Día de la Revolución de Mayo,

May 25, 2010

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

May 25, 2010

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

Tuesday’s answers

May 25, 2010

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.

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Fonterra opening forecast up and may go higher

May 25, 2010

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

May 25, 2010

Day 25 of New Zealand Music Month.

Weather With You  by Crowded House seemed appropriate today.

Our rain gauge overfloweth

May 25, 2010

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

May 25, 2010

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.

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