Recently my Mum came to visit.

This was something of a momentous occasion seeing as she has barely ventured out of the South Island for the past five years.

It has been easier for us to go down and see the entire clan of Mum, daughter, brother, nieces/nephew's new goldfish, old friends etc in one go a couple of times a year rather than get Mum up to stay.

Obviously, because time does that to important things which no doubt we will regret later, before we knew it five years had passed.

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And because it was such a long time between stays I'd forgotten the preparation required at our house.

Now please don't get me wrong, Big Momma is by no means a tyrant. She remains the best Mum I've ever had with sharp intelligence, a wicked sense of humour and a forceful personality to boot.

Add to the mix the fact she's been widowed now for some 31 years and has become even more fiercely independent and you can safely assume she is not a little old lady who will just sit in the corner and quietly do her knitting.

That's probably why we love her so much.

Anyway, I'm sure you get the picture.

Now I'm reliably informed that daughter-in-laws like to make a good impression on mother-in-laws.

I gather this has been going on since the days of the caveman when the visitor got the best rock by that new, warm thing called "fire" and probably the choicest cut of dinosaur rump.

I'd say they probably got to look at their favourite cave paintings on the wall each night too just in case they missed an episode while they were away from their own cave.

So. Fast forward a gazillion centuries or two and you'll find Mrs P and I at the supermarket trying to organise meals for the impending arrival. This is after the house has been spring cleaned from top to bottom, the lawns and trees neatly clipped and every bit of "stuff" that has been happily out and about for the past five years is suddenly, well, away.


Now in our house we have to abide by a quite stringent diet.

I won't test your staying power with the full details but in a nutshell Mrs P suffers from Coeliac Disease which means we have to have a completely gluten free diet. No exceptions. She could die if we don't.

As expected Big Momma fully understood and embraced her brief change in diet. In fact she enjoyed the Gluten Free Weet-Bix so much she asked if she could taken the rest of the box back with her. No problem for us so she packed it away . . . in her handbag.

I say "packed" in the loosest sense of the word. She basically took it out of the box, folded up the thin liner and preceded to stuff it in her handbag.

Naturally I suggested the Weet-Bix packet may explode but Big Momma was having none of it.

It would, she said with a fair dollop of fierce independence, be fine. And it was. Or so I thought.

She rang a few days later to say thanks for a wonderful time etc. She was so upbeat she'd even gone out and bought herself a new handbag.

Then a day or so after that I was catching up with No.1 Daughter who relayed the fact she'd caught up with nana who had reported excitedly on her trip to see us.

"And she gave me a handbag, Dad," said my girl. "It'll be really cool once I get all the Weet-Bix crumbs out of it".

■ Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief too much serious news gives you frown lines. Feel free to share stories to .