Culture: Grooming, greeting, gentility
"Do not be too Aussie or people will start to wonder what type of weird ockers we are. But if anyone happens to slip up tomorrow I'm sure the Queen will overlook it. She wouldn't make an issue of it because that is the kind of person she is. She is well-mannered, thoughtful and considerate."
Thank heavens for the Queen's graciousness!
Locally, 91-year-old Sylvia, who is six years the Queen's senior and believes the food you eat determines how you look in the end, piqued my interest with her pink hat as she partook in a piece of chocolate cake at the coffee shop.
Sylvia has lived in London ("I never once saw the Queen; she's not a woman who comes and has a cup of coffee with you") and New York ("So much to see, so much to do, so many people to be around interested in this and that"), working as both a nurse and off-Broadway actress ("Whatever you want to do you can find out and do it in New York; they like Australians") and dabbling in writing, too.
Named after Shakespeare's Sylvia (not Sylvia Plath, though she quips, "That's an idea" when I tell her poor Plath ended it by sticking her head in an oven), Sylvia, who is a widower, likes to live well but simply, and has her own vegetable garden. She believes, like Dally-Watkins, that Australians are a tad uncouth.
"People in Australia don't observe good manners very well, which is unfortunate," she says, advising, that little self-restraint wouldn't go astray: "There are so many enticements – you only have to turn on a television and there are ads everywhere – buy this, buy that – and you've got to have more self-control."
And when it comes to dress? "Be more modest – don't show what you've got; don't put it all on display."
Girl With a Satchel