Number irked by 'elderly' label rises

This is one way to stop tailgating. The back of a ute is usually home to a sheep dog, some tools...
This is one way to stop tailgating. The back of a ute is usually home to a sheep dog, some tools and boxes, and maybe a few dead rabbits or possums. But in Oamaru, as this jaw-dropping photo shows, they don't do things by halves. How about a Tyrannosaurus rex skull? Better keep your distance. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Lots to get through today before the weekend, so I won't dilly-dally. All I really want to say is, whoever it was making bacon sandwiches in the central city at 8.30am yesterday, why didn't you invite me along? The smell was delicious.

Am I old yet?

The number of those annoyed by the premature application of the "old" or "elderly" label continues to rise.

Isla Tenbeth, of Andersons Bay, says "I'm with Nola [Harris]", who first mentioned the problem in this column earlier this week.

"For many years I've noticed the elderly reference to those who are not," Isla says. "These references are printed in all New Zealand newspapers, not just my beloved Otago Daily Times.

"Having reached the age of 62 myself I could now be particularly sensitive - if I was the sensitive type - but reading Nola's comments I realise I am just `irked' too.

"It's a very small gripe in the big scheme of important matters, but worth a mention to those `whippersnapper' reporters, and any `elderly' ones too."

Margaret Allington, of Balclutha, agrees.

"At 80 years old I know I am elderly, but what bugs me is the assumption that I have lost my brain because of my age.

"I recently had an experience when I was addressed as `dear' and spoken to as if I was about 2 years old. I'm afraid I was rather rude to the person on the other end of the phone, so it probably confirmed her opinion of me!"

Just not cricket

Otago poet and sportsman Brian Turner writes to lambast sledgers and sledging.

"`Sledging' is often termed `banter'. The truth is it is mostly puerile and, often, personal abuse. And it has been going on for a long time. New Zealand teams have often proven to be just as bad/objectionable as others.

"Just yesterday I found a column I'd written on sledging which appeared in the ODT on Tuesday, December 28, 1999. In many quarters little has changed.

"As for comparing the merits of players of today with those of the becoming more distant past, it's got harder and harder to do. Statistical comparisons alone are nowhere near enough.

"I note that John Cushen asserts that all sports `at the top level ... is legalised war'. It is not, never has been, and ought not to be."

I'd love to know what brother Glenn thinks too.

You handsome devil

Green Island's Robin Gledhill emailed me with his thoughts on the spider in Brenda Burton's garden.

"I felt the urge to consult my spider oracle book by Ray and Lyn Forster on New Zealand spiders, written when he was the director of the Otago Museum and published in 1973.

"My guess is that the photo is one of a large genus of the Aranea species, known to live in Dunedin. They are mostly around 11mm and so not easy to spot, but with beautiful, symmetrical and sometimes colourful abdominal markings.

"I take great delight in my spider visitors and liberate them to my garden, bidding them to have a nice day and eat lots of flies."

Monarchs on the wing

Plenty of sightings of monarch butterflies around Dunedin in the past few days.

How about around the rest of Otago though?

Adrien Dever, of Forbury, has seen several large, beautiful monarchs in the last week near his place, and has also noticed a fresh lot of eggs.

"I have about 20 caterpillars, and more at another property in St Clair. I haven't seen any marked ones but will keep an eye out for them."

Sandra Godfrey, of Brighton, said they spotted a large monarch doing a very close "fly past" while having lunch on the deck on Wednesday.

"I was surprised as I don't think I've seen one that close before," she says.

And Brenda, of St Kilda, rang to say there was a "beautiful big monarch with a tag on" sitting on her swan plant earlier this week. She says she has caterpillars of all sizes on the plant.

I can't think of a nicer note than a monarch butterfly to finish the week on, so I'll flutter off now and see you on Monday.


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