Word of the day


Cumshaw – a present; gratuity; tip, reward for service; expression of thanks.

Saturday Smiles


The Australian Government and the NSW Forestry Service were presenting an alternative to NSW sheep farmers for controlling the dingo population.

After years of sheep farmers using the tried and tested methods of shooting and/or trapping the predators, the Government and animal rights activists had a ‘more humane’ solution.

They called a meeting of farmers and put forward their proposal.

What they proposed was for the animals to be captured alive. The males would be castrated and let loose again and thus the dingo population would be controlled.

The sheep farmers greeted this proposal with stunned silence.

Finally, one of the old boys in the back of the room stood up, tipped his hat back and said, “I don’t think you understand our problem, the dingos aren’t chasing the sheep for sex, they’re chasing them for food.”*

*This story came in an email in which the farmer phrased it somewhat more bluntly than that. I’ve changed the words but retained the meaning.

The Night Visitors


The Night Visitors, a play by Paul Baker, was commissioned for the Oamaru Scott 100 celebrations.

It is based on the story of two men who rowed ashore from the Terra Nova to telegraph the news of Captain Robert Scott’s death to the world. Sponsorship from a media company gave it first rights to the news so the visit was shrouded in secrecy.

Dr Baker explains in the programme:

Almost everything in the play that happens within the Forrest household is plausible, but fictitious.

Almost Everything that is referred to outside the Forrest household is factual.

The play is set in the home of harbour master Edgar Forrest (Jon Pheloung) and his wife Enid (Caroline Claver) where  Lieutenant Kerr (Richard Huber) and Surgeon Lieutenant Adams (Francis Biggs) come to wait until the telegraph office opens.

Underlying tensions between the Forrests  and their sons,  Jack (Nathan Mudge) and Cecil (Cody McRae), are brought to a head by the arrival of the visitors.

Edgar is in charge of the harbour but Enid rules the home; Jack  is a misfit in his family and small-town Oamaru; there are questions, and questioning, of faith and science; and there’s the unresolved grief over the death from cancer of 12 year-old Emily but “we don’t talk about Emily”.

All this provides drama aplenty but there is also lots of comedy with some very, very funny one-lines, many of which are delivered by Enid.

Baker’s script artfully weaves the intersection of the biggest international news of the day and other historical events  with the domestic drama within the family.

Under the skilful direction of Patrick Davies the actors bring the people and events of the time to life with realism and feeling.

This is a professional performance which I highly recommend.

The Night Visitors opened on Wednesday and has sold-out each night so far.

Performances continue at 4pm and 8pm today and the season concludes at 1pm tomorrow.

How appropriate


Labour’s Dunedin North MP tweets:

Clark tweet 09022013

Is there any more appropriate place for a prospective member of a Labour/Green government than Thieves Alley?

Hat Tip: Keeping Stock

No excuses


An appeal by the Ministry of Primary Industries has resulted in a prison sentence for a farmer charged with animal welfare abuses.

. . . Lourens Barend Erasmus was sentenced to two years and one month imprisonment. Justice Priestly described his offending as “wilful, intentional and repetitive”, he deferred the start of the jail term until Monday and bailed Erasmus to his Pastor’s Waihi home.

Waikato/ Bay of Plenty District Compliance Manager Brendon Mikkelsen said Erasmus’ offending was the worst type of animal welfare cruelty dealt with in his district, and likely nationally through the courts.

The MPI investigation found that he had been breaking his cows tails (115 of the 135 cow herd) hitting them on the hind legs with a stainless steel pipe and stainless still milking cups at the milking shed. Brendon Mikkelsen said “The MPI inspection in late February 2012 revealed serious animal welfare issues, with cows on the property showing obvious signs of injuries and severe distress”.

“This sentencing reflects the view of MPI, industry and the Courts that any animal welfare abuse is unacceptable. MPI believes the sentencing reflects the seriousness of the offending and sends a strong message that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated.”

Persons in charge of animals have an obligation to the welfare of those animals, and the vast majority of persons in charge of animals on farms and the industry take their obligations very seriously.

MPI’s Animal Welfare team cannot be everywhere so it is vital that farmers, the industry, associated on-farm service providers and the public maintain vigilance and report animal welfare breaches on our hot line 0800 00 83 33. Calls can be treated in confidence if necessary. MPI and industry will continue to work together to help ensure this type of incident does not occur in the future.

There are no excuses for abusing animals.

The MPI was correct to appeal an earlier, lesser sentence of home detention and the court is correct to treat this as a very serious offence.

Saturday soapbox


This soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation.

You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, to muse or amuse.


February 9 in history


474 Zeno was crowned as co-emperor of the Byzantine Empire.

1555 Bishop of Gloucester John Hooper was burned at the stake.

1621 Gregory XV became Pope, the last Pope elected by acclamation.

1770 Captain Cook completed his circumnavigation of the North Island.

Cook completes circumnavigation of North Island

1773 William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States, was born (d. 1841).

1789 Franz Xaver Gabelsberger, German inventor of the stenography, was born (d. 1849).

1825 After no presidential candidate received a majority of electoral votes, the United States House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams President.

1849 New Roman Republic was established.

1865 Mrs. Patrick Campbell, British actress (b0rn Beatrice Stella Tanner), was born (d. 1940).

1870 – The U.S. Weather Bureau was established.

1874 Amy Lowell, American poet, was born (d. 1925).

1885 The first Japanese government-approved immigrants arrived in Hawaii.

1889 The United States Department of Agriculture was established as a Cabinet-level agency.

1891 Ronald Colman, English actor, was born (d. 1958).

1895 William G. Morgan created a game called Mintonette, which was soon referred to as volleyball.

1897 – Charles Kingsford Smith, Australian pilot, was born  (d. 1935).

1900 Wanganui Opera House opened.

1900 The Davis Cup competition was established.

1920 Under the terms of the Spitsbergen Treaty, international diplomacy recognised Norwegian sovereignty over Arctic archipelago Svalbard, and designated it as demilitarized.

1926 Garret FitzGerald, 7th Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland, was born.

1934 The Balkan Entente is formed.

1936 Stompin’ Tom Connors, Canadian country singer, was born.

1940  Brian Bennett, British musician (The Shadows), was born.

1940 – J. M. Coetzee, South African author, Nobel laureate, was born.

1942 – Year-round Daylight saving time was re-instated in the United States as a wartime measure to help conserve energy resources.

1942 Carole King, American singer, was born.

1943 World War II: Allied authorities declare Guadalcanal secure after Imperial Japan evacuates its remaining forces from the island, ending the Battle of Guadalcanal.

1944  Alice Walker, American writer, was born.

1945 Mia Farrow, American actress, was born.

1945 The Battle of the Atlantic – HMS Venturer sank U-864 off the coast of Fedje, Norway, in a rare instance of submarine-to-submarine combat.

1947 Carla Del Ponte, Swiss UN prosecutor, was born.

1950 Second Red Scare: Senator Joseph McCarthy accused the United States Department of State of being filled with Communists.

1955 Charles Shaughnessy, British actor, was born.
1960 Joanne Woodward received the first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1960 Holly Johnson, British singer (Frankie Goes to Hollywood), was born.

1962 Jamaica became independent.

1964 The Beatles made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing before a “record-busting” audience of 73 million viewers.

1965 The first United States combat troops were sent to South Vietnam.

1969 First test flight of the Boeing 747.

1970 Glenn McGrath, Australian cricketer, was born.

1971 The 6.4 Richter Scale Sylmar earthquake hits the San Fernando Valley area of California.

1971  Satchel Paige became the first Negro League player to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1971 Apollo 14 returned to Earth after the third manned moon landing.

1975 The Soyuz 17 Soviet spacecraft returned to Earth.

1991 Voters in Lithuania voted for independence.

1994 Vance-Owen peace plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina was announced.

1995 Space Shuttle astronauts Bernard A. Harris, Jr. and Michael Foale became the first African American and first Briton, respectively, to perform spacewalks.

1996 The Irish Republican Army declared the end of its 18 month ceasefire shortly followed by the explosion of a large bomb in London’s Canary Wharf.

2001 The submarine USS Greeneville (SSN-772) accidentally struck and sunk the Ehime-Maru, a Japanese training vessel.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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