COLIN’S COLUMN HAS STOOD THE TEST OF TIME
My mother is older than the New Zealand Woman’ s Weekly, but there’s hardly anyone else I know who is. When the Weekly was born, my mother was six years old and probably didn’t notice, being a pink-cheeked schoolgirl in Edinburgh at the time and the year being 1932.
That long ago is hard to imagine now, several worlds away and in another century altogether. The dark clouds of war were beginning to gather way back then, as they sometimes seem to now, but little else about the world was much the same.
So it is a wonderful thing that both my mother and the Weekly have survived – my mother thanks to her near-indestructible Scottish genes and her sensible diet – and the Weekly because it still connects and also, I think, because of the “a” in the title.
It could have been called the New Zealand Women’ s Weekly, but then it wouldn’t have felt like it was just for you. And that “just-for-you” feeling is the one the readers wanted and, as things turned out, still do want.
And, of course, I say that at the slight disadvantage of being a man.
It was a little over 50 years after the birth of the Weekly that my manly column arrived in these pages, which of course makes me relatively ancient too. But I’ve always been pleased to be here, honoured to be a token chap in a woman’s world, attempting to give the man’s side of the picture, also a father’s and a husband’s take on things.
As you might have noticed elsewhere in this grand anniversary issue, the magazine’s columnists were gathered to have our pictures taken to mark the big birthday. We all met up on a sunny afternoon in an Auckland backyard for a barbecue.
I’d refused to wear shorts for the photos, though Jeremy and Kevin had no such qualms. I arrived to find Jeremy in shorts and a pink shirt, and Kev looking rather fetching in an apron, his legs on shameless display.
I was handed a shirt with little flamingos all over it, which I liked so much, I tried to smuggle it out later.
For the sake of the photos, we weren’t supposed to eat all the tasty-looking food, but I think Kevin sneaked a slice of the bacon and egg pie, and Jeremy and I, who were positioned with the chilly bin, might also have accidentally drunk a couple of beers, as you might in the heat of things at a birthday barbecue.
Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to the next 85 years. I imagine that, by then, we might have sorted out Auckland’s awful traffic and invented several new colours for kiwifruit.
The seas will be a bit higher and the pension age will be 90, but we’ll all have milk on tap in our kitchens thanks to all those cows, which will outnumber us a hundred to one.
I’m not sure if there will still be a royal family, but I hope so. Charles will probably get his turn at being king around that time too, which will be only fair.
And I’m not sure how many grandchildren I’ll have, nor great, nor great-great, good grief.
But in the meantime, happy birthday old girl.