Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Australia --- Some Thoughts and Some Introductions

Most of you know that I am Australian and that I left Australia 47 years ago to do what myriads of young Australians did in those days. I wanted to travel and discover the history and the treasures of the Old World, so off I went on a working holiday, centred in London.

Somehow I ended up living in Canada, not even because I married a Canadian, for in fact I married another Australian. But Australians are always Australians till the day they die, wherever they are. Although Canada allowed dual citizenship, until recently, Australia would not, except under special circumstances. My children could be dual citizens but I could not under the Australian regulations. Because there was no way I would ever give up my Australian citizenship, I remained a bit of an outsider here. The longer it went on the more embarrassed I became about not becoming Canadian, while all my immigrant friends became dual citizens. Even the USA came to allow dual citizenship, while Australia still held out. Finally, in 2002 the laws in Australia were changed and we applied to become Canadian citizens immediately.

But once an Australian, always an Australian. We tend to think of the strong patriotism of the Americans but I don't think that Australians are any slouch in this department. Patriotism is said to describe feelings and emotions, an identification with compatriots and with the land. For Australians it means loving the land and defending it. It means celebrating with pride Australia Day and most solemnly of all, Anzac Day, April 25th, the day when all Australians remember the sacrifice made at Gallipoli in 1915 by the Australian and New Zealand troops. It means supporting the Australian sportsmen wherever they are competing, in the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games or wherever.

For me it means all those things, but mostly I have always admired the Australian love of the land. It has never been expressed more beautifully than by Dorothea MacKellar in this poem, My Country, which she wrote at the age of 19, while homesick in England in the early twentieth century. Partly reproduced here, these famous verses bring tears to any Australian's eye. (Full text is here.)

I love a sunburned country

A land of sweeping plains

of rugged mountain ranges

of drought and flooding rains.

I love her far horizons

I love her jewel-sea

Her beauty and her terror

This wide brown land for me.


An opal-hearted country

A wilful, lavish land –

All you who have not loved her

You will not understand

Though earth holds many splendours

Wherever I may die

I know to what brown country

My homing thoughts will fly.


You might ask, "Why this sudden burst of Australian patriotism, JMB ?" I guess I'm feeling a little nostalgic because of two Australian blog friends I have made in these past few months. Both of them demonstrate so well the Australians' love of the land, but in different ways. Reading them these past months has made me realize what being Australian has always meant to me, because I love everything I see on their blogs. Both live in states that I have never visited but the photos and stories are very familiar to me because this is my heritage that they are describing.

May I introduce the first one, Sienna, who blogs at Audio, Video, Disco...I Hear...I See...I Learn
where she posts the most wonderful photos of where she lives in the country, in the state of Victoria. She's a nurse but with her partner she raises sheep, horses for harness racing and wonderful working sheep dogs. Most of her posts are photos of what she sees as she travels around and on her walks. You never know what you will see when you go there, racehorses, kangaroos with joeys in their pouches, sheep, an emu, a kookaburra, those special sheep dogs and wonderful photos of the land and beautiful sunsets.

Sienna, at my suggestion, posted some of her beautiful photos over at Nos regards, the Belgium photo website. The theme for August is trees so please click here to see five tree photos which will show you how special these Australian trees are. The first is the biggest wattle tree I've ever seen in full bloom with the others various eucalypts or gum trees. Even if you don't follow any other link, please humour me and go see Sienna's tree photos.

The second one is Lee. She blogs at Kitchen Connection. where as a writer extraordinaire she narrates the adventures of her life in and around her home state of Queensland. She has had many different careers and some of these have been in the tourist and hospitality area. She has special talents as a chef and often posts wonderful photos of food with accompanying recipes on her blog. Her stories are mesmerizing as she tells with her dry sense of humour some of the remarkable things which have happened to her and she introduces us to the people she has met on her journey through this life.

She often writes about a place where she spent a great deal of time, running the resort there and which is very special to her. This is Hinchinbrook Island, Australia's largest island National Park, which is within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Both these bloggers, in different ways, display this love of their land and by reading them I have discovered once again what it means to be an Australian.

49 comments:

Lee said...

Oh, jmb...my eyes filled with tears as I read your most wonderful post. Yes, us Aussies maybe appear to be a laconic, weird mob of larrikins, but patriotic we are, through and through. Just start playing or singing "Waltzing Matilda" and our true colours soon begin to shine through! ;)

Thank you very much for your generous comments about my blog, jmb. I do appreciate them. :)

Colin Campbell said...

You must have left Australia around the time I was born. I am 48 this year. It is a great country and I can certainly identify with things that you wrote. What I don't really understand is that for such a dynamic and confident country, why Australia has not become a Republic. Hopefully before too long. First step, kick out John Howard and likely there will be a meaningful discussion on this issue.

Great post JMB.

Political Umpire said...

Interesting stuff, JMB, I have followed something of a similar path in that I left New Zealand nine years ago, and though I've been back twice I seem now to be settled in the UK. For all that (and the fact that I was actually born in the UK), I remain and will remain a Kiwi.

My great uncle died at Gallipoli. The effects were felt years afterwards because his mother, my great-great grandmother, never recovered. Her surviving children, including my grandfather, could be seen as heartless but I am sure it was a reaction; a will never to suffer in the way their mother did.

That said, when I read more of Gallipoli I become angered at the public myths surrounding it. The campaign was undertaken as a desparate attempt to avoid more slaughter on the Western Front. It failed, but that's war - a gamble that doesn't always succeed. It is not true that the attack had no chance of success; they nearly broke through on a number of occasions. Though there is much that went wrong in the planning etc they did learn from the event - such that British forces at D-Day had a much better time of it than their American counterparts. And it is also the case that the British and the French army contingents on Gallipoli outnumbered the ANZACs in terms of men deployed and casualties lost. Interestingly, Winston Churchill's career nearly ended because of the campaign - he lost his post as First Lord of the Admiralty.

I am surprised that there is not greater knowledge of the Battle of Amiens on 8 August 1918. General Ludendorff called it the black day of the German army. It was the point when it became clear that the Allies would win in 1918. And it was the Australia and Canadian forces who formed the vanguard of the allied attack - they were better fed, and fitter, than their British counterparts. It should be celebrated as a great day for the Australian army.

pommygranate said...

jmb

I didn't know you were an Aussie!

I married one 8 years ago, and she finally dragged me kicking and screaming to Sydney two years ago (im a Londoner).

I see you mention Anzac Day. You might be interested in this post i wrote about my first Anzac Day Parade last year. A very moving experience.

Graf von Straf Hindenburg said...

Dame Nellie Melba, Lionel Rose, Norman Gunston, Dawn Fraser, Shirley Stickland, Shane Gould, Bob Menzies [Ming] ANZAC Day, the Shrine, Swan Lager, Vic Bit, XXXX, Ayer's Rock, the Greer woman, Qantas with the perfect record, Bledisloe Cup ... so on and so on.

mutleythedog said...

Fascinating stuff! Australia remains a complete unknown to me - I can't imagine it at all. I only know if from Neighbours and Home and Away... and cricket. And Fosters or Castlemaine which Im assured aren't even drunk in Oz...

Sarabeth said...

I'd have to agree that Australians are as patriotic as Americans. Everyone that I have met, here and abroad, rank right up there. It's probably one of the reasons that Aussies and Yanks get along so well.

Janice Thomson said...

Australia is a very unique country and I can see why you love it so much Jmb. Canada is also honored to have such a wonderful person as one of their patriots too. After all are we not all really citizens of the world?
Pam's photos are so amazing yet again. Thanks for the link and for your wonderful post.

Ian Lidster said...

My longest duration friend, John, was born in Australia and lived there until he was about 5. We met when we were 12. To me he was always another Canadian kid. But, when he was in his late 20s he married an Australian girl (who was living in Canada) and they made several trips Down Under. He fell back in love with the land of his birth, and in 1991 they emigrated to 'Oz.' They came back for a trip last Christmas and we linked up briefly and they exhorted us to come and stay with them on a holiday, because they were going to 'stay' for keeps. Since WEndy has always wanted to make the trip, we are now looking towards next fall to maybe do so.
Anyway, my friend now also speaks with an accent.
Interesting blog, my friend.
Ian

Smalltown RN said...

What a great post about your homeland.....I went and checked out those two blogs you mentioned...I can see why you enjoy them so much.....have a great day!

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

Political Umpire is right. Churchill's idea to go round the Central Powers and hit the weakest link was right in principle.

After all, that's pretty much what Lawrence did, two years later and it certainly aided the allied victory.

jmb said...

HI Lee,
Yes there are an awful lot of larrikins Down Under, but they step up to the plate for Australia.

Hi Colin,
I left in March 1960, for good although I didn't know it at the time for I certainly meant to return.
I don't know why Australia and Canada don't become republics. At least they had a vote in Australia. I couldn't believe it didn't pass.

Hi PU,
The Anzacs certainly mean something to you beyond the annual celebration of the day.
Thanks for the clear explanation of the situation, and pointing out that the British and the French also lost huge numbers in that exercise.
The Battle of Amiens is well known as a Canadian battle here but I did not know about the Australian envolvement.
Are you a military history buff? Your post on Hiroshima was well written from the analysis point of view.

Hi Pommygranate,
Well of course I was a Sydney girl, the best city in the world, after all. Where do you live? I was from Oatley on the Cronulla line with my husband from Thornleigh on the Hornsby Line.
The Anzac Day dawn ceremony is very special indeed. I will check out your post.

Hi my Lord James, (I don't know how to address a Graf)
What a strange list that popped into your head there, I'll have to google a couple of them. You couldn't leave out "the Greer woman", could you?

HI Mutley,
Ah cricket, Australia is just the best at the moment. Sadly no coverage here in Canada so we have to pay big bucks to watch it on the computer which we did for the recent World Cup in the West Indies.
Can't talk about the beer in Oz or elsewhere since I don't drink it.

Hi Sarabeth,
I think we are equally patriotic but there are so few of us, we have to make more noise about it.
I think the Aussies and the Yanks get along so well because they are very similar, being rather laid back friendly people on the whole.

Hi Janice,
Compared to Canada Australia is a small country but compared to everywhere else it is quite large, just underpopulated.
Yes we are citizens of the world, but we all have our ties to somewhere.
I'm glad you liked Pam's trees, I knew she would have some great photos in her archives. Even the trees in Australia are different.

Regards
to you all and thanks for commenting and visiting. BP out in full force for this one. It must have been the image.
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Ian,
You definitely need to go Ian. You'll never regret it. Beaches as good as Hawaii, animals like no other, different from here but incredibly beautiful in its own way, especially by the coast.
Just watch out for the snakes, spiders, crocodiles, etc.

HI Smalltown, thanks for the kind words. These two bloggers certainly demonstrate what a wonderful country Australia is and what it's like to live there.

Crushed,
Another military history buff? Of course we were taught that the British used the Anzacs for their nefarious purposes, but as PU pointed out they certainly lost men in huge numbers too.

Regards to you all, thanks for visiting and commenting and I hope you enjoyed Pam's trees.
jmb

Lord Nazh© said...

Never understood exactly why a country would allow dual-citizenship :)

Glad they let you though and great post. Australia is on my 'to-do' list (although I'm not sure what 'do' is involved).

jmb said...

Well Lord Nazh, my daughter will have three soon and my granddaughter has three now.
If you went to live in another country for many years I am sure you would not want to give up your US citizenship.
I hope you get to go to Australia, you would feel very much at home and there are many great things to see.
regards
jmb

MedStudentWife said...

Beautiful blog JMB - its got my noggin' thinking,or maybe resetting...

Good to have validated that no matter where we live, "home" is in the heart and that we can still be patriotic and fiercely proud of a place we haven't lived in for a while.

You've given me a lesson & a tool to take with me on my journey :)

Thank you

Vic Grace said...

47 years ago I was living in Barons Court in London in a Youth Hostel and got to know a lot of Aussies that went to a club near the station. It was a watering hole for them. Maybe you were there. I married one of them, a really nice guy from Sydney, we emigrated to Canada together and amicable parted a few years later after having taken a few good trips. I visited Australia several years later and liked what I saw.

jmb said...

Hi MSW,
You may want to remember this when you move to the States permanently, as my daughter has done.
She'll always be a Canadian even though she went there seventeen years ago at age 23.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Vic Grace
In 1960 I was living with two other Australian girls in a flat in Stamford Brook. After I got married early in 1961 I lived in Clapham Common till we came here in the Fall of 1961.
I didn't know you emigrated here too.
Parallel lives we led at that time.
regards
jmb

Elsie said...

Jmb,
I didn't know you were Australian- how neat! That's one of the many places I hope to see one day, but one of the three continents I haven't- so it's up there on the list. Your post sounds a bit like the one I just wrote... this journey across America has made me experience a great deal more patriotism than usual.

Eurodog said...

Very nice post, jmb. I do not know much about Australia, I must admit but I loved your passion for your home country. I can relate to that. I am Belgian married to a Brit. My children are bilingual French/English but are British in spirit. I could acquire British citizenship. Belgium does not allow dual nationality so I would have to give up my nationality. I thought about this long and hard and when King Baudouin died a few years ago I decided I would remain Belgian at vitam eternam.

Political Umpire said...

Hi JMB, I am a military history buff in the most amateur sense. I enjoy it as a very much part time hobby (with 1 and a bit children, all hobbies are part time, as you'd understand!!)

Films like the Mel Gibson/Peter Weir Gallipoli don't help in terms of explaining to a wider audience what occurred and why. The scene of British generals pulling up tea trays and chilling out while the Anzacs ran madly towards the Turkish guns is just plain wrong, not to say offensive. As it happens, four British lieutenant generals, twelve major generals and eighty-one brigadier generals died during the war, and 146 more were wounded or taken prisoner - not the results of people lounging around behind the lines.

What people forget is that the British started the war with an army which equated to a small colonial police force. They had absolutely no intention of getting bogged down in a protracted land war in Europe with huge numbers deployed. Instead they thought that they would send a small force to aid the French left flank and thereby tip the balance in favour of the French/Russian alliance against Germany, while their primary contribution would be naval (having at the time the strongest navy in the world). The Germans had no intention of it either - they thought they'd nail Paris in a few short weeks and thereby finish the Western front before the British had any time to get involved. The plan of both failed, and the British Empire by mid 1916 was the only viable army facing the Germans, and it was therefore thrown into action on the Somme a year before Haig wanted. They learned their lessons from the Somme, then more lessons at Ypres in 1917. By 1918, the British Empire army was the most powerful in the world, and crushed what remained of the German army at Amiens and afterwards. Not bad considering what they started with in 1914.

Dreadnought, who is in my blogroll, is more knowledgable on these matters than I and has been posting in considerable detail on the Great War.

Back to Australia today. I am surprised no-one mentioned wine. Margaret River produces some of the finest Bordeaux-style wine in the world, including Bordeaux itself (Moss Wood being the flagship, but there are many others - Vasse Felix is a belter, nicely priced too). Penfolds Grange is possibly the best known, but Jim Barry's Amagh from the Clare Valley is something else too. All a finer chemical experiment to try than Fosters or XXXX beer (most of which are owned by Kiwis, or were, I'd add, but Kiwis do good wine too ...).

Australia can also boast the greatest sportsman of all time, Don Bradman. That isn't hyperbole. In other sports you could debate endlessly about the 'greatest' - Pele v Maradonna, Tiger Woods v Jack Nickalus, Ali v Rocky Marciano, or Wilt Chamberlain v Michael Jordan. In cricket there is not, and could not be, any question about the greatest batsman of all time.

Oh and the King of all sports commentators, Richie Benaud. (He was a great player too.)

Sienna said...

Aaaaww this is fantastic!

I swear I feel like singing..

*Waltzing matilda, waltzing matilda
You'll come a waltzing matilda with me
And he sang as he sat and waited by the billabong
You'll come a waltzing matilda with me.*

I had the tears well up too...I love A Sunburnt Country! That poem I carry in my heart, along with Banjo and Henry..

You know I never realised that about us...only just permitting dual citizenship, I didn't know.

As a country do you know what one of the things I love most about us; is we are such a melting pot, we have the potential to be anything we aspire as a country rich in so much culture and diversity..

Fair dinkum this post is beautiful, here is to Canada, Australia and every country you can name, any which nationality you might be...peace in our crazy old world.

Pam

pommygranate said...

Manly. Best spot in the world.

jmb said...

Hi Elsie,
Australian, through and through, although now Canadian too. Still with the accent although softened a bit now. You'll love it when you do get there. Everyone does.

So you've made the move to LA. I'll be over later to read your post. Your blog was quiet there for a bit, I suppose you were getting ready to go.

Hi Eurodog,
You have the same dilemma I had. For me it was impossible to give up my Australian citizenship but it was hard not being able to vote for all those years,not even in civic elections.
Do your children have dual citizenship anyway, as mine did? For some reason the Aussies allowed that.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi PU,
With a personal involvement and your own love of military history I'm sure there isn't much you don't know about Gallipoli.
The First World War seems to have had the most profound effect upon the soldiers who survived it or people who lost loved ones. Perhaps because so many great writers wrote about it after their own personal involvement.

I can see you are are oenophile too. For many years the Australians were known to keep their best wines for themselves but I guess they produced so much of it that it finally got send around the world.
As you say the NZ are no slouch in this department either. The BC wine industry which was dreadful in the beginning is now producing very fine wines and one of the best wineries here was put on the map by an NZ vintner who came to sort them out.

Now to cricket. The obsession of my youth, although women really didn't play then. Donald Bradman really finished his great career when I was twelve or so, but I had an older brother (7 years older) whom I adored and gave me a love of cricket. I went to all his games as an older child and teenager and we listened to all the tests on the radio. Young people would not believe that cricket could be interesting on the radio, would they?
I used to have posters on my wall of Keith Miller and Ray Lindwall, the great all rounder and the great fast bowler. I remember Richie Benaud too, I think he was either the opening batsman or first wicket down.
But Bradman was something special and never bettered.
I have to say now that I find the one day matches more interesting than the tests. However we live in a cricket wasteland and my husband who is still obsessed is grateful for what he gets from the computer now. He and his 78 year old brother in Australia email each other constantly about the current international match, whatever it is.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Sienna,
It was my pleasure to write this post, although I can't guarantee you any traffic from it.
The love of the land is what comes through from your blog every time I visit. I had to write about you so that other people might visit those trees at Nos regards.
That melting pot idea was very hard come by though, I can tell you.

After the Second World War when the immigrants from Europe came in droves the Australians were not initially welcoming although that did change, thank goodness and with the demise of the White Australia Policy the people changed again.
Drinking coffee instead of tea was the first big innovation brought to Australia after the war, then all the Asian food became so popular.
Thanks for inspiring this post, with your trees.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Pommygranate, do you go on the ferry every day to the city?

My mother moved to Dee Why after I left home so I came many times to visit there and went often to Manly. In fact I inherited her home unit, right on the beach in 1996. I kept it for a few years but finally sold it, since it I didn't want to rent it out and I was still working and we only came about every five years to Australia.
Manly was one of our favourite outings when I was young. The ferry ride was such a treat although I do remember the submarine net across the harbour during the Second World War and when you went to Manly you were unprotected after passing the Heads so it was scary.

Did the famous Norfolk Island pines finally die off? They were not very healthy last time I was there.
It must be time to visit Australia again. Almost seven years and too long since I was there last.
regards
jmb

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

The citizenship rules are interesting and it's nice to read about love of a country. I can also identify with your feelings about being an Australian because I have realised that I will always be a Brit. That's a beautiful poem you have quoted here. I can understand your nostalgia. I will go and look at the tree photos in a moment. I know Lee's great blog, of course. incidentally my second cousin emigrated to Oz over 40 years ago and he loves it. He is coming to Sicily in December!

lady macleod said...

I hardly think that's the way Australians "used to be" as I have encountered their adventurous, friendly, curious souls in all my travels, from India to America, to Africa your people abound. I can truthfully say, I have never met an Aussie I didn't like.

Wonderful poem. Thank you for sharing your feelings about your home.

Josie said...

JMB, what a great post! I love Pam's blog. Whenever I look at her photos, I feel as if I am stepping right into them, and into Australia. I loved Pam's photos of the trees. And of course, I adore Monty. He has officially adopted me. I haven't been to Lee's blog yet, but I'm going to check it out.

My mother was born and raised in South Africa, and she was first and foremost a South African. Her heart was always there and it was her true home, no matter what. So I understand completely your feelings for Australia.

Cheers,
Josie

jmb said...

Hi WCLC,
I'm sure you will always be a Brit, no matter how much you love living in Italy.
You'll love Sienna's trees and her blog is a delight to me and of course you know Lee.
How wonderful that your cousin is coming to Sicily soon. I'm sure you will love showing him around your "new home".
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Lady Mac,
We are a very friendly bunch and you find us all over the globe.
Thanks for visiting
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Josie,
Pam's blog is splendid and she really shows what life in the country in Australia is like.
Lee's blog is different, because she tells such great stories but she shows off Australia too.
I can understand your mother's feelings very well. Not that I don't love living here because I do. But I didn't leave Australia because I didn't love it, it just happened.
regards
jmb

RUTH said...

Your love of your Homeland shines through in your words. I was born in England, live here and always think of myself as English and when I fill in forms with nationality tick boxes always wish there was one for English but it's always British or EEC.
I musy go and see the trees until I started blogging I'd never seen or heard of a Wattle.

Steve G said...

I enjoyed your post. I love reading the Aussie blogs.

Political Umpire said...

Hello JMB. I've just left a reply to your kind message on my own post. I can only imagine what it would have been like actually watching Lindwall, Miller and the other legends of the day.

Funnily enough, in England radio commentary is going strong for all ages thanks to the marvellous institution that is Test Match Special. I don't know where else in England these days you'd hear the likes of Henry Blofeld, Christopher Martin-Jenkins and Jonathan Agnew; they are relics of a different age (and all the better for it, if you ask me).

jmb said...

Hi Ruth,
You should check out the wattle tree. It's an amazing specimen.
Of course everyone is English or Welsh or a Scot in Britain and fiercely so. They should allow that on the forms, shouldn't they?
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Steve,
I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Being transplanted yourself I'm sure you understand this little outburst.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi PU,
I think those were the glory days of cricket in Australia and all over the world.
But lots of things have changed for the better. When I think that the batters didn't wear helmets against bowlers like Lindwall it seems so bizarre. Someone here, on my husband's team had his cheekbone broken many years ago.

I was telling my husband what you said about radio coverage as his impression is that cricket is not so popular now in Britain. I said I thought radio coverage might be popular since one could listen with earphones while nominally working and appearing only to be listening to music.
regards
jmb

Annalee Blysse said...

I liked this post. I'm not the typical American because I was born and raised in small-town Alaska, which has more in common with BC and Yuokon Canada than any place in the US. Now that I live here with the rest of them people are always trying to figure out where I'm from. I talk and act different from them and they notice.

Annalee Blysse said...

Normally I can spell... blame the keyboard! ;)

Colin Campbell said...

What a great and positive discussion about nationality, culture and individual responses to a country. I had visited Australia a number of times before coming to live here and my wife was Australian, so cultural issues were not an issue. I had also been aware of Australian culture through our relatives who emigrated in the 1960s. What I had not anticipated was how easy it was to assimilate and get on with life here. It is a very welcoming and friendly country (and the weather is great).

jmb said...

Hey Annalee,
I'm sure you are very attached to Alaska, as I am to Australia.
I've been to Alaska a few times and I can see why everyone loves it so. Where you grow up always has a special connection to you, not matter where you end up.
regards
jmb

jmb said...

Hi Colin,
The Australia you came to was very different from when I grew up there. It still had a very British feel to it but now it's very multicultural. But the Australians are very friendly and welcoming and as a Scot I'm sure you had a very warm welcome.
regards
jmb

Political Umpire said...

Hi JMB,

I am sure your husband will remember Alan McGilvray fondly, a legend of Australian radio commentators. I once heard an interview with him that covered subjects other than cricket, and it was hard to imagine how he could say a sentence which didn't finish with something like 'and he pushes it safely towards midwicket and there's no run ...'.

Helmets were very controversial when they first came about, in the late 1970s; people didn't think it very 'manly'. It was a former Pakistani player who summed it up best for me - he asked what it said about someone who went out to bat protecting his shin but not his head.

I think also that bowlers in general became much faster in that era - sort of from Jeff Thomson/Dennis Lillee onwards. Standards of living through the world had increased a lot through the 1950s and 60s meaning people were fitter and stronger. Athletic records confirm this - remember in Lindwall's day Roger Bannister was only just breaking the four minute mile; nowadays any two-bit jogger can do it. Of course that doesn't mean Lindwall would have been slow, or incapable of causing injuries, even club cricketers can do that (as happened to your husband's friend clearly). And obviously there were some nasty injuries during Bodyline back in the 1930s. Perhaps it was also because, before Thomson's rather irresponsible behaviour, and excepting Bodyline, bowling bouncers wasn't really standard technique in the way that it became in the 1970s. While Thomson revelled in it (he was on record as making various unfortunate remarks about how much he enjoyed the sound of the ball hitting the batsman), his teammates came unstuck on that one as it was the West Indies who dominated that era and that sort of fast bowling (leading to modern protective gear and modern bouncer restrictions).

jmb said...

Hi PU,

"It was a former Pakistani player who summed it up best for me - he asked what it said about someone who went out to bat protecting his shin but not his head."

Yes and they always wore a batting box too!
Then ice hockey players have only worn helmets in the past 30 years so I guess they finally realized that it was better to be safe than macho man.

A cricket ball and a hockey puck are mighty hard and lethal weapons at high speed.

I wonder if they will every stream the radio cricket broadcasts over the internet.

Before we paid money for the live broadcast my husband used to sit in front of the computer and cricinfo refreshed the screen every 60 seconds. He sat there reading his book and looking up every now and then. I used to shake my head at him.
regards
jmb

heatherf said...

I am getting homesick reading this, especially the poem. Morocco is a long way from Australia and fellow Aussies are few and far between.

Gill said...

Thanks for your valuable contribution!