Thrifty? Stingy it Ain’t!

I love words. Sometimes I become curious about a word I assume to mean something. Like thrifty. Let’s not forget that English is my second language! Thrifty as a word and as a sound has something that repels me. I like the Australian expression Opportunity Shop better than the American one Thrifty Store for example.

Yes, my feeling was that thrifty had to do with being stingy. Well, in fact thrifty, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary means:   1  : given to or marked by economy and good management  2  : thriving by industry and frugality : prosperous  3  : growing vigorously

There you go. I was completely wrong.

As I was when  I felt sorry for the 4 leafs salad mix sold at half price in a Horsham supermarket. ” Oh, no! Darling, no one will buy you, you died for nothing..”

Can a past-its-sell-by date salad mix die twice?  It can. Witness the smell of decay which I have been trying to minimise by plucking green oozing leaves out and gently washing the aforementionned salad mix. It did not work. The lot ended up in the compost heap.

salad mix

When thrifty is a waste of time!

Now that is not thrifty. It is plain silly! Lesson learned.

There are plenty of ways to be thrifty, which to me is my duty to the future, my nephews and nieces, and the care I owe myself by not being avaricious* with time, and resources.

* not generous or liberal : sparing or scant in using, giving, or spending. The Merriam-Webster dictionary again.

wild cover spoof

Michael Hampton’s take on my being thrifty: shirt and skirt from Vinnies, water bottle with straw from K-Mart. Michael and I were guiding a traverse of Victoria’s two highest summits. Mt Bogong and Mt Feathertop.

Climbers addicted to their passion, spending every cent on climbing, travelling to a place to go climbing and being with people who breathe climbing, are naturally thrifty. From British hot shots wearing dishwashing gloves in the French Alps of the eighties to protect their hands from the cold on the way to yet another hard climb, to Himalayan hopefuls staying at the infamous, rat infested but cheap Tourist Camp in Delhi en route to the Garwhal, being rich in climbing time meant stretching the hard earned dish washing or grape picking dollar to the max.

I have lost touch with the contemporary Australian Himalayan climbing scene. In fact, I wonder if it still exists? Do thrifty climbers these days still stay at the Tourist Camp? Or is everyone of the Yak and Yeti commercial type? Do enlighten me!


c raig n jon tourist camp delhi before changabang expedition 82

Craig Nottle and Jon Muir at the Tourist Camp, 1982. Muir and Nottle, with Mark Moorhead and Roddy Mackenzie, were on their way to climb the very hard Japanese Route on Changabang. Photo: B.Muir

changabang.1982.elke rudolf and nanda devi

While the boys had their epic climb of Changabang, Elke Rudolph and I trekked and L-plated Hanuman and D1, a couple of easy 6000m peaks nearby. Nanda Devi in the background, which was also at the time the scene of another Australian climb, led by Michael Rheinberger.

You can read about the 1982 Changabang Australian ascent in this article published by Craig Nottle in the American Alpine Club Journal

Note: Craig Nottle died two years later, attempting the Hornbein Couloir on the ill fated 1984 Peter Hillary’s West Ridge Expedition.


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