26 June 2022

Quail

The New Zealand Quail by George Lodge

Five days past the summer solstice now and yet the sky remains little darkened at eleven o'clock. The remnants of sunset hung above High Storrs School as I walked home from another quiz at "The Hammer and Pincers". Gone are the days when local pubs would be packed out for quiz nights - when you couldn't find a table and the prize money might top a hundred pounds. Nowadays there are some nights when we wonder if the quiz might happen at all because of poor attendance.

Everybody has some general knowledge in their brains but like other members of my quiz team, I have rather a lot of it. My speciality is Geography whereas Mick knows a lot about films, dates and James Bond. Mike is good with history and Danny, the last to join the team, often surprises us with the random things he knows.

We tied for the top prize with twenty two out of a possible twenty five correct answers. This led to a tie break question which was; "In which year did the New Zealand quail become extinct?" I put 1936 but I was a long way out. It was 1875.

Before human beings first  arrived In New Zealand around 1200AD, it was an unspoilt Garden of Eden. For millennia its flora and fauna had evolved into a beauteous and balanced harmony. Every plant and creature had its place until humans arrived and that includes the Maori people who introduced the Polynesian rat.

Until tonight I had never even heard of the New Zealand quail. Well, we can't know everything, can we?

23 comments:

  1. Quiz nights must be fun and you learn a few things.

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    1. For men, quizzes are useful because they prevent conversation about personal matters.

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  2. You are right, we can‘t know everything. I had never heard of this particular quail before, either.
    At The Towers (my Irish pub), quiz nights are always packed and we need to book our table well in advance. Chris (our host) holds quiz night every Tuesday with a break over the summer months, since most people then prefer to sit outside on the market square, catching the last of the evening sun. There has never been a money prize here. Instead, 1st prize is usually a bottle of whiskey, 2nd a bottle of vodka and 3rd two bottles of (cheap and not particularly good) sparkling wine.
    Next quiz is in September, and I hope my team and I will be there.
    Unlike the poor little quail which will never be anywhere anymore.

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    1. I hope you are revising hard for September. May I suggest improving your knowledge of rugby league and the poetry of William McGonagall.

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    2. I can not remember there ever having been questions about rugby or William McGonagall. Our host is Irish but he knows that at least half of the people in the pub are Germans. Also, he himself is not really interested in sports, so his questions reflect that.

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  3. You surprise me YP. I thought you DID know everything!
    I shall have to transfer all my adoration to Mr northsider now.

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    1. Worship The Lord of the Polytunnel! Praise him! Praise him!

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  4. Australia has quails too just in case it ever comes up.

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    Replies
    1. Yes thanks River, I read that when googling The New Zealand Quail.

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  5. The Land of the Long White Cloud was so safe for birds that over time at least one species lost the ability to fly. It had no predators. It is a parrot of some kind. I forget its name.
    My partner once said to me, You know and remember so much but just not the important things. So yeah, I am not bad at trivia. A sports expert is essential in any trivia team here.

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    1. Why? Are Australians interested in sport?

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  6. I occasionally participate in trivia contests and always do fairly well due to my love of reading nonfiction. But I have a glaring hole when it comes to pop culture in the 80’s when I grew up on an isolated farm without a television.

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    1. How lovely to grow up without TV. My parents bought our first TV in 1958 so I had five years without one.

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  7. I imagine that from now on you will never forget about New Zealand quail!

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    1. I am afraid that my memory is not that reliable Bob! Stuff evaporates after a while.

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  8. Was the poor quail a victim of the cooking pot?

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    1. It became extinct because of deforestation and predation by dogs, cats and rats - all introduced by humans.

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  9. Well, you cannot know everything and it is a good thing to get out and stretch your brain a bit, enjoy the company of others. And I'm sure you've won your share!

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    1. Oh yes.We have won many times in the last thirty years Ms Moon.

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  10. Poor New Zealand quail! More sad news to process...
    I will need an uplifting post from you soon, Neil.

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  11. Cryptic Crossword Clue: Marine Animal 5 and 3? Answer: Ships Cat!

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  12. I've been to New Zealand and I've never heard of the New Zealand quail! (Of course I wasn't there long enough ago to see one. :) )

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