Monday, September 01, 2008

Wattle They Think of Next

It's not only the first day of Australian spring but it's beginning to be a week of 'Claytons' celebrations! I watched the news tonight and our politicians are doing what politicians do, arguing over inflation and interest rates but all were adorned with a little sprig of wattle on their lapels. Apparently, the first day of Spring is "National Wattle Day". For those of you with allergies, that's something to dread, the little yellow acacia flower is notorious for causing hay fever, allergic reactions and turning you into a red eyed snot box. I was not aware of "Wattle Day" and I've only lived here for ooh . . . 40 years! My bad!

National Wattle Day is celebrated throughout Australia on the 1st September each year (by politicians apparently). The day was originally conceived as a day to demonstrate patriotism for the new nation of Australia by wearing a sprig of wattle. The day now has wider significance as a day to celebrate our natural environment, our flora, our rainforests and bushland, our coastal heathlands and desert dunes. The sprig of wattle should encourage us to preserve our fragile environment, so that future generations will experience the joy of seeing our bushland light up each spring with golden bloom.National Wattle Day gives us a chance to demonstrate our collective pride in all things Australian. For many years now our athletes have worn green and gold, our national colours inspired by the Wattle. OK noble sentiments but . . .Wattle?

Allow me to wax lyrical " Just as Wattles rise from the ash of bushfires, Australians have always shown a determination to succeed and rise above any disasters, showing the spirit that has made us a great nation." O pelease talk about a try hard attempt at unification when nobody knows the bloody day exists!

Maria Hitchcock, known as The Wattle Lady, is responsible for gazettal of Acacia pycnantha as Australia's National Floral Emblem and gazettal of National Wattle Day on 1st September each year. She is the author of 'Wattle' (AGPS, 1991) and a Life Member of the Australian Plants Society. Poor Maria . . .she really needs to get a life! Imagine lobbying for a national 'flower' day. Don't get me wrong, I lovz me treez and me plantz but . . .wattle . . .

It's smelly, claustrophobically so . . .anyone who walks past a wattle in bloom is overcome by the 'honeyish' asphyxiating pong and that's if the bees humming around the blooms don't get pissed off and chase you down the road. And you know how it goes with bees . . run and be damned . . and if you have curly hair, bees are to be feared my friends, they become entangled in your luscious locks and sting your scull before spilling their guts and going to honey heaven.

Apparently thanks to the asphyxiating wattle, we have become the land of gold and green, that awful combination of colours that marks our sportsmen and women, encourages the weird to weild green kangaroos on yellow backgrounded flags and determine that we should actually look like the Brasilian beach basketball team in yellow and gold. It's NOT gold it's that horrible acid yellow colour . .that bilious, "I have nothing left to spew" colour.

I'm all for national pride and celebrating the advent of spring but "National Wattle Day"?

Some quotes from the 'wattleists'

The idea of embodying Australian National sentiment in a native flower, and setting apart one day in the year for its celebration, has met with the greatest success in Sydney (no it hasn't nobody gives a rats posterior, we're all too busy strategically placing gollies in our hankies)

To the native-born Australian the Wattle stands for home, country, kindred, sunshine, and love (no it doesn't, it stands for asphyxiating nausea, red eyes and a runny nose and mangrove worms don't live in wattle bushes)

Let us rouse our young peoples sense of chivalry, and make the Wattle synonymous with Australia’s honour. (Let us break out the Kleenex and antihisthemines and prey for the onset of bushfires to burn the bejeesus out of this annoying shrub while our younglings celebrate the joys of the amber fluid)

Seriously, I had to research this because I had no idea it was real . . Strangely, I feel like I actually have a life . . .Now if it was National Mango day . .I might feel a little more enthused! Mmmmm . . . .mango!

Totally gratuitous sneeze and absolutely unAustralian:

On a more serious note and a quick postscript to Ces, Wordnerd and anyone else down on the gulf . . we're hoping it's not as bad as the media is portraying - they love a disaster and pics of Katrina's aftermath have been replayed, and replayed, and replayed . . .and it's proving positive for the pollies as well. Hunker down and batten the hatches or get the fuck outta there. Thoughts are with you girls as Gustav wends his woeful way.


Thriftcriminal said...

Hmm, apparently my snot problems this year are as a consequence of developing hayfever, not too red-eyed, just an irritated sinus mostly. Walking through heather Sunday week ago I was kicking up plumes of pollen, suffered for a few days afterwards. Worth it for the walk though.

Ces said...

They should change the national colors if only I can see Natalie Cook play beach volleyball again in London in 2012. She looks good in red but that's China's color. Yes, the Australians looked just like Brazilians except with blonde hair and I could understand them when they spoke. I don't think you have a choice. You are stuck with yellow and green. It's symblolism, rather innocuous to those without allergies, so you are allergic to wattle? Maybe they can use plastic or polyester wattle sprigs made in China? Heheheh. I am not being helpful. Thanks for the concern. It's quiet right now. The networks love it when there is a disaster especially when people suffer because they like the ratings. Maybe CNN will again televise another anchorwoman riding a canoe and then someone walks behind her in just a puddle of water. Happy Labor Day, I mean Happy Wattle Day. That bloom does look menacing. My throat started itching by just looking at it.

Ryan said...

My uncle and I used to chop it down on his property down at Canyonleigh, it was such a menace. I have vivid memories of learning to drive manual while pulling wattle stumps out of the ground with a rusty 2wd toyota hilux when I was 6 or 7 years old. Good times.

Nick said...

Hard to see what's patrotic exactly about the wattle, especially if it prompts lots of allergies which just put an extra burden on the health service! About as puzzling as the Irish yen for the shamrock or the Welsh enthusiasm for the leek. Flax is the official emblem of the Northern Ireland Assembly but since the linen industry disappeared years ago that doesn't seem very patriotic either. Perhaps we could change it to marijuana?

Baino said...

Three words Thriftypants: Telfast Allergy Plus. Trust me we live in allergy central. She who travels a lot hasn't had a problem in three continents but she'll get back here and sneeze her head off!

Hey Ces. I'm feeling pretty hopeless for people like Wordnerd who are in southern Louisianna but hey . . force of nature . .not to be messed with. No I'm not allergic to anything but Clare is allergic to everything. The news here is full of it but so far so good. Let's hope it dilutes when it hits landfall,

Oh Ryan, you're such a petrol head. We had a flamethrower when we cleared this block . . much fun . .no really . . uber fun! Fortunately Adam was but a twinkle in my eye!

Ah young Nick. Did you know that flax production was the first reason for settling Australia and New Zealand? Then they decided that NZ had better flax and Oz would be a better dumping ground for convicts. Trust me if you're slightly allergic . .we'll see you hospitalised .but then you've been here so you know!

Gledwood said...

o I've seen that sneeze b4 isn't it hilarious!!!

wattle: isn't that what we call a Millet Spray over here and pet budgies and hammies scurry to nibble it like crazy..??

Carole said...

I must've watched the panda bear sneeze half a dozen times. It's hilarious! Thanks.

laughingwolf said...

i'm all FOR the mango... take your wattle, and...

last i heard, gustav was a cat 2, still bad enough :(

Baino said...

No Gleds, it's an Acacia blossom, a tree bout 3 metres tall, very spindly and native to Australia, it doesn't flower long. I think the millet stems we give budgies is exactly that ..millet . .it's a grain. The flowers make it look similar tho.

It's been around the traps a while Carole but very cute eh? Love the way mum 'jumps'.

That's good Wuffa. Katrina was a 3 and the killer Stephen a 4 so hopefully it'll peter out before too long. The media love a disaster story and are whipping it up something awesome over here. Mangos are the fruit of Chrismas! (nice in a daquiri!)

Grannymar said...

I love mangos! Double daquiri for me please.

laughingwolf said...

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ;)

Bimbimbie said...

... would you stop waving the wattle under the nose of the baby panda Baino*!*

Must admit I forgot it was Wattle Day until I saw those polis wearing the sprigs ... might be why I'm still coughing the yellow bushes have been flowering away ... dare I tell you I like them? psssttt Baino I quite like the wattle ..... ok I'm running before you catch me nah nah na nah lol *!*

Kath Lockett said...

During reading this wonderful post, my first thought - this is honestly true - was CRIKEY.

What a stupid thing to commemorate - that is, unless it's corporately sponsored by Telfast and Zirtec who want us to go outside and breathe in a lungful of wattle air?

Geez, you'd think there'd be other worthier days to commemorate. Cancer, mental illness, AIDS, hurricane help, employment programs for mentally disabled adults, school funding... argh!

Ryan said...

Baino: Explains where the pyro genes have originated from.

Baino said...

Grannymar and Wuffa . .we have them at Christmas because they're one of the very few truly seasonal fruits here. Bowen mangoes, to die for. And you can have daquiris until they become Dango Maqueries! We buy them by the tray load from November through to Jan! hic!

Bimbimbie, I'm not a fan I have to admit, spindly, smelly and they die off very quickly apparently they have a 7-12 year life cycle. Pretty enough in flower I guess. Now don't make the fat lady run!

No worries Kath, there's a ribbon day for all dem fings as well! What about National Chocolate Day . .

Ryan: And you thought it was a boy thing? Why do you think I'm so nervous when the kid's around chemicals and lighters?

English Mum said...

Ah that sneeze was class. #2 and I have watched it about ten times already!! x

Baino said...

I know EM it's gratuitously cute but . . gotta love a sneezly Panda . .the only thing that could beat it is a sneezly Emperor Penguin but I couldn't find one of those!

Jay said...

It's interesting that many of the plants which provoke strong allergic reactions in the form of hayfever have that heavy, honey scent. I'm thinking of privet and oilseed rape, for example.

Oilseed rape fields now turn the English countryside acid yellow in spring. Quite pretty, but it's done more to increase seasonal allergies than any other crop. 'Experts' deny it, but I can only tell you that both OH and myself react badly to it, and neither of us have ever suffered from hayfever in our lives before this stuff was introduced. An awful lot of people say the same.

How ironic that the Wattle is your national flower and a symbol of the Australian spirit! I guess you could always give a sprig to your enemies... ;)