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Oily Rag column - week beginning 5 September 2011

Oily Rag column - week beginning 5 September 2011

Fun and oily rag frugality

By Frank and Muriel Newman

The air is abuzz with anticipation and high expectation as the nation counts down the sleeps to the starting whistle in what will be six weeks of whistles and wails, cheers and chortles, and roads clogged with campervans and lost tourists.

Such is the anticipation of the Rugby World Cup that even those living off the smell of an oily rag are getting into the spirit of the occasion - but of course, not the high cost!

How about this for an idea? Have a WRCORE (otherwise known as a Rugby World Cup Oily Rag Evening). Invite your friends and neighbours around. Divide them in half and ask each to come in the colours of their respective team – black if it’s the All Blacks, and red and white for Japan – you get the picture. Dividing national loyalties along matrimonial lines will make the evening even more interesting!

Have each team member bring along their own refreshments - something associated with the nation they will be supporting (their favourite kiwi ale or favourite Japanese sake if they have one, for example).

When it comes to the food, some co-ordination may be required as you don’t want to end up with 15 pavlovas and 15 dishes of cucumber Sunomono - although that may make the evening even more memorable!

As the guests arrive have each draw out a sticky label name badge representing a player – that way, the person who happens to be Dan Carter for the evening can be blamed should the real Dan Carter miss a kick or duff a try!

Have song sheets to the ready to help along a rousing rendition of the national anthems. The New Zealand one should not be too much of a problem, but watching kiwi blokes and blokesses giving their best rendition of Japan’s national anthem may prove more challenging - and humorous!

The hosts – well they should be dressed as the referees, that way the guests can blame them for everything and anything. The refs will of course need a whistle at the ready, to assert their authority and quell altercations and infractions and control unsportsmanlike behaviour. They will of course need a supply of yellow and red cards to hand out liberally as they deem appropriate.

For those that don’t want to go the full kit and caboodle here are some other suggestions. Try a pot luck dinner - this is when everyone brings along a plate as their contribution to the meal. Or what about a progressive dinner - entrée at one house, soup de jour at another, the main somewhere else, and dessert somewhere else again. That means you get to nosy around lots of house and no one person is stuck with all the preparation or all of the clean up activity.

Theme dinners can also be pot luck or progressive but the main idea is that the entire dinner takes on a theme, such as Mexican, Italian, Oriental. All the courses follow the theme providing an interesting taste treat. To add to the evening, you might even choose to dress the part, listen to appropriately selected music, or watch a DVD that would open one’s ears and eyes to that country’s culture.

The one thing that is the same for all of these ideas is the notion of fun, frivolity and frugality – that’s the oily rag way!

Do you have an oily rag entertainment idea to share? Send your comments and tips by visiting the oily rag website or write to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei. The book Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag by Frank & Muriel Newman is available online at

* Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Readers can submit their oily rag tips on-line at The book is available from bookstores and online at

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