It really does taste of cats’ pee


A hot day, a shady spot, and a glass of cool, white wine.

Sauvingnon blanc, preferably, with the key flavours of passionfruit, asparagus and a hint of cats pee.

I’ve heard alcohol called piss before, I’ve heard of people who overindulge described as pissed, but this is the first time I’ve come across scientific verification that wine taste like that.

The isolation of cat’s pee, asparagus and passion fruit compounds are just some of the findings of the sauvignon blanc project – a joint study by Lincoln University, Plant and Food, and Auckland University

The six year, $13 million project will help improve the quality of the product, as well as improve overseas sales – a market worth almost a billion dollars in 2008.

I’ll take their word for it and I’m not going to ask know how they know what cats’ pee tastes like.

But if I was in marketing I think I’d be emphasising the fruit flavours in preference to the feline one;

A Fence Around The Cuckoo


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A Fence Around The Cuckoo, the first volume of Ruth Park’s autobiography, gripped me from the opening paragraphs as the adult writer shadows the child she was, scared and confused eavesdropping on her aunt and grandmother.

Ruth Park was a prolific writer and the ability to bring people and places to life in her novel is used to equally good effect in the story of her own life.

She takes us from her early days in the bush camp where she and her mother followed her father who was a bridge builder and road maker; through school in Te Kuiti, then following her father’s bankruptcy during the Great Depression, to life in Auckland.

She was forced to leave school but she was driven to write – so much so that when the only paper available was the newspaper she wrote in the white spaces round the edges of the print.

This volume ends as she arrives in Australia, after an eight hour journey by flying boat, to be met by the man who became her husband, D’Arcy Niland.

He was a writer too and the second volume of her autobiography, Fishing In The Styx, which shows their dogged determination to succeed in spite of events which conspire to make this difficult, is an inspiration for anyone finding life difficult and would-be writers in particular.

A friend said she was torn between reading these books quickly because she was enjoying them so much and slowly because she didn’t want them to end. I felt the same way.

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A Fence Around The Cuckoo, and Fishing In The Styx, by Ruth Park were published by Penguin, in 1992 and 1993 respectively.

Praying by Paying


Too busy to pray?

Just pay Information Age Prayer and they’ll do it for you.

Information Age Prayer is a subscription service utilizing a computer with text-to-speech capability to incant your prayers each day. It gives you the satisfaction of knowing that your prayers will always be said even if you wake up late, or forget.

We use state of the art text to speech synthesizers to voice each prayer at a volume and speed equivalent to typical person praying. Each prayer is voiced individually, with the name of the subscriber displayed on screen.

There’s packages for different denominations and religions – Protestants and Catholics can get the Lord’s Prayer daily for just $3.95, add another $3.95 and you can pray for peace as well.

Jews and Muslims can pay/pray for their children for just $1.99.

If you don’t fit into those categories there’s one for other religions as well.

Forgive me for my cynicism, but I think this is more mammon than mission.

Hat Tip: NZ Week

Not a watch but time bombs


A letter to the editor of the ODT:

Well, sadly, it is goodby to Helen Clark and Michael Cullen. I am sure all citizens of New Zealand wish them well in their future endeavours.

For the past decade, under their stewardship, we have gone to sleep at night knowing that the best little country in the world was ticking like a fine Swiss watch. We had an independent foreign policy respected around the world. Minority peoples were given equal rights. Out monetary policies enabled us to repay enormous debts overseas, and yet ran in the black for the first time ever. We lead the world in environmental issues.

Already, some of these things are being whittle away. Let us be ever vigilant of our inexperienced National Government and never accept second best for our children. John W. Stephen Fairfield.

That wasn’t the ticking of a fine Swiss watch, it was the unfunded and underfunded time bombs left for the new government and current and future taxpayers.

Dry becomes drought for four more areas


Drought is bad enough, back to back drought is even worse and that’s the problem for parts of North Canterbury, Central Plateau, Taihape and Wairarapa.

Agriculture Minister David Carter has extended drought relief to these areas because like Haweks Bay and Gisborne/Wairoa which had already been declared drought regions, they’re facing their third year of low rainfall.

Farmers in all these areas are heading for a tough winter. As soil temperatures plummet, rain has come too late for many. Rain, sunshine and high soil temperatures are needed for grass to grow,” says Mr Carter.

“What is making it worse is these farmers have suffered back-to-back drought for three years.

“The situation is forcing some farmers to sell off capital stock, and stock numbers were already down because of previous droughts.”

Temperatures have plummeted in North Otago in the last week and we’ve noticed the lawn is barely growing which means pasture growth will have all but stopped too.

At this time of year we have to be careful what we wish for because the rain which makes the grass grow when it’s warm produces mud when it’s cold.

At risk of proving that farmers always have too much weather while rain to boost soil moisture levels for spring growth would be welcome, rain that resulted in mud would not.

Dairy auction price down again


There’s no call for champagne after the latest monthly globalDairy Trade auction   because results went against the trend of the last couple of sales when prices had risen slightly.

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The  4.1%, drop in price is disappointing, but prices are still around the long term average.

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In lieu of champagne, if everyone had a milkshake and a cheese sandwich it might help next month’s auction.

Brooke Fraser – Shadowfeet


Day 13 of the tune a day challenge for New Zealand Music Month.

Brooke Fraser sings Shadowfeet:

Catching up on yesterday’s posts:

Inquiring Mind had OMC Land of Plenty

Keeping Stock chose the right day for Forever Tuesday Morning from the Mockers

Rob chose Sharon O’Neill’s Words

Art & My Life joins in with Death and the Maiden from the Verlaines.

And Quote Unquote links to Gillian Whitehead.

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