365 days of gratitude

February 25, 2018

If you’d asked me who Emma Chambers was I couldn’t have told you.

She’d made me laugh as she played Alice Tinker in The Vicar of Dibley and Honey Thacker in Notting Hill, but I knew nothing of the actress behind the character.

Only now she’s died, aged just 53, have I learned her name.

Can you be sad about the death of someone you never knew?

Yes, at the very least in sympathy, and even empathy, for those who did know and lover her.

And I can be grateful too for her comedic talent and the gift of laughter.

 


Emma Chambers – 11.3.64 – 24.2.18

February 25, 2018

Emma Chambers, the actress who played the delightfully ditzy Alice Tinker in The Vicar of Dibbly has died.

Known for playing Alice Tinker in The Vicar of Dibley, Doncaster-born Chambers also had roles in Notting Hill and a Martin Chuzzlewit adaptation.

Chambers died from natural causes on Wednesday evening and would be “greatly missed”, her agent John Grant said.

“Emma created a wealth of characters and an immense body of work,” he added. . . 

In 1998, she won the British Comedy Award for best TV actress for her performance.

Jon Plowman, executive producer of the series and former head of comedy at the BBC, described Chambers as “bright and clever”.

He said: “Emma was a gifted comic actress who made any part she played – no matter how ditzy or other worldly – look easy.” . . 


Word of the day

February 25, 2018

Reduplication – an often grammatically functional repetition of a radical element or a part of it occurring usually at the beginning of a word and often accompanied by change of the radical vowel; a morphological process in which the root or stem of a word (or part of it) or even the whole word is repeated exactly or with a slight change;  a word-formation process in which meaning is expressed by repeating all or part of a word (eg crisscross, dillydally; flimflam).


Pretty Good

February 25, 2018

having a sneaking suspicion that all that putting herself back together would’ve gone faster if she’d just stood in front of the mirror & shrugged & said Looks pretty good to me. – Pretty Good   © 2018 Brian Andreas – posted with permission.

You can buy books, posters, cards, ornaments and more and sign up for a daily dose of whimsy like this by email at Story People.


Rural round-up

February 25, 2018

M. bovis progarmme being speeded up – Sally Rae:

The Ministry for Primary Industries is accelerating its tracing and surveillance programme so a decision whether to proceed with Mycoplasma bovis eradication can be made as soon as possible.

It has urged any dairy and beef farmers who believe they may have animals at high risk of infection to make contact immediately.

”Right now, we need to hear from any farmers who have bought cows and calves or milk for calf feed from farms that have been publicly identified as infected. If these farmers haven’t already heard from us through our tracing work, we would dearly like to hear from them,” director of response Geoff Gwyn said.

The MPI was particularly interested to hear from those who had received cattle or calves from Southland-based Southern Centre Dairies Ltd at any time after January 1, 2016, and had not already been contacted by the MPI. . . 

Swede seed mix up in ‘human error’ leaves farmers with wrong variety – Brittany Pickett:

A “human error” in seed deliveries across much of the country has resulted in hundreds of farmers planting the wrong variety of swedes on their properties.  

PGG Wrightson Seeds has alerted farmers who bought the new seed variety, Hawkestone yellow-fleshed Cleancrop swede, that a different line of white-fleshed swede, HT-S57, had been distributed to customers instead.

HT-S57 swede was phased out in 2016 and replaced with the Hawkestone swede variety.

However, the HT-S57 seed was distributed to farmers for planting for winter feed instead of the new Hawkestone swede variety. The company said in a statement that the mistake was caused by human error.. . .

Demand leaves NZ livestock numbers low – Sally Rae:

Livestock numbers available for processing over the rest of the season are lower than in any of the previous five seasons, a forecast by Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Economic Service shows.

Dry conditions and strong prices for lamb, mutton and beef in the December quarter drove high processing volumes.

The average values per tonne for lamb, mutton and beef exports were at record or near record levels in the December quarter, the forecast says.

The total number of lambs available for processing in 2017-18 was forecast to be up 1.3% on the previous season. . . 

Opotiki kiwifruit growers win BOP Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Kiwifruit growers Mark and Catriona White and their Coastal Kiwis orchard have won the Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Ten years ago, the couple embarked on a quest to find an improved lifestyle for their family away from the city and found it on a bare block of land near Opotiki.

Their work and passion have transformed part of an organic dairy farm into the successful 5.85ha orchard it is today, the Awards judges said. . . 

Rotorua and Hokitika farmers named as finalists for Māori excellence in farming award:

Two dairy farming operations are the finalists in the Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award.

They are Rotorua’s Onuku Māori Lands’ Trust and the Proprietors of Mawhera Incorporation (Hokitika).

The Onuku Māori Lands Trust’s Boundary Road Farm is a 72 hectare block near Lake Rotomahana, about 30 kilometres south of Rotorua. The farm milks 220 cows which produce about 90,000kg of milk solids. The trust  consists of four dairy farms, a drystock farm, forestry, natural reserves and a manuka plantation.  Onuku has also developed outside the farm gates, starting an export honey business called Onuku Honey. . . 

New beef product on the cards – Hugh Stringleman:

Fast-growing dairy-beef steers slaughtered at about 12 months of age could be the basis of a new-generation beef product range.

Rearing those cattle for the beef industry could address some of the concerns in the rural-urban divide about the two million annual bobby calf slaughter, Massey University researcher Nicola Schreurs said.

The short growing period to maximise growth efficiency should also help address concerns about beef’s high environmental footprint, a consequence of the animals’ two- or three-year life.

She told farmers at the annual Limestone Downs field day in northern Waikato about a  pilot study at Massey’s Keebles Farm where 80 Hereford-Kiwicross steers are being fast-tracked. . . 

 

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Alps 2 Ocean Ultra starts today

February 25, 2018

When Mike Sandri first suggested athletes from round the world might like to run the Alps 2 Ocean cycleway, and would pay well for doing so, some locals were skeptical.

But months of hard work by him and his team paid off and the race starts today:

A first for New Zealand, the ultra endurance race will involve athletes running self-supported on and around the 300km-plus Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail, which extends from Aoraki Mt Cook to Oamaru, over seven stages in seven days.

As it stands, stages one and two (53.85km) on day one have a 14hr cut-off; stage three (51.34km) on day two a 13hr cutoff; stage four (86.6km) on days three and four a 34hr cut-off; stage five (43.76km) on day five a 12hr cut-off; stage six (52.66km) on day six a 13hr cutoff; and stage seven (28.67km) on the final day a 6hr cut-off. Checkpoints will be set up every 10km to 15km, offering water and electrolytes.

Self-supported runners will have to carry their own food, sleeping mat, sleeping bag and other compulsory items for the entire seven days, while supported runners will have their food and bedding carried for them to the end of each stage.

They will still have to carry all compulsory gear and food for that day. Each team will comprise up to four runners, and each member will carry the same as an individual. Its origins go back to September 2016, when Mr Sandri took part in the Canyon to Canyon Ultra, a self-supported foot race covering about 280km over six gruelling days in testing conditions in the United States.

When talking to his fellow competitors, they queried him as to why there was no organised ultra race in New Zealand.

“I thought that was actually a pretty good question,” he said.

Mr Sandri believed the terrain from Aoraki Mt Cook to Oamaru would be perfect for such as race, and when he returned from the Canyon to Canyon event, he set his idea in motion.

More than a year later, everything is set to go.

The 126 athletes who will compete hail from 15 countries with a split of about 50-50 between males and females.

Just under half of the field is made up of athletes from New Zealand. . . 

The Alps 2 Ocean Ultra website says:

From the base of New Zealand’s Highest mountain, Mount Cook, to the small, historic town of Oamaru, perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, this rugged 316km race passes by eight lakes, takes in valleys, rivers and diverse terrain. It is set to challenge the hardiest athlete, yet allow virgin ultra-athletes to test their mettle.

Run by an enthusiastic, committed team of tireless volunteers, backed by a generous range of sponsors, all proceeds from Alps 2 Ocean are heading right back into the community and the uptake of registrations means that a difference will be made. The event answers the question about why our country has not yet hosted an ultra-staged race, and the uptake of entries shows the need there was for it.

Race goals:

1.       To bring people to Godzone and showcase our amazing country. Check. √

2.       To host an inclusive race – catering for the elite athlete to the bucket lister. Check √

3.       To contribute any profits to the community, with a focus on youth. We’ll make this transparent via our social media channels.

I am in awe of anyone who is fit enough to run 316 kilometres and equally in awe of Sandri who had the vision for the race and the work down by him, his team of volunteers and the sponsors who have made it happen.

(P.S. – if you click on the website link you’ll see some of the beautiful countryside through which the race will go).

 


Sunday soapbox

February 25, 2018

Sunday Sunday’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.

A screaming song is good to know in case you need to scream. 


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