Hitting the hay


Travellers who want a green option for accommodation might find it in hay hotels  which are springing up in converted barns in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein.

For as little as 10 euro a night, weary wanderers can snuggle up on beds of freshly mown grass.

I was invited to be the rural voice in the discussion of this grassroots tourism initiative on Jim Mora’s panel  * this afternoon. But while rolling in the hay has a romantic reputation I’m afraid I poured cold water on the idea of hay hotels here.

For a start our barns aren’t usually the picturesque, fully enclosed wooden structures you see in Europe. They’re more likely to be a corrugated iron roof supported by four uprights at the corners, with at least one and sometimes all four sides open to the weather.

One of ours houses a tractor and is used to store fertiliser, another is used for rearing calves.

We don’t usually have loose hay either. A few farmers may make small bales for horse feed. These are called weetbix or idiot bales – the latter name indicates the opinion of people who waste their time and money making them when it’s easier and less costly to turn excess pasture  into silage or baleage.

You’d have to charge a premium to justify the time and effort of cutting and carting the grass to use for bedding. Although I suppose if your animals weren’t fussy and you were quite sure nothing that might harm them had been left in it, you could feed the grass to them after it had been slept on.

However, I suspect, even if you could jump through the hoops required to register as an accommodation provider with a hay hotel, it would still be better to let tourists stick to hitting the hay figuratively not literally.

* about 13.33 on part 2.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1.Who wrote Tall Tales (Some True)?

2. Who said:” I can still deliver the goods because I can honestly say I’ve got everything I had 20 years ago….it’s just all a bit lower”?

3. Which is the highest mountain in the Americas?

4.Who won the first Skellerup Young Farmer of the Year contest and who won this year’s National Bank Young Farmer title??

5. What is a shrievalty?

Paul T gets the electronic bunch of flowers for getting 4 1/2 right; Gravedodger got two correct, he earned a bonus for admitting he hadn’t read one of the questions correctly and another for doing penance; Ray gets a bonus for honesty and PDM gets one for humour.

The answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »



It would be doing Peck a disservice to call it a food store.

Better to quote Lonely Planet which calls it one of Europe’s most prestigious gourmet food outlets.

Nearly three weeks after we visited Milan’s gastronomic paradise my mouth still waters at the memory of the quantity and quality of produce on display.

We gazed in eye-widened wonder at the variety of cheese – they sell more than 3000 varieties of parmigiano reggiano; fruit from every corner of the world amongst which was New Zealand kiwifruit; pasta, fresh and dried, with an amazing array of sauces and seasonings to serve with it; fresh sea food and meat; a tea bar; ice cream and a wine cellar which boasted the best in the world, and that too included a few bottles from New Zealand. . .

We lunched in the cafe on the first floor – five star service, five star plus food at very reasonable prices.

I chose the ravioli for which Peck is justifiably renowned. It was stuffed with ricotta and spinach, cooked to perfection and tasted sensational.

Amazing as all that was, the display which stood out for us was the meat among which was a lamb rack selling for an eye-watering 85 euro a kilo.

The butcher told us it was French. Imagine what it would do for the economy if New Zealand lamb could attract that sort of premium.



What’s changed?


New Zealand has sent the SAS to Afghanistan in the past.

That, like other deployments of armed forces in recent years, has had the support of both major political parties.

New Zealand is planning to send the SAS to Afghanistan again but this time the major opposition party is not supporting the government.

What’s changed?

Phil Goff said the situation has but I think there’s more to it than this.

When in government Labour sent the SAS to Afghanistan three times and had National’s support for doing it.

In spite of that support, Labour played politics by not inviting National to the ceremony conferring the VC on Willie Apiata for his bravery in Afghanistan.

Now it’s in opposition Labour’s making what it thinks will be the popular stand by opposing the action it would be taking if it was still in government.

What’s changed?

Nothing much, the party which was hypocritical in government is still hypocritical in opposition.

August 11 in history


On August 11:

1897 English author Enid Blyton was born.



1950 c0-founder of Apple Inc Steve Wozniak was born.


1962 the ferry Aromoana began service between Wellington and Picton.

Sourced from Wikipedia & NZ History Online.

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