From August 24, Country TV will be screening a 12 episode, weekly series called 'Rugby in our Blood. The publicity blurb says it features rural communities and the people for whom rugby is so much more than a game of two halves.

The series features some well-known rugby and farming names and their connections with their local club. The opening episode looks at the Coastal club in Taranaki, home of the illustrious Barrett rugby clan. Former Hurricanes first-five David Holwell showcases the famous Mid Northern club in Northland in another. Jimmy Cowan makes a cameo appearance talking about Mataura, a rugby club built around the local freezing works in Southland. Stephen 'Beaver' Donald stars and Sir Colin Meads' club, Waitete, also features.

Lesser lights also feature. That's where I come in. While I'd like to think I was selected for rugby prowess, rural broadcasting was my entry ticket. But the good thing for me is it shines a light on the Riversdale rugby club, where I enjoyed some of the best days of my life, on and off the field.

Part of the deal included digging up old farming and footy photos. We really did have some bad haircuts back in the day. The '70s and '80s have a lot to answer for!


So there I was searching for some old rugby photos when I stumbled across a dreadful love poem I'd written in 1980 for my girlfriend of the day. What was I thinking?

The first line read, 'A is Always, my love for you'. The poem then meandered on its syrupy sweet journey through the alphabet. Now with the benefit of hindsight, aided by life's bumps and bruises picked up during the intervening 36 years, I've decided to have a crack at rewriting the poem, this time focusing on another of my loves. So here goes:

A is for Agriculture, here's my Ode to you
B is for Brexit, Poms left us in pooh.

C is for China, can we do without it?
D is for Doubt so, we'd be in the s#it.

E is for Europe, produce too much milk
F is for Fonterra, needs less of that ilk.

G is GDT, at last a good rise
H is for Horticulture, success no surprise.

I is for Insane, Auckland house prices
J is for JAFAs, make them build more high rises.

K is for Key, loved blindly by Nats
L is for Little, still dogged by his stats.

M is for Mutton, though I'd prefer lamb
N is for Nitrogen, is its use out of hand?

O is for OCR, and is Wheeler thrifty?
P is for Predators, gone by 2050?

Q is for Quota, fine if you have one
R is for Russia, its sanctions are dumb.

S is for Shanghai and Silver Fern Farms.
T is for Takeover, can it do any harm?

U is for Underwhelming, lamb, grain and dairy
V is for Vineyard, eat, drink and be merry.

W is for Winston, wine, women and song
Nearly all of them eXcellent, and one's never wrong.

Y is for Young Farmers, are there any finer?
Z is for Zespri, God bless gooseberries from China!

Postscript: So what became of the saccharine poem from 1980? Well the recipient can't have thought it was as repellent as I do in hindsight. She's now Mrs. Mackay. Who said romance is dead?