just worked out and have been loads of fun. Everyone seems to find a few pieces that they love and people will offer clothes to others if they feel that they have more than their share.

    My friend C took it to another level when she got us to drop all the leftover suit/corporate clothing to Dress for Success after we had finished and then the remaining clothing to Women’s Refuge.

    On ya bike

    My parents have always been early adopters: we were the first people I know to have a microwave (we even still have a microwave cookbook which contains such delights as ‘How to cook a delicious roast chicken’ and ‘Wonderful microwave cakes’. I also once came home from a ballet lesson to find Alison Holst in our kitchen giving a cooking demonstration in our kitchen. Sadly, I didn’t get to meet her, she was whisked away like the Queen once it was over.

    My parents bought us cycle helmets long before they were compulsory and insisted that we wear them. Unfortunately this coincided with me turning into a teenager and having a wave of stubborness (that is only going now) and therefore my love of biking stopped, as I refused to wear the helmet.

    Twenty five years later my brother gave me his bike and I have discovered how much I adore biking (and yes, I wear a helmet). I loved biking so much (and where we live is a biker’s paradise as it is flat) that I went for three nights in a row; on the fourth night my backside was so pained that I couldn’t get on (even with the padded seat).

    C mentioned to me that she was also biking and we decided to go for bike rides together once a week. We meet up at the dairy and head to a small town 7 kms away. It’s great – we don’t ride that fast so we chat and catch up in a way that we never do when the kids are around. Also it’s better for us than having a coffee or a wine (or three) and it’s free (of course I was given my bike).

    Farmers’ Markets

    Okay, so you won’t necessarily get the cheapest goods at’s Markets however you get to buy really good value for money, super fresh produce direct from the makers, in a lovely environment and feel super good about supporting local people. I also find it is comparable to the supermarket and sometimes cheaper.
    Ever since moving to the country I’ve been hugely keen on buying local where I can. Child Rua (can’t call him child number 2 – sounds like a euphemism) and I headed down to the Farmer’s Market yesterday morning (Child Tahi stayed at home and read comics).
    We met a friend of ours and wandered around the stalls: honey, eggs, vegetables and fruit, organic vegetables and fruit, coffee, bread, fish, meat, and chutneys.
    I bought some amazing grapes (like the kind your Grandparents grew or the kind I spent money on at Commonsense Organics) $7 for an amazing paper bag full. I also bought some incredible – award winning – local cheese as a treat to take to a BBQ. I bought vegetables and fruit and honey and bumped into friends – it felt like living in France. We then sat down on the grass while Rua ate the pinwheel scone I had bought him ($2) and chatted to some other local acquaintances. Rua then wanted to climb the statue of a dead war hero but I persuaded him just to run around on the grass instead.

    Two hours after we arrived we walked home.

    Bowls and Sausages – check out Open Day Events

    I love community newspapers and I anticpate their arrival (tragic – but then I am gardening so my foggyness is complete) with an excitement I used to reserve for reading The NME, Melody Maker, The Face and The New Yorker. But what really excites me is The Community Hotline that is specifically for our small (the size of my High School) town; when that arrives I read it cover to cover.

    This is where I discovered that our local Community Bowls club was having an Open Day and that it was $3 per person and you could register a team of four. I excitedly rang my friend Y she wasn’t quite as excited as me she said, hmmm what were the words ‘If you’re desparate I’ll do it’. I rang around my sports team and convinced ML and P (a pseudonym not the dangerous drug) to play. They weren’t as keen as me:

    ‘Why are we doing it?’

    ‘Bowls? Like what old people play?’

    I had my ace ‘It’s only $3.’

    Seriously, even if we hate it, it’s only $3.

    I rang Y back and she reluctantly agreed. I think it helped that I reassured her that there was a very strong possibility that I would be crap. I told her about the time I played indoor bowling and my friend’s four year old son and seventy year old mother both bet me.

    I rang up to register – and it gets even better ‘It is three dollars,’ said the woman on the other end in a slightly apologetic tone, ‘however you do get sausages and bread after the game.’

    So we headed along on the night. One blip was we had to think of a team name. I hate thinking of team names, we went back and forth while the lovely Octegenarian suggested options including the names of Australian teams after we told him we played sport together.

    So we begin our game with the help of a lovely gentleman who gave us such advice as ‘There’s nothing to it.’ However when it was my turn he changed his tune to saying ‘Not that like that!’

    It was surprisingly fun and we even won some games – when I say we, I mean my team mates helped us win. I helped us get a team together. As well as the game, there was also the opportunity to chat to your team and the opposite team (when the other side was playing). Did I also mention the reasonably priced beer?

    So after the games we came inside for sausages, sauce  and bread. There was also a raffle with $1 tickets. My excitement continued when I thought one of the prizes was a chicken, and then was bitterly disappointed when I realised it was of course a frozen chicken (we’re in the county, people bring pet pigs to pet day).

    One of the best aspects was socialising with a wide variety of people – 70+s, teenagers, and everyone else in between.

    So I headed home having splashed out and spent $9 (with the beer and the raffle tickets) in the end for four hours of entertainment.

    Competitions – win free stuff (*** winning not guaranteed)

    My father-in-law suggests that you should hold a bottle of wine the way you should hold a woman -‘Not round the neck, round the bottom.’

    I suggest – possibly less controversially, that you should select competitions to enter like selecting a partner: selectively with a view to spending energy on something that suits you.

    When I was eighteen and home from University I was reading the Sunday News at my parent’s place and came across a competitions for tickets to Billy Bragg. I wondered how many Billy Bragg fans would also be Sunday News fans….I entered for myself and my boyfriend: we won both sets of double passes for Dunedin.

    Local newspapers – which I have a soft spot for (Sausages win first prize! True headline…but bless not death or grim news that’s why I love them) often have free giveaways for concerts. A lot of competitions nowdays are email based however I think you often have a better chance if you have to send an envelope in.

    The kuds (kids in a NZ accent) and I entered a competition in a local newspaper.