Rumpole v Bullingham


Leo McKern would have been 90 today.

Who would have thought the man who brought the quintessential English lawyer to life was an Aussie?



A friend talks about having one of those fortnights this week.

I’m having one of those years this month – things to do, places to go, people to see, alterations to oversee . . . which is why I didn’t realise I’d started today’s history post and scheduled it without finishing it.

Whoops, sorry.

Will do better with tomorrow.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. Which country produces and consumes the most sheep meat?

2. Who has won 16 Golden Shears open contests and who won this year?

3. What is antimetabole?

4. Who is the only woman to have won two Nobel Prizes?

5. Pogonophobia is a fear of what?

Andrei got three right and gets a bonus for knowing Greek.

JC got one right and a half for Fagan.

Gravedodgerand David  got three right.

PDM got two right with a bonus for extra information ont he shearers and lateral thinking with his answer to #5.

Rob got two with a bonus for confusing me with his answer to #2 and for trying with his answer to #3.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sunflower season


 One of the many benefits of living in rural North Otago is that from late January we’re treated to spectacular views of sunflowers :

They’re grown by Mitchell and Webster, New Zealand’s largest producers of snuflower seeds and they’re used for bird feed.

This photo was taken a month ago, the sunflowers are now drying off, ready for harvest.

Bill King – a good man


The lovingly tended garden always caught my eye when I walked past. Sometimes the gardener was there and we exchanged a smile and greeting.

One day I stopped for a longer conversation and introduced myself.

“I know who you are,” he replied with a grin.

I soon learned this wasn’t surprising because there was very little which happened in Wanaka which Bill King didn’t know about. This wasn’t because he was nosey, it was because he genuinely and passionately cared about and for his community and its people.

He was a successful businessman and in spite of the time and energy that required his community service was notable for depth, breadth and length in a variety of organisations.

I had most contact with him through the National Party which he joined more than 40 years ago after the local MP helped him with a problem.

He said that showed him that politics was really about helping people and being Bill he wanted to be part of that. He joined the party and became a dedicated, loyal, committed, active and involved member.

If there was a need for volunteer assistance, Bill was always willing. 

Putting up a tent at the annual A&P show, manning it and helping to take it down; collecting subs, selling raffles; encouraging others to support meetings and fundraisers; taking people to and from meetings and polling booths; helping with special votes; putting up, looking after and taking down election hoardings; delivering election material; helping candidates and MPs with local knowledge and contacts . . . if there was a job for a volunteer in Wanaka or further afield, Bill was there to do what is required and more.

This was only a small part of his voluntary work which was notable for the length, breadth and depth of his service in a variety of organisations.

These included the church, Fire Brigade, Wanaka Promotion Association, Grand Lodge, volunteer ambulance driver, Justice of the Peace, Wanaka Pony Club, Wanaka Coroner, Queenstown Lakes District Council, deputy mayor, Chairman of the Wanaka Community Board, ex-officio on Guardians of Lake Wanaka, member of Friends of Dunstan Hospital, Upper Clutha RSA co-ordinator, responsible for placing and instructing mobility scooters,  Masonic Lodge and Hospice Appeal co-ordinator.

Bill’s selflessness was recognised when he was awarded a Queenstown Lakes District Council Community Service Award in 1998 and a QSM in 2000.

However, he never sought the limelight nor expected thanks, he has just quietly noticed when something has needed to be done and done it. Had it not been for his illness he would still be doing it.

He developed cancer last year and not wanting to wait until it was too late, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean organised a function to honour him.

It was humbling to be there, to learn more about what Bill had done and to see the high regard in which he was held in his community.

The evening wasn’t without hope, because that day he’d received news that the tumour in his lungs was getting smaller.

Sadly that was a reprieve, not a cure and last Wednesday he died.

He wouldn’t have wanted to take anyone away from the weekend’s show so his funeral was delayed until yesterday. Family and friends, among whom were representatives of the many groups and organisations he’d helped and supported, filled St Andrews Presbyterian Church and the hall then spilled out on to the lawn. 

We laughed and we cried as we listened to tributes to Bill the husband, father, friend, businessman, bus driver, cook, colleague, councillor, and volunteer extraordinaire.

At the end of the service anyone from a group he’d been associated with was invited to join the fire brigade and ambulance in forming a guard of honour. The lines stretched down the church drive and in to the street.

It was a fitting farewell for a very fine man.

March 16 in history


On March 16:

597 BC – Babylonians captured Jerusalem, replace Jehoiachin with Zedekiah as king.

37 Caligula becomes Roman Emperor after the death of his great uncle, Tiberius.

1190 Massacre of Jews at Clifford’s Tower, York.

1322 The Battle of Boroughbridge took place in the First War of Scottish Independence.

1521 Ferdinand Magellan reached the Philippines.

1621 Samoset, a Mohegan, visited the settlers of Plymouth Colony and greeted them, “Welcome, Englishmen! My name is Samoset.”

1660 The Long Parliament disbanded.

1689 The 23rd Regiment of Foot or Royal Welch Fusiliers was founded.

1774 Captain Matthew Flinders, English explorer, was born.

1789 Georg Simon Ohm, German physicist, was born.

1792 King Gustav III of Sweden was shot. He died on March 29. 

1802  The Army Corps of Engineers was established to found and operate the United States Military Academy at West Point.

United States Army Corps of Engineers logo.svg

1812  Battle of Badajoz (March 16 – April 6) – British and Portuguese forces besieged and defeated French garrison during Peninsular War.

1815 Prince Willem of the House of Orange-Nassau proclaimed himself King of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, the first constitutional monarch in the Netherlands.

1818 Second Battle of Cancha Rayada – Spanish forced defeat Chileans under José de San Martín.

1865 The Battle of Averasborough begins as Confederate forces suffer irreplaceable casualties in the final months of the American Civil War.

1872 The Wanderers F.C. won the first FA Cup, the oldest football competition in the world, beating Royal Engineers A.F.C. 1-0 at The Oval in Kennington , London.

1900  Sir Arthur Evans purchased the land around the ruins of Knossos, the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete.

1912 Lawrence Oates, an ill member of Scott’s South Pole expedition left the tent saying, “I am just going outside and may be some time.”

1920 Leo McKern, Australian actor, was born.

1924 In accordance with the Treaty of Rome, Fiume became annexed as part of Italy.

1926  Robert Goddard launched the first liquid-fueled rocket, at Auburn, Massachusetts.

1926 Jerry Lewis, American comedian, was born.


1935 Adolf Hitler ordered Germany to rearm herself in violation of the Versailles Treaty. Conscription was reintroduced to form the Wehrmacht.

1939 Hitler proclaimed Bohemia and Moravia a German protectorate.

1939 Marriage of Princess Fawzia of Egypt to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran.

1940 Jockey Y-fronts were first sold in New Zealadn shops.

Jockey Y-fronts hit NZ shops

1942 The first V-2 rocket test launched. It exploded at lift-off.

1945 The Battle of Iwo Jima ended but small pockets of Japanese resistance persist.

1945 – Ninety percent of Würzburg, Germany is destroyed in only 20 minutes by British bombers. 5,000 are killed.

1948 Michael Bruce, American musician (Alice Cooper), was born.

1950   Czechoslovakia‘s ministry of foreign affairs asks nuncios of Vatican to leave the country.

1952  In Cilaos, Réunion, 1,870 millimetres (74 in) of rain fell in one day, setting a new world record.

1958  The Ford Motor Company produced its 50 millionth automobile, the Thunderbird, averaging almost a million cars a year since the company’s founding.

1959 EUROAVIA, the European Association of Aerospace students was founded, the first initiative towards European cooperation in Aerospace.

1962 A Flying Tiger Line Super Constellation disappears in the western Pacific Ocean, with 107 missing.

1963 Kevin Smith, New Zealand actor, was born.

1963  Mount Agung erupted on Bali killing 11,000.

1966 Launch of Gemini 8, the 12th manned American space flight and first space docking with the Agena Target Vehicle.

1968 Vietnam War: In the My Lai massacre, between 350 and 500 Vietnamese villagers were killed by American troops.

1968 – General Motors producds its 100 millionth automobile, the Oldsmobile Toronado.

1976British Prime Minister Harold Wilson resigned, citing personal reasons.

1977 – Assassination of Kamal Jumblatt the main leader of the anti-government forces in the Lebanese Civil War.

1978  Former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro was kidnapped and is later killed by his captors.

1978 – Supertanker Amoco Cadiz split in two after running aground on the Portsall Rocks, three miles off the coast of Brittany, resulting in the 5th-largest oil spill in history.

1983 Demolition of the radio tower Ismaning, the last wooden radio tower in Germany.

1984 William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, Lebanon, was kidnapped by Islamic fundamentalists and later died in captivity.

1985 Associated Press newsman Terry Anderson was taken hostage in Beirut.

1988  Iran-Contra Affair: Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and Vice Admiral John Poindexter were indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States.

1995 Mississippi formally ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, becoming the last state to approve the abolition of slavery. The Thirteenth Amendment was officially ratified in 1865.

1997 Sandline affair: On Bougainville Island, soldiers of commander Jerry Singirok arrested Tim Spicer and his mercenaries of the Sandline International.

1998  Pope John Paul II asked God for forgiveness for the inactivity and silence of some Roman Catholics during the Holocaust.

1999 was launched. launched

2003 The largest coordinated worldwide vigil takes place, as part of the global protests against Iraq war.


2005  Israel officially handed over Jericho to Palestinian control.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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