Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: The British Are Coming

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  • 81stcolumn,

    A dear friend and I once bought an overcoat which we nicknamed "Respect" a Heavygrade Brown/White/Grey woollen number in a herringbone pattern; it had bone button sleeves, a pure silk lining and the sort of collar that would get you arrested for animal genocide. Respect - well if you could lift it that was one thing, but to wear it and keep a straight face - well you had to be a serious mo'f**ker !!

    I swapped my share of the coat for an antique dinner jacket, and a pink padded silk dressing gown. I need to blog all the stuff I got form Surrey jumble sales in the eighties ;-) I still have the DJ.....

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 727 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    Smith and Caughey's (who apparently now have a brand called Not Your Daughter's Jeans)

    I tried some of these on once. They were blah. I'm not convinced the control top was doing anything in particular, either.

    Re DD pushup, you might try Marks and Spencer. Depending on the degree of pushup you want, anyway. I mean, if you want so much that you are in danger of suffocating, that's probably a specialty thing.

    My winter coat is from the 60s. However, it's also black wool. Do I feel boring right now? Yes I do.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 457 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    Your red coat is divine. And you should definitely post a picture of it.

    My boring black wool coat, and lovely green raincoat I have worn precisely twice, because actually, it's too cold for a raincoat, salute you.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Ditto.

    Can anyone see a market here?

    Civil War groupies and steampunks? The problem with the more convoluted forms of retro fashion is that they were made for an age when it was assumed dandies had hours to dress, and servants to help. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    My winter coat is, by several miles of daylight, the most complimented thing I have. If you added together all the aesthetic praise I've received for my cat, my games cabinet and my breasts, it still wouldn't come close

    That might be slightly related to the fact that people may note the awesomeness of something, but repress the desire to pass compliment out loud, if they feel it might make them look like a "lecherous bastard" or "jealous bitch".

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Yuk, I can't imagine liking blood tests. But for those who don't mind it, can I urge them to consider being a blood donor (if they pass the very stringent and controversial requirements) as it is an easy way to be philanthropic. But not if you're a fainter.
    [By the way, I might have missed something but why blood tests at the opthalmologist's?]

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2099 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    That might be slightly related to the fact that people may note the awesomeness of something, but repress the desire to pass compliment out loud, if they feel it might make them look like a "lecherous bastard" or "jealous bitch".

    Or totally gay, as the kids like to say -- but not in my hearing, if they want to live. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    But for those who don't mind it, can I urge them to consider being a blood donor (if they pass the very stringent and controversial requirements) as it is an easy way to be philanthropic.

    There's a big blog right there. My blood it one of the common types. As much as I would like to see a pint or two siphoned out and saved, I don't know If the health authorities would want it. And I fear rejection.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2751 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    I am 'a fainter' but I have been a blood donor ddespite that. It is just a question of me not looking at the needle being pushed through the skin and into the vein - I think I perform an automatic system shutdown when I sense some deliberate act of sabotage like skin/vein puncture.

    But I have been forbidden from donating any more blood since they found that I had been in the UK during some specific period that they seem to think renders my blood a haven for BSE prions.

    It kinda pissed me off after having overcome my fear of deliberate puncturing and done soemthing vaguely altruistic.

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 572 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    I have my (Dutch) great grandfather's pre World War II great coat, which I wore for three years of high school but abandoned it in Wellington when I moved to Auckland for uni because it weighs like a metric ton due to its horsehair stuffing. Man I love that coat,..

    Given the age of that coat, and what my Dutch in-laws have told me about what it was like under the German occupation, that coat should definitely be treasured. The Germans took most of the fuel and the winters were bitter. That coat probably saved lives.

    Best coat I've had was a classic long navy overcoat I bought at the second hand market they used to have on the corner of K Rd and Ponsonby Road (there's a service station there now). Cost me $15 in winter 1985. I always thought of it as my 'writers coat' - I had Aspirations in that direction at the time - and wore it for 10 years. When I moved to Wellington I gave it to my flatmate, who also had Aspirations in that direction.

    He's since also moved to Wellington, done the Manhire course, won the prize that year, and published 3 novels. I'm certain my coat helped.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 805 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Here's the basic eligibility questions from NZ Blood. There are some more forms to fill in for first time donors, mainly to do with informed consent (and some questions about sex history), and they do a finger print to test you are not anaemic. They are all very nice non-judgemental people. And you get tea and chocolate biscuits after.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2099 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    There's a big blog right there. My blood it one of the common types. As much as I would like to see a pint or two siphoned out and saved, I don't know If the health authorities would want it. And I fear rejection.

    Steve: I think I can confidently chime in here -- a quick look at the New Zealand Blood Service website would disabuse you of the notion that there's a sanguinary equivalent of the butter mountain. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Sorry - Finger prick (not print).

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2099 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Snap, Hilary! As they say at the NZBS, all blood types are always needed. Can't be clearer than that. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    But I have been forbidden from donating any more blood since they found that I had been in the UK during some specific period that they seem to think renders my blood a haven for BSE prions.

    It kinda pissed me off after having overcome my fear of deliberate puncturing and done soemthing vaguely altruistic.

    I, too, am unable to give blood because of my time in the UK during those years. When Ian had leukemia, I wanted desperately to give blood - just a little gesture, since I had seen for myself the restorative powers of blood transfusions. I was a bit pissed off too, and I still don't really understand the logic. Surely this many years down the track, our blood would have ceased to be "unclean" ?

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    I understand that the latency period for prions is unknown but recognised to be quite long (20-yrs plus). So no, our blood will still be "unclean" in their eyes, unless a test for prions (or the relevant prions) can be created.

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 572 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I used to be a blood donor before my CFS - like steven I find the whole blood-extraction process fascinating. And I'm O+, you don't get much more blood-boring than that. (My midwife was quite upset that I wasn't interested in getting our son's blood type from the heel prick test. I'm O+, my partner is O+, any kind of surprise re our son's blood type would be a really big surprise.)

    The blood tests were basically to find out if I had some kind of bleeding or clotting disorder that might explain the lack of sight in the bottom half of my visual field in my right eye, or if it's nerve damage. Over the years, with chronic mystery illness and two babies, I'm pretty sure I've had every test on the damn form.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Re:Blood tests - I became a donor specifically to get over my 'thing' about needles. I've never actually fainted - apart from one test when I was already very ill, and that was after they'd taken the blood: I got up to walk away and woke up with a face full of carpet.

    It is a very good way to get over it if you have a needle thing. As someone said, don't look at the needles. I always find a spot on the ceiling and concentrate really hard on it.

    And Steve: they need common blood type donors because a lot of blood donees have common types of blood. I once wrote a feature on the blood bank and they said they tend to have more of a problem getting common types than the rare ones.

    Other thing about that feature: when I was interviewing the blood guy he showed me the fridge full of plastic sachets of blood - about the same size and shape as those ones you can buy soup in at the supermarket. They'd already been centrifuged so the red cells were on the bottom and the white on the top in each sachet.

    One was quite yellowy/murky and I asked about it . The blood bloke said the donor must have had a meal of fish and chips or something equally fatty a few hours before giving blood.

    It looked ghastly - you could practically see streaks of lard in it.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 805 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    It's not that it is unclean - it's about minimisation of risk. I have a friend who got Hep C from a transfusion 20 years ago, and who would have rather liked them to have been more careful back then.

    But there are lots of people who are eligible to donate and could do so, and it's a really useful service.

    Not me though. I'm a fainter and this whole discussion is making me feel queasy.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2099 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    I'd love to see a pic of your coat, too.

    I was shopping Kathmandhu - the city, not the chain store - and I came across a bolt of bright purple wool. Entranced, I immediately purchased four metres and then set about finding a suitable tailor. Fortunately, my girlfriend's mum's bloodsister's daughter is a Sherpa and knew exactly where to go.

    So we went to Park Lane Tailors and they duly create a one-of-a-kind full length greatcoat. The proferred a range of buttons and I chose the gold ones with some kind of crest on it.

    I was living in London at the time, and a nice warm coat was extremely handy. Mid-90s London coat fashion was quite varied. You could wear black, navy or brown. Oh, and charcoal too. People would stop me in the street telling me how cool my coat was. The bank branch near where I worked even allowed me to use it as ID ("we know you, you're the only one with curly hair and a big purple coat").

    One night, I was standing outside New Zealand House* after attending Ngati Ranana kapahaka practice. I was idly inspecting the New Zealand Coat of Arms when I had a feeling I'd seen it before. Turns out I had, on my coat's gold buttons.

    * It's quite a defining place.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 455 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I just started giving blood again after meaning to do so for 10 years but never getting around to it.

    But I'm O-, so my blood is tremendously useful.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    I learnt not to look at the needle fairly early on - I swear the thing gets bigger as it nears your skin. Looking away, I'm often surprised at how little there is to feel - in one or two cases where the person was a real pro I literally haven't felt a thing. I make it easy by having nice big veins clearly visible on my arms - the guy at the Medlab in Royal Oak used to use the same joke every time I went in: "I could go in with a javelin!" Not an image I needed, but I appreciated the humour.

    By brother, on the other hand, was a fainter. The problem was basically that he was holding his breath from nervousness until he passed out. He now concentrates on taking deep, regular breaths and has no trouble.

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    If you added together all the aesthetic praise I've received for my cat, my games cabinet and my breasts, it still wouldn't come close

    No of course I wasn't looking at your bre...oh look at your cat isn't she cu....You PLAY Puerto Rico!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3420 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson,

    I used to be a blood donor too; but having kids in two different plague pits (small person educational institutions) has meant there has never been a time in the past few years when one or more members of the family has not been coming down, or recovering from an illness - which is another no-no for donating blood.

    They even used to take blood when I was a malarial risk, they'd plug me into the autopherosis centrifuge whatsit machine that would suck out some blood then split out the white cells and reinject the red stuff.

    Between that an being a human test subject for drug trials I've got some fairly dubious looking scar tissue over the sample point on the inside of the elbow.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Mikaere, your story is beautiful. Rob, your story is really gross.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

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