Word of the day


Idiolect –  a variety of a language unique to an individual; distinctive individual form of speech.

Friday’s answers – updated


Thursday’s questions were:

1. What book/s from your holiday reading would you recommend?

2. Once you start reading a book do you carry on even if you’re not enjoying it?

3. Do you read books more than once?

4. How many books do you read a year?

5. Can you recommend any good films/DVDs?

My answers:

1. Slaughter Falls by Alix Bosco, Rebel With A Cause by Ray Avery.

2. I used to persevere and did with one over Christmas but usually think life’s too short to read bad books.

3. Yes – I have several favourites which I re-read.

4. I used to read several a week, sometimes one a day, which would have put my annual total in the hundereds. Last year I read about 100.

5. I can’t remember going to the pictures at all last year but I did enjoy the DVD of Home By Christmas.

UPDATE with apology – I forgot to award points:

Since there were no wrong answers Andrei, Zen, Colin, Gravedodger and Adam win an electronic box of apricots for a clean sweep and Robert gets a bonus for entertainment.

Wasp count climbing


The first wasp was on the window sill about 10 days ago.

A second was spotted on the floor. Both were dead. I disposed of them but a couple of hours later found another couple.

Every day since then we’ve spotted up to a dozen dead or dying wasps in the house.

If you have to have wasps, that’s the way to have them but I’d prefer not to have any at all. They may have an important role in nature’s story but if so, it’s as villains and I have no compunction over dealing with them as such.

But killing those we see is dealing with only part of the problem. To rid ourselves of the pests we have to destroy the nest and we haven’t been able to find it.

I’m hoping the poor state of health of the wasps we’ve seen indicates someone else has and has poisoned it but the the climbing wasp count suggests that hasn’t yet been wholly effective.

World food price rises good for NZ


High world food prices are good news for exporters and the New Zealand economy.

The United Nations food price index shows prices for staple food items  – cereals, dairy products,  meat, oils and fats and sugar – in December were higher than the last peak in 2008.

The first auction of the year resulted in a good boost to milk prices,  meat prices are holding up and cropping farmers are getting better returns too.

The floods in Australia are already impacting on grain prices here, although if their milling wheat is downgraded to feed grain that will compete with local produce and counter some of the gains for New Zealand growers.

Flooding of of fruit and sugar cane will also lead to price increases.

In some years the wider economic benefit of  rising prices for one group have been offset by falling prices for another but this time dairy, meat and cropping sectors are all receiving better returns.

Higher export prices will lead to domestic price increases which will put pressure on budgets for those on low incomes. But we’re a food exporting nation and our overall wealth and wellbeing depend on good prices for our produce.

January 7 in history


On January 7:

 1558 France took Calais, the last continental possession of England.

1610 – Galileo Galilei observed the four largest moons of Jupiter for the first time.

Click for full caption. 

1782 The first American commercial bank, the Bank of North America, opened.

1785 Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American John Jeffries travelled from Dover, to Calais, in a gas balloon.


1827 Sir Sandford Fleming, Canadian engineer; introduced Universal Standard Time, was born.

1835 HMS Beagle dropped anchor off the Chonos Archipelago.

1894 W.K. Dickson received a patent for motion picture film.

1895 Sir Hudson Fysh, Australian aviator and co-founder of QANTAS, was born  (d. 1974).

Sir Wilmot Hudson Fysh.jpg

1904 The distress signalCQD” was established but replaced two years later by “SOS“.

1912 – Charles Addams, American cartoonist, was born (d. 1988).

1925 Gerald Durrell, British naturalist , was born  (d. 1995).


1927 The first transatlantic telephone call was made – from New York to London.

1931 Australian Guy Menzies completed the first Trans-Tasman flight when he flew from Sydneyand crash-landed in a swamp at Harihari on the West Coast.

Completion of first trans-Tasman solo flight

1943 Sir Richard Armstrong, British conductor, was born.

1948  Kenny Loggins, American singer, was born.

1951 Helen Worth, British actress, was born.

Gailplatt 2008.jpg

1953 President Harry Truman announced that the United States had developed the hydrogen bomb.

1954 Georgetown-IBM experiment: the first public demonstration of a machine translation system, was held in New York at the head office of IBM.

1960 The Polaris missile was test launched.

1968  Surveyor 7, the final spacecraft in the Surveyor series, lifted off from launch complex 36A, Cape Canaveral.

1980 President Jimmy Carter authorised legislation giving $1.5 billion in loans to bail out the Chrysler Corporation.

1984 Brunei became the sixth member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

1993 The Fourth Republic of Ghana was inaugurated with Jerry Rawlings as President.

1999The impeachment of President Bill Clinton started.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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