Looking for our loveliest loo


Keep New Zealand Beautiful  has launched its serach for the top spot for a pee with its annual Kiwi Loo competition.

I applaud the concept which is aimed at upgrading and beautifying public loos around the country because I’ve had some unpleasant experiences in public conveniences which aren’t in fact very convenient.

It doesn’t take much to make a good loo – cleanliness, a hook on which to hang a hand bag or jacket, a lock, enough loo paper, – and not the hard, shiny stuff like lunch paper; a flush that works, hand basins with one spout and hot and cold taps, preferably ones you can turn on and off with your elbow; soap and towels – either paper or cotton.

Sadly many public loos fall well short of these simple requirements.

But the worst of the problems are not the fault of those who design, build, maintain and clean the loos but the people who use them.

Saturday’s smiles


This came in an email from a friend who got it from a friend, who got it from a friend… I have no idea who the author was.



The sun was hot already – it was only 8 o’clock

The cocky took off in his Ute, to go and check his stock.
He drove around the paddocks checking wethers, ewes and lambs,
The float valves in the water troughs, the windmills on the dams.He stopped and turned a windmill on to fill a water tank
And saw a ewe down in the dam, a few yards from the bank.
“Typical bloody sheep,” he thought, “they’ve got no common sense,
“They won’t go through a gateway but they’ll jump a bloody fence.”

The ewe was stuck down in the mud, he knew without a doubt
She’d stay there ’til she carked it if he didn’t get her out. 
But when he reached the water’s edge, the startled ewe broke free
And in her haste to get away, began a swimming spree.



He reckoned once her fleece was wet, the weight would drag her down

If he didn’t rescue her, the stupid sod would drown.
Her style was unimpressive, her survival chances slim
He saw no other option, he would have to take a swim.He peeled his shirt and singlet off, his trousers, boots and socks
And as he couldn’t stand wet clothes, he also shed his jocks.
He jumped into the water and away that cocky swam
He caught up with her, somewhere near the middle of the dam

The ewe was quite evasive, she kept giving him the slip
He tried to grab her sodden fleece but couldn’t get a grip.
At last he got her to the bank and stopped to catch his breath
She showed him little gratitude for saving her from death.

She took off like a Bondi tram around the other side
He swore next time he caught that ewe he’d hang her bloody hide.
Then round and round the dam they ran, although he felt quite puffed
He still thought he could run her down, she must be nearly stuffed.

The local stock rep came along, to pay a call that day.
He knew this bloke was on his own, his wife had gone away
He didn’t really think he’d get fresh scones for morning tea
But nor was he prepared for what he was about to see.

He rubbed his eyes in disbelief at what came into view
For running down the catchment came this frantic-looking ewe.
And on her heels in hot pursuit and wearing not a stitch
The farmer yelling wildly “Come back here, you lousy bitch!”

The stock rep didn’t hang around, he took off in his car
The cocky’s reputation has been damaged near and far
So bear in mind the Work Safe rule when next you check your flocks
Spot the hazard, assess the risk, and always wear your jocks!


Girls on tour


Our first annual expedition three years ago took us to Prebbleton where we spent the day making garden sculptures.

When fine motor skills were distributed I was somewhere else so I’d approached the activity with some trepedation. However, by day’s end I was the proud owner of a pig which did indeed look like a pig and is now at home in my garden.

We headed north again last year and spent the day at Jo Seagar’s cooking school  at Oxford.

Jo welcomed us and explained the day’s agenda over coffee and loaf then we spent the next few hours gathered round her huge kitchen bench as she chatted and joked her way through the cooking demonstration.

When the cooking was done we were seated at the large dining table to enjoy the food, accompanied by wine and more conversation.

Jo mentioned the first year’s income for the business had been well ahead of budget and it was easy to see why because during her demonstration she’d mentioned how good this tool or that utensil was so of course we all purchased at least some of them before we left. Remembering this over diner last night, we agreeed Jo was right and we’d all found the things we bought were welcome additions to our kitchens.

This year’s expedition has taken us to Southland. We arrived in time for lunch at Woodstock Loft yesterday – tomato soup followed by parmeson loaf topped with lettuce and smoked salmon. One of our hostesses is a director of Venture Southland  and was keen to ensure we contributed to the local economy so the afternoon was devoted to retail therapy in Invercargill before dinner at El Tigre.

We enjoyed the dinner but diners at a neighbouring table didn’t enjoy our company – they told the waitress we were too noisy and walked out. We were a little discombobulated by this but the waitress reassured us that they had been difficult from the time they entered and it was them at fault not us.

Today’s itinerary includes a garden walk, floral art and no doubt we’ll have time for food, wine and conversation. We’ll do our best to keep the latter to a level which doesn’t upset any fellow diners.

So far so peaceful for Undie 500


The ODT gets applause for its headline: Police welcome rebels with a pause and the story below reports that the first day of the Undie 500 passed peacefully.

A heavy police presence greeted rebel Undie 500 participants to Dunedin last night, but the atmosphere between students and police appeared jovial and good-natured.

Inspector Dave Campbell said there had been no problems, but there were “quite a few more cars” than expected, with about 40 vehicles joining the event. Earlier estimates had put the number at 30.

Police checkpoints in Oamaru and on the outskirts of Dunedin did net a couple of people who were charged with drink driving, but neither was involved with the student rally.

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