Word of the day


Haysel – haymaking season.

Baking treasury is a treasure


When I’m given book vouchers I like to use them to buy a book which reminds me of the person who gave them to me.

When I came across  A Treasury of New Zealand Baking I knew I’d found the perfect way to redeem birthday gift vouchers.

They were given to me by my best friend’s mother and many of my childhood memories are grounded in her kitchen with the aroma of fresh baking filling the air.

She’s now in her 80s and still bakes regularly for her family, friends and the many charitable organisations in which she’s involved.

The book is a collection of recipes from New Zealand professional cooks and bakers. Edited by Lauraine Jacobs with photos by Aaron McLean, it was produced as a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Foundation and is a treasure trove of delicious treats.

It includes old favourites – bran biscuits, banana cake, eccles cakes and mumbles;  fresh delights – aporo treat, blueberry sour cream slice, and tamarillo friands; and new twists on traditional recipes – fruity Anzac biscuits and ginger shortbread.

Recipes are clearly set out one to a page and each is accompanied by a photo.

Sometimes I buy a recipe book, salivate over the photos but rarely if ever cook from it. I do pour over the baking treasury with my mouth watering but I also use it and haven’t had a failure.

I’m not alone in appreciating this gem. Beattie’s Book Blog reports it has been judged the  best cookbook in the world, in the  prestigious 2010 Gourmand Awards. It was also proclaimed to be the best ‘Fund Raising, Charity and Community Cookbook’ in the Pacific.

Not quite everywhere, man


Monday: home – Oamaru – home, twice.

Tuesday: home – Christchurch- home.

Wednesday: home – Ashburton.

Thursday: Ashburton – Christchurch – Auckland -Christchurch – home.

Friday: home – Invercargill.

Saturday: Invercargill – Wanaka.

Monday: Wanaka – Alexandra -Invercargill.

Tuesday: Invercargill – home.

Thursday: home – Oamaru -home – Dunedin.

Friday: Dunedin – Mandeville – Wanaka.

Saturday; Wanaka – Queenstown – Wanaka.

Sunday: Wanaka – home.

Monday: home – Dunedin – home.

Yesterday & today: home, all day.

A failure of community for minority


Farmy Army volunteers have found elderly people stuck in shocking conditions:

John Hartnell of Federated Farmers says there are homes with up to a foot of silt inside, but the elderly occupants are too afraid to leave and seek help.

“There are people really struggling, they don’t have enough food, water’s a problem and there’s cases where people have been too scared to come out of their properties and it’s taken a degree of coaxing to get them to come out and let us come in to help them.”

Mr Hartnell says many have no power, running water or sanitation services. The farmer volunteers have lifted carpets and dried out homes as best they can.

When natural disaster strikes we expect government – local and central – to react and help. But we can not rely on that help when we need it if they don’t know of our plight or they have higher priorities.

In the first instance we must help ourselves, our families, our neighbours and communities.

Modern life has made that more difficult – people are more mobile, families are scattered, neighbours keep to themselves.

In spite of that there are many heart warming stories from Christchurch of people helping people, neighbours looking after neighbours, strangers caring for others in need.

Sadly sometimes, as in the cases the Farmy Army and other volunteers have found, not everyone who needed that support received it.

That isn’t in the first instance a failure of government, central or local, or of civil defence. It’s a failure of community and fortunately it happened to only a minority.

 It will be no comfort to those who were in need and neglected that they were among a small number of people who had no-one close by to care for or about them.

But Christchurch its people and the thousands of volunteers from outside can be proud that they helped, supported and comforted so many.

The community which failed a few made a huge difference to many others.

March 9 in history


On March 9:

141 BC Liu Che, posthumously known as Emperor Wu of Han, assumed the throne over the Han Dynasty of China.

1230 AD – Bulgarian tsar Ivan Asen II defeated Theodore of Epirus in the Battle of Klokotnitsa.

Portrait of Ivan Asen II from the Zograf Monastery on Mount Athos, 1817

1276  Augsburg became an Imperial Free City.

Coat of arms of Augsburg

1500 The fleet of Pedro Alvares Cabral left Lisbon for the Indies.


1566 David Rizzio, the private secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots was murdered.


1765 After a campaign by the writer Voltaire, judges in Paris posthumously exonerated Jean Calas of murdering his son. Calas had been tortured and executed in 1762 on the charge, though his son may have actually committed suicide.


1796 Napoléon Bonaparte married his first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais.

1841 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that captive Africans who had seized control of the ship carrying them had been taken into slavery illegally.

1842 Giuseppe Verdi‘s third opera Nabucco receives its première performance in Milan.

1847 Mexican-American War: The first large-scale amphibious assault in U.S. history was launched in the Siege of Veracruz

Battle of Veracruz.jpg

1862  The USS Monitor and CSS Virginia fought to a draw in the Battle of Hampton Roads, the first fight between two ironclad warships.

Battle Between the Monitor and Merrimac, print published by Kurz and allison (1889) Merrimac

1892 Vita Sackville-West, English writer and gardener, was born  (d. 1962).

1896 Prime Minister Francesco Crispi resigned following the Italian defeat at the Battle of Adowa.

1910  Westmoreland County Coal Strike, involving 15,000 coal miners began.

1916 Pancho Villa led nearly 500 Mexican raiders in an attack against Columbus, New Mexico.

Pancho villa horseback.jpg

1918 Mickey Spillane, American writer, was born (d. 2006).

1925  Pink’s War: The first Royal Air Force operation conducted independently of the British Army or Royal Navy began.

Pink's War map.png

1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt submitted the Emergency Banking Act to the Congress, the first of his New Deal policies.


1934 Yuri Gagarin, Soviet cosmonaut and the first human in space, was born (d. 1968).

Gagarin in Sweden.jpg

1947 Keri Hulme, New Zealand writer, was born.


1954 Bobby Sands, IRA member, was born (d. 1981).

Bobby sands mural in belfast320.jpg

1956 Soviet military suppressesed mass demonstrations in the Georgian SSR, reacting to Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization policy.


1956, Opononi George or Opo, also known as the ‘gay dolphin’, died.

Death of Opo the friendly dolphin

 1957 A magnitude 8.3 earthquake in the Andreanof Islands, Alaska triggered a Pacific-wide tsunami causing extensive damage to Hawaii and Oahu.

1957 Andreanof Islands earthquake is located in Alaska 


1959 The Barbie doll made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York.


1963 David Pogue, Technology columnist and musician, was born.

1967 Trans World Airlines Flight 553, a Douglas DC-9-15, crashed in a field in Concord Township, Ohio following a mid-air collision with a Beechcraft Baron, killing 26.

1976 – Forty-two people died in the 1976 Cavalese cable-car disaster, the worst cable-car accident to date.

1977 The Hanafi Muslim Siege: In a thirty-nine hour standoff, armed Hanafi Muslims seized three Washington, D.C., buildings, killing two and taking 149 hostage.

1989 A strike forced financially-troubled Eastern Air Lines into bankruptcy.

1990 Dr. Antonia Novello was sworn in as Surgeon General of the United States, becoming the first female and Hispanic American to serve in that position.

1991 Massive demonstrations were held against Slobodan Milošević in Belgrade. Two people were killed.

1997  Observers in China, Mongolia and eastern Siberia were treated to a rare double feature as an eclipse permitted Comet Hale-Bopp to be seen during the day.

Comet Hale-Bopp, shortly after passing perihelion in April 1997.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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