Posts Tagged ‘Possum’

Ms Possum, Intrepid Traveler and Fur Researcher

March 4, 2010

Hello Possums

Yep, it’s the big freeze in the Northern Hemisphere, but spare a thought for Ms Possum getting a tad hot under the collar in 97% humidity and temperatures in the high 20’s here in Auckland, New Zealand. Phew!

However, at the beginning of the year I was over your way just in time to experience the UK’s coldest winter in decades.  Yeah, had to go then as Possum NZ shut the factory for a few weeks, like any other self respecting manufacturer in this neck of the woods. This was my chance to research the fur scene away from home once more. The things I do for the sake of work, huh? It’s a tough life!

So, I’m in the UK freezing my little possum merino sox off and what better way to keep warm but to go shopping.  I didn’t need much inducement with all the 50-70% off sales in full swing and the newish Westfield undercover shopping mall at Shepherd’s Bush that went on forever – a girls’ paradise, if ever I saw one! Check out some of my pix from this colossus of a place:
Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London
(Click on any of the images to see full size version on Flickr)

It was survival of the fittest here, as the bargains were worth fighting over and then there were queues for the changing rooms and at the checkouts.  It was retail at an adrenalin pumping, manic level that has to be seen to be believed.

I almost didn’t survive the “River Island” experience – more clothes on the floor than on the hangers and all these vicious females grabbing armfuls of goodies like there was no tomorrow! Argghhh! Yes Possums, the claws were out and I fought bravely, but the foe outnumbered me!

UGG Store at Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London The above queues however, paled into insignificance to the looooong line snaking outside of the “Ugg Shop”.  Here were all these patient shoppers waiting in haphazard formation for up to 45 minutes (according to the security guard who only let a few in at a time) to spend 200 quid plus.  Yep, reverse psychology was being well used here – everyone else on sale but Ugg was holding its prices.  (Click on the image to see full size version on Flickr)

 

Why am I telling you this?

Well, I’ve just designed a new footwear range and mixed New Zealand possum fur with sheepskin, plus gone a tad dotty with our New Zealand Friesian Cow skin Moomoo range that has random spots plastered all over the show.

They look funky and feel delightfully soft and spongey on the inside.  I’ve also specified heavy duty gridded soles for the boots and non slip flexi soles for the slippers.  OK, they don’t have UGG written on the label, but they are seriously warm, durable and hand-cut wherever possible by Possum New Zealand. Plus you definitely won’t spend anywhere near 200 quid!  Check out our new footwear range today.

Then it was off to Barcelona where temperatures were a balmy 16 degrees and this is the place if you want it all – art, architecture, fashion, culture and the beach.  Nothing prepares you for the sheer scale and magnificence of Gaudi’s masterpieces.  The wait for the elevator to the top of one of Sagrada Familia’s steeples was truly worth it, as one can view at close range the sad faced statues clinging to the sides of the building – as if they were threatening to jump off – contrasted by the gigantic, boldly coloured first fruits to God speared through the pointed steeple tops. Antoni Gaudi was a genius and his other works were as quirky and original as he drew from nature and avoided straight lines wherever possible.
Sagrada Familia Steeples, Barcelona Gaudi Masterpieces, Barcelona
(Click on any of the images to see full size version on Flickr)

So, what has all this got to do with fashion?

A lot actually, the Catalan people are a happy lot and their exuberance for life is not limited to their amazing architecture, but infiltrates into every aspect of fashion.  The two labels I found so appealing were Desigual and Custos. The use of bright colour and blending of different textures, patterns and trim in these labels is mind blowing, and like Gaudi, a bit quirky and offbeat.

Here are some of my fashion pix taken in the thick of things in the Designer district of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas:
Valentino, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Valentino, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Fur Fashion, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Fur Fashion, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Fur Fashion, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Louis Vuitton, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Store Entrance, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Store Display, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona
(Click on any of the images to see full size version on Flickr)

Yes, faux fur or the real stuff is in vogue here and it inspires me to join up all my bright and gaudy babylamb and possum fur scraps and make a masterpiece or two!

Of course, the winner of Fur Central has to go to Italy once more.  This time, I was in Venice and it was magical.  Water, bridges, gondolas, glassware and masks abound at every turn.  Forget the map – the intricate labyrinth of cobbled lanes takes you out to multitudes of campos and piazzas, so my suggestion is just head for the Rialto Bridge (signs are everywhere) and digress anywhere you like in between, as the myriads of craft shops are sooo interesting.  

In the thick of Winter these elegant ladies thought nothing of coming out in their vintage mink coats and fur hats, and even dressing their mini pooches in like fashion.  They really need more possum fur over their way!!  Check out some Venetian fashion pix:
Fashion Masks, Venice Window Display, Venice Fur Fashion, Venice Window Display, Venice
(Click on any of the images to see full size version on Flickr)

So Possums, all this research means new things are in the offing – watch this space!

In the meantime, I’d love to deck you out in any of our warm possum fur, cowskin, or babylamb numbers – all made in New Zealand, largely from our workroom and all originally designed by Ms Possum herself. 

No excuse to freeze my little dahlings – we have everything to keep you snuggly warm!

So, be good and I look forward to hearing from my international hordes of hypothermic fellow critters real soon…

Regards,

 Ms Possum (Intrepid Traveler and International Fur Researcher)

Don’t shoot first and ask questions later

March 1, 2010

A family fresh to Auckland from the country, settled in the Huia Road area of Titirangi, which is part of the iconic Waitakere Ranges in West Auckland, New Zealand.  This area is famous for its scenic backdrop of native forests and woodlands, and has its own micro-climate. It is near the black-sand West Coast beaches which are spectacularly wild and beautiful; and the native flora and fauna thrive in this unspoilt habitat which is only 30 minutes from the Central Business District of Auckland City.

Settling in was a breeze as here was a log cabin type house in a peaceful bush setting, not unlike what they’d left behind in the country.

The first evening this new family discovered one big fat possum on the wooden veranda looking as if he owned the place and nonchalantly eating the remains of their dinner, totally unconcerned with the proximity of the new resident humans.

Mr Newby’s automatic response mechanism kicked in and the rifle came out and one shot was all it took. It was easy, as this obese possum was the ultimate in sitting targets. I mean that’s what any self respecting country boy would do, right?!

The neighbours called around the next morning to say “Hi”. Introductions and small talk ensued with Mr Newby waiting for the opportune moment to relate his superlative hunting prowess of the night before, when he was asked: “Have you seen Percy, by any chance?”

“Who’s Percy” asked all the Newby’s, wondering if they had another neighbour.

“Percy Possum. He comes for dinner every night as we all leave our leftovers out for him to enjoy. He’s quite an icon out this neck of the woods as he’s so friendly and adored by all and sundry. You’ll just love him.”

There was a deathly silence and then: “No, we have not seen Percy yet” was Mr Newby’s sheepish reply.

Mum Newby quickly put a tea towelled hand over her loud -mouth kid’s face, on the pretext of wiping any stray Weetbix crumbs, whilst hauling him directly to bathroom before anything incriminating could be deciphered from his muffled utterances.

Mr Newby was relieved the weapon used on the recently departed was stored securely away in the master bedroom closet and could not be used as circumstantial evidence against him. Full of guilt, he resolved from henceforth never to be a serial killer. But he would have to do a spot of gardening first to ensure Percy would never be found by his would-be accusers.

The moral of the story… don’t shoot first and ask questions later.

Another moral of the story is: Leave country behaviour back on the farm paddock when entering JAFA territory. (A “JAFA” is colloquial abbreviated slang for “Just Another F… Aucklander”. It is now applied as a term of endearment to over one quarter of New Zealand’s population who reside in this sprawling metropolis of a city.)

Poor Percy Possum!  It’s not as if the Newby’s could go into the local pet store and replace Percy Possum because it is illegal in New Zealand for possums to be farmed or bought as pets.

The size of Percy suggested he was a Primary Possum with a penchant for polygamy in his fiefdom in West Auckland, if our deductions are correct. That means his extended family, who can place their family “trees” back 150 years ago to when they first migrated from Australia, are mercilessly Percyless!

They await an opportune time to carry out “The Revenge of the Possums” debacle.  Newby’s beware – to coin the Pantene slogan: “It won’t happen overnight but it will happen” – be afraid, be very afraid… I’ve heard a hiss of goss regarding a pack of prickly possums going to party in someone’s roof shortly and it won’t be pretty!

As told by Rick, Possum Catcher Extraordinaire with profuse embellishments by the inimitable Ms Possum.

Ms Possum’s Country Sojourn

November 9, 2009

Well possums, sometimes Ms Possum works a bit too hard in the relentless fight against pests, so it was time for a country sojurn over a long weekend to get bright eyed and bushy tailed again!

So she was off to the outskirts of Blenheim, a sleepy town at the top of the South Island. The area is renowned for its endless hectares of vines which produce New Zealand’s world class Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and other amazing wine varieties. Ms Possum drinks nothing else during her nocturnal adventures in her hometown up North!

And, not only is the wine to die for, the region also produces mouth-watering olive oil and honey – it’s a gourmand’s paradise!

The bit of R&R gave me a chance to commune with animals other than those of my namesake. I must admit though, there were times when we ran over something lumpy on the road, and the evidence suggested that there were one or two less of my Possum friends for the Tannery; ugh! No, I wasn’t tempted to scrape the two-dimensional ex-life forms off the road – Ms Possum does have to maintain some semblance of dignity after all. Not only that, but I was on holiday!

Fortunately, no reputation had preceded me, so I was able to go incognito and meet the animals who lived nearby and welcomed me to their paddocks with open hooves.

The "mini" ponyThis mini pony literally bounced over to say “Hi”. He wanted to know what I had in my pockets and loved the tall stems of lush green grass I had picked for him. He did try to tell me that the stalk part was not palatable – ok, so I’m a city girl! I horse whispered to him for ages and he told me he wanted an all over head massage, which of course, I obligingly gave him.

The big horseNext it was to the big horse paddock. The two great big creatures were previously aloof, but mini pony must have put in a good word, because they soon stooped to give me some time of day. A bit of choice grass their way helped to break the ice between us.

Apartheid free lambs

The two black and two white sheep next door proved that apartheid doesn’t exist in their neck of the woods. After baa-ing at me initially as an unwelcome interloper, they also succumbed to the succulent culinary items on offer. Thank goodness they didn’t know I produced baby lamb jackets!

Koko the CatAt the mud brick house bordering a vineyard where I was staying, was KoKo the Birman cat. He was delighted at Ms Possum’s visit and couldn’t resist disguising his legs with one of Possum New Zealand’s “Harlequin” striped possum fur scarves. Yep, there is something about possum fur that sends cats into Seventh Heaven. KoKo loves chasing his possum off-cut which is attached to a lead – keeps him amused for ages!

Peeking HareLo and behold, we spotted a pesky little hare playing peek-a-boo with us down the driveway. Unfortunately, the South Island is overrun with these creatures that eat anything and everything growing in the area – it’s quite a problem for the fruit and vege growers, as well as the native flora and fauna. Perhaps there is the making of a new industry here… hmmm…

Possum the DogJust as I was forgetting myself, I met a friend’s dog inadvertently named after me! Yep, “Possum” is super hyper, super friendly and finds it hard to sit still. Naturally, I felt an immediate affinity with this beautiful dog, and I thought possums of one kind or another are always popping into my life!

Then it was on to visit another friend who lives in a beautiful three-acre estate, bordering a stream. Sipping tea in the sumptuously appointed living room, complete with possum fur throw, I spied a huge rifle nonchalantly placed against the burr walnut dresser near the front door. “It’s to shoot the starlings in the roof” I was told after I expressed surprise at this incongruous, non designer décor item. “But of course” I said, suspecting every Blenheim home had one. Obviously my host was a crack shot, because I didn’t notice one buckshot hole in the pristine ceiling! It was reassuring to know that someone else had to deal with pest problems, and suddenly Ms Possum felt she was not entirely alone in her crusade to restore nature to its correct equilibrium.

Back on the road, I encountered other creatures such as herds of Friesian cows’ dotted (excuse the pun) in amongst the vineyards. As we didn’t get a chance to stop to take another pic, my hosts kindly obliged me with a “mock moo-moo” in my quarters (excuse the alliteration). Mock Moo Moo

So there you have it, Ms Possum goes rural, meets other critters and broadens her outlook on the animal kingdom. It was a lovely weekend meeting creatures great and small. Now it’s back to the animal Ms Possum knows best, as she prepares to keep the Northern Hemisphere “warm as a bug in a rug” for the coming winter.

See y’all later Possums!

From Ms Possum wearing New Zealand Swandrii Jacket and Gumboots (possum fur trimmed of course!)

Base Jumping Possum

November 5, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night, one that makes you want to slip deep down under the bed covers and ignore those “bumps in the night.” Ma was sleeping peacefuly when she was awoken by an insistent tugging at her toes. She automatically knew it was not the amorous advances on the part of her other half as they had been married far too long for that sort of nonsense.

A base jumping possumAs her eyes adjusted to the dim light, there appeared what seemed to be an alien gremlin with devious intentions. In fact, it turned out to be a base jumping possum, that had gained access via the chimney – a furry fiend all the same!

With her ‘possum whispering’ powers Ma tried to determine if the creature had come with a dire message for its human neighbours, “your stinking townhouse developments are eroding our habitat, move away or face our wrath!” However, Ma discovered as her unslippered foot hit the floor, that the possum’s message was far more base than that. It was more like “your house is an awesome toilet!”

Turning to Pa with the shriek “there’s a possum on my bed,” heralded the unhelpful reply “go back to sleep woman!” The defender and protector of the family may have snored his way through the home invasion, but in doing so he paved the way for an unsung hero to save the day.

As Ma shooed the googled eyed critter off the bed and out the bedroom door, little black pellets were scattered about the room and squashed into the carpet. Ma’s eyes narrowed. This was no longer about saving the flora and fauna of our beloved country, this was now personal!

The ensuing shrieks from Ma and skidding claws on lino aroused the protective passions of the family dog, Gertie. Dear Gertie who’d flee from a cat and delicately tread around puddles, leaped into action catching the invading creature in her narrow jaws. The offending animal was rendered helpless as fur flew in all directions. Us kids poured out of our bedrooms just in time to see Pa (who’d eventually decided his wife wasn’t hallucinating, and that it was now safe to intervene and take credit) remove the piqued possum to the outdoors.

Thus our family was spared. Gertie was rewarded with pats and bikkies, though of course it wasn’t a happy ending for the possum.

It just goes to prove that base jumping is an extreme sport – if you base jump down a chimney and carry out base acts, you’ll have to accept the consequences.

Thanks Audrey K from Auckland, New Zealand for sharing with us your memory.  Remember, if you have a crazy possum story to tell, drop us a line and we may even publish it!  Email us at info@possumnz.co.nz

If Cats Could Talk

November 1, 2009

We recently were sent a fab thank you card from two furry feline friends of Ms Possum and she wanted us to share it with you… looks like our possie products are just as popular with the smaller mammals as they are with the homo sapiens!

Dear Ms Possum

Our names are Phoebe and Enzo. We love all things Possum and we want to say a big MIAOWW for our super possie mat, which matches our super possie tail… PURRFECTLY! (We are fussy about these things… colour coordination is sooo impurrrtant).

If ever you want to drop by for a cuddle and a bit of attention, we would love to snuggle up to you in appreciation.

Phoebe and Enzo

P.S. When you get bored with that fab green possie shoulder-wrap – i’m here! (Phoebe)

 

The possie  moggymat is a new design especially for the smaller furry family members and will be released to the website soon, so watch this space!

Possum Obituary

October 27, 2009

Rick is still successfully employed transporting our furry friends to the next dimension.  He’s very good at his job and in high demand. 

Just the other day, Rick was called to remove a sleeping soot-encrusted possum that had free fallen from the roof down the flue of a Kent fireplace.  A “Kent” is a New Zealand woodburner and the flues are normally very long and thin – so he must have been a very skinny critter!

Possum found in fireplaceTrouble was the little rascal woke up and started decorating the Kent glass door with an etching pattern that could hardly be deemed a work of art, so the offender was quickly sent to meet his maker.  We take  solace  in the fact that  the Kent was not used as an indoor crematorium.  The deceased is grateful   he has  escaped the eternal damnation of the fires of hell.  The home owners are grateful that the chimney sweep does not now  have to come in for another year.

May our furry friend’s soul rest in peace.  He probably had a very good life, and it’s nice to know that a part of him lives on in Aunty Ruby’s organic vegetable garden.

Remember, if you have a crazy possum story to tell, drop us a line and we may even publish it!  Email Ms Possum at info@possumnz.co.nz

Continuing Rick’s adventures in Possumland

October 26, 2009

As relayed by Rick, not realising that Ms Possum would embellish, hyperbolise and immortalise all his possum adventures.  May he never read her blog!

Remember Rick, Possum Dispatcher Extraordinaire, in two previous stories on the blog?  You may recall he created a mass graveyard of our furry friends in one of Auckland’s most prestigious streets where he lives with his Aunt Ruby.  Yes, Rick is the ultimate recycler.  To jog your memory, see:

Possum Control in the ‘City of Sails’
Every Possum has its Day

Rick has just informed us here at Possum New Zealand that the “deposits” in Aunt Rubys backyard are now in the vicinity of 110, but hey, who’s counting?  Also, Aunt Ruby’s cabbages he tends particularly thrive on this highly patentable fertilizer.

Rick’s success in capturing possums is now due to the wonder drug – Cinnamon!  Sprinkle this up to the entrance of the cage, and whammo, Bob’s your Uncle.  Do try this recipe and let us know your success rate.

Lost in Translation

October 20, 2009
Lost cat found: located in Brunswick, Victoria, Australia

Lost cat found: posted by Japanese students living in Brunswick, Victoria, Australia (and feeding it cat food too!)

I really hissed out loud when I got sent this!! (from Carolyn H. from Gold Coast, Australia) Maybe we can write all the differences between a possum and a cat as part of an orientation exercise for foreign students, hmmm…

Spot the Difference

Mind you, I have to say that the actual translation for “possum” from Chinese to English is “Apple Eating Tree Bear.” How cute! However as you will all know by now, our possums are not bears, but actually marsupials – animals with pouches that we inherited from our Aussie cousins about 150 years ago.

The good news is that we are gradually sending some back in value-added form to our transtasman rivals – a bit like selling ice to the Eskimos, hehe!

Sequel: Ms Possum is hoisted by her own petard

October 2, 2009

Ms Possum was invited back again to her friends place in the Central Eastern Auckland suburbs for another round of possum spotting.  Ms Possum was surprised at this follow-up invitation as she had remarked to her gracious hosts “Shoot them all, I say,” as a flippant scatter gun approach to the possum problem.

“No, they’re cute” said the hosts (as they refuse to take Ms Possum seriously), and everyone was there to celebrate the auspicious occasion of Mummy possum proudly introducing her new offspring to the kind humans that put out carrots and apples, as a ritualistic offering to them at each nocturnal passing.

Ms Possum’s hosts were grateful that Mummy possum had concluded that not all humans shared the same predilections as Ms Possum does for furry attire.  Every night at 6 pm Mummy possum would collect her “dinner-to-go” and say a brief hello to the nice humans, while proudly displaying her new possumette in her joey pouch or on her back.  Looks like this new “Generation Z” is being trained to progress from being hunter/gatherers to the “How to Win Friends and Influence Humans” approach.

But on the night of Ms Possum’s arrival, there was no such sighting at the usual 6 pm.  Was it because Ms Possum was resplendently decked out in her new fabulous possum fur raw edge collar in pastel blue, that bore an uncanny resemblance to Cousin Calvin?  Or, was it an objection to the sound emanating from the contestants of American Idol?  If only they were singing “the green green grass of home…”

Ms Possum waited and waited, camera at the ready, to record this moment in history and to qualify for her Possum PI badge.  The inside lounge lights were turned off as an extra precaution.  About 7 pm there were a few thumps down to the wooden deck and Mummy and Baby had somehow bypassed the security sensor lights, as these shadowy creatures of the night were barely visible.

Ravenous Baby made a dash to collect its belated dinner first.  How young ones grow up so fast these days, sigh!  And, they don’t want to share with Mum anymore either – disrespectful youth!  And where was Daddy possum you may ask?  Avoiding his marsupial responsibilities no doubt!  Yes, there are distinct behavioural similarities between homo sapiens and trichosaurus vulpeculas – family life just isn’t the same anymore.

But I digress…  as drats,  there was no light source for Ms Possum to begin to take a photo.  These urban possums are now so technically advanced as to tell the time, to avoid the radar cordon of security lighting, and have tracking devices to know Ms Possum was in the area.  Yes, possum spotting is getting decidedly more difficult in our modern age.

Ms Possum felt she was hoisted by her own petard, but consoled herself with the thought that every dog has its day, and therefore Ms Possum would have her night.  But it is a night yet to come…

Ms Possum out on a Saturday night

October 1, 2009

It has been known that Ms Possum goes out nocturnally to enjoy Auckland City by night.  But this was a Saturday night with a point of difference.

After dining out with friends, Ms Possum was kindly invited back to the friends’ house in the central eastern suburbs, where leaves and trees abound in splendiforous abundance.  Because of this our wee furry friends have adapted with cunning ease in this urban sanctuary.

Part of my hosts’ family also used to include two huge lop-haired rabbits, who used to feed together outside on the veranda in the company of  our furry friends – yep, lapin and possum together in delightful co-existence – if only the races of mankind could do likewise!  Unfortunately, Mr Bunny predeceased Mrs Bunny (the male always goes first) and now Mrs Bunny prefers to eat her side salad within closed walls due to the present imbalance of power.

My host put carrot and apple pieces as per the nightly ritual on the outside verandah rail.  We turned off the inside lights and waited.  I joked that word had got out Ms Possum had arrived, wearing what no live possum would ever want to see, and that our furry friends would not make an appearance on this particular night.

But within only a few minutes, the security lights popped into action with a noisy bounce on the roof, resulting in a crash landing on the deck and a grab at the offerings.  More bounces and another furry friend appears.  Ms Possum went closer to the window to be stared back at by these courageous critters.  They seemed to be carrying out a facial recognition exercise.  Either that, or they were mesmerised by Ms Possum’s gleaming dental work as all parties stood transfixed for a few seconds.  With everyone “playing possum” who would give in first?  No need to ponder, as with a hasty leap off the verandah, they disappeared into the dark void below.

 The word was out – Ms Possum had come to spoil this clandestine activity and our furry friends were not quite ready to be transported into the fourth dimension.  We never saw them again for the rest of the night.

Yep, Saturday night possum spotting is  a lot of fun!