Comprised of older married couples with retirement on the horizon (if they’re not there already), plus mid-life families and young parents, Penny Wises earn a below-average income but are thrifty enough to get by. With one of the highest employment rates of the Battler community, often working in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting or in retail, they’re proud of their families and hold conservative values — no left-wing Greenies among this lot. This is an overwhelmingly New Zealand-born group, with reservations about the increasing globalisation of society.
Walk with Me
Jim was tinkering on the Commodore yesterday and I was watering the bougainvillea, when young Lily from down the road stopped by to tell us she’s getting a baby brother or sister for Christmas. She was so excited, I couldn’t bring myself to ask how her parents are going to afford another child. I mean, Chris is only an apprentice electrician, and Estelle doesn’t work. I guess they’ll figure it out; they’re still young and healthy.
Even though Jim and I don’t have any mouths to feed besides our own, making ends meet can still be a challenge. We got a loan awhile back to renovate our bathroom, and of course now we have to repay it. I can’t see us taking any holidays in the foreseeable future, that’s for sure. Luckily, we went to the Coromandel last year and the bach we hired was gorgeous. That’s what inspired me to redo the bathroom, actually. Now Anne across the road wants to do hers; she’s always pinching my home improvement ideas!
Jim still does the odd job here and there, repairing tractors for farmers in the region. I think it’s good for him, getting out and about: takes his mind off taxes and interest rates. Not that I’m much better – if I let myself start stewing about the state of the world, I get in a right tizz. Best not to think about it, I say.