Word of the day


Gangrel – lean and awkward; a lanky, loose jointed person; a wandering beggar, vagabond, vagrant.

Sunday’s smiles


Someone asked the other day, ‘What was your favourite ‘fast food’ when you were growing up?

 ‘We didn’t have fast food when I was growing up,’ I informed him.  ‘All the food was slow.’ 

‘C’mon, seriously.. Where did you eat?’ 

‘It was a place called ‘home,” I explained. ‘Mum cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn’t like what she put on my plate, I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.’
By this time, the lad was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn’t tell him the part about how we had to wait until everyone had sat down and we’d said grace before we started to eat. Nor did I say I had to have permission to leave the table.
But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I’d figured his system could have handled it:
Most parents never wore jeans, set foot on a golf course, travelled out of the country or had a credit card.
My parents never drove me to school. I walked a mile there and a mile back from the age of five until I was seven and got a bike for my birthday. It had a bell on the handlebar, a carrier and saddle bags but only one speed -slow.
We didn’t have a television in our house until I was 14. It was black and white, and the station went off the air at 10 pm, after playing the national anthem and goodnight kiwi. It came back on the air at about 5pm and there was usually a locally produced news and farm show on, featuring local people….
I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn’t know weren’t already using the line.
Pizzas were not delivered to our home but milk, bread and meat were.

All newspapers were delivered by children. My brother delivered a newspaper, six days a week and he had to get up a 6 every morning to do it.
We had to stand for the Naitonal Anthem before a film started. Film stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the films… There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence or almost anything offensive.
Growing up isn’t what it used to be, is it?

How many of these do you remember? 

Headlight dip-switches on the floor of the car.

Trouser leg clips for bicycles without chain guards. 

Soldering irons you heated on a gas burner.

Using hand signals for cars without indicators.

Older Than Dirt Quiz:
 Count all the ones that you remember, not the ones you were told about.
 Ratings at the bottom.
 1. Sweet cigarettes
 2. Milk bars with juke boxes 
 3. Home milk delivery in glass bottles 
 4. Party lines on the telephone
 5. Newsreels before the movie 
 6. TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the afternoon – and just one channel to watch.

7.  Peashooters 
 8. 33 rpm records
 9. 45 RPM records
10. Hi-fi’s
11. Metal ice trays with levers
12. Blue flashbulb
13. Cork popguns 
14. Washing machines with wringers 
If you remembered 0-3 = You’re still young
If you remembered 3-6 = You are getting older
If you remembered 7-10 = Don’t tell your age
If you remembered 11-14 = You’re positively ancient! 
I must be ‘positively ancient’ – I scored 12 and can remember not only 33 & 45 records, we had some 78s  too.

Quote of the week


“I’m not a political blogger and have no intention of getting in to the heated discussions about unions, multi-national big boys, leanings to the left or to the right and who is responsible for swinging dollar and possible tourist industry collapse. There are plenty to follow if you want to read them.

All I know is, I love drawing and creating stuff. I’ve always done it and hope I always will. It is what I trained for at tertiary level and have spent the last 30 years as a freelancer doing. . . The film industry is one area that employs enormous talent in copious quantities when a project of this magnitude comes into town. And as I marched with it last Wednesday, I wondered what we all will do if it comes to an end. After all, there are only so many supermarkets who will employ highly trained artists as shelf stackers isn’t there?”

               From The Misty Mountain of Unemployment by Fifi Colston at Fifi Verses the World

Better time for daylight saving


It’s a month since the clocks went forward for daylight saving but we’re only just getting any benefit from it.

We’re still getting frosts and it’s definitely not summer yet, but most days are more like spring than winter.

The sun’s rising before 6am and it’s still light until after 8pm which gives us more than 14 hours of daylight.

This weekend would be a much better time to start daylight saving than late September when the sun wasn’t rising until around 7am and setting just 12 hours later.

October 24 in history


On October 24:

69  Second Battle of Bedriacum, forces under Antonius Primus, the commander of the Danube armies, loyal to Vespasian, defeated the forces of Emperor Vitellius.

1147  After a siege of 4 months crusader knights led by Afonso Henriques, reconquered Lisbon.


1260  The Cathedral of Chartres was dedicated in the presence of King Louis IX of France.

Cathedral of Chartres

1260  Saif ad-Din Qutuz, Mamluk sultan of Egypt, was assassinated by Baibars, who seized power for himself.

1360  The Treaty of Brétigny was ratified at Calais, marking the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years’ War.


1648  The Peace of Westphalia was signed, marking the end of the Thirty Years’ War.

The Ratification of the Treaty of Munster, Gerard Ter Borch (1648).jpg

1795 Partitions of Poland: The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was completely divided among Austria, Prussia, and Russia.


1812 Napoleonic Wars: The Battle of Maloyaroslavets.

Hess maloyaroslavets.jpg

1857 Sheffield F.C., the world’s first football club, was founded.


1861  The First Transcontinental Telegraph line across the United States was completed, spelling the end for the 18-month-old Pony Express.


1882  Dame Sybil Thorndike, British actress, was born (d. 1976).

1892  Goodison Park, the world’s first association football specific stadium was opened.

First known image of Goodison Park

1901  Annie Edson Taylor became the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

1911 Orville Wright remained in the air 9 minutes and 45 seconds in a Wright Glider at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.


1912  First Balkan War: The Battle of Kumanovo concluded with the Serbian victory.

Serbian artillery Battle of Kumanovo.jpg

1913 Violent clashes between unionised waterside workers and non-union labour erupted two days after Wellington watersiders held a stopwork meeting in support of a small group of striking shipwrights.

Violence flares on Wellington wharves

1917 Battle of Caporetto; Italy was defeated by the forces of Austria-Hungary and Germany. (Also called Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo).

Battle of Caporetto.jpg

1917 The day of the October revolution, The Red Revolution.

1919 South Island explorer Donald Sutherland died.

Death of South Island explorer Donald Sutherland

1926  Harry Houdini‘s last performance.


1929  “Black Thursday” stock market crash on the New York Stock Exchange.

1930 A bloodless coup d’état in Brazil ousted Washington Luís Pereira de Sousa, the last President of the First Republic. Getúlio Dornelles Vargas was then installed as “provisional president.”


1931  The George Washington Bridge opened to traffic.


1936 Bill Wyman, English musician (The Rolling Stones), was born.

1944  The Japanese aircraft carrier Zuikaku, and the battleship Musashi were sunk in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

1945  Founding of the United Nations.


1946 A camera on board the V-2 No. 13 rocket took the first photograph of earth from outer space.

1947  Walt Disney testified to the House Un-American Activities Committee, naming Disney employees he believes to be communists.

1954  Dwight D. Eisenhower pledged United States support to South Vietnam.

1957  The USAF started the X-20 Dyna-Soar programme.

Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar

1960  Nedelin catastrophe: An R-16 ballistic missile exploded on the launch pad at the Soviet Union’s Baikonur Cosmodrome space facility, killing over 100.


1964 Northern Rhodesia gained independence and became the Republic of Zambia.

1973 Jeff Wilson, New Zealand rugby player and cricketer, was born.

1973 Yom Kippur War ended.

1980 Government of Poland legalised Solidarity trade union.

Astilleros de Gdansk.jpg

1986  Nezar Hindawi was sentenced to 45 years in prison, the longest sentence handed down by a British court, for the attempted bombing on an El Al flight at Heathrow. 

1990  Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti revealed to the Italian parliament the existence of Gladio, the Italian “stay-behind” clandestine paramilitary NATO army.

1998  Launch of Deep Space 1 comet/asteroid mission.

Deep Space 1 using its ion engine.jpg

2002  Police arrested spree killers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, ending the Beltway sniper attacks in the area around Washington, DC.

2003  Concorde made its last commercial flight.

2005  Hurricane Wilma made landfall in Florida resulting in 35 direct 26 indirect fatalities and causing $20.6B USD in damage.

2006  Justice Rutherford of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice struck down the “motive clause”, an important part of the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act.

2008  “Bloody Friday“: many of the world’s stock exchanges experienced the worst declines in their history, with drops of around 10% in most indices.


2009  First International Day of Climate Action, organised with 350.org, a global campaign to address a claimed global warming crisis.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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