He loves to go awandering . . .


Gerry Brownlee may not want to go awandering with David Parker but he showed that politics can be fun during question time today:

Hat Tip: Kiwiblog



I’m slipping – only 7/10 in today’s Dominion Post politics quiz – and it took me 50 seconds.

Mrs Worthington


Noel Coward would have been 110 today.

Just wondering . . .


. . . what happens to the half used bottles of complimentary shampoo and conditioner which are left in hotel rooms?

Are they refilled or is it okay to take them?

And what about the other toiletries? Is it okay to take the bottle if you’ve used the hand cream? Or to take it even if you haven’t used it?

Then there’s the pen.

Is it okay to take it because its a promotional tool for the hotel which reminds you – and whoever else uses the pen – about it?

Or is souveniring of these little things petty theft which adds to the costs for the accommodation provider?

Apropos of this, I was chatting to an airline steward as the plane was coming in to land.

His first stay in a hotel was an overnighter for work.

He was delighted with all the little bottles in the bathroom and took them home for his children.

Then he discovered all the wee bottles in the fridge and took them too. A couple of days later the hotel caught up with him and explained the contents of the mini bar weren’t complimentary.

Thank you . . .


. . . to whoever planted the pohutukawa on the road side between the centre of Wellington and the airport.

They look glorious.

An introduction to snails


Escargot sounds better than snail, but whatever they’re called I’ve never summoned the courage to eat one until last night.

Then it came served to each diner on a china spoon as a pre-dinner offering and it would have been rude to turn it down.

I looked, lifted it slowly to my mouth, tasted it somewhat gingerly and to my surprise I liked it.

The dominant flavour was mild garlic and the texture was similar to a tender scallop.

The dinner was an end of year gathering at the Museum Hotel in Wellington. The meal was delicious – groper accompanied by steamed vegetables and followed by crème brulee. The service was superb and my fellow diners delightful.

Knowledge is power


I came across some old school reports last week.

They were pretty positive but there was nothing in them to indicate how the child being reported on was doing in relation to the norm for her age and stage or, just as important, in relation to her potential.

In light of that the aim of providing school reports in plain English which show parents how their children are performing doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

Teachers say that they already know which children are failing and they ought to. But if this is the case why don’t parents know too?

An Education Review Office report to be released today has part of the answer:

. . . some teachers and principals are ignoring achievement data for year 1 and 2 pupils that does not show positive results. In some cases the information has not been given to boards of trustees and parents.

Knowledge is power and at the moment teachers have knowledge about children which isn’t being shared with parents.

The move to national standards ought to change that but identifying children who aren’t learning well is only the start.

Giving them  the help they need to ensure they reach their potential must follow and the responsibility for that doesn’t lie only with schools.

Not all children turn up at school ready to learn. Some don’t speak English and some who do have poor language skills. Some haven’t been read to, some don’t recognise numbers or colours. Some are hungry. Some lack social skills, some have behaviour problems.

National standards will indentify children with literacy and numeracy problems. They may identify teachers who aren’t up to scratch and they will also point to families where the parents are failing their children.

The success of national standards won’t rest on what they show but what’s done about it. The focus will be on schools but some of the problem, and the most difficult part to address, is what happens, or doesn’t happen, in homes.

Red now or blue later?


He needed a new ute.

The dealer had one is stock which he could have immediately or another on order which would take six weeks to arrive.

The one in stock was red and he was a National Party director.

He waited six weeks for the blue one.

How’s that for dedication to the cause?

December 16 in history


On December 16:

1431  Henry VI of Englandwas crowned King of France at Notre Dame in Paris.

1485  Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England, was born.

1497  Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope, the point where Bartolomeu Dias had previously turned back to Portugal.


1653  Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.

1707  Last recorded eruption of Mount Fuji in Japan.


1770  Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer was born.

 Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820

1773  Boston Tea Party – Members of the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawks dump crates of tea into Boston harbor as a protest against the Tea Act.

 This iconic 1846 lithograph by Nathaniel Currier was entitled “The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor

1775 Jane Austen, English writer, was born.

 A watercolour and pencil sketch of Jane Austen, believed to be drawn from life by her sister Cassandra (c. 1810)[A]

1787  – Mary Russell Mitford, English writer, was born.

1790  King Léopold I of Belgium, was born.

1850 The Charlotte-Jane and the Randolph brought the firs tsettlres to Lyttelton, New Zealand.

1882   Sir Jack Hobbs, English cricketer, was born.

 Jack Hobbs (left) walks out to the SCG with his opening partner Herbert Sutcliffe.

1883 Max Linder, French pioneer of silent film, was born.

Max Linder

1888  King Alexander I of Yugoslavia, was born.


1893  Antonín Dvořák‘s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, “From The New World” was given its world première at Carnegie Hall.

1899  Sir Noel Coward, English playwright, actor and composer, was born.

Noël Coward, c. 1920s

 1905  Piet Hein, Danish mathematician and inventor

Piet Hein (Kumbel) in front of the H.C. Andersen statue in Copenhagen

1905 A great rugby rivalry was born when a last-minute try to All Black Bob Deans was disallowed, handing the Welsh victory.

All Black's 'non-try' hands Wales historic win

1907 The Great White Fleet (US Naval Battle fleet) began its circumnavigation of the world.

 Map of the Great White Fleet’s voyage.

1915  – Turk Murphy, American trombonist, was born.

1917  Sir Arthur C. Clarke, English writer, was born.

1920 The Haiyuan earthquake, magnitude 8.5, in  Gansu province in China, killed an estimated 200,000.

1938  Adolf Hitler institutd the Cross of Honor of the German Mother.


1943 Tony Hicks, English guitarist (The Hollies), was born.


1944 The Battle of the Bulge began with the surprise offensive of three German armies through the Ardennes forest.

1946 Benny Andersson, Swedish musician, singer and songwriter (ABBA), was born.

1947 Ben Cross, English actor, was born.

1947  William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain built the first practical point-contact transistor.

1949 Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget, later knons as SAAB, was founded in Sweden.

Saab logo.svg

1952 Joel Garner, Barbadian West Indies cricketer, was born.

1955 – Prince Lorenz of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este, was born.

1960  1960 New York air disaster: While approaching New York’s Idlewild Airport, a United Airlines Douglas DC-8 collided with a TWA Lockheed Super Constellation in a blinding snowstorm over Staten Island, killing 134.

  • 1971  Bangladesh War of Independence and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971: The surrender of the Pakistan army brings an end to both conflicts.
  • 1971 – Independence Day of the State of Bahrain from British Protectorate Status.

    1972  Angela Bloomfield, New Zealand actress, was born.

    1991 Independence of The Republic of Kazakhstan.

    1997  Dennō Senshi Porygonan episode of Pokémon, was aired in Japan, inducing seizures in hundreds of Japanese children.

    2003  President George W. Bush signed the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 into law. The law established the United States’ first national standards for the sending of commercial e-mail.

    Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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