Two little maids from school, Monique and I with our army canvas school bags that everyone had, and in my hand I have a Bangles single. On vinyl.It's also where I met Monique - my best pal. We met in maths or science or something in fifth form, and been pals ever since. She's Tiny's godmother and has been a huge influence in my life. We've kind of followed each other around a bit during our friendship; she followed me to Christchurch, I followed her to the UK. Though she's a dirty pinko do-gooding vegetarian who can't eat wheat, I hold her advice and opinions in the highest esteem and admire the way she can pull off wearing a way-too-small for her t-shirt she's just bought at the Sallys.
During the Tokoroa years, I had a number of crappy jobs. My first job ever was picking gooseberries and blueberries at Loft's farm not far out of town. I was 13, I was growing my hair long for the first time ever, and made the mistake of parting it in the middle with pig tails. My head was singed one day and huge lumps of peeling scalp came off a few days later. Not pretty. My next bad job was delivering the New Zealand Herald. Six days a week for three years I got up at 5.30am, pedalled downtown hoping the bungy cords holding the yellow PVC paper carrier onto my bike wouldn't come off and smack me in the ass, and delivered papers to the good folks of Papanui Street. Some mornings were glorious - just me, the papers, amazing sunrises and birdsong. Others were torturous - rain, crazed dogs, the bungys coming off, general unpleasantness. One nice thing about it was sometimes finding a chocolate bar from the old lady who wanted her paper delivered right to her door.
Could this be where my thing for red cardigans started?
The last job I had in Tok was the least horrible - I was a check-out chick at the local New World. There were loads of other girls from school there as well as Lisa R - who when I come to think of it was responsible for me getting the jobs fruit picking and paper delivering - and who is still a mate even though I missed her wedding because I got the dates wrong, and despite standing at the end of a check-out for hours with nothing but Christmas music on repeat to listen to, it was a blast.
I left Tokoroa in 1991 for Canterbury University, which I had dreamt about for ages. Christchurch just seemed to me to be new and exciting compared to going to Waikato or Auckland which were closer to home. And it was where my older more glamourous sister Ange lived. Until I got there.