Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Coats off!

No, not us…. Coats off the possums!

In 1960 our family (the Jones family) returned to NZ after spending three years in the UK.  It was quite a shock to discover my new school mates spoke funny and didn’t wear shoes.  However it didn’t take long for me to re-assimilate and become yet another kiwi urchin.  Within a year I had learned to make a trap and catch my first possum.  My father showed me how to skin and tan the pelt.  Before you knew it I had a small enterprise going. 

Possums (opossum) are not native to NZ having be introduced from Australia where they are a protected species.  With no natural predators to keep numbers under control they rapidly spread throughout NZ and are considered vermin.

Eventually I lost interest in my enterprise and it wasn’t until fifteen years later (in 1976) that I again started tanning possum pelts.  This time I had a specific purpose… a hat!  I’d seen a photo of Russians wearing those fur hats and decided to making one of my own to wear on a cold winter day.  The cunning plan was to make a warm hat at no cost by have the fur on the inside with the exterior being covered using material recovered from an old army green shirt.

1976 - Only part made, yet already a ‘hit’ with one member of the family

Although the hat was completed, it never received much use as we moved to warmer climates.  However whilst rummaging though an old steel trunk in preparation for our move to the UK it was re-discovered and so the hat received a second life.

Yes….. it makes the wearer look damned silly.  But it’s lovely and warm! Smile

Jan went off to check if Postman Pat had called with any postl for us and returned bearing parcels. 

The original tie-down straps from the 99p shop proved to be too flimsy and required replacing.  The four above were purchased from Amazon at around £8.  We only require two but it was actually cheaper to purchase four.

The second parcel contained my study material.

I’ve confined myself to just purchasing the actual ‘Life in the UK’ book after deciding the other two associated books (test questions and answers + study book) weren’t essential.  The test questions and answers book contains 400 example questions and answers (but not the actual exam questions) drawn from the material in the ‘Life in the UK’ book.  There are only 24 questions to the exam and the pass mark is at least 75%.  Now I’ll be able to read in bed instead of counting sheep.

The other post contained our new bus passes (valid until 2017).  The only outstanding post is Jan’s birth certificate!  She was born… I’ve seen the cute belly button!

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