OPINION: Kit Wykeham-Musgrave was 15 years old in 1914. He was serving aboard the British cruiser HMS Aboukir. Suddenly there was a massive explosion and the huge ship began to sink.
Kit jumped into the freezing water and was quickly rescued by the HMS Hogue. Standing on the deck dripping wet there was another explosion and the HMS Hogue began to sink.
So again he jumped into the water and swam free of the sinking ship. Luckily Kit was picked up by the HMS Cressy.
He had he just clambered aboard but the deck of the Cressy, when there was yet another explosion and the HMS Cressy, begins to sink.
Again Kit jumps into the water and swims away. This time he clung to a piece of driftwood until he was rescued by a Dutch fishing trawler.
Kit Wykeham-Musgrave had been sunk three times in the space of one hour.
Kit was either incredibly unlucky for been sunk three times or very lucky to have survived three sinkings. After all 1397 sailors died that morning.
These three giant cruisers had been sunk by the German U-boat U9. No one really thought these flimsy little craft were any threat. Not even the Germans thought their U-boats were that useful. The Royal Navy was more worried about the giant German destroyers.
But after September 22, 1914 everyone was well aware of the power of one small flimsy submarine.
Around 100 years earlier the Royal Navy came across another small insignificant piece of equipment, that everyone initially ignored. In the early 1800s, the Navy began switching from wind power to steam-powered ships.
Other than wind the only other way to propel a boat forward was with oars. The automated version of an oar is a circular paddle.
So these first steamships had giant paddles at the sides of the ship. Then someone invented the propeller.
But the Admiralty wouldn’t accept this small device could work. They ran trials and the propeller boat won every time. But the top brass was not convinced.
So in 1843, they took two identical steamships, one with paddles and one with a propeller and tied a cable between them. They conducted a ship version of the tug of war.
The ship with the propeller began towing the paddled powered ship backwards.
Now the Admiralty had seen it with their own eyes, and there was no longer any doubt that the small insignificant looking propeller was indeed superior.
Now I’m aware that this is supposed to be a column that resembles something agricultural. So I’ll alert you to a growing trend of farmers and micro-producers of milk popping up around the country in increasing numbers.
Farm Fresh South selling raw milk with a vending machine and home delivery in Southland. Further north Holy Cow and Windy Ridge selling pasteurised milk to Otago. Roan Farm just launched in Christchurch selling pasteurised milk, and Aylesbury Creamery have started home delivery of raw milk to Christchurch too.
There’s plenty in the North Island. Jess Hill’s Dreamview dairy in Raglan recently appeared on Country Calendar, Balaclava Milk in Northland have been going for a while. Jersey Girl Organics have been very successful & continue to grow around the North Island. Origin Earth in the Hawkes Bay is doing great things too.
There are many others too, but perhaps the best example of how these smaller businesses can have a dramatic impact on their local communities is Oaklands Milk in Nelson.
They’re a family-run dairy farm that dominates the cafe market in Nelson. With most cafes in the region using their milk in reusable glass bottles. They also have a network of vending machines around the region selling hundreds of litres of milk per day. Of course its all in reusable bottles too.
Imagine if 80 per cent of Auckland cafes used reusable containers like they do in Nelson. There are many reasons why this hasn’t happened yet, but it will change in time.
Just 10 years ago the plastic problem was not a priority in many peoples lives.
But that has changed, it’s a major concern of many New Zealanders according to Colmar Brunton’s recent research.
It’s possible we’re quite close to the point where it becomes clear to everyone that the solution to the plastic problem is the insignificant and fragile-looking small local producers.