Women to challenege for Rural Bachelor of Year


The Rural Bachelor of the Year Competition has been one of the staples of entertainment at the Fieldays for several years.

If memory serves me right one of the motivations for starting it was concern over the growing difficulty men were having in finding women who were willing to follow them to the country, as it was for the Middlemarch Singles Ball.

That might explain why until now it’s been a competition for blokes only, but Julie at The Hand Mirror has alerted me to the news that this year women are being invited to compete for the title.

For the first time ever, eight single women from the rural sector will be invited to challenge the blokes; in a duel of gender wit and farming skill during the Friday bachelor heats on 12 June.

I wondered if this was striking a blow for equality but I gather from the Fieldays website  that the men will be competing over four days and the women won’t enter the fray until the final afternoon.

Does that mean that it doesn’t take women as long to show their prowess, or that rather than letting women show they’re equal to the challenge this might in fact be an unequal competition?



The choice of today’s contribution to poetry month was inspired by news about the cycle way .


Ode by Gillian Allnutt comes from All the Poems You Need to Say I Do, edited by Peter Forbes, published by Picador.




To depict a (bicycle) first you must come to love (it).

Alexander Block


I swear by every rule in the bicycle

owner’s manual


that I love you, I, who have repeatedly,



with accompanying declaration of despair,

tried to repair


you, to patch things up,

to maintain a workable relationship.


I have spent sleepless nights

in pondering your parts – those private


and those that all who walk the street

may look at –


wondering what makes you tick

over smoothly, or squeak.


my trusty steed,

my rusty three-speed,


I would feed you the best oats

if oats


were applicable.

Only linseed oil


will do

to nourish you.


I want

So much to paint



Midnight blue


mudgutter black

And standing as you do, ironic


At the rail

Provided by the Council –



the sun caught in your back wheel –


or at home in the hall, remarkable

among other bicycles,


your handlebars erect.

Allow me to depict


you thus. And though I can’t do justice

to your true opinion of the surface



of the road –

put into words


the nice distinctions that you make

among the different sorts of tarmac –


still, I’d like to set the record of our travels straight.

I’d have you know that


not with three-in-one

but with my own


heart’s spittle I anoint your moving parts.


Gillian Allnutt.


A Scottish Soldier


Adam Smith has a series of musical and poetic posts for Anzac Day at Inquiring Mind including:

Kipling’s Tommy, Kipling’s Recessional , Siegfried Sassoon’s poem The Troops and They were only playing leapfrog

The Scottish Soldier about whom Andy Stewart sings fought in an earlier war.

I post it in memory of my father who was a Scottish soldier in the New Zealand Army’s 20th Battalion during World War II.

Autumn or spring?


February’s rain has painted the pastures spring green but a cold southerly a couple of weeks ago brought snow the the Kakanuis to remind us it’s autumn.


The Indian summer which followed melted the snow but frosts every monring suggest winter isn’t far away.

However, when I came across this on my morning walk this week I wondered:


Someone who knows more about swans than I do may correct me, but I thought they layed their eggs towards the end of winter and the cygnets hatched in spring.

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