Dark Side of the Moon


Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon left the charts for the first time on this day in 1988 after spending a record of 741 consecutive weeks (over 14 years) on the Billboard 200.

Enterprising Rural Women Awards announced


The South Island Rural Women’s Enterprising Rural Women Award  winner is  Tracey Robinson of Cosy Toes Limited and the North Island award went to Tineke Verkade of Homeopathic Farm Support Limited.

 Cosey Toes, based in Rotherham, North Canterbury, is an online and mail order retail business, specialising in 100 % New Zealand made merino wool socks, merino clothing and other New Zealand wool products for babies and children.

Homeopathic Farm Support, in Waikato,  supplies high quality homeopathic products and information support to farmers and rural livestock holders throughout New Zealand and overseas.

Both are contenders for the supreme award which will be announced at Rural Women’s national conference in Oamaru in May. 

The Awards were judged by Margaret Chapman, Rural Women New Zealand’s national president, Theresa Gattung of Wool Partners International and Doug Langford, past chairman of Access Limited.

The judges were impressed by the innovation and adaptability of all the entrants in this year’s Enterprising Rural Women Award, many of whom have had to overcome extra obstacles to run a business from a rural location.

Tineke Verkade started her business following a career in nursing, a background in science and an interest in complimentary medicine.  She studied naturopathy and medical herbalism as well as homeopathy and has been in private practice since 1991.  Her aim is to provide easily available, affordable and effective complimentary animal health remedies.

Margaret Chapman says “Tineke Verkade has built up an impressive business from early days of skepticism and little belief in alternative methods of healing from the farming community.”

Nowadays more than a quarter of Fonterra dairy farmers and many sheep and beef producers use homeopathy.

South Island winner Tracey Robinson set up her Cosy Toes business after experiencing frustration that wool socks were not available for her two pre-schoolers.  Researching the market, she discovered that inexpensive imports of synthetic socks had led to New Zealand businesses closing down and selling their machines. 

She decided to reverse that trend, setting up a business in a rural township with a population of just 300, using the internet to supply a niche, high quality product using innovative marketing, including social networking sites.

Judge Doug Langford says Tracey Robinson is resourceful, passionate and determined to succeed in the face of obstacles.  Theresa Gattung adds “Cosy Toes is courageous in its inception and spot on in its execution.  Cosy Toes is a great example of new ways to reinvent the existing.”

 Cosy Toes products are now posted all over the world, and Tracey has gone on to support those less fortunate, including organising the Cosy Toes Sock Drive for orphans in Uganda.

You can read more about Cosy Toes  here and Homeopathic Farm Support here.

The awards are a wonderful initiative by Rural Women to celebrate rural women in business and their achievements. 

The South Island Award is sponsored by Ballance Agri-Nutrients and the North Island prize by Access.

I can see clearly now – and then


Learning to read is a vague and very distant memory.

I have a faint recollection of sitting on the wood box at the back door reading to my father, reader full or pride and read-to full of praise. But any of the frustrations I might have encountered in making sense of the squiggles on the page have been buried under years of happy memories of reading pleasure.

The only time I am aware of just how difficult life must be if you can’t read is when I am overseas and confronted with a foreign language.

Or it was, until my eyes started letting me down.

Gradually the print in the phone book got smaller, then restaurant menus became less distinct. When I began to struggle with the newspaper I went to an optometrist who told me I was on the edge of needing glasses. He could sell me some but said I’d spend more time losing them than using them and it would be better to just ensure the light was good when I was reading.

Time passed and good light or not I was having trouble reading more often. I went back to the optometrist who prescribed glasses with the advice to use them only when I really needed to because the more I used them the more I’d need them.

I’d been particularly busy at that time, but life calmed down soon afterwards. When I caught up on sleep my sight improved and I rarely needed the glasses.

But that was eight years ago and in the last few months the occasions when I can’t see clearly enough to read properly have increased.

The list of things I struggle to decipher has grown from phone numbers and menus to include ingredients on products at the supermarket, all manner of instructions, magazines with light print on glossy paper at night, recipes, newspapers, books and smaller fonts on the computer. I also have difficulty threading needles.

My glasses help me with all of those close up things but make anything even a little further away blurry.

If my reading problems were constant I’d go back to the optometrist and invest in some glasses which gave me the magnification I need when I needed it without blurring the rest of the world so I could wear them all the time.

But my failing vision is still intermittent – bad enough to need glasses sometimes but not yet enough to require them most of the time.

The problem with that is having the specs close at hand when they’re needed.

The solution has been to supplement the glasses the optometrist prescribed with several cheap pairs – one by the phone book, another by the computer,  a third by the bed, a fourth in the car and a pocket peeper – a credit card sized magnifying glass – in my handbag.

In spite of that I still find that my brain hasn’t quite caught up with fact that it’s my eyes letting me down.

That means I waste time peering at squiggles until the light dawns and I remember it’s not that I can’t read, it’s just that I can only see clearly now and then without assistance.

Bill 2 – Labour 0


Finance Minister Bill English has had a very good week.

First there was his answer to a question from Labour MP David Cunliffe (Hat Tip: Keeping Stock):

8. Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE (Labour—New Lynn) to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by all his recent statements?

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Minister of Finance) : That was such a good question that it should have been higher up the list. The answer is yes. In particular I stand by my statements about the mismanagement of the previous Government, which saw our tradable industries stagnate for a decade, Government spending soar, per capita GDP decline, and New Zealand go into recession a year before the rest of the world did.

Then yesterday he announced that another $1.8 billion of low quality spending is being redirected to high priority areas.

“That’s a significant sum of money we’re making available for priority areas such as better healthcare services, better education and keeping New Zealanders safe.

“The Government will continue to weed out low quality spending. We will live within the $1.1 billion annual operating allowance for new spending we have set ourselves, and restrict annual increases in this figure to 2 per cent from 2011/12.”

 Labour spent the lot when there was plenty to spare. Let’s not endanger our blood pressure by imagining what damage they’d be doing if they were in control now we’re so badly in debt.

And in case Labour suggested the savings meant Bill could loosen the grip he has on government spending he explained the necessity for continuing frugality:

“I want to get the Government back into budget surplus as quickly as possible, because surpluses give us choices.

“For example, surpluses give us choices to invest more in public services; to pay down public debt; to resume contributions to the New Zealand Super Fund – or to do any number of other things.

“As long as we run deficits, we don’t have those choices,” Mr English said.

In this way, it’s running the country isn’t unlike running a household. If you’re in debt you don’t have choices. You have to give up luxuries and reassess necessities and the sooner you’re back in the black, the sooner you have some choices.

April 23 in history


On April 23:

215 BC A temple was built on the Capitoline Hill dedicated to Venus Erycina to commemorate the Roman defeat at Lake Trasimene.

1014 Battle of Clontarf: Brian Boru defeated Viking invaders, but was killed in battle.

Brian Boru

1229 Ferdinand III of Castile conquered Cáceres.

1343 St. George’s Night Uprising.

Medieval Livonia 1260.svg

1348 Edward III announced the founding of the Order of the Garter.


1521 Battle of Villalar: King Charles I of Spain defeated the Comuneros.


1564 – William Shakespeare, English writer and actor was born. (Traditional approximate birth date (in the Julian calendar) based on April 25th baptism).

1597  William Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor was first performed, with Queen Elizabeth I in attendance.


1621 William Penn, English admiral was born (d. 1670).


1635 The first public school in the United States, Boston Latin School, was founded.

Boston Latin School logo.png 

1660 Treaty of Oliwa was established between Sweden and Poland.


1661King Charles II  of England, Scotland and Ireland was crowned in Westminster Abbey.


1815 The Second Serbian Uprising – a second phase of the national revolution of the Serbs against the Ottoman Empire, erupted shortly after the annexation of the country to the Ottoman Empire.


1867 William Lincoln patented the zoetrope, a machine that showed animated pictures by mounting a strip of drawings in a wheel.

1895 Ngaio Marsh, New Zealand writer, was born.

1910 Theodore Roosevelt made his The Man in the Arena speech.

1920 The national council in Turkey denounced the government of Sultan Mehmed VI and announced a temporary constitution.

1920 The Grand National Assembly of Turkey was founded in Ankara.

Coat of arms or logo.

1923 1st official celebration of Children’s day, world’s only Children’s day that is offically being celebrated since 1923 and with international participation since 1979.

1932  The 153-year old De Adriaan Windmill in Haarlem bureds down.


1935  The Polish Constitution of 1935  was adopted.

1935 The first official Children’s day was celebrated in Turkey.

1940  The Rhythm Night Club fire at a dance hall in Natchez, Mississippi, killed 198 people.

1941 World War II: The Greek government and King George II evacuated Athens before the invading Wehrmacht.

1942  World War II: Baedeker Blitz – German bombers hit Exeter, Bath and York in retaliation for the British raid on Lübeck.

1948 1948 Arab-Israeli War: Haifa was captured from Arab forces.

1949 Chinese Civil War: Establishment of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

People's Liberation Army Navy Jack and Ensign

1955 The Canadian Labour Congress was formed by the merger of the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada and the Canadian Congress of Labour.


1961  Algiers putsch by French generals.

Algiers putsch 1961.jpg

 1967 Soviet space programme: Soyuz 1 (Russian: Союз 1, Union 1) was a manned spaceflight, Launched into orbit carrying cosmonaut Colonel Vladimir Komarov.


1967 A group of young radicals was expelled from the Nicaraguan Socialist Party. This group went on to found the Socialist Workers Party.


1968  Vietnam War: Student protesters at Columbia University took over administration buildings and shut down the university.

1979 Fighting in London between the Anti-Nazi League and the Metropolitan Police’s Special Patrol Group resulted in the death of protester Blair Peach, a New Zealander.


1982  The Conch Republic was established.


1983 Prince William met Buzzy Bee.

Prince William meets 'buzzy bee'

 1985 Coca-Cola changed its formula and released New Coke. The response was overwhelmingly negative, and the original formula was back on the market in less than 3 months.


1987 28 construction workers died when the L’Ambiance Plaza apartment building collapsed while under construction.

1988 Pink Floyd’s album The Dark Side of the Moon left the charts for the first time after spending a record of 741 consecutive weeks (over 14 years) on the Billboard 200.

A small grey equilateral and hollow triangle sits slightly above the centre of an opaque black image.  A perfectly straight light-grey line enters from the middle of the left edge of the image, and is angled slightly upward to meet the left side of the triangle.  Inside the triangle the grey line expands slightly, fading to black as it reaches the centre. On the right side of the triangle a thick bar composed of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet angles downward to the middle right edge of the image.

1990  Namibia became the 160th member of the United Nations and the 50th member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Flag Coat of arms

1993 Eritreans vote overwhelmingly for independence from Ethiopia in a United Nations-monitored referendum.

1997  Omaria massacre in Algeria: 42 villagers were killed.

2003 Beijing closed all schools for two weeks because of the SARS virus.

2009 The gamma ray burst GRB 090423 was observed for 10 seconds as the most distant object of any kind and also the oldest known object in the universe.

GRB 090423 NASA.jpg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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