Real Life

I’m an owl-coholic

Corrine Talbot doesn’t mind being called an owl-coholic. In fact, she thinks it’s a hoot.

The grandmother loves owl figurines and beer cans so much that she’s filled her home in Paraparaumu, near Wellington, with her two favourite things. She has more than 300 owls and 3000 beer cans – and doesn’t plan to stop collecting any time soon.

Corrine’s owl obsession began in 1984 when she was working in a rest-home as a caregiver. one of the residents gave her an owl statue and, in that moment, Corrine’s love of the birds took flight. She’s been adding to her brood ever since.

The owls come in all shapes and sizes, and some are expensive gold-plated versions. The most expensive bird she ever bought cost her close to $200. “I love looking in op shops too,” says Corrine (48).

“I don’t go out to buy really expensive ones, but if one catches my eye, I will.”

As a night-shift worker, Corrine says she can relate to the nocturnal birds, and says she’s also been called wise. “I love their mystique, and their eyes and their wisdom,” she says.

owls even brought Corrine together with her husband, Craig (44). When they met in 2004, she heard owls hooting in the bush and took it as a sign that they were meant to be together.

It was Craig who introduced Corrine to the joy of collecting beer cans. He’s been collecting them since he was 14, and Corrine soon developed a thirst for the hobby too, which saw them become members of the New Zealand Beer Can Collectors Society.

The couple’s most expensive can is a rare New Zealand item that cost an incredible $280. But Corrine’s favourite combines her two loves – it’s in the shape of an owl.

“We keep them all on shelves that Craig has made himself and the first thing people ask is, ‘Are they full?’ We normally say they’re empty.”

Beer cans are actually worth more if they haven’t been opened at the top, because doing so spoils the look. But in order to save the can it’s important to drain the beer out, so most collectors open them from the bottom.

“We either drain it down the sink or drink it,” says Corrine.

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