Potato blight

The crowd in front of Parliament Buildings, Wellington during the swearing-in ceremony for the...
The crowd in front of Parliament Buildings, Wellington during the swearing-in ceremony for the Governor-General, Lord Liverpool.— Otago Witness, 11.7.1917
It is estimated that there are several hundred tons of potatoes in Dunedin stores at the present time and that there are still fair stocks in the country.

Unfortunately, a very heavy proportion of the potatoes is affected with frost and blight, and the holders of the stocks are therefore faced with heavy losses. Prime lines meet with a good demand, but  buyers are chary about touching any sorts which are not sound.

As regards the blight, a rather unusual state of affairs has to be recorded, as whereas a tuber may look perfectly sound, when it is cut open portion of the inside bears a brown appearance. In past years the disease has always made its inroads from the outside. The species of blight which has broken out this year has not so far been identified. One expert gives it as his opinion that the disease is what is termed the Irish blight.

Alexandra progress

Previously the Alexandra Town Hall was lit by acetylene gas, but on account of the steadily rising price of carbide the Borough Council had an electric lighting plant installed. This was done at what was considered to be a very acceptable price, and the new lighting has proved in every way satisfactory. It is the herald of the method of municipal lighting to come in time. Business men speak loudly  in praise of the convenience brought about by the through connection of telephone communication with Dunedin and a fair number of subscribers are now on the exchange.

Roxburgh has also come into line, and last week telephone communication was opened between Alexandra and Roxburgh, where 40 subscribers were put on the exchange in the course of a few days. In a short time, when party lines have branched out to the orchardists, the benefits of the telephone will be more fully realised.

Peer sells villages

It is reported that the Earl of Normanton is about to sell by auction 4600 acres of his land, including half a dozen parishes and villages between Newbury and Devizes. His lordship has long been regarded as one of our wealthiest peers. He owns property in eight counties — five in England, and three in Ireland, with a rent roll computed at £50,000 a year. In addition he possesses at Somerley, his fine place near  the New Forest, numerous art masterpieces of fabulous value. One of them alone, Sir Joshua Reynold’s celebrated ‘‘Seven Cardinal Virtues’’, is valued at £80,000. The heir to all these riches, the seven-year-old Viscount Somerton, was not born until seven daughters had blessed Lord and Lady Normanton’s union, which had then lasted 16 years.

Irregular mail

By the last mail, a soldier in France writes to a friend saying that he did not receive any letters or parcels from New Zealand for about six months, but felt quite sure that his friends were writing to him regularly, and on April 19 he received a bundle of 37 letters, all in one mail, also a parcel containing a cake, intended for Christmas, but had taken six and a-half months to reach him.

Fortunately the cake was in splendid condition. The writer was out of the trenches for a rest at the time, otherwise he might not have got sufficient leave to read all his correspondence, which would have been most disappointing.

This case should encourage others with soldier friends who complain they are not getting letters not to give up hope, as the delayed correspondence will most likely turn up eventually.

No Mackenzie snow

There have been four years now without a fall of snow in the Mackenzie Country (says the Timaru Herald), and though such falls generally spell a considerable amount of immediate harm to the hill flocks, run-holders say that an occasional one is essential if the feeding capacity of the runs is to be maintained. At the present time the native grasses and the tussock are not looking nearly as well as they do in a year following a snowstorm, and the hope is expressed that sufficient snow will fall this winter to rejuvenate the withered pastures. — ODT, 7.7.1917.



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