Tempus fugits some more


Further to tempus fugits faster, North Otago artist Jim Adams called this work Time Flies:


The wee white bird, attached to the second hand flies round the clock every minute:


While on the subject of time, how lovely it was to wake up this morning and find it was light outside and my body was an hour ahead of the clock.

The latest Friday Flash  from Federated Farmers is asking for views on daylight savings. I’ll be telling them it starts too early and finishes too late. The first Sunday in November until the first Sunday in March would be more than long enough for me.

i am a little church


When I moved here 26 years ago there were five churches in our valley – two Catholic and three Presbyterian. Now all but one, have closed, been deconsecrated and converted to houses.

Any of these could have been the subject of  i am a little church. But the one which is still a church, Enfield Presbyterian – perched on a hill looking towards the Kakanui mountains, especially reminds me of  this poem and it seemed an appropriate choice for this first Sunday of poetry month.

It’s by e.e.cummings from Selected Poems 1923 – 1958, published by Faber.

i am a little church (no great cathedral)

far from the splendour and squalor of hurrying cities

– i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,

i am not sorry when sun and rain make april


my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;

my prayers are prayers of earth’s own clumsily striving

(finding and losing and laughing and crying) children

whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness


around me surges a miracle of unceasing

birth and glory and death and resurrection:

over my sleeping self float flaming symbols

of hope, and i wake to a perfect patience of mountains


i am a little church (far from the frantic

world with its rapture and anguish) at peace with nature

– i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;

i am not sorry when silence becomes singing


winter by spring, i lift my diminutive spire to

merciful Him Whose only now is forever;

standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence

(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)

Did you see the one about . . .


Feeding the Fish  at O Audacious Book

The Cold War  at Fifi Verses the World

This proof’s a lemon  at Visible Hand in Economics

Government car warranties at Anti-Dismal

How would you feel about a man in a skirt at Laughy Kate

Above and below  at Stellar Cafe

What to do with old bread  at In A Strange Land

The granny test


Crime and Compassion at Roarprawn concludes the saga of Busted Blonde’s stolen car.

It’s had several episodes and has introduced me to the granny test:

But we are following through because, you see, this didn’t pass the granny test. That’s the test you apply that means if you were a granny what would happen. If it was a granny instead of the Aussie Rock, she would have never seen her car again. And the mongrel mob would have learned that crime does pay and has no consequences.

Notwithstanding that many grandmothers are intelligent, articulate and fiesty women, we’d all benefit if  every state agency applied the granny test to its policies and actions.

Their thoughts not their words nor their work


Deborah Coddington has lost the plot in her column cheeky MPs putting the I in spin which she concludes by saying:

Someone else does the brush strokes, chooses the colours, the MP signs the painting, all hell breaks loose. Someone else writes the sentences, chooses the adjectives and verbs, the MP signs the article.

What’s the difference?

The difference is that the signature on a painting is part of its provenance, which in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, says it’s the signatory’s work and that affects its value.

But MPs aren’t paid for opinion pieces and while their by-line shows it’s their thoughts we know it’s not necessarily all their words nor all their work because we all know they employ people to write for them.

There are two very good reasons for that – they have many more important things to do and they don’t necessarily write well.

The exception to this would be if a piece was supposed to be personal which is why I’ve always wondered about this tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary by Helen Clark  in Mindfood.

It says it’s her recollection but rather than words from the heart of someone who knew the man, it’s an impersonal account of his life which could have been written by any journalist or historian.

If she wrote it, she did herself and Sir Ed a disservice, if she didn’t it shouldn’t have been portrayed as a personal tribute.

An opinon piece expressing a ministers’ views written by someone else is common and accepted practice. A personal tribute that isn’t personal, regardless of who wrote it, short changes the subject and the reader.



While watching the interview between Finance Minister Bill English and Guyon Espiner  on Q&A I began to think about how things might have been had we had a conservative rather than a spend-thrift in charge of the nation’s finaces in the last nine years.

Imagine how it would be if we hadn’t had nine years of over taxation and over spending, if middle and upper income families hadn’t been turned into beneficiaries, if students hadn’t been encouraged to borrow more than they needed by interest-free loans, if there hadn’t been an idealogical antipathy to selling state assets,  if profligate spending by the government hadn’t poured fuel on the fire of inflation, if state sector costs had been constrained, if public money had been spent on front line services which helped not bureacracy which didn’t  . . .

It wouldn’t have made a difference to the global financial crisis but it would have left New Zealand with a sounder economic base and in a stronger position to weather it and recover faster.

Carmageddon squashes grapefruit trade


There’s nothing new about backloading, it’s been going on for centuries because it reduces the costs of transport.

Once shipping started, backloading also provided ballast which is why the interiors of the beautiful old stone buildings in Oamaru’s historic precinct feature imported timber. It came back as ballast on the sailing ships which carried grain to the USA and Britain.

However, backloading requires willing buyers at both ends of the journey. If the market for produce going one way dries up it interferes with the transport of the backload which is what’s happened with The Grapefruits of Wrath .

Some 60% of the grapefruits consumed in Japan are grown in Florida. Floridian grapefruits account for almost all the grapefruits sold in Japan around this time of year.

But grapefruit are the backload in ships which take Japanese vehicles to the USA. Now the market for cars has soured, vehicle shipments have reduced and grapefruit are stuck in the USA.

Consumers in Japan will face rising prices as the supply of grapefruit drops and grapefruit growers in Florida are left with falling demand and a subsequent fall in their returns because of carmageddon – the drop in demand for vehicles.

Hat Tip: Frenemy

Central Plains irrigation scheme no go


Commissioners for the Central Plains Water hearing have indicated they will be turning down large parts of the consent application for the $400 million plan to irrigate 60,000 hectares of land.

It is easy to sit at a distance and see the benefits of irrigation not just for farmers but the wider community and national economy. The lake would also provide opportunities for fishing, swimming and boating.

But I can also see how people who would lose their homes and farms would be opposed to the scheme.

However, what concerns me most is that people have had their lives on hold for eight years while the planning and consent process grinds expensively on and the waiting is not over yet.

There has to be a better, cheaper and faster way than this regardless of whether you are for or against the scheme.

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