Word of the day


Desiderium – ardent longing, yearning.

Did you see the one about . . .


Temps perdu – Dim Post on cultural trends.

Clothing and control and wearing the burqa – In A Strange Land on covering up.

We’re still waiting for a Sydney Opera House – Karl du Fresne on the moot that architecture is the mother of all arts.

Shakespeare Stoatspring finds political lessons in literature.

We got to the hospital – a sore toe nearly trumps a caesarean at Private Secret Diary.

This is what the teacher unions  fear – Kiwiblog on how teachers make a difference.

Milking Time – rivettingKate Taylor on sheeps milk and her contributions to the farming year ahead.

Busted Blonde vs the NBR


When Busted Blonde emailed me to support her campaign to win her weight in bubbles in an NBR-Veuve Clicquot competition, I did.

I voted, wrote a post inviting others to vote for her too and then went to Australia. When I caught up with blogs on my return last night I discovered the bubbles had burst.

Busted Blonde had won the popular vote but didn’t win the judges over.

Contrary to the opinions of many bloggers (Cactus Kate, Clint HeinegoNZo Freakpower, Keeping Stock, KiwiblogMotella, Oswald Bastable, and Whaleoil) and the we drink anything but Veuve Cliquot Facebook group, I had sympathy for the NBR, Veuve Clicquot and the judges.

If I was wanting to promote my product to discerning readers and drinkers I wouldn’t want the word wanker in the winning entry.

I also understood that the popular vote wasn’t going to be the only criteria on which the judges’ decision was based.

However, NBR wasn’t wise to wait until after the published closing date to announce the top 10 entries would go into a pool from which the judges would pick a winner.

They have been sensible enough to realise that, have made a proper apology and:

In addition, the publisher will personally provide Busted Blonde’s weight in Veuve Clicquot to her to demonstrate that NBR will not allow its integrity, transparency or honesty in its dealings with its readers to be compromised in any way. She received the most online votes in the competition and NBR happily salutes that success.

As a responsible host, the publisher would, however, appeal to Busted Blonde to urge her guests to wear life jackets if celebrating their win on Wellington Harbour.

Let the festivities begin.

I’ll raise a glass to that, to Busted Blonde ( who is overcome with emotion) and to the power of the blogosphere.

Near silence isn’t golden


One of my ears blocked for no apparent reason a few days ago.

We were in outback Australia at the time so I had no option but to get used to operating on only one ear.

I’d hoped changing air pressure on the flight back to New Zealand might help. It didn’t and I woke at home this morning to find the other ear had blocked as well.

I’ve made an appointment with my GP for this afternoon but the receptionist warned me that if my ears need to by syringed I’ll have to wait until Tuesday for a specialist.

My farmer sufferers from tractor drivers’ ear. I now have a very real appreciation on how that feels and am ruing the times I’ve responded in exasperation when he asks me to repeat what I’ve said again.

Warm is relative


Normally waking up to 9 degrees in very early spring would feel good but we’re just home from 12 days in what the locals call the Top End of Australia and I’m going to have to reacclimatise.

Daytime temperatures in the Northern Territory and Western Australia ranged from mid 30s to 41 degrees. It was around 20 degrees in Sydney on Tuesday and 8.5 when we got home last night.




7/10 – most guesses – in this week’s NZ History Online quiz.

August 26 in history


On August 26:

1071  Battle of Manzikert: The Seljuk Turks defeat the Byzantine Army at Manzikert.

131 Bataille de Malazgirt.jpg 

1278 Ladislaus IV of Hungary and Rudolph I of Germany defeated Premysl Ottokar II of Bohemia in the Battle of Marchfield near Dürnkrut in (then) Moravia.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld - Die Schlacht Rudolfs von Habsburg gegen Ottokar von Böhmen.jpg

1346  Hundred Years’ War: the military supremacy of the English longbow over the French combination of crossbow and armoured knights was established at the Battle of Crécy.

Battle of Crécy

1498  Michelangelo was commissioned to carve the Pietà.


1676 Robert Walpole, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1745).


1768 The HM Bark Endeavour expedition under Captain James Cook set sail from England.

A three-masted wooden ship cresting an ocean swell beneath a cloudy sky. Two small boats tow the ship forward.

1778 The first recorded ascent of Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia.

1789  Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen approved by National Assembly at Palace of Versailles.

1819 Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Prince Consort of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1861).

1858First news dispatch by telegraph.

1862 American Civil War: the Second Battle of Bull Run began.

1865 Arthur James Arnot, Scottish inventor, was born (d. 1946).

1875 John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, Scottish novelist, Governor General of Canada, was born (d. 1940).

1883 The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa began its final, paroxysmal, stage.


1894 The second Maori King, Tukaroto Matutaera Potatau Te Wherowhero Tawhiao, died.

Death of second Maori King

1898 Peggy Guggenheim, American art collector, was born (d. 1979).


1904 Christopher Isherwood, English-born writer, was born (d. 1986).

1906 Albert Sabin, American polio researcher, was born (d. 1993).

1910 Mother Teresa, Nobel Peace Prize winning Christian missionary, was born (d. 1997).

 Mother Teresa

1914  World War I: the German colony of Togoland was invaded by French and British forces.

1920  The 19th amendment to United States Constitution took effect, giving women the right to vote.

1940 Chad was the first French colony to join the Allies under the administration of Félix Éboué, France’s first black colonial governor.


1942  Holocaust in Chortkiv, western Ukraine: At 2.30 am the German Schutzpolizei started driving Jews out of their houses, divided them into groups of 120, packed them in freight cars and deported 2000 to Belzec death camp; 500 of the sick and children weremurdered on the spot.

1944 World War II: Charles de Gaulle entered Paris.

1957 The USSR announced the successful test of an ICBM – a “super long distance intercontinental multistage ballistic rocket … a few days ago,” according to the Soviet news agency, ITAR-TASS.

1970  The then new feminist movement, led by Betty Friedan, led a nation-wide Women’s Strike for Equality.


1977  The Charter of the French Language was adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec

1978   Pope John Paul I was elected to the Papacy.


1978 – Sigmund Jähn became first German cosmonaut on board of the Soyuz 31 spacecraft.

Sigmund Jahn cropped.jpg

1980  Macaulay Culkin, American actor, was born.

1982 David Long, New Zealand musician, was born.

1992 Václav Klaus and Vladimír Mečiar signed agreement of split of Czechoslovakia in Brno.

1997  Beni-Ali massacre in Algeria; 60-100 people killed.

Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipedia

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