08 February 2016

Te Whanganui-a-Tara

Two detailed maps from David McGill's 1984 history Pioneers of Port Nicholson (AH & AW Reed, Wellington, p16-18) illustrating the pre-European settlement of Wellington harbour. Click the images to enlarge.

See also:
History: Wellington 150: A capital anniversary, 26 July 2015
History: Wellington Anniversary Day 1850, 22 January 2015
History: Wellington's first settler ship, 22 January 2014

The peculation of Benjamin Franklin

There are many reasons why a general peace did not follow in early 1778, chief among them the impossibility of conducting confidential negotiations with Congress when the only conduit was Benjamin Franklin [...]

Nobody disputes Franklin used his privileged position to play both sides off against the middle. The error in historical appreciation has been to assume that 'the middle' was the greater good of the United States. Along with the rest of the American delegation [in Paris] he was raking in commissions on supplies bought with French money, peculations more than tolerated by Vergennes, and had much to lose by an early peace. In 1811 John Adams, trapped between the rock of the reality he observed in Paris, and the hard place of the myth carefully constructed by Franklin, wrote feelingly (my emphasis):

Had he been an ordinary man, I should never have taken the trouble to expose the turpitude of his intrigues, or to vindicate my reputation against his vilifications and calumnies. But the temple of human nature has two great apartments: the intellectual and the moral. If there is not a mutual friendship and strict alliance between these, degradation to the whole building must be the consequence ... To all those talents and qualities for the foundation of a great and lasting character, which were held up to the view of the whole world by the University of Oxford, the Royal Society of London and the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris, were added, it is believed, more artificial modes of diffusing, celebrating and exaggerating his reputation than were ever before or since practiced in favour of any individual.

In sum, a pioneer PR man whose principal client was himself.

His wider interest lay in land speculation in Ohio, inconveniently encumbered by Native Americans, and extensive property in Nova Scotia, even more awkwardly occupied by Highlanders who neither at the time nor since have shown any desire to join the United States.

- Hugh Bicheno, Rebels & Redcoats, London, 2004, p111-2. 

See also:
HistoryBenjamin Franklin's plans to colonise NZ, 7 December 2015
History: From NZ troopship to Confederate raider, 16 February 2015
History: The Brotherhood of Tramps, 7 March 2013
History: Fighting Joe Hooker, 15 February 2013
History: Lincoln: The great high road to his reason, 22 November 2012

07 February 2016

NZ players in IPL 2016

Brendon McCullum (Gujarat Lions*, $1.688m, 219 matches)

Corey Anderson (Mumbai Indians*, $1.012m, 67 matches)

Trent Boult (Sunrisers Hyderabad*, $856k, 51 matches)

Tim Southee (Mumbai Indians, $563k, 109 matches)

Adam Milne (Royal Challengers Bangalore*, $157k, 51 matches)

Kane Williamson (Sunrisers Hyderabad*, $134k, 85 matches)

Mitchell McClenaghan* (Mumbai Indians, $66k, 79 matches)

Colin Munro (Kolkata Knight Riders, $66k, 102 matches)

* = retained from 2015; cost is listed in NZD

Source: Cricinfo

05 February 2016

1000th post!

Slightly Intrepid commenced with my first post on 4 January 2007 just before my return to England, and with this post reaches the mighty four digits. That's nine years of blogging. I had the initial intention it would be my travel journal, but later it broadened its focus and became less of a personal diary. There was a definite increase in the rate of posting after I retired the Very Friday Blog (2005-12) and started including those sorts of fun found posts. More recently I've not had the time or energy to write the lengthy travel reports I used to, and have focused more on shorter pieces on New Zealand history, music or film clips, Wellington photographs, and extracts from whatever book I've been reading lately.

The top 10 Slightly Intrepid posts are still a decent mix, with the clear leader remaining the highly informative and not-at-all-amateurish Cook Strait tunnel blog. Obviously there's a great untapped market for sci-fi engineering blogs out there, so I really must get round to writing that piece about a new rail tunnel connecting Waterloo in Lower Hutt with Wainuiomata and a new commuter town built on the western side of Lake Wairarapa. The other blogs on the list are a mix of film trivia (The midgets of Casablanca, the LOTR set on Miramar peninsula), London ephemera (Mr Tibbet the Putney highwayman, a Buckingham Palace visit for a royal garden party), my first and so far only visit to Portugal (Obrigado Lisboa), and random TV and gaming fare.

Slightly Intrepid top 10 blogs by date and pageviews

16 Apr 2008
16 Feb 2011
1 Jan 2010
19 Oct 2013

The long list of post categories shows that the top five themes for blog posts have been New Zealand generally (174 posts), Wellington specifically (162), history (154), music (153) and comedy (122) - closely followed by the all-important movies tag (108 posts). The top five source countries for pageviews have been the US, UK, Germany, New Zealand and France. Total recorded pageviews across the blog currently stands at 370,577.

I don't have a firm plan for the blog, so I guess I'll just keep posting as long as it stays interesting. Probably there won't be as many posts as I put out in 2013-14, when there were an average of 17.4 posts per month. I'm a far lazier blogger than that now! As always, any blog comments or feedback on Facebook or Twitter is very welcome, and thanks for visiting. And to close, here's a sample from the remarkably small field of 'thousand'-referencing songs - sorry Vanessa Carlton, Street Chant, Patti Smith and Snooks Eaglin, the title's been snaffled by Tenpole Tudor with their April 1981 UK no.6 hit, Swords Of A Thousand Men:

04 February 2016

Featherston St timelapse

Timelapse recording: Featherston St, Wellington, afternoon of 4 February 2016, looking north past the Rydges Hotel. Duration: 29 min 8 seconds. Spoiler: nothing particularly exciting happens - just a bustling street scene for posterity.

25 January 2016

Wellington Cup 2016

It was a scorching day in Trentham on Saturday for the Wellington Cup race meeting, and an impressive throng turned out to watch the horses and the people watching the horses. I'd not been to the races for more than 10 years so it was fun to return and weave my way through the finely-dressed crowds. I was with friends in a trackside enclosure, so there was also the opportunity for some close-up views of the racing. Not being a gambling sort, I didn't bet much - but I emerged with minor success by picking Pentathlon in the Cup, which led into the final straight until being pipped at the post. I took home a massive $6 return on a $5 bet, so I probably won't be giving up the day job just yet.

Pentathlon strives for the line