Baseball bats and tornadoes

Posted January 14th, 2011 by Penny Wise

Well this is a first I think. The first blog of a New Year and for once in my life I don't really have anything to say. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot I COULD say; I just don't know how to get it out of my head and written down! Everything is mixed up, scrambled eggs, a mass of jumbled thoughts. Christmas and New Year passed in a blur of goodwill and much merry making with friends and loved ones. And then - well I don't know how it happened exactly but Dawn French summed it up pretty well in her wonderful book 'Dear Fatty' - our marriage got buffeted by a tornado. Don't worry, neither of us has gone and done a Lenny Henry! But that's how it feels - or as Noel describes it, getting smashed with a baseball bat. Maybe in time I'll be able to talk about it properly but at the moment I just can't - mainly to protect the others who I love but also because I can barely string a coherent sentence together!

How on earth does something like this happen? We're supposed to be the perfect couple with the perfect life! And deep down I know we ARE the perfect couple and we DO have the perfect life but heck, sometimes these things are sent to try us. Maybe we spent so long chasing our dream over the past 12 months that we lost sight of other things; we stopped looking after each other. You're probably reading this and wondering 'what the heck is she going on about?!' for which I apologise hugely but it's about the best I can do right at this moment!

I do believe that we will come through this. Noel seems to be holding together far better than me. In fact, he even wrote a blog for me as my own brain refused to co-operate! Which is something he has always joked about wanting to do so he can expose the 'real me' - naughty Penny the so-called Simple Saver who has a dreadful habit of wasting bananas, is rubbish at working out the best deals on cheese in the supermarket, always manages to pick rotten strawberries and would forget her own head if it wasn't stuck on. That was what I expected when he presented me with his handwritten pages. So I was pretty surprised when I read this instead!

'An Insight into Penny'

"It all started for me back in late 1991 at the grand old age of 19. I was working in a pub in a little village called Selborne in south east England and this girl with dyed jet black hair, a black leather biker jacket and a smile as beautiful as a sunset would come to the bar and order this awful mix of Malibu and Coke. 'Watch out for her', someone told me, 'she's a bit rough!' What a joke that was! The only rough part of Penny is when she hasn't shaved her legs for a week!

I eventually managed to con this lovely young lady that it was incredibly dangerous to walk home by herself at night and, as it was also extremely cold in the middle of winter, she would need to be cuddled to keep warm. To which I think she thought 'Oh well, he'll be going back home to NZ soon, I'll be rid of him before long!' However when that time did come around and the call of home became too strong, there was no way I was going without her! Ten days later a teenage Penny arrived alone on the other side of the world, to embark on what has become a 20-year adventure together.

Teaching Penny to drive was rather 'different' as she had a rather worrying habit of saying 'Broom broom!' like a 10-year-old as she drove along! This lasted until she dented our first car; a canary yellow Fiat she christened 'Ronnie'. After that she lost all confidence and didn't drive again for years until we had kids. Thankfully by then the 'broom-brooming' had subsided!

On arriving in NZ Penny was terrified of cows and would run a mile if one so much as looked at her but she soon got right into farming. She has a huge love of animals, which I realised the full extent of the first time I shot a duck in her presence and she cried and cried and cried (oops!) In fact our first job reference together actually says 'Penny will have to curtail her love of animals if she wishes to further her farming career!' At one stage we had something like eight dogs and seven cats at home! Although I still love dogs (especially now we are down to just two!) my appreciation of cats has waned somewhat!

On the odd occasion Penny accompanies me fishing, the boys enjoy catching small fish to use as livebait to attract bigger fish. These small fish are kept in a tank at the back of the boat but whenever the boys aren't looking their mum flicks the fish back into the safety of the ocean, much to the bemusement of the boys, who can't work out where they've gone!

Penny is a very determined character who has an 'all or nothing' approach to most things; a classic example being gardening. She will work like a hurricane in the garden for a day, then forget all about it for the next three months and marvel at how well her flower pots have survived in the drought without realising someone (me) has been watering them for her! She is a wonderful mother who loves nothing more than to have fun with her family, launching into anything the boys want to have a go at and screaming encouragement from the sidelines of the rugby or cricket field (which can be somewhat embarrassing for the boys!) She is always smiling and laughing and loves music to the point where you can hear her car stereo approaching from 500 metres down the road!

She has a heart the size of Australia and can't say 'no' to anyone (or anything for that matter) even if it's detrimental to her own time. She loves the outdoors, particularly the beach, the ocean and running. She is still the most beautiful person I have ever met, both inside and out! In 20 years she hasn't changed much - in fact I think the older the boys get, the younger she gets! She still keeps up with all the latest music, still cries when she sees an animal in distress and still laughs when the boys fart! To you she is Penny; to me she's just Jack and we love her very much."

Wow. Now I really am lost for words!

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