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Friday, 29 May 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. 

This is a series of very, very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #42 – 29 May 1953

New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest on the Nepal-Tibet border.  They reached the top of the world at 11.30 local time after a gruelling climb up the southern face.  The two men hugged each other with relief and joy but only stayed on the summit for about 15 minutes because they were low on oxygen. Hillary took several photographs of the scenery and of Sherpa Tenzing waving flags representing Britain, Nepal, the United Nations and India.  Tenzing buried some sweets and biscuits in the snow as a Buddhist offering to the gods.

Later, Hillary said:

“Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons. Science is used to raise money for the expeditions, but you really climb for the hell of it.”

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”

National Geographic noted:

“Hillary was knighted for being the first known person to climb to the top of Mount Everest. But Tenzing, who simultaneously reached its summit, only received an honorary medal. In the years since, there's been growing disquiet at the lack of official recognition."

Hillary - 20 July,1919 - 11 January, 2008

Tenzing - 29 May, 1914 - 09 May, 1986

Sources: BBC, Wikipedia and others

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