Piranhas vs Eagles

“So Brett, we have to go and watch a League game this afternoon because two great guys are playing.  But I promise we will only go if they are actually playing, and if the weather is good”

Needless to say this afternoon Brett and I spent a wet and windy afternoon on the sidelines at Finlayson Park along with Bill and Romeel who were also on the sidelines – oops.

Piranhas attaching the Eagles

Bill and Romeel are part of a great initiative by Counties Manukau Rugby League to encourage more Asians to play league.  Anyone who has gone to a Warriors game knows the Asian community are huge supporters but they can be a bit reluctant to play.  Hence the Ethnic League.

Here is their description from their Facebook page

The ethnic minorities of Asians and Indians taking the field to show case their skills in the first ever NZ ethnic competition run by Counties Manukau Rugby League. Currently accommodating four teams, Counties Manukau Piranhas, Auckland Wasps, Onehunga Guardianz and the Asian Eagles. Always on the look out for more teams and players for this prestigious competition. Just goes to show no matter what size, gender or ethnicity you are, anyone can play the great game of Rugby League.

And here is an article from the Herald when the league first started


Anyway it just so happens that two great guys that I have worked with, happened to be in opposing teams, and how could I miss the opportunity to watch them run into each other.  Except neither of them actually played and the conditions were not great.  I know plenty of people spend lots of time on the sidelines in sub zero temperatures ankle deep in mud to support their teams.  But not this delicate flower.  I mean there wasn’t a coffee cart,or bar for miles – just saying.

Gumboots required

But while I am a softie, the same could not be said about others.  They were absolutely committed, and showing some great skills under very trying conditions. And that was just the spectators.  The players were absolutely giving their all.  It would have been exhausting.

One of the best things about my role at Goodman Fielder has been getting the opportunity to interact more with the people of South Auckland.  I think I have mentioned this before, but South Auckland is where it is at.  If you want to see what Auckland and New Zealand is going to be like in 50 years time, spend time out here.   And if in 50 years time, we have Filipinos, Indians, Chinese, and other Asian communities out there playing a great game, supported by their families and friends, and maybe some of them making the Kiwis, then people must have been doing something right.  Mind you what do I know, I didn’t bring gumboots with me.

Bill – injured so doing the important job of statistician
Romeel stuck on the sidelines having to have selfies with old ladies
Neo, keen League fan but not prepared to get his paws muddy

Anyway today’s game resulted in a 12 all draw.  So not sure what they means in terms of rankings, but if there is a rematch for the final, Brett and I will be there.  But we will be a bit better prepared – warm hat for Brett’s head if it is a cold day, and a hip flask for the old soak.

Huge shout out to Kasey King from Counties Manukau Rugby League for getting this initiative underway, and thanks Bill and Romeel for encouraging me to come and see what happens when Piranhas meet Eagles


Ok that isn’t that an unusual state for me at Casa Alberta.  But for the next couple of days we are looking after a brand spanking new milk trolley before I deliver it to my 2 awesome merchandisers in Huntly.


I don’t know if you have every tried to move around full crates of milk.  But trust me it is a heavy and tricky job.  So the girls are to be thrilled when I turn up with this bad boy – especially when I put some ribbons and bows on him 🙂  Can’t wait.

And that’s the thing, while in some ways my decision to leave Goodman Fielder was really easy – crossing off each week on the calendar on a Sunday night like it was a prison sentence, probably is a sign you aren’t in a good place.

In other ways it has been really hard, I have been able to meet and work with some fabulous people.  And in some very small ways I think I have been a ray of sunshine.

  • dishing out chocolates – check
  • of course it is fine that you have rung in sick at 7:30 am (melt down once the phone is hung up) – check
  • new uniform for everybody – check
  • inspirational health and safety training sessions – check.  Ok I made that up
  • delivering kick ass trolleys to Huntly – check

But my little light was getting burnt out – and there just wasn’t enough gin out there to keep it burning.

And then the Universe provided.  I am a bit wary of saying that because it reminds me of this great clip from Amy Schumer.

But maybe I am just extremely fortunate and I know some fabulous people.

My gym buddies Fionna and Helen, who really have been my inspiration for the last 3 years since I turned up at the gym and overweight and unfit blob, run this great company called Junk Run.  Check out the link, such an awesome company.


According to them what Junk Run just happens to need right now, is someone noisy, who can deal with all sorts of people, and who knows a little bit about the interweb. – to be fair the noisy thing isn’t actually in the job description, that is just an added special extra I provide.

The funny thing is, I have done a bit of referring for them anyway, because I really do believe in what they do.  And now I am going to be working for them.  Yay me.

But I can honestly say I would not be anywhere near as ready for this job, if I hadn’t done my time at Goodman Fielder, and learned so much.

So I think the universe might have provided – maybe a good reason to get trollied.


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Ok my 3 months at Goodman Fielder are not quite on par with the French Revolution.  But there has been despair, an extreme use of colourful language, and a profound wish to overthrow the existing order.  As well as meeting and interacting with some fabulous people, spending time in places I had never been before – Mangere Pak n Save chiller anyone?  And more up close and personal moments with Camembert and Brie than I ever had the right to.

Pippa illustrating my mood at times

But like bottles of gin in the McFred household, it all had to come to an end.  Ultimately it doesn’t matter how good the people are around you, if you are expected to be on call 7 days a week, something has got to give.  And that something was me.  So I’ve said enough already and in 6 weeks time I will start a new adventure.

But I have learned so much, it has really blown my mind

  • when you wear a high viz, you become part of a special group of people the high viz people.  We often get ignored or disregarded by better dressed people but we are awesome
  • the happiest Pak n Save is Manukau.  I love that store
  • best wine deals are at Pak n Save Pukekohe – don’t ask me how I know this.  Pak n Save Ormiston is pretty good too
  • Half Moon Bay Fresh Choice has the most amazing views and cheese selection.  For a small store it has an incredible range of products
  • New World Howick has the best custard slices – don’t ask me how I know this
  • Mangere Shopping Centre is not open on Sundays
  • it is amazing how helpful people are when you ring them crying on a Sunday afternoon – thanks Nath team
  • I know who the best bread contractors are in South Auckland – my interpretation of best is people who will help me when I ring crying on a Sunday afternoon
  • Vogels thick slice fruit toast is the bomb
  • everyone is happy to see their supervisor when she turns up with chocolate bars. Unless when you are not where you should be…
  • My friend Kerrie’s dog Pippa also likes my chocolate bars, but when she sneaks into my bag and eats 3 she doesn’t feel so good
  • I no longer require my extensive photo collection of store displays, Pak n Save ladders and safety hazards
A beautiful display from my extensive photo collection
PNS Ladder
And from the Pak n Save Ladder files – soon to be deleted
  • team lunches are essential – actually Team Intuto taught me that one
  • I can work hard, I might not be quite as slack as I make out
  • I love working with people, all sorts of people and that is what I need to keep doing
  • my husband, family and friends are amazing
  • my fellow supervisor and boss are super cool hard working women who deserve medals and wine and gin and chocolate
  • make the people you work with feel happy and valued and it will take you a long way, but ultimately if your senior leadership team does not value or even know what you do, you are just putting lipstick on a pig.  And I have got no time for that.  I am 50 and Fabulous Dammit. Vive la Revolution

Helping Feed the Need

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children” – Nelson Mandela

Today I got so experience some fantastic soul and heart when I got to help out at Feed the Need.  This organisation is a charitable trust that has the mission to “feed hope to Kiwi kids on school lunch at a time”

They have a website that explains far better than I can what they do, and how they do it.


But I can tell you it was a very humbling and positive experience to work with such a fun and caring group of people who are really making a difference.

Goodman Fielder also has a charitable trust called Goodman Fielder Cares and they donate a lot of bread and products to Feed the Need, and they encourage employees to volunteer and help out once a year as well.  Hence why I got to go along and experience what Feed the Need does today.

It really was a well oiled machine, me and my 3 colleagues were given a safety briefing, assigned our own gorgeous hair net and then given jobs helping prepare some of the 1000 hot lunches that get made and delivered to some of the Decile One schools in South Auckland.

On today’s menu was nachos, and they were made with a lot of care, they were nutritious – lots of veges (and cheese) in there, and it was delicious.  Not many kids were going to turn that lunch down, and they provided a vegetarian option as well.

My cool colleagues stirring the nacho mix – notice how I am not doing anything

I really wish that volunteers didn’t have to provide something like this, that every child got enough good food to eat each day.

Obligatory shot of me grinning my head off with a gorgeous man.                                       Riki our supervisor for the morning

But the need is there, and it was so good to see and work with the people out there who do give a damn and do make a difference.  As I said, very humbling.

Some of our helpers at Roscommon Primary

And being met at the schools by some happy and engaged children was just the icing the cake.

I now take photos of pies – what has my life become?

Did you know there is a good way of displaying Irvines individual pies and a not so good way?  I must admit that until now I had never thought about it.  But trust me a merchandiser who takes the time to display the pies the right way is gold.  I am not going to let you guess what type of merchandiser I am.


But there you go, I now get excited when I see a nice row of pies.  And not just because hmmmm pies, but because it means one of my people is doing a great job.  I love that, and I take a photo.

And when I am getting a gazillion calls on Monday morning telling me all the things that my people did or didn’t do on the weekend, I can get my phone out and look at my photos and go hmmmh pies – hmmmm well displayed pies.  The best kind .

A Peculiar Approach

It has been just over 8 weeks since I left Intuto crying, and singing and bleary, and my feet have barely touched the ground.  New systems, new people, new meaningless acronyms, new Ernest Adam slice flavours to taste test.  Busy Busy.  It can certainly get overwhelming.  If I could wish away some (most) of the paper work I would – you know I am trying.  Watch this space.  But I do get some room to be myself managing my team, which I do really appreciate.

Hence the “peculiar approach’ comment.  I sent one of my merchandisers a note thanking her for her hard work.  She put up a copy of the letter on our Private Facebook page.  (Finally worked out how to combine work and Facebook – kind of like how I did at Intuto – Ok at Intuto I just spent work time on Facebook)  She thanked me for the letter and said I have a peculiar approach.


I am sure she means great, she is Russian so it could be a translation thing 🙂


Maybe I do have a peculiar approach. Who writes letters anymore – weirdo.  But I do want my team to feel appreciated for the work they do.  Because I sure can’t merchandise the way they do.

So I think that I have finally realised my strength is cheer leading – without the flips and splits*.  And that it is ok to use that strength and in fact make it a key part of what I do.  What the hell, I am going to embrace the peculiar.  Isn’t that what getting to 50 should be about?


While this blog is on the topic of peculiar.  What about that Brexit thing?  When you have a result that close there are bound to be lots of very disappointed people.  Plenty of difficult and interesting things to sort out.  But I am sure that end of the day John Key will be feeling pretty relaxed about it, and his understanding is that it won’t make much impact to us here in New Zealand.  So nothing to see here people.  What about those All Blacks?

Finally I will share an awesome post by Janey Godley.  A Glaswegian comedian whose work I think is fabulous. She is pretty sweary, which personally I love, but I know not everyone goes for that – Mr Brett thinks Lauren and I are potty mouths and it’s true we are.  But Janey would make his eyes water.

Anyway she wrote a great piece on being a woman and getting to 50.  She is 1 or 2 years older than me. absolutely from my generation.  Although an upbringing in rural NZ is not quite the same as a Glaswegian slum.


*I mean I can give the flips and splits a go but it wouldn’t be pretty trust


So how’s that blogging thing going?

Mr Brett asked me that question this morning, and I confessed that I was a bit concerned that in order to reach my goal of 40 blogs this year.  I could see myself writing 35 blogs on New Years Eve.  But according to Brett, 3 line blogs don’t count.  Who made him the Blog Police anyway?

So despite the fact that when I fail at things I do like to fail spectacularly.  I have decided to jump back on the Blog Pony – which is a bit like jumping back on the Booze Pony but not as much fun and punch out something witty, thought provoking and informative before bedtime.  Or fall back on old faithful, why this National  Government is a bad thing, and gin is my friend.

Anyway I do have an excuse gentle readers – (I always do, it’s a gift)  Just over a month ago I started a new job, for a new company with new people.  And that has been all very exciting, but exhausting.

Finally after nine years, my Intuto whanau pushed me out of the nest* and I am now a Merchandising Supervisor for Goodman Fielder.

If you don’t know, Goodman Fielder is a global food company that produces heaps of different food ranges and brands including in no particular order

  • Vogels
  • Edmonds
  • Meadow Fresh
  • Ernest Adams
  • Puhoi Valley
  • Gaytime cones (hehe Gaytime)
  • Freyas
  • Ornelle cheese.

Get the picture, lots of stuff.  And no I don’t get free samples.  Except my weekly 2 loaves of bread allowance.  Which I do avail myself of.

Anyway my new role is Merchandising Supervisor South Auckland.  So I get to supervise the people who put all of those products out in the shelves in the supermarkets of South and East Auckland.    When you next go to a supermarket and you see someone filling the bread racks or putting milk out they may very well not even work for the supermarket, they might work for a company like Goodman Fielder.  These people need supervision,  and that’s where I come in.

Supervising can entail

  • are you working in a safe environment?  (Goodman Fielder is really big on health and safety, that’s a good thing)
  • do you need more uniform?
  • why is that cheese/milk/bread past it’s use by date and still on the shelf?
  • where are you, why aren’t you in the store?
  • where is your time sheet, so I can pay you?
  • where are your safety shoes?
  • wearing a high viz vest and safety shoes of your very own
  • merchandising

And that is the fun stuff.  Because I have the best people in the best area.  I am discovering a whole part of Auckland, that I kind of knew was there, but never really explored.  A bit like Harry Potter Fan Fiction.  And I freaking love it.  My team are diverse, and interesting and fun, and for the most part work really hard.  The ones who aren’t working so hard, are getting to learn they will get to see a lot of me.  Lucky people.

The not so fun stuff for me, especially after working for my lovely Intuto whanau, I am now just a small cog in a very large corporate wheel.  And being in a large international corporate there seem to be a gazillion systems which require every interaction to be recorded in triplicate.  This is not Natty’s idea of a good time and especially not a Gaytime.  But I am just muddling along the best I can.  And I keep telling myself, if I can keep the St George Dragons organised for the Nines I can manage the gazillion systems, or at least effectively wish them away.

So that is why I have gone to ground a bit.  Learning new stuff in a new organisation is exhausting.  But getting a new role was a challenge I set myself for this year, and a challenge it is certainly proving to be.  But I am up for it, and I feel so lucky and grateful to have the support that I do.

Watch this space, I will try to get a couple more blogs through before my 31 December blogfest 🙂  And I really am getting some better work stories.  I have great Intuto work stories by the way, but I can’t tell them because you know protecting the not so innocent and stuff

Lots of love Natty Bugle

PS The National Government is handling the housing crisis and poverty in an appalling way.  And isn’t John Campbell and his Checkpoint team bloody marvellous.

*Can I just say it is worth working at Intuto just for the leaving party.  There was food, there was wine, there were presents, there was drunken singing, there were tears.  No prizes for guessing who was the key participant in the last two activities.  My new boss actually rang me on the night I left (I answered, Brett was appalled)  She asked what I was doing and I said sitting in the car crying.  Which I was, because you know leaving the loveliest group of people in the world, and wine.  But to my new bosses credit she still made me welcome on Monday.  Hey she needed to know what she was letting herself in for