Connecting Thermoses with Ambelopoulia

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Looking after your Thermos is a bit like conservation.

Submitted: June 03, 2017

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Submitted: June 03, 2017



While it had never been mentioned as such, there was fierce competition between Hooks and Henry to keep their Thermos flasks intact for the longest time. Thermos flasks were never the most robust of containers and forestry work was not all that conducive to a long Thermos life!

Henry figured he drank sixty gallons of tea out of his each year, always taking it black and unsweetened, while Hooks took his milky with lots of honey, which made the brew look somewhat turgid to Henry’s taste! And it made hooks crook in the end!

They never gave much thought to physical work causing moisture loss, so they really did need all that tea. These days, you can’t go far without seeing water bottles. Whenever a Thermos broke, they carried cold tea in those old quart beer bottles, which were more robust than a Thermos! No matter how careful they were, they never stretched the life of any Thermos beyond two years, some accident always befell them in the end. The basic lesson here was that by taking care of things, you can conserve them. It has nothing to do with saving money, it’s simply a matter of respecting resources.

There was debate about an old Kauri tree that was claimed to be five hundred years old! A developer wanted it felled to clear a building site and although the he had council permission, there was widespread protesting. It became an emotive issue with tree huggers taking their stance and property developers taking theirs. Henry didn’t tell anyone what he thought, but knew the tree he saw on TV, was nowhere near five hundred, he reckoned perhaps one hundred. Funny how folk inflate things to suit their purposes.

Ok, there’s a disease threatening Kauri, which is a big concern, but Kauri tolerates a wide variety of sites and the only reason its natural distribution was not further south is that the species doesn’t thrive well with competition. Tawa seemed to block Kauri’s expansion. So here’s the thing, and old Swahili saying, ‘plant five trees before you cut one down.’ Maybe the tree huggers and developers, should plant some trees elsewhere. There’s a sting in that tail though, Henry often mulls over the future, because he has been planting and encouraging the planting of timber-producing indigenous trees on farms and in forests for years. Why?  For the very purpose of eventual harvesting – oh yes, conservation too.  The likely harvesting time of these species is six hundred, perhaps a thousand years, which makes him wonder if future tree huggers will allow them to be harvested. He usually told people buying indigenous trees from his nursery that they could be harvested by future generations! However most people actually plant trees out of a sense of altruism or a belief in conservation rather than the thought of some ancestral profit.

On Henry’s own patch, he grows a mixture of indigenous and exotic species, large and small with the idea of providing a habitat for fauna. It doesn’t bother him that the birds steal all the fruit and foliage from their preferred species. The birds in turn bring seeds from the trees they have visited, he selects whatever germinated seedlings he needs for pricking out. Tree huggers might frown on him for removing ‘the naturally occurring seedlings’, even though they would not have grown without his created habitat.

If you visit penguin colonies or walk under starling roosts, the stink might put you right off birds. But on the other hand if you take the time to listen to songbirds, watch fantails, wagtails or hummingbirds, have any sort of inkling of the beauty of nature or are just plain curious, you need to be aware of what happens on the island of Cyprus! It would rip your nightie!

The island is on the migratory route of some one hundred and fifty two bird species. Poachers illegally set nets! Sixteen kilometres of nets! They put up sticky limesticks! Six thousand limesticks! All to catch migratory song birds. Worse, while the target species is the smaller, tasty songbirds, the catch methods don’t discriminate and the annual death toll is at least one and a half million bird! Ambelopoulia is a delicacy in Cyprus, a tasty meal of migratory song birds, cited as being traditional cuisine! That’s hardly a rational argument, the Dodo may well have been traditional cuisine at some time and look what happened to it! Same as those tall, New Zealand birds.

Maybe the capture is done by poachers, but come on, they will persist only as long as someone buys their catch. When you visit Cyprus, don’t eat Ambelopoulia, commit the name to your brain! Think conservation, use Henry’s Thermos as a memory trigger!

Anyway, with your new-found knowledge, Ambelopoulia is bound to upset your stomach!



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