366 days of gratitude


My car spent last night outside.

When I went to drive it this morning the windows were covered in frost.

A few years ago something I bought came with a free scraped with which I was able to clear all the windows in a very short time.

I’ve long forgotten what it was I bought but the scraper is a gift which keeps on giving and I’m grateful for it.

Word of the day


Rumption – state of noisy, bustling disorder; an uproar.

Saturday’s smiles


Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten were sitting next to each other on a flight from Sydney to Canberra. Bill leaned over to Malcolm and asked if he would like to play a fun game. Malcolm  just wanted to take a nap, so he politely declined and turned towards the window to catch a few winks.

Shorten persisted saying that the game was really easy and a lot of fun. “I ask you a question, and if you don’t know the answer, you pay me $5, and visa-versa.”

Again, Turnbull politely declined and tried to get some shut-eye.

Shorten, now somewhat tetchy, said, “Okay, if you don’t know the answer you pay me $5, and if I don’t know the answer, I will pay you $50.”

That caught Malcolm’s attention. He also knew from long experiences with Bill in Parliament that there would be no end to this torment unless he played, so he agreed to the game.

Shorten asked the first question. “How much is the GST on a loaf of bread?” Malcolm reached into his wallet without saying a word, pulled out $5 and handed it to Bill.

Now, it’s Malcolm’s turn. He asked Bill, “What hops, carries its young in its pouch and flies?”

Shorten looked at Turnbull with a puzzled frown. He took out his laptop computer and searched all his references. He tapped into the air phone with his modem and searched the internet and the Commonwealth National Library. Frustrated, he sent emails to all his mates in the Labor Party and finally people in the Green Party. None of them had the answer.

After more than an hour and as the plane is approaching the airport to land, he woke up Turnbull and handed him $50. Malcolm took the $50 and readied himself for landing.

Bill, who was more than a little miffed, asked, “Well, so what’s the answer!”

Wordlessly,  Malcolm reached into his wallet, handed Bill a $5 note, and said, “What a pity the voters won’t know that you stayed awake for the whole flight and lost $40 and I slept most of the way but still finished $40 better off.”

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 not abuse.

Sue Fitzmaurice, Author's photo.

Do yourself a favour. 

If it is unappetising: do not eat, date or sign up for it.

If the mere thought of it is depressing: do not major in it, sit through it or devote your life to it.

If it is Not important to you don’t do it just because it’s important to someone else. – Sue Fitzmaurice.

July 2 in history


626 In fear of assassination, Li Shimin ambushed and killed his rival brothers Li Yuanji and Li Jiancheng in the Incident at Xuanwu Gate.

706 Emperor Zhongzong of Tang had the remains of Emperor Gaozong of Tang, his wife and recently-deceased ruling empress Wu Zetian, her son Li Xian, her grandson Li Chongrun, and granddaughter Li Xianhui interred in a new tomb complex, the Qianling Mausoleum, located on Mount Liang.

963  The imperial army proclaimed Nicephorus Phocas to be Emperor of the Romans.

1298  The Battle of Göllheim between Albert I of Habsburg and Adolf of Nassau-Weilburg.

1489  Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, was born  (d. 1556).

1494  The Treaty of Tordesillas was ratified by Spain.

1555  Turgut Reis sacked Paola.

1561 Menas, Emperor of Ethiopia, defeated a revolt in Emfraz.

1582  Battle of Yamazaki: Toyotomi Hideyoshi defeated Akechi Mitsuhide.

1613 The first English expedition from Massachusetts against Acadia led by Samuel Argall.

1644 English Civil War: the Battle of Marston Moor.

1679  Europeans first visited Minnesota and saw headwaters of Mississippi in an expedition led by Daniel Greysolon de Du Luth.

1698  Thomas Savery patented the first steam engine.

1776  The Continental Congress adopted a resolution severing ties with Great Britain.

1777 Vermont became the first American territory to abolish slavery.

1823  Bahia Independence Day: the end of Portuguese rule in Brazil, with the final defeat of the Portuguese crown loyalists in the province of Bahia.

1839 – 53 rebelling African slaves led by Joseph Cinque took over the slave ship Amistad.

1871  Victor Emmanuel II entered Rome after its conquest from the Papal States.

1877  Hermann Hesse, German-born writer, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1962).

1881 Charles J. Guiteau shot and fatally wounded U.S. President James Garfield.

1897 Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi obtained patent for radio in London.

1900 The first zeppelin flight took place.

1903   Alec Douglas-Home, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born. (d. 1995).

1903  King Olav V of Norway, was born (d. 1991).

1917 Murry Wilson, American musician and producer (The Beach Boys), was born (d. 1973).

1917  The East St. Louis Riots ended.

1929 Imelda Marcos, First Lady of the Philippines, was born.

1930 Carlos Menem, former President of Argentina, was born.

1934 Tom Springfield, British singer and songwriter (The Springfields), was born.

1934  The Night of the Long Knives ended with the death of Ernst Röhm.

1937  Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan awee last heard from over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first equatorial round-the-world flight.

1938  The electrified rail line between central Wellington and the northern suburb of Johnsonville was officially opened by Minister of Railways Dan Sullivan and Wellington Mayor Thomas Hislop.

Electric trains come to Wellington

1939 Paul Williams, American singer (The Temptations), was born (d. 1973).

1940  Indian independence leader Subhas Chandra Bose was arrested and detained in Calcutta.

1950  The Golden Pavilion at Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto burned down.

1953 Mark Hart, American musician (Crowded House and Supertramp), was born.

1954 Pete Briquette, Irish musician (The Boomtown Rats), was born.

1956 Jerry Hall, American actress and model, was born.

1962  The first Wal-Mart store opened for business in Rogers, Arkansas.

1966  French military explodeed a nuclear test bomb codenamed Aldébaran in Mururoa, their first nuclear test in the Pacific.

1976  North and South Vietnam, divided since 1954, reunited to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

1985 Andrei Gromyko was appointed the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union.

1987  Nilde Iotti was named as the first female President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

1993 – 37 participants in an Alevi cultural and literary festival were killed when a mob of demonstrators set fire to their hotel in Sivas during a protest.

2000 Vicente Fox Quesada was elected the first President of México from an opposition party, the Partido Acción Nacional, after more than 70 years of continuous rule by the Partido Revolucionario Institucional.

2001  The AbioCor self contained artificial heart was first implanted.

2002 Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop in a balloon.

2003  Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of Italy, insulted German MP Martin Schulz by calling him a “kapo” during a session of the European Parliament.

2004 ASEAN Regional Forum accepted Pakistan as its 24th member.¨

2005 – Live 8 took place in London’s Hyde Park and other locations around the world.

2008  Ingrid Betancourt, and 14 other hostages held by FARC guerrillas, are rescued by the Colombian armed forces.

2010 – The South Kivu tank truck explosion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo killed at least 230 people.

2013  – A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Aceh, Indonesia, killing at least 42 people and injuring 420 others.

2015 – A bridge collapsed under a Pakistan Army train at Gujranwala, killing nineteen and injuring over 100

2015 – A ferry capsised in Ormoc, Leyte, Philippines, killing 62 of 220 passengers.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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