Washroom Stories: Times Past

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© irene waters 2019

The odd occurrence makes me understand how my mother is feeling as she loses her ability to work out how to operate in the present day world. It happened to me the other day – I did not know how to operate in the washroom ( amenities, toilet block, public convenience, public toilets …..). I was confronted with what looked like a joy stick. I flapped my hands under it, gripped it tightly waiting for take off but I couldn’t get any water to flow but I did discover that if I could ever get my hands wet it would at least dry them very efficiently.  I felt like a bumbling fool, an idiot, a child and realised that this is how my Mum feels most days as she confronts situations old and new that she no longer understands. I did finally work it out – the water came from the little nozzle (that I had thought was the soap dispenser) to the right of the joy stick. I was glad that no-one was around to see my confusion in trying to operate the machinery but it did give me a topic for this months Times Past. I am sure that we all have washroom tales to tell. I know I have a number but will confine myself to one.

Baby Boomer Rural Australia (travelling in England in the 90’s)

It happened at the marina at Brighton. I left my group to go to the toilets which while not being portaloos looked as though they were not all that permanent.  I locked myself in the cubicle and on wanting to leave found that the lock would not unlock and I was stuck inside. My companions I knew would not come looking for me as they would not notice my absence for a considerable time. My best hope was for someone else to enter but this did not happen and in desperation I decided I would have to climb up onto the toilet, straddle the wall that divided me from the next cubicle and then lower myself down onto the toilet and hopefully exit via that door. I had visions of me slipping and my foot going into the pan – breaking my leg as it snapped off. None of my visions eventuated and I did get over the wall and out the door and as I suspected – no-one had thought I was gone a long time at all.

The same happened to me in Egypt last year but this time being older and there being many more people around I screamed as loudly as I could being eventually heard and finally rescued. This time though – Roger noticed my absence.

Please join in giving your location at the time of your memory and  your generation. An explanation of the generations and the purpose of the prompts along with conditions for joining in can be seen at the Times Past Page. Join in either in the comments or by creating your own post and linking. Looking forward to your memories.

I apologise for being slow to respond to your comments and posts on last months prompt and apologise in advance for the same possibly happening this month and for a little while to come. Sometimes life throws some spanners at you to put in the works. We seem to have more than our share of spanners at the moment with health issues. Although I might be slow I do hope you continue to tell your stories as when I can I do enjoy reading them.

 

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Dawn light: Silent Sunday

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From blooms to survival: Delicate: Lens-Artists Challenge

Thanks to Ann-Christine for hosting this weeks Lens-Artists Challenge

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A small flower – delicate, fragile

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but sometimes looks can be deceiving – the will to survive in any crack or cranny may show a strength that belies the delicacy we see.

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Rain drops on leaves – delicate

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Fish has a delicate flavour – unlike the bean mix which is strong in flavour.

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Some matters are so delicate we don’t talk about them often even when we should.

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Caring hands nurse the sick animals whose health is delicate just as nurses care for the delicate in hospitals for ill humans.

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As our ecosystem becomes ever more delicate the value of protecting our mangroves becomes even more crucial. Mangroves are essential as a home and breeding ground to a large variety of fish, crustaceans, birds and amphibians.  These mangroves are crucial for our biodiversity. They are also crucial to our own life as the mangroves ensure the purity of our water systems as it sifts and traps sediment, heavy metals and other nasties and protects the delicate coral reefs and seagrass beds. The mangroves are even more in demand as sea levels rise as they help prevent coastal erosion and protect from high tides and storm surges as rough weather becomes more prevalent. Perhaps, however, most importantly they are even better than mature rainforests at capturing and storing carbon. They become crucial in our battle with climate change which has been fuelled by our use of fossil fuels and other carbon emissions created by mankind.

Despite this mangroves are delicate and although they only constitute around 0.4% of the world’s forests they are disappearing at a rate 3 – 5 times greater than the other forests of the world. These delicate mangrove forests need to be nurtured and protected as their loss will greatly impact on our wildlife and indeed, our very own survival.

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Raindrops: Wordless Wednesday

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In Brisbane and Sydney: Street Art: Lens-Artists Challenge number 45

Thanks to Patti for the prompt for this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge – Street Art

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Few street corners in Brisbane leave you alone to cross the road. This long legged man

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and a wolf in man’s clothing are there to keep you company. His stance mimicked those I saw waiting that had perhaps a bit more blood coursing through their veins.

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While outside the law courts multiple eyes watched your every movement. Is this what they mean by in the eyes of the law.

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Four kangaroos give some light relief on a corner. They made me wait awhile.

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Whilst in Sydney the more surreal was to be found.

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In an alley way in China town the glowing blue cupids covert sleezey Kimber Lane  into a permanent artwork. They are the creation of Jason Wing – who is part Chinese and part aboriginal.

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With blue clouds on the walls he wanted to create an experience akin to waking between  two worlds or travelling between heaven and earth.

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In Manly on the Corso is a life size rhinocerous sculpture named ‘Fragility.’ This 40kg sculpture was one of 125 similar ones installed by Taronga Park Zoo to highlight the plight of the rhinocerous. According to the Daily Telegraph, “the strikingly patterned Manly rhino was created by artist Gloria Torres, who wished to portray a critical view on how humanity has impacted on the animal’s survival.”

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Angel Place is an eerie place to go. 120 bird cages are suspended above the laneway whilst songs of birds now extinct or threatened fill the air. This forgotten songs artwork is the creation of artist Michael Thomas Hill.

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My favourite Sydney artwork is Little Essex Street in the Rocks. This mural recreates Brown Bear Lane in 1901 and is so lifelike you feel like stepping into the past yourself. My great grandfather came from Scotland to at this time to be a missionary to save the souls in the Rocks and I wonder if he too wandered up Brown Bear Lane. Good excuse to look through his diaries but that will have to wait for another trip to Sydney as they are in the State Library of NSW.

Thanks Patti.

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Chinese Gardens: Harmony: Lens-Artists Challenge number 44

In response to Tina’s prompt for the Lens-Artists Challenge number 44 – harmony

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Chinese gardens have been evolving over the last 3000 years and have been built by emperors and other nobility to give pleasure or impress or by scholars as areas to reflect and escape the outside world. They are an idealised landscape designed to show harmony between man and nature.

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The common elements of a Chinese garden include water, buildings, rocks and vegetation.

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Even the paving is designed to delight.

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Typically the garden is enclosed behind walls and will include one or more ponds, strategically placed rocks, zig zagging paths, trees and flowers and a number of buildings and pavillions that are connected via the paths and bridges.

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The garden is designed to be looked at from within these rooms giving the viewer a different carefully landscaped view from each window and door.

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This garden called “The Garden of Harmony” or Yuyuan in Chinese was built in the Qing Dynasty by an official Gu Wenbin and is found in Suzhou. It was started in 1874 and has gradually evolved from that time.

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A wonderful, calming place to wander and view the harmony between man and nature.

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Shoes: Times Past

Sherri Matthew’s response to the prompt about school uniforms gave me the prompt for this month. Just the mention of platform shoes brought a memory flooding back and then as I thought about shoes other memories came unbidden. Are you an Imelda Marcos who said ” I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty”? Have you any memories of shoes? A particular favourite pair, one that caused you pain, embarrassment or made you feel on top of the world?

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Baby Boomer Rural Australia

My shoes were always sensible. Until I was in high school I had nothing but leather shoes with the strap going across the top of the foot near the ankle to ensure that they did not come off. We were taken to the local shoe shop to be measured for our shoes and we left with shoes that looked identical to those we had come in. Usually these were Clark shoes (a British company which had been selling shoes since the 1820s) or Bata (another company that was founded in the 1800s). The only change to these shoes was when I was allowed to have a patent leather pair. These I loved as I didn’t have to spend time polishing them every day. I remember that there was controversy over these patent leather shoes as it was felt unscrupulous men could look at the shoes and see our underwear.

My first real memory involving shoes was when I was about five. We visited my grandparents who lived in Sydney in the school holidays once or twice a year and always we had a trip into town (the city of Sydney). For these trips we dressed in our finery.

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A trip to town was exciting. All the things that we never saw in the country were there in abundance in the city. It would start with a train trip, always morning tea or lunch at Cahills, department stores such as David Jones and Farmers (now Myers), lifts and escalators. It was on the escalator at David Jones that saw me frightened of escalators for some time to come. My mother was wearing the fashion of the day – stilleto heels and the tread on the moving stairs was wooden wide slats. Her shoe heel became lodged between two of the wooden slats and she couldn’t budge it. As we neared the top the situation became dire as she couldn’t extricate her foot from the shoe and it was about to be eaten by the jaws at the top. We were all screaming but not quickly enough for someone to stop the escalator from moving . She somehow lifted her foot and slid it onto the shop floor as the heel snapped off. Management of the store were very helpful and took her to choose a new pair of shoes which they didn’t charge her for. I wonder if they would do the same now days but the next time we went to the city most of the escalator treads had been replaced with metal ones where the slats were too close together for anyones shoe to be caught in them. The only ones that remained unchanged were a set of extremely high escalators at Wynyard railway station. I always chose to walk if we had to use that exit.

Later my own shoes were a cause for embarrassment. I was eighteen and the fashion was platform shoes. My friends had finally persuaded me that I should go to a wine bar. I’d been to the bar to get a drink and when I returned there were two gentleman that had joined our table. They were sitting on high stools around a high bench. We chatted. One of them seemed quite nice and he invited me to the movies the following day which I accepted. We made arrangements for him to pick me up and I left the bar.

I hadn’t been out with too many men at this stage of my life so I was more than a little bit excited. My friends advised me on what I should wear. Naturally, being the 70s it had to be bell bottom trousers and platform shoes.

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photo courtesy of poshmark.com

The fellow came and home sister rang my floor and told me I had a visitor. I went down feeling very swish. The chap was about five foot four inches and I would have towered over him without my platform shoes but in them I felt like a giant woman. My mood deflated. I became self conscious and I don’t even remember what film we saw. I know I didn’t see him again and I rarely wore my platform shoes again.

Please join in giving your location at the time of your memory and  your generation. An explanation of the generations and the purpose of the prompts along with conditions for joining in can be seen at the Times Past Page. Join in either in the comments or by creating your own post and linking. Looking forward to your memories.

Baby Boomer USA City

Shoes: Times Past

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