COLIN HOGG

COLIN’S COL­UMN HAS STOOD THE TEST OF TIME

New Zealand Woman’s Weekly - - THIS WEEK IN... -

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.

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