Friday, December 11, 2009

Shopping with Mum

Our Adventure in Norsewood

I love going on outings with my Mum. It doesn't happen often, even though we live in the same house, which serves to make me more gleeful in the event.

Are you familiair with that delicious feeling...being together with no distractions from people, work, cellphones or computers, time to indulge in meandering exploration and grown-up giggles, chatting about anything and everything, observing the world from the grandstand of our relaxation. Even the weather can't interfere with these occasions, and such was the case when we set off to see what we could see one day late in September.

The grey, storm-wasted countryside sprouted new spring growth, plump lambs, and mounds of frozen snow left over from an unseasonal snow fall the day before.

Mum and I were driving up to the village of Norsewood, 380m (1500ft) above sea level, and 15 minutes north of my hometown on Highway 2. We'd heard about a ladies clothing shop lodged in this out of the way spot, albeit easy to access, and we were on an expedition to chart its shores.

We landed in a season of bounty, and an hour later set sail with an unexpected harvest. In fact, we felt like we'd bought out the shop (we hadn't). We acquired 7 skirts, a pair of jeans,and a zipped polo shirt, and spent a mere $221.

You're wondering what we would want with so many skirts? Mum was replacing her 15 year old wardrobe, and I was targeting clothing that would fit my sister after the birth of her third baby.

The discount racks were displayed outside the shop, and I spent most of my time dancing between the racks and the open street trying to find cellular reception for the photos and text messages I was sending Katrina who was at home with her babies, 5 hours' drive away.

She didn't go for my first choice, a charming denim skirt topped with white crochet lace -- I forgot that diagonal lines are not her thing. We eventually settled on 3 black skirts and a pair of jeans. At NZ$19 each, who cares if they're all the same colour.

The skirts were in fact all completely different, both in style and shade of black. They included a drapey panelled polyester (Mum chose a silver grey one), a pinstripe wool mix (so comfortable it's become Mum's favourite), and a luscious velvet-look cotton spandex (Katrina's favourite). They're all lined. At one fifth of the original retail price, these skirts are super bargains.

Cellphone photo showing different shades of black

The Gap brand, owned by store proprietor Peter Mannox, is designed in New Zealand and made in China. Some of the sale items displayed the respected Mackenzie Country brand (also designed in NZ/made in China), usually priced around $150 a skirt.

Mum made her choice of 4 skirts and a zipped polo shirt, and after further concentrated cellphone tapping, I added a pair of $39 denim jeans to Katrina's pile. The supersale batch of jeans were corduroys priced at $19 but didn't offer a size and colour Katrina wanted. The shop assistant dropped the jeans a further $10 to match the corduroy price. She offered to do alterations while we waited, and she provided us with free coathangers.

Could a shopping experience ever be more unexpected? Who knows what treasures are hiding in small communities off the beaten track?

The Gap in Norsewood is a store we plan to keep an eye on.

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