Welcome . . .

. . . to my personal blog, A Balanced Diet.

Here, I combine two important hobbies: writing and photography.

I call it A Balanced Diet because I write about anything that takes my fancy. There’s no single theme. Many of my stories are about plant sciences and international agricultural research, travel, even politics, and all have regularly featured since I started this blog in February 2012.

Just search the Recent Posts, or the various Tags and Categories, on the right-hand column. There’s the Search function as well. Recently, I’ve been doing some housekeeping, and opened a few more pages dedicated to specific themes. You can also find these in the right-hand column.

And yesterday (2 June 2019), seven years and more than 530,000 words later, I posted my 500th story about a visit my wife and I made to the country home of Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Onwards and upwards! Here’s to the next 500 stories.

Click on many of the images in the various blog posts to open a larger version. And even if images are included in a gallery, a slideshow will open if you click on any of these images. Most images in this blog are mine. Where I have used other images, the source and citation will appear if you place the cursor over the image; a box will appear with the details.

If you find that any broken links, please drop me a line in the comments box. Sometimes videos are removed on YouTube, or web sites moved or taken down. I find it almost impossible to keep track on so many links.

If you’d like to know a little more about me, just go to the next page (or listen to many stories in my own words).

In terms of Travel, you can find the whole list of posts here, or click on the map below.

I hope you enjoy your visit — keep coming back!

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On 9 December 1959 a very important agreement was signed—between the Government of the Philippines and the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations—to establish an international research institute, to be based in the Philippines, to do basic research on the rice plant and applied research on all phases of rice production, management, distribution and utilization.

Thus, 60 years ago, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) came into being. It was not until 14 April 1960 however that the institute’s first Board of Trustees met, in Manila, to approve its constitution and bylaws. Over the past 60 years, IRRI has had an unprecedented impact on rice and rice production worldwide.

It was my honour and privilege to work at IRRI for almost 19 years between July 1991 and April 2010, first as Head of the Genetic Resources Center, and second as Director for Program Planning and Communications.

Ten years ago, IRRI celebrated its Golden Jubilee on 10 and 13 December 2009 and 14 April 2010. Check out this story about IRRI’s jubilee celebrations.