Where there’s steam there’s sparks


Bringing a steam train from Dunedin was a popular idea with the 400 seats on offer snapped up by people keen to enjoy the journey and the destination.

When I went into Oamaru around midday yesterday businesses in the town’s historic precinct was ready and waiting for the passengers.

But while the idea was popular it wasn’t such a good one in the middle of a very dry summer.

Where there’s steam there’s fire and where there’s fire there are sparks, some of which ignited the tinder dry growth along the railway line:

Firefighters are battling a cluster of large scrub fires stretching for kilometres south of Oamaru.

The fires, which began about 2.30pm, were believed to have been sparked by a vintage steam train on an excursion from Dunedin, passengers on board said.

Thirteen fire appliances and two helicopters armed with monsoon buckets were helping tackle the fires, which stretched from Maheno north as far as Oamaru, Otago Rural Fire Authority principal rural fire officer Stephanie Rotarangi said. . .



There were four helicopters by late afternoon and friends were busy dampening down hot spots on their boundary and spraying canary seed to keep it wet.

fire 2




The worst appears to be over now but it will be a nervous night for people near the line.

Stuff has more on the story and photos here.

Word of the day


Quiff – a piece of hair brushed upwards and backwards from a man’s forehead;  a prominent forelock; clever trick, ploy, or stratagem to achieve a desired end, especially by unorthodox, irregular, or time-saving means; a dodge; a tip.

Saturday’s smiles


Three little pigs went out to dine at a restaurant.

The waiter greeted them and asked what they’d like to drink.

The first pig orders a pinot noir, the second pig opted for a beer, and the third pig ordered a large water, with no ice.

The waiter brought their drinks and took their orders for entrees.

The first pig chose whitebait, the second pig ordered scallops, and the third pig asked for another large water, with no ice.

The waiter took their orders for mains.

The first pig opted for warm lamb salad. Pig number two ordered blue cod with chips and the vegetable of the day. The third pig ordered another large water, without ice.

When the waiter cleared their plates he brought the dessert menu. The first pig ordered strawberries and  ice cream. The second pig ordered pavlova with fruit salad. The third pig repeated his order for a large water without ice.

When the waiter came back later to clear their plates and hand them the bill his curiosity got the better of him and he said to the third pig, “Excuse me sir, I can’t help wondering why when you’re here with so much fine food to choose from, all you’ve ordered is large glasses of water with no ice?”

The third pig sighed and said, “I drew the short straw and I’m the one who has to go wee-wee-wee all the way home.”

Practical change


Quote of the day:
We need to reform the RMA to protect the great Kiwi lifestyle and the great Kiwi environment.</p>
<p>Like and share if you agree.

Saturday soapbox


Saturday’s 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, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but please not abuse.
The Master Shift's photo.

January 24 in history


41 Gaius Caesar (Caligula), known for his eccentricity and cruel despotism, was assassinated by his disgruntled Praetorian Guards. Claudius succeeded his nephew.

76 – Hadrian, Roman Emperor, was born (d. 138).

1670  William Congreve, English playwright, was born (d. 1729).

1679 – King Charles II disbanded Parliament.

1742 – Charles VII Albert became Holy Roman Emperor.

1848 – California Gold Rush: James W. Marshall found gold at Sutter’s Mill near Sacramento.

1857 The University of Calcutta was formally founded as the first full-fledged university in south Asia.

1859  Political union of Moldavia and Wallachia; Alexandru Ioan Cuza was elected as ruler.

1862  Bucharest proclaimed capital of Romania.

1864 Marguerite Durand, French feminist leader, was born (d. 1936).

1865 General Cameron left Wanganui with 1200 Imperial troops to invade southern Taranaki.

Imperial forces invade South Taranaki
1872 Ethel Turner, Australian author, was born (d. 1958).

1916 – In Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad, the Supreme Court of the United States declared the federal income tax constitutional.

1924 –Petrograd, formerly Saint Petersburg, was renamed Leningrad.

1928 Desmond Morris, British anthropologist, was born.

1930 – Bernard Matthews, British poultry industry figure , was born (d. 2010).

1941 Neil Diamond, American singer, was born.

1952 Vincent Massey was sworn in as the first Canadian-born Governor-General of Canada.

1957 Adrian Edmondson, English comedian, was born.

1961 – 1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash: A bomber carrying two H-bombs broke up in mid-air over North Carolina. One weapon nearly detonated.

1972 Japanese Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi was found hiding in a Guam jungle, where he had been since the end of World War II.

1977 Massacre of Atocha in Madrid, during the Spanish transition to democracy.

1978 Soviet satellite Cosmos 954, with a nuclear reactor on board, burnt up in Earth’s atmosphere, scattering radioactive debris over Canada’s Northwest Territories.
1980 – The ambassador of the Soviet Union, Vsevolod Sofinsky, was ordered to leave New Zealand for giving money to the pro-Soviet Socialist Unity Party.
1984 The first Apple Macintosh went on sale.

1986 Voyager 2 passed within 81,500 km (50,680 miles) of Uranus.

2003 The United States Department of Homeland Security officially began operation.

2009 – The storm Klaus made landfall near Bordeaux. It subsequently caused 26 deaths as well as extensive disruptions to public transport and power supplies.

2011 – At least 35 died and 180 injured in a bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport.

2014 – Three bombs exploded in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, killing about 7 people and injuring over 100 others.

2014 – The Philippines and the Bangsamoro agreed to a peace deal that would help end the 45-year conflict.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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