February 3 in history


On February 3:

1112 Ramon Berenguer III of Barcelona and Douce I of Provence marry, uniting the fortunes of those two states.

1377  More than 2,000 people of Cesena were slaughtered by Papal Troops (Cesena Bloodbath).

1451 Sultan Mehmed II inherited the throne of the Ottoman Empire.

Fatih II. Mehmet.jpg

1488 Bartolomeu Dias of Portugal landed in Mossel Bay after rounding the Cape of Good Hope, becoming the first known European to travel so far south.


1637 Tulip mania collapsed in the United Provinces (now the Netherlands) by government order.

      An allegory of tulip mania by Hendrik Gerritsz Pot, circa 1640. Flora, the goddess of flowers, is blown by the wind and rides with a tippler, money changers, and a two faced woman. They are followed by dissolute Haarlem weavers, on their way to destruction in the sea.

1690 The colony of Massachusetts issues the first paper money in America.

1777 John Cheyne, British physician, surgeon and author, was born.

1807 A British military force, under Brigadier-General Sir Samuel Auchmuty captured the city of Montevideo.

1809 Felix Mendelssohn, German composer, was born.


1821 Elizabeth Blackwell, first female American physician, was born.

 Portrait of Elizabeth Blackwell by Joseph Stanley Kozlowski

1830 The sovereignty of Greece was confirmed in a London Protocol.

1867 Emperor Meiji became the 122nd emperor of Japan.

1870 The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, granting voting rights to citizens regardless of race.

1874 Gertrude Stein, American writer, was born.

1894 Norman Rockwell, American illustrator, was born.

1899 Doris Speed, English actress, was born.

1907 James Michener, American author, was born.

 1913 The Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, authorizing the Federal government to impose and collect an income tax.

1916  Parliament buildings in Ottawa, Canada burned down.

1918 The Twin Peaks Tunnel in San Francisco started service as the longest streetcar tunnel in the world at 11,920 feet (3,633 meters) long.

1927  Val Doonican, Irish singer and entertainer, was born.

1931 The Hawkes Bay earthquake  measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck – New Zealand’s worst natural disaster killed 258 people.

Hawke's Bay earthquake strikes

1932 Peggy Ann Garner, American actress, was born.

1943 Dennis Edwards, American singer (The Temptations), was born.

 Live at the Copa (1968), the first Temptations album to feature new lead singer Dennis Edwards. Pictured left to right: Dennis Edwards, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, Otis Williams, and Eddie Kendricks

1944 Trisha Noble, Australian singer and actress, was born.

1947 Dave Davies, English musician (The Kinks), was born.

1947 The lowest temperature in North America  was recorded in Snag, Yukon.

1950 Morgan Fairchild, American actress, was born.

1958 Founding of the Benelux Economic Union.

1959 Lol Tolhurst, English musician (The Cure), was born.

1959 A plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, and pilot Roger Peterson and the incident becomes known as The Day the Music Died.

1960 British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan spoke of the “a wind of change” of increasing national consciousness blowing through colonial Africa, signalling that his Government was likely to support decolonisation.

1966 The unmanned Soviet Luna 9 spacecraft made the first controlled rocket-assisted landing on the Moon.

 Luna 9 soft landing capsule

1967 Ronald Ryan, the last person to be executed in Australia was hanged in Pentridge Prison, Melbourne.


1969 Yasser Arafat was appointed Palestine Liberation Organisation leader at the Palestinian National Congress.


1971 New York Police Officer Frank Serpico was shot during a drug bust in Brooklyn and survives to later testify against police corruption. Many believe the incident proves that NYPD officers tried to kill him.

1976 Isla Fisher, Australian actress, was born.

1984 Dr. John Buster and the research team at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center announced history’s first embryo transfer, from one women to another resulting in a live birth.

    8-cell embryo for transfer 3 days after fertilization

1984 Space Shuttle program: STS-41-B Mission was launched to International Space Station.


1988  Iran-Contra Affair: The United States House of Representatives rejected President Ronald Reagan’s request for $36.25 million to aid Nicaraguan Contras.

1989 P.W. Botha resigned party leadership and the presidency of South Africa.

1989 A military coup overthrew Alfredo Stroessner, dictator of Paraguay since 1954.

1991The Italian Communist Party dissolved and splits into the Democratic Party of the Left and the Communist Refoundation Party.

1996 The Lijiang earthquake in China struck, killing 200 people.

1998 – Cavalese cable-car disaster: a United States Military pilot caused the death of 20 people when his low-flying plane cuts the cable of a cable-car near Trento, Italy.

2007 A Baghdad market bombing killed at least 135 people and injured a further 339.

 Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

For carnivores only


One of things my farmer likes to do when we’re in other places is check out the prices, cuts, quality and variety of meat.

At Barcelona’s Mercat de la Boqueria we found lamb legs  for 8.90 euros a kilo which is about $NZ20.


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These are the equivelent of our alpha grade lambs.

They are killed on weaning either because there isn’t enough feed to sustain ewes and lambs over summer or because the ewes are primarily for milking not meat.

This makes the meat sweeter than we’re used to.

There were also rabbits:

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I couldn’t bring myself to take a photo of the tripe, but did capture this:

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That’s sheep’s heads on the right and beside them are bulls’ testicles.

Mercat de la Boqueria


Mercat de la Boqueira is one of the attractions close to La Rambla  in Barcelona.


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It sells fresh food of every description from around 7 am until well in to the evening.


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La Rambla de Barcelona


La Rambla,  is probably Spain’s most famous street.

The broad pedestrian boulevard is flanked by two narrow, one-way streets and it’s populated 24 hours a day.

When we left our hotel at 6am on Friday morning the temperature was about 22 degrees and La Rambla was almost deserted.

rambla 3

There were just a few people finishing their night out and a few starting their day. One of the former included a young man, wearing nothing but a nonchalant look.

When we got back a couple of hours later it was starting to come to life again.

By mid morning it was fully alive with people and lined with cafe tables and chairs, stalls selling souvenirs, flowers, birds . . .

An added attraction was street theatre – clowns, mime artists and living statues:


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At 6pm the temperature was well above 30 degrees and the boulevard was crowded with people of all ages and a wide variety of nationalities.

rambla 4

When we went for a walk at 6am today (Saturday) La Rambla  had quietened down but there were still a few hundred people milling about and only a couple of those we saw appeared to be the worse for alcohol.

Barcelona buildings


A wander around Barcelona made me wish I knew more about architecture.

The city was founded in about 230 BC and it’s still possible to see remains of buildings from Roman times on.

Among the relatively recent buildings is this one on La Rambla:

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This one is a a block away from the Placa de Catalunya on Passeig de Gracia:

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Further up the block is Gaudi’s Casa Batllo:

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And then there’s La Pedrera:

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Intermittent transmission


My farmer and I are away for a sunshine fix which may result in posts at odd times and a reduction in posting.

It was trying to snow at home yesterday.

We’re expecting it to be a little warmer where we’re going:  a night in Singapore, two in Barcelona then back to Vejer de la Frontera where we spent three months in 2005 before meeting friends for a walking tour which starts in Milan and finishes in Verona.

Payment by honour


How much would you pay for a meal if you could choose the amount yourself?

Barecelona restauranteur Eledino Garcia started letting patrons pay whatever they want for the daily special three weeks ago to help customers who had lost their jobs.

And the idea is actually working: Garcia says his daily take is up.

After a midday meal, diners who opted for the ¤10 ($13.56), three-course daily special get something other than a check.

“I give you an envelope, and you pay what you think it was worth, or whatever you can pay,” said Garcia, the 50-year-old owner of the small restaurant called Mireya.

. . .  Garcia says his trust in the public is paying off. Although he says he does not keep track of how much each person pays, no one seems to be taking advantage of him.

“People are better than we think,” Garcia said.

It was a gamble which has paid off and I’m delighted the trust Garcia showed in his patrons hasn’t been abused because, like him, I believe most people are good.

I have a vague memory that someone tried ths system in New Zealand and that people often paid more than they would have been charged in that restaurant too.

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