Día de la Revolución de Mayo,


Feliz cumpleañon Argentina.

It’s May Revolution Day in Argentina  and today’s celebrations will be extra special because it’s the bicentennial of the original one which led to the fight for independence from Spain.

So much rain, too little water


We’ve had so much rain that rural water shcemes have shut down and we’re being asked to conserve water.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. Who was Britain’s youngest Prime Minister?

2. Ag, Co, Fe and Hg are chemical symbols for what?

3. Who said “It is best to read the weather forecast before praying for rain”?

4. Finish the quotation: To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune . . . .

5. What do al dente, con anima and trompe l’oeil mean?

No complaints about it being too hard this week and when the first answers came in I thought I was going to have the easy task of saying everyone got 100%, but that isn’t quite the case so:

Gravedodger got 4 2/3.

David got four (would have been five if he’d gone with his first guess for the quote) and a bonus for humour,  lateral thinking and knowing about transition metals.

Bearhunter and Ray got all five correct.

Cadwallader got two, plus 3/4 and 2/3 (yes I could add those fractions, but it gives a more accurate reflection  of the answers this way).

Paul got four with bonuses for humour and thanks for his tribute to Paul Reynolds.

PDM got 2 1/2 with gold bonuses for humour and lateral thinking.

Adam got four – and a question: how can a man who writes so elequently on food not enjoy pasta?

Deborah got four with a bonus for having a better memory than me (albeit that’s not difficult) and another for extra information (relevancy not important).

All that said the judge was too confused to work out who got the electronic bouquet and suggest you all pop over to Heritage Irises  to pick your own.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fonterra opening forecast up and may go higher


Fonterra’s opening payout forecast, before retentions,  for the 20 10/11 season is $6.90 – $7.10. That’s a 50 cent increase on this season’s payout.

That includes a milk price of $6.60/kg of milk solids and a distributable profit of 30 – 50 cents a share.

Fonterra chair Sir Henry van der Heyden said if prices and currency stay where they are now for the whole season it’s possible that the payout could be more than $8, however, he warns there’s a lot of volatility in the market.

Experience shows us it would be wise until the money is in the bank before getting too excited about that and budgets should be based on similar prices to those we’ve got this season.

The company is on track to achieve the forecast of $6.50 – $6.60 before retentions.

Fonterra’s Shareholder Council  chair Blue Read issued a media release welcoming the news: 

“With many farmers still feeling the impact of the recent drought this strong forecast cashflow will be most helpful,” said Mr Read. . .

“The positive forecast for next season will be welcomed by Fonterra suppliers but as always, farmers will be remaining vigilant in their farm business management,” said Mr Read.

It will also be welcomed by banks and the people who work for and service dairy farmers.

Weather With You


Day 25 of New Zealand Music Month.

Weather With You  by Crowded House seemed appropriate today.

Our rain gauge overfloweth


Our rain gauge holds only 25 mls.

My farmer tipped out 20 early yesterday evening and it was overflowing first thing this morning.

At Five Forks just over the hill  and Totara about 10 kilometres as the crow flies, they’ve had 80 mls. Glencoe on the eastern edge of the Kakanui Range, above Waianakarua, has had 100 mls and  there’s been 120 at Weston which is about half way between Oamaru and home.

The Kakanui River is rising at a rate of about 45 mls  mms an hour.

Recent rainfall softened the ground so a lot has soaked in but we’re starting to get run off. The radio is broadcasting advice for country people to stay at home and State Highway 1 is closed at Deborah.

I don’t need to use that stretch of road but there are a few spots between here and town which flood.

I’m supposed to be MCing the Enterprising Rural Women Award presentations at the Rural Women NZ annual conference in Oamaru this evening.  I’ll make a reconnaissance  this afternoon to see if the roads are passable. If they are I’ll take  the precaution of packing a toothbrush and change of clothes with me in case I get there then find I can’t get home again.

Not wanting this to be seen as a sign of ingratitude, I’ll declare the drought over and be grateful that we will now be set up for good spring growth.

Conference reflections part 2


The Mainland Ministers’ Q&A session at the weekend’s National Party conference covered issues from the exchange rate, transaction tax, labour laws and the ETS  to the likelihood of the All Blacks winning next year’s World Cup.

Smiths Grain Store in the historic precinct had been decorated with Donna Demente’s art work for the Prime Minister’s and President’s cocktail party.  John Key  showed his wittier side before handing over to Jim Hopkins who auctioned a couple of bottles of wine and a $1 cheque.

The latter had been signed by John and framed under conservation glass. Even so, I don’t think we should let Dr Bollard know how much it went for in case it causes concerns about inflation.

Conference reconvened on Sunday with a report from party president Peter Goodfellow then Daniel Fielding, Young Nats president outlined the activities of the under 30s. He included the Young Nats’ views on alcohol which set the scene for a remit on the issue of problem drinking.

The Prime Minister opened his speech with praise for Kurow Village pinot noir which had been served at Saturday’s dinner. He then paid tribute to his mainland caucus colleagues and, as is usual for conference speeches, he also thanked  the president, board and the conference co-chairs –  Canterbury Westland chair, board member, Roger Bridge, and me.  In doing the latter he  mentioned not having seen me without a smile.  A friend was sitting beside my farmer and later reported that he’d responded with unflattering haste by whispering to her, “I have”!

John’s speech was similar to the one he delivered to other regional conferences with updates in the wake of the Budget and regional references which included irrigation.

When he finished speaking, representatives from Summit Woolspinners, one of Oamaru’s biggest employers, came forward to thank him for the nine-day fortnight initiative which was introduced as one of the measures to take the edge off the recession. It enabled the company to tread water over a few tough months and without it they may well have sunk. Now orders have started flowing in again they’re back to floating under their own steam.

The final conference session was a panel on campaign strategies then the last word went to West Coast Tasman MP Chris Auchivole. He was signed up to the party by then Prime Minister Keith Holyoake, who told him that one day he too might be in parliament.

Like any other conference, there’s value not just in the formal sessions but in the informal interaction with other delegates. There’s also value for the host town – Neat Feet, a shoe shop opposite the Opera House, opened specially  on Sunday and did a roaring trade.

The conference coincided with the opening of the last stage of the proposed Alps to Ocean cycle way which, it is hoped will run from Mount Cook to Friendly Bay and the PM was invited to cut the ribbon with giant scissors made specially for the occasion by Gillies Metaltech.

He took a short journey by steam train and alighted to an honour guard provided by Alfs Imperial Army.  The opening was covered by the ODT, Timaru Herald and Oamaru Mail – which has a photo of the PM on a penny farthing.

May 25 in history


On May 25:

1085 Alfonso VI of Castile took Toledo, Spain back from the Moors.

1420  Henry the Navigator is appointed governor of the Order of Christ.

1521  The Diet of Worms ended when Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, issues the Edict of Worms, declaring Martin Luther an outlaw.


1659  Richard Cromwell resigned as Lord Protector of England following the restoration of the Long Parliament, beginning a second brief period of the republican government called the Commonwealth of England.

1738  A treaty between Pennsylvania and Maryland ended the Conojocular War with settlement of a boundary dispute and exchange of prisoners.


1787 In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, delegates convened a Constitutional Convention to write a new Constitution for the United States. George Washington presided.

1803 Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist and philosopher, was born (d. 1882).

1809 Chuquisaca Revolution: a group of patriots in Chuquisaca (modern day Sucre) revolted against the Spanish Empire, starting the South American Wars of Independence.


1810 May Revolution: citizens of Buenos Aires expelled Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros during the May week, starting the Argentine War of Independence.

1837  The Patriots of Lower Canada (Quebec) rebelled against the British.

1865  In Mobile, Alabama, 300 were killed when an ordnance depot exploded.

1878  Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, American entertainer, was born (d. 1949).


1878  Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore opened at the Opera Comique in London.


1892 Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslav resistance leader and later president, was born (d. 1980).

1895  Playwright, poet, and novelist Oscar Wilde was convicted of “committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons” and sentenced to serve two years in prison.


1895  The Republic of Formosa was formed, with Tang Ching-sung as the president.


1913  Richard Dimbleby, British journalist and broadcaster, was born (d. 1965).

 1914  The United Kingdom’s House of Commons passed the Home Rule Act for devolution in Ireland.

1921 Hal David, American lyricist and songwriter, was born.


1925  John T. Scopes was indicted for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.


1926 Sholom Schwartzbard assassinated  Symon Petliura, the head of the Paris-based government-in-exile of Ukrainian People’s Republic.

1927 Robert Ludlum, American writer was born (d. 2001).

Ludlum - The Bourne Supremacy Coverart.png

1933 Basdeo Panday, 5th Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, was born.

1935  Jesse Owens broke five world records and ties a sixth at the Big Ten Conference Track and Field Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Jesse Owens1.jpg

1936 Tom T. Hall, American singer and songwriter, was born.

1936  The Remington Rand strike, led by the American Federation of Labor, begins.

1938 Raymond Carver, American writer, was born  (d. 1988).

1938 Spanish Civil War: The bombing of Alicante caused 313 deaths.

1939 Ian McKellen, English actor, was born.


1940  World War II: The Battle of Dunkirk began.


1946  The parliament of Transjordan made Abdullah I of Jordan their king.

1953  At the Nevada Test Site, the United States conducted its first and only nuclear artillery test.


1953 The first public television station in the United States officially began broadcasting as KUHT from the campus of the University of Houston.


1955 A night time F5 tornado struck f Udall, Kansas, killing 80 and injuring 273.

1955  First ascent of Kangchenjunga (8,586 m.), the third highest mountain in the world, by a British expedition.

1959 Julian Clary, British television personality, was born.

1961 Apollo program: John F. Kennedy announced before a special joint session of Congress his goal to initiate a project to put a “man on the moon” before the end of the decade.

1962  The Old Bay Line, the last overnight steamboat service in the United States, went out of business.


1963 In Addis Ababa, the Organisation of African Unity was established.

1966  Explorer 32 launched.

1966 The first prominent DaZiBao during the Cultural Revolution in China was posted at Peking University.


1967  Celtic Football Club became the first Scottish, British and northern European team to win the European Cup, beating Inter 2–1 in the Estádio Nacional, in Lisbon.

Celtic crest

1978 Bastion Point protestors were evicted.

Bastion Point protestors evicted

  1979  American Airlines Flight 191: A McDonnell Douglas DC-10 crashed during takeoff at O’Hare International Airport killing 271 on board and two people on the ground.

1979  Six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from the street just two blocks away from his New York home, prompting an International search for the child, and causing President Ronald Reagan to designate May 25th as National Missing Children’s Day (in 1983).


1981  In Riyadh, the Gulf Cooperation Council was created between Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.


1982  HMS Coventry  wassunk during the Falklands War.

HMS Coventry D118.jpg

1985 Bangladesh was hit by a tropical cyclone and storm surge, which killed approximately 10,000 people.

1997  A military coup in Sierra Leone replaced President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah with Major Johnny Paul Koromah.

1999 The United States House of Representatives released the Cox Report which detailed China‘s nuclear espionage against the U.S. over the prior two decades.


2000  Liberation Day of Lebanon. Israel withdrew its army from most of the Lebanese territory after 22 years of its first invasion in 1978.

2001  Erik Weihenmayer  became the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Erik Weihenmayer 

2002  China Airlines Flight 611: A Boeing 747-200 broke apart in mid-air and plunged into the Taiwan Strait killing 225 people.

2002  A train crash in Tenga, Mozambique killed 197 people.

2009  North Korea allegedly tested its second nuclear device

 2009 North Korean nuclear test.png

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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