It’s all about the theatre darling


This week had a theatrical bent.   Apart from the run of the mill theatrics of..

  •  Lauren when are you going to tidy your room?
  • Oh My God we are out of gin!!!
  • Brett I have no idea how we ran out of gin so quickly, why Billie brought that mess inside, why the Bank of Francis got raided again???

No that is just normal for around here but this week Brett and I went to see Little Shop of Horrors.  It was at the Q Theatre which is a great facility for Auckland.  We really like going there, it is easy to get to, it is a nice comfortable space and the bar isn’t too shabby either.

I hadn’t seen Little Shop of Horrors before, the singing was great, it is a funny story and Rima Te Wiata was an awesome Audrey 2.  In fact she is the first woman to play the part of Audrey 2 in a professional production. (useless piece of information which may be handy at your next quiz night)  Brett was a bit more ho hum about the experience.  Not because he didn’t think the cast was good, but it just wasn’t his kind of thing.

Then I was lucky enough to get invited to a reading of a new play written by a former call centre buddy of mine Aroha Awarau.  Aroha is a man of many talents, he is a feature writer for the Woman’s Day, a photographer, writes short stories and plays and he has a wicked sense of humour.

The play he has written is called The Luncheon, and is based on the premise of the 1958 Academy Award Nominees for Best Supporting Actress getting together for lunch a few days before the awards.  The play is fabulous, although it was just a reading, and the cast had only had a few hours rehearsal, it came together beautifully.  It says a lot for the quality of the writing and the respect that Aroha is held in that he assembled a wonderful cast, including Rima Te Wiata.  She somehow managed to find the time to study the script so she could play a wonderful, spiky, opinionated Elsa Lanchester, while still being a fabulous carnivorous talking plant at the theatre next door.

I will be honest, I wasn’t expecting a great deal (sorry Aroha – me bad)  But I will be shocked and stunned if this play doesn’t get produced soon and becomes a hit.

The only other really dramatic thing that happened at our place this week is I decided that I could put some fairy lights in our tree outside.   However I forgot that I am no longer the limber spring chicken I used to be.  Consequently there was a lot of frustration as this old chook tried to climb the tree.  Brett had to come and save me by providing a ladder.  It was a bit of shocking experience I must admit realising I just didn’t have the upper arm strength to lift myself into the branches.  But the lights are up now, and they look great – even if I do say so myself.

Only 5 weeks now till Christmas, we have some fairy lights in our tree outside, the Christmas Cakes have been fed what was left of the port.  I had to buy a new bottle today.  (oh dear I wonder if they are singing to Brett “feed me” like Audrey 2 does.  If he starts looking anemic I will let you know.  So we must be all sorted surely 🙂

Colleen from Christchurch enjoyed a wonderful home cooked meal made by Lauren, it included the best ever broccoli salad in the world.  This is a Jamie Oliver recipe and it is great.  It has bacon in it, what’s not to like.  And just to really show off Lauren made a pavlova as well.  So it was all good.  Here is the salad recipe I thoroughly recommend it.  I see it serves 6 as a side, but I have seen Lauren and Gabe devour it just on their own.

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/salad-recipes/broccoli-salad

And just to close Billie wants you to know she won a red ribbon at puppy class on Saturday.  Brett found his slipper, and the cow horn looks so much better in the lounge than outside on the lawn.

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Billie Here


Hi, I noticed that there have been a couple of references to me in previous blogs.  So I just wanted to write something for myself.  I can use the internet, usually just for Christmas and Birthday shopping.  I am allowed free access to Natalie’s Fly Buy’s points and what a lot of fun I have with those. (Although you have been having to purchase replacement underwear and slippers with those points haven’t you?

Here is a photo of my basement apartment.  It cost a few dollars to get Mark the builder to put the concrete down and build the walls, and I was lucky enough to get given a nice little room to go into my apartment.  But to be honest, I only go there as a last resort, when the McFred’s are so deluded as to think they should go out without me.  Apparently my dearly departed sister Coco used to have a kennel with a run and would spend hours in there.  What is that about??? (Billie that is about Coco being a lovely dog, spending time at the farm and knowing that a kennel is a good thing)

This is my basement apartment that gets the afternoon sun.

Anyway once I managed to convince Mum and Dad that there wasn’t any sense in making me stay in my apartment overnight,  clever Brett made me a space under the telephone.  And in fact this weekend he even made a cunning little door for my boudoir, or Whare Kuri.  I like to think it has a kind of Maori Arts and Crafts vibe.  But Helen did point out they could just be Z’s for when I have a ZZZZZ.

My boudoir where I sleep at night

Yes that is a pure New Zealand wool blanket.  But as I like to think, if I am happy everyone is happy.

Anyway I was going to tell you about a typical day for me.  I am meant to get up at 6am like Brett does, but I do quite enjoy scratching on the door at 5:30 just to let everyone know it is the start of a lovely day.  And no I don’t want to go to the toilet or anything I just want the day to get started, and see if the people are really firm that I can’t see them till 6am. (and yes we are, although you annoy the hell out of us)

Then I like to spend the day doing the following activities.  This is of course if someone is home.  Otherwise I am exiled to my basement apartment – blah

  • Jumping on Lauren’s bed
  • Bringing my toys (especially the chew bones and hard spiky things) into the bedroom where people might stand on them
  • Watching Brett get dressed – he is magnificent naked
  • Playing with and hiding slippers.  (Actually Brett is missing one Billie and we can’t find it anywhere) 
  • Bringing snails, dead things and seeds into the house
  • Sleeping
  • Scratching so they think I have something wrong with me so I get to see my friend the vet.  She is always so nice and friendly.  Although sometimes Mum seems a bit stressed.  (That is because it cost a fortune everytime we go there)
  • Guarding the heater
  • Moving Lauren’s lingerie from the floor of her room to the floor of the lounge – and if I can improve her underwear by removing any catches well then yes I will
  • Jumping on Mum and Dad’s bed if no one is watching

Then the big people come home and I get taken for my daily constitutional.  One is good, two would be better – it isn’t like you don’t need the exercise Mum (just saying)

Then at about 8pm Mum goes off to bed with a book, (she is such a Nana) and I like to come and keep her company in the bedroom.  Mainly so Dad has to come and pick me up and take me to the Kuri Whare.  If he has had a little bit to drink I even get called Sweet Pea, which is kind of cute really.

Here I am with some of my toys.  But honestly nothing beats a nice slipper, my cow horn or a snail – especially if I can have them inside

Anyway these are the sort of things I get up to.  I have a pretty sweet life really.  I am looking forward to Christmas up at the farm, and playing with Grandad’s dog Oscar.  Nana’s dog Denny likes to growl at me, but that is probably because she has to stay outside while I am inside (hahaha)

A Big Week


It has been a fairly momentous week both internationally and domestically.  More than one glass of wine gave it’s life on Wednesday night when the results of the American election came through.  I was very happy when Barack Obama was announced at US President for another 4 years.  I know he hasn’t got everything right, but he does appear to be a man of integrity and he does have the interests of all of the American populace at heart.  Which is more than I am prepared to say for the other guy.

So big ups to the US citizens who were able to cut through the bullshit, and making the decision you did.  It must be very hard when there is all that right wing noise about doom and gloom, and why giving people access to basic services means that socialism is just around the corner.

Questions I did have, while the wine was giving it’s life – in a good cause I might add.

  • why on earth did their have to be such huge queues on election day?  That just seemed positively third world do me.
  • who would have wanted to live in one of those swing states?  I am sure some of those people were polled and politicked to, to death.
  • are we a little bit sad that Bo won’t be getting a little brother or sister?
  • how can the people at Fox news and Donald Trump sleep at night?

On the domestic front.  Ms Lauren Edwards was awarded her Grand Prior Award at St John’s in a ceremony on Friday night.  The Grand Prior is the highest award a cadet can earn, and basically means they know stuff, they have done stuff and should be quite useful in an emergency.  Lauren has worked hard for this award, but so have the many volunteers who are involved with the organisation. I can’t thank them enough.

If you are looking for something for your children to get involved in, I couldn’t recommend St John’s more highly.  As I like to say (Lauren doesn’t like to hear) any organisation that provides a free uniform, access to a range of awesome activities and life skills and all the boy friends Lauren could want.  Has got to be pretty good.

Then on Saturday Billie had her last lesson at Basic Puppy Training.  Jess Allsop runs amazing classes, and there certainly been a big improvement in Billies (and my) behaviour since she has been going.  Brett and Lauren came to watch and they were pretty impressed with how we got on.  So next week we start our next challenge – Refined Manners.  Watch this space.

And here is a photo of Billie demonstrating her Basic Manners (not) She is scratching on our French door, asking to be let in so she can eat her sausage inside.

A dog with first world problems. I want to eat my sausage inside on the carpet

Finally to round a big week off, Brett and I were lucky enough to get tickets to see Coldplay in a corporate box at Mt Smart Stadium.  They put on incredible show, the sound, lighting and showmanship were first rate.  And it was fantastic to see a group of professionals giving their all at their craft and enjoying themselves as well.

When you arrived in the stadium you were given these cool wristbands.  That turned out to have LED lights inside them, that flashed in time to the music, so that was pretty awesome.  It looked like we were in a stadium full of Christmas lights.  I am attaching a photo, the blue thing is the battery pack.  No use now of course, but it sure beats a glow stick hands down.

Image

I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to go to an outdoor concert where I was warm, had comfortable seating, and access to a nice toilet whenever I wanted.  There is no crazy rock and roll chick heart beating within me.  I want comfort and no crushing crowds with my musical experience thank you very much.

I am not expecting next week to be anywhere near as momentous.  But Colleen from Christchurch is coming around for dinner on Wednesday night – so who knows 🙂

Happy Birthday Wal


Yesterday was my father’s birthday.  69 years and 1 day ago a bonny baby boy was born in Whangarei Hospital.  He was the first son of Wilson Lloyd Caldwell McConnell (really where did these names come from) and Emma Marie McConnell (nee Harrsion)  Granny said she didn’t get to see him for about 24 hours but she knew he was her baby because he was the best looking in the hospital (she would say things like that – so cute)

Anyway I can’t help reflect on fate and how much more fortunate he was to be born in sunny Whangarei in November 1943 than somewhere in Europe.  He is a fantastic person and I am very proud to have him as my Father.  And even one of the nurses at the Wellsford Medical Centre said he is the nicest man in the world.  Which as Mum pointed out means I have realise that Brett is only the second nicest.  But I am all good with that.

Brett and I went up to the farm for his birthday yesterday, and delivered beautiful pirate cupcakes that Lauren had made, and a losing lotto ticket for his pressies.  Today he and Mum are labouring away at a Golf Club Tournament.  He was out at 6:30 am mowing the greens, and I am sure he wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.

Billie and I are progressing well at puppy training.  We proudly came home with a second place ribbon for how we went in an obstacle course.  Ok there were only 3 other dogs.  But that isn’t the point.  🙂
Next Saturday is puppy graduation, and Brett and Lauren are coming to watch.  Brett asked if he needed to wear a suit.  I told him to stop being so silly, but he will need to take us out to lunch to celebrate.  Billie and I have to learn a trick to show, we are working on crawl.  I will let you know how we get on.

Because I like including photos, here is a photo of me aged about 4 (I think) with Mum’s dog Jake – he is the handsome boy I am leaning on.  And Dad’s dog Zeke.  Zeke was a beardie who was very good with stock.  Jake was a Hunterway cross and was very good at looking handsome and doing what he liked.  I love how I have dirty pants and a big grin.  Nothing has changed in 42 years.

From the Social Pages

My sister and sister in law Mrs and Mrs McDag currently residing in St Peters Sydney Australia had a wonderful Hawaiian Princesses themed soiree in Surrey Hills on Friday Night to celebrate their recent nuptials.  A good time was had by all and one of the the many highlights was the Volcano Cake made by party organiser Byron Watson.  Words cannot describe this magnificent erection.  So I will have to include a photo.   Please note this cake design is the intellectual property of B. Watson

Lauren Rea Edwards currently residing at 7c Alberta Street Pt Chevalier (please God don’t let me be writing that sentence in 4 years time)  will be receiving her Grand Prior Award for St John this Friday at Mt Wellington.  This is the highest award a St John Cadet can receive.  (this is probably more special than your puppy getting a second place ribbon)  Well done Lauren, I am very proud of you.  And a big thank you to all of the St John volunteers who put so much time and effort into the junior programme.

Christmas Cake Update

The first tasting of the cake occurred yesterday.  The cakes have been judged as a bit dry (although full of fruity/chocolate goodness) nothing that a bottle of port wont fix.  So the Christmas Cake fiend has worked out his feeding roster from now until Christmas.  Whew glad that is sorted.