If You Could Read My Mind


Happy birthday Gordon Lightfoot.

Peter Cook


Peter Cook would have been 72 today.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. Which mountain’s name means the five treasures of the snows?

2. Who said: “Why was I a writer? Why hadn’t I gone in for soemthing easy like running the country?”

3. Who wrote the poem which begins A little piece of heaven fell from out the sky one day.It landed in the ocean not so very far away. . . and ends  . . . But that wouldn’t bring three million, seven hundred, and sixty eight people back. Would it?

4. What is a korimako?

5. What is New Zealand’s oldest daily newpaper and who was its first editor?

Paul Tremewan gets an honourable mention for inspiring the first question but I didn’t take the bait for his other four answers.

David W got two right, a half for the Himalayas and a bonus for amusing me with the oddity.

That makes him equal winner with Swinestien with three right and a 1/2 point bonus for naming the poem as well as its author.

Woollcombe got 1 1/2.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

There’s no ‘just’ about nine dishes


The average British mother relies on “just” nine meals to feed her family.

Just? There’s no “just” about nine different recipes.

I cooked lunches for our staff for 20 years and thought I was doing well to have five variations on soup and something in winter and salad and something in summer.

The somethings were pizza, quiche, roulade, cheese toasties and pasta. I tried very hard to serve something different each day in a week but didn’t even pretend to try to vary the diet from week to week.

My dinner staples were even less imaginative – grilled meat (usually chops, lamb rack or rump) served with salad or steamed vegetables and potato. The potatoes were boiled with mint in summer and baked in their jackets in winter (because if God had wanted me to peel potatoes he’d have called them oranges).

Occasionally the lamb was replaced with steak or blue cod and every now and then we had a roast. When the fussiest eater in the house grew up  and time and energy allowed I got a bit more imaginative. But then as now most meals I cook regularly are those I can make on auto pilot as quickly as possible.

I enjoy cooking when I can choose to do it or not. But every day meals are a duty which I aim to do in the shortest time with the least effort possible.

Families with a mother who serves nine different meals should count their blessings.

P.S. Did anyone ask how many meals the fathers have in their recipe repertoires? Or is Ex-expat right that cooking is still women’s work?

Key invited to Washington


The NBR reports that Barack Obama has invited John Key to Washington.

Could this be another tiny step on the long path towards a free trade deal with the USA?

Nicola Shadblot joins Fonterra board


Nicola Shadbolt has been voted on to Fonterra’s Board of Directors.

She is an Associate Professor in Farm and Agribusiness Management at Massey University and has been a partner in a Pohangina Valley farm running 960 cows for 23 years.

She has worked with MAF, Wrightsons and Agriculture New Zealand, is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Primary Management and co-authored the textbook ‘Farm Management in New Zealand’.

Sitting directors John Wilson and Colin Armer were re-elected but Stuart Nattrass was not.

Is it a credit or debit card?



Stick with the hard stuff


Young people who take the easy options at school limit their options later.

This was one of the messages from Professor Jacqueline Rowarth, who was speaking on Generations for the future – helping them help themselves.

She said some young people were working up to 32 hours a week after school and things like sport and drama which used to be after school activities were now part of the school curriculum.

“This is eroding academic credibility, ” she said.

It is also holding New Zealand back with too few people studying agriculture, engineering and sciences and too many studying business, media studies and communications.

“We need more people sticking with the hard stuff.”

That included maths, science and English, which provided a foundation for learning.

Young people had a lot more choices than their parents had but are less resilient.

Professor Rowarth said many young people who got to university were ill prepared for the discipline needed for tertiary education. They had poor motivation, poor time management and were reluctant to take responsibility.

One of their characteristics was SEP – someone else’s problem.

When they get to university or their first real job they face a quarter life crisis because they don’t have the foundations for resilience – patience, personal responsibility and realistic expectations of normality.

They lack real life role models and their expectations are based on what they see on television.

To build resilience parents should use intelligent neglect – letting the kids stuff up. We should encourage accuracy and attention to detail – which is fostered by rote learning; reward persistence and restore after school activities.

Professor Rowarth is Director of Agriculture at Massey University and is the inaugural Federated Farmers’ agricultural personality of the year. She was speaking at a combiend Federated farmers and Rotary meeting in Oamaru last night.

Big bangs


If you’re in to big bangs you might enjoy The Telgraph’s 15 most explosive videos.

It includes films of what happens when you dump barrels of sodium in a lake and liquid nitrogen in a swimming pool.

For those who appreciate beauty more than bangs, there’s also this one of a slow motion water balloon bursting:

Hat Tip: Alison Campbell at Sciblogs who has a cautionary tale about sodium down a loo.

November 17 in history


On November 17:

1493  Christopher Columbus landed on Puerto Rico

1558 Elizabethan era began when Queen Mary I of England died and was succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I of England.

1603  English explorer, writer, and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh went on trial for treason.

1800 The United States Congress holds its first session in Washington, D.C.

US Congressional Seal.svg

1811 José Miguel Carrera, Chilean founding father, was sworn in as President of the executive Junta of the government of Chile.

1831  Ecuador and Venezuela were separated from Greater Colombia.

1855 David Livingstone became the first European to see the Victoria Falls.


1903  The Russian Social Democratic Labor Party split into two groups; the Bolsheviks (Russian for “majority”) and Mensheviks (Russian for “minority”).

1919 King George V of the United Kingdom proclaimed Armistice Day (later Remembrance Day). The idea was first suggested by Edward George Honey.

1923  Bert Sutcliffe, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1925  Rock Hudson, American actor, was born.

1925 The New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition opened in Dunedin.

1937 Peter Cook, British comedian, was born.

1938  Gordon Lightfoot, Canadian singer, was born.

1939  Auberon Waugh, British author, was born.

1950  Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, was enthroned as the leader of Tibet at the age of fifteen.

Characteristic hands-raised anjali greeting

1953 The remaining human inhabitants of the Blasket Islands, Kerry, Ireland were evacuated to the mainland.

1970 Douglas Engelbart received the patent for the first computer mouse.

1978  Zoë Bell, New Zealand actress-stuntwoman, was born.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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