Great service

April 3, 2011

What do you do when there’s 16 hungry people ready for dinner in Wellington on a Friday night without a booking?

We were at the Museum Hotel which has a wonderful restaurant but we didn’t want fine dining. I knew a cafe near by and asked one of the staff if she could book a table for us.

She tried three times but kept getting an answerphone. She asked if we wanted her to try somewhere else, asked what we were looking for, suggested Restaurant 88, phoned and booked a table for us in 15 minutes which was just enough time to finish our drinks and walk there.

We were greeted by smiles which didn’t falter when we did a recount, found we had a couple of extras and that required a rejigging of tables.

The menus and water were delivered straight away and orders taken as soon as we were ready.

The meals turned up in a very short time, beautifully presented and tasting delicious. Restaurant 88 specialises in provincial Vietnamese dishes (there’s just one steak on the menu which comes with the explanation:  “OK, this is not a Vietnamese dish but it’s still a fine piece of steak”).

I chose the vegetarian option for the SAIGON LEMONGRASS BEEF SALAD WITH CRISPY SPRING ROLLS   – described as a refreshing rice noodle salad, mixed with fresh Asian herbs, lime dressing and spring onion oil. Topped with stir-fry lemongrass beef, roasted peanuts, Vietnamese crispy pork and crab spring rolls. Famous in Vietnam.

It was delicious and satisfying in terms of both quality and quantity.

Everyone else expressed similar high praise for their meals.

We finished the evening impressed with Melissa at the Museum for her service and recommendation and Restaurant 88 for a service and food. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend  both.


Word of the day

April 3, 2011

Cabas – a flat basket or frail* for figs, etc.; woman’s work basket or handbag.

Frail – a rush basket for holding fruit, especially dried fruit; the quantity of fruit, such as raisins or figs, that such a basket can hold.


The Map (you give me)

April 3, 2011

The Map (you give me) by Stephen Bett is the feature poem at Tuesday poem.

Other poems linked in the side bar include:

Lovliest of Trees by A.E. Housman

Irina by Andrew Bell

Too Many Daves by Dr Seuss (with a discussion on poetic depth).

Man with Children by Ross Donlon

The Evening is Loud with Life by Claire Gaskin

A Poem: the movie by Mary MacCallum

The Poet and I at Lalialand


Rural round-up

April 3, 2011

Current season better than last – Allan Barber blogs:

After what all processors termed a challenging season last year, the mood this season is decidedly more buoyant after a solid first four months when dry weather throughout the country produced good stock flows. Regular rain since early February in the main farming regions has slowed things down a bit, but the onset of autumn and the dairy cow cull will ensure reasonably consistent livestock availability without any likelihood of a seasonal peak.

Showing ’em how – Martin van Beynen reckoned mustering was easy:

I am often asked for advice – as in “How would you like your face smashed in?” – so it was no surprise when Steve Palmer and Kara Lynn sought my help for the autumn muster on their high- country station, Tinline Downs, near Waiau in North Canterbury.

Steve and Kara had heard about my mustering expertise via an article in this newspaper about Lakes Station near Lake Sumner.

In the course of investigating a controversial gate on a paper road, a photographer and I found ourselves in the middle of a muster run by the legendary Ted Phipps, who owns the Lakes Station with Chief Justice Sian Elias.

One of Phipps’ farmhands, a raw young lad, took exception to the position of our vehicle, blaming it for the way some of the sheep were returning through a gate.

This was nonsense, of course, and I attempted to explain that the problem might, in fact, be a lack of dogs or men behind the sadly disjointed mob coming up the road. 

This advice came from the benefit of many years mustering our eight chooks and the flock of sheep – so vast that we knew the name of each individual – on my parents’ 10-acre block.

The advice was taken very much in the spirit in which it was intended, and some very rude language ensued.

Then Phipps arrived, and some more rude language followed, in which the word “townie” was used in a less than favourable way. . .  

The original story which prompted the invitation to muster is here.

NZ wool carpets and rugs launched in US:

New Zealand rugs and carpets using strong wool drawn from Wool Equities Ltd and New Zealand Romney suppliers will be unveiled in prestigious US stores on Friday.

The Just Shorn collection will be launched surrounded by in store displays including wool bales, woolshed doors and videos of New Zealand farmers telling their stories about working with sheep and wool. About 30 rug stores and 85 carpet stores in the luxury IDG chain (part of CCA Global) will feature the collection. . .

Steve and Jane win first East Coast environment award – rivettingKate Taylor posts on the Wyn-Harris’s win:

Congratulations to Steve and Jane Wyn-Harris – the inaugural winners of the East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

You know, I’m actually looking forward to not typing that ECBFEA phrase for a while! . .

US milk production – shouting down the suply chain – Dr Jon Hauser at X-Cheque blog writes:

If you are into numbers, the trends in demand and supply are a fascinating topic and especially when you apply the concept to the dairy industry. The theory is simple – an increase in demand allows prices to rise, encouraging supply growth. As stocks and supply increase to the point of excess prices fall resulting in a contraction of supply and reset of the supply demand balance. The reality is a long way from simple and that has certainly proved to be the case in our research on the US dairy market. . .

Better communicaton = better in-calf rates – Pasture to Profit writes:

I’ve just seen a simple idea to improve communication between staff on a pasture based spring calving dairyfarm in Dorset, UK. This came to light at the “Realfarmer” discussion group…..a group for Herdsmen & Herd Managers/farm staff on pasture based dairy farms. “Tail Tape Id”…. yes that’s right “Tail Tape Id”! . . .

This is one for the X-files – Anti Dismal writes:

There have been some seriously weird things said about the price of milk recently but this comment in an article from stuff.co.nz has to be the strangest yet:

Dairy market heavyweight Fonterra is artificially inflating the price of milk in New Zealand in a deliberate campaign to lessen competition, says an official complaint to the Commerce Commission.

Now I can not for the life of me see how inflating the price of milk can lesson competition.

We wrote about the milk price investigation here, all very exciting.

However, a new article on the stuff site started with this:

Dairy market heavyweight Fonterra is artificially inflating the price of milk in New Zealand in a deliberate campaign to lessen competition

What?  This is beyond my understanding – I need someone to get in here and explain to me how increasing the wholesale price of milk will lead to a reduction in competitive pressures.

There have been some seriously weird things said about the price of milk recently but this comment in an article from stuff.co.nz has to be the strangest yet:

Dairy market heavyweight Fonterra is artificially inflating the price of milk in New Zealand in a deliberate campaign to lessen competition, says an official complaint to the Commerce Commission.

Now I can not for the life of me see how inflating the price of milk can lesson competition. . .

The Visible Hand in Economics has similar thoughts in a couple more points on milk:

We wrote about the milk price investigation here, all very exciting.

However, a new article on the stuff site started with this:

Dairy market heavyweight Fonterra is artificially inflating the price of milk in New Zealand in a deliberate campaign to lessen competition

What?  This is beyond my understanding – I need someone to get in here and explain to me how increasing the wholesale price of milk will lead to a reduction in competitive pressures. . .

GE – 10,000 years in the making – Jon Morgan writes:

Pamela Ronald is trying to talk around a mouthful of kiwifruit, yoghurt and muesli. She’s eating breakfast at the Intercontinental in Wellington and it’s the only spare time she has in a busy round of media interviews and public meetings before flying to Auckland for a conference.

Between bites she talks about food.

“I’ve just spend a few days with friends in the Bay of Islands. They fed me really well and everything I ate, except the fish, was genetically altered.”

No, it wasn’t a meal of secretly imported food from a country that allows genetic modification. It was food bought in the local supermarket.

“Everything we eat that is farmed is genetically altered,” she explains.

“It is just the result of a long line of 10,000 years of gene manipulation.”

She should know. She is professor of plant pathology at University of California’s Davis research campus. With husband Raoul Adamchak, she has written Tomorrow’s Table on the worlds-colliding idea of integrating genetic engineering with organic farming. . .

Shearing captial’s title takes a serious hit:

Te Kuiti’s quarter-century boast to being the shearing capital of the world took a hit when young Hawke’s Bay-based Far North gun Rowland Smith won the New Zealand Open final in the town’s Cultural Centre last night, without a single local hope in the final field.

For the first time since the event was revived in 1985, there were no Te Kuiti or other King Country shearers in the big final. It is thought also to have been the only time the field did not include Te Kuiti icon David Fagan, who was eliminated in the afternoon’s semi-finals.

Stirring anthem written for vegetables #997 at Will Type for Food:

We are the turnips my friend
We’ll keep on growin’ till the end . . .

(This could be a winner in Southland during Swede season).


There’s good reasons for returning to parliament . . .

April 3, 2011

. . . but the opportunity to deliver a valedictory speech and wanting to stick it up David Farrar and Cameron Slater  aren’t among them.

She might just take up the seat, she said. She would rather like the chance of a dignified retirement and to make a valedictory speech. . .

. . . So she says she has reasons to return: unfinished business, the salary, supporting colleagues in their first opposition election, offering institutional knowledge and support. Acting as camp mother, essentially.

Those reasons … and to “stick it up them”.

Stick it up who? Phil Goff?

“I was actually thinking of David Farrar and Cameron Slater, et al. I wasn’t thinking about my former colleagues,” she says. “I don’t think it’s a particularly worthy thing to say, but I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t.”

Having no good reasons for going to parliament hasn’t stopped people before but to Judith Tizard’s credit she’s just announced on Q&A that she will not take up the list seat vacated by Darren Hughes.

Her interview with Guyon Espiner will be on the link above later and if you missed the broadcast it is worth a look.

Her comments are definitely not a vote of confidence in Phil Goff, Andrew Little or the Labour Party hierachy.


Tourists not as green as myths paint them

April 3, 2011

When you’re planning a holiday is how a possible destination grows its food or generates its power a consideration?

I’ve travelled widely and those two things have never even crossed my  mind and a University of Otago survey finds they’re not a concern to most tourists who come here either:

A University of Otago survey of tourists concludes that it is highly unlikely that the introduction of genetically-modified drought-tolerant pasture to New Zealand would have long-term adverse effects on this country’s ‘clean green’ image overseas. . .

. . . Associate Professor Knight says the sample of 515 visitors gives “a pretty clear indication that GM pasture would not matter to tourists when making decisions about where to travel”.

This latest research follows Associate Professor Knight’s face-to-face research on “gatekeepers” in the food distribution channels in Europe, China and India.

These studies showed that people influential in food distribution in other countries did not rate whether or not a country grows GM crops as a relevant consideration when sourcing food for their consumers to choose from.

“It is an unsupported myth that GM crops in New Zealand (or even nuclear power, for that matter) would damage our clean green image in export markets”, he says.

The impact on tourists is often used by people opposed to new developments. It was one of the reasons cited by people who objected to Holcim’s plans to build a cement plant in the Waiareka Valley in North Otago although no hard evidence was produced to back up the contention.

“Whatever the issues regarding whether or not to introduce GM pasture, it seems safe to conclude that potential damage to our clean green image in the eyes of overseas visitors planning to come here should not be a factor,” Associate Professor Knight says.

Nuclear power isn’t on the radar but GM food is and this survey shoots down one of the straw men put up in opposition to it.

You’d have to be very concerned and informed about GM before it influenced your travel plans and most tourists aren’t, nor are they as green as those opposing progress would like to paint them.

Our clean-green image is a valuable one but that has a lot more to do with enjoying clean water, fresh air, our bush, beaches and countryside than how we grow our food.

Hat Tip: Credo Quia Absurdum Est


Bliss

April 3, 2011

At last the clocks have gone back.

For the next few days I’ll be waking up at 5ish feeling like it’s 6ish and it will be nearly light by 7ish.

Bliss

UPDATE: David Winter tells us daylight saving was the bright (or not so bright if you’re in my camp) idea of George Vernon Hudson who wanted to spend the lighter evenings bug hunting.


April 3 in history

April 3, 2011

On April 3:

1043 Edward the Confessor was crowned King of England.

 

1077 The first Parliament of Friuli was created.

1559 The Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis treaty is signed, ending the Italian Wars.

1593  George Herbert, English poet and orator, was born  (d. 1633).

1834 The generals in the Greek War of Independence stood trial for treason.

1860 The first successful United States Pony Express run from Saint Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California began.

 

1865 American Civil War: Union forces captured Richmond, Virginia the capital of the Confederate States of America.

1882 Jesse James was killed by Robert Ford.

 

1885 Gottlieb Daimler was granted a German patent for his engine design.

 

1895  Trial of the libel case instigated by Oscar Wilde began, eventually resulting in his imprisonment on charges of homosexuality.

1915 Piet de Jong, Dutch politician, Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1967 until 1971, was born.

1917 Vladimir Lenin arrived in Russia from exile, marking the beginning of Bolshevik leadership in the Russian Revolution.

1922 Doris Day, American actress and singer, was born.

1922 Joseph Stalin became the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1924 Marlon Brando, American actor, was born  (d. 2004).

 

1934 Jane Goodall, English zoologist, was born.

1936 Bruno Richard Hauptmann was executed for the kidnapping and death of Charles Augustus Lindbergh II, the baby son of pilot Charles Lindbergh.

1943 – The Battle of Manners Street between soldiers and civilians.

'Battle of Manners Street'

1944 Tony Orlando, American musician, was born.

1946  Japanese Lt. General Masaharu Homma was executed in the Philippines for leading the Bataan Death March.

 

1948  Carlos Salinas, former President of Mexico, was born.

1948 President Harry S. Truman signed the Marshall Plan, authorizing $5 billion in aid for 16 countries.

 

1948  The Jeju massacre  began.

1956 Hudsonville-Standale Tornado: The western half of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan was struck by a deadly F5 tornado.

1961 Eddie Murphy, American actor and comedian, was born.

1968 Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech.

Head and shoulders of a black man in a dark suit leaning on a lecturn, with his hands grasping the lecturn's top. Light comes from above and leaves the lower half of his round face in deep shadow. His hair is closely cropped and he has a pencil-thin mustache. He looks up over the reader's right shoulder, his full lips barely open, as if thinking what his next words will be.

1973 The first portable cell phone call was made in New York City.

Mobile phone 1973.jpg 

1974 – The Super Outbreak occured, the biggest tornado outbreak in recorded history. The death toll was 315, with nearly 5,500 injured.

1975 Bobby Fischer refused to play in a chess match against Anatoly Karpov, giving Karpov the title of World Champion by default.

Karpov, Anatoly (Flickr).jpg

1982 The United Kingdom sent a naval task force to the south Atlantic to reclaim the disputed Malvinas/Falkland Islands from Argentina.

1996 Suspected “Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski was arrested.

1996 A United States Air Force airplane carrying United States Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown crashed in Croatia, killing all 35 on board.

1997 The Thalit massacre began in Algeria; all but 1 of the 53 inhabitants of Thalit were killed by guerrillas.

2000 United States v. Microsoft: Microsoft was ruled to have violated United States antitrust laws by keeping “an oppressive thumb” on its competitors.

 

2004  Islamic terrorists involved in the 11 March 2004 Madrid attacks were trapped by the police in their apartment and killed themselves.

2007  Conventional-Train World Speed Record: a French TGV train on the LGV Est high speed line set an official new world speed record.

 

2008 ATA Airlines, once one of the 10 largest U.S. passenger airlines and largest charter airline, filed for bankruptcy for the second time in 5 years and ceases all operations.

2009  Australia formally adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Indalo symbol

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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