Supply Chain

When I go into the supermarket, I see foods from all over the world. I’m not talking about the items in the so-called International section, but even the stuff on the other shelves. I just picked up the nearest supermarket purchased item that came to hand. Batteries. They are packed locally, but are manufactured in China. When I say locally, I mean almost 500 kilometres away.

Much of the fruit and veges that I purchase come from overseas. Bananas and pineapples don’t grow here and are imported from various countries. If I want to buy a t-shirt it will almost certainly originate in Asia somewhere. I just looked at the t-shirt that I’m wearing at the moment, and yup, while it has a designed featuring a local attraction it is manufactured and printed in China.

All our electronic gear come from Asia, our clothes from Asia and plastic ware like laundry baskets also originates overseas.

This is not unique to this country though. It’s much the same in any other country. This country produces dairy products, meat and meat products, fruit and wine which are exported to other countries. The world is full of goods being shipped from one place to another, and sometimes a product will go to more than one location on its journey from where it is produced to the supermarket that it ends up in.

I don’t know if this actually happens, but one can envisage that milk taken from a cow is turned into milk powder here, sent elsewhere to be turned into mozzarella cheese, which is then sent to a pizza manufacturer, who sends the finished pizza to an pizza outlet where it is cooked and then sent out to satisfy the appetites of people somewhere else yet again.

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There’s a term for this. It is “supply chain”. Actually it’s more like a supply network as, if we consider the pizza case, the pizza is made up of multiple ingredients all of which pass through several stages. Even the box that contains the pizza may have a complex history before the pizza is dropped into it and it is sent off.

It’s also possibly that the box may be made of recycled material. Cardboard collected at a recycling station may be pulped, processed and made into pizza boxes. Some of the collected cardboard may be old pizza boxes.

Generally, though, the components or ingredients of a consumer item, like a cell phone or a pizza with extra pepperoni start out by being harvested or dug out of the ground. If you want to cut out the supply chain, you could grow your own, but then you need to source the seeds, you need to buy in compost, unless you make it yourself from vegetables that you’ve sourced somewhere else, which come from goodness knows where, and you need to feed the plants with chemicals which have all come from somewhere else, and most likely have been processed in various ways.

So what would happen if the supply chain broke? People in the cities, who have no other way to acquire things except through the supply network would quickly starve, and would likely flee the city for the countryside, where things would be much better, and where they could settle down and grow things, right?

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Except that most useful productive land in most countries has already been taken for farms, and the fleeing city folk would be forced onto marginal land and would starve, or they would be forced to steal from the farmers who are already there, or maybe they would beg for food from the farmers or work for them for food. Or they would fight to displace the farmers from their lands. In any case a flood of refugees from the city would likely be a trigger for conflict.

Actually the farmers would not be that much better off than the city folks. Most farms these days are more like little factories feeding into the supply chain and would concentrate on one or two crops. A beef farmer would have a surplus of beef, a potatoes farmer would have nothing but potatoes, and so on.

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So, it is likely that even farmers would have severe problems if the supply network broke. Even if the farmer could trade most of his produce with other farmers so that he did not have to subsist purely on potatoes, he would have great difficulty in producing more crops after the first one. He’d quickly run out of fertiliser and without insecticides he would probably loose a lot of his crops.

The problems would be even worse if his land was deficient in some critical mineral. Many farmers these days have to add traces of minerals to their land, either to help grow bigger produce or to add the trace elements that the crops need to even grow.

Of course, not everyone would starve. Some non-city dwellers would eventually, after a period of realignment, be able to feed themselves. But many, many city dwellers would die, and a significant number of non-city dwellers would also die before an new balance is found. All trade would be local, probably barter based, as the city dwellers are the ones who keep the banking systems going, and they would be dead.

I haven’t yet considered what sort of catastrophe could disrupt the global supply network. If the oil ran out, and couldn’t be replaced by some other source of energy, that would do it. Local power could be generated using solar energy or water power, but the ships that ship goods from one place to another run on oil. That means that we would not be able to source solar cells in sufficient number.

If someone started a global nuclear war, then that could cause significant disruption and throw many countries back on their own resources, especially those who are more isolated than most. Similarly, if a super volcano were to erupt anywhere in the world, and as a result the world would become shrouded in clouds of dust for years on end, killing all food crops, then there would be no food to be shipped, even if the ships were to keep on working. And without food crops animals would starve, and so would we.

Celebration of Cavewoman

Woman grinding seeds between two stones
Woman grinding seeds between two stones

My daughter and I were discussing innovation and inventiveness. Well, actually we weren’t but the subject got mentioned in the context of “what if….”. What if our caveman ancestor had not banged together two rocks and invented fire starting? My opinion was that it was probably our cavewoman ancestor who did it. Our caveman ancestor would probably have banged his thumbs together between the two rocks.

This started me thinking. Inventors are usually man. Rarely, in recent times anyway, is a great inventor a woman. Why is this? Is there really a gender gap in inventiveness?

Fire making tools
Fire making tools

Thinking back to the caveman and cavewoman days, it is likely that the woman was responsible for the invention of clothing. The caveman was probably happy to chase pigs through the scrub with his dangly bits flopping in the wind, while the cavewoman would be inventing the loin cloth, which the caveman would likely adopt with glee, as it prevented his said dangly bits coming in contact with the gorse and other spiky plants. For the cavewoman there was an advantage that it hid the dangly bits from her view.

Then when the woman in the next cave over, the blonde one with the big … assets, starting wearing that fitting badger skin outfit, cavewomen had invented fashion. Hmm. The charcoal from the newly invented fire really enhanced the under eyes, and the lighter ash really made the cheekbones stand out. Your move, blondie!

Fur Coat
Fur coat

And cooking too. Caveman probably dropped his slice of bear loin in the fire and discovered that it tasted great, after you brushed the burnt bits and the ash off. Cavewoman then got a stone, put it on the fire and sizzled her steak on that. With a few grilled veges on the side, for the healthy touch.

Of course when caveman was unsuccessful in bringing home any meat, the family had to subsist on berries and seeds. Crushing the seeds between two rocks probably made them easier to eat and that a short step from grinding them up, which is a small step from mixing them with water and then dropping them on the hot stone. Somehow I don’t imagine the caveman doing that. He’d be too busy describing the ones that got away.

Tibetan flour mill
Tibetan flour mill

Then when the caveman invited next door over for tea, then something special was required. So wrap the grilled meat pieces in the flat bread, add a few herbs and spices, and hey presto! Instant cuisine. I bet blondie couldn’t even boil an egg. Oh, wait a minute, we haven’t invented boiling things yet.

What if we take that coconut shell and fill it with water and balance it on the fire? Add a few leaves from that bush over there, and we’ve invented tea. A few ground beans from that other bush and we have coffee. Hmm, let’s domesticate a goat, so that we have an assured source of meat, and hey, we can put some of the goat’s milk in the tea.

A cave
A cave

My semi-serious point is that all these things that were developed in the dim and distant past were likely invented by the women. While the men were out chasing pigs, goats, and badgers and developing weapons and warfare, and all those men things, women stayed in or around the cave inventing, well, home.

When the men came home with pig-on-a-stick, the woman would break down the animal, with a stone knife probably invented by a woman to make it easier, remove the tubes and other gruesome bits, and set it on the fire to cook. She probably accidentally domesticated the dog by feeding it the bits she didn’t want. The cat was always there.

Miling a goat
Milking a goat

Of course, when you spend your days, sitting on the ground, keeping the fire going, accidentally inventing smoking of meat by hanging it over the fire, the ground begins to get a bit, well, hard. Animals skins help somewhat, but animal skins with dried grass under them were even better! But to keep the grass from leaking out from under the skins, woman had to invent sewing.

Of course, sewing helped the skins look a lot better. Take that blonde girl. What? You bought yours! You invented shopping? Go, girl!!

I’d bet it was a woman who invented agriculture. While man was out chasing deer and tripping over rocks, while he was gathering a paleo diet on the side from bushes and shrubs, woman was at home noticing that some of the seeds gathered last year were sprouting. What if she were to scratch some shallow lines in the ground and plant those sprouting seeds? What is she were to water and weed them and, well, let’s invent a word, cultivate them? Then they wouldn’t have to go so far to find seeds when that idiot man couldn’t find any prey! And if they did grow, she’d save some seed for next year rather than just eat it all.

Wheat in field
Wheat in field

Then when the cave gets too small for a growing family, it’s the woman who looks around, finds a bigger, better cave, and pays the occupants half an antelope for it. It’s the woman who invents real estate.

It’s the woman who sticks a few palm fronds in cracks in the rock to give them shade from the sun in summer, and who piles up some rocks to block the wind in winter, it’s the woman who diverts the stream away from the living area. Yes, this cave has running water! No need to go down to the stream to drink! It’s the woman who invents home improvement.

Cave entrance
Cave entrance

Of course, my hypothesis above, that from fire to home improvement, these things were invented by women. The women were, in general, left behind while the men went hunting. The men didn’t have time to invent things, but the women were able to put their minds to work on improving things around the cave, but people give them little credit for it. But when push comes to shove it seems to me that civilisation is the greatest achievement of womankind.

Sappho
Sappho

 

 

Would you Adam and Eve it?

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A fig tree in Autumn colours. Willowbank Reserve, Tawa, New Zealand

I’ve been re-reading the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible and I believe that Eve has been given a raw deal! Nowhere in the Bible does God forbid Eve from eating fruit from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve had not been created when Adam was given the prohibition!

Secondly, before Eve ate from the tree, she would not have known that it was wrong, as she would as yet have no idea of right or wrong. She would not have known that what she was doing was evil.

English: Adam and Eve are being sent out of th...
English: Adam and Eve are being sent out of the garden of Eden Русский: Адам и Ева изгоняются из Эдемского сада (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thirdly, why did God put the tree there at all? He had no need of it? The Garden of Eden was put there for Adam’s use, with two trees in the centre which Adam was told not to touch. What did God think was going to happen, given that both Adam and Eve were innocents and didn’t know Good and Evil?

And the serpent, described as “crafty” in the New International Version of the Bible. Its intent was obviously not good. Had it already tasted the fruit from the tree? Poor is loaded with the burden of the Original Sin and it should probably have been just the serpent that got the boot from the Garden of Eden with all his offspring.

Anglo-Catalan Psalter or The Great Canterbury ...
Anglo-Catalan Psalter or The Great Canterbury Psalter, folio 1 recto: Genesis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While the Bible cannot literally be true, given that we appear to live in a deterministic scientifically describable Universe, and the events in the Bible, the miracles, seem to be both non-deterministic and scientifically highly improbable, we can use examples from the Bible to investigate moral and ethical matters.

The Bible story is an early attempt to investigate moral concepts. A mountain exploding is neither good nor evil, but if we tell a little story about the original people and how they came to know good and evil we can begin to get some idea of the concepts.

English: Bible of Lilienfeld
English: Bible of Lilienfeld (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the story God is responsible for the whole shebang. Why on earth did he introduce good and evil into the world? For that matter, what are good and evil?

In the story the Original Sin was Eve doing something that a higher authority (the Highest Authority!) told Adam, and by extension Eve, not to do. This then opened a Pandora’s Box of things good and evil, like not romping around with no clothes on.

Philosophers note that this does not actually answer the question of where good and evil, bad and good, arise from. It doesn’t answer the questions of what exactly good and evil are and why they exist in the first place. The Universe would no doubt be a less interesting place without the concepts.

While good and bad are similar to good and evil, there are differences and the word “good” is used in a different sense in the two pairs of concepts. A good harvest means a plentiful one and there is no moral aspect to it (except possibly if it is a reward for serious toil), whereas giving part of the harvest to someone in need is a good deed and is good in a moral sense.

Charity
Charity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Similarly a bad harvest is a light one, and again has no moral aspect to it, but refusing to spare a part of the harvest with those in need or stealing the harvest of someone else is morally bad thing to do. It is an evil act.

So, Eve was set up. She had no concept of good and evil, she was persuaded by the serpent who it appears might have already sampled the fruit, and God had placed the trees in the Garden of Eden to tempt her, and for her to be the channel by which good and evil entered the world.

English: Bronnbach Abbey. Choir stalls by Dani...
English: Bronnbach Abbey. Choir stalls by Daniel Aschauer (1778): Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil Deutsch: Kloster Bronnbach. Chorgestühl von Daniel Aschauer (1778): Baum der Erkenntnis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The end result, apart from the expulsion, was the question of what was allowed and what was not. Obviously, doing what you are told by authority is high on the list, as is walking around with no clothes on.

Theologians of all religions have spent a great deal of time and effort deciding what is good and what is bad. Much of the thinking is encapsulated in the “Ten Commandments” (in Judaism, Christianity and Islam at least), and Jesus’ First Amendment to love others as one loves oneself.

The place of Ten Commandment made from Murano ...
The place of Ten Commandment made from Murano glass at Kedumim Synagogue SHetibe, up from the stand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other attempts to codify the concept of good and evil have been attempted over time. One such is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as advocated by Eleanor Roosevelt. This document is good in its intent, but lacking in its understanding of the realities of life. For example, during a war many of the so-called “Human Rights” may need to be abrogated.

For instance, an individual should never undergo torture. However, what if torturing one individual one can save millions of others? I don’t answer this question – I merely pose it. Indeed did God breach the Human Rights of Adam and Eve by evicting them from their home in the Garden of Eden, perhaps?

Adam and Eve ( )
Adam and Eve ( ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arguments like this abound – is it acceptable to transport a man to “the colonies” for stealing a loaf of bread? What if he did it, not for himself, but for his family? The law, which is at its base a codification of good and evil, said at the time that this was acceptable, and indeed necessary, but today it seems barbaric. Morals seem to be mutable.

Poor old Eve gets the blame for everything. Literally everything. For pain, childbirth, and the whole Human Being thing, not to mention venomous snakes. Snakes may, if they were conscious beings might consider themselves hard done by, because after all, if God had not put the tempting tree there would have been no problem.

Red milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum syspil...
Red milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum syspila) User licence kindly provided to Wikipedia under the GFDL by photographer: Mike Pingleton Mike’s page (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What about all those fleas and mosquitoes too? They have probably killed more people than snakes ever have. Maybe it wasn’t the serpent’s argument that persuaded Eve. Maybe it was a mosquito whispering in her ear that tipped the tables.

It’s a great story, a story of innocence lost. It conveniently encapsulates a reason for good and evil, and accounts for the fact that humans have to toil for a living, either by tilling a field and fighting weeds and thorns, pest and crop diseases, or by piloting a desk in a modern city.


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But it is unfair that Eve gets all the blame. If Eve were being tried in a court of law, I’d believe that she would have a good case, being set up by God and beguiled by His servant the serpent, all when Eve was in a state of innocence, not knowing at the time that what she was doing was wrong. Yes, I reckon she’d be let off with a caution.

Depiction of Adam and Eve being cast out from ...
Depiction of Adam and Eve being cast out from the Garden of Eden in the Dispersed Falnama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Home grown

Chauvin, Louisiana, 1972. Woman selling home g...
Chauvin, Louisiana, 1972. Woman selling home grown produce. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I often wonder about the economics of “growing your own”. Usually you have buy your plants, buy compost, fertilizers, and some times special food with added stuff to encourage growth. Then there’s water, which you may get charged for in some locations.

Then the crops may not be that heavy, the fruit small, maybe bug eaten, and weather battered. It makes me wonder if the effort is economically worth while, and that is before I’ve considered the fact that the cost of the labour that you put in is not inconsiderable.

English: Home grown tomatoes, Omagh One enterp...
English: Home grown tomatoes, Omagh One enterprising occupant of a house in Georges Street proves that these plants can be still successfully grown in a small greenhouse, despite the continuous overcast skies [565288] (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
However, people reckon that the taste of home grown vegetable is better than those bought in a shop. That may be, but it is difficult to justify the amount of work that home grown produce entails on that basis.

Others worry about the pesticides and growth additives that are added to commercial produce and it is a justified concern, but many, many people never eat home grown produce and it doesn’t seem to seriously affect the majority of them.


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Genetic manipulation has given such people something else to worry about, but really, crops have been genetically modified for millennia, by selection of certain strains. Also, people have subjected seeds to toxic substances such as acids and alkalis, which has the effect of changing the genetic structures of plants.

In particular, the grains that are grown commercially have been manipulated in such a way as to cause a doubling of the genetic material in the plant and such plants are termed tetraploid or octoploid, depending on the number of times the genetic material is multiplied in the seeds.

English: The edge of a wheat crop south of Cla...
English: The edge of a wheat crop south of Clanfield In the green strip beside the wheat were some oat plants. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those opposed to genetic manipulation rarely if ever mention the multiploidity (a word I may just have invented), and raise a nightmare scenario where all so-called “natural” crops are displaced by genetically modified plants. This is a scenario that I find to be extremely unlikely.

If you have ever been around farms you will see the farmer working very hard to support his specialised plants, genetically modified or not. Some genetically modified plants, modified to give higher yields, require insecticides to keep down the pests which may devour them. Other genetically modified plants have genes inserted to deter pests from eating them.

This image shows the coding region in a segmen...
This image shows the coding region in a segment of eukaryotic DNA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Outside of the cultivated fields, in patches of unusable land, grow plants which are escaped crop plants, but they don’t resemble the crop plants very much. Over just a few generations they have in the main reverted back to ancestral types, and that common leggy plant with yellow petals and lumpy seeds pops is such a plant. It may well be an escaped brassica, or wild cabbage, or maybe an escaped oil seed rape plant, the cultivated version of which supplies canola oil for margarines.

Wild growing plants are vigorous growers and over power or inter breed with the escaped crop plants and the more delicate genetically modified versions lose out to the ancestral varieties. Of course, there is a one in many billions chance that a genetically modified plant might supply a gene that causes the loss of other ancestral genes, but it is much more likely that I win a lotto jackpot! The odds are astronomical.

Brassica oleracea (Wild Cabbage) - naturalised...
Brassica oleracea (Wild Cabbage) – naturalised population growing on seacliffs below a mediaeval monastery at Tynemouth, Northumberland, UK (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is sheer hubris to believe that our first forays into genetic modification would produce organisms which are more robust than those produced by millions of years of evolution. It is slightly more likely that genetically modified genes might find there way into ancestral organisms, conferring some advantage on those organisms. The likelihood is, however, as I said above, that modified genes would be lost in the genetic battle between genetically modified and ancestral versions of an organism.

Modern crops, even the ones which have not been genetically modified, need a lot of tending. They need (in many cases) irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides, and that’s after the preparation of the land and the sowing of the seeds. It is big business and the margins need to be considered at every stage.

Furrow irrigation system using siphon tubes
Furrow irrigation system using siphon tubes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because the produce is grown in standardised conditions, to maximise yield it is pretty much all the same size and quality and this is pretty much become the standard. Consumers have come to expect uniformity in their produce and producers have been driven to provide this.

Grape tomatoes.
Grape tomatoes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Home grown produce is usually much more variable. Tomatoes may vary in size and shape, and may even be misshapen. Potatoes may vary from large to really small. Peas and beans may have variable numbers in the pods. People who are used to shop bought produce may be disappointed in home grown produce.

I’m told that great satisfaction can be gained from growing your own crops, and indeed, we have raised beans, silver beet, spinach and some other things, and we have enjoyed them as much if not more than shop bought stuff. But I’m no gardener. Gardening plays havoc with my fingernails!

English: Fingernails, about 2mm long Deutsch: ...
English: Fingernails, about 2mm long Deutsch: Fingernägel, etwa 2mm lang (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those who do decide to produce their own crops, I feel that they should do it for the satisfaction of the act, rather than for any perceived economic reason. The economics are debatable, as I suggest above. As I also say above, the taste of home grown food is supposedly superior to that of shop bought food.

It is certainly true that the flavours of home grown food can be stronger than those of shop bought food.

English: Produce grown at organic community ga...
English: Produce grown at organic community garden in Santa Clara, Cuba. Most of the workers are retired. Profits are shared based on how much time is worked. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Home grown tomatoes, for example, tend to be fleshier, or more solid, than shop bought ones and, although they may vary in size and colour, they do taste good.

One big advantage of the home grown movement is that a section of the movement has taken on the task of keeping alive the ancestral strains of various vegetables and fruit trees. This means that if commercial produce production were to experience an apocalypse that perhaps ancestral strains could be used to rebuild the produce industries.

English: Well tended fruit trees Wimpole Hall ...
English: Well tended fruit trees Wimpole Hall walled garden. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also, people in the home grown movement have maintained varieties of vegetables and fruits that are slightly different to common commercial varieties – such as purple carrots or yellow tomatoes. The more variety that we have in our vegetables and fruit the better, even if it means that some people get their fingernails dirty!

Carrot diversity
Carrot diversity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Sunny Day

Sunny Day
Sunny Day (Photo credit: atlantic_lost)

Everyone loves a sunny day. Well, most people, most of the time love a sunny day. A farmer in the middle of a drought might prefer a substantial downpour. Sometimes, too, it can be too hot and that can be unpleasant. And you have to be careful of the sun, because too much exposure leads to sunburn and can lead to skin cancers.

"Avoid sunburn" - NARA - 513898
“Avoid sunburn” – NARA – 513898 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of the time, though, people enjoy a sunny day. Here in the southern hemisphere Christmas falls in the middle of summer, so there is some hope of a sunny and warm Christmas Day. Some people roll out the barbecue and cook the Christmas lunch on that. Some have even decided that the “Christmas Barbie” is “traditional” and hold one even if the weather is not particularly good.

Not a turkey or Brussell sprout in sight
Not a turkey or Brussell sprout in sight (Photo credit: bignoseduglyguy)

Sun on our skins causes our bodies to produce Vitamin D.  The New Zealand Ministry of Health says :

For most people, it’s easy to get enough vitamin D in New Zealand – our bodies produce it whenever we get the sun on our skin.

But they also warn :

However, because of the risks of sunburn and skin cancer, we need to be careful how much sun we get.

So, it’s a balancing act. Local newspapers give estimates of “burn time” and kids are much more covered up in the sun than we ever were when we were kids. It doesn’t seem to slow them down, though!

Incidentally, why doesn’t someone develop a sunscreen lotion that doesn’t feel so disgusting and sticky? Or is it just me?

English: Sunscreen lotion Deutsch: Sonnenschut...
English: Sunscreen lotion Deutsch: Sonnenschutz-Lotion fuer Kinder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When summer is over and shorter days and more inclement weather is here, most people stay inside more and there is a danger, for some people, of “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or SAD (I wonder how long it took to come up with that name and acronym!). People with this disorder suffer depression and other symptoms which can be relieved by subjecting them to periods of intense artificial light. Of course this may just be an effect and not a full-blown disorder. SAD does not appear to be related to a deficiency of Vitamin D, as the quoted Wikipedia article states that Vitamin D treatment doesn’t remove the symptoms of SAD.

English: A 30 kHz bright light therapy lamp (I...
English: A 30 kHz bright light therapy lamp (Innosol Rondo) used to treat seasonal affective disorder. Provides 10,000 lux at a distance of 25 cm. Suomi: 30 kilohertsin kirkasvalolamppu (Innosol Rondo) kaamosmasennuksen hoitoon. Kirkkaus 25 senttimetrin päässä 10 000 luksia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It appears then, that a sunny day does more than give you a dose of Vitamin D – it also gives your spirits a lift. Even if I am working and have to stay indoors, I find life much more pleasant if the  sun is shining outside.

Of course we get sunny days in other seasons than summer, don’t we? In winter it is often bitingly cold, but people bundle up and head outside to enjoy the sunshine nevertheless. In the autumn a sunny day can be quite warm, leading to the term “Indian Summer”. In the spring a sunny day is often warmer than preceding days, especially in comparison to the cold, dark days of winter, and presages the spurt of growth that is the forerunner of summer. It may be a sunny day will be heralded by the songs of birds mating and nesting, and shoots of new grass growth and buds on trees may be evident, especially in deciduous plants which are native to colder climates.

English: Southside Road Christmas Day 2008. Mi...
English: Southside Road Christmas Day 2008. Midday winter sunshine on Juniper Lodge Bed and Breakfast and St Stephen’s Kirk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whatever the season sunny days are generally welcomed as a chance to get outside and “do things”. This may be as simple as gardening or as rigorous as some sport or other. Even something like taking the dog for a walk is always better on a sunny day. Bad weather may preclude some sports, such as mountain climbing, but with a clear morning and a good weather forecast and you can feel confident of tackling that peak, and standing on the top you can admire the view.

Aoraki/Mount Cook as seen from SSW flying at a...
Aoraki/Mount Cook as seen from SSW flying at altitude 4000m in a glider from Omarama, a commercial gliding site 100km from the mountain. Deutsch: Der Mount Cook aus etwa 4.000 Metern Höhe gesehen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mothers and pre-school teachers look forward to sunny days. If rain keeps the kids inside, they get bored easily and that can lead to upset and even tantrums. On sunny days they can be urged outside to play on the trampoline or chase the chickens or whatever and they are not underfoot and don’t have to be kept busy.

In the biblical story of Noah and the Ark, Noah and his family, together with all the animals endured 40 days and nights of rain, before, eventually, seeing the sun and the rainbow. Imagine for a moment that the story was true. How glad would they have been to finally see the sun, and what sort of state would they have been in? They would probably have been bickering, playing cards with a pack of 51, arguing over the rules for checkers, blaming each other for not bringing along more beer, and arguing over whose turn it was to muck out the animals. The animals would not have been in a much better state either. The ducks arguing with the geese, the hyenas laughing at the dogs and the cats, not insisting, but expecting that everything would be done their way and for their benefit and comfort.

Noah's Ark, oil on canvas painting by Edward H...
Noah’s Ark, oil on canvas painting by Edward Hicks, 1846 Philadelphia Museum of Art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I look outside now, it is pouring down! But on Friday it was beautiful and we took the grand-kids to visit Wellington’s Botanical Gardens. We parked in the CBD (which was expensive) and took the Cable Car up to the Gardens. The sun shone and the cicadas were making a din in the trees. We visited the Cable Car Museum, walked to Carter Observatory and walked down into the actual gardens by way of the kids’ playground. Finally we went through the floral displays and on to the Lady Norwood Rose Gardens.  You can’t beat Wellington on a good day, and this was one of them.

Hamish, Duncan and Louise at Wellington Botanical Garders
Hamish, Duncan and Louise at Wellington Botanical Garders
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