It's oft said that we reach a point in our lives when we no longer give a toss what people think of us and have more fun as a result.
I've either reached that stage or am putting the theory to the test. Either way, with my pride and dignity scrunched in a ball and buried in my sock drawer, today I'm decked out in purple while attempting to charm people for charity.
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I'm at the Paparoa A&P Show and my outfit includes a purple tutu and a souped-up purple hat decorated with a purple plastic dahlia.
My shirt is mostly obscured by a sandwich board made of posters. They promote a garden and house tour that's raising funds for a dementia unit in Maungatūroto. The project's been part of my life for months now.
The five of us on the tour team named our event the Dahlias for Dementia Garden & House Tour 2020. It includes 20 gardens between Maungatūroto and east of Matakohe; seven will have open homes.
We were overjoyed when Alzheimers Northland came on board. The colour for Alzheimer's disease is purple, just as it's pink for breast cancer, green and yellow for Daffodil Day, white for the end of violence against women and on and on.
Having a name that incorporates a flower that's blooming right now seemed feasible for the title of our fundraiser, many dahlias are purple plus there's the alliteration.
The most unexpected aspect of today is my garb. In the worst way, I will always remember that purple has never appealed, along with its friends mauve, lilac, heliotrope, amethyst, grape, plum and aubergine.
For my 13th birthday my beloved mum secretly knitted me a mauve vest. My thoughtless teenage self took one look at it and said, "But I don't like mauve."
Cue for floods of tears. That day is embedded as a memory and lesson. But now purple's back to bite me and it's doing the can can.
Despite my plot to avoid wearing purple during this fundraising exercise, I fell for a purple hat in a hospice shop. It probably dates back to the 1960s, set me back $3 and resembles a dahlia as much as any hat ever could.
My headgear had its first airing at the Maungatūroto Christmas parade. Children played a big part in helping our float win an award. They wore purple tutus, one of which I've commandeered for today.
The driver of the tractor that towed our float wore a purple cape which, said someone, made him look like a giant purple marshmallow.
The Dahlias for Dementia Garden and House Tour is on February 22 and 23 which we rather hope doesn't coincide with the drought-breaking storm from hell. We're also hoping – along with everyone – that enough rain will fall before then to do some good for gardens, farms and water supplies.
Right now the generous people whose properties are on the tour are preparing their extraordinary gardens so they can thrill and inspire everyone who does the tour. There's a fundraising lunch as well.
Today I'm promoting the sale of tour tickets ($50 for both days), pot plants and raffles; many kind businesspeople have donated many prizes.
Hopefully my purple pōtae will help me be sufficiently bold so that people will open their pockets with a smile. You can get tour tickets from the Alzheimer's Northland website and selected retailers.