Maurice Ravel  would have been 135 today.

He did compose other pieces but this is probably the most well known.

Inquiring Mind has the same piece from  Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic.

Parents never happier than unhappiest child


Like Lindsay Mitchell, I don’t need a special day to appreciate the importance of children – my own or anyone else’s.

But I have been thinking about parenthood and children today because it’s the anniversary of the day my daughter and I nearly died.

I was 34 weeks pregnant when I woke up in the early hours of the morning bleeding heavily.

It was my first pregnancy and we hadn’t got to the ante-natal classes about things that might go wrong, but “shows” had been mentioned and I thought that’s what was happening.

It wasn’t. It was a case of placenta previa – the placenta was covering the cervix and the baby’s weight was tearing it.

The short version of what’s a long story is that neither my farmer nor I realised that the baby’s life and mine were in danger. But thanks to swift action by doctors and midwives in Oamaru and Dunedin she was delivered safely – though weighing only 1.75kg (3lb 15).

She spent her first few weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit but once she’d gained some weight and was feeding well we were allowed to go home.

That was more than a couple of decades ago and she’s now a happy, healthy, independent adult.

A friend reckons once you’re a parent you’re never happier than your unhappiest child.

That doesn’t mean you live your life through them or encourage them to be dependent on you. One of the roles for good parents is to equip their offspring to cope with the world without them.

But encouraging their independence and giving them the freedom to be themselves doesn’t in any way dimish the love you feel for them. 

No matter how old they are, your children are still your children and it doesn’t need a Children’s Day to remind me of that.

The Young Ones – Waiteeeeeer


Happy birthday Rik Mayall – 52 today.

Regresa A Mi


Happy birthday  Sébastien Izambard, 37 today.

Slipping on something more comfortable


Company makes undies out of bananas

It’s a good headline but it’s not exactly what the story says:

The new eco-friendly banana range of undies, made by AussieBum, incorporates 27 percent banana fibre, 64 percent cotton and 9 percent lycra.

They are reportedly lightweight, very absorbent, and don’t smell like bananas.

This could prompt a whole new angle on the slippping on a banana skin joke.

Nothing wrong with slack packing


The Department of Conservation has come up with a couple of suggestions to help it earn money.

The first is to have visitors pay for loos and car parks which is stupid.

What would happen if someone’s caught short without any money, or with money and an objection to paying? They’re going to bypass the loo and pop behind a tree or tussock .

The potential for vandalism and theft would be high; collecting the cash and policing the loos and parks would distract DOC staff from other more important work and the costs would be higher than the revenue.

The second idea has a lot more merit – opening up concessions on DOC land to more private businesses.

Traditionally access to much of the conservation estate has been the hard way – backpacking in with all your supplies, roughing it in tramping huts with long drops and without showers.

But there is an alternative – slack packing, or flash packing. You pay quite a bit more but get a guide, good meals, comfortable beds and hot showers.

Director-general Al Morrison said attracting more businesses to work on the conservation estate was a priority for DOC this year, but did not mean national parks would be turned into theme parks. “This is not about Disneyland or Club Med in national parks.”

There were currently 4500 concession holders who paid DOC to run businesses on conservation land, ranging from whale-watching tours to guided walks.

The hair shirt brigades bristle at the idea. But conservation values and money making aren’t mutually exclusive, rather they have mutual benefits.

The businesses create jobs and provide services, they enable people who may not get far under their own steam to see more of our natural beauty and the money they pay DOC enables it to fund more conservation work.

We spent a couple of days at Awaroa Lodge in the Abel Tasman National Park last week. It’s a privately owned, four star wilderness lodge, nestled in to the bush with access by foot, air or sea.

All its supplies have to be shipped in and, a conditions of its concession requires all its rubbish to be shipped out.

Some guests had backpacked in, some had slack-packed (walked in but sent their  gear by water taxi) and others were flash-packers who’d come by plane, helicopter or boat.

Regardless of how we came and went, we were all paying to stay and some of that money went to DOC.

We had a wonderful experience, they got some money, what’s the problem with that?

March 7 in history


On March 7:

321  Roman Emperor Constantine I decreed that the dies Solis Invicti (sun-day) is the day of rest in the Empire.


1277 Stephen Tempier, bishop of Paris, condemns 219 philosophical and theological theses.

1671 Robert Roy MacGregor, Scottish folk hero, ws born.


1799 – Napoleon Bonaparte captured Jaffa in Palestine and his troops killed more than 2,000 Albanian captives.

1814 Napoleon I of France won the Battle of Craonne.

Hurtebise monument1814.jpg

1827 – Brazil marines unsuccessfully attacked the temporary naval base of Carmen de Patagones, Argentina.

1827 – Shrigley Abduction: Ellen Turner was abducted by Edward Gibbon Wakefield., a future politician in colonial New Zealand.

1842 The first official execution in New Zealand took place when Maketu Wharetotara, the 17-year-old son of the Nga Puhi chief Ruhe of Waimate, was hanged for killing five people.

First official  execution in NZ

1850 Senator Daniel Webster gave his “Seventh of March” speech endorsing the Compromise of 1850 in order to prevent a possible civil war.

Daniel Webster

1875 Maurice Ravel, French composer, was born.


1876 Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent forthe telephone beating Antonio Meucci by just 4 hours.

 Bell speaking into prototype model of the telephone

1887  North Carolina State University was founded.

1912 Roald Amundsen announced that his expedition had reached the South Pole on December 14, 1911.

1914 Prince William of Wied arrived in Albania to begin his reign.

1925  Rene Gagnon, American Marine shown in photograph of the Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, was born.

Rene Gagnon.jpg

1930 Antony Armstrong-Jones, British photographer, Lord Snowdon, former husband of Princess Margaret.

1936  In violation of the Locarno Pact and the Treaty of Versailles, Germany reoccupied the Rhineland.

1944 Sir Ranulph Fiennes, British soldier and explorer, was born.

1946  Matthew Fisher, British musician (Procol Harum), was born.

1945 American troops seized the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine River at Remagen.

1951 Korean War: Operation Ripper – United Nations troops led by General Matthew Ridgeway began an assault against Chinese forces.


1952 Viv Richards, Antiguan West Indies cricketer, was born.

Vivian richards crop.jpg

1958 Rik Mayall, British actor, was born.

The Young Ones
Young ones s2 dvd.jpg

1965 Bloody Sunday: A group of 600 civil rights marchers were forcefully broken up in Selma, Alabama.


1971  Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered his historic “This time the struggle is for our freedom” speech at Ramna Race Course, calling upon the Bengali people to prepare for the freedom struggle ahead.

1973 Sébastien Izambard, operatic pop singer (Il Divo), was born.

1986 Challenger Disaster: Divers from the USS Preserver located the crew cabin of Challenger on the ocean floor.

 Space Shuttle Challenger’s smoke plume after in-flight breakup that killed all seven STS-51-L crew members.

1989 Iran and the United Kingdom broke diplomatic relations after a row over Salman Rushdie and his controversial novel.

1994 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that parodies of an original work are generally covered by the doctrine of fair use.

2007 – British House of Commons voted to make the upper chamber, the House of Lords, 100% elected.

Red crowned portcullis.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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