Friday, January 11, 2008

Sad Day

Sorry pencil people, I will actually publish a real pencil item real soon, but I’m compelled to put this up now. Sir Edmund Hillary died today, aged 88. A sad, sad day for us Kiwis, for the greatest of us has gone. Mountaineer, adventurer, philanthropist, and regular guy next-door. In early life he was an apiarist, so like me I’m sure he enjoyed a nice bit of toast and honey. I never met him, although I well remember the day my friends had too much to drink, looked his address up in the telephone book and stumbled on round to talk to him. He was very gracious to the drunken yobs.

Some quotes I like,

* On being the first to climb Mt Everest, reaching the summit with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay:
-- "We knocked the bastard off."
* On the 50th anniversary of his climb:
-- "I like to think that I am a very ordinary New Zealander, not terribly bright perhaps, but determined and practical in what I do."
* On being knighted by the Queen, “Sir Ed”:
-- "It was a tremendous honour, of course, but I had never really approved of titles and couldn't really imagine myself possessing one."
--"I could see myself walking down Broadway St, Papakura, in my tattered overalls and the seat out of my pants, and I thought (now that I’m a peer of the realm) `That's gone forever. I'll have to buy a new pair of overalls'."
* On being a New Zealander:
-- "In some ways I believe I epitomise the average New Zealander. I have modest abilities, I combine these with a good deal of determination and I rather like to succeed."
* When asked by an Indian reporter if he knew many people saw him as a god:
-- "Well I know I'm not, so it doesn't bother me."
* On ascending the summit of Everest, from his book ‘View From The Summit’:
-- "I continued cutting a line of steps upwards. Next moment I had moved on to a flattish exposed area of snow with nothing but space in every direction. Tenzing quickly joined me and we looked round in wonder. To our immense satisfaction we realised we had reached the top of the world."
* On reaching the Polar Plateau after leading the first vehicles overland in Antarctica to the South Pole in 1957 and wondering "whether I was heading in the right direction".
--"I thought, `well Ed, me boy, we've done it'."
* On why he wanted his ashes scattered in Auckland's Waitemata Harbour:
--"To be washed gently ashore, maybe on the many pleasant beaches near the place I was born. Then the full circle of my life will be complete."

I just had to sneak Sir Ed into a pencil review.


Anonymous said...

Thank you that was wonderful! What a great gentleman he must have been. MK

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the post. They don't make'em like that any more. His modesty makes his accomplishments all the larger, and never to be surpassed.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, Dave...thank you! All of us with any connections to the Himalayas will miss Sir Ed's warm demeanor and generous nature...