“‘Taking home the ashes’ may have new meaning for the cricket tragics prepared to brave the proposed third Test,” is the somewhat Cassandra-esque observation of Joy Cooksey of Harrington.

Column 8’s mailbox was swamped by readers writing in to admonish Gary Champion for taking down his Christmas decorations (C8) before January 6, the traditional 12th night after Christmas, otherwise known as Epiphany. To do otherwise, according to that impeccable source known as “my mother”, would incur what was quaintly termed “bad luck”. All this talk of superstitions just brings to mind the words of the philosopher Didactylos, as quoted in Terry Pratchett’s seasonally appropriate tale Hogfather: “things just happen. What the hell.” 2020 in a nutshell, really.

While acknowledging the traditional 12 days (C8), Patricia Spooner of North Turramurra was also sympathetic. “Perhaps Garry Champion got tired of looking at them, reminding him of a not-so-joyous Christmas?”

Leaving aside any talk of tradition or superstition, Roderick van Gelder of Hunters Hill thinks “the term Garry Champion (C8) is looking for is ‘lamettafreude’, the joy of removing tinsel”.

Given that the Leonid Rogozov story (C8) is not hearsay but a verifiable fact, and he was the only doctor at the Soviet base in 1961, policy for keeping your appendix before embarking on an Antarctic expedition seems to depend on what your role there is going to be. Roger Anderson of Dundas writes that his cousin, Dr Ken Mayman, “went to Davis base in Antarctica in about 1960 as the doctor and indeed had to have his healthy appendix removed before he went. This was required as a few years earlier the doctor at Heard Island sub-Antarctic base wanted to remove his own appendix, but instead one of Australia‚Äôs heavy naval ships was sent to his rescue.”



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