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.

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