Saturday, 12 January 2008


Scatterdays begins with an E this week, and requires something white, something from the garden and something terrifying.

Energy and enthusiasm eluded me this week, but eventually I extricated myself from ennui. I chose one of the several White Elephants that live in this house for my white objet. I have a white elephant Christmas decoration, now sadly packed away, and another white stone elephant thatlooked extremely ecru in the photo. But this one looks and is white, beneath all its gold embellishment.

My "something from the garden" actually inhabits the street outside. I was assured by elderly residents that it's a eucalyptus sideroxlyon (OK, I admit, I had to look that up!), otherwise known as the Red Ironbark or Mugga. Its native environment is the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range, but it's also an everyday street tree throughout Australia. We once had an avenue of E. sideroxylons down our street but now this example is exceptional.

"Something terrifying" extended my expertise extensively. In the absence of ideas, I was going to share a photo of an extremely terrifying thing I found recently - one of the red wines we bottled at the third N.Epping Wine Bottling in 1995, which emerged, blinking and dusty, from the back of a cupboard. From memory, the 1995 bottling was not an especially good drop, so only an extremely enthusiastic oenophile would attempt to experience it. (Or do I mean the exact opposite of a oenophile? More like a couple of desperate university students?)

However, I found something more E-related in my mother's extremely elderly educational resources from Another Age. She was educated in an era when England had an Empire. The title English History is self-explanatory; that's all they were taught at Adavale and elsewhere in 1931. The book sections are: The Growth of Civic Freedom (from the Anglo-Saxon moot to female emancipation), The Growth of the Industrial System (from Manors and Gilds (sic) to The Industrial Revolution) and Growth of an Empire Based on Liberty ("How the American Colonies Were Lost" [sob]through to.. oh gee, a couple of chapters on Australian self-determination, via chapters on the British bringing liberty to India and being cruelly rejected, and bringing liberty to the South Africans and beating those evil Boers, who eventually saw the error of their ways and showed "such a loyalty to the Empire that has surprised and pleased all its members." So there!). Why is this scary? I wonder how much of our modern world view will stand the test of time, or will future generations look at what we take for granted now and laugh? Will they snort, "Global Warming? They were so naive back then!" or "American cultural imperialism? They didn't last long, did they?" I sometimes think that it is the things we all know without doubt to be true that will turn out to have been egregiously in error. Just as the British Empire was going to last forever, bringing enlightenment to the entire world.


Quiltycat said...

What a magnificent eucalyptus!
Very stately.
I've got one for E day as well but I can't post it as Gordon has gone off to Melbourne for the day with the camera.
It's a stunning tree though.

Lindi said...

Egad! Such effronterey!
Though I dare say the text had the required effect: to edify Empire.
Thanks for your enarration. Sad to say, euthanasia is still alive and well in history books!

Michelle Watters said...

Eureka I found your E's. Now where are your U's? Busy having a birthday? HBTY.