The Tin Shed

We have just returned from our dinner at the Korean restaurant. Very enjoyable and traditional meal, all cooked at your table in a built in charcoal brazier. We have had similar meals to this, but everyone had a small gas cooker, complete with a hot plate on the table top. Anyway, our last one was more to what you would be given in Korea. The small charcoal device produced an intense heat when the blower was turned on, fanning the coals white hot by the time the food arrived. Their menu had also provided pictures of what food was on offer, accompanied by numbers. Just as well, as everything else was in Korean. Again, were the only Europeans present. The food however was certainly different, we all enjoyed ourselves. Our Japanese woman companion took over the cooking duties. Her dexterity with chops sticks meant our food found it’s way from the charcoal to plate, without incident.


The one thing that really stuck in my mind was their salad dressing. It was simply exquisite. I have looked at my Asian cook books again, but there was nothing mentioned regarding Korean salad dressings. But I know that there are Korean girls working in the Riccarton Branch of the Bank. On my next visit, I will inquire from them if they know what is so different special about their dressings. All cultures have things and recipes that excite each another, even to a simple batch of scones. Raspberry jam, and whipped cream on top is special, Wow! This was something even our kids can easily make, but it completely blew away the Japanese. I know as far as food is concerned the Japanese are watching us as closely as we are watching them. But I find that it’s the simple things we discover about each other that are the best.


On the way home we called in at the supermarket and discovered Asparagus had at last dropped in price down from $49-99 a kilo only two weeks ago, down to $2=99 a bunch (About four bunches to a Kilo). This would be my number one vegetable, I know it’s not the most popular dish for everyone, and long may it remain so, as we would like to keep for ourslves as far as possible. I can remember during the War that sometimes we were sent treats to remind us of home. Tinned Asparagus back then in my opinion reminded me that we were missing nothing. In the same group was tinned whitebait, it was nothing like the real thing.


Current events often trigger off memories. Especially with the current American meltdown. One such episode took place immediately after a property boom and bust in New Zealand that we experienced some years ago. Working in the Bank we were often asked for advice or to help out with problems clients were involved in, not in any way related to banking. Sometimes it was just a call for help, from a friend who trusted you, and they had no one else to turn to. A near neighbour had a ‘run down’ home in a most desirable area of the town. A million dollar Lake view, but really sub standard accommodation. It was located on very small section, which the house covered completely. Sections or Tent/Camp sites were a hang over from the Gold Rush days. A developer spotted this home and after a many approaches talked the Widow owner into a grandiose scheme that he proposed for her. Couldn’t fail he cried. He would develop the property with a commercial base, for him, a luxury flat on top for her. All her dreams were about to come true, she would exchange her existing in the ‘Tin Shed’ as she called it, for a penthouse. I didn’t come into her picture until the boom had turned into bust. All her hopes for the ‘Step Up’ to a dream home had suddenly crumbled, and turned into dust. She was now left with thoughts of only what might have been. Plus a huge debt for all the development and architects costs, as she was still the owner. And where was the developer who arranged all this? Well you may ask, over the hills and far away. Her tranquil life quickly turned into one of misery. She was constantly being dunned with bills she couldn’t possible pay, as well being bombarded with threats that if didn’t sell up and pay what she now owed, she would be taken to court, legal action would be then taken to recover the debt and maybe even lose the Tin Shed. It was at this stage she called in for advice all the time clutching her Court Summons. I said, ‘I can help a little’. ‘Firstly, I would suggest you get rid of your necklace meantime. This necklace was made up from many large gold nuggets her husband had discovered while fossicking in local creeks. Your two gold nugget bracelets they will have to be removed as well. The only other suggestion I can give you, is when the people who are causing you all this grief, come on too strong, Play your ‘Poor Widow Card’ breakdown and cry. This will make them feel guilty, and they certainly won’t want a weeping, blubbering widow, on their hands, so that the whole world knows what they are up to. They know you are being hung out to dry, and most of what has happened, was not on your instructions. Keep asking, ‘Why aren’t they pursing the Developer’ ‘Why isn’t he in the hot seat’. They probably feel guilty already about putting you in a position where you could lose your home, while the real perpetrator is free to go, possibly dreaming up another scheme.


Anyway, she called in after the hearing to give me a hug and kiss. She said, ‘I cried the whole way through the proceedings, I was given a box of tissues, a comfortable chair, and as far as the Judge was concerned, it was the other party who should have been in the dock. Now I have only to pay $700 which I can afford. Sometimes the little people have a win.



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