Ministry of Silly Walks


Another classic to mark yesterday’s 40th anniversary of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Tuesday’s answers + correction


Monday’s questions were:

1. Who said, “Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different”?

2. Who wrote Agnes the Sheep?

3. What is the most common meter in English poetry.

4. Which river ruled Mona Anderson’s life?

5. What did the Magpies say in Denis Glover’s poem?

In case you’re wondering, I had New Zealand Book Month in mind when setting the questions.

Paul Tremewan regains the winner’s crown with a clean sweep, bonuses for extra info and another point for the poem.

Gravedodger got 3 and bonuses for extra info and another for honesty and Paul L got 1.


I overlooked pdm’s valient effort – 1 point and a bonus for being first with iambic pentameter, another bonus for humour in answering 5 and another to compensate for being overlooked, and another bonus because he’s either overseas or just got back which means he’s coping with distance or jet lag – gosh he almost won 🙂

The answers follow the break: Read the rest of this entry »

Did you see the one about . . .


Ten Tiny Green MPs  at Opinionated Mummy. While you’re there you might also be interested in bolstering union membership oops I mean education.

Marching Girls at Quote Unquote.

92 and No 1 at Inquiring Mind where Adam Smith brings back Vera Lynn.

Moments of enculturation (10) at In A Strange Land (Arachnophobics should not go there).

We saw a real live island at Laughy Kate where kids say the darndest things.

Heart Hit  at Macdoctor who warns of the dangers of energy drinks.

Metaphors and unravelling  at Offsetting Behaviour which looks at the lack of cultural referents.

Top 10 cures for the blog squirms at Not PC – onw hat to do when you get bloggers’ block.

Capitalism needs to lift its game at Karl du Fresne.

Sexual Assaults where Kiwiblog finds some useful research fromt he Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Worst excesses of welfare UK & NZ parallels at Lindsay Mitchell.

Labour rorting taxpayers too at Gotcha where Whaleoil looks at who’s renting what to whom.

And :

Welcome back from maternity leave to Farmgirl – mother and daughter both well.


Welcome to Sciblogs  NZ”s largest science network  ( Hat tip Open Parachute)



The hero of Crash is Patrick, known as Poddy.

He has Downs Syndrome and his brother Jack gest sick of him tagging along with him.

That’s until the car crash. Jack and his father are both unconcsious and it’s up to Poddy to save them.

William Taylor captures his characters’ voices, conveys their feelings matter of factly and takes the reader with them.

This is a moving and inspirational book. A friend who has a pupil with Downs Syndrome read Crash to her class and said the story held them spellbound.

dairy 10018

Post 6  in the post a day for New Zealand Book Month challenge.

book month logo green

Deborah at In A Strange Land posts on The Animal Undie Ball written and illustrated by Ruth Paul.

Jetlag without the holiday


I’ve always reckoned that the change to daylight saving is similar to jetlag without the compensation of having had a holiday.

Leon Lack, a sleep expert from Flinders’ University, agrees that it plays havoc with the body clock.

He says it is much harder to go on to daylight savings than it is going off it.

“It’s harder because we have to get up earlier than our body clock would like to and try to force ourselves to sleep earlier in the evening,” Professor Lack told ABC News Online.

“Our body clock naturally wants us to delay and this is asking us to shift forward an hour, so it’s difficult getting up the first morning of daylight savings and the next few mornings after that.

“Coming off daylight saving in the autumn is easier because of the natural tendency for the body clock to drift later.”

He has a tip to ease the pain:

He says the best way to make the transition easier is to soak up the sun’s early morning rays.

“Spend two or three mornings in the sunshine,” Professor Lack said.

“It doesn’t have to be outside necessarily, but in a window in the northern side of the house perhaps.

“Our body clock controls when we feel sleepy and when we feel alert and by telling the body the sun is now shining earlier than before, it shifts our body clock earlier in time.

The trouble is, the sun isn’t shining earlier, it’s an hour later.

Or it would be if it was here at all.

This morning we woke in the dark (thanks to the neighbours’ cows which had got into our paddock) at 6am. It was half-light when I got up at 6.30 and very frosty.

The sun is now doing it’s best to shine but the white has only just gone off the lawn.


(Thanks to Deborah from In A Strange Land who pointed to the story.

Banks Peninsula biodiversity workshop


If you’re near Banks Peninsula you may be interested in this media release:

A free learning opportunity to help enhance the “ecological treasure” of  plant and animal life on Banks Peninsula is being offered at Akaroa on Thursday 8 October.

 It’s a Biodiversity Workshop open to everyone interested in improving the natural ecology of the peninsula and it’s being held in Akaroa’s Gaiety Theatre from 9.00am – 7.00pm.

 The workshop, hosted by the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust and Lincoln University, is especially suitable for farmers and landowners but is open to everyone interested in the enhancement and conservation of the Peninsula’s native flora and fauna.

 “Banks Peninsula is a unique and valuable ecological treasure,” says Lincoln University ecologist Mike Bowie, one of the organisers of the Workshop.

 “It is an area where nature and diverse human activity, including farming, fishing, recreation, and habitation, can interact and, with care and knowledge, co-exist successfully.”

During the day Hugh Wilson’s new book Natural History of Banks Peninsula will be launched  and the programme also includes an outside field session (weather permitting) and, at the end of the afternoon, an address by guest speaker Dr Simon Pollard of Canterbury Museum, which will be accompanied by a simple dinner (gold coin donation).

 Sessions throughout the day include Farming and Conserving Biodiversity; Conserving Weta and Other Invertebrates: the forgotten fauna; Native Fish: research on Banks Peninsula; the Christchurch City Council Trapping Programme; Threatened Plants; Bush Birds: early findings from surveys; and, towards the end, an open discussion on what can be done to improver biodiversity on Banks Peninsula.

 “Come armed with your ideas for the discussion and build on the earlier sessions throughout the day,” says Mr Bowie.

 In addition to the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust and Lincoln University, the Workshop sponsors are Christchurch City Council; Ecan; Department of Conservation; and the Josef Langer Charitable Trust.

 For catering purposes please register interest with Rachel Barker, Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust Coordinator, telephone (03) 329 6340; email:

It’s the systems not the size


The announcement that Crafar Farms has been put into receivership is not unexpected.

Bernard Hickey has a good analysis on the problems with the operation  and he wants an inquiry into large herd dairy farms.

However, it’s not the size of individual farms or operations that’s the problem, it’s the rapid growth of dairying which has led to a shortage of good staff.

If you’ve got a bigger farm any problems you have will be magnified but problems aren’t confined to bigger farms and bigger operators. 

We talked to the CE of a very large dairy operation last year. They have very good systems which include regular visits, the timing of which depends on how each farm is running. He said that was everything to do with the manager and staff and nothing to do with size.

They’d had 400-cow farms where the wheels fell off and 1500-cow farms which were model operations.

Big isn’t bad by itself. But the bigger an operation gets the more important it is to have really good management systems and processes; and no matter how good they are, they depend on good people to make them work well.

Bigger operations need regular checks to ensure they do. In smaller operations it’s much harder because often only the people on the property know what’s going on.

Time for the south to get bolshie


North Islanders’  opposition to paying for plastic bags at supermarkets led to the charge being dropped but we’re still paying 5 cents a bag in the south.

It’s amounted to $50,000 in two months. The money has gone to conservation projects and there’s been a 60% drop in plastic bag consumption.

Kent Mahon, of New World, says he believe North Islanders will accept the changes eventually.

“Once they (North Islanders) fully understand that the profits are going back into community work, such as the DOC projects, then it’s a change they’re happy to make,” he says.

Or maybe South Islanders will get bolshie and the charge will be dropped down here too.

I don’t have a problem with donations to good causes or a drop in consumption of something we might not have needed but I still object to the charge.

I prefer to make my own choices about which charities I support with my money.

And I am not at all impressed by being asked to pay for a plastic bag which I’ll reuse at least once, and often several times, when supermarkets carry on unnecessarily encasing fresh fruit and vegetables in plastic wrap and foam trays which gets chucked out as soon as I get home.

October 6 in history


On October 6:

1769 Nicholas Young, ship’s boy on the Endeavour, was the first to spot land in New Zealand. Young Nick’s Head was named for him, he was also given a gallon of rum.

1889 Thomas Edison showed his first motion picture.

1914 – Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian explorer was born.

1921International PEN was founded in London.


1928 Chiang Kai-Shek became  Chairman of the Republic of China
1930 Richie Benaud, Australian cricketer, was born.
Richie Benaud 1956.jpg
1942 Britt Ekland, Swedish actress, was born.

Britt Ekland and Peter Sellers 1964.
1948 Gerry Adams, Northern Irish politician, was born.
1987 Fiji beccame a republic.
2007 Jason Lewis completed the first human-powered circumnavigation of the globe.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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