Page 1

ISSUE 1 2018

plus HEALING THOSE HORRIBLE NIGHTMARES (good news about bad dreams)

the rules of engagement: growing your marriage side-by-side

• How to be irritated • Gypsy life • I put my teens on a digital detox … • Nothing quite like a French river cruise!


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I SSU E 1 /2018 – G R A PEVINE 3


Photo: iStock

contents

12 THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT:

growing your marriage side-by-side Sadly, examples of unhappy or broken marriages can be found in most neighbourhoods, making the lives of all those involved miserable. But it doesn’t have to be that way – and thankfully, throughout those same neighbourhoods, examples of healthy, vibrant relationships can also be found …

38 HEALING THOSE HORRIBLE NIGHTMARES

(good news about bad dreams)

Nightmares, she claims, aren’t simply freaky phantoms of the night sent to torment us. On many occasions they’re also useful information, coming from our minds and bodies, and telling us something needs fixing … 4 GRA P E V IN E – IS S U E 1 / 2 018


26 GYPSY LIFE …

(six months in a leaky caravan): When my wife first mentioned that she’d love to travel around New Zealand in a caravan, it must have struck a piece of ancient gypsy DNA. Because here I am, near the end of February 2018, travelling around New Zealand in a caravan …

36 HOW TO BE IRRITATED Irritants are a form of life rage served in fun-size portions. Often the most irritating things are only irritating because they’re habits …

54 I PUT MY TEENS ON A DIGITAL DETOX

I never realised just how damaging our obsession with smartphones and our switched-on lifestyle was, nor how addictive screen time was, until I put my teenagers on an extended digital detox …

plus 32

VICHY-STYLE BAKED CHICKEN WITH LEEK GRAVY

Pick of the Bunch …................................. 6 Editorial ….......................................... 10 Sherman’s Lagoon …............................... 11 Fit & Healthness …................................. 22 Grapepuzzles ….................................... 25 Take it From the Tinkersons …................... 37 Stillpoint …......................................... 48 Spot the Difference …............................ 52 You Ain’t Gonna Believe …....................... 57 Going Places …..................................... 58 Books 4 Kids …..................................... 62 Families Unlimited …............................... 63 Back Chat …........................................ 67

Publisher: John Cooney Editor: Mike Cooney Associate Editor: Paul Freedman Contributing Writers: Tracy Carter Distribution Manager: Brent Curtis Design: Craig Haythornthwaite craig@ampersandcreative.co.nz Print: PMP Print Delivery: PMP Distribution Website: www.grapevine.org.nz Published by Grapevine Communications Society Ltd. All correspondence to Private Bag 92124, Victoria Street West, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. Phone: 09 836 6709 Freephone: 0800 GRAPEVINE Email: info@grapevine.org.nz Our mission: To promote stable, loving relationships ... to tackle family hurts and headaches in a positive, helpful way ... to inject fun, hope and wholeness into homes all over the country. Copyright: The entire contents of this issue are copyright © March 2018. Permission to reprint must be obtained in advance. ISSN 1170-392X (Print) ISSN 2230-4126 (Online) Published four times a year to give New Zealand families a lift – 100% independent, communitybased, not-for-profit.


WEIGHTY MATTERS & BAGPIPE BLUNDER

A husband and wife are getting ready for bed. The wife is standing in front of a full-length mirror taking a hard look at herself. “You know, Love” she says, “I look in the mirror and I see an old woman. My face is all wrinkled, my chest sags to my waist, my rear is hanging out a mile. I’ve got fat legs and my arms are all flabby.” She turns to her husband and says, “Tell me something positive to make me feel better about myself.” He thinks about it for a bit and then says in a soft voice, “Well...there’s nothing wrong with your eyesight.” SHRINK SESSION:

When the new patient was settled comfortably on the couch, the psychiatrist began his therapy session. After a few minutes, the doctor spoke, “I’m actually struggling to find exactly what your problem is,” he states quizzically. “So perhaps, you should start at the very beginning.” “Of course,” replied the patient. “In the beginning, I created the Heavens and the Earth …” 6 GRA P E V IN E – IS S U E 1 / 2 018

Illustration: Tim Tripp

BOLDLY GOING NOWHERE.

ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE ...

AMAZING ANAGRAMS!

An anagram (as we all know, I’m sure!) is a word or phrase made by transposing or rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. The following examples are pretty clever … Dormitory = Dirty Room Desperation = A Rope Ends It The Morse Code = Here Come Dots Slot Machines = Cash Lost in ‘em Mother-in-law = Woman Hitler Snooze Alarms = Alas! No More Z’s Semolina = Is No Meal The Earthquakes = That Queer Shake Eleven plus two = Twelve plus one


TRIVIAL MATTERS #1:

A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

A KIWI & AN AUSSIE …

The rain fell, the water rose, and folks in the town scrambled up onto their rooftops to safety. They hollered across the flood to one another, made sure everybody was accounted for, and excitedly identified things that floated by: “There goes Jack’s tool shed!” “Isn’t that Betsy’s front porch swing?” “Golly, the Pastor’s whole garage!” Then somebody noticed a little straw hat behaving oddly. It floated downstream about 20 metres, then stopped and came back upstream! After 20 metres or so it floated back downstream, then stopped and came upstream again. Nobody could figure it out! Finally, little Billy piped up: “Well, this morning Grandad said he was gonna mow the front lawn, come hell or high water.”

On a visit to New York, a New Zealander and an Australian go to a pastry shop. While looking at all the delicious baking, the Australian whisks three cookies into his pocket without the baker noticing. He then turns to the Kiwi: “You see how clever we are? You’ll never beat that!” Not to be outdone, the New Zealander says to his Aussie mate: “Watch this, us Kiwis are always cleverer than you Aussies!” Turning to the baker, he says, “Can I please have a cookie, so I can show you an amazing magic trick?” Intrigued, the baker gives him the cookie which the Kiwi promptly eats. Then he says to the baker, “Can I have another one for my magic trick?” The baker is getting suspicious, but he gives it to him. He eats this one too. Then he says again: “I need just one more cookie …” The baker is getting frustrated, but once more gives him a cookie. The Kiwi eats this one too. Now the baker is fuming, and yells, “So where is this so-called amazing magic trick?!” Smiling, the New Zealander says, “Have a look in my Australian friend’s pocket!”

TUMMY TUCK:

INTERNATIONAL SIGNS #1

COME HELL OR HIGH WATER:

A lady noticed her husband standing on the bathroom scale, sucking in his stomach. Thinking he was trying to weigh less with this manoeuvre, she commented, “I don’t think that’s going to help.” “Sure it does,” he said. “It’s the only way I can see the numbers.”

Athens, Greece hotel: Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily. TRIVIAL MATTERS #2: A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

I SSU E 1 /2018 – G R A PEVINE 7

YOGURT IS ONE OF THREE FOODS THAT TASTE THE WAY THEY SOUND. THE OTHER TWO ARE GOULASH AND SQUID.

This one is brilliant! (from Shakespeare’s Hamlet …) “To be or not to be: that is the question, whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” Becomes: “In one of the Bard’s best-thought-of tragedies, our insistent hero, Hamlet, queries on two fronts about how life turns rotten.” Who thinks of these things?!


I LIKE YOU, BUT I WOULDN’T WANT TO SEE YOU WORKING WITH SUB-ATOMIC PARTICLES.

DESCRIBING A ‘DUH!’

RULES FOR A DIET:

Struggling to describe someone who’s a little, um … ‘duh?’ Well, struggle no more! • A few peas short of a casserole. • Doesn’t have all his cornflakes in one box. • Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn’t coming. • Body by Fisher & Paykel; brains by Mattel. • Couldn’t pour water out of a boot with instructions on the heel. • Big like ox; smart like tractor. • Room temperature IQ. • One tyre short of a Goodyear. • Forgot to use the surge protector. • The mental agility of a used soap dish.

The following is based on science from the IPCC … 1. If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no calories. 2. If you drink a diet coke with chocolate bars, the calories in the chocolate bar are cancelled out by the diet coke. 3. When you eat with someone else, calories don’t count as long as you don’t eat more than they do. 4. Food used for medicinal purposes never counts, such as hot chocolate, toast, and Sara Lee cheesecake. 5. If you fatten up the people around you, then you look thinner. 6. Movie-related foods do not have additional calories because they are part of the entire entertainment package and are not part of one’s personal intake. (Examples are Jaffas, popcorn and choc bombs) 7. Things licked off knives and spoons have no calories if you are in the process of preparing something. (Examples are peanut butter on a knife while making a sandwich or ice cream on a spoon while making a sundae.) 8. Foods that have the same colour have the same number of calories. For instance, spinach and pistachio ice cream, cauliflower and whipped cream.

COSMETIC CLANGER:

A middle-aged woman had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital. While on the operating table she had a near death experience. Seeing God, she asked, “Is my time up?” God said, “No, not yet, you have another 43 years, 2 days and 8 hours to live.” Upon recovery, the woman decided to stay in the hospital and have a face-lift, liposuction, and a tummy tuck. Since she had so much more time to live, she figured she might as well look even nicer. After her last operation, she was released from the hospital. While crossing the street on her way home, she was hit and killed by an ambulance. Arriving in the presence of God, she demanded, “I thought you said I had another 40 plus years? Why didn’t you pull me out of the path of the ambulance?” God replied, “My child, I am sorry, but I didn’t recognise you!” 8 GRA P E V IN E – IS S U E 1 / 2 018

INTERNATIONAL SIGNS #2

Istanbul hotel corridor sign: Please to evacuate in hall especially which is accompanied by rude noises. TRIVIAL MATTERS #3: A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.


Illustration: Tim Tripp

There is a story of a young man who used to make a few extra dollars as a bagpiper, who played mostly for funerals. One time he was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a cemetery in the Kentucky back country. The young man was not familiar with the area and got lost; and being a typical man, wouldn’t stop for directions. Finally, he arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. All he saw were the diggers and crew left, and they were eating lunch. He felt bad and apologized to the men for being late, went to the side of the grave, and looked down. The vault lid was already in place, but not knowing what else to do, he started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. He played his heart out for this man with no family and friends. He played like he’d never played before for this homeless man’s memory. As he played Amazing Grace, the workers began to weep. They wept, he wept, they all wept together. When he finished, he packed up his bagpipes and started for his car. Though his head hung low, his heart was full. Just as he was opening the door to his car, he heard one of the workers say, “I never seen nothin’ like that before, and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for 20 years.” TRIVIAL MATTERS #4: An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.

I SSU E 1 /2018 – G R A PEVINE 9

HEAR ABOUT THE JUMPER-LEAD THAT WALKED INTO A BAR? THE BARMAN SAID, “DON’T START ANYTHING!”

POIGNANT PIPING:


A HARP IS JUST A PIANO WITH NO CLOTHES ON.

LIVING A DREAM

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OR THE NEXT TWO ISSUES OF Grapevine – maybe three – I’m going to be working in an environment that’s quite different to what I’m used to. In fact, right now I’m sitting in my caravan-cum-office, making the most of the peace-and-quiet while my wife and kids explore the city of Nelson. We’ve just finished a couple of days weathering Cyclone Gita – and, can I just say, being stuck inside a 23-foot caravan, with my entire whānau, during a cyclone, is about as much fun as poking toothpicks under your fingernail. But to be honest, it didn’t come as a surprise. We knew we’d have days like this. You see, right now the six of us are living a dream. A dream to explore Te Waipounamu in a caravan. To surf, hunt, fish, hike and bike our way around one of the most stunning islands in the world.

1 0 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1 /2018

We’ve taken six months out of our usual lifestyle to do something we’ve talked about for years (you can read all about it in Wild NZ, p26). It hasn’t been the easiest dream to pull-off, but I’ve got a feeling it’ll end up being our most rewarding yet. So, what do YOU dream about doing? What’s something you’d love to attempt? And, most importantly, what do you need to do TODAY to make it happen? Because dreams will always be dreams unless you actually do something. Maybe all you need to do today is tell someone? Share your aspiration with someone who will encourage you. And then work out a plan to turn that dream into a reality. It’ll cost you – in more ways than one. But it’ll be worth it. Of that I’m sure … Enjoy the mag!


THIS GUY ASKED FOR A SMALL DONATION TOWARD THE LOCAL SWIMMING POOL. SO I GAVE HIM A GLASS OF WATER.

I SSU E 1/2018 – G R A PEVINE 1 1


the rules of engagement: growing your marriage side-by-side

by Tracy Carter


A CONVERSATION WITH DOROTHY O’NEILL

GRAPEVINE: What led you to write

The Rules of Engagement?

DR DOROTHY O’NEILL: As a therapist, I’d been working with couples whose relationships were in trouble – couples who needed a helping-hand to get their marriages healthy and happy. But over time I became intrigued by the question of how couples, who hadn’t been in therapy, achieved this kind of contentment in their marriage. How did they apply the ongoing repair-work needed for a successful marriage? How did they develop the ability to accept one another

– in a tolerant, rather than permissive, way? So that’s how it came about – I wanted to see how a healthy marriage naturally evolved. This curiosity led to my research, and the research led to The Rules of Engagement. GV: How did you choose the nine couples you interviewed – and what was it that determined they had ‘successful’ marriages? DR DOROTHY: The couples I chose had to score a certain level on the Couples’ Satisfaction Inventory (CSI – a series I SSU E 1/2018 – G R A PEVINE 1 3

P O O R P L A N N I N G O N Y O U R P A R T D O E S N O T C O N S T I T U T E A N E M E R G E N C Y O N M Y P A R T.

Photo: iStock

Sometimes the very idea of people being ‘happily married’ for decades seems like just another fairytale. More and more couples are getting divorced, or they hang on grimly, disenchanted with their marriages but staying together ‘for the kids’ … Down the road you’ve got the McBickersons, who do nothing but gripe and complain about each other all the time. A few houses down from them live Mr and Mrs Silent Treatment. And across the street you’ll find Mr Hedgehog and Ms Rhino, who have equally dysfunctional ways of handling their conflicts. And these are the ones who’ve actually stayed together! Sadly, examples of unhappy or broken marriages can be found in most neighbourhoods, making the lives of all those involved miserable. But it doesn’t have to be that way – and thankfully, throughout those same neighbourhoods, examples of healthy, vibrant relationships can also be found. So how can we do better in our own relationships? How can we have a ‘successful’ marriage? Dr Dorothy O’Neill, couples therapist, and author of The Rules of Engagement, set out to discover what couples who enjoyed successful marriages had in common. And she chatted with us about what her investigations revealed …


1 4 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018

them all together: the relationship was more important than winning. They would argue, just like all couples do, but they were able to restore the relationship because of how (and how much) they valued the partnership. GV: Okay, let’s get started. Tell us about your Six Rules of Engagement …

Rule 1: MONEY Organise finances early and understand one another’s role in financial management. DR DOROTHY: The first rule I identified is

organising finances early in the marriage. These couples had an understanding and an acceptance around spending, saving, etc. The young ones tended to put their finances together immediately upon being married; then they looked at the money as something that belonged to both of them. Couples who got married later in life tended to keep some accounts separate, but they also maintained and used a common account. This arrangement was very fluid, and it worked well for them. In many relationships that result in divorce, couples are divided over finances. They keep their accounts separate. I think that trust is a major factor – you’re making that money, and by making it available to your spouse, you have to trust that he or she will honour the hard work and the finances as much as you do. If you can develop trust with your finances, then that really lays the foundation for trust in other areas of your relationship. GV: When the couples you’d chosen came into conflict over their finances, how did they resolve it?

Photo: iStock

HEAR ABOUT THE CROSS-EYED SCHOOL TEACHER? SHE HAD TROUBLE CONTROLLING HER PUPILS.

of self-test questionnaires for couples), putting them above the average level of happiness in their marriages. And, despite arguing and disagreeing at times, they had never experienced the divisiveness of those who would often end up in therapy with me. I was curious about how these successful couples achieved the sort of flow that they had with one another: what factors helped them work well together and stay married when other couples with the same issues ended up divorced? In therapy, we work towards resolution of conflict – but these couples were resolving conflict naturally, without therapeutic interventions. GV: So, what common elements did you find contributed to marital satisfaction? DR DOROTHY: The couples themselves were very different from one another – they were Pakistani, Hispanic, AfricanAmerican, etc – they were agnostic and Christian, both Catholic and Protestant – so there was no cultural or religious norm. Aside from having scored highly in the CSI, the only things all the couples had in common were that they’d all been married for at least 15 years and they all had children. During the research (and it was proper, empirical research – not just interviews), I asked them all the same questions, and when they’d talk about their lives, the content was very similar. Sometimes they’d even say the same thing – even using identical phrases! As far as marital satisfaction itself was concerned, I think what contributed most was their ability to naturally put the marriage and the partnership above winning. That was the thread that held


DOROTHY: With any couple, if someone wants something and the other doesn’t, there’s going to be a conflict – that’s a given. But in each of these relationships, none of them would just go and make the purchase, and then come back and tell their partner about it afterwards. It was definitely important to them to discuss beforehand what they wanted to spend money on. And when their spouse really didn’t agree, it wasn’t all over at that point – they would still negotiate the issue, talking about why it wasn’t a good idea at the time, or how they could make it work, or discussing whether there might be a

DR

time in the future when they could do it. If one of them truly wanted something, and their partner could see that it was really important to them, then the other would concede. This was always within the confines of financial safety, though; they would never do anything at the expense of jeopardising the family security. None of them looked at money as a short-term thing – they always took the long view. Some of the couples were extremely wealthy, but they still had very conservative spending habits. GV: In your book, you mentioned four practices to do with money that studies I SSU E 1/2018 – G R A PEVINE 1 5


SHE HAS ONLY TWO COMPLAINTS: NOTHING TO WEAR, AND NO SPACE IN HER WARDROBE.

have shown to be important in maintaining a happy marriage – can you tell us about them? DR DOROTHY: Definitely. The first is the practice of joint decision making – that discussion around purchases, and the willingness to work it out together – what we’ve just talked about. The next idea is economic security, which means that the needs of the family – paying bills, having a secure home, and paying money towards the needs of the children, etc. – comes before the needs of the couple themselves. These couples didn’t just spend money – again, it was about longterm thinking. The third practice is successful conflict management – these couples could disagree with one another completely, but they never confused the issue with the personal. The issue over spending money on something was about that thing, not about the person who wanted it. And the fourth idea is family commitment – the commitment to the marital bond, which means that the family comes first. GV: Getting back to that third one … you say the key to managing conflict is avoiding making things personal? DR DOROTHY: Absolutely! One of the major causes of conflict for many couples is that it does become personal. Someone not taking the rubbish out isn’t just about the mess or inconvenience of an overflowing bin – the one who asked their spouse to put the rubbish out takes his/ her neglect as a sign that they’re personally unimportant to their spouse … So that person reacts, “You can’t even do the smallest thing for me!” And their spouse’s response is to take that personally and 1 6 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018

respond, “I can’t ever do anything right!” It sort of spirals. And that’s because the issue has become personal. In a healthy relationship, the response to a spouse failing to take out the rubbish is, “You forgot to take the rubbish out, and the whole kitchen smells disgusting!” To which their spouse might respond, “Oh, I’m sorry – I was rushing and I forgot to do that …” You might be irritated that the house smells like rubbish, but it’s not personal. This was a theme that ran through everything in these couples’ relationships: they managed to keep the issue separate from the personal. If you make conflict resolution about your ‘couplehood’, and not about winning, then you’re already ahead. That’s a huge part of having a successful marriage. When you’re in conflict, work out where the issue is, and keep it distinct from the personal.

Rule 2: EXTENDED FAMILY Accept the role of extended family, while understanding that the couple relationship comes first. GV: What’s your second rule of engagement? DR DOROTHY: The second rule is to have

an acceptable tolerance of the extended family. This one’s tough – we deal with it all the time in my therapy room. It’s so common to strike problems navigating the demands and expectations of the extended family. For our successful couples, there was a real sense of separation from the extended family to support the spouse. They made the decision that their marriage came first – however, they also recognised that we need our extended families, and they worked to maintain those relationships.


I SSU E 1/2018 – G R A PEVINE 1 7

I U S E D T O B E A M I M E . I T ’ S O N L Y N O W I C A N T A L K A B O U T I T.

Two couples in the study had the hardest time because, in each case, one spouse wasn’t accepted by the extended family. One wife was ostracised because of income (his wealthy family felt that she was just after his money). Another wife felt excluded because of race (the family were Hispanic and didn’t accept their Caucasian daughter-in-law). But, in both cases, the partners understood the unhappiness their spouses felt by being separated from their extended families. However, instead of giving in to a selfish desire to make the gap even wider, both couples made selfless efforts to work together, ensuring those extended families remained a part of their lives (while not forfeiting their own marriage to do so). They navigated the issue together, and they mutually understood the importance of both relationships. And, once again, they didn’t make it personal.

When you don’t let it get personal, then you’re not going to react defensively; instead, you’re going to seek resolution. You’re going to look at the big picture and ask, together, what you can do. GV: How do you make this happen? How can new couples accommodate the expectations of extended family without sacrificing their own relationship? DR DOROTHY: Well, it’s often terribly difficult. In healthy families, the in-laws see their children having their own lives and they respect the fact that they need to invest in their own partnership. I call it the next layer of the onion. Although the onion’s a whole, the layers are also separate. In healthy families the extended families understand the couples’ needs and respect their decisions – if they can’t be together for Christmas, for instance, they’ll accept that decision and just hope they can see the couple after the holidays. But in unhealthy extended families there’s conflict over these things. It’s very important for the couple to actually discuss the question – what do we want? – prior to saying yes or no to any of the extended family. Couples meet, they date, they fall in love – and then they get married. They bring all their history into that relationship, and yet often they’ve never talked about it. You wouldn’t go and buy a car without finding out the specs, the history, etc. – and yet many people get married with this blind belief that ‘our two worlds are going to collide beautifully’. And of course, it never quite happens that way. Talking about expectations is an important, but easily overlooked, exercise for those entering into marriage.


Make rules for the kids that work for both of you – and both agree to uphold those rules. GV: What would you say is the greatest

source of conflict in a marriage? DR DOROTHY: I asked my couples just that – and every single one of them said: “The kids!” As a married couple, you have a bond with each other. In a strong marriage, you really work together, share time together, and have this sense of being ‘one’. But when you become parents, you have to modify that bond to include another person (or people) that you love just as much. GV: So what advice can you give us – how can a happy marriage be maintained while raising kids? DR DOROTHY: I’ve thought about this a lot over my years as a therapist. What I’ve discovered is that these successful couples used a combination of three key strategies to keep the couple relationship healthy while co-parenting effectively. First, you need to maintain the importance of the couple relationship. Second, you need to remember that we each reflect our own upbringing. And third, you need to strive to stay on the same page as your spouse. We each bring so much of our past into parenting – our own childhood experience (functional or dysfunctional) greatly influences how we parent and how we respond to our spouse’s parenting methods. It’s important to analyse our own behaviour and address conflicts arising from it. And it’s also important to recognise the instinct we have as parents to defend. We want to protect our kids 1 8 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018

– so when we view what our spouse is doing as harmful, we become defensive – and then that creates conflict. If your spouse was raised by parents who used smacking as a punishment, for instance, but you feel that corporal punishment is completely unacceptable, then you’re going to have to communicate about that and resolve the conflict. We’re often triggered into an instant response or reaction – and that’s a tough thing to navigate. You have to teach yourself, when these situations occur, to talk through it, negotiate, and create rules for parenting that you both agree with. In a relationship where there’s respect for your marriage and respect for your partner, you listen to one another and take your partner’s perspective on board.

Rule 4: CONFLICT RESOLUTION Understanding, accepting, compromising and conceding are positive parts of a healthy relationship; when dealing with conflict, preserving the relationship is the goal – it’s not about ‘winning’. GV: You mention how parenting differ-

ences can lead to conflict between couples; what about personality differences? DR DOROTHY: We all have unique personalities. And when we expect our partner to conform to be more like us, that leads to conflict. Extroverted people might expect their spouse to come home from a trip or a party, for example, and talk about it. After all, that’s what they enjoy doing, so why wouldn’t their spouse?! But if their spouse is an introvert, he or she

Photo: iStock

HEAR ABOUT THE MACHINIST WHO ACCIDENTALLY SAT ON HIS LATHE? HE GAVE HIMSELF A NASTY TURN.

Rule 3: PARENTING


is going to need some downtime after an outing or event. So being ‘successful’ in this area of your relationship is simply a matter of appreciating that we’re not all wired the same way. Effective couples learn to read one another’s moods and appreciate those differences, rather than becoming frustrated over them. If you can understand that your differences are also your strengths, then you can appreciate those differences in each other and they don’t become a threat to your relationship. Common to all the couples I studied

were three attributes: understanding differences … compromising over differences … and conceding when it came to conflict. Someone asked me, when I was doing the research, if it was the same person who always conceded – or the same gender who gave in more often. What I found, in fact, was that the person who conceded varied widely. It tended to be the more passive partner, but both males and females conceded, and it was never submissive – it was a conceding with acceptance that made things work for them as a couple. It doesn’t have to be ‘tit-for-tat’ – or I SSU E 1/2018 – G R A PEVINE 1 9


I F Y O U T H R O W A C A T O U T A C A R W I N D O W, D O E S I T B E C O M E K I T T Y L I T T E R ?

“you win this time, but then I get to win next time”. It’s whatever works. At times the more passive person stood their ground and said, “This is what I really want!” – and they got it, because it was important. So it’s not that they never got their own way on things. To quote my friend and mentor Dr Andrew Christensen, “Conflict is a window into vulnerability.” When you’re facing conflict in your relationship, it’s exposing the fact that there’s a vulnerability. If you can see the vulnerability, you can understand the conflict.

Rule 5: Family The family comes first – and outside activities should be experienced wherever possible as a family. GV: Prioritising family time – how does

that contribute to a happy marriage? DR DOROTHY: Making family time a priority is difficult these days, because often both parents are working. With all the couples in the study, though, I found that time together was prioritised – even if it was just having a meal together each day or being at some of the kids’ activities together. Prioritising a family meal and supporting the kids’ endeavours as a family – these are both great investments, with benefits to the couple relationship as well. Another thing that contributes to a happy marriage is family holidays. And that was common for all of the couples in my study: they didn’t take holidays apart. I know lots of couples who go away individually, but none of our chosen couples did that – not even once. That wasn’t how they saw their family. When their kids 2 0 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018

were young, they spent lots of time as a family, and really enjoyed each other’s company. Their idea of family was that it was about all of them – there was a real sense of it being about ‘us’ rather than just about ‘me’. GV: What about having time just to themselves as a twosome – how did your couples prioritise that? DR DOROTHY: They’d carve out time for themselves, setting aside time to chat and catch up after the kids were in bed. They’d put their feet up for a movie and a glass of wine, or just hang out together. They didn’t agonise about having a regular, scheduled date night – they were just intentional about spending time together as a couple within the context of their regular lives with kids. GV: You talk in the book about ‘preserving the relationship’ – can you tell us more about how successful couples achieve that? DR DOROTHY: The couples in my study preserved their relationships in many ways. They admired one another and spoke kindly of one another. They were proud of each other and proud of things they did. They could even say negative things about each other that weren’t construed as negative – they could have a laugh about it! They were able to acknowledge little failings or idiosyncrasies without making it about someone’s failure as a spouse. They didn’t need to win – that was really important. And something they all said was this: when they had a disagreement they couldn’t resolve, they’d separate to cool down, think things through, and return later to tackle the issue together. Time always helps. Also, these couples didn’t sweat the


If you don’t believe in religion, but it’s important to your spouse, then you can put their needs ahead of yours and negotiate that difference in the same way you negotiate all the others.

Rule 6: APPRECIATING YOUR LOVE STORY Remember the past and how you came together as a way to accept your differences. GV: Your final rule of engagement is

about remembering the past. Can you explain? DR DOROTHY: Part of what holds us together in a relationship, especially during the difficult times, is an appreciation for our shared past. The couples in our study would take time to reminisce about those early days and talk about when they first met – many of them had such cute stories! You see, remembering the past is a matter of recognising that, in spite of all you’ve been through and in spite of what you’re currently facing, the person you married is the one you fell in love with – and that person is still right there. ‘THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT’ BY DR DOROTHY O’NEILL IS AVAILABLE ONLINE (FROM AMAZON.COM AND OTHER GOOD SOURCES) – OR ASK AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Have your say! Go to Grapevine’s Facebook page. Share your point-of-view and read what others reckon. I SSU E 1/2018 – G R A PEVINE 2 1

BATH THEORY: WHEN THE BODY IS FULLY IMMERSED IN WATER, THE TELEPHONE RINGS.

small stuff. They could read one another’s emotions – and they were flexible. They’d respond with love. They made it a matter of importance to take care of their partner’s wellbeing, not just their own. None of these couples would be cruel to each other. They didn’t use foul language or belittle one another. Some of them showed public affection and some were more private – but regardless, there was an underlying love, kindness and respect. Some of the couples were faith-based, and for them prayer and attending church together were very important – and turning to God for help when they were in conflict. They all believed strongly in the sanctity of their marriage and the need to keep working at it – they believed in their vows. GV: Faith or religion is another area that can cause stress when couples aren’t in agreement. How did the couples in your study navigate that particular challenge? DR DOROTHY: Well, for one of my couples, he was an atheist, and she was a Catholic – but there was that same thing we talked about earlier, of wanting your partner to feel loved and appreciated. It’s that acceptance through tolerance. You may not believe in this, but that doesn’t mean you can’t accept that your partner does. Some people in relationships do really annoying things and they’re never going to change – early-birds married to night owls; people who like the house cold married to people who like to keep the temperature up inside; all kinds of differences you learn to tolerate.


By Dave Barry

get fit The Way Insects Do!


F

They eat nutritionally balanced meals, run 15kms every day, play tennis and squash, and work out regularly on those all-in-one weight machines. Consequently, they have no time whatsoever for their work. Many of them don’t even know where their offices are. This is why our country’s entire economy is now manufactured in China.

3. You owe it to your self-esteem.

There’s no feeling in the world quite as wonderful as the feeling of being physically fit, except the feeling of eating pepperoni pizza! No, wait! Disregard that last remark! What I’m trying to say is, when you become fit everything

Many of you have eaten so many Enormous Economy Size bags of potato chips and so much onion dip that you probably couldn’t fit into the alleys without the aid of powerful hydraulic devices. So you’d have to fight them in the streets, where you’d be easy prey for their blimp-seeking missiles.

We, too, must be fit, in case they invade us. We must be ready to fight them in the streets and the alleys. The problem is that many of you have eaten so many Enormous Economy Size bags of potato chips and so much onion dip that you probably couldn’t fit into the alleys without the aid of powerful hydraulic devices. So you’d have to fight them in the streets, where you’d be easy prey for their blimp-seeking missiles. 2. You owe it to your career. In the old days, your successful business executive was generally a spectacular tub of lard who had to be transported from business deal to business deal via private railroad car. But today’s top executives are lean, sleek and fit.

about you changes. You have go buy new pants, for example. And you develop a whole new attitude about yourself. Instead of constantly thinking, “I’m pasty and flabby and disgusting and nobody likes me,” you think, “People like me now, but only as long as I can keep from becoming pasty and flabby and disgusting again. I wish I had a pepperoni pizza.” 4. You owe it to your future. There’s nothing like regular, vigorous exercise to prepare you for the pain you’ll inevitably have to endure when you get older. Let’s say you’re in your mid-20s to mid-30s. Most of the time you feel pretty good, right? But as you grow older, you’re going to start feeling more aches and I SSU E 1/2018 – G R A PEVINE 2 3

T H E S O O N E R Y O U F A L L B E H I N D , T H E M O R E T I M E Y O U ’ L L H A V E T O C A T C H U P.

ITNESS AND VITALITY CAN be yours – providing you have the discipline, drive and plain old-fashioned guts required to procure the necessary steroids. These articles may help, too, although that’s rather doubtful … As an inspirational opening to this new column (based on my lifelong personal commitment to health and fitness) I want to give you Four Reasons Why You Must Get Fit Immediately. 1. You owe it to your country. You can bet that the enemies of your country are fit. People in hostile nations are on a strict fitness programme of waiting in line a lot and darting their eyes about nervously.


DEAR IRD: ALL IS OVER BETWEEN US. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT ME AGAIN.

pains caused by the inevitable afflictions of age, such as Social Welfare, condescending denture adhesive commercials, and your children. People who exercise regularly are prepared for this pain. Take joggers: you see them plodding along, clearly hating every minute of it, and you think, “What’s the point?” But years from now, when you’re struggling to adjust to the pains of the ageing process, the joggers, who’ve been in constant agony for 20 years, will be able to make the transition smoothly, unless they’re already dead. (This will be covered in a later article called “Fitness and the Afterlife”.)

physical exercise all day long and never eats anything. This is Nature’s Way to Fitness, and we should emulate it if we wish to have the kind of taut, firm bodies that make ants the envy of the insect kingdom. Of course, we must always weigh this against the fact that they have a life span of maybe six weeks and are subject to attack by vicious beetles. o the bottom line is … NOW is the time to start that fitness programme! Fitness is more than just another new “craze,” like flavoured popcorn or parenthood. Fitness is a philosophy of life, a

S

You’ve probably noticed, for example, that most ants are in excellent shape. You almost never see a fat ant. What makes this especially interesting is that ants are always lugging around disgusting junk food, such as discarded biscuits many times the ants’ own size.

W

e can learn a great deal about fitness from observing insects. You’ve probably noticed, for example, that most ants are in excellent shape. You almost never see a fat ant. What makes this especially interesting is that ants are always lugging around disgusting junk food, such as discarded biscuits many times the ants’ own size. So how do ants stay fit? The answer is surprisingly simple: they have no mouths. And this is a good thing, really, because it means they can’t scream when you spray them with Raid, although they do their best to writhe around in a piteous manner. So anyway, what we have, in the ant, is a creature that engages in strenuous 2 4 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018

revolutionary new concept in personhood and, ultimately, a way for people like me to become wealthy via the publishing of fitness-related articles in magazines such as Grapevine. But people like me can do only so much. We can take your money. After that, it’s up to you. If you don’t follow the diet and exercise programme outlined in these articles, it won’t do you a bit of good. Even if you do follow it, it may not do you any good. Nobody really knows what will happen. But watch this space anyway... ADAPTED FROM STAY FIT AND HEALTHY UNTIL YOU’RE DEAD © BY DAVE BARRY. PERMISSION GRANTED BY RODALE PRESS INC.


Grapevine 1/2018 – Grapepuzzles Y

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CARAVAN MOTORHOME CAMPERVAN SOLUTION

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LIFESTYLE SUSTAINABLE SOLAR POWER

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grapepuzzles

WORDSEARCH – GYPSY LIFELife (SOLUTION PAGE 66) Word Search – Gypsy (solutions

How To Play: Fill in the grid so that every row, every column, and every 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 through 9. I SSU E 1/2018 – G R A PEVINE 2 5


gypsy li (Six months in a leaky caravan)

According to those in my extended family who have a penchant for studying ancestral lines, I’m part Gypsy. Romani Gypsy to be exact. What that actually means I have no idea, but it sounds pretty cool. And when my wife first mentioned that she’d love to travel around New Zealand in a caravan, it must have struck a piece of ancient gypsy DNA. Because here I am, near the end of February 2018, travelling around New Zealand in a caravan. With my wife and four children. For six months. 2 6 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018


S

DOING THE DEED …

A by Mike Cooney

couple of things stood out for us, as we perused the plethora of vehicles set out to entice potential buyers. The first was: we were fair bit younger than most of the punters (and we’re not that young!) – and the second: there was an awfully nice caravan for sale that, unlike most, could accommodate our entire family … just! Now, let me pause for a moment to say I SSU E 1/2018 – G R A PEVINE 2 7

IF YOUR MIND GOES BLANK, DON’T FORGET TO TURN OFF THE SOUND.

ife

o (do I hear you ask), what brought about this radical change in lifestyle? Why did we give up our spacious home and acreage in the Coromandel to cram ourselves into a 23-footcaravan? How will we ensure that our children, ages 10 through to 15, who were doing very well at school, won’t go backwards with their education and end up dole-bludging social-misfits as adults? And, most importantly, what will we, the parents, do to remain sane? Especially during those long, wet, winter days New Zealand is famous for? These questions, and more, will be answered sooner if not later … As I mentioned earlier, travelling around New Zealand, and particularly the South Island, was something my lovely wife has had on her bucket-list for ages. And unlike most couples, who choose to wander the countryside during their latter years, she wanted us to do it with our kids – which, as I’m sure you can imagine, has its own set of challenges. Anyway, after many late-night chats about whether or not we could handle the gypsy life, we one day found ourselves in Auckland, walking around a rather large Caravan & Motorhome Show.


PLANS ARE PUT IN PLACE …

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e now had a caravan sorted. And, with less than a year before it arrived in the country, we also had a timeframe to work with. We’d decided to head for Te Waipounamu (The South Island) at the end of January, returning to the north and home sometime in August, just in time for the bee season. The idea was we’d then get a good mix of seasons in the south – summer for fly-fishing and chasing the surf, autumn for the beautiful colours and hunting, and winter to test our down jackets in the snow! 2 8 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018

We had heaps to organise – like completing some renovations, sorting the kids schooling, and finding a tenant for our house – but we figured we had plenty of time. Which we would’ve, if it wasn’t for my uncanny ability to procrastinate. Let’s just say that the last month before departure was crazy. Somehow, the big day finally arrived, and it was quite the surreal moment as we set off down our driveway, caravan in tow. Given our dawn-to-dusk busyness through those last few weeks, the whole six-months-in-a-caravan thing didn’t seem real – and wouldn’t for a few days yet.

ADVENTURE AWAITS!

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e gave ourselves a week to get down to Wellington and our scheduled ferry crossing, and had a loose plan of the route we wanted to take. The idea was to spend as much time as possible along the Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa coastline while there was good surf, and then enjoy a full day in the capital, checking out Te Papa and other city sights. One of the best pieces of advice we were given was to join the NZMCA (New Zealand Motorhome & Caravan Association), which has properties throughout the country where you can stay for a nominal fee. Membership also provides discounts at other camp grounds – and they have a great app showing accommodation options throughout NZ, which was to prove invaluable. Our short Te Ika-a-Māui (North Island) sojourn was good fun – and a great test for our big Land Cruiser and even bigger caravan before we crossed the Strait into more unchartered and remote territory. Highlight for me

Photos: Mike Cooney

SO WHAT IF I CAN’T SPELL ARMAGEDDON? IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD.

that, what happened next, goes against the advice most budget experts, financial consultants, economics teachers and cautious parents would give you … We were sitting at a table with an Australian salesman (perhaps that was our first mistake?) who was doing a pretty good job of telling us how wonderful his made-across-the-ditch caravan was, when I spontaneously turned to my wife and said, “Enough chitter-chatter – let’s DO this!” Upon which my wife went pale, realising I was serious. She gave me a nervous-yet-trusting nod, so I leant over the table, shook the man’s hand and bought a caravan. Well, to be precise, I bought a caravan that was still yet to be built … (Without getting into a discussion about appropriate financial management, let me reassure you: I wasn’t completely reckless. I did put in the Sale & Purchase Agreement that this had to be ‘okayed’ by our accountant. We did, after all, have to take out another mortgage … gulp!) Anyway, on with the story …


B U M P E R S T I C K E R : H O N K I F A N Y T H I N G F A L L S O F F.

I SSU E 1/2018 – G R A PEVINE 2 9


(apart from the incredible hot chips at Waimarama!) had to be the Gallipoli exhibition at Te Papa. It is quite simply outstanding. If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to. It really should be compulsory viewing for all Kiwis.

The kids loved the crossing. And the sight of dolphins playing in our wake as we motored into the Sounds seemed like an appropriate way to start our journey proper. That sense of freedom was something I wanted for my family … although, as we drove off the ferry in Picton, I still didn’t know what to expect – or even where we were going! All I knew was, adventure awaited ...

Longest place-name in the world - have a go at saying it!

3 0 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018


FAQs: Why are you doing this now and not waiting until retirement? Because my

wife and I want to share this experience with our kids. They’re growing up quick, and we want to have as many adventures with them as we can before they’re off doing their own thing.

Photos: Mike Cooney

How are you supporting yourselves doing this? I’m fortunate enough to be

able to work from nearly anywhere with my writing and editing. And I’ll probably pick up other work while we’re away. We’ve rented our house out, we’ve worked hard, we’ve saved – plus, we’ve borrowed some extra from the bank! But we reckon it’s a good investment. What if your children get behind in schoolwork? This experience will hope-

fully change our kids for the better and create a life-long curiosity about the world they live in. You can’t get a better education than that! We’ll also be doing correspondence school with them – but not when the surf is good!

How will you avoid cabin-fever living in such small confines – especially when it’s raining? To do something like this, you

already have to be a little bit crazy – so we’ll be fine! Seriously, what doesn’t kill us will make us stronger – right?

You’re so lucky – I wish I could do this …

Then DO it! Make your own luck! Think outside the box … make a plan … put a timeframe in place … and then DO it! It’ll take courage though … so don’t be a wuss! I can guarantee that, when you’re old and your time is nearly up, you won’t be saying, “Gosh, I really wish I didn’t take my family on that incredible adventure when we were younger. It would’ve been so much better to have a flasher house …” IF YOU’RE EVEN SLIGHTLY INTERESTED IN SEEING HOW THE JOURNEY’S GOING FOR MIKE AND HIS FAMILY, SEARCH FOR ‘KIAORA KID’ ON YOUTUBE, AND CHECK OUT THE VIDEOS OF THEIR ADVENTURE, AS FILMED AND EDITED BY THEIR YOUNGEST SON.

I SSU E 1/2018 – G R A PEVINE 3 1


YUMMY, EASY, QUICK VICHY-STYLE BAKED CHICKEN WITH LEEK GRAVY

SICILIAN ROAST PUMPKIN, TRAY BAKE, TWO WAYS

VICHY-STYLE BAKED CHICKEN WITH LEEK GRAVY Your family will want to surrender after eating this simple tray bake that combines all the joy of chicken, leeks and potato with asparagus. Originally it was a one-pan bake but it’s really worth dirtying another pan to get the potatoes nice and crispy – which is why we did it! Seriously though, throughout this book it’s always my aim to avoid creating extra washing up if I can absolutely help it. I suspect that, like me, you don’t have

an army of kitchen hands to clean up after you in your kitchen ... unlike some cookbook authors. Serves 4 | Prep: 15 mins | Cooking: 1 hour 8 chicken thigh cutlets, skin on 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil 2 teaspoons thyme leaves 3 garlic cloves, crushed sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 leeks, cut into 2 cm thick slices I SSU E 1/2018 – G R A PEVINE 3 3

B U M P E R S T I C K E R : H O N K I F A N Y T H I N G F A L L S O F F.

“What’s for dinner?” Answering this question is what this cookbook is all about. We all have a selection of go-to dishes to cook for family and friends but, delicious though they are, even the best of us can get stuck in a rut, caught on a culinary hamster wheel, cooking from the same repertoire of nine or so recipes over and over again. This new book – 'Yummy, Easy, Quick' by Matt Preston – aims to break this cycle with dishes that are easy, delicious and nutritious … and that minimise the washing up along the way!


12 (about 850 g) baby red-skinned potatoes, halved (or use whatever potatoes you have, cut into small chunks) 80 ml (1/3 cup) chicken stock 80 ml (1/3 cup) white wine 1 large bunch asparagus, trimmed

IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE DEJA VU AND AMNESIA AT THE SAME TIME?

85 g (1/3 cup) crème fraîche or sour cream

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Cut a few slashes into the skin of the chicken thighs. Combine the oil, thyme and garlic in a bowl and season. Place the potato, leek, stock and wine in a large roasting tin. Place the chicken thighs on top and drizzle with the thyme mixture. Bake for 20 minutes. Add the asparagus to one end of the tin and bake for a further 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and golden. Transfer the chicken and asparagus to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Transfer the potatoes to a baking tray, leaving the liquid and leeks behind. Return the potato to the oven to crisp up while you prepare the leek gravy in the roasting tin. This will take about 15 minutes – both the crisping and the gravy, actually. Place the roasting tin over medium heat for 10–12 minutes, until the sauce reduces and thickens. Don’t forget to stir away happily, scraping any toastiness from the sides or base of the tin back into the sauce. Stir in the crème fraîche and warm through. Strew the chook pieces and asparagus randomly back in the tin on top of the creamy leek gravy. Throw in the crispy potatoes. Serve! 3 4 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018

SICILIAN ROAST PUMPKIN, TRAY BAKE, TWO WAYS This tray bake can go two ways: add the vinegar dressing 15 minutes before the cooking is over and you get a sticky tray bake of classic Sicilian sweet and sour flavours, or add it after cooking and let everything – pumpkin wedges, roasted onions and olives – steep, and you get a really meaty pumpkin salad that just needs some ricotta or feta to become a full meal. This is one of the must-make recipes in this book! Serves 6 | Prep: 15 mins (plus 20 mins soaking) | Cooking: 55 mins 1 kg pumpkin, unpeeled, deseeded and cut into 3 cm wedges 4 small red onions, unpeeled, halved from root to tip, cut surfaces rubbed with oil 2 tablespoons olive oil sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 45 g (¼ cup) currants 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced 60 ml (¼ cup) red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon caster sugar 160 g (1 cup) pitted Sicilian green olives ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg 40 g (¼ cup) pine nuts 100 g fresh ricotta or feta, crumbled into big chunks ¼ cup basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Place the pumpkin wedges on the tray in a single layer and add the onion halves, cut-side down. Drizzle with the oil and season. Roast for 30 minutes.


Use a large baking tray to

TIP make sure your pumpkin

sits in a single layer. This will ensure you get great caramelisation on the pumpkin and that it doesn’t steam.

REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION FROM YUMMY, EASY, QUICK BY MATT PRESTON, MACMILLAN, RRP $39.99.

S E L E C T E D

F R O M

Yummy, Easy, Quick Banging with flavour, Matt Preston’s take on modern classics will instantly become household favourites!

While the pumpkin and onion are roasting, combine the currants, chilli, vinegar and sugar in a bowl. Set aside, stirring occasionally. Add the olives to the baking tray and sprinkle a little nutmeg over the pumpkin. Roast for a further 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is golden and slightly charred at the edges. Once the pumpkin is cooked, transfer the roasted veg and olives to a serving platter with sides. Pour over the currant dressing and set aside for at least 20 minutes, or up to 2 hours. Place the pine nuts on a baking tray. Toast for 10 minutes, or until golden. Watch so they don’t burn.

COOKBOOK DRAW! Like us on Facebook before Sunday 15 April, mention you’re entering the draw, and we’ll put your name down for a FREE cookbook! (previous winners not eligible) I SSU E 1/2018 – G R A PEVINE 3 5

WHEN THE ACTRESS SAW HER FIRST STRANDS OF GREY HAIR SHE THOUGHT SHE’D DYE.

Sprinkle the pumpkin with the ricotta or feta, basil and pine nuts. If you want to eat the pumpkin hot from the tray, pour on the vinegar mixture when you add the olives and then proceed with the recipe as above.


How to be irritated by Guy Browning

I

RRITANTS ARE A FORM OF LIFE rage served in fun-size portions. Often the most irritating things are only irritating because they’re habits. For example, you wouldn’t mind if people did that little flicky movement with their hair once. It’s just that they do it five thousand times every time they speak to 3 6 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018

you, and they don’t even realise they’re doing it. However, pointing out something that irritates you is always a difficult and dangerous thing to do –especially when the person knows exactly what they’re doing, likes doing it, and is not going to stop doing it. This means that whenever


TAKE IT FROM THE TINKERSONS

pretty well before you can start finding their habitual towel dropping on the floor irritating. A complete absence of irritants isn’t love, it’s a coma. Irritation is a rather handy emotion when there aren’t any really big things to hate. That’s why you can find nice people irritating without any real excuse for disliking them. It is of course possible to irritate yourself. You can acquire things that you hate about yourself, little verbal tics like saying, “Howdedoody!” when you answer the phone. That one can sicken you almost to the point of insanity. Some people have a face that’s naturally irritating so they’re already on a bit of sticky wicket the moment you set eyes on them. Likewise having an irritating voice, hair or general manner can be injurious to smooth social interaction. But remember that one person’s irritation is another person’s stimulant. You may find Dave winking at the end of every sentence fantastically annoying, but Dave’s wife married him for it. His first wife, that is. © GUY BROWNING IS AUTHOR OF ‘NEVER PUSH WHEN IT SAYS PULL’ AND CREATOR OF ‘TORTOISE IN LOVE’ (DVD) – USED BY PERMISSION.

BY BILL BETTWY

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IS THERE SUCH A THING AS A RHETORICAL ANSWER?

they rub their feet together in front of the TV destroying their slippers in the process, you’re going to be irritated that they’re doing it, they’re going to be irritated that you’re irritated, and you’re going to be doubly irritated that they don’t care that you’re irritated. The biggest irritations come from the smallest things. Divorce cases often cite mental cruelty as grounds for separation. But what this generally boils down to are a host of small things, such as; leaving the milk out overnight, intrusive positioning of elbow in bed, and wagging of finger in conversation. Some irritants are so small that it seems churlish to mention them. Many a ruby wedding anniversary has been slightly spoiled by Cyril admitting that he found Violet’s way with a fork irritating since the 1920s. Irritants aren’t irritating per se. For instance; one day you can like someone a very great deal and find them congenial in every respect. A year later, when you’ve decided you don’t like them, you find everything they say, wear and do, intensely irritating. Familiarity breeds irritation in the same way that armpits breed bacteria. For example; you have to know someone


by Paul Freedman

healing those horrible nightmares (good news about bad dreams)


A CONVERSATION WITH MARGARET BOWATER

G them?

RAPEVINE: Before we get into the scary stuff, just what are dreams? And why do we have

MARGARET: All mammals have dreams.

It seems that the mammal brain, because it’s so complex, needs time-out to sleep. And, from time to time within that sleep, there’s a process of ‘rapid-eye-movement’ (usually abbreviated to ‘REM’) which allows the mind to construct images and stories about issues going on in our lives. We typically have eight hours’ sleep a night. (Well, that’s what we need!) And within those eight hours, we might have four or five periods of REM sleep, where we engage in vivid dreaming. One popular theory about sleeping and dreaming is that it calms our system, and helps us get ready for tomorrow. Dreaming seems to pick up issues in our emotional processing that are a bit

unusual – or, if they’re strong dreams, things that feel like a threat to our wellbeing. And if we can just track down what we feel anxious about in daily life, we might find that the dream tells us, metaphorically, how to deal with it. When I’m listening to somebody describing a disturbing dream, I tune-in to their feelings. I’ll ask whether the dream ends satisfactorily or not. If not, I invite them to ‘re-enter’ the dream and ‘continue the story’. What might happen next to bring about a better ending? GV: You call this kind of counselling ‘dreamwork’, don’t you. How long have you been doing it? MARGARET: I’ve been running dream workshops since 1985 – for 32 years! While I was a director of the Human Development & Training Institute I ran a training programme in dreamwork for our counsellor trainees. I SSU E 1/2018– G R A PEVINE 3 9

AGE IS SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T MATTER UNLESS YOU’RE CHEESE.

Photo: Shutterstock

“To sleep, perchance to dream … ay, there’s the rub!” Poor old Hamlet (according to playwright William Shakespeare) was obviously troubled with nightmares. And Margaret Bowater – dreamspecialist, counsellor and author of a new book ‘Healing the Nightmare; Freeing the Soul’ – says most of us are in the same leaky boat. But she doesn’t just leave us there. Nightmares, she claims, aren’t simply freaky phantoms of the night sent to torment us. On many occasions they’re also useful information, coming from our minds and bodies, and telling us something needs fixing. A fascinating idea? Yes, we thought it was. So Grapevine tracked down Margaret and asked her about … well … her worst nightmares!


calm down and fine-tune our lives? MARGARET: Well I’d like to say “yes”, but I have to admit that there are times when I’ve been dreaming and catch only a fragment … not enough to tell me anything definite. A lot depends on how much time and effort we’re willing to put in to recording and pondering. We dream more intensively when there are lots of big changes going on in our lives. We may get other sorts of dreams which have a mystical component – and they can be useful for predicting or warning about something … GV: What do you mean by ‘mystical’ component? MARGARET: Well, people often talk

GV: You recommend keeping a dream journal. Why’s that? MARGARET: Recording a dream on paper or in a notebook is a good way to hold on to the images in your mind. I’ve been recording my dreams now for 30 years. I number them (I’m up to dream number two thousand four hundred and something). If you also give them a title and date, it helps you see which dreams lead on to others. This tells you whether any particular theme (if it’s a nightmarish, or uncomfortable dream) is being dealt with or is getting worse. GV: Some dream themes might seem rather obvious I guess. I’ve quite often dreamed I’m driving in a car, and even though I’m pushing the brake pedal full

All mammals have dreams. The mammal brain, because it’s so complex, needs time-out to sleep. And, from time to time during the night, we have periods of ‘rapid-eye-movement’ (REM) sleep, where we engage in vivid dreaming. It calms our system, and helps us get ready for tomorrow …

about visionary experiences – glimpses of ‘another reality’. They don’t know what they are or where they comes from, but they feel much more real than ordinary dreams. These are most obvious in ‘neardeath’ experiences – and vast numbers of these have now been recorded. GV: Are you talking about near-deathexperiences or dreams here? MARGARET: I’m talking about a mixture of near-death-experience and pre-death visionary dreams (which can begin as an ordinary dream and then become something deeper). The boundary between the two is quite difficult to define. But people are often left feeling this is a spiritual experience. 4 0 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018

force, the brakes just aren’t working. Would that would mean I fear my life’s out of control? MARGARET: Well, it might suggest there’s some life issue that feels like it’s out of your control, yes. GV: So how do you work out what it’s really about … and then deal with it? MARGARET: When you wake up, try and record what you can. But also ask yourself, “What, in my life, brings that feeling on?” You see, the feeling is your first connection. “Exactly what do I feel anxious or panicky about? What am I afraid might happen?” GV: One of the expressions you’ve coined is ‘lucid dreaming’. What’s that?

Photo: iStock

POLICE UNCOVERED A MASS GRAVE OF SNOWMEN – TURNS OUT IT WAS JUST A FIELD OF CARROTS.

GV: Are all dreams useful in helping us


when you move from an ordinary kind of dream into another level of dreaming – which includes the awareness that you are dreaming. And once you recognise that, “Oh – I’m inside a dream!”, then you can steer it. You can actually make things happen. “Ah! I can get myself out of this mess!” Some people do it naturally. Others spend ages trying to learn to do it. But as far as I can tell it’s not that easy. I can’t quite say that I’ve never had it … I’ve come close … but only in those dreams where I’m right on the point of waking up and my waking-brain is beginning to kick in. I know some people who can choose to go into lucid dreaming at will, and have tremendous adventures – even quite powerful spiritual experiences.

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T H E F I R S T F I V E D A Y S A F T E R T H E W E E K E N D A R E A L W A Y S T H E H A R D E S T.

MARGARET: Lucid dreaming can occur

GV: You mention dreams and visions. Dreams I know, but what do you mean by ‘visions’? MARGARET: The most powerful visionary experiences that I’ve heard of recently tend to be near-death experiences, when the mind moves out of the ordinary framework into another dimension and has glimpses of something beyond. People who talk about this tend to be people who’ve had pretty good experiences. (There are a few who’ve had not-so-good experiences …) GV: You mean going up a tunnel towards a great light … feeling happy and peaceful … heavenly music and stuff like that? MARGARET: Yes – up a tunnel towards a light which gets brighter and brighter, and if you get to the end of the tunnel you meet a being of light. You may receive instructions to go back because it’s “not your time yet” … you may be aware of a boundary … or you may go further into what seems like a beautiful scenario of some sort. GV: Well, beautiful scenarios aside, your latest book concentrates on nightmares. Most of us would surely prefer to forget them, wouldn’t we? MARGARET: True. But I think we should remember them, think about them, and deal with them. GV: So nightmares are an even stronger message for us to react in some way? MARGARET: Yes. And they vary from warnings about something bodily going wrong, to tidal-wave-dreams in which you fear that something awful’s coming, ready to overwhelm you. GV: Do we all have nightmares? MARGARET: I think probably, yes. We don’t necessarily call them nightmares.


in an abusive household and couldn’t talk about it or tell anybody. She’d learned to simply shut up. GV: So how did the dreamwork therapy help her to change things? MARGARET: She learned, in counselling, to talk about the abusive experiences and failures that had messed up her life. And as she got better at expressing herself, life came more under her control – and she could say, “Yes, of course! I can see how the nightmare of being choked up with this glue described my situation perfectly.” GV: Do you put nightmares in categories? MARGARET: Well, all nightmares are unique in their particular circumstances. But you can usually tell a Category 1

We dream more intensively when there are lots of big changes going on in our lives. When it feels like something’s out of control. And those dreams vary from warnings about something bodily going wrong, to tidal-wave-dreams in which you fear that something awful’s coming, ready to overwhelm you.

glue-like jell and she’d be unable to say anything. It turns out her boys had airguns, and they’d been going around the neighbourhood shooting things. She needed to talk about this with her husband. But he thought this was “woman stuff ” and nothing to do with him. So she couldn’t get her concerns out. She’d choke up. And if she ever did manage to get anything out, it shot out like a bullet – a sharp criticism – “You never listen to me!” or whatever. There was never any one-to-one discussion or dialogue. The problem went back, we discovered, to her early childhood, when she grew up 4 2 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018

nightmare, because the dreamer will say, “I dream exactly what happened!” GV: Like death of a loved one? MARGARET: Yes or the horrible scene when that person died. Whereas, in a Category 2 nightmare, things are beginning to shift. GV: How many categories are there? MARGARET: Three. That’s Harry Wilmer’s categorising system. He was working with military combat veterans. GV: I suppose veterans would be dealing with exceptional trauma, wouldn’t they? MARGARET: On the whole, yes. Trauma nightmares are very powerful and very frightening. If you’d grown up in a

Photo: Shutterstock

I USED TO BE A PLASTIC SURGEON, WHICH RAISED A FEW EYEBROWS.

If you expand the meaning to “disturbing dreams that leave us feeling threatened and helpless” – I think everybody has those at times. Children have them more often because they have less power to control their environment. In the workplace, for example, (and I’m hearing from counsellors who do employment work), there’s a lot of bullying going on. And bullying can lead to terrible nightmares. GV: We do have odd nightmares don’t we? Tell me about the lady who had the mouth filled with glue. MARGARET: She attended her first dream workshop in her midlife years, and described this recurring nightmare. Her throat would fill up with some horrible,


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D E A R A L G E B R A : P L E A S E S T O P A S K I N G F O R Y O U R X . S H E ’ S N E V E R C O M I N G B A C K , A N D D O N ’ T A S K Y.

violent, alcoholic home, for example, you might have suffered beatings or witnessed other family members being beaten. And if you’re a girl in that situation, you can become very afraid of men. With trauma experiences, you mightn’t have understood what’s happened to you … and the nightmare is likely to recur, over and over, like earthquake aftershocks. It’s so important that you’re able to talk about this and about how you felt. One woman came to me saying, “Look, I have this recurring nightmare about being on a quad bike. It’s tipping over and I’m going to get killed.” I asked, “Have you ever been on a quad bike?” “Yes,” she said, “I went on a trail ride quite recently.” “Did anything happen?” I asked. “Yes!” she said. “My bike did tip up and almost went over, but it righted itself again and I was okay.”

She’d dreamed that it could’ve kept going – that the worst could’ve happened. But then she took that to mean it was going to happen – it was a prediction. So I explained, “No – it’s just a natural echo of what has happened and why you were so frightened. Because it could’ve been worse.” Some cultures believe that any repeating dream must be a prediction. Apparently Arabic cultures are like that. And if you’re working with somebody from a culture like that, you have to emphasise that their dream’s most likely a reaction to what’s already happened. Understanding that can help de-fuse the power of the nightmare. GV: You suggest that people with recurring nightmares can help themselves by putting a ‘ ‘new ending’ on the dream story. How on earth do you do that? MARGARET: Ah well, if you were in lucid dreaming it’d be easy. You’d know you were in a dream. But most of us aren’t lucid dreamers. So what we do when we wake up feeling helpless and terrified, is wait until the next day. Then later, as we remember the dream, it helps to consider: “What could I do to take myself out of that situation?” Let the dream run through your mind again, but now carry on imagining the new situation – the new ending that makes things better. You might even try imagining two or three different endings. And, in the process, you’re proving to yourself that you aren’t helpless. GV: Have you ever had one of these recurring nightmares? MARGARET: Yes. For ages I had a vivid recurring dream in which I lost my handbag. Now my handbag’s my access to


know about – a middle ground between passive and aggressive behaviour. In the middle of those extremes, there’s assertive behaviour in the middle, where you can stand your ground and speak your truth and possibly influence the bully. GV: But how do nightmares fit in? You can’t ‘dream away’ bullies can you? MARGARET: In the nightmare you might feel, for example, that you’re being attacked by a wild dog … or you might dream that Dad’s about to beat the hell out of you again … whereas the trigger experience in real life may be the boss at work picking on you, disparaging you or putting you down. How do you get through that? Well, I’d encourage you to imagine a

Lucid dreaming can occur when you move from an ordinary kind of dream into another level – which includes the awareness that you’re dreaming. And once you recognise “Oh – I’m inside a dream!”, then you can steer it. You can actually make things happen. “Ah! I can get myself out of this mess!”

– or whether you need more professional counselling? MARGARET: When it prevents you from doing something that’s ordinary in your life, like getting on a bus, or doing anything that most people can do without a qualm. If you really can’t handle those ordinary things, then you need to investigate deeper. Standing up to a bully would be a common one – and a much more serious issue. You can choose not to go on a bus, or go caving, or venture out into wide open spaces if that’s what your nightmares are about. But bullies will find you. And many people haven’t learned – or don’t 4 4 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018

new ending to the dream in which you stand your ground. And, as you feel what that’s like, a new assertiveness may begin developing for you in real life too. At the least, it’ll clarify for you where the problem really lies. GV: Children have bad nightmares don’t they? The ‘monster under the bed’! I used to see the wardrobe door slowly opening – and didn’t dare look away from it. MARGARET: Once again, it’s that sense of helplessness. Some of it can be brought on by the scary stories children see and hear. There’s plenty of frightening stuff on TV they really shouldn’t be watching. One of my friends attended my

Photo: Shutterstock

I H O P E L I F E I S N ’ T A B I G J O K E , B E C A U S E I D O N ’ T G E T I T.

all my important independence. Losing it is serious. And the first few times I dreamed this I was really quite distressed at being so paralysed and helpless. So I made myself consciously think, “What should I do?” In most versions of the dream I’ve put the bag down somewhere and the shock hits when I realise it’s missing. So what I’ve had to do first is go back and look for it. Or, another ending that helps – I go to the lost property office – or the police – and ask if anyone’s handed it in. Once I start imagining new endings, I find I don’t have the nightmare any more – or the distress is eased. GV: How do you tell if a simple technique (such as you’ve just mentioned) is enough


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I R O N Y : T H E O P P O S I T E O F W R I N K L Y.

workshop. She’d had her four-year-old granddaughter stay with her, and, before they went to bed, she and granddaughter read a story the child liked called Bob the Burglar. In the middle of the night the child awoke screaming. Nana soothed her and eased her back to sleep. But in the morning my friend asked the girl, “What was it that so frightened you last night?” “Oh,” she said, “There were burglars coming in my bedroom.” Well, Nana gave her a big sheet of paper and a lot of crayons and said, “Draw a picture of yourself … BIG!” So the little girl drew this big picture of herself. Next, Nana said, “Now draw all the burglars … little!” So she drew the little burglars. And then Nana asked, “What do you want to say to those burglars?” And the little girl answered, in a big voice, “GO HOME!”

They practiced this together – both of them yelling “GO HOME”. The grandchild was delighted and every visitor to the house received a demonstration of the dream! She was learning that she can do something about this nightmare. At age four she knows she is not a helpless little girl about to be violated. GV: But lots of little girls have been, or may have been violated. MARGARET: Yes – an alarming percentage of New Zealand girls have been sexually abused to some degree before they’re 16. And it’s shocking! The average age it starts for them is just nine … GV: What sort of dreams might a child describe that should alert a parent, grandparent, doctor or caregiver that something’s seriously wrong? MARGARET: She dreams there’s somebody trying to attack her – trying to harm her. Sometimes children won’t feel free to tell their story to parents. They need to have others they can talk about it with. And, of course, some of the nastiest examples of child abuse are carried out by friends of the parents – and the children aren’t believed when they talk about it. I had one woman come to me aged 69, a Polynesian woman, having terrible nightmares. She’d thrash around in bed, screaming. Her daughter sent her to me with a little note saying, “I don’t think she’s had a good night’s sleep for years!” The woman was glad to tell me her story: “I’ve never told this to anybody before, even my daughter, because I wanted her to have a good relationship with her father …” (The daughter, however, had already worked out that her father wasn’t safe!) Within two sessions the woman had


THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO SUBSTITUTE FOR A GENUINE LACK OF PREPARATION.

stopped thrashing around at night. Within four, she was sleeping peacefully. And after that we practiced assertiveness. So, even after 60 or more years, you can still do something about those locked-in bad memories and fears. GV: Many of us feel we should be able to just ‘deal with’ this stuff and get over it – right? MARGARET: Boys get that a lot, yes. Don’t ask for help – that’s weakness. Whereas girls are allowed to be weak – but they’re not allowed to be a fighter. It was felt that women always needed a man around to protect them. Well, thankfully, those attitudes are shifting now.

who’ve abused altar boys, or clergy who’ve indulged in inappropriate touching with girls or women. GV: We know that happens, sadly. But where do nightmares fit in? And how does understanding them make the situation any better? MARGARET: Well, victims often dream that somebody’s taking advantage of them … that somebody’s pursuing them. And it often turns out that they were abused in childhood, and have never learned how to establish boundaries. A guy came to me wanting help with his marriage. His wife suspected him of unfaithfulness, and he confessed

What to do when you wake up feeling helpless and terrified? Wait until the next day. Then re-run that dream, continuing the story, and asking: “What could I do to change that situation?” Imagine a new ending that makes things better. In the process, you’re proving to yourself that you aren’t helpless. GV: You talk about ‘spiritual crisis’ nightmares. What are they? MARGARET: They occur when there’s something getting in the way of your having a healthy spiritual life. Where you can pray freely, for example, if that’s important to you. Where you can join in with a spiritual community. Where you can talk about life in a constructive way, and you’re not terrified of death. GV: So the spiritual crisis nightmare then, is that an attack on these beliefs? MARGARET: It may be an attack. And the one that’s been most prominent recently is when men with spiritual authority take advantage of their situation to introduce sexualisation into their relationships with people in their care. Like the priests 4 6 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018

pretty quickly that he had indeed been unfaithful. Even worse, he’d exploited people in their community, and he was petrified his wife would find out. He wanted me to ‘fix up’ his marriage! Now he wasn’t into exploring nightmares, but he did have a very revealing dream that a strange cat came in through the window of his bedroom, sat on the bed as if it had a right to be there, and was spitting and snarling at their household cat. He didn’t know what that meant, but it seemed pretty clear to me that there was an ‘invader’ who was at least verbally attacking somebody who belonged there. We managed to unpack a bit of that. But, sadly, the man wouldn’t take responsibility for his actions …


you alone! We’d all sit here with you until you passed over … and when you get to the other side, the rest of the family will be there waiting for you!” Well, he relaxed, after that, and later died peacefully. GV: I liked the way you finished your book with a dream of your own. Like to share it? MARGARET: Sure. I have a dream that sometime soon all health professionals, pastors, chaplains, teachers, social workers, care givers and parents – really everyone who cares for others – will learn how to use nightmares for healing, and value dreams in general for their insight and inspiration. ‘HEALING THE NIGHTMARE – FREEING THE SOUL’ BY MARGARET BOWATER IS AVAILABLE FROM CALICO PUBLISHING.CO.NZ. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MARGARET’S WORK GO TO WWW.DREAMWORK.CO.NZ.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Have your say! Go to Grapevine’s Facebook page. Share your point-of-view and read what others reckon.

Remember Grapevine in your Will

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YOU’LL ALWAYS BE MY FRIEND. YOU KNOW TOO MUCH.

Spiritual crises also show in people who are terrified of death. I counselled a 94-year-old man who was so frightened that he simply declared he was “never going to die!” Now his body was getting shaky, and he had nightmares about walking on a high ridge, with the ground crumbling away beneath him. We understood that fairly quickly. But what he simply couldn’t deal with was a recurring nightmare about a little child, sitting on his lap and gazing at him with pleading eyes. When he described that dream, he cried, even though he had no idea what it meant. Eventually I asked him, “So what happened to you when you were a little boy?” And out came the story about watching his mother suffering terrible asthma attacks. He thought she was dying, and feared he’d be left, just four years old, on his own with no one to care for him. His image of dying was gasping in terror, fighting for breath, and he wasn’t going to let himself get into that situation. Once we’d brought this out, his daughter said, “Dad! We’d never leave


Photo: Dreamstime

HE’S A GROSS IGNORAMUS – 144 TIMES WORSE THAN AN ORDINARY IGNORAMUS.

REFUGEES!

THEY HAVE NO NEED OF OUR HELP So do not tell me These haggard faces could belong to you or me Should life have dealt a different hand We need to see them for who they really are Chancers and scroungers Layabouts and loungers With bombs up their sleeves Cut-throats and thieves They are not Welcome here We should make them Go back to where they came from They cannot Share our food Share our homes Share our countries Instead let us Build a wall to keep them out It is not okay to say These are people just like us A place should only belong to those who are born there Do not be so stupid to think that The world can be looked at another way (... now read from the last line up to the first) BRIAN BILSTON

4 8 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018


PUNCTURE?

FIRST THINGS FIRST If you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain.

RUDE SHOCK!

I

’ll never forget the time we stopped off at a Masai village (kraal) in Kenya. The Masai are those tall nomadic tribes-people – famous for their red robes, beads and spears. They wander the vast grasslands of East Africa with their goats and cattle, living in simple huts made of mud and cow dung, protected from lions by a tangled thorny barrier. The kids caught my attention. They always do when you travel. With their

black faces and wide eyes, they were as cute as kids anywhere. They showed us their kindergarten with its stick walls and dirt floor. One little girl with a shiny bald head said the alphabet in Swahili – then they all sang the ABC song in English. And when I crouched down later to show them their photos on my digital camera, I was mobbed by giggling, barefoot little urchins. I wish you could see what these people had: NOTHING! They had nothing – nada, zilch, zip – at least by our standards. No books, cars, power, TV, running water, flush toilets, regular wages, bank accounts, supermarkets, shopping malls – none of the things we all take for granted. But, amazingly, they seemed happy. They seemed content. They love their kids and cows and beads, and they’re in no hurry to swap their ancient lifestyle for something more modern. It was a rude shock, I tell you, coming home to beautiful, blessed New Zealand and being greeted by all the bitching and bickering that goes on. We have more than we need, most of us, and more stuff than we know what to do with. But we often sound negative and ungrateful. And some of us look like we’ve been baptised in vinegar! It’s time we woke up and dusted off that old Fred Dagg song: We don’t know how lucky we are, mate, We don’t know how lucky we are! JOHN COONEY

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SKIING COMBINES OUTDOOR FUN WITH KNOCKING DOWN TREES WITH YOUR FACE.

A bad attitude is like a flat tire. It needs to be DEGNAHC before you can get anywhere.


ARE CHILDREN EVER RULY?

FOOTPRINTS

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Others stay a while, make footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.

STAND OUT! No one ever made a difference by being just like everyone else.

FLAVIA WEEDN

HAND-OUT/HAND-UP?

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will go out and buy a boat, expensive fishing gear, stupidlooking clothes, a 4-wheel-drive, travel hours to the hottest fishing spot, and anchor out there all day feeling vaguely seasick – just so he can outsmart a fish. (Average cost per fish: $395.68.)

NUGGETS They panned life for gold, and they found it daily.

BAD FOR BUSINESS!

The world is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturiser? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind. To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with our own non-upgraded existence, to be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business. MATT HAIG – ‘REASONS TO STAY ALIVE’

5 0 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018


BORN THAT WAY?

NELSON MANDELA

STOP DITHERING! Be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with squashed possums who couldn’t make up their minds.

OURSELVES

It was after dinner. The wind was howling outside and we felt very cosy. Mary-Allen was doing some sewing in one corner, and I was trying to read the newspaper on the sofa across the room. Our three little girls were giggling and climbing all over me, as if I was a ladder. Finally, I stopped trying to read and began to wrestle with them and love them. Through the tangle of little arms and legs, I happened to see Mary-Allen … with tears of happiness streaming down her face. I began to see that I, and the people I know, are most attractive when we’re unconsciously being ourselves with others and accepting them as they are – without trying to manipulate or change them in any way.

SECOND FIDDLE?

The best way to become FIRST fiddler in the orchestra is to do the best you can at playing SECOND fiddle.

ME, MYSELF & I Enjoy the simple pleasure of being exactly where you are.

KEITH MILLER

I SSU E 1/2018– G R A PEVINE 5 1

H E W H O H E S I T A T E S I S N O T O N L Y L O S T B U T 2 0 M I N U T E S F R O M T H E N E X T E X I T.

No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate. And if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love … For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.


spot

the difference

Drama by Tim Tripp


TRY TO SPOT THESE 21 DIFFERENCES ... Find Grapevine on Facebook to see if you got them all!


I put my teens on a

digital

detox By Vivienne Reiner


Photo: Shutterstock

in there were the apps I had previously deleted. I caught my other daughter once in her room offline, looking through the photo stream on her mobile – she explained she just wanted to go through the action of swiping. had long had the feeling that the fact we all seem increasingly stuck to the screen was no accident. And just days ago, 1Facebook’s ex-president Sean Parker admitted, that in developing their ubiquitous social media products, the creators of Facebook and Instagram consciously strived to manipulate people’s vulnerabilities so that their creations  “consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible”, aiming  to give users a little dopamine hit every time someone likes or comments on a photo.

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It is said that owning a pet such as a dog can help people with mental illness or stave off depression but I wonder what symbiotic processes are happening with our smartphones – and now smartwatches – which are always kept so close.

Social media apps were deleted but I had to concede my children could keep their mobiles to text the tutor and use their laptops as part of the school’s Bring Your Own Device policy for homework and “research”. The depth of the problem revealed itself almost immediately one bedtime when I sent an article to my kids via Facebook (for them to read later); and immediately one of their mobiles buzzed via the Messenger app I didn’t even know was there. Further investigation revealed a folder set up in the phone that one daughter had ambitiously named “Do not look” and

Facebook, he said, “literally changes your relationship with society, with each other ... It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.” A research firm that specialises in consumer reactions to products, Dscount, recently found 2people touch their phones on average 2617 times a day. 3The Guardian has reported that a former Apple inventor who is now studying to be a neurosurgeon believes “addictive technologies” can affect the same neurological pathways as gambling and drug use. I SSU E 1/2018– G R A PEVINE 5 5

I’M GREAT AT MULTI-TASKING. I CAN WASTE TIME, BE UNPRODUCTIVE AND PROCRASTINATE ALL AT ONCE.

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NEVER REALISED JUST HOW damaging our obsession with smartphones and our switched-on lifestyle was, nor how addictive screen time was, until I put my teenagers on an extended digital detox. The results were swift and shocking, raising the question of just what is happening to the selfie generation and whether we have more to fear than just a bad Snapchat Story or a wasted day bingeing on Netflix. It was out of desperation that I instructed my teenagers to go cold turkey from screen time for a term – thanks in part to the advice of our tutor who said they needed to study more to catch up in maths – and save up the things they wanted to do, even “go crazy”, after their exams.


PROCAFFEINATING (N): NOT STARTING ANYTHING UNTIL YOU’VE HAD A CUP OF COFFEE.

Other studies have found the mere fact of having a phone nearby can result in eroded concentration. 4A Wall Street Journal feature reported that relying on the internet makes us forget because the “truth” is just a click away. But what is the impact of just relying on your smartphone to tell the time, or to wake you up? Of having an app for everything? These devices are now often an extension of ourselves, distracting us and filling the void where we once had time to do nothing; to daydream or to think deeply and reflect. It is said that owning a pet such as a dog can help people with mental illness or stave off depression but I wonder what symbiotic processes are happening with our smartphones – and now smartwatches – which are always kept so close. urprisingly, my children did not take too much convincing to agree to our “prison at home” term, as one referred to it jokingly, although small concessions were made – the girls insisted on being able to search for lyrics to songs – but they did not fall for the pop-up suggestion to watch videos of their favourite artists. One of my daughters noticed with surprise once, when a single-word text from a friend arrived that she could read from a distance, that she nonetheless felt an urge to open the message, although

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she knew she would find nothing more if she physically “opened” the text. Our first weekend evening screen-free was spent playing games – something we had not done in months. Our dinner proceeded without interruption and we enjoyed what seemed to be focused, connected and happy conversation. Almost immediately after we banned screen time, my children started studying much more – there’s not much to do, they explained – no internet black hole sucking in hours at a time, assisted by auto play that commences the next- or related instalment we never asked for. We bought some books and my children have a newfound love of reading: “It’s so much better than TV,” one enthused, even while conceding she was looking forward to holiday catch-up television. “I’m much happier now,” the other chimed; checking what her thousand “friends” were up to virtually made her feel downhearted, especially at night. Music has returned to our lives, replacing the YouTube morning routine and social media catch-up that accompanied breakfast. Weeks later, we still don’t know what other people are doing “out there” and we don’t care. My children’s heads are clear – it’s as if we’ve woken from a stupor. VIVIENNE REINER HAS TEENAGE CHILDREN AND WORKS IN PUBLIC RELATIONS.

RESEARCH: 1. www.axios.com/sean-parker-unloads-on-facebook-2508036343.html 2. https://blog.dscout.com/mobile-touches 3. www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/05/smartphone-addiction-silicon-valley-dystopia 4. www.wsj.com/articles/how-smartphones-hijack-our-minds-1507307811 5 6 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018


Ain’t u o his! Gon Y T na Believe

• A chameleon’s tongue is as long as its body. • Forget your orange roughy or snapper – the herring reigns supreme in the world as the most widely-consumed fish! • Every day 3000 Euros get tossed into Rome’s Trevi Fountain.

• Women, on average, spend 17 years of their lives trying to lose weight.

• It used to take half an hour to milk 10 litres – with modern milking machines it takes less than one minute.

• “The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick” is said to be the toughest tongue twister in the English language. (Add a Sikh or two, and it gets even worse.)

• In Shakespeare’s time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes, the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase, “Goodnight , sleep tight …” • Warner Communications paid $28 million for the copyright to the song ‘Happy Birthday’.

• In ancient times strangers shook hands to show that they were unarmed.

• Thirty-nine percent of people who read this list will try (in vain) to say the ‘sick sheik’ tongue-twister. I SSU E 1/2018– G R A PEVINE 5 7


Nothing quite like a

french river-cruise I’m sitting at a small table on the sundeck of a long, slender, stylish riverboat. It’s been our floating hotel for the past three-and-a-bit days, and sometime during the night we docked in Lyon, France’s third-largest city. Across the river from where we’re tied up is Lyon’s charming Old Quarter, its waterfront lined with gnarly trees and elegant old buildings, its skyline riddled with spires and chimneys and bright-orange roofs. 5 8 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018


W Photos: Dreamstime / John Cooney

E TOUCHED DOWN IN Paris 10 days ago, and romantique France has been wooing us, bewitching us and beguiling us ever since. Europe’s City of Lights is something else – especially at night, with its glittering Eiffel Tower … the Champs-Elysees (Paris’ grand promenade) … its monumental gateway, the Arc de Triomphe … and its gargoyleguarded Notre Dame Cathedral, haunt of the notorious hunchback. We ventured into the countryside, exploring Monet’s rambling Garden, then oohing-&-aahing at the extravagant 500-year-old Palace of Versailles. Then we drove down through France’s astonishing Loire Valley, exploring five medieval châteaux – marvelling at their sumptuous interiors, their manicured gardens, their turrets and towers and moats, plus an occasional spooky knightin-rusty-armour (the knight long-gone, of course). We spent the night before our rivercruise in the oldest and most atmospheric hotel I’ve ever slept in: the Cour des Loges – incorporating four restored Renaissance buildings, narrow 15th century stone staircases and archways, gorgeous antique furnishings, and (in our room, at least) an ancient, spacious four-poster bed! urope is criss-crossed by dozens of navigable rivers and canals. And, because towns and cities were often located on (or close to) these waterways, most worthwhile sites are within easy reach of a shiny riverboat – like the one we boarded the next day. If you’ve never been on a luxury rivercruise before, you don’t know what you’re

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missing! And it’s hard to think of a better way to experience these famous regions. The highlights just keep coming: one day, a wine-tasting stop in some dark boutiquey cellar … then the next day, a visit to some archaeological ruins … followed by a walking tour in one of the glittering cities along the route … and the day after that, a stroll through a village marketplace with lunch in a local farmhouse.

Beaune’s Hotel Dieu

And in between, from the comfort of your riverboat’s sundeck or the privacy of your own personal veranda, you can watch the world go by: the oh-so-lovely farmlets, forests, churches, castles, villages, hamlets and people-scenes that line the banks both sides. e motored off on our eightday cruise last Thursday, and have thus far ventured north along the scenic River Saone (pronounced ‘Sawn’) into the world-famous Burgundy region – epicentre of France’s vast wine-trade, where vineyards stretch to the horizon in every direction. We woke up on Friday in Chalon-surSaone … and launched a grape-escape to the city of Beaune. Here we visited the Hotel Dieu (originally a 15th century

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I SSU E 1/2018– G R A PEVINE 5 9


Loire Valley village

Grape Harvest

Brancion


Photos: John Cooney / Dreamstime

almshouse or hospice) before going underground into the Cellier de la Cabiote – to get to the bottom of viniculture and sample the highly-rated results. Recharged by a yummy riverboat lunch, we then drove to the medieval Cluny Abbey villages of Brancion and Cormatin to explore the ancient lanes, stretch our ancient legs, check out an ancient castle, and take some ancient photos. Saturday was more of the same … with a leisurely drive along roads that wound through romantic Beaujolais scenery, past more vines, trees and castles to a dedicated ‘weinmuseum’ (tasting included, of course). And on our afternoon agenda? A countryside drive to Cluny Abbey, Europe’s most influential monastery during the early Middle Ages, and the world’s largest Christian structure until the Pope-of-the-day decided to go one better, and had St Peter’s built in Rome. Most of the Abbey’s 12th century stonework was looted and carted away during

the French Revolution, when the Abbey’s priests also got the chop (courtesy of the brutal guillotine) – and, today, only one towering section of Cluny’s magnificence survives. At this point, we’d seen less than half of what awaited us on the waterways of France. We still had the River Rhone to come. (Remind me to tell you about it sometime). But if you haven’t already done so, please add a river-cruise to your bucket-list … JOIN JOHN & ROBYN COONEY IN AUG/SEPT THIS YEAR WHEN THEY RETRACE THEIR STEPS AND ‘DO FRANCE’ AGAIN. PHONE GLEN (HOUSE OF TRAVEL ELLERSLIE) FOR DETAILS: 0800 323 333 – OR EMAIL MIDLIFEMADNESSTOURS@HOT.CO.NZ.

join Robyn & John Cooney on this

23 day tour Aug 2018

I SSU E 1/2018– G R A PEVINE 6 1


Books 4 Kids

Showtym Adventures: Cameo The Street Pony by Kelly Wilson

I Am Jellyfish By Ruth Paul

Book 2 in a new illustrated junior fiction series inspired by true events from the Wilson Sisters’ childhoods.

A captivating bedtime story by awardwinning picture-book creator Ruth Paul, with luminous and eye-catching illustrations. The language is evocative of the deep blue sea, and readers will love the clever way that Jellyfish gets the better of hungry Swordfish. This delightfully funny bedtime story has a glow-in-the-dark cover for kids to discover once the lights are turned out – no arguments about lights out with this bedtime story!

When nine-year-old Kelly Wilson outgrows her pony, her mum surprises her with a beautiful steel-grey mare that she spotted trotting down the street, tied to the back of a truck. But there’s a catch. Cameo has never been ridden! While her sisters Vicki and Amanda are jumping higher than ever before, Kelly must face her fears on an untested pony. Will Cameo ever be ready for competitions? And will the girls’ ponies hold their own against the purebreds at the Royal Show? Horse-mad young readers will love reading about Vicki, Kelly and Amanda’s adventures with their ponies and their challenges, problems and successes with training and riding them.

RRP $19.99. Publisher: Puffin, Penguin Random House. Release date: Available now

RRP $14.99, Publisher: Penguin, Release date: Available now

Chased to the depths of the bottomless blue, what does a tiny Jellyfish do?

Books 4 Kids Draw

WIN one of these sensational books on Grapevine’s Facebook page!

HOW TO ENTER: Like us on Facebook before Sunday 15 April, mention which book you’re entering the draw for – either I am Jellyfish or Showtym Adventures, answer a simple question, and we’ll put your name down for one of two FREE books! (Limited to one entry per person) 6 2 G RA PE V IN E – IS S U E 1/2018


the sexualisation of girls:

Photo: Greg Brookes

GROWING UP TOO FAST?

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USTRALIAN HUMAN-RIGHTS activist and author, Melinda Tankard Reist, is in no doubt: little girls are being made to grow up too fast, encouraged to act older than they are, forced to be adults before their time. Eleven-year-olds are having spray-tans once a week, eight-year-olds are being admitted to hospital with eating disorders, and five-year-olds are refusing to go swimming because they’re ‘too fat’. Melinda worries most about the sexualisation of girls. We asked her what she meant: Melinda: Well, ‘sexualisation’ is about imposing adult concepts of sexuality on children. It’s about valuing them for their physical appearance and their body parts, and treating them as much older than they are. Grapevine: And how’s this happening? Melinda: Oh, in a million ways! For example, companies are now targeting children with products containing sexual imagery. We’re seeing padded bras for girls as young as six or seven. Pole-dancing kits for little

girls. Kids’ t-shirts with phrases like ‘Eye Candy’, ‘Nudge-nudge, wink-wink’ and some that are even more overt: ‘Hung like a five year old’ or ‘I enjoy a good spanking’! GV: Is that just marketers trying to be funny? Melinda: Well, it’s considered to be a joke. But honestly, marketing products like this to kids is just encouraging them to act-out sexually. Music videos are contributing to their early sexualisation with violent, sexual images showing women as never satisfied or wanting to be treated roughly. And billboards with this imagery are filling spaces viewed by our children every day. I keep thinking it can’t get any worse – but it always does! Society is sending young girls a message about how they should look – and, sadly, when they can’t live up to the airbrushed images of models and celebrities they see every day, they feel bad about themselves. In Australia we have 1-in-100 girls with anorexia, and 1-in-10 with bulimia; 1-in-4 girls in this country wants to have plastic surgery; and we have rising rates of self-harm. The list goes on … WANT TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE? VISIT WWW.GRAPEVINE.ORG.NZ … GO TO ‘LIBRARY’ (MAGS BY YEAR) … CHOOSE YEAR 2011 (ISSUE 4) … & FIND ‘GROWING UP TOO FAST’ I SSU E 1/2018– G R APEVINE 6 3


home-sweet-home:

DOCTOR, DOCTOR!

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TIRED AND DESPERATE mother complained to her doctor about her teenage daughter’s strange eating habits: “All day long she just lies on her bed, and eats nothing but yeast and car-polish. What’s on earth’s going to happen to her?” “Eventually,” said the doctor, “she will rise and shine!”

SMILE … #1 This guy asked a fairy to make him irresistible to women, so she turned him into a credit-card.

surviving teens:

BEWARE THE HAPPY SCREAMS!

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OMEDIAN DAVE BARRY took his 13-year-old daughter to a Justin Bieber concert – and afterwards he wrote about the experience: “How bad was it, you ask? It was so bad that I cannot hear you asking me how bad it was. It turns out that the noise teenage girls make to express rapturous happiness is the same noise they would make if their feet were being gnawed off by badgers. “Also, for some reason, being happy makes them cry. The girl next to me spent the entire concert bawling and screaming, quote, ‘I LOVE YOU!’ directly into my right ear.” 6 4 G R A PE V IN E – IS SU E 1/2018


intimacy:

Photo: iStock Photo

THE DRIFTING MARRIAGE

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ANY COUPLES, IN THE past, would put up with a drifting marriage for years. Maybe it was dull and dreary, but they got on okay. And at least they weren’t fighting. But today’s couples demand much more. Our parents and grandparents may have settled for mediocrity, but not us! The demand for intimacy in marriage has never been so overwhelming. And without that closeness, a relationship crumbles. That’s why drifting marriages are at high risk … It doesn’t take much to tip them over the edge: an affair, a teenager causing trouble, a midlife crisis … almost anything. Or maybe you just wake up one day to the fact that your marriage isn’t worth putting up with any longer. “I felt as if I was starting to shrivel up inside,” Angela confesses. “Our children will soon be leaving home. I know what’s going to happen between

Peter and me unless we sort things out. “We just don’t connect. It’s become more and more obvious. And the thing is – all our friends are the same! “I used to think this was normal. My parents were like that too. They were totally indifferent towards each other – very little affection was ever shown. So I’ve never had anything better to compare it with. But I want something better.” A new danger, of course, is that we rush to the other silly extreme. Instead of ‘grinning and bearing it’, as Granny and Grandpa did, we give up too early and too easily. When closeness doesn’t just happen (like magic!) we assume the marriage was a mistake, or that love has died, or that the two of us were never ‘meant’ for each other. But it’s not like that. Good marriages aren’t made in heaven. They’re good because two people MAKE them good. Intimacy is always difficult … and when it stops being difficult it stops being intimacy. However (write this down!) … intimacy is always possible! WANT TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE? VISIT WWW.GRAPEVINE.ORG.NZ … GO TO ‘LIBRARY’ (MAGS BY YEAR) … CHOOSE YEAR 2013 (ISSUE 3) … & FIND ‘INTIMACY: THE MISSING INGREDIENT IN YOUR MARRIAGE?’ I SSU E 1/2018 – G R A PEVINE 6 5


poppa-love:

NOTES TO MY GRANDSON

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(FROM ‘PEOPLE WHO LIVE AT THE END OF DIRT ROADS’ – LEE PITTS) Grapevine 1/2018 – Grapepuzzles

Grapevine 1/2018 – Grapepuzzles

SMILE … #2 WORDSEARCH – GYPSY LIFE Y

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Photo: Dreamstime

HOPE YOU GET TO KNOW about hand-me-down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meatloaf sandwiches. I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to make your bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you’re 16. I hope you have a job by then. It will be good if at least one time you can see a baby calf born and your old dog put to sleep. And I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.


BY JOHN COONEY

Flying at last!

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He eventually popped some balloons with his BB-gun, and drifted back to earth. But not before he’d demolished some power-lines and blacked out an entire suburb. Larry had a way with words. When he finally hit the ground, reporters asked him why he did it. “Well, you can’t just sit there,” answered Larry, grinning from ear to ear. When asked if he was scared, he said, “Yep!” And when asked if he’d do it again, he said, “Nope!” But he didn’t have to, did he. Because, from 15,000 feet, he’d been sending back the message: “I’ve DONE it! I’ve DONE it! I’m FLYING at last!” And what an encouragement he is to the rest of us … Look, there’s no shortage of tired, grumpy, burnt-out cynics who’ll tell you it can’t be done, it costs too much, you shouldn’t, you mustn’t, you won’t. But guys like Larry Walters are too busy tying balloons to their deck-chairs to listen to that! Good on them, eh! JOHN, GRAPEVINE’S FOUNDING EDITOR, ADMITS: “I’M NOT AFRAID OF FLYING. I’M AFRAID OF SUDDENLY NOT FLYING!”

I SSU E 1/2018 – G R A PEVINE 6 7

WHAT’S ANOTHER WORD FOR THESAURUS?

NEVER MET LARRY WALTERS, but I wish I had – because he’s long been one of my heroes. Larry was a Los Angeles truck driver. But, for as long as he could remember, he had always wanted to fly. The thought of getting up there amongst the clouds used to fire his imagination. And his mother would often catch him on the roof of their house, picturing the day when he’d get airborne. His parents had no money. And flying school was beyond his truck-driver budget. But every evening after work, he’d make himself a peanut-butter sandwich, sit outside in his aluminium deck-chair, and stare at the sky. Larry Walters might’ve remained anonymous. Except … he didn’t. The next chapter in his life was told by television reporters. And guess what? He was flying! He’d bought himself some helium-filled weather balloons. He’d tied them to his deck-chair. And he’d climbed onboard with a parachute, a CB radio, and a BB-gun to pop some of the balloons when it was time to come down. But there was one small problem: he’d underestimated the helium. And instead of floating over the treetops in his neighbourhood, Larry took OFF! And, before he knew it, he was 15,000 feet above the city – in the flight-path to LA International Airport, where at least one pilot mistook him for a UFO!


ARE YOU MISSING OUT ON GRAPEVINE? A YEAR! IAL-COPY FOR Get your own FREE TR SPONSOR. (see P2/3) Better still, BECOME A

Grapevine – Issue 1, 2018  

Welcome to Issue 1, 2018 of Grapevine – a magazine aimed at helping give parents, families and almost anyone, a lift! We hope you enjoy...

Grapevine – Issue 1, 2018  

Welcome to Issue 1, 2018 of Grapevine – a magazine aimed at helping give parents, families and almost anyone, a lift! We hope you enjoy...

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