Today’s contribution to poetry month is Water  by Philip Larkin from The Whitson Weddings, published by Faber, 1964.



If I were called in

To construct a religion

I should make use of water.


Going to church

Would entail a fording

To dry, different clothes;


My liturgy would employ

Images of sousing,

A furious devout drench,


And I should raise in the east

A glass of water

Where any-angled light

Would congregate endlessly.


     – Philip Larkin –

Should the government borrow?


Should the government borrow:

* to enable middle and upper income families to buy luxuries?

* to buy and maintain high country farms?

* to fund the Families Commission?

* to support a bloated public service?

The survey  commisioned by the Business for Sustainable Development didn’t ask those questions, it just asked if the government should borrow to fund tax cuts.

But if the previous government wasted so much money on these and other money wasting projects the current one wouldn’t have to borrow to fund them now.

Had the previous government  not overtaxed and overspent we’d have had tax cuts long before now.

If it had spent more on policies which promoted economic growth instead of those which stifled it we’d be in a much better position to meet and recover from the recession.

But it did which leaves this government to clean up the mess and get the economy growing again.

Because the previous administration spent the lot, this one has to borrow. That’s not bad in itself as Adolf at No Minister points out:

. . . just so long as the borrowing is funding capital expenditure and only sufficient tax is taken to fund operating costs and service the debt over the lifetime of the asset.

That’s what prudent people and businesses do and it’s not imprudent for governments to do it too.



 Once upon a time, not so very long ago I cooked lunch for at least one of our staff every working day.

Roulade was one of my staples because it was easy to make, didn’t take long, was – almost – impossible to get wrong and was very forgiving if anyone was late.

For all those reasons, it’s still one of my most-used recipes if people are coming for lunch or tea (unless I’m feeling particularly inspired in the culinary department or work avoiding, it’s usually make-your-own sandwich if it’s just my farmer and me).

Cheese & Corn Roulade


60g butter                            1/3 cup flour                        

1 cup milk                           4 eggs, separated                

¾ cup grated cheese            1 sliced onion – optional



Grated Cheese                      Corn.


Melt butter in pot – sauté onion if using it. Stir in flour.

Add milk gradually, stirring constantly. Stir until mixture boils and thickens.

Quickly stir in egg yolks and first lot of cheese.


Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, fold lightly into cheese mixture.


Pour into swiss roll tin (30cm x 25cm) which has been lined with baking paper.


Bake in hot over (180 -200 C) until puffed and golden brown.

Remove from over, turn onto wire rack. Remove baking paper. Spread with cheese and corn.




Gently roll roulade (The original recipe said to cover the rack with a tea towel and use it to roll the roulade. I did that the first time but not since because it rolls up easily without it).





Variatons: add corn to the egg mixture and sautéed onions to the filling if you prefer.


Tomatoes, mushrooms or any other vegetable which takes your fancy, cooked bacon or ham could also be used.

Light activated drug to fight MRSA


The fight against antibiotic resistant superbug MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) might be won by a light activated drug  being developed in London.

A University of Otago graduate who grew up on a Lower Waitaki dairy farm, Linda Dekker, is a member of the team working on the drug.

The golden staph can cause skin abscesses, post-operative wound infections and pneumonia and, through the toxins it produces, toxic shock syndrome.

Ms Dekker’s group chemically joined a light-activated drug, tin chlorin e6, to a protein fragment. The protein fragment fits the shape of a molecule found on the surface of MRSA.

On its own, the drug, once exposed to light of the right frequency, can kill MRSA cells but, potentially, also human cells.

Its combination with the protein fragment puts it closer to the target cells and is expected to prevent it from harming human tissue.

“When attached to the protein fragment, it will kill just the bacteria, because it can attach to the bacteria and get closer to it, hence more localised killing,” Ms Dekker said.

The drug would have to go through animal trials before it could be used for trials on people.

Biosecurity threat or just non-tariff barrier?


MAF’ Biosecurity’s  provisional import health standards  for pig meat and by-products is a swine of a decision according to Federated Farmers.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is setting a disturbing precedent by lowering the bar for imported pork.  It is simply unacceptable on biosecurity grounds,” says John Hartnell, Federated Farmers biosecurity spokesperson. 

“The unintentional risk of the HIV-like Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS virus) entering New Zealand is too high and the Federation backs New Zealand Pork on this issue.

“New Zealand and Australia are the only two countries on earth free of PRRS.  It’s no wonder the pork industry doesn’t want it here, given piglet mortality can peak at 70 percent during the acute phase.

“The New Zealand pig herd could become infected with PRRS if infected imported raw pork was fed to an unregistered pig.  This could easily occur on a lifestyle block or in the suburbs. 

MAF says  the risk of PRRS in consumer-ready products can be managed by the import health standards they’re proposing so is the farmers’ opposition based on facts or fear of competition?

New Zealand apple growers have long complained that Australia’s opposition to our fruit because of the risk of fireblight is really a non-tariff barrier barrier masquerading as a biosecurity threat. Opposition to the new standards for pig meat imports could be regarded as a similar ploy.

We have to be very careful that any opposition we have to the import of goods from other countries is based on science and not just an attempt to reduce competition because the sauce we try to apply to other people’s pork could just as easily be applied to our produce elsewhere.

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