Guy Fawkes? Really, New Zealand?

joyland fireworks sign

Whenever I think of fireworks my first image is of a Twilight Guy Fawkes Gala Day at my primary school. I was about six years old and my Dad took me and my five year old cousin along to the Gala Day. Dad got to throw the lollies for the lolly scramble and would pinch pocketfuls of them so we could get a sugar rush without trying to fend off the big kids in the sweet scrum.

At the end of the Gala Day some bright spark decided to put on a Fireworks display. It was the 80s, I don’t think safety was a great concern and I remember we all stood in a big circle while someone’s Dad lit the fireworks in the centre. I don’t remember the show going on for long before a firework went shooting across the circle horizontally instead of going up into the sky. A little girl called Abby, who was a year older than me, was struck in the head by the firework. I heard her scream and saw everyone gather around her.

Dad picked my cousin and I up, and, I clearly remember him putting my cousin and I up on one of his shoulders each, probably to distract us, and using his long strides to get us away from the chaos.

In the following days my class made Abby a ‘Get Well’ card as she recovered in hospital. Eventually she came back to school with half of her beautiful hair gone. I think she was okay but I still think of Abby every time I hear about Guy Fawkes.

Having lived in Australia for the last few years we haven’t had the annual fear that Guy Fawkes creates. It’s not celebrated in Australia and fireworks, I believe, are only available for private sale in Queensland. Now, on the day after my first Kiwi Guy Fawkes I’m feeling particularly grinch-ish.

Why?

Why do we have a week of banging and explosions ringing? Nights of shivering and petrified animals? Drunks messing around with gunpowder – where’s the sense in it? Really, New Zealand? You’re better than that.

I’m not saying that, done well, fireworks aren’t spectacular. They are. The most amazing fireworks I’ve ever seen were a few years ago over Sydney Harbour Bridge, probably millions of dollars worth of incredibly coordinated and fantastic pyrotechnics. But the fireworks that were shot at arriving guests at the Guy Fawkes party I went to at a university party in Hamilton in 1996? Not so much.

I’ve just signed this petition to ban private sale of fireworks in New Zealand. Who knows if it will work but it’s worth a try. If you want to sign it then go for it.

Why I will never go to a Foam Party

Foam parties - testing the limits of waterproof mascara and string bikinis since 1992

Foam parties – testing the limits of waterproof mascara and string bikinis since 1992

I would like to tell you that the Viking and I were sitting, hand in hand, retelling tales of our youth when the subject of foam parties came up, but in actual fact we were watching Gavin & Stacey. Gavin was dragged along to a foam party and, quite sensibly, thought it was shite.

I have never been to a foam party, although in my younger years I did think they looked ah-may-zing. Like, Oh My God! A friend showed me a photo of her and a bunch of board short wearing muscular types cavorting at a foam party in London and I thought, “phwoar – that looks like good fun.” But I never made it to one. Poor little foamless Steph.

I asked the Viking if he’d ever been to one. He had. Of course. Our youths were so different. My party locations were seasonally determined, summer = beach party or outdoor concert, winter = house or, when things got rural, woolshed parties. Growing up in Norway the Viking had all of Europe as his playground. Summers and graduation celebrations were generally spent in Spain or Greece, winters were closer to home, skiing in the day and warming the cockles in mountain cabins of an evening.

He said that after high school had finished him and about a dozen other young fellows went to celebrate on the Greek Island of Hersonissos. I had a ‘burn your notes bonfire’ in Waitara but that’s by the by. Back to Greece. So all the lads took themselves off to a foam party. My mind instantly conjured up images of debauchery, topless maidens swirling around in the foam and draping their soapiness all over my husband. Those horrible, slutty, imaginary teenage girls from the past!

I asked the Viking if that’s exactly what it was like. He insists that the state him and his friends was in on that island shaped them into a woman-repelling force. I have my doubts, strapping young lads with accents and piercing blue eyes – I wouldn’t have minded the odd drunken slur back in my hey-day.

Back to the foam – I asked if he’d enjoyed it. He said it was the worst party he’d ever been to. Factors I hadn’t considered came into play. Your beer tastes like Sunlight liquid detergent. When the foam evaporates you’re just wet, and then it gets cold. The Viking said that the foam at this party wrecked the sound system so the music stopped and it was more like a carwash than a party.

And then him and one of the boys wanted to go home and they waited forever for a taxi only to have one stolen from under their noses by a some lads who said that their friend had broken his hand and they had to just duck in and get him and quickly go to the hospital. The taxi driver said “sure sure if these guys don’t mind.” Of course the Viking and his equally as socially responsible companion said “be our guest” and the friends ran back inside to get their injured mate. As soon as they were out of view the taxi driver said “get in you boys, I’m not taking someone to the hospital, it’s too risky that they might blame me and I’ll lose my taxi. If you don’t get in I’m leaving anyway.”

So in they hopped and went home to the aromatic delight that must be 12 teenage boys sharing close quarters.

I’ve decided it’s all a part of me growing up, this not wanting to do the things I used to. Maybe I’m a bit slow off the mark with these realisations, but going to a foam party hold about as much appeal as drinking from the bladder of a baboon nowadays.

Have you ever been to a foam party? Or, given the chance – would you get soapy on the dancefloor? 

The Biology of Boganism

A flanno, mullet and frosted tips - this bogan's got it all

A flanno, mullet and frosted tips – this bogan’s got it all

I would love to say that I have noticed more of this strange beast as we get closer to the warmer months, but alas, it appears that the ‘bogan’ is an evergreen, he takes no break for cold seasons and has no need for hibernation as he warms his denim-clad cockles on smoking exhausts and roll-your-own ciggies.

My hometown is not shy of a bogan or two, a fact I’ve been reminded of recently. We live on a street that leads down to one of the city’s main beaches – which is fantastic, although many a bogan likes to drop some phat beats out of his pimped-out ride (I know, I’m SO gangsta) on the way to check out the waves. Actually, I remember going down this very street as a youngster, probably in someone else’s bogan-wagon to a party in the beach carpark. A party that was to farewell one of the town’s brightest young things on his way to, well I don’t know, and he wasn’t ‘bright’ so much as good looking and probably a rugby player. In fact he was so cool he didn’t even show up to the party.

But I digress.

The bogan. I am somewhat of an expert at recognising bogans as one of my earliest suitors was a definite bogan. All he ever wanted for birthday, Christmas or anniversary presents was car speakers. I remember doing a count up at one stage and he had 17 speakers in his 1970s Ford Escort. For a short time he had two of those huge wooden box house speakers on the backseat, leaving so little passenger space that only his smallest friend could squeeze in between. I was left to sit in the front on the knee of his 6 foot 5 best friend because, y’know safety first. It’s no wonder I can’t hear the TV now with the way he pumped Violet Femmes through those speakers.

I remember one particularly enchanted evening when we were out a cruisin’ and the car’s normally grunty exhaust suddenly became noticeably more grunty. It started to sound more like a machine gun and, I kid you not, as we turned a corner a young man threw himself down on the pavement – sure he may have seen Boys In The Hood one time too many but he was genuinely frightened. Luckily for me, my Romeo had an old bit of rope in the boot and it was my job to hold the piece of rope – which was wrapped around the broken exhaust – outside of the passenger window of the car until we could get to a safe area for some quick repairs. Oh the romance! I still swoon whenever I hear a car backfire.

And now, as I look upon these lovely little motorhead morsels revving their engines up and down my street, noses barely visible over the steering wheels from their bucket seats, sunglasses on on the darkest, rainiest days I think to myself – far out, that was a lucky escape.

Have you ever dated a bogan? Or are you, proudly, a bogan? How fat are your rims?

 

Finally, the lady opens the kimono

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Mount Taranaki is the ultimate provincial icon, her silhouette is etched into everything from logos to tattoos to the hearts of every local. When I told a friend I was moving back she said “they say the mountain calls everyone home.” Which was a bit eerie at the time because I do feel like it’s true.

But our mountain is an elusive beast, much of the time she’s cloaked in clouds, seldom offering more than a glance of snow-peaked tip through the grey. Some people wonder if she exists at all, as she loves a good hide from the weekend roadtrippers. She’s all peek and no boo. She’s not exactly flirtatious, you need to court her for some time before she’ll show you her wares. I wish I could say the same was true for most of us ladies from the provinces, who’ve been sometimes known, (cough cough) for our friendly spirits (tarring myself with the same brush there, my friends).

Like many new visitors the Viking has been hanging out for a bit of mountain. (If you want to read a childish pun into that last sentence feel free, I know I giggled when I read it back.) But of course she has draped herself in thick grey rainclouds since we arrived. Even when the sun shone through yesterday she was nowhere to be seen.

“That mountain’s got until Tuesday to show itself” said the Viking.

“And then what happens?”

“I’ll start complaining.” (which was funny because he’d already jumped the gun by complaining from our arrival about the absence of snow-capped wonder).

“Maybe I’ll write a letter or something.” he added.

“To whom?”

“The Mayor.”

During our picturesque walk yesterday, where we passed by a gorgeous lake and drank in the beautiful spring aroma of those little white flowers I don’t know the name of (a little help?), and I commented that I think my heart-rate actually drops down a few beats just being close to the ocean, the Viking said that the only thing that would improve things would be the mountain.

Lake Rotomanu

Lake Rotomanu

 

And then, this morning, I was called forth from the boudoir, still encased in chenille and flannel pjs to behold the majesty apparent from our front yard….

In all her glory

In all her glory

And oh what a happy Viking I had on my hands! Maybe the sight of snow does for him what the sound and smell of the ocean does for me.

If Mount Taranaki looks familiar to you, and you’ve never made it to these parts, she made a cameo appearance in The Last Samurai as Mount Fuji a few years ago. It was a time when the province counted Tom Cruise as a local and started referring to itself as Tomanaki. A little bit shameless but the film did wonders for this place. Even Mount Taranaki came out to play when Hollywood was in town, although I’d do what I was told too if I had this running at me:

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*The painting at the top is by Christopher Perkins, my parents have a print at their house.

What’s your home icon? Do you feel the gravitational pull of the sea or does a good cafe with a righteous flat white cut the mustard in your neighbourhood?

A very Kiwi homecoming

New Zealand - doing fruit flavoured marshmallow wrapped in chocolate like no other country

New Zealand – doing fruit flavoured marshmallow wrapped in chocolate like no other country

We’re here!! We touched down in New Zealand on Thursday night after a gigantic day of travel. I think time travelling with a toddler should be measured like dog years, the flight was three hours but felt like about 14. And then there was the rigmarole trying to track down a fretting spoodle after we hauled our own selves through customs. That was three hours of my life I’ll never get back. But we got our shaggy little sidekick in the end and he celebrated with masses of kisses for us all and a wee on the grass outside the imports warehouse that went for about 15 minutes. Bless.

We stayed the night with my sister on Thursday before driving south to Taranaki the following day. As we drove through the frankly spectacular New Zealand countryside I looked at my lovely husband and said

“So what do you think? Of MY country?”

There was a pause.

“It’s very green.”

Oh darling, stop with the gushing already.

Twenty minutes passed.

“And quite hilly.”

Hang on, is that Tourism NZ on the phone, busting a gut to have the Viking pen their next campaign?

New Zealand – very green and quite hilly

Look out Peter Jackson, I think you have a competitor in the promotion of New Zealand stakes.

But anyhoo, effusive praise aside, my Viking does seem quite pleased with the lay of the land. Our new house is so much better than the dodgy dark photos we were shown online, with a massive kitchen and double-door fridge – of course stocked full of every delight you can imagine by the world’s happiest grandparents.

Bubba has a line-up of new toys, and a reserve line-up of new toys for when the first lot need refreshing. Alfie has a comfy couch to lie on and a front yard to bark from – it’s elevated above the street so he can peer over the heads of passers by and feel quite mighty, important features for an anxious dog with a ‘small canine’ complex.

And me? Well I’m glad to be back in a place where I won’t have this conversation for a while:

Person: So you’re from New Zealand?

Me: Aha

Person: You don’t really have an accent? I didn’t pick it up.

Me: Well, yes I’ve been…

Person: There it is! I heard it! Wow! It’s strong! How did I miss that? Do “fush n chups”

Me: I’d rather not

Person: “Choice bro Tafe?”

Me: Nah

Person: What comes after five?

Me: Yeah, I’m not really…

Person: “RILLY” ha! You Kiwis are hilarious!

There are a few things I’ll miss about Australian life but that conversation will not be one of them.

For the rest of the weekend we intend to keep up with the unpacking, and I will continue my barrage of all things Kiwi for the Viking. So far we’ve had perky nanas, New Zealand salmon, Vogels bread and the Sauv Blanc is on ice. Any other suggestions? So far he’s rated the Vogels very highly, I’m keeping whitebait fritters in my back pocket (not literally) for when I really want to pull out the big guns.

Have a great weekend,

 

Heading home

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Our little Kiwi/Viking/Spoodle family has been making decisions, quick decisions, of late. After two and a half years in Melbourne we’ve decided to up sticks back to my hometown in New Zealand. It’s time for me to stop taking the piss out of provincial New Zealand and become the butt of my own jokes, which I already am, so apart from geography, there’s little change there.

In preparation for our evacuation from Melbourne suburbia, a few things have come to my urgent attention. Mainly, we have been living in a jungle. When we rented our house we found out that when our contract was up the owner would be mercilessly tearing the place down and rebuilidng small, prisonlike townhouses and then laughing all the way to the bank. And then something very bad happened to the housing market (for which I take no responsibility) and now he can’t afford to rebuild and we have overstayed our contract by about a year. Unfortunately, I was already in the state of mind that it didn’t really matter what we did to the property as it would be smashed down the second we left, so small texter masterpieces on walls, occasional red wine dribbles on carpet and non-functioning curtains were nothing to lose sleep over. Sure, we told the agent – let’s call her Cruella DeVille – that there were various repairs needed but we both knew, in layman’s terms, we had shit show of ever getting them fixed.

Perhaps it was my revenge for living with a miniature electric-shock giving dishwasher, blinds that fall to the floor when you touch them  and front steps so loose that they sling-shot my daughter through the front door that caused me to neglect the garden so spectacularly. When we arrived the grounds were pristine, but unfortunately they have not stayed that way. I’m not proud of the weeds that poke through the fence or the overgrown lavender bush that is taller than I am now, or the colourful array of dog toys and bones half buried in the dirt. Not proud at all. But I do think it’s a pretty fair trade-off.

Cruella DeVille did not agree. She turned up, actually a day or so before we made our decision to leave (her middle name is Final Straw) and berated me like a child for the weedy garden. I stood fair distance from her as I didn’t want to get squirted with her poison (although it may have helped with the gardens) as her head spun and she said “what have you done? What have you done?” like I’d just revealed a nuclear bomb I’d been working on in the garage.

Personally, I’m no fan of being told off. Something about being yelled at makes me want to yell back, a little louder and, in this case, I did. There’s nothing like having a stand-up barney with a fifty-year-old lady in your front garden to get the blood pumping.

So now that we have given notice on the house, a flurry of repairs are being done. There’s new back steps and a new backdoor frame. A new blind – so effective I nearly lost the dog in it’s lightning quick roll-up abilities – and, in an effort to secure the return of our bond I have paid to have the gardens tended to (I have also met with the landlord and lined up beside my spoodle and my toddler to deliver a triple-threat puppy dog eye attack to gain his allegiance come bond-return time).

So of course, we are also neck-deep in ebay sales, visa applications for the Viking, dog shipping paperwork, job applications and general clearing of stuff. But we’re so excited to be heading home. We have a new house rented and waiting for us, it’s five minutes walk to the beach and from the front door you can see the mountain. And the kitchen has a double-door fridge, so we’re feeling very good about it. And we’re renting straight from the landlord who is, apparently, nothing at all like the villain from a children’s movie.

The view from my new front door, not really but you can see the same mountain, and a bit of green probably.

The view from my new front door, not really but you can see the same mountain, and a bit of green probably.

It’s Pre-Nup time!

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This week I’ve read some fabulous articles about differences, my favourite blogger Mrs Woog wrote about her beautiful son Jack for the latest Australian Women’s Weekly – you can read that here, and I found a new blogger to follow on Scary Mommy who wrote about raising kids who look different from each other – a situation very close to my own heart. But, amidst this beautiful writing, I thought it time to celebrate the differences that my impeding marriage will bring together – the legal union of a Norwegian and a New Zealander. And what spells romance and cultural sensitivity better than a *kinda* legal document?

May I present:

The binding pre-nuptial contract between the Viking and Steph – Sassmouth Mama.

I, Steph (otherwise known as Sassmouth Mama, the ‘wife’, m’lady or herky jerky dancer) do hereby solemnly swear to do the following:

  • Nod sympathetically at the lack of television coverage of the winter Olympics in the Southern Hemisphere
  • Refrain from telling unsuspecting strangers that Norway is the capital of Sweden
  • One day, perhaps many, many years from now, learn to cross-country ski
  • Never suggest that drinking strong black coffee at 10pm is a bad idea
  • Concede that is does make sense for the plural of sheep to be ‘sheeps’ and allow ‘the husband’ to use this word without ongoing mockery
  • Learn the Norwegian National Anthem, or, at the very least, adequately perform the high bit of Aha’s Take on Me
  • Learn to make authentic waffles and investigate options for importing brown cheese into Australia

I, the Viking (otherwise known as the ‘husband,’ Big Sexy or Pooh Bear Wallah) do hereby solemnly swear to do the following:

  • Insist that all movies with beautiful scenery were ‘probably filmed in New Zealand’ – regardless of what the credits say
  • Call pieces of rubber affixed to one’s foot by a v-shaped strap ‘jandals’ and nothing else
  • Never, ever, ever make any sort of joke during the Haka. The appropriate reaction is a single manly tear whenever the Haka is performed.
  • Watch at least one game of rugby with the father-in-law each season. Hot pie with sauce and thermos of coffee optional.
  • Learn the words to Poi E, or if this proves too difficult – OMC’s ‘How Bizarre’ will suffice.
  • Learn how to make whitebait fritters like ‘the wife’s’ Mum
  • Make appropriate hilarious Flight of the Conchords references like ‘it’s business time’ and ‘there’s too many dicks on the dance floor’

Rightio, that’s that sorted then. What about you? What was the give and take to make your married/committed life paradise tolerable?

We have a wedding dress winner!

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Oh joyful day! It might be pelting down outside, the dog might be in full-clingy ‘I will not stray from that space directly in front of your feet that you want to step forward into’ mode, the baby might be cutting about 13 teeth all at once but all I feel is relief, happiness and, well massive sinus issues but that is just standard.

So, after failing to purchase a fitting, non-maternity-wear-looking bridal gown on the supercheap from China, I opted for a gorgeous dress from an Aussie supplier. It was still on the cheap by wedding standards but, unlike the Chinese numbers, did not come inside-out and crammed into a courier bag. Call me precious, but I like a little tissue paper around my wedding dress. I don’t want to spend five minutes undoing the zip and flipping it out the right way. I want that Pretty Woman moment when you open the box, unwrap the paper and reveal the beautiful bodice. Okay, I’ve reread that and you can definitely call me Princess Precious – it’s my nod to Bridezilladom.

But even this morning’s delivery wasn’t without some drama. The dress arrived ten minutes before the Viking had to leave for work, so I seized the opportunity to try it out without a toddler and a dog pulling at the hem. The only issue was, I managed to get stuck inside the dress because I didn’t pull the zip down far enough. I stood for 3 or 4 minutes, arms above head, face poking out for air but unable to pull the bodice over my chest. It was an incredibly graceful moment. The Viking is a bit traditional and does not want to see the dress. I am a bit less traditional when faced with the prospect of living the next 3 weeks stuck halfway in my wedding dress. I called him down.

“I’m closing my eyes!” he said as I heard him walk into the hallway wall.

“It’s alright, I’ve put a hoodie on!” I’d managed to find yesterday’s zip-up hoodie, worn for the morning walk atop the laundry mountain in the bathroom and somehow thrown it over the top. The Viking wasn’t risking it though and kept his eyes shut, feeling around for the zip and freeing me. By this stage of course the dog was breathing heavy dog breath on me and Bubba was playing with the floaty fabric.

But as the zip came down, the heavens opened and light shone straight into the bathroom and the dress fitted like a glove. The Viking retreated, blindly calling the kids with him.

Oh the relief! There’s a reason why women get helped into wedding dresses on all those TV programs – they’re a struggle.

I fully intend to share the wedding dress details after the big day but if you’re keen to look around the site the dress came from please do. White Runway is the website (they’re Aussie-based but deliver internationally). The dress arrived in three days, beautifully boxed and I think the dress is even more beautiful than the photos show. If I was going to do it all over again, (don’t get the wrong idea if you read this Honey) I would get the bridesmaid dresses from here too.

And in other fantastic news, my homeland has passed a marriage equality bill recognising same-sex marriages. Go New Zealand! I’m so proud to be from a country that recognises that love is love, whether it’s between a man and a woman or a woman and a woman, or a man and a man. Love is love! I’ve been happy-crying my way through facebook updates today. A close friend of mine, a woman in her early forties who has been out and proud for years and years posted “holding my head a bit higher today.”

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This is such a wonderful move for New Zealand, but even as a proud Kiwi I’ve got to admit – it’s about bloody time! We were the first to give women the vote in 1893, the first in the WORLD and we’ve taken a long time to recognise same-sex marriage. As the Viking is quick to point out, same-sex marriage has been legal in Norway for years. But at least we beat the Aussies!

Wedding season in New Zealand is going to go off the charts. If you need an bargain websites to get your gear from, drop me a bell.

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Watch the moment in New Zealand parliament when the marriage equality bill was passed.

 

The first concert I ever went to

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The year was 1986. I was 8 years old and thrilled from the soles of my kung fus to the tip of my side-pony to be allowed to attend two concerts over three nights at Taranaki’s most prestigious outdoor music venue – the Bowl of Brooklands.

The Bowl - in my opinion, New Zealand's best outdoor concert venue

The Bowl – in my opinion, New Zealand’s best outdoor concert venue

For those of you not familiar with the provincial prowess that is Taranaki, New Zealand,  let me impart upon you my fond memories of ‘the Bowl’ Many, many a big name act have performed on this stage. Jack Johnson, REM, UB40 – what’s that you say? UB40? The 80s reggae icons who penned the song sung by every person who has stained their lips and their tongues purple by sucking back a bottle of red for the good of their heart? Oh yes – them. And it was UB40 who were to be the first band I ever saw live. What a way to kick off a lifelong love of live music. My sisters and older cousin had been shackled with chaperone duties over my annoying younger sibling self. They begrudgingly accepted the duties in exchange for tickets but got their revenge by dressing me like some sort of Cyndi Lauper/Boy George tribute doll. My cousin had an obsession with blusher that was sadly encouraged by her pop icons and took it out on my face that night. I wasn’t allowed to look in the mirror before I left. I was shown how to dance like Molly Ringwald and made to perform like a wind-up 1980s monkey repeatedly while we queued our way into the Bowl.

Shoddy bone-structure? Just paint it on love!

Shoddy bone-structure? Just paint it on love!

But my mood could not be dampened. Even my slight fear when a big, drunk guy stumbled into my sister was quickly dispelled when a nearby, even bigger and not quite as drunk guy picked him up by the collar and told him to ‘vacate the area’ in fewer words. The same beefcake then started drinking from a hipflask he had inserted into a lovely tapestry cushion to sneak in past the liquorban and kindly offered it to my teenage sister. She wisely said no but kept him close by for security purposes. And as my sisters and cousin kept me within their peripheral vision from as far away as possible, I danced and twirled, snapping my suspender straps and tipping my bowler hat at my older lady fan base. Back in the 80s, the Bowl crowd would show their appreciation for the act by swimming across the eel-ridden moat and sitting on the edge of the stage, sometimes swaying with lighters flicking, often with boobs out. Nowadays there are some killjoy rules about not swimming across the moat and splashing muddy water onto the electrical-wire covered stage – I must agree that barbequed rockstar is rarely a crowdpleaser but watching the sodden faithfuls clamber onto the stage was a very fond childhood memory of mine.

I’ve been taken back to that heady night recently because the UB40 classic, There’s a rat in the kitchen has been stuck in my head for days. Why? Because my mother, the least rodent-loving human to roam this earth found a filthy giant rat striding through her kitchen like  some sort of rat druglord. Unfortunately for Mum, at the time Dad was staying with us for a couple of nights on his way back from a business trip. She was alone with the rat. Wisely, she skyped my sister while holding two walking sticks as weaponry and standing on top of a chair. Apparently my sister peppered her advice with fits of laughter and jokes of the ‘look out! It’s behind you!’ nature. She did wisely suggest getting a professional in though, advice Mum took immediately. A rat-finding wonderwoman swiftly trapped the giant rat and Mum banged pots around the rest of the house to scare off any of the rat’s brothers and sisters. I’m fairly sure she considered hanging the trapped rat up as a warning to others, Braveheart style, but she was scared it would detract from the peonies that have flowered by the front door. And what support did I provide to my mother during this ordeal? I posted this video to her facebook page of course.

Who was the first band you saw in concert? Has red, red wine ever gone to your head?

Is that egg foo young in my cleavage?

Last night I celebrated my birthday with a girls’ night at Tokyo Teppanyaki. It felt like my first girls’ night since 1995 so it was beyond fun. Nowadays I have two and a half drinks and all the stories come out so it’s also a lot less expensive then when I had maintained a marine-like tolerance to alcohol.

I love Japanese food but sometimes find it can be a bit quiet and serious in Japanese restaurants, so a friend suggested teppanyaki – where a chef cooks at your table on a steaming hotplate and throws hot little morsels into your gaping mouth. Probably not a good first date venue.For some reason I had it in my head that the chef threw whole raw eggs, which I did briefly think could be a choking hazard and potentially ‘outfit-ruining’ but I looked past that for the theatre of it and booked us up.

Smart move Steph, smart move. What a bunch of fun it was. Food was flying through the air like tasty little torpedoes, being caught about 20% of the time, reminding me never to sign up as a cleaner at a teppanyaki restaurant. [Read more…]