G’day again Goodnight Kiwi


Once upon a time, not so very long go, there were just two TV channels and neither of them went 24 hours a day.


To signal the end of the day’s transmission, TVNZ (or whichever of its predecessors was in existence then) played the Goodnight Kiwi settling down for the night to the tune of Hine E Hine.

The excitement with which the announcement TVNZ is bringing the Kiwi and his cat back to our screens has been greeted is a sign of the affection in which they’re held. However, the sad state of current programming means there’s little if anything worth watching to keep us up to see them.


If you can’t wait to see the updated version, Youtube has the original.

Just two half glasses


As the designated driver for our party of five I took a precautionary approach to alcohol at Friday’s wedding.

I accepted a glass of bubbles when we arrived at the reception and nursed it over the next couple of hours until we sat down for dinner. The glass was still half full but I abandoned it in favour of a still white for the toasts and drank about half of that with the meal.

After just two half glasses of wine over several hours, accompanied by food, I should still have been in full control, but that didn’t stop me tripping over en route to the dance floor.

I fell on my left hand and am now sporting a compression bandage, a sling and relief I hadn’t drunk more because if I can do this much damage on two half glasses, I hate to think of the mess I’d be in had I emptied them.

St Andrew’s Day


If there’s such a thing as genetic memory, it kicked in when we got to Scotland eight years ago.

It wasn’t a feeling of coming home, that’s definitely New Zealand, but there was a sense of familiarity and recognition.

The prosaic explanation for this could be similarities in the landscape which made me realise why the Scots felt at home in the southern South Island. But the romantic in me put the sense of connection down to the knowledge that this was the land from which my forbears came.

My mother’s grandfather and all her great grandparents were Scottish. My father was born and brought up there and although he moved to New Zealand in his late 20s and spent nearly three quarters of his life here and loved the land he chose, he also retained a close affinity to the land of his birth.

In many ways he became more Scottish as he aged. The kilt which was worn only when he went to Scottish Country Dancing when my brother and I were children, became a staple part of his wardrobe and his clothing of choice for semi formal and formal occasions. Even now, nearly nine years after his death I meet people who tell me they remember Charlie in his kilt, greeting them at the church door on Sundays or addressing the haggis on Burns night.

For all the great inventions and distinguished people that have come out of Scotland, St Andrew’s Day doesn’t get the recognition that St Patrick’s Day does. While I’m quite happy that it hasn’t been commercialised my tarten genes called for a post in recognition of Scotland’s patron saint.

Saturday’s smiles


In sympathy for the people marking NCEA exams, here is a collection of metaphors and similes supposedly collected from school essays:


Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two other sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.


His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a tumble dryer.


She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again.


The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.


McMurphy fell 12 storeys, hitting the pavement like a paper bag filled with vegetable soup.


Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.


Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the centre.


Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.


He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.


The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.


Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left York at 6:36 pm travelling at 55 mph, the other from Peterborough at 4.19pm at a speed of 35 mph.


The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the full stop after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.


John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.


The thunder was ominous sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.


The red brick wall was the colour of a brick-red crayon.


Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.


The door had been forced, as forced as the dialogue during the interview portion of Family Fortunes.


Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.


The plan was simple, like my brother Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.


The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.


“Oh Jason, take me!” she panted, her breasts heaving like a student on a 31p a pint night.


He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a landmine or something.


Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”.


She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.


It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before.


The knife was as sharp as the tone used by Glenda Jackson MP in her first several points of parliamentary procedure made to Robin Cook MP, Leader of the House of Commons, in the House Judiciary hearings on the suspension of Keith Vaz MP.


The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a lamppost.


The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free cash point.


The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium.


It was a working class tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with their power tools.


He was deeply in love. When she spoke he thought he heard bells, as if she were a dustcart reversing.


She was as easy as the Daily Star crossword.


She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature British beef.


She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.


Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a first-generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightened.


It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

Hagar: PR threatens democracy


Pupblic Relations can do as much to hamper communication as to enhance it but this is a bit rich  coming from Nicky Hagar:

The manipulation of public opinion through sophisticated public relations techniques poses a threat to New Zealand democracy, Wellington investigative journalist Nicky Hager warns.

Mr Hager gave a keynote lecture, titled “Imagining a world where the PR people had won”, at the Sociological Association of Aotearoa New Zealand conference at the University of Otago.

Public relations methods had long been used to influence public opinion, but in recent years there had been “a really huge and important change” which now posed “a threat to democracy”, he said in an interview.

I don’t necessarily disagree with his view, especially given the blow out in communications staff in the public service. But there is an antidote to the PR poison and that’s free and intelligent media which delves beyond press releases.

And isn’t there more than a little of the pot calling the kettle black in his proclamation when he wrote a whole book using selected emails to prove his foregone conclusion?

John Ansell showed how he operates here and Hager’s response is here.

Wedding Song


This Friday’s poem was chosen because as the earlier post tells, today friends are being married and it will be the first of five weddings we’re attending in three different countries over the next couple of months.

Wedding Song by Jenny Bornholdt is from My Heart Goes Swimming edited by Jenny Bornholdt and Gregory O’Brien, published by Godwit.

Wedding Song


Now you are married

Try to love the world

As much as you love

Each other. Greet it as your husband,

Wife. Love it with all your

Might as you sleep

Breathing against its back.


Love the world, when late at night,

You come home to find snails

Stuck to the side of the house

Like decoration.


Love your neighbours.

The red berries on their trampoline

Their green wheelbarrow.


Love the man walking on

Water, the man up a

mast. Love the light moving

across the Island Princess.


Love your grandmother when she tells you

Her hair is three-quarters ‘café au lait’.


Try to love the world, even when you discover

there is no such thing as The Author

any more.


Love the world, praise

God, even, when your aerobics instructor

is silent.


Try very hard to love

your mailman, even though her regularly

delivers you Benidicto Clemente’s mail.


Love the weta you find on the path,

injured  by alteration.


Love the tired men, the burnt

house, the handlebars of light

on the ceiling.


Love the man on the bus who says

it all amounts to a fishing rod

or a lightbulb.


Love the world of the garden.

The keyhole of bright green grass

Where the stubborn palm

used to be,

bees so drunk on ginger flowers

that they think the hose water

is rain   your hair tangled in



Love the way,

when you come inside,

insects find their way out

from the temporary rooms of

your clothes.


– Jenny Bornholdt –

Surviving tractor accidents


Pique Oil left a comment on an earlier post about seatbelts in tractors saying:

I work in the OSH industry and one of the most frustrating things is seeing a seatbelt done up to activate the sensor, but operators sit on top of it.
Here is a youtube link that shows a forklift fatality. Not gory at all but a seatbelt would have stopped him being thrown out the back and crushed to death.
seatbelts save lives. Anyone who thinks that they are a nuisance or inconvenient or Fred would have died if he had worn his etc. etc. should ask themselves whether their widow would have preferred they wore a seatbelt.

I agree, my earlier post wasn’t arguing seatbelts shouldn’t be worn, it was to say it’s difficult to convince people to use them (and other safety equipment).

The photo below is a tractor after it rolled five times and finished on its wheels, facing the opposite direction from which it had started.

It had a seatbelt but the driver wasn’t wearing it. At one stage he remembers his legs going outside the cab and thought “this is how people die”. We think he then hauled himself back in by the steering wheel.

He ended up with a bad gash in the head (possibly done by fire extinguisher which hadn’t been secured) and fractured five pedicles on his spine. He’s made a full recovery but could very easily have died.



Farmer Baby Boomer also left a comment on the earlier post:

Was listening to newstalkzb’s Danny Watson discussing this yesterday. A guy rang up and talked about ’springbelt’ – a belt for tractors which is in the way unless you do it up. He claimed it is positioned so that it is quick and easy to do up.
It is on the web at
May be interesting to get on a trial see if it is convenient or just adds frustration to the ” in and out of the cab ” type jobs you mentioned.

If it works that could be the answer because no matter how often people are warned of the dangers, it’s too easy when you’re busy and not aware of any dangers, to ignore simple precautions.

Wedding season


They were engaged 42 years ago, something went wrong, they parted.

Each met another, married, divorced and met again.

The flame that burned too low more than four decades earlier was rekindled, he’d kept the ring all those years so gave it back to her, and on Wednesday morning they married.

Just a simple ceremony, in the public gardens, celebrated with a small group of family and friends.

I was the celebrant on Wednesday and today I’m the guest at another wedding, the first of five we’ll be attending in three different countries in the next couple of months.

All will be unique, all will be special.

Tagged twice


I’ve been double tagged – first by MandM then by Keeping Stock so I have to:

              *  Link to the person who tagged you

             *   Post the rules

             *   Share seven random or weird facts about yourself

             * Tag 7 random people at the end of the post with their links

So here’s the seven random/weird facts:

1. I had a one-way ticket to Britain when my farmer and I met so he flew 12000 miles to propose to me.

2. My longest friendship is older than my memory – which isn’t a sad reflection on the state of my memory, we met when her family moved next door to mine when we were both two.

3. I lived on Great Mercury Island for a year – employed by Michael Fay & David Richwhite, who own the island, to supervise the correspondence school lessons of the farm manager’s three children.

4. I’ve received a card on every Valentine’s Day of my life – not necessarily because it’s Valentine’s Day but because it’s also my birthday.

5. I lived for three months in Vejer de la Frontera.

6. Most people call me Ele which is a contraction of my name – Elspeth, the Scottish form of Elizabeth.

7. We hosted an AFS student from Argentina and his family is now our family.

And an eighth: I never pass on anything resembling a chain letter and as this could be construed as such I’m tagging the following people as a tribute to their blogs but won’t be at all offended if they don’t want to play the game:


Bull Pen

Art and My Life 

John Ansell

Rob Hosking

Something Should Go Here

PM of NZ

‘opkins goes t’ Coro street


‘Ee bia gum, young Jim ‘opkins ‘as gone down t’ Coronation Street an’ come up wi’ summat clever:

Hayley: Aye, and we’d be clean out of green by the time we arrived.’Ave you not been watching the news, our Roy? They’ve just slapped a 10 per cent surcharge on all flights to New Zealand.

Roy: Is that in retaliation for the ‘aka?

Hayley: I don’t know. But I do know it spells disaster for the tourism industry in that recession-plagued land.

Roy: I shouldn’t think so, luv. They’re pretty resourceful in them parts. My guess is they’ll cum up with summat clever, like a

$250 discount voucher for bungee jumps and such.

The ODT  also looks at the British flight tax:

Suspicion that the British tax is simply a healthy revenue earner for Mr Brown’s government is supported by the absence of much acknowledgement or incentive that some airlines are themselves doing a great deal to reduce carbon emissions. . .

Call me cynical if you will but a tax which isn’t about revenue gathering is oxymoronic.

Neatness not a natural state


Some are born neat; some achieve neatness and some have neatness thrust upon them.


Those who are orderly by birth or habit find it difficult to tolerate or even understand the rest of us who are not and I don’t blame them because untidiness irritates and confounds me too. However, while I like neatness and know it makes life much simpler and less stressful it’s not a state which comes naturally to me.


I blame it on being a child of children of the depression who had been brought up with the injunction waste not, want not. Let’s face it anyone whose mother washed, dried and reused plastic sandwich wrap decades before recycling became trendy is going to have a problem determining what’s wanted and what’s waste.


This helps to explain why I can’t throw out left over food straight away but must pop it into the fridge and wait until it dies quietly first. Similarly I can’t get rid of other things as soon as there usefulness or beauty has passed.


Instead they must serve their time in storage then only after the passing of months or even years has led to a further deterioration in both appearance, and value and when something with a more pressing need for cupboard space forces them out can they be discarded.


This totally irrational and unnecessary determination to keep things which have long since passed their useful-by dates means that neatness is a rare and fleeting state with me and the last time I came as near as I even get to total tidiness on the domestic front was some months ago when a spruce up of the office was thrust upon me by some relatively minor alterations which resulted in significantly more storage space.


My farmer, encouraged by the addition of new places to put things and with some not insignificant assistance from both our office fairy and accountant cleared up his territory which made the contrast with the disorder on and around my desk even more marked.


Accepting the inevitable I began the massive job of turning the chaos of my corner into some semblance of order. Two and a half days later the desk was clear, drawers were tidy, shelves were stacked in an orderly fashion, loose bits of paper were filed securely and the fifth load of rubbish was burning in the drum.


Encouraged by the novel experience of being able to find what I wanted at first glance I moved with the enthusiasm of a new convert from the office to the hall cupboard and set about tidying that too. Then I tackled the bedroom where anything that hadn’t been worn for more than a year was taken out to be given to an op-shop.


Fired with success in this quarter I advanced with missionary zeal to the spare room where a similarly cathartic process took place. From there I strode with determination in my heart and a large rubbish bin in both hands to cut a swathe through the mess in the kitchen, living room and finally the laundry.


My excitement over the resulting and unusual sate of order from one end of the house to the other was boundless. I not only knew where things should be, I could be totally confident that that’s where they would be.


With the house much neater life became much easier, but alas the tidiness was temporary.


Slowly and insidiously chaos crept back, furnishing me with the proof that for those of us on whom tidiness is thrust the real challenge lies not in attaining neatness but in maintaining it.



Rich CEO


Katherine Rich, who retired from parliament at the election, is to take over as CEO of the New Zealand Food & Grocery Council next March.

Former Dunedin-based National MP Katherine Rich will bounce back into public life as chief lobbyist for the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) industry, which employs some 148,000 people.

Katherine’s skills combined with her experience in marketing, agriculture and politics will make her a very effective advocate for the industry.

You can put seat belts in tractors but . . .


Coroner Allan Hall has called for mandatory seat belts in tractors after an inquest into a farm worker who was killed when the tractor he was driving rolled.

He said if a seat belt had been fitted and used then the man would have survived.

The operative word here is not fitted but used.

You could put seat belts in tractors, and some already have them, but I don’t rate the chances of people using them very highly, especially if they’re doing a job which requires them getting in and out of the cab often.

Fonterra to write-off Sanlu


Fonterra admitted at the company AGM that it has lost the $200 million it invested int he Chinese company San Lu.

The Fonterra board openly concedes that it has had a difficult time and that San-Lu will going to go down in history as a bad investment for them.
When Fonterra’s top brass fronted before the country’s dairy farmers there was not a lot of good news to deliver.
Firstly, Fonterra is now admitting it has lost all of the $200 million of investment in the San-Lu joint venture.
“For this reason it is increasingly likely that we will have to write off the remaining $62 million of value in our San-Lu investment,” stated Fonterra’s Chairman Henry Van Der Heyden.
Fonterra had a 40 percent stake in San-Lu, which collapsed due to the contaminated milk-powered controversy.
Fonterra’s management says it is reviewing what went so badly wrong and concedes it had limited control.
That lack of control was the problem. New Zealand leads the world in dairying and one of the reasons for its reputation is strict quality control in every link of the porduction chain.
That wasn’t possible in China which has been a very expensive lesson for Fonterra and its shareholders.
Just a year ago most people thought that the growing demand for milk in developing country would continue to result in high returns for dairy products. But demand is droppping everywhere and while Fonterra’s forecast payout of $6 a kilo is still above the long term average, the white gold rush is over at least in the short term and very possibly for longer.

Getting round the flight tax


The British government’s plan to tax people flying out of Britain, with the rate rising for the distance and class (ie first class to New Zealand costs more than cattle class to anywhere else) could well have unintended consequences.

People could take a short haul flight to Euorpe and pay a lower tax then take the long haul flight from there  or travel by sea or train to Europe and escape the tax altogether.

It wouldn’t be as convenient as flying direct but providing there was no concern about conencting with the onward flight the money saved could make it worth while.

Another consequence could be a reduction in tourists travelling to Britain because they don’t want to have to pay more to leave again.




Key’s debut solid


The ODT reckons John Key’s debut on the world stage was solid.

John Key’s entry on to the world stage at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Lima, Peru, has been a solid beginning for the new prime minister, pitched at the right level for a debutant leader.

He was forthright in his views, and reportedly pragmatic rather than flashy in his speeches and presentations. . .

. . . In this display of tough talking, Mr Key signalled that he was intent on establishing a presence internationally as a straight-shooter, but he also took advantage of the occasion to distance himself from his former associations with the banking and finance sectors. Reporters covering the trip also saw another side of Mr Key: at times he “gushed” and at others appeared “gauche”, thus living up to his role as the new kid on the Asia-Pacific block.

But he was, as he has shown several times since winning the election a little more than two weeks ago, refreshingly candid.

There were signs of humility, too, in his preparations: he sought out Helen Clark for a briefing, and appeared grateful.

“She was genuinely good and so knowledgeable about these things. Her personal assessments were highly accurate. Generally I said to [leaders] that I had spoken to Helen Clark before I left and she passed on her warm regards. She is well thought of,” he told the media.

And while he spoke warmly of the achievements of the summit, he was also cautious about timeframes for turning the world crisis around, describing the 18 months, belatedly inserted in the final communique at the behest of Peruvian President Alan Garcia, as “aspirational”.

It was a carefully chosen word, showing that Mr Key is learning fast. . .

. . . New Zealand is more than most dependent on free trade and access to markets, so it was critically important that Mr Key attended the forum.

It is also a healthy sign of a maturing democracy that he was able to leave the country a day after being sworn in as prime minister with advice from his predecessor in his briefcase – no small achievement and one for which both Mr Key and Miss Clark are to be commended.

It is a sign of the maturity not only of our democracy, but of the politicians that they can put aside partisan differences for the good of the country. 

A peaceful hand over of power and a willingness of an outgoing leader to give advice and an incoming one to accept it doesn’t happen everywhere. It is something for which we can be grateful and should not take it for granted.

Sth Korea accepting US beef againg


South Korean retailers are planning to stock beef from the USA again for the first time after sales stopped five years ago because of fears of mad cow disease.

If you go down to the woods today


Someone did go down to the woods today and got a big surprise when she saw a piano sitting there, looking as if it had recently been played.

The report doesn’t mention if there were any signs of picnicing teddy bears.

It must be bad



It’s a sign things really are bad when the crisis forces the Russians to cut back on vodka.

%d bloggers like this: