Bryce Courtenay 1933 – 2012

23/11/2012

A media release accompanying the release of Bryce Courtney’s latest book announced it would be his last because he had terminal cancer.

The news of his death,  therefore, wasn’t unexpected.

It is with sadness Penguin Group (Australia) wish to advise that Bryce Courtenay AM passed away peacefully at 11:30pm on Thursday 22 November in Canberra with his wife Christine, his family and his beloved pets Tim, the dog, and Cardamon, the Burmese cat by his side. He was 79.

Christine Courtenay said this morning, “We’d like to thank all of Bryce’s family and friends and all of his fans around the world for their love and support for me and his family as he wrote the final chapter of his extraordinary life. And may we make a request for privacy as we cherish his memory.”

Gabrielle Coyne, Chief Executive Officer, Penguin Group (Australia) said, “It has been our great privilege to be Bryce’s publisher for the past 15 years. We, as well as his many fans will forever miss Bryce’s indomitable spirit, his energy and his commitment to storytelling.”

Bob Sessions, Bryce Courtenay’s long standing Publisher at Penguin said, “Bryce took up writing in his fifties, after a successful career in advertising. His output and his professionalism made him a pleasure to work with, and I’m happy to say he became a good friend, referring to me as ‘Uncle Bob’, even when we were robustly negotiating the next book contract. He was a born storyteller, and I would tell him he was a ‘latter-day Charles Dickens’, with his strong and complex plots, larger-than-life characters, and his ability to appeal to a large number of readers.
“Virtually each year for the last 15 years, I have worked with Bryce on a new novel. He would write a 600 page book in around six months, year in, year out. To achieve that feat he used what he called ‘bum glue’, sometimes writing for more than 12 hours a day. He brought to writing his books the same determination and dedication he showed in the more than 40 marathons he ran, most of them when he was well over 50. Not to have a new Bryce Courtenay novel to work on will leave a hole in my publishing life. Not to have Bryce Courtenay in my life, will be to miss the presence of a very special friend.”

The last word belongs to Bryce himself. In a moving epilogue in his final book, Bryce said to readers “It’s been a privilege to write for you and to have you accept me as a storyteller in your lives. Now, as my story draws to an end, may I say only, ‘Thank you. You have been simply wonderful.’

My farmer heard Courtenay speak at a conference and said he was one of the most engaging and inspirational men he’d ever listened to.

I first came across his work when I was doing book reviews for radio and enjoyed the novels.

But it was his autobiographical, April Fools Day, the story of the life and death of his son, a haemophiliac who contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion which really moved me.


Word of the day

23/11/2012

Repine – to feel or express discontent or dejection; be discontented or low in spirits; complain or fret; yearn after something.


Rural round-up

23/11/2012

NZ Govt to create $6m model dairy farm in Burma – Audrey Young:

The Government plans to step up development assistance to Burma by creating a $6 million model dairy farm over five years.

And President Thein Sein, who has a special interest in agriculture, is expected to visit New Zealand, possibly before Christmas, Prime Minister John Key said in Yangon. . .

New research shows oral cattle drench most effective

A new study by AgResearch scientists shows oral cattle drenches are far more effective than the equivalent pour-on or injectable products.
 
In a study soon to be published in the international science journal Veterinary Parasitology, AgResearch scientists Chris Miller and Dave Leathwick measured how effective the same drench active (moxidectin) was when given orally, as a pour-on or as an injectable. . .

Kiwi company launches premium salmon breed

New Zealand now has its own seafood version of Japan’s famed Wagyu[1] beef.

Ōra King is a new breed of salmon developed by Marlborough-based New Zealand King Salmon especially for fine dining in New Zealand and abroad.

The company says the brand represents its pinnacle of achievement, founded on more than two decades of classical breeding, reinforced by its world leading expertise in growing King salmon. . .

Matua Awarded New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year

Matua, the creator of New Zealand’s First Sauvignon Blanc, has been named the 2012 New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year by the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC), based in London.

Sam Glaetzer, Director of New Zealand Wine Production and Brands for Treasury Wine Estates, said that the award was a monumental win for the business. . .

Fruit ripening breakthrough:

Scientists at Leicester University have discovered a protein that ripens fruits early and could boost their value and sales dramatically.

The finding would enable farmers to accelerate or delay the ripening of entire fruits to prevent them falling victim to unseasonal weather.

The researchers have applied for a patent and are planning to test their discovery on tomatoes, bell peppers and citrus fruits.

They demonstrated for the first time that a regulatory system that governs how proteins are broken down in plant cells also affects chloroplasts – structures that control photosynthesis. . .


Fat & happy

23/11/2012

Canadian scientists have found proof for the adage fat and happy:

. . . Scientists out of McMaster University have discovered a happy gene — and it just so happens to be the same one that is a major contributor to obesity.

“So you can be obese, and happy,” said David Meyre, an associate professor at McMaster’s department of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics and a senior author of the study released Tuesday in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

“This is the first time we know there is some biological reason, or a pathology, behind something like mental health, especially depression,” added first author Zena Samaan, an assistant professor at McMaster’s department of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences.

The scientists set out to find out which genes leave people more susceptible to depression. What they found was that a gene that predisposes some people to obesity, called FTO, also offers some protection against depression. . .

If the happy gene is a  fat one, does the reverse apply making the miserable gene a skinny one?


Friday’s answers

23/11/2012

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”?

2. What’s the next line in this song and who sung it?

I can’t remember last time I thanked you,
Keeping my distance unintentionally.
Too close for comfort, just ain’t close enough.
If I could have more time we would brainstorm.
And I love you tender, but we must walk away,
Keeping you on my greeting card file.
And if it were different – did you know it ain’t?
Let’s get on with it love…

3. It’s fidèle  in French, leale in Italian, leal in Spanish and tōmau in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Members of which movement are supposed to be trusty, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind?

5.Does real love require true loyalty?

Points for answers:

Alwyn wins an electronic chocolate cake with four correct. If my memory is right, you quoted the Scout/guide motto and the trusty, loyal . . .  is the law.

Rob also wins an electronic chocolate cake with four correct and a bonus for wit.

Grant got 3/12 (right line, you missed the signer).

You all get a bonus electronic bag of meringues for restoring my faith in human nature with your answers to #5.

Read the rest of this entry »


No recession in restaurants

23/11/2012

My farmer and I were looking for somewhere to eat in Wellington on Wednesday evening.

The first place we stopped at had no spare tables and the second couldn’t take us until 9pm, which would have meant nearly an hour’s wait.

The next two were full and we finally got a table, and delicious food, at the fifth – Tuatara – which was busy but not quite full.

The city might not be booming but if full-houses mean anything there’s no sign of recession at the inner city restaurants.


What’s he going to farm?

23/11/2012

Film director James Cameron has gone vegan for the animals and the planet.

It’s not a requirement to eat animals, we just choose to do it, so it becomes a moral choice and one that is having a huge impact on the planet, using up resources and destroying the biosphere.”

He’s also bought New Zealand farms.

. . “They are acquiring the land as part of a larger acquisition of land in South Wairarapa, which they will use as a residence and working farm, ” . . .

If he thinks it’s morally better to not eat animals then it would follow that he thinks it’s wrong to farm them.

If the more than 1,000 hectares he now owns is going to be operated as a working farm, what’s he going to farm on it?

Trees for timber and/or carbon perhaps. Manuka for both carbon and honey might also be a possibility.


Not very democratic democracy

23/11/2012

Duncan Garner is less than impressed by the Labour party’s rule changes over its leadership selection.

The February following each election, Labour will be able to boot out their sitting leader – that leader may have just months earlier been crowned Prime Minister.

It’s a recipe for instability. Quite frankly it’s a disaster, a train-wreck waiting to happen.

Imagine what it would look like in the media: For Labour it would mean weeks of public sniping and bitching.

If the 40 percent caucus vote and 40 percent party member vote cancels each other out – i.e the caucus wants a change but the party members don’t, then guess who has the casting vote?

The unions. They get 20 percent.

Could the unions select the next Prime Minister? Yes. Could they dump a sitting Prime Minister just two or three months after they took office?Yes.

It’s democracy of sort for a party where some members are more equal than others, but it’s not very democratic for the country, if unions can depose a Prime Minister the public voted in only months before.

November 23 in history

23/11/2012

534 BC – Thespis of Icaria became the first actor to portray a character onstage.

1227 – Polish Prince Leszek I the White was assassinated at an assembly of Piast dukes at Gąsawa.

1248 – Conquest of Seville by the Christian troops under King Ferdinand III of Castile.

1499 – Pretender to the throne Perkin Warbeck was hanged for reportedly attempting to escape from the Tower of London.

1531 – The Second war of Kappel resulted in the dissolution of the Protestant alliance in Switzerland.

1644 – John Milton published Areopagitica, a pamphlet decrying censorship.

1808 – French and Poles defeated the Spanish at battle of Tudela.

1844 – Independence of the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein from Denmark.

1859 Billy The Kid, American outlaw, was born (d. 1881).

1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Chattanooga began.

1867 – The Manchester Martyrs were hanged for killing a police officer while freeing two Irish nationalists from custody.

1876 –  Tammany Hall leader William Marcy Tweed (better known as Boss Tweed) was delivered to authorities in New York City after being captured in Spain.

1887  Boris Karloff, British actor, was born (d. 1969).

1888 Harpo Marx, American comedian, was born (d. 1964).

1889 – The first jukebox went into operation at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco.

1890 – King William III of the Netherlands died without a male heir and a special law was passed to allow his daughter Princess Wilhelmina to become his heir.

1903 – Governor of Colorado James Peabody sent the state militia into the town of Cripple Creek to break up a miners’ strike.

1910 – Johan Alfred Ander was the last person in Sweden to be executed.

1914 – Mexican Revolution: The last of U.S. forces withdrew from Veracruz.

1918 – Heber J. Grant succeeded Joseph F. Smith as the seventh president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

1934 – An Anglo-Ethiopian boundary commission in the Ogaden discovered an Italian garrison at Walwal, well within Ethiopian territory which led to the Abyssinia Crisis.

1936 – The first edition of Life was published.

1940 – World War II: Romania became a signatory of the Tripartite Pact, officially joining the Axis Powers.

1943 – World War II: The Deutsche Opernhaus on Bismarckstraße in the Berlin was destroyed.

1946 – French Navy fire in Hai Phong, Viet Nam, killed 6,000 civilians.

1947 A civic funeral was held for the 41 victims of the Ballantynes Fire.

Civic funeral for 41 Ballantynes fire victims

1949  Sandra Stevens, British singer, member of pop group Brotherhood of Man, was born.

1955 – The Cocos Islands were transferred from the control of the United Kingdom to Australia.

1959 – General Charles de Gaulle,  declared in a speech in Strasbourg his vision for a “Europe, “from the Atlantic to the Urals.”

1963 – The BBC broadcast the first episode of Doctor Who (starring William Hartnell) which is the world’s longest running science fiction drama.

1971 – Representatives of China attended the United Nations, for the first time.

1976 – Apneist Jacques Mayol was the first man to reach a depth of 100 m undersea without breathing equipment.

1979 –  Provisional Irish Republican Army member Thomas McMahon was sentenced to life in prison for the assassination of Lord Mountbatten.

1980 – A series of earthquakes in southern Italy killed approximately 4,800 people.

1981 – Iran-Contra Affair: Ronald Reagan signed the top secret National Security Decision Directive 17 (NSDD-17), giving the Central Intelligence Agency the authority to recruit and support Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

1985 – Gunmen hijacked EgyptAir Flight 648,  when the plane landed in Malta, Egyptian commandos stormed the  jetliner, but 60 people died in the raid.

1990 – The first all woman expedition to the south pole (3 Americans, 1 Japanese and 12 Russians), set off from Antarctica on the 1st leg of a 70 day, 1287 kilometre ski trek.

1992  Miley Cyrus, American actress and singer/songwriter, was born.

1993 – Rachel Whiteread won both the £20,000 Turner Prize award for best British modern artist and the £40,000 K Foundation art award for the worst artist of the year.

1996 – Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 was hijacked, then crashed into the Indian Ocean after running out of fuel, killing 125.

2001 – Convention on Cybercrime was signed in Budapest.

2003 – Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze resigned following weeks of mass protests over flawed elections.

2005 – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected president of Liberia and became the first woman to lead an African country.

2007 – MS Explorer, a cruise liner carrying 154 people, sank in the Antarctic Ocean south of Argentina after hitting an iceberg. There were no fatalities.

2009 – The Maguindanao massacre.

2010 – The Bombardment of Yeonpyeong  on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea. The North Korean artillery attack killed 2 civilians and 2 South Korean marines.

2011 –  Arab Spring: After 11 months of protests in Yemen, The Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh signed a deal to transfer power to the vice president, in exchange for legal immunity.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: