What an interesting, funny, bizarre and wonderful week it's been! Sorry that the blogs have been a bit thin on the ground lately, I never know what's going to happen next at the moment. In the last week I've been on four Australian radio stations, two NZ newspapers and the biggest selling magazine on both sides of the Tasman! Now don't think by rattling that off that I'm just blowing my own trumpet - the point is, more and more people are discovering the benefits of living the Simple Savings lifestyle, they are seeing that it works and they are finally starting to realise that the stuff we all know in our happy SS world is what everyone else should be learning. About time I reckon! Noel is finding it all quite bemusing, not to mention humorous that all the articles about us say something different - one moment we're living on the bare bones of our bums, the next we're rolling in it! If our frugal lifestyle wasn't exposed enough on Campbell Live a couple of months back, it's well and truly out in the open now. I don't give a monkeys what people think though - the best feeling ever is when I'm walking down the street and someone comes up and asks me if I can print them out a copy of the Bumper Cleaning Clues because they don't have a computer, or when a typical Kiwi bloke gives me a good natured ribbing about having to start a vegetable garden to keep his wife happy. Us Simple Savers are very good at helping other people with our frugal knowledge, just as this site helps us every day! The biggest surprise of all though came almost immediately after That's Life hit the shelves. I received an email from the Editor asking if I would be interested in writing a weekly column! Fantastic news, I still can't quite believe it but from November onwards our family will be spreading the Simple Savings message through our nutty antics to a staggering ONE MILLION readers in NZ and Australia every week!
Last Friday was Calf Club day - the day my two boys have been woefully working up to for months. Every afternoon rain or shine, Noel has been out there cracking the whip as they brush their calves until they gleam and lead them around a well worn course. I hate to say it, I REALLY hate to say it, but my husband was right - the effort was all worth it on the day. Not that it started out that way, mind. Finlay, Ali's enormous Hereford calf had been playing up a little over the past week, choosing either not to move at all, or take off at great speed - unfortunately with Ali still attached. We had no idea what he was going to do on the day so were most amazed to see him amble beautifully around the ring, earning himself a very commendable place. None of us could believe it but we were all most relieved and Ali gratefully led him back to his trailer for a rest before the next round. Upon which Finlay decided it was high time to show what he could really do. He jumped like a startled rabbit, then took off at alarming speed, dragging poor Ali along the ground for several impressive yards before ripping the lead out of his hand. Ali retreated tearfully to the car, completely oblivious to the havoc his calf was still causing. Finlay was having a field day, trouncing his way through three rings, pulling down fences, getting tangled up in others and scaring the living daylights out of the poor kids still competing with their nicely behaved animals. I don't know how many attempts were made to catch him - suffice to say it was a LOT - but Finlay was finally caught by the back leg, the crowd burst into applause and order was restored. Ali was still in the car, nursing his sore hand and wounded pride and missed the entire spectacle. By this time he wanted to go home but it's just as well he didn't. Finlay was completely worn out following his spectacular display and miraculously redeemed himself in the other two classes. Liam's calf Richie on the other hand, had been the epitome of good behaviour throughout and his smile was a mile wide when he was awarded Champion Beef Calf at the prizegiving ceremony. All the nagging and moaning and long afternoons spent on his calf had been worth it - and guess who won the runner up prize for Reserve Champion? Ali and Finlay!
The last few months have been so busy, our family have almost forgotten what each other looks like, so with no calves to feed or groom any more, we took the opportunity to get away for a much needed weekend at the beach - SS style of course! We are very lucky to have several friends who own beach houses so we booked our favourite at a tiny bay called Onemana for a few days. It's one of our favourite places in the world, where it feels like you've gone back in time. Food and entertainment costs were basically nothing - we lived almost entirely out of the sea, on freshly caught fish, crayfish and crab and the beach was our playground. I had to chuckle to myself as I walked barefoot along the sand and remembered a Vault hint called 'Massage your feet at the beach' - it's so true! I breezed past all the beautiful shops I used to spend a fortune in but I did spot a great idea for a Christmas gift in the window of one of them. They were selling Christmas tree decorations made from cockle shells at an exorbitant price and straight away I thought 'I could make those!' All you needed to make them was some of those cheap polystyrene balls (from craft or $2 shops), some PVA glue to stick the shells on until none of the ball was visible and something strong to thread through the ball and hang it up with. Being rubbish at crafts I already have plenty of these balls still on hand from a few years ago and all the shells I could possibly need are free from the beach! These balls were all covered in sandy/creamy/white shells, which looked really effective but you could make them whatever colour you like. I'm definitely going to make some with the kids and send one to all the friends and rellies overseas to give them a touch of a Kiwi summer Christmas. Super cheap to make and should be lovely and light to post too!
Another thing I found at the beach while massaging my feet was not one, but two old coins, washed up in the sand about ten feet from each other! I reckoned it was yet another symbol of good luck in what had been a very lucky week. What with the kids' calves and all the SS coverage, I reckoned we were on a lucky streak so I thought I would do something I never, ever do - buy a Lotto ticket. 'I'll go and get it', offered Noel but I refused. 'Sorry dear, I've got a hunch, it needs to be me who gets it', I explained. Besides, he had had a couple of beers with his fishing mates that afternoon and you know what blokes are like - they always think they can drink far more than they actually can, without being over the limit! So I set off and straight away I knew luck was on my side. At the end of the road was a huge police checkpoint. They were carrying out breath testing in the middle of nowhere! Noel insisted he would have passed but I wasn't so sure, so I was extremely relieved that it was me driving. Yep - it was definitely fate that I was going to get that Lotto ticket! The draw was in a couple of hours and I could hardly get to the supermarket fast enough. I hopped out of my car, went to grab my bag and - realised I had left my bag back at the house. I got breath tested again on the way back and Noel thought it was just hilarious I had forgotten my bag and passed it to me so I could go back again, but you know what? That would have meant another 20 minute trip and I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I was too stingy to waste any more petrol!