Thursday, February 02, 2006

More on the Wattle

Oops. I was wrong. A commenter on today's post about Australia Day asked if there are wattle jokes. I replied that I doubted that Aussies take the wattle seriously and that there would probably be some good jokes out there.

I was wrong. Seems like Australians take the wattle as seriously as Americans do their flag, the French their wine, and the British ...

Scrub that thought, we Brits don't take anything
that seriously.

Yup. It seems that there are patriotic songs about the wattle with such stirring lines as ...

But whatever the quarrel, whoever her foes,
Let them come! Let them come when they will!
Though the struggle be grim, 'tis Australia that knows,
That her children shall fight while the Waratah grows,
And the Wattle blooms out on the hill.

And here's another that I really like ...

And we must sing a rebel song
And join in rebel chorus.
We'll make the tyrants feel the sting
O' those that they would throttle;
They needn't say the fault is ours
If blood should stain the wattle!

Apparently, during World War 1 it was customary to send soldiers serving overseas a sprig of wattle with each letter to remind them of home. And, more recently, after the Bali bombings the Australian prime minister suggested that Australians wear sprigs of wattle and plant wattle seeds as a "quiet personal gesture of remembrance and reflection".

So apologies to my Australian readers. I didn't mean to treat your national symbol so lightly. In mitigation I can only point out that I do have an Australian mother-in-law ... and there ought to be a joke there but I can't think of the punch line.

What's all this got to do with sailing, you may ask?

Good question.


Anonymous said...

I'm confused are you British or American? If your British where did you used to live and what made you want to move to America?

Claire (England)

Tillerman said...

I was born in Britain and my wife was born in Australia. We married in Britain and lived there until 1989 when we moved to the US. We are British citizens.

In Britain we lived some of the time in the Midlands (when I sailed at Rutland) and some of the time in Berkshire. I moved to America with my job. I was at a stage in my career where I needed to get some international experience and I chose a US transfer over the other options of a move to somewhere else in Europe.

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