Word of the day


Abligurition – prodigal expense on food and drink.

Ode to Chocolate


This Tuesday’s Poem is the delicious Ode to Chocolate by Barbara Crooker.

Tow other Tuesday poets who celebrated food:

Harvey McQueen with To Autumn by Ian Wedde.

Clare Beynon with her own Doris Plum.

Just wondering . . .


. . .  if the loo roll without a cardboard core will make it any more likely that people will replace the roll when it runs out of paper?

Economic, environmental and social boost from irrigation


North Otago Irrigation Company’s scheme has created 76 new jobs and boosted farm incomes by $44 million dollars.

This was the finding of a Waitaki Development Board study.

The results showed the scheme was “the single most significant economic development” project in the Waitaki district in recent years, board chairman Peter Robinson said yesterday.

The study of the farms in the scheme revealed some phenomenal increases, exceeding the expected performance and making larger gains than originally forecast at the time resource consents for water from the lower Waitaki River were granted.

For example, revenue from the irrigated properties has increased from $21 million without irrigation to $65 million with irrigation.

“This is the single most significant economic development scheme the Waitaki District has seen in recent years – these results would not have been achievable without this investment,” Mr Robinson said.

I don’t think the study took into account the development which took place in expectation of the irrigation scheme which would have created a similar number of jobs.

The social benefits are also significant. For the first time since the ag-sag of the 80s farmers’ adult children have returned home in reasonable numbers, reducing the average age of the rural population which had been increasing for more than 30 years.

There were eight houses in our road before irrigation, now there are 13, with another planned for next year. The school had to put on a bigger bus to cope with the increase in pupils.

The irrigation scheme will also have been one of the factors in an increase in the number of births at Oamaru Hospital – 86 eight years ago and a record 103 last year.

Last summer’s drought was one of the worst for years – we had only about half our average annual rainfall in the year to March.

In the past this would have had a devastating impact not just on farmers but on the people who supply and service them and this would have flowed on to significant reduction in spending in Oamaru. The lack of rain last summer was very difficult for farmers on dryland but there are now enough irrigated properties to insulate the wider community from the worst of impacts of drought.

The environmental impact has also been positive. A condition of the NOIC consent was that all shareholders have to have environmental farm plans which are independently audited each year to ensure that water and soil quality are safeguarded.

The downlands which received water from the NOIC scheme have good soils but were prone to wind erosion in droughts. Irrigation means that is no longer a concern.

Some farmers have pulled out trees to cater for centre pivot irrigators. But others have used the reliable water supply to increase plantings and many have also channelled water into gardens.

One of the biggest benefits from the increased irrigation is difficult to measure but obvious to anyone who knows the district. That’s the change of mindset. Without irrigation North Otago farmers always had to farm for droughts – going backwards when it was dry and playing catch-up when it rained.

Even the most optimistic people found it difficult to retain a sunny outlook under those circumstances. Thanks to irrigation, instead of focussing on how to stop going backwards they are able to put their energy and enthusiasm into activities which make a positive difference on farms and in the wider community.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged . . .


. . .  that a farmer in possession of gelignite is in want of somewhere better to put it than the steps of the Balclutha police station.

October 29 in history


On October 29:

539 BC – Cyrus the Great entered the city of Babylon and detained Nabonidus.

Portrait of Cyrus the Great.jpg

437  Valentinian III, Western Roman Emperor, married Licinia Eudoxia, daughter of his cousin Theodosius II, Eastern Roman Emperor in Constantinople unifying the two branches of the House of Theodosius.


1268 Conradin, the last legitimate male heir of the Hohenstaufen dynasty of Kings of Germany and Holy Roman Emperors, was executed with his companion Frederick I, Margrave of Baden by Charles I of Sicily, a political rival and ally to the hostile Roman Catholic church.


1390  First trial for witchcraft in Paris leading to the death of three people.

1422 Charles VII of France became king.

1467 Battle of Brustem: Charles the Bold defeated Liege.

1618  Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded for allegedly conspiring against James I.

1658  Action of 29 October (Naval battle).

Eerste fase van de Zeeslag in de Sont - First phase of the Battle of the Sound - November 8 1568 (Jan Abrahamsz Beerstraten, 1660).jpg

1665  Battle of Ambuila, Portuguese forces defeated the forces of the Kingdom of Kongo and decapitated king Antonio I of Kongo, also called Nvita a Nkanga.

1675  Leibniz made the first use of the long s (∫) as a symbol of the integral in calculus.

\int\limits_a^b f(x)dx

1740  James Boswell, Scottish biographer of Samuel Johnson was born (d. 1795).

1787  Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni received its first performance in Prague.

1863  Eighteen countries meeting in Geneva agreed to form the International Red Cross.

Flag of the ICRC.svg

1863   American Civil War: Battle of Wauhatchie – forces under Union General Ulysses S. Grant warded off a Confederate attack led by General James Longstreet.

Battle of Wauhatchie map.jpg

1886 The first ticker-tape parade took place in New York City when office workers spontaneously threw ticker tape into the streets as the Statue of Liberty was dedicated.

1891 Fanny Brice, American singer (d. 1951), was born.


1894 SS Wairarapa was wrecked off Great Barrier Island.

SS <em>Wairarapa</em> wrecked on Great Barrier Is
1897  Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda, was born (d. 1945).

1918 The German High Seas Fleet was incapacitated when sailors mutinied on the night of the 29th-30th, an action which triggered the German revolution.

1921  The Link River Dam, a part of the Klamath Reclamation Project, was completed.

Link River Dam

1922   Victor Emmanuel III, appointed Benito Mussolini Prime Minister.

1923  Turkey became a republic following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

1929   The New York Stock Exchange crashed in the Crash of ’29 or “Black Tuesday”, ending the Great Bull Market of the 1920s and beginning the Great Depression.


1941  Holocaust: In the Kaunas Ghetto over 10,000 Jews were shot by German occupiers at the Ninth Fort, a massacre known as the “Great Action”.

1942  Holocaust: Leading British clergymen and political figures held a public meeting to register outrage over Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews.

1944  Denny Laine, English musician (Moody Blues, Ginger Baker’s Air Force, Wings), was born.

1944  The city of Breda in the Netherlands was liberated by 1st Polish Armoured Division.


1945 Getulio Vargas, president of Brazil, resigned.


1946  Peter Green, English guitarist (Fleetwood Mac)

1947 Richard Dreyfuss, American actor, was born.

1948  Safsaf massacre.

1953  BCPA Flight 304 DC-6 crashed near San Francisco, pianist William Kapell was among the 19 killed.


1955 The Soviet battleship Novorossiisk struck a World War II mine in the harbor at Sevastopol.


1956  Suez Crisis began: Israeli forces invaded the Sinai Peninsula and pushed Egyptian forces back toward the Suez Canal.

1956 Tangier Protocol  signed: The international city Tangier was reintegrated into Morocco.

Tangier Medina 01.jpg

1956 Kafr Qasim massacre: Israeli Border Police (Magav) shoot and kill 48 Arab civilians for unknowingly disobeying curfue orders imposed by Israeli army in Kafr Qasim, an Arab village.


1957  Israel’s prime minister David Ben Gurion and five of his ministers were injured when a hand grenade was tossed into Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.


1961  Syria left the United Arab Republic.

1964  Tanganyika and Zanzibar united to form the Republic of Tanzania.

1964 – A collection of irreplaceable gems, including the 565 carat (113 g) Star of India, was stolen from the American Museum of Natural History in New York.


1966 National Organization For Women was founded.

Now logo 2.jpg

1967  London criminal Jack McVitie is murdered by the Kray twins, leading to their eventual imprisonment and downfall.

1967 Montreal’s World Fair, Expo 67, closed.


1969  The first-ever computer-to-computer link was established on ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet.


1969  US Supreme Court ruled that school districts must end segregation “now and hereafter”.

1980  Demonstration flight of a secretly modified C-130 for an Iran hostage crisis rescue attempt ended in crash landing  leading to cancellation of Operation Credible Sport.

1983  More than 500,000 people demonstrated against cruise missiles in The Hague.

1985  Major General Samuel K. Doe was announced the winner of the first multi-party election in Liberia.


1986  British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher opened the last stretch of the M25 motorway.

M25 motorway shield

1991 The American Galileo spacecraft made its closest approach to 951 Gaspra, becoming the first probe to visit an asteroid.

951 Gaspra.jpg 

1995 The Hoax film Forgotten Silver screened.

Forgotten Silver film hoax screened

1998  Apartheid: In South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presented its report, which condemned both sides for committing atrocities.

1998 – Space Shuttle Discovery blasted off on STS-95 with 77-year old John Glenn on board, making him the oldest person to go into space.


1998 – ATSC HDTV broadcasting in the United States was inaugurated with the launch of STS-95 space shuttle mission.

1998 A Turkish Airline flight with a crew of 6 and 33 passengers was hijacked by a Kurdish militant who ordered the pilot to fly to Switzerland. The plane instead landed in Ankara after the pilot tricked the hijacker into thinking that he was landing in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia to refuel.

1998 – Hurricane Mitch, the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane in history, made landfall in Honduras.


1998 The Gothenburg nightclub fire in Sweden claimed 63 lives and injures 200.


1999  A large cyclone devastated Orissa, India.


2002  Ho Chi Minh City ITC Inferno, a fire destroyed a luxurious department store where 1500 people shopping. Over 60 people died.

2004  The Arabic news network Al Jazeera broadcast an excerpt from a video of Osama bin Laden in which the terrorist leader first admitted direct responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks and references the 2004 U.S. presidential election.


2004  In Rome, European heads of state signed the Treaty and Final Act establishing the first European Constitution.

Front page of an official document containing the consolidated treaties and documents which comprise the EU constitution

2005   Delhi bombings kill more than 60.

2008 Delta Air Lines merged with Northwest Airlines, creating the world’s largest airline and reducing the number of US legacy carriers to 5.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikiepda

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