365 days of gratitude

November 30, 2018

We became friends when we were students and have stayed friends ever since in spite of living a long way from each other.

Today, for the second time this month, we met for lunch.

We shared ate, we talked and most of all we laughed.

Today I’m grateful for friendships that endure and the fun that comes from catching up.


Greyfriars Bobby

November 30, 2018

Celebrating St Andrew’s Day with one of my favourite childhood films – Greyfriars Bobby:


Word of the day

November 30, 2018

Laldie – great energy and enjoyment; great force; thrashing; a sound beating, drubbing; punishment; to undertake an action with vigour and vitality.


I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)

November 30, 2018

A change from the older Scottish songs I choose to celebrate St Andrew’s Day, I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers:


Rural round-up

November 30, 2018

Flying the flag for female farmers – Sally Brooker:

Kerry Watson is a can-do person.

The Five Forks dairy farm worker is the only woman in the Aorangi regional final of the Young Farmer of the Year competition.

But rather than being concerned about its physical challenges, she is more worried about the theory.

Miss Watson (27) grew up on a sheep and beef farm in Cumbria, in the northwest of England, until her family emigrated to New Zealand when she was 11. . . 

Farm advisors helping improve water quality – Pam Tipa:

Fonterra’s director of sustainability Carolyn Mortland says she is very heartened by the work farmers are putting into the environment.

“I think we will see it really turning around in future years,” she told Dairy News.

Fonterra recently put out a progress report on its six commitments to improve waterways — one year on from launching the actions. . .

Partnership approach pays off – Pam Tipa:

The partnership approach was a key to Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) winning the industry award at the 2018 New Zealand Biosecurity Awards last week, says KVH chief executive Stu Hutchings.

The partnership approach has ensured the industry was better placed for any future biosecurity event, he says.

“There is no doubt that by working in partnership we can achieve better biosecurity outcomes,” Hutchings says. . . 

What’sthe beef with methane? – Eloise Gibson:

The Government’s proposal for a Zero Carbon Bill has exposed an argument between scientists about the importance of methane. But it’s not really about science, as Eloise Gibson reports in this deep-dive news feature.

There’s beef in the world of methane. Like a piece of marbled Wagyu, it is probably quite healthy — if consumed in moderation.

The argument is over when and how much New Zealand should reduce the methane from cow and sheep burps, which make up almost a third of our emissions, as we currently record them. . .

Anonymous anti-dam brochure reckless, says MP:

Nelson MP Nick Smith is concerned at the distress being caused by an anonymous anti-dam brochure delivered to all households in Brightwater that makes false claims of the town being at risk of an eight metre tidal wave if the dam proceeds.

“I am appalled that dam opponents have resorted to this sort of desperate scaremongering. I have had frightened older residents contacting my office scared witless and mothers in tears at the A & P show over the weekend out of fear for their family. Nobody should be publishing or distributing made up claims on issues as serious as earthquake and tidal wave risks.”

“It is bad enough that those responsible for this scaremongering have not put their name to it, but worse that they have tried to give it credibility by using the good names of Dr Mike Johnson of GNS and Tonkin and Taylor. These experts have dismissed the accuracy of the claims in the brochure, saying they are “very misleading” and “mischievous.” . . 

Farmers’ perspective vital to long-term improvements in agricultural practices:

A study published by scientists from The University of Western Australia jointly with farmers is one of the first to address the role of temperate perennial grass pastures in contributing to soil organic carbon in south-western Australia.Intensive sampling was conducted on a trial site near Wagin consisting of a mix of temperate perennial and annual grasses that had been sown over a ten-year period. The results demonstrated the potential of perennial pastures for short-term gain in soil organic carbon stocks.

Emeritus Professor Lynette Abbott from UWA’s School of Agriculture and Environment and Institute of Agriculture said temperate perennial grass pastures are currently an uncommon choice in this region but have the potential for future development.  . . 

Yorkshire shepherdess and her nine VERY free-range children: Christmas presents for £2, no computer games and six mile walks to buy a packet of peanuts – meet the ultimate antidote to helicopter parenting:

  • Amanda Owen gave birth to five of her nine children in a car or an ambulance 
  • She lives in an isolated farmhouse in the Yorkshire Dales with her large family
  • She grew up in suburban Huddersfield but fell in love with the idea of rural life  
  • Her family were filmed on and off for a year and will star in a TV show next week

Five of Amanda Owen’s nine children were born in either cars or ambulances at the side of the road. Quite frankly, on the tortuous (if scenic) journey to her farmhouse high in the Yorkshire Dales, you wonder how she made it to hospital with any of them.

On the map, it looks as if Amanda, better known as the Yorkshire Shepherdess, lives just a hop and skip from civilisation. In reality, the drive is a precarious one involving a twisty road, with sheer drops. The nearest maternity unit is two hours away. For a woman in labour, in the dark, this must be the road to hell.

Little wonder, then, that when the contractions started for baby No 8, Amanda didn’t even wake husband Clive and tell him to get the car keys. She simply piled towels in front of the fire, gave herself a stern talking to, and eased the baby out with her own hands. . . 


Highland Cathedral

November 30, 2018

Celebrating St Andrew’s Day with Highland Cathedral from the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards:


Drip, drip, drip

November 30, 2018

Leader of the Opposition is reputed to be the worst job in politics.

It’s certainly not an easy one, especially early in the term of a new government when few outside the politically tragic are interested in what you do and say.

The media doesn’t help by fixating on poll results and interviewing their own keyboards to write opinion pieces forecasting the end of the leader’s tenure.

They carry on, drip, drip, drip like water on a stone in the expectation they will eventually be proved right.

They did it to Phil Goff, David Shearer, David Cunliffe and Andrew Little and it worked because the Labour caucus was too fixated on itself and its divisions and the party panicked.

They did it to Helen Clark but it didn’t work. Even when all she could muster in the preferred Prime Minister poll was only 5% she stared her would-be coup leaders down.

They didn’t do it to John Key because he polled well from the start and he became leader towards the end of the Labour-led government’s third term when it was looking tired and stale.

They didn’t do it to Jacinda Ardern but she took over the leadership at the very end of the National-led government’s third term and so close to the election she got far more attention than a new opposition leader normally would.

The drip, drip, drip is happening to Simon Bridges but none of the pundits give their gloomy analysis context. He became leader only a few months after the election when it’s almost impossible for an opposition leader to shine.

Jami-Lee Ross’s sabotage  didn’t help but at least for now, it makes Bridges’ leadership stronger. The National caucus has learned from Labour’s bad example that disunity is electoral poison.

It is the caucus who decides who’s leader. None of them will want Ross to claim the leader’s scalp and anyone with the political nous to be leader would know that this early in the government’s term, it would be almost impossible to make headway in the preferred PM polls and no matter who took over, he or she too would be subject to the drip, drip, drip of negative columns.

What the columnists don’t see, or at least don’t write about, is what I saw yesterday – Simon Bridges speaking confidently and showing his intelligence, sincerity and warmth.

This is not the dead man walking about whom they opine.

He has, to borrow a line from former Invercargill MP Eric Roy, had a very bad lambing.

I don’t know how much tough stuff he’d faced before, but yesterday convinced me that like good farmers after bad lambings, Bridges has got up and is getting on, in spite of the drip,drip, drip that’s trying to take him down.


Quote of the day

November 30, 2018

Thank goodness, we can choose our friends. We have to take our relatives as they are, and be thankful – Lucy Maud Montgomery who was born on this day in 1874.


November 30 in history

November 30, 2018

1554 Philip Sidney, English courtier, soldier, and writer, was born (d. 1586).

1667 Jonathan Swift, Irish writer and satirist, was born (d. 1745).

1700 – Battle of Narva — A Swedish army of 8,500 men under Charles XII defeated a much larger Russian army at Narva.

1718 – Swedish king Charles XII died during a siege of the fortress Fredriksten in Norway.

1781 – Alexander Berry, Scottish surgeon, merchant, and explorer, was born (d. 1873).

1782 – American Revolutionary War: Treaty of Paris — Representatives from the United States and Great Britain signed preliminary peace articles (later formalised as the 1783 Treaty of Paris).

1786 – Peter Leopold Joseph of Habsburg-Lorraine, Grand Duke of Tuscany, promulgated a penal reform making his country the first state to abolish the death penalty. Consequently, November 30 is commemorated by 300 cities around the world as Cities for Life Day.

1803 – In New Orleans, Louisiana, Spanish representatives officially transferred the Louisiana Territory to a French representative.

1804 – The Democratic-Republican-controlled United States Senate began an impeachment trial against Federalist-partisan Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase.

1810  Oliver Winchester, American gunsmith, was born (d. 1880).

1813 – Louise-Victorine Ackermann, French poet and author was born (d. 1890).

1824 – First ground was broken at Allenburg for the building of the originalWelland Canal.

1829 – First Welland Canal opened for a trial run.

1835 Mark Twain, American writer, was born  (d. 1910).

1853 – Crimean War: Battle of Sinop — The Imperial Russian Navy under Pavel Nakhimov destroyed the Ottoman fleet under Osman Pasha at Sinop, a sea port in northern Turkey.

1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Franklin — The Army of Tennessee led by General John Bell Hood mounted a dramatically unsuccessful frontal assault on Union positions commanded by John McAllister Schofield around Franklin, Tennessee, Hood lost six generals and almost a third of  his troops.

1868 – The inauguration of a statue of King Charles XII of Sweden.

1872 – The first-ever international football match took place at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow, between Scotland and England.

1874 –  Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nobel laureate,was born (d. 1965).

1874  – Lucy Maud Montgomery, Canadian author and poet, was born (d. 1942).

1886 – The Folies Bergère staged its first revue.

1902 – American Old West: Second-in-command of Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch gang, Kid Curry Logan, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with hard labour.

1908 – A mine explosion in the mining town of Marianna, Pennsylvania killed 154.

1934 – The steam locomotive Flying Scotsman became the first to officially exceed 100mph.

1936 – The Crystal Palace was destroyed by fire.

1939 – Winter War: Soviet forces crossed the Finnish border in several places and bombed Helsinki and several other Finnish cities, starting the war.

1940 – Lucille Ball married Desi Arnaz in Greenwich, Connecticut.

1942 – Guadalcanal Campaign: Battle of Tassafaronga — A smaller squadron of Japanese destroyers led by Raizō Tanaka defeated a US cruiser force under Carleton H. Wright.

1949 the first National government was elected in New Zealand, led by Sidney Holland.

Election of first National government Election of first National government

1949 – Matthew Festing, 79th Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, was born.

1953 – Edward Mutesa II, the kabaka (king) of Buganda was deposed and exiled to London by Sir Andrew Cohen, Governor of Uganda.

1953 June Pointer, American singer (Pointer Sisters), was born (d. 2006).

1954 – In Sylacauga, the Hodges Meteorite crashed through a roof and hit a woman taking an afternoon nap in the only documented case of a human being hit by a rock from space.

1955  Billy Idol (born William Michael Albert Broad), British musician, was born.

1965 – Prince Akishino, Japanese royal, was born.

1965 Ben Stiller, American actor, was born.

1966 – Barbados gained independence.

1967 – The People’s Republic of South Yemen gained independence.

1967 – The Pakistan Peoples Party was founded by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

1971 – Iran seized the Greater and Lesser Tunbs from the United Arab Emirates.

1981 – Cold War: Representatives from the United States and the Soviet Union began to negotiate intermediate-range nuclear weapon reductions in Europe.

1989 – Deutsche Bank board member Alfred Herrhausen was killed by a Red Army Faction terrorist bomb.

1993 – U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (the Brady Bill) into law.

1994 – MS Achille Lauro fire off Somalia coast.

1995 – Official end of Operation Desert Storm.

1998 – Exxon and Mobil signed a $73.7 billion agreement to merge, creating Exxon-Mobil, the world’s largest company.

1999 – In Seattle, protestests against the WTO meeting by anti-globalization protesters caught police unprepared and forced the cancellation of opening ceremonies.

1999 – British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems merged to formBAE Systems, Europe’s largest defense contractor and the fourth largest aerospace firm in the world.

2004 – Longtime Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings of Salt Lake City, Utah finally lost, leaving him with US$2,520,700, television’s biggest game show winnings.

2004 – Lion Air Flight 538 crash landed in Surakarta, Central Java, killing 26.

2005 – John Sentamu became the first black archbishop in the Church of England with his enthronement as the 97th Archbishop of York.

2012  – An Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane belonging to Aéro-Service, crashed into houses near Maya-Maya Airport during a thunderstorm, killing at least 32 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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