365 days of gratitude


Rotary came to us for dinner this evening.

We enjoyed the fellowship, sang some carols and in lieu of payment we asked people to donate to cancer research.

The generous Rotarians donated more than $1,400 for which I’m very grateful.

People die without vaccines


A child has died from polio in Papua New Guinea.

The polio vaccine has been around for decades and the disease has almost been eliminated because of that – partly due to the efforts of Rotary.

Rotary, along with our partners, has reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent worldwide since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979. We are close to eradicating polio, but we need your help. Whether you have a few minutes or a few hours, here are some ways to make a global impact and protect children against polio forever. . .

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, anti-vaccers put up a billboard near Middlemore Hospital saying if you knew The ingredients in a vaccine would you risk it?:

An anti-vaccination billboard alongside Auckland’s southern motorway which prompted more than 140 complaints is being pulled, the day after it was erected. . .

Immunisation Advisory Centre research director Dr Helen Petousis-Harris said the billboard perpetuated the myth there are concealed issues with what’s in vaccines, which is “most unhelpful and quite untrue”.

“It’s absolutely misleading

Petousis-Harris said the billboard had the potential to “hugely” impact public health, and said its placement in south Auckland targets vulnerable communities who “bear the biggest burden of these infectious diseases
“. . .

Petousis-Harris said it was important to clarify that when people talk about chemicals in vaccines, these are chemicals present in the environment that we come into contact with daily, and that we are born with in our bodies.

The chemicals in vaccines – just like in our mother’s breast milk – are in minuscule amounts and pose no safety risk whatsoever to humans and animals in those quantities, with the exception of course of an allergic reaction.” .. .

A very few people might have an allergic reaction to a vaccine.

The rest of us should have vaccines for our own sakes and to provide herd immunity which protects people who are too young to be fully vaccinated or the few who for medical reasons are unable to have them.


365 days of gratitude


Oamaru used to have two Rotary clubs, both of which were in decline.

They amalgamated but the attrition of members continued.

This isn’t peculiar to this club or organisation. Service and sports clubs, political and religious organisations and a variety of other volunteer groups are finding it harder to recruit and retain members.

But it’s not all downhill.

In the last couple of years the Rotary Club of Oamaru has had a renaissance with an influx of new members who have increased the membership and decreased the average age.

The club is reinvigorated and it showed at tonight’s meeting.

The outgoing president handed over the chains of office to the incoming one then everyone participated with enthusiasm and generosity to the auction which followed.

Service and fellowship are the guiding principles of Rotary. Both of which were on display this evening with a third – fun – and I”m grateful for all of that.

365 days of gratitude


Oamaru Rotary’s annual Bookarama opened today.

Book collection started months ago and members have been sorting, pricing the donations.

Every box of books holds surprises – some of them disappointing.

One of the volunteer sorters introduced us to the bed test – would you feel comfortable if this book was touching your sheets while you were reading it in bed?

Quite a lot of books fail that test – the better ones are sent to the recycling centre, the worst are dumped.

But thousands of books pass the test, some so well that they get priced so we sell them for considerably more than the $2 that most go for.

Last year we made around $20,000.

We’re hoping this year’s sale will raise a similar amount.

Whatever we make, we’re grateful for the generosity of the people who donate books, the many volunteers who sort and sell them and the many more who buy them.

366 days of gratitude


A friend invited me to join Rotary.

She had been very good at supporting me and it was at a time when I had spare time so I accepted.

One thing that had made me cautious about joining had been the weekly commitment to attend meetings, though once I joined I found it wasn’t very difficult.

Besides these days Rotary acknowledges that getting to a meeting each week isn’t practical for many members and irregular attendance is accepted.

Our club now meets only twice a month now anyway, though it happens that for various reasons those second and fourth Wednesdays often don’t suit me.

However, tonight I was able to go to the meeting and was pleased I did.

One of Rotary’s benefits is fellowship. That’s what we all got tonight and I’m grateful for that.

Bookarama retrospective


Preparing for and working at Rotary’s Bookarama has occupied me for the best part of  the past week.

People-watchers would find the buyers interesting. Dealers line up at the door before opening morning and run to the tables, others take a more leisurely approach. Some come once, some make return visits. Some are looking for particular titles or authors, others are less prescriptive. Some seek advice or want to chat, others are happy to browse and buy by themselves.

Quite a few buy bag loads of books, many of which they will donate back next year for re-sale, some buy in singles or small numbers.

A few unusual books are individually priced, few for more than $10 and those published recently are also priced – $2 for those from 2011 and 12; $4 for 2013 and 14 and $6 for the last two years. Children’s books are sold at two for $1, Mills and Boons go for $10 a box and all other books are just $1 each.

When it comes to paying, some forgo generous amounts of change while others accept small amounts back. That should not be seen to be judging anyone. Someone’s $9 change from a $20 note for 10 books might not be as important as another’s $1 from a $20 note for 19 books.

In the last few years we’ve found no interest in encyclopedias, atlases or dictionaries and hard back fiction isn’t as popular as paperbacks.

Today we’ll be cleaning up. Left over children’s books will go to the food bank, any good quality books left will be packed up for next year, some of the old books might be offered to dealers and the rest will go to the resource recovery centre for sale or recycling.

This is the club’s biggest annual fundraiser and all proceeds go to the community.

It depends on the generosity of people who donate books, those who buy them and others, not all of whom are Rotary members, who sort and sell them. It’s hard work but also both enjoyable and rewarding.




366 days of gratitude


Oamaru Rotary is preparing for its annual Bookarama.

People have begun donating books and volunteers have begun sorting them.

Some, sadly, have been stored where they’ve got damp others have long past their best-by dates.

But most are in good condition and will give others some very reasonably priced reading pleasure.

Today I’m grateful for the people who read real books and generously pass them on to help Rotary raise money and give those who buy them bargain reading.

P.S. I forgot to post this but thanks to WordPress which enables bloggers to schedule in the past and future, it will still appear among posts written on the 4th even though it’s now the 5th.

Books by the box load


The Rotary Club of Oamaru’s annual Booakrama opened at 9 this morning.

For the past few weeks members and friends have been sorting books donated by the public.

It’s a fascinating exercise which shows there are a few too many people with a Presbyterian approach to books – they’ve been kept where they’ve got damp or just kept too long so they’re dirty and musty and have to be taken to the recycling centre or dumped.

However while there are lots of those there are many more good books which will be snapped up by people whose search for a bargain contributes to the club’s main fundraising effort.

How good a book is and what it’s worth exercises the sorters. Is a signed, first edition of a Wilbur Smith hard back a treasure or just another quick read? Are these old books precious or well past their read-by dates?

We usually take the approach that the books have been given to us to be sold and it’s better to price them low and miss the odd windfall profit than to price them too high and have them left on the tables.

Too many books?


Every now and then my farmer suggests we have too many books.

I tell him there’s no such thing as too many books.

Even though I spent three hours last night culling out 14 bags (about the size of ones from the supermarket) of books for the Rotary Bookarama and there are no gaps on the book shelves I’m not prepared to concede he has a point.

The problem, if there is one, is too few shelves not too many books.

MMP debate


Rotary Club of Oamaru invites you to be informed



 Monday 7th November


social  6.00 pm start






(From Dunedin) for the CAMPAIGN FOR MMP


IT’S HOW   –   MMP or CHANGE ?

Some say MMP’s  a disaster.
Others say it’s great.

Some want to change
the way we vote.  Others don’t.


It’s a big issue.  Get the facts.


Be informed.           Be
aware.                 Be there.



This, like all Rotary initiatives, is not a political meeting.

It is an information meeting which aims to enable people to hear both sides of the debate and ask questions.

Judging books by covers


 You can’t judge a book by its cover, nor can you judge what someone will read by their appearance.

Helping at last week’s Rotary Bookarama in Oamaru was a fascinating study in human nature.

Had I put bets on what people might be interested in I’d have been sadlyout of pocket: the woman I thought might go for something literary opted for chick lit; the one I’d classified as a chcik-lit fan chose biographies; the mild-mannered bloke went for horror; one who looked like a professor bought westerns and a little old lady chose the raciest Mills and Boons.

The club took in a little more than $10,000 which was up about $1,000 on last year’s total.

That’s not a bad earner when most hardbacks were sold for only a dollar and paperbacks for half that.

February 23 in history


On February 23:

632 The Last Sermon (Khutbah, Khutbatul Wada’) of Prophet Muhammad.

1455 Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed from movable type.

1633 Samuel Pepys, English naval administrator, man of letters and diarist, was born.

1660Charles XI becomes King of Sweden.

1739 – Richard Palmer was identified at York Castle by his former schoolteacher, as the outlaw Dick Turpin.

A monochrome illustration of a man on  horseback, jumping a wooden gate.  He is wearing a wide-brimmed hat,  coat, trousers, and long boots.  His left hand holds the reins, in his  right hand is a pistol.  A man stands in the near distance, in front of a  toll booth, with a shocked expression on his face.  Obscured by the  gate, a small dog watches proceedings.

1743 Mayer Amschel Rothschild, German-born banker, was born.

1820Cato Street Conspiracy: A plot to murder all the British cabinet ministers was exposed.

1836 – The Battle of the Alamo began in San Antonio, Texas.

The crumbling facade of a stone building is missing its roof and  part of its second floor.  A pile of stone rubble sits in the courtyard.  In front of the building are a horse-drawn carriage and several people  in 1850s-style clothing: women in long dresses with full skirts and men  in suits with top hats.

1840  Frederick Wicks, English author and inventor, was born.

1847  Battle of Buena Vista – American troops under General Zachary Taylor defeated Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna.


1850 César Ritz, Swiss hotelier, was born.


1854 The official independence of the Orange Free State was declared.




1887 French Riviera was hit by a large earthquake, killing around 2,000.

1898 Émile Zola was imprisoned in France after writing “J’accuse,” a letter accusing the French government of anti-Semitism and wrongfully imprisoning Captain Alfred Dreyfus.

1903 Cuba leases Guantánamo Bay to the United States “in perpetuity”.

 Gitmo Aerial.jpg

1904  940,000 hectares of west Southland were permanently reserved for what became Fiordland national park.

  First step in creation of Fiordland National Park

1905 Chicago attorney Paul Harris and three other businessmen met for lunch to form the Rotary Club, the world’s first service club.

1909 The AEA Silver Dart made the first powered flight in Canada.

1917 First demonstrations in Saint Petersburg. The beginning of the February Revolution.

Patrol of the October revolution.jpg

1918  First victory of Red Army over the Kaiser’s German troops near Narva and Pskov. In honor of this victory, the date has been celebrated from 1923 onward as “Red Army Day”; it was renamed Defender of the Fatherland Day after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, and is colloquially known as “Men’s Day”.

1919 Benito Mussolini formed the Fascist Party in Italy.

National Fascist Party logo.jpg

1934 Léopold III became King of Belgium.

1940 100,000 people welcomed home HMS Achilles, the ship involved in the Batte of the River Plate, the Allies first naval victory in WWII.

100,000 welcome home HMS <em>Achilles</em> crew

1940 Peter Fonda, American actor, was born.

1941 Plutonium was first produced and isolated by Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg.

Light-gray standing cylinder. Its top slice has been cut off and  slightly shifted aside exposing a darker inside

1944 The Soviet Union began forced deportation of the Chechen and Ingush people from the North Caucasus to Central Asia.

1945 During the Battle of Iwo Jima, a group of United States Marines and a U.S. Navy Corpsman, reached the top of Mount Suribachi on the island and were photographed raising the American flag. The photo won a Pulitzer Prize and became the model for the national USMC War Memorial.

 Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, by Joe Rosenthal / The Associated Press.

1945 The 11th Airborne Division, with Filipino guerrillas, freed the captives of the Los Baños internment camp.

1945 Manila, was liberated by American forces.

1945 Capitulation of German garrison in Poznań.

1945 German town of Pforzheim was completely destroyed by a raid of 379 British bombers.

1945  The Verona Philharmonic Theatre was bombed by Allied forces.

1947 The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) was founded.

1954 The first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine begins in Pittsburgh.

1955  First meeting of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).

1957  The founding congress of the Senegalese Popular Bloc was opened in Dakar.

1958 Cuban rebels kidnapped 5-time world driving champion Juan Manuel Fangio.


1960 Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan, was born.

1966 In Syria Baath party member Salah Jadid led an intra-party military coup that replaced the previous government of General Amin Hafiz, also a Baathist.

1969 Michael Campbell, New Zealand golfer, was born.

Michael Campbell Wellington 2005.jpg

1981 Antonio Tejero attempted a coup d’état by capturing the Spanish Congress of Deputies.

Tejero golpe.jpg

1983 The Spanish Socialist government of Felipe González and Miguel Boyer nationalised Rumasa, a holding company founded by entrepreneur José María Ruiz Mateos.

1983 Emily Blunt, British actress, was born.

1983 The United States Environmental Protection Agency announced its intent to buy out and evacuate the dioxin-contaminated community of Times Beach, Missouri.

1987 Supernova 1987a was seen in the Large Magellanic Cloud.


1991 Ground troops crossed the Saudi Arabian border and entered Iraq, starting the ground phase of the Gulf War.


1991 Thai General Sunthorn Kongsompong led a bloodless coup d’état, deposing Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan.

1992 The Socialist Labour Party was founded in Georgia.

1998  Tornadoes in central Florida destroyed or damaged 2,600 structures and killed 42.

1998 – Osama bin Laden published a fatwa declaring jihad against all Jews and “Crusaders”; the latter term is commonly interpreted to refer to the people of Europe and the United States.

Bin Laden Poster2.jpeg

1999 Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Öcalan was charged with treason in Ankara.


1999 An avalanche destroyed the Austrian village of Galtür, killing 31.

Galtür (01).jpg


2005 n Slovakia, a two-day “Slovakia Summit 2005” took place between U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin.


2005 The French law on colonialism was passed, requiring teachers to teach the “positive values of colonialism”.

2007 – A train derailed on an evening express service near Grayrigg, Cumbria, killing one person and injuring 22.


2008 A United States Air Force B-2 Spirit crashed on Guam, the first operational loss of a B-2.



 Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipeida.

Project Uplift provides boost for Pacific women


Like Busted Blonde I’ve boobed with bra purchases.

Unlike her it happens to me even when I try before I buy. I look, I jump, I bend and twist and decide the bra fits perfectly but when I get home I discover the cup is running over.

I don’t know how to stop making the boob purchases, but Project Uplift does at least provide an outlet for those underworn items of underwear.

It’s an initiative by Rotary and Inner Wheel to provide bras for Pacific Islanders who suffer from skin problems under their breasts.

New Zealand women are being asked to dig out the unwanted lingerie which is languishing in their wardrobes and donate it to their Pacific sisters because giving them a lift lets the skin breathe and prevents absceces and infections.

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