Sign of the times


When I first moved to the farm, 26 years ago, we had only one door key and were never quite sure where it was because we never used it.

We always knew where vehicle keys were, however, because we left them in the ignition.

Times have changed. Vehicles are locked and their keys kept securely and when we’re away the house is locked too and we have a few other secutiry measures in place.

That ought to put our minds at rest but there’s been an increase in burglaries and a couple of instances of arson in the district so while we’re on holiday we’ve got a couple of house-sitters in.

That’s probably being overly cautious but it’s a sad sign of the times that we can no longer trust people as we used to.

Credit card crisis


If there’s a good time to be told your Visa card has been declined, at the airport just before departing overseas isn’t it.

But full marks to the lovely people at the National Bank and Visa who sorted it for me in about 30 minutes.

I phoned our banker who did some investigation then contacted the Visa people, one of whom phoned me straight back.

She explained that a transaction in Spain at midnight yesterday had triggered a fraud alert so they’d frozen the card until they’d checked that it was legitimate.

I knew what the transaction was, the woman cleared the block, took the details of our itinerary so they know what to expect and gave me a phone number to call from anywhere in the world if I have another problem.

I’m very impressed by their security consciousness. Better a minor hiccup than a raid on a credit card.

And while a problem with a credit card isn’t welcome, it’s not as bad as losing your passport.

Intermittent transmission


My farmer and I are away for a sunshine fix which may result in posts at odd times and a reduction in posting.

It was trying to snow at home yesterday.

We’re expecting it to be a little warmer where we’re going:  a night in Singapore, two in Barcelona then back to Vejer de la Frontera where we spent three months in 2005 before meeting friends for a walking tour which starts in Milan and finishes in Verona.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. What is the morse code  for SOS?

2. What the the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell named?

3. Who said: “In my view the welfare state was not conceived for the middle class and yet it is increasingly captured by them.”?

4. Who wrote See Ya Simon?

5.  Where is this World Heritage site, which is , from memory but open to correction,  the southernmost  northern most date palm grove in the World?


At time of writing (9am) no-one has got all five answers but that’s because 3 was hard and I got my directions mixed up with 5 – it’s northern most not southern.

I offer an electronic posey to all who tried by way of apology.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Mea culpa


Confession time – I got my geography mixed up with yesterday’s quiz.

Question 5 should have said the northern most not southern most date palms in the world.

Further posts postponed while I write out 100 times: I must be more careful with details, I must be more careful . . .

Home ownership leads to industrial harmony


Dad used to strike all the time when I was a kid. But when Maggie Thatcher let us buy a house Mum wouldn’t let him strike anymore because she didn’t want to fall behind with the mortgage.

This was a young English woman’s story.

There are many other benefits of home ownership which is why only those ideologically opposed to independence seem to have any problems with the government’s plan to allow state house tenants to buy their own homes.

If the English experience is any guide, improved  industrial harmony may be an unexpected, and very positive, consequence of the policy too.

P.S. Kiwiblog has a round up of editorials on the issue.

June 30 in history


On June 30:

1859 French acrobat Charles Blondin crossed Niagra Falls on a tightrope.

  Blondin carrying his manager, Harry Colcord, on a tightrope

1934  Adolf Hitler’s violent purge, the Night of the Long Knives, took place.

1939 The first edition of the New Zealand Listener was published.

1980 Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was elected the first woman president of Iceland.

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir 1

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