Understandably, given this column's priestly tone and almost papal air of authority, readers are always making secret and deeply personal confessions to us.
In the wake of our recent items about our nation's 1966 conversion to decimal currency (we mentioned Treasury pleading with Australians not to hoard the zillions of redundant coins) a quite prominent Canberran makes this confession.
"Further to today's Gang-gang, my Mother 'hoarded' threepences and sixpences (which I have a vague memory was said to be illegal) for their continuing recycled use in Christmas puddings, of course boiled and wrapped in tin foil for H&S reasons.
"Having inherited these coins, I continue this tradition and its associated precautions. Those discovering these coins in their puddings may claim their equivalent value in legal currency. I understand that some portion of the [old coins] is real silver – it looks like it any way.
"If you want to pass my Dark Secret on to your readers, feel free but please don't disclose my name."
Meanwhile, Tuesday's item on the conversion was accompanied by a very quaint 1966 picture, taken and used by the government to help educate us about the change, of a thrilled little girl looking at toy koalas with price tags in the old currency and in the new. The koalas were 75/6 in the old money and $7.55 in the new.
That once-little girl, now in her 50s, called us in great excitement to trill "That picture in your column! That's me!"
What's more (yet another of those Only In Canberra coincidences), her dad is an old tennis mate of this columnist, a Canberran who these days is sensible enough to spend Canberra's winters far to the balmy north of this Siberia.
Her recollection is that she was about 3 and her family were shopping at J.B. Youngs in Kingston, late in 1965 or early in 1966. There was a decimal-conversion-minded photographer there, surely from the government and lurking near the two-priced koalas to take pictures just like this one. Used by the government for educational purposes, the snap fell into the fond archival clutches of the National Archives of Australia where it reposes today.
Today's two-price picture shows a dress costing £6/19/11 and $13.99.
Meanwhile in today's money Penelope Cottier's little, pocket-fitting book Paths Into Inner Canberra is a breathtakingly affordable $4.
Under this curator this column has a proud tradition, its beginnings lost in the mists of time (but about 2012), of celebrating creations that celebrate our city in novel ways, and Paths Into Inner Canberra is just that kind of artefact.
P.S. Cottier is a Canberra poet and writer and this is her reflection on the thoughts that cross her mind and the creatures (especially cockatoos and turtles but also cranky lycra-clad speed-cycling men with unattractive bottoms) she sees and thinks about while using the cycle path between her O'Connor home and the city centre.
She writes poetically, deftly and quirkily. The needle on my my highly sensitive cliche-detector didn't flicker once during my reading.
Here she is writing about turtles.
"The turtle is the focus of my attention. He sits on the ramparts of the pond, little armoured knight, feeling the sun penetrate even his castle-self. And I, pinker and frailer, watch him drinking in the rays from the centre of his moat ... There is something about the intact perfection of the turtle, that little oval world, that seems to pre-date all troubling thoughts about the Earth not being the centre of the world ... [The turtle] is the original grey nomad, carrying its caravan from pond edge to pond edge."
She takes heart, on one day when she has hitherto been deeply woebegone, from observing how "In such a world, in the middle of, it must be said, a sometimes cold and work-obsessed city, there are long-necked turtles flopping into the water like huge coins thrown into a wishing well".
Quizzing myself (for as Socrates has told us, the unexamined life is not worth living) about what it is that makes the booklet so engaging, methinks it is that in spending 22 pages on analysing one (winding), under-thought-about Canberra place she has a really good fossick for its Soul. All Canberra places, even my ostensibly soulless suburb of Garran, do have a Soul. .
Cottier's Soul-detecting booklet is the third in a Pocket Places series published by Ginninderra Press. It is available from Book Lore in Lyneham, or from the publisher at ginninderrapress.com.au
And while we're outdoors in Canberra, the poorly informed and botanically illiterate budget estimates committee of the ACT Legislative Assembly has just had another sally against the Brittle Gums (Eucalyptus mannifera). Experts have recommended this species be planted along the route of the keenly anticipated light rail network.
The committee seems to believe that another name of E. mannifera is "widow maker" suggesting that it is a species with a history of murdering people by throwing branches down on them. The committee wants the government to think again before lining the route with this Australian killer species, this woody shark, this twiggy tiger snake, this smooth-barked box jellyfish.
But "widow maker" has ever been one of the common names of this medium-sized, affable species. The word is an epithet used for yonks by arborophobic Australians (pining for the flora of green and pleasant "home") against any burly native Australian tree, these savage, big-timber bunyips they imagine are plotting to kill and eat them.
Let's grow up, superstitious little budget estimates committee!
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