Advent of 1880.—The first noisy notice our usually quiet township received of another year being commenced in Ashburton was the spasmodic yell of a Yankee engine at midnight, and further music followed from the brass band, about a dozen larrikins, and a shilling’s worth of Chinese crackers, the whole performance taking place in a pelting shower of rain. As the larrikin element required some excitement to keep" "themselves warm-, the peace of the township was disturbed about 12’30 by a few clangs on the firebell, which had no worse effect than bringing the Brigade out on a fool’s errand. A wish was heartily • expressed that the fellow who rang the bell would break his leg on his way home. We do not join in this too emphatic wish, but would like to point out to the youth of the town that the .firebell is rather too severe a tiling to tamper with, even on a New Year’s Eve.
WiNHEOw Sports,— The following are the entries for the Winslow Cup :—Tam o’ Shanter. Steamer; All Fours, and Orange Peel. ' ■
Thu Circus. —Chiarini’s circus which is to give a performance in Ashburton on the fifth January, is tilling up a very successful season in Christchurch, and" bumper audiences reward the nightly appearances of the performers. Important to Publicans.— At the R.M. Court on Tuesday morning a case cropped up in which one of the parties pleaded the Tippling Act, to get out of paying a claim against him. He had been a servant of the defendant in the action, and after a good deal of argument the Magistrate decided that where it could be shown .that drinks were supplied in the ordinary way of trade to lodgers or servants residing on the premises the Tippling Act did not apply, and that the parties having such refreshment supplied to them were liable for payment of the same. His Worship also" stated that he would make this case' a precedent for similar actions in the future.
Fire. —On Monday, about noon, the house of Mr. Henry Beckett, fanner, Wakanui, was burned to the ground. It appears that Mrs. Beckett was preparing the mid-day meal, a raging nor’-wester blowing at the time, when a spark caught the thatched roof and took such an immediate hold of the building that Mrs. Becket had the utmost difficulty in getting out of the house without being able to save a single article of clothing or furniture. Much sympathy is expressed for Mr. Beckett, who is universally respected by Iris neighbors,.
Thu Pantomime. The pantomime which'is promised to be produced in Ashburton soon is drawing large houses in Christchurch. Methodist Vigils -Last night, being New Year’s Eve, the usual night watches were kept by the WcCvyan and Primitive Methodist congregations, and the services were fairly attended.
The Weather.—The old 3 r ear has departed, and the ne .■ one arrived with a most unwelcome 11. . :,fall of rain. It is not a consoling statu of things at what is, and ought to be a joyous season, and we fear that early heavy crops will suffer. These are, however, not numerous, and the wheaton the plains, of which the acreage is by far the most extensive will not suffer by the outpourings of the clouds, but as even these farms have had enough, now harvu;-: b so near, it is to be hoped that by tlio rime this issue is in the hands of our readers that they will shake hands and wish each other a “Happy New Year,” with a cloudless sky, and the bright sun shining over them, and the same weather continue for a month at least.
The Fire Brigade. —The usual fortnightly practice of the Fire Brigade took place last night, and was a most disagreeable one, the rain coming down in a steady shower the whole time. Probably the practice would have been postponed ; but it had been decided that the test of the Havelock street well should take place, and the Committee appointed from the Borough Council had been invited to attend. As a spectator remarked, the practice was in ivery sense a “ wet” one. The well in dispute was first tried, and as many men as could get round the engine tackled the handles. After trying it with a |in. nozzle, then two A-ins, and finally a single inch one, it was deemed advisable to see the result of a trial of the double tube wells for the sake of comparison ; and the engine was shifted to the well opposite the Bank of New Zealand. A difference for the better was at once noticeable. Mr. 8. Hardley, the contractor for the Havelock street tube, considered the trial unfair to him, as he. asserted the water was at a higher level by five feet there than in his well, and proposed a trial of the one opposite Montgomery’s buildings, which was at once assented to by the Brigade. This trial at once demonstrated that the Montgomery’s Buildings well was by far the best tried during the evening, the inch nozzle throwing a splendid stream, although the engine had fewer men pumping than at Mr. Hardley’s well. After I’mbering up, the men were ordered to fall in, and His Worship the Mayor thanked the Brigade for the work they had done, and informed them that the result had been sufficient to enable the Committee appointed by the Council to decide upon the matter in dispute, between the Council and the contractor. The meeting, which, in spite of the inclemency of tlie weather, was largely attended, then dispersed.
Extending i he Service of Summonses. —His Worship laid down a rule on Tuesday bearing upon the service of summonses. It happens in a widely scattered district such as this, and one in which the population is to acertain extent migratory, that the bailiff finds a difficulty in effecting the service of a summons on a defendant in time for the date of hearing; it then becomes necessary to “ enlarge ” the document, that is to extend the date of hearing till a later Court day. It is usual in Resident Magistrate’s Courts to have this d no in open Court and thereby give all parties connected with the case due notice of the adjournment, Some instances have happened in the Ashburton Court in which the enlargement has been made by the Clerk of the Court, and parties to suits have attended Court on the day for which they were first warned, and have in some instances travelled long distances, and found on arrival that the case has been postponed to some future date. His Worship- at Tuesday’s sitting ruled that it was competent for the Clerk to extend the date of hearing of cases. We very much question the wisdom, if not the legality of such a rule, as it is not only likely to leadto confusion but also to throw an undue power in the hands of a subordinate officer of the Court, and does not give publicity to enable the public to take due advantage of the protection the Court is supposed to provide thorn with. Moreover it is not customary to invest the Clerks of Court with such privileges in other districts, and we think his Worship has delegated his powers in a direction which will not be for the good of the public.
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