Word of the day


Cwtch – a cupboard or cubbyhole; a safe place; a cuddle or hug.

Sowell says


Black Heels and Tractor Wheels – Jen Corkran


Black Heels and Tractor Wheels Podcasts are a Rural Women NZ initiative in which they share stories from a range of women around New Zealand.

Jen Corkran is an agronomist and area manager with Barenbrug Agriseeds.

Her experience in the agri sector includes farm management and overseas farming roles. She is a self-confessed grass nerd who now spends her days helping farmers grow the best grass they can.

Sidney Poitier 20.2.27 -6.1.22


Actor, director and Bahamian ambassador, Sidney Poitier has died:

His parents were Bahamian farmers who had travelled to the US to sell tomatoes. His premature birth meant he gained US citizenship as well as Bahamian. . . .

He was brought up on Cat Island in the Bahamas before the family moved to the capital, Nassau.

Aged 15 he went to live with his brother in Miami before moving to New York, where he worked as a dishwasher.

It was in the US that he experienced racism for the first time.

“I lived in a country where I couldn’t get a job, except those put aside for my colour or my caste.”

After a spell in the US Army he joined the American Negro Theatre, which had been set up as a community project in Harlem in 1940.

Film breakthrough

Unfortunately Poitier was tone-deaf and was unable to sing, something audiences felt was a prerequisite of black actors at that time.

Instead he decided his future lay as a serious stage actor and he was offered a leading role in a production of Aristophanes’ comedy Lysistrata in 1946.

It was a sign of the times that the production featured only black actors.

In 1949 he took the difficult decision to move away from stage productions and into films.

It was a sound decision. His performance in the 1950 film No Way Out, in which he played a newly-qualified doctor confronted by a racist patient, brought him to the attention of the studios.

His breakthrough came in The Blackboard Jungle in 1955, in the role of a disruptive pupil in an inner-city school.

The film was immensely popular, not least because it was one of the first to have a soundtrack featuring rock ‘n’ roll, including Bill Haley’s classic Rock Around the Clock.

The Defiant Ones, in 1958, saw Poitier nominated for best actor at the Academy Awards, and he won a Bafta for the same film.

Five years later he was awarded an Oscar for Lilies of the Field, the first black winner of the Best Actor trophy.

With the growing civil rights movement in the US, it was inevitable Poitier would find himself lauded as an example of black achievement. It was a role he gladly accepted.

“I was a pretty good actor and I believed in brotherhood. I hated racism and segregation. And I was a symbol against those things.”

However, he was concerned that his Oscar may have been indicative of Hollywood’s need for a token black actor, rather than something he achieved on merit.

Then 1967 saw him at his commercial peak with three films, making him Hollywood’s most bankable star that year.

He played a newly-qualified teacher in a tough London school in To Sir, With Love, based on the autobiographical novel by E R Braithwaite. . .

Every girl in my class fell in love with Sir after we’d seen the film, and a lot of the boys wanted to be him.

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 to abuse.

By failing to prepare you’re preparing to fail. – Benjamin Franklin

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