Uluru

On Friday, 25 October 2019 Uluru was closed to climbers permanently. Tourists, both international and Australian have always considered the climb a bucket list item but the local Anangu people consider it a sacred place and have always asked that visitors do not climb.

In 1985 the lands surrounding Uluru, then more commonly known as Ayers Rock, were handed back to the Anangu people to administer. Climbing the rock was not immediately banned but over the past thirty-four years, they have tried to steer tourists into other activities. As time passed fewer tourists did make the ascent and it was agreed that when the number of tourists who were climbing dropped to less than 20% of visitors the climb would be closed permanently. The decision was made in 2017 and the date of closure was announced some months ago. Over the last few months, a lot of people have rushed to have a last chance to do the climb. Many people on social media have made scathing comments about it being disrespectful but it is what always happens when people realise they will only have a limited time to do something or see something. They want to be there, the last sailing of a ship, a last train journey, the last time in a favourite hotel. It’s human nature I guess. I can understand it.

Uluru in the distance
Our first glimpse. Photo David Jensen

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post or two David and I visited Uluru in the 1980s with a penfriend of mine from the USA. I think this was just before or around the time that the land was handed back to the Anangu community.

At that time tourists were requested not to climb the rock out of respect for the beliefs of the owners but it was not outright forbidden. My friend and I did climb it.

In hindsight, I don’t know why we did it except to say that we had done it because it was “a thing”. Perhaps it was to conquer our fears because both of us were afraid of falling. I didn’t intend disrespect to the indigenous owners but I knew very little about their culture and beliefs.

Uluru NT
Christie near Uluru

I suppose that I should say that I’m sorry I climbed but I’m afraid I can’t do that. It was a special experience to be there. I remember how I felt the age of my surroundings and how it felt calm and peaceful at the summit.

In recent years when the subject of closing the climb has come up, I’ve felt relieved that my ageing body would no longer allow me to climb safely even if I wanted to. I wouldn’t have to make the decision. But if I were suddenly granted the body of a twenty-something would I go? Probably not, I may not understand the reasons any better than I did then but ultimately I think I would respect the culture in the same way that I’d accept the rules of any religious structure I visited, covering my head, removing my shoes or whatever is asked.

37 people have died whilst climbing Uluru, many more have collapsed due to heat, dehydration or the exertion of climbing. As I said, I was in my twenties when we went and moderately fit. We saw much older people struggling to get up there. We also saw people who ran up. I believe people have taken bicycles up as well. It’s really not the safest place to be. On Friday morning it was very windy at Uluru and the rangers were obliged to delay opening the track for safety reasons causing a lot of consternation amongst the line of waiting visitors.

I have added some links to news articles about the closure below if anyone would like to read more about the subject.

Uluru photo was taken on holiday around the early-mid 1980s. I have cleaned the picture up a bit as there were a few dust spots but the colours are what I saw.

Further Reading:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-24/uluru-climb-closure-gives-voice-to-other-groups/11634498

https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/hundreds-queue-for-last-chance-to-climb-uluru-before-ban-is-enforced/news-story/0344f36da37867416d8685857bfc35d3

https://www.9news.com.au/national/surge-in-visitors-to-uluru-for-last-chance-to-climb-landmark-rock/59dc749c-7a1c-4dd4-a997-6e0dc225dfe0

Superstition – Unlucky Plants Revisited

I wrote this post in the spring of 2014 and rather to my surprise it has become one of my most viewed posts ever. Who knew that so many people were searching for articles about unlucky plants? Certainly not me! Anyway I thought that I would run it again for those of you that are interested in the subject or just like pictures of pretty blossoms.

Two old nectarine trees next to our "rustic" shed.
Two old nectarine trees next to our “rustic” shed.

Our old nectarine trees are blossoming again. I love seeing blossoms on trees. We have some lovely flowering trees in Australia  wattle, bottlebrush and flame trees to mention just a few of the native plants.  I always look forward to the apple blossom which comes and goes so quickly that you could easily miss it even in orchard laden Tassie.  I always think that pink blossoms would look lovely in a vase with daffodils but I never pick any. Why? Superstition.

Apple orchard, Ranelagh Tasmania
Apple orchard, Ranelagh Tasmania
apple blossoms on our tree.
apple blossoms on our tree.

My mother always used to tell us “Don’t bring blossoms into the house. It’s bad luck.” Well mum thought a lot of things were bad luck but she was mum, we didn’t argue.

Some of her superstitions were:

  • breaking mirrors – seven years bad luck unless you broke a match straight away
  • walking under a ladder is bad luck – well that makes sense, something could fall on your head or you might dislodge it (bad luck for the person on the ladder)
  • spilling salt  is unlucky-you are supposed to throw some over your shoulder if you do that. I can never remember which shoulder though so I do both.
  • black cats are unlucky – I love black cats and the worst bad luck I’ve had  with them is that mine died way too young.
  • peacock feathers in the house are unlucky – I never found out why this is unlucky, maybe they give you the “evil eye”? Some further research required here I think.
  • Putting new shoes on the table is unlucky – Don’t know where this one came from but bet it was invented by somebody’s mother.
  • Opening an umbrella indoors is unlucky – I don’t know where this one came from either. It’s certainly bad luck to be standing too close to someone opening one. You can get poked in the eye.

I don’t know if I really believe all these things myself but from habit I do what mum did – except the one about cats. I’d have another black cat any time.

I wondered about origin of the “no blossoms in the house” myth and googled it just now. I found that it was pretty widespread amongst my mother’s and grandmother’s generations. A lot of superstitions involve particular plants one of the main offenders being hawthorn or as it’s sometimes called in England, may blossom.

Common hawthorn.jpg
Common hawthorn“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

This has just reminded me that two relatives in mum’s family were called May and Blossom.

Mauve lilac came in for a lot of mentions too and one superstition that I had never heard of was about having red and white flowers in the same vase. Supposedly they signify blood and bandages. I don’t know if mum had heard of that one as I am sure we did that many times when we had red and white roses growing. I also know that mum was not superstitious about honeysuckle because she loved perfumed plants and would often bring it in.

Plant Lore is a website that collects folklore about this sort of thing and it has some interesting information on it.  Most of the responders to their “Unlucky Plants” survey seem to be like me, warned off by older family members with no real explanation given. “Just don’t do it. Because I say so!”

One writer, a former nurse said that she’d been told not to put red and white flowers together on pain of dismissal. Even in the 1960s this seems a remarkably superstitious attitude and a harsh penalty. Although this is an English site I’m sure that there is a lot of folklore about plants from other countries too.

 

Red and white flowers are considered unlucky
Red and white flowers are considered unlucky

As far as I know it’s not unlucky to post pictures of blossoms on your website so here are a couple more pictures of flowering trees. Will I be cutting some of my pretty blossoms to bring indoors? Probably not.

Tulip Magnolias

nectarine blossom
nectarine blossom

Links:

TOP TEN AUSTRALIAN FLOWERING TREES

http://everything2.com/title/bad+luck

 

Which Way to go, that is the question.

The Top Five Things That Annoy Me About Social Media

The Three am Rant

  1. Blog posts and articles with names like “The Top 5/10/20 Best/Worst” of anything.
  2. Blog posts and articles that inform you that “You have been doing this wrong for your whole life”
  3. Articles that make you click through endlessly to read a story that could have been told in less than 500 words
  4. Articles that make some claim about a celebrity/royal which turn out to be nothing new and usually tied to some advertising campaign
  5. Poor proofreading eg. “7yo saves chocking mum”. What was she doing, eating too much chocolate?
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Number 1 annoys me because frankly there is far too much of it. It’s even recommended by blogging tutorials as a way to format a post. I was asked to do it when I wrote a guest post for Ruby Lane but it’s really not my style. Once in a while, I write a list but these things are subjective anyway. My 50 most beautiful classic movie stars won’t be yours.

Number 2 annoys me because I don’t like being told that everything I ever did is wrong. I won’t read those because they just make me mad at the twenty-somethings who write them.

Numbers 3&4 are clickbait and I try to avoid them but sometimes I get sucked in by a nice photo or actually wanting to read about the subject but I don’t want to spend fifteen minutes over it, and no, I never click on the accompanying ads.

Number 5 annoys me because I notice spelling errors and it’s becoming more common than ever. Spell check is not enough on its own but sometimes it seems as if nobody cares about correct spelling any more.

Everyone talks about “content” and being “an influencer” it seems that too many people just write any old thing to make money.

Yes, the internet is full of rubbish. Thank goodness for the journalists and bloggers who still provide material worth reading.

30 Days, 30 Songs (29)

Don’t Tear It Down

This song by V Spy V Spy was released in 1986 and I relate to it, even more, today than I did then. It makes me both sad and angry when fine old buildings are knocked down only to be replaced by ugly concrete stacks especially when those stacks are so badly built that people can’t live in them as has happened in two recent cases in Sydney. It makes me mad when people are made homeless because a stupid reality show buys the boarding house where they lived to refurbish but not as public housing; or when the refurbishing is just a token saving of a facade. Our cities are losing their character forever. This song is a musical rant about that.

Encouraging Bad Manners

The cricket World Cup is just beginning and after some debate about whether I could afford it or not I decided to subscribe to a sports streaming channel for a month or so in order to watch some of it as it is not on FTA TV.

A World Cup Trophy

I received an email from the streaming company which included this paragraph.

Out to dinner when a match starts? Just whip out your phone and start streaming LIVE at the table or watch the replay the next day on the bus or train. You can also Use Apple TV, Telstra TV, Android TV or Chromecast to watch it on the big screen.

It really annoyed me that they would suggest getting out your phone to watch live TV when you are out to dinner. How rude is that? We should not be encouraging that sort of behaviour but they speak about it as if it’s perfectly acceptable to ignore your family and friends. This is what replays and recording TV was invented for.

I know. It’s just advertising spiel but it really got my goat. I will be watching the cricket at home on TV. It will be at night so it’s unlikely I’ll miss any but if I had company or was out when it was on bad luck. I’ll watch the replay later.

RDP: Pink

Don’t Pinkize Me!

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the colour pink. I don’t dislike the colour.  I like it, especially in nature. A walk around my garden would easily show that.

pink rose in the back garden.

Ground cover rose grown from a small pot.

No, I dislike the way that pink is used to represent women and girls all the time. It’s as if we can’t be happy in any other colour.

When a woman takes part in a predominantly male sport like motor racing you will often find her team in pink overalls or the car is pink. That wouldn’t be annoying if it wasn’t nearly always the case.
Karolina i Silvette

Pink is used a lot to promote women’s issues. Breast cancer for example. In Australia, everyone knows The McGrath Foundation who raise money for breast care nurses, a very worthy cause let me say. The organisation was founded by Jane and Glenn McGrath in 2005 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Glenn was a well known and popular cricketer so the Sydney Test  Match is always their biggest fundraiser for the year. The players wear pink caps, the commentators were pink ties or even pink suits and the crowd is generally a sea of pink. Again I don’t think this is a bad thing.Jane McGrath Day - Day 3 at the SCG//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

I just sometimes wish someone would come up with a different marketing idea that’s all. Apparently, it wasn’t always this way. I didn’t know this but up until the 1940s pink was generally associated with boys and blue with girls.

While these days pink is seen as a more feminine color, it wasn’t always that way! In an article from Smithsonian.com, it says that in 1908, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” It was around the 1940’s that these colors switched.

Nearly all girls toys incorporate pink. People go on about diversity but the recent 60th Anniversary Barbie was literally pink from head to toe. Pink hair, pink outfit right down to stocking and shoes. She looks like a lipstick! Does anyone remember when Barbie was not associated with pink? No? well, I’m older than she is so I do.

One of the 60th anniversary Barbie’s Photo from Mattel.

So as I said, I don’t dislike pink; I do dislike how commercialised the use of it has become. There is a whole psychology around colours in marketing. I don’t like it because I don’t like being manipulated.

Flowers in my kitchen

References:

Another WordPress Feature Goes Missing

This morning I discovered another WordPress feature had gone missing. I guess it’s not a very important one but I liked it.

On the Stats page there where you can see the list of posts that have been viewed there used to be a little link next to each post which would take you to it. I don’t know if other people do this but I often like to read my old posts to see if they are still relevant or sometimes with a  really old one to remind myself what I said. Sometimes I do it out of curiosity, trying to work out what attracted the reader to it or why an old post keeps bobbing up.

Where did the links go?

When I logged in this morning those little links were gone.  I imagine that as WordPress is so glitchy these days and as they consider something as important as spell check to be not worth fixing they are hardly going to worry about a feature that probably a lot of people don’t even notice.

Of course, there are other ways I can go back over old posts. I know that but it’s just another example of the glitches we seem to be seeing more and more often these days.