Word of the day


Copacetic – in excellent order; very satisfactory or acceptable; fine.

Rural round-up


When Christmas is no holiday :

For some Kiwis, Christmas is just another day at the office. Among those at work on Christmas Day this year are a midwife, firefighter, zookeeper, farmer and paramedic. SIOBHAN DOWNES finds out how they will celebrate.


One Dannevirke sharemilker is making sure you get “a nice bit of cream on your strawberries” come Christmas morning.

Neil Filer will be sneaking out at 3.30am to tend to the cows, trying not to wake his two excited children.

“They won’t be going back to sleep otherwise!” . .

Year in review – January – Rebecca Harper:

Beef exporters received a boost with the news United States imported beef prices were at record levels and expected to go higher during the year. The price lift was attributed to high feed grain prices, the smallest US cattle herd in 50 years and limited supplies from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Latin America.

The Fonterra Shareholders Fund unit price rose over December and January – up 32% from the November 30 opening price of $5.50 to $7.29. . . .

Loss of ‘adopted’ eels upsets Fonterra staff – Charlottte Squire:

A project to clean up Watercress Creek that runs through the Fonterra factory at Takaka has won a national river award, but its staff are upset at the loss of their “adopted” long-term resident eels.

Last month a National Rivers Award was given to Tasman District Council environmental educator Claire Webster for the significant improvement of the waterway and habitat.

The combined efforts of Keep Golden Bay Beautiful, Fonterra and local schools meant the quality of the water in the creek and its habitat has dramatically improved over the last few years.

Ms Webster, who co-ordinated the project, gave strong credit to Fonterra for the clean up of the waterway. . .

Taking the fight to field horsetail – Rebecca Harper:

A collaborative approach to weeding out a troublesome pest is yielding results in Rangitikei and Manawatu.

Field horsetail is a notoriously difficult weed to control.

It appears after winter from an extensive underground root system up to three metres deep.

It is spreading throughout the district, particularly on the lower floodplains of Rangitikei River, prompting NZ Landcare Trust to partner with local farmers to try to combat it. . .

Thursday’s questions


1. What’s the most memorable present you’ve given or got?

2. What’s a favourite Christmas memory?

3. What’s your perfect Christmas meal and where and when would you eat it?

4. What’s your favourite Christmas story, book or poem?

5. How do you like to spend Boxing Day?



From water.org:

More people have a mobile phone than a toilet.
Even when you take into account most households don’t have a loo per person, that’s still far too few loos, too much inadequate sanitation and far too many preventable health problems as a consequence.

Communication better and worse


Through one of the marvels of modern Science, I am enabled, this Christmas Day, to speak to all my peoples throughout the Empire. I take it as a good omen that Wireless should have reached its present perfection at a time when the Empire has been linked in closer union. For it offers us immense possibilities to make that union closer still.

These are the opening lines of the first royal Christmas broadcast, made by King George V in 1932, the background to which you can read here.

Illustrating how far communication has come since then, this year’s royal Christmas speech is on YouTube.

Technological advances have made it much easier, and relatively cheaper, to communicate with people all around the world.

When I went on my OE in the early 80s, I made two phone calls home in 11 months. Our daughter’s on her OE now and we chat several times a week via Facetime or skype.

It is much easier for politicians to communicate through their own Facebook and Twitter accounts.

However, how much of these messages go much beyond those already supporting them or political tragics keeping up with the other side is a moot point – at least until they make a SMOG (Social Media Own Goal) when the message is likely to go far further than they’d like.

There is a downside to this easy communication though and that sometimes people ignore the people they’re with while concentrating on phones or other mobile devices.

As Einstein said:

I fear the day that technology will surpass our interaction the world will have a generation of idiots.

‘Tis the day after Christmas


‘Tis the day after Christmas, one of the best of the year.

There’s not much to do and all day to do it.

Relaxing with family is going to take priority over blogging for me.

Thank you for the Christmas greetings you’ve left in comments.

I’ve pre-loaded posts to appear throughout the day but feel free to consider this a soapbox should you want to share your thoughts.

December 26 in history


1135 – Coronation of King Stephen of England.

1481 – Battle of Westbrook – Holland defeated troops of Utrecht.

1620 Pilgrim Fathers landed at what became New Plymouth in Massachusetts.

1716  Thomas Gray, English writer, was born (d. 1771).

1780  Mary Fairfax Somerville, British mathematician, was born (d. 1872).

1791 Charles Babbage, English mathematician and inventor, was born (d. 1871).

1860  The first ever inter-club football match took place between Hallam F.C. and Sheffield F.C. at the Sandygate Road ground in Sheffield.

1862 Four nuns serving as volunteer nurses on board USS Red Rover were the first female nurses on a U.S. Navy hospital ship.

1870 The 12.8-km long Fréjus Rail Tunnel through the Alps was completed.

1871 – Gilbert and Sullivan collaborated for the first time, on their lost opera, Thespis.

1879 In Christchurch, 30 Catholic Irishmen attacked an Orange (Protestant) procession with pick-handles, while in Timaru 150 men from Thomas O’Driscoll’s Hibernian Hotel surrounded Orangemen and prevented their procession taking place.

Sectarian violence in Canterbury

1891 Henry Miller, American writer, was born  (d. 1980).

1893 Mao Zedong, Chinese military leader and politician, was born (d. 1976).

1898 Marie and Pierre Curie announced the isolation of radium.

1919   Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox was sold to the New York Yankees by owner Harry Frazee.

1933 FM radio was patented.

1935 – Abdul “Duke” Fakir, American singer (The Four Tops), was born.

1940 –  Phil Spector, American music producer, was born.

1942 Marco Vinicio Cerezo Arévalo, Guatemalan president, was born.

1949 José Ramos-Horta, President of East Timor, Nobel laureate, was born.

1953 Leonel Fernández, President of the Dominican Republic, was born.

1953 Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia, was born.

1980 Aeroflot put the Ilyushin Il-86 into service.

1982 Time Magazine’s Man of the Year was for the first time a non-human, the personal computer.

1986 World Population reached 5 billion according to www.ibiblio.org world population tracker.

1991  The Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the USSR.

2003 A magnitude 6.6 earthquake devastated southeast Iranian city of Bam, killing tens of thousands and destroying the citadel of Arg-é Bam.

2004 A 9.0 magnitude earthquake created a tsunami causing devastation in Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Maldives and many other areas around the rim of the Indian Ocean, killing 230,000 people.

2006 The 2006 Hengchun earthquake (7.1 magnitude)  hit Taiwan.

2011 –  Cyclone Dagmar swept over Scandinavia, deracinating trees, disrupting public traffic, and destroying buildings.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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