The Mothership Report

“Now whatever you do, don’t pay full price,” the Mothership lectured as we pulled into the Woolworths petrol station. “You have to haggle.”

“But we’re buying an electric frying pan!”


“You can’t haggle on a frying pan! We’re going to Retravision, not a market in Thailand.”

“Nonsense! Did you know, I got five dollars off my hair straighteners. And the new toaster.”

“I’m not going to haggle.”

“Oh come on, live dangerously.” She switched off the engine. “Can you rummage in my handbag and find me a fuel voucher?” In many respects, The Mothership was still the same old Mothership, generous provider of years of golden blog fodder.

  • She still rakes through abandoned shopping trolleys looking for the discount fuel vouchers.
  • She still drives like a maniac. But disappointingly, she didn’t once ask me if it was okay for her to merge lanes in her unique way, “Can I blend? Can I blend?”.
  • She retains her unique combination of generosity and Buy-Bulk mentality. Every time Gareth so much as glanced at anything in a shop, she’d offer it to buy it for him. In triplicate. Once at Target, Gareth was pointing and laughing at a pair of revolting pyjamas with Victoria Bitter logos splashed all over them. The Mothership swooped at once. “Do you like these? Shall I get them for you? How bout two pairs? One to wear, one in the wash. And look, there’s matching boxer shorts!”
    Another time I was showing her my new toasty polar fleece jacket, all the toastier for being 65% off at Kathmandu.”Wow! So why didn’t you buy two?””Because I’ve only got one body!””But 65% off! Are you sure? We can go back! We’ve got time!”

Anyway, we went to Retravision to fetch an electric frying pan. Gareth had never seen one before he went to Australia and thought they were a brilliant invention. And I fell in love with them all over again, the way they heat up instantly, do exactly what you tell them – roast, simmer, fry, boil to oblivion – and remain non-stick and wipe-clean for years on end. Unlike our grotty bastard of an electric stove here in Scotland. It has just two settings: Flames o’ Fire or Cold Indifference, with nothing in between. Even with the postage back to the UK, a good old Aussie frypan was still a bazillion times cheaper than buying a new oven.

We had just settled on the gigantic Sunbeam model when the saleslady approached. “Can I help you?”

“Yes,” I smiled, “I’d like to buy this fry pan please.”

“Sure, if you’ll just come over to the till, I think that one is eighty dollars.”


Mum cleared her throat. “Is that your best price?”

The woman looked puzzled. “Erm. Yes?”

Gareth grinned while I pretended to be fascinated by the display of electric steamers.

“Would there be any discount for paying in cash?”

“Well… I’m pretty sure the price on the sticker is already our best price…”

“Would you mind checking?”

“I suppose I could go out the back and ask the manager?”

“That would be wonderful, thank you.”


“Well! It doesn’t hurt to ask!”

Ten minutes later the lady returned from Out The Back. “The manager says we can’t reduce the price, but I can give you this $10 fuel voucher for any Caltex Petrol Station.”

“Excellent!” said The Mothership.

“Yeah brilliant,” I muttered, “That’ll be just enough fuel to get you to the Woolworths Petrol Station!”

So the lady still loves a bargain. Yet many things have changed since I first left Australia. She has developed an adventurous streak, and always seems to be going on a holiday or to a concert or taking a new class. She is energetic and fun and sparky. You could probably pinpoint it from the moment she hopped on the plane to visit us last year. It was almost like once she saw that Rhi and I were safe and happily living it up in Scotland without too many fire hazards, she just let go of old Mothership worries and focused on getting her own life. I’d never seen her so happy and settled. I had a lot of fun hanging out with her in Goulburn, and bawled on Gareth’s shoulder when we said goodbye at the airport coz I knew I’d miss her more than ever. And would you believe she even makes the tea now and then. Ma, I am so proud of you and everything you have achieved. Love ya heaps.

me and the mothership

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for January 2022.

36 thoughts on “The Mothership Report

  1. Your blog has to be one of the most addictive things I’ve ever found on the internet. Every time I visit I spend at least an hour reading through archives and being thoroughly entertained. Please never stop!

  2. Finally! We get to see what the Mothership looks like!

    You don’t look too squinty to me – just smiley and happy. What a lovely photo.

  3. I rang my mum in Oz today and like yours she seems to be thriving without me. She is in her sixties and has just enrolled to start a diploma of horticulture at her local Tafe. We miss each other but get alot of joy from sharing adventures down the blower and no one makes me laugh like her. Well maybe my Dr Engineer hubby, I have one too. On his graduation day I walked around as though it was me who was graduating, he had to wrestle the poofy hat off me.

    Never stop writing, you’re fabulous and mother and daughter both soooo pretty!

  4. Hehe… I just searched EVERYWHERE for an electric saucepan – I didn’t want a frypan, just a saucepan. It was so hard to find… but when I did I got $15 dollars off by asking, and the vauum cleaner I bought which was already reduced I got another $50 off.

    I had never tried haggling before – I have always been too shy. But when I went to the Good Guys super-duper warehouse I realised they expect it!! If you don’t ask they just offer you a discount anyway!! It’s lot of fun and very satisfying.

    Just hope I don’t start doing it at Coles or Myer…

  5. Oh – that was beautiful. I am sitting here at work and it brought a tear to my eye. And a gorgeous gorgeous photo too. What a treat = thanks Shauna. πŸ˜€

  6. love it, love it, love it.
    made me think of my own mother a bit – since i grew up and left the house we can’t go out without her offering to buy me something. i have to be very careful about touching anything in a store or its “i’ll get that for you”
    “no, no, i don’t really need it.”
    “well i’m getting it for you.” and then we struggle with her trying to get it off the rack and me trying to put it back on.
    Why couldn’t she have been like that when I was a teenager?
    Mothers. They’re an enigma at times.

  7. hehe… not old and not grey, but she IS a teacher. they can order people round at any age πŸ˜‰

  8. I swear I’ve seen your mother before… God, she looks familiar.

    Then again, this is Canberra. 2 degrees of separation and whatnot.

  9. Only one copy of Katie now – Angela has the other one (permanently!)
    No need for looking in shopping trolleys either, I flog John’s….he’s a great lad!

    Luv ya heaps 2, spunky daughter!

  10. Ahhhh, that’s so sweet. I love the retravision story – my mum’s trick is to always buy the display model because they usually give it to you cheaper! Mind you, it’s usually scratched and covered in smudgey fingerprints πŸ™‚

  11. Wow. I can be a cold-hearted b*tch at times, but that has melted my icy heart! I think it’s definitely my favourite pussycat post to date. The last bit really got me, I reckon coz I didn’t see it coming at all! Damn you!

  12. Shauna, you’re gorgeous! Now that my sister is shoved out of the nest, my mom is taking up jewelery-making. As if my mother paid attention to her when she was at home…but now she’s an empty-nester. *eye roll*

    Your mom seems pretty cool. πŸ™‚

  13. I stumbled across your blog via Google. I just thought you ought to know that you’re writing style is fascinating. Keep it up. Also…my middle name is Gareth, and I believe this is the first time I’ve ever heard of another Gareth. I don’t believe I’ll ever find another over here in the States. One more thing…what’s this business about Georgians being communist? HAHA, I know plenty of friendly, capitalist Georgians!

  14. Just catching up — you both look stunning. I love the squinty, sunny smiles, and the sun makes your skin glow. We’re all squinting in our wedding pics (which were taken beforehand, won’t bore you with the reason), and then of course it rained on us during the actual ceremony πŸ™‚

Comments are closed.