Our FB friend–Allan Gilmour
Allan and I were first introduced to each other way back in the early 1990’s. The company I worked for (New Zealand Post) purchased his company (Speed Link) and because of that, Speed Link was gobbled up. Allan was an Account Manager in Sales. I held a Sales Support position to help Allan look exceptional!
When an opportunity presented itself for me to be promoted into a fellow Sales position, Allan returned the support. He mentored me to become a better Account Manager, pushing me to believe in myself. Allan’s continued ‘kick up the bum/pat on the back’ approach was instrumental in me securing a role to represent NZ Post (who was a major sponsor) and work in the Olympic Village at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in Spain. A five week jaunt that had me rubbing shoulders with David Tua and Russell Coutts as amateurs.
We have remained friends since the 1900’s and taken the piss out of each other the whole time. It was the umbilical cord to our friendship.
Allan’s decision to up root and migrate to Australia three years ago also highlighted that there was life in the old bugger still and that age is no barrier to start something new. His balding features haven’t changed much, except for a tanned scalp because of his entrenchment in the Auzzie way of life.
Allan taking the time to tiki-tour me up to the Mount Cootha Summit look out to view Brisbane as far as the eye could see was reflective of his hospitality nature. Allan’s sales pitch to have us venture onto the Aboriginal continent to live was also tempting to say the least – even if it’s for the warmer climate. Perhaps we might after some further venturing to visit others on the face book list.
BClaire summed up this face book visit nicely – a good bugger happy as a sand cat.
For me, might be a silly old coot at times … but for most parts, just an exceptional good bastard.
Our FB friends – Sharon Meredith and Mark Hogan
Our recent trip across to Australia had purpose, substance and meaning.
Its purpose was to attend the wedding between Sharon and Mark.
It had substance with playing the ukulele and singing the tune of ‘ten guitars’ as they cut their wedding cake.
It had meaning because we take responsibility for leaving them on a dance floor together in Dubai, doing what would be characterised as washing machine dancing under the influence of alcohol – to be present and witness them taking their first dance as Mr and Mrs.
Sharon is our step-sister on BClaire’s side of the family who lived in Australia. Mark who is English was a mate we befriended during our residency in Dubai. When Sharon visited us and Mark joined us in socializing with her – our purpose, substance and meaning was to protect her from marrying a POME and him becoming family! Our plan worked up till it was time for Sharon to return to Australia.
As luck would have it, Sharon’s flight was over booked and through taking the option to be bumped till the next day, Sharon was rewarded with another free return trip back to Dubai from Australia. And so we were blessed with her visiting us for a second time. As did Mark availing himself to partake in further socializing during her stay. Fate would have it that they would dance the night away and thus enter the washing machine dancing under the influence and our exit to leave them at it on the dance floor.
The rest is what makes for a fairy tale story – they fall in love; she returns to Australia; he follows her out; they grow their love for each other; he proposes; she accepts; they wed; and now he being married into the family. Upset the step-sister and we smash his knee caps!
Who could not possibly live happily ever after, with purpose, substance and meaning?
Naturally, Shaz and Hoag’s are more than just face book friends. Their kinship has contributed to the characters we have become. And it was also evident that they had an influential presence through the conversations had with other wedding attendees.
The bonus of Mr and Mrs Hogan – now having the addition of a nephew by marriage in Mark’s son.
Welcome to the family Jake, we are now your Auntie Claire and Uncle Brent.
Our FB friend – Anna Windleburn Northwood
Anna’s Mum read about us when we featured in the newspaper during 2007. We were cycling the length of New Zealand to raise money for Child Cancer as a family and were passing through our growing up home town Kaiapoi. A friend request popped up on face book to add Anna as a friend with the words, “I have found you!”
There had been eight or so years of friendship absence between BClaire and Anna. The last time that they had spoken, BClaire was married to someone else. And much to Anna’s surprise, the new husband BClaire was married too was someone she had had the hot’s for 33 years before when she was just a tweeny!
Anna and family live in Australia and it was only a matter of time before a trip across the ditch meant a face to face catch up since hitting the friend request accept button. Watching and listening to them exchange frenzied conversations about old boyfriends and parties was hilarious – they each tried to tell tales on each other as to who was to blame to justify their antics. Getting hidden in a pub chiller at the Yaldhurst pub during a police raid because they were under-age drinking has been a common conversation since; made more entertaining because Anna’s father was a Policeman!
Our recent trip to Australia and catch up echoed the same conversations. More telling of tales; more blame and justification; more banter and laughter. This is a brilliant example where face book has reconnected a friendship of the past so as to continue the friendship into the future.
Anna reminding me that there was a water tower behind the old Kaiapoi swimming pool where we once held hands all those 33 years ago … it was Anna’s doing Mr Windleburn!
Our FB friends – Jan, Pete, Hayden, Gareth, Stephanie
Jan was married to a Steve Brown. Claire was married to a Steve Brown before me. Jan’s Steve had great pleasure in telling me that he had had Claire before me also. Except he hadn’t – in the true sense!
What made this friendship unique and special was that the Brown’s stayed neutral during my separation to my first wife. They did not pick sides. And as they got to know BClaire as a person, they too embraced the new situation.
The friendship originated when our kids attended pre-school kindergarten through to sharing in camp adventures. Me with two wives in a sense!
Sadly, Steve got sick. His passing was tough given his friendship support during a period of marital change. And the word’s “I had Big Claire before you” have not rung out in a long time.
But as we know it, no matter the hardship of losing someone dearly, life goes on.
Visiting the Browns on a number of occasions has provided us many an opportunity to get to know Pete – Jan’s new partner. According to Jan, Pete is great with his hands to have handy around the place and we often spend time saluting his handy work over a glass of red. Their home is always our base when we visit Brisbane, Australia with our most recent visit to attend a wedding up the coast.
They recently started a rehab and mobility wholesale business specializing in old people’s accessories – wheel chairs, bed pans, electric scooters, old folk diapers and the like. Quite ironic given their age being only a decade away from probably starting to use some of the stuff they sell themselves!
And with all visits to them, it’s also a time to connect with the tribe again – Hayden, Gareth and Stephanie. These kids are now young adults able to hold a conversation about life in general, in-between the odd ale or two. Their outlooks have changed from being bullet proof and know it all’s, to more realistic about taking responsibility for their own actions if they want to be, have or do.
No matter what, Jan has stayed true to our friendship all these years. Pete has partnered and picked up the meaning of the friendship. And the kids have now become friends in their own right.
Face book will continue to put a face to each and every one of them, no matter what.
Our FB friend – Mandy Walsh
It wasn’t long after we met Mandy that she joined our Mumzonbumz network group. We took Mum’s and Nana’s out on bikes who hadn’t ridden before, or for a long time. It became a time out for them having some ‘me’ time around like minded Mum’s and the bumz bit was the pre-cursor to all the gas bagging gossip that followed a ride over a cuppa and muffin. Mandy became an integral part of the network.
Introducing a Thursday evening ride was we believe led by Mandy. The cuppa and muffin was replaced with wine and became known as ‘Thirsty Thursdays’. More rehydration was taken on these rides than any other Mumzonbumz session and any common sense chatter was more waffle.
Mandy has a pet name “Wifey” bestowed upon her by BClaire. It eventuated from a camping holiday with Mandy at Keiteriteri to deter any possibility of romance from potential white speedo wearing blokes strutting their wears around camp. BClaire’s pet name was “Franny” – don’t ask!
During our living in Dubai, BClaire decided to return home to New Zealand for a visit and surprise Mandy and another good friend Sue. However, at the same time as BClaire was scheming, both Mandy and Sue were scheming themselves from down under. They had decided to visit BClaire in Dubai for her birthday as a surprise. And I was caught in the middle having to tell mis-truths from /to either direction given both travel was within two weeks of each other!
Fortunately, both surprises came off; mis-truths abated; and although Mumonbumz was dissolved many thirsty Thursday’s ago, the pet names “Wifey” and “Franny” have still been bantered in the many conversations since.
And of course, the waffle.