Battle Hymn of the Republic


Julia Ward Howe’s Battle Hymn of the Republic  was first published 148 years ago today.

My father requested it be sung at the end of his funeral and gave instructions it wasn’t to be played like a dirge. The organist acted on his request which took some of the congregation by surprise and for the first few bars the singers were a few bars behind the music.

The organists told us she’d been taught it was up to her to lead the singers not the other way round. She stuck to the faster tempo and by the second verse the singers had got the message and were keeping up.

A quick trip round YouTube didn’t unearth any versions which would have met Dad’s request. I wonder why what ought to be such a rousing song is usually sung so slowly?

Dairying & the environment


Phillipa Stevenson left a comment on last week’s post about the proposed dairy development  in the Mackenzie Basin.

In case you didn’t see it, she’s taking part in a panel discussion on dairying and the environment on National Radio at 7.15 this evening:

You can take part too by emailing the programme on or texting 2101. Also on the panel is Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright, soils scientist Doug Edmeades, organic farmer Jamie Tait-Jamieson, and Fonterra sustainable production manager John Hutchings.

Sylvia’s Mother


Happy birthday Ray Sawyer – 77 today.

I won’t argue if you tell me that Dr Hook & the Medicine Show sang better songs than Sylvia’s Mother, but this is the one I remember listening to on the Tuesday night requests when I was at high school.

Monday’s quiz


1. Through which seven countries does the Amazon River flow?

2. Who said, “I like to see life with its teeth out.”?

3. Which two rivers used to meet at Cromwell before Lake Dunstan was formed?

4. Who is New Zealand’s Minister of Statistics and Land Information?

5. What’s a  sgian dubh?

A good day to start a diet


Monday is a good day to start a diet.

But not this Monday when there is food left over from the weekend.

A little waste may be better than a lot of waist and I could throw it out. But would it really matter if I pick a little here and peck a little there? After all tomorrow is Tuesday which is a good day to start a diet.

But not this Tuesday because I’ve been invited out for dinner and it would be rude to be picky and Wednesday would be a better day to start a diet.

Except this Wednesday I have places to go and people to see and there will be food to eat more well than wisely and the next day is Thursday which is a good day to start a diet.

But not this Thursday because there’s more places to go and people to see and again it would be rude to be picky. Besides the following day is Friday which is a good day to start a diet.

Except this Friday when I’ll be baking and have to test what I’m producing just in case. It will be better to wait until Saturday which is a good day to start a diet.

But not this Saturday. I’m planning to spend all day in the garden and it’s not easy to eat when you’re hands are dirty. The trouble is that means I’ll be really hungry when I finish so it will be better to wait until Sunday which is a much better day to start a diet.

Although not this Sunday because friends are joining us for lunch and it would be rude to peck at a tiny portion while plying them with plenty.

Besides, having written off the rest of the week I might as well finish as I started and wait for the next day, which will be Monday and Monday is a good day to start a diet . . .

Dedicated with admiration to Busted Blonde who is aiming to be Fab and Fifty.

February 1 in history


On February 1:

1327 Teenaged Edward III was crowned King of England, but the country was ruled by his mother Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer.

1662 Chinese general Koxinga seized the island of Taiwan after a nine-month siege.

1663 Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, Filipino foundress of the Religious of the Virgin Mary, was born.

1790 The Supreme Court of the United States attempted to convene for the first time.

1793 French Revolutionary Wars: France declared war on the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.


1814 Mayon Volcano, in the Philippines, erupted, killing around 1,200 people.

1842 The Fifeshire arrived in Nelson with the first immigrants for the New Zealand Company’s latest venture, which followed the settlement of Wellington, New Plymouth and Wanganui.

First NZ Company settlers arrive in Nelson

1861 Texas seceded from the United States.

1862 Julia Ward Howe‘s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was published for the first time in the Atlantic Monthly.


1865 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

1973 John Barry, Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, was born.


1884 Edition one of the Oxford English Dictionary was published.

1893 Thomas A. Edison finishes construction of the first motion picture studio, the Black Maria in West Orange, New Jersey.

1896 The opera La bohème premieresd in Turin.

 Mimì’s costume for act 1 of La bohème designed by Adolf Hohenstein for the world premiere

1897 Shinhan Bank, the oldest bank in South Korea, opened in Seoul.

Logo of Shinhan Bank

1901 Clark Gable, American actor, was born.

1908 King Carlos I of Portugal and his son, Prince Luis Filipe are killed in Terreiro do Paco, Lisbon.


1918 Muriel Spark, Scottish author, was born.


1920 The Royal Canadian Mounted Police began operations.

1931 Boris Yeltsin, 1st President of the Russian Federation, was born.

1934 Bob Shane, American folk singer (The Kingston Trio), was born.

1937 Don Everly, American musician (Everly Brothers), was born.

1937 Ray Sawyer, American singer (Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show), was born.

1942 Vidkun Quisling was appointed Premier of Norway by the Nazi occupiers.

1943 The German 6th Army surrendered at Stalingrad.

1946 Trygve Lie of Norway was picked to be the first United Nations Secretary General.

1957 Felix Wankel‘s first working prototype DKM 54 of the Wankel engine was running at the NSU research and development department Versuchsabteilung TX in Germany.


1958 Egypt and Syria merge to form the United Arab Republic, which lasted until 1961.

1958 The United States Army launched Explorer 1.

1960 Four black students stage the first of the Greensboro sit-ins.

1965 The Hamilton River in Labrador, Canada was renamed the Churchill River in honour of Winston Churchill.


1968 – Canada’s three military services, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force, were unified into the Canadian Forces.

Canadian Forces emblem.png

1972  Kuala Lumpur becomes a city by a royal charter granted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.


1974 A fire in the 25-story Joelma Building in Sao Paulo killed 189 and injures 293.

1979 – The Ayatollah Khomeini was welcomed back into Tehran after nearly 15 years of exile.


1981 Trans-Tasman sporting relations reached breaking point at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when Australian captain Greg Chappell ordered his brother Trevor to bowl underarm (along the ground) for the final delivery of a limited-overs cricket international against New Zealand.

Trevor Chappell bowls underarm

1989 The Western Australian towns of Kalgoorlie and Boulder amalgamate to form the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

Kal Post mod.jpg

1992 The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bhopal court declares Warren Anderson, ex-CEO of Union Carbide, a fugitive under Indian law for failing to appear in the Bhopal Disaster case.

1996 The Communications Decency Act was passed by the U.S. Congress.

1998 Rear Admiral Lillian E. Fishburne became the first female African American to be promoted to rear admiral.


  • 2003Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates during reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.
  • 2004 251 people were trampled to death and 244 injured in a stampede at the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
    2005 King Gyanendra exercised a coup d’état to capture Neapl, becoming Chairman of the Councils of ministers.

    2005 – Canada introduced the Civil Marriage Act, making Canada the fourth country to sanction same-sex marriage

    2009 Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir was elected as the first female Prime Minister of Iceland, becoming the first openly gay head of state in the modern world.

    Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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