Three or six Carrots?

August 16, 2014
Pradha guest house

Pradha guest house

We are again on the cusp of taking yet another break. We know that between birth and death there is life, so, while we are still able we would like to travel, not least now that the mortgages have been settled, the credit card in credit, and the kids have more than left home.

We don’t like the fridge keeping food for our return and normally prefer eating it empty. Even so, we had misjudged our appetite and found the fridge bare with yet still two days to go before our departure.

That’s why we found ourselves this morning at Woolworth deciding on how to sustain ourselves without going on a binge of last minute eating before the plane takes off. I suggested we could always take a few sandwiches on the plane or a nice crispy salad with bits of toast in lieu of croutons. I got smacked.

H suggested making a chicken curry dish for two days. A good choice as I had discovered a couple of thighs (chicken) at the back of the fridge. As we only had a few stalks of chives I decided (decisively) to buy some vegetables to go with the chicken. H wanted a bag of carrots but I felt this was overdoing it. For two days a bag of carrots? “Are we feeding a horse somewhere,” I asked? H; “Oh, lets not go into that again”. “Do we have to go on about the number of carrots?” “Is this what we are retired for” she added and gave a good sigh to emphasise a determination to get her way?

“Ok, ok, lets compromise and get 6 carrots”, I said. “That’s three each for two days, plus a zucchini that I found in the fridge as well, and two potatoes, I added for good measure.”

While the chicken is on the way, the carrots sliced and simmering, I decided to concentrate on trying to figure out not to get charged exorbitant 3G IPhone charges. The most horrifying stories of thousands of IPhone users being charged enormous costs on using their IPhones overseas appeared on Google. Even not using the IPhone costs thousands. Apparently all those ‘Apps’ keep rumbling on in the background, adding costs even when you are asleep and not using the IPhone.

Despite all the hints of switching Off Data while overseas, I still haven’t found this button on my Apple IPhone. I suppose to have a button on my ‘settings’ to disable all data downloads. But I can’t have that button, no matter how often I check and re-check. It is all so tedious.
Worse than 6 carrots.
Anyway, here is the address:
Just ignore the ratings. We do know the place and the friendly owners.

 Near Ubud, Bali

Near Ubud, Bali

C U after 31 August.

Those shadows.

August 13, 2014

Sparkling windows.

Sparkling windows.

Here a Song;

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.

(Christina Rossetti 1830-1894)

A wise man knows nothing, a fool everything! It is to be hoped by many that gaining some insight and wisdom might be the final reward for getting old; apart from the inevitable final curtain call of dying ;) There isn’t a great deal that can be done about that one, except be prepared and choose your own coffin in time. ( the laminated Mount Calvary with chrome handles might be a good choice) ;) :)

I usually welcome the coming of personal shadows and my advice to others; welcome them! I know there are Men’s sheds and Beyond Blue orgs to help out for those in serious downers. I take a different tack. I invite the blues and let it wash over me like a thick but reassuring fog and accept the challenge. It will dissipate as sure as the sun goes down behind the horizon. Who wants to be happy; happy all the time? It is badly overrated. The nurturing of Western forms of happiness is nothing more than terminal capitalistic Overlords wanting you to empty your wallets, doing shopping in huge shopping malls filled with truly depressed and oh so sad people seeking ‘happiness. Is that what I want? No, go and get fucked; give me a solid dose of clear sighted shadows at any time.

Lately I have been deeply immersed in cleaning windows. With the double glazing and carpenters fingerprints all showing, with the yellow afternoon sun at a certain angle, I decided to seek survival through a bout of window washing. I love dish washing and avoid dish-washers and not because of economics, no, more of enjoying swirling my hands around warm water. It satisfies. Don’t ask, why? There is a lot there, I know.

With windows I could not understand that using the clear blue tinted window washing liquid from that Mecca of cleaning detergents, Woolworth, and a good cloth, that the glass seemed keen on showing a film of milky white as soon as the afternoon sun hit it. I re-washed them again, this time with sparkling clean water and brand new cotton cloth, cut from my old pair of pyjamas. The same milky white again. I then remember my mother using a special cloth. Is it called a chamois? It was a kind of leathery cloth and made a squeaking sound when drying the windows. I bought one…and…victory. The windows are sparkling. I am so happy.

I know, I know, but it is probably a Dutch thing.

A faltering Step.

August 12, 2014


As I took the empty cup back from the bedroom, I, for no good reason and totally unintentional, faltered and like sometimes seen during a weird religious procession, feebly took a step backwards. This step was not intentional or religiously motivated. I never felt that a belief in the Here-After would necessitate taking a step backwards. I meant to keep going forwards towards the kitchen-sink in a normal straight line. I wanted to rinse our first ‘coffee of the day’ cups, resolute in making the second one.I have done so for many years. There was nothing in this mornings procedures to indicate there was going to be a lapse in that.

Am I now on the cusp of an era whereby I will, and with increasing frequency, falter? Up till now I prided myself that no one would get up for me in the bus or train. I still jauntily would hop on and hang from a strap, pretending to have an IPhone, scrolling through important data.

My wife spoiled this illusion, of still being youthful, by pointing out that many elderly were also hanging from straps and in any case, the young now don’t get up anymore. That the world of consideration and respect on public transport has disappeared together with knitting, friendly conversations and reading newspapers. Stress is now the main catalyst in the lives of many, especially the young and the previous effervescent. It shows in the faces, all so puckered and tensely concentrated. There now exist a kind of restless concentration on public transport. I don’t really understand this as yet, but am getting close. I’ll let you know.

Ever since large families have disappeared, the young are now hooked on getting ‘likes’ and ‘face-book’ alerts on their 5G IPhone. They connect on dating sites and even have sex on line through vibrating messages on their Apple inside their pockets. No time for getting up on public transport. It would show up and be embarrassing.

I decide to keep a watch on future falter or other signs of decrepitude of which, so far I have not been bothered too much. Sure, my recall of names and facts are somewhat slower but I still remember my first books (Eric The Norseman) and loving dates, alas without vibrating IPhones in my pocket.
There is still so much to experience.

Wagyu is the latest.

August 11, 2014


It is amazing how fast words and phrases travel and become part of a fleeting but popular vernacular. Years ago, in Australia, we had blokes and sheilas. Now it is guys for all sexes, including the indeterminate (third sex), who are now so indicated on their birth certificates and passports.

I remember the rage of everything having ‘logistics’. Every advertising sign had ‘logistics’ tucked in somewhere. Trucks used to race past me on the M2 with Logistics written with large lettering on their canvas hoods. It did not take long and it was followed hot on the heels with ‘solutions’. ‘Logistical solutions’ was so popular it took the world by storm. There were no problems anymore; only solutions. Our local butcher in Marulan started selling meat solutions. Divorce lawyers were keenly sought offering ‘solutions’ and fruit laden semi-trailer were hurtling past offering Queensland Pineapple Logistical Solutions.

Of course amongst the young, including some being almost comatose by their addiction to IT mobility, had ‘stuff like that’ and ‘I like that shit’ with ‘awesome’ well ingrained as well.

Lately, many politicians,especially amongst those keen on dehumanising boat people or the oppressed minorities, are now deeply immersed in learning a new catch phrase of being on a ‘humanitarian mission’ often indicating their support for the dead but not so much for the living. They fly off almost daily to somewhere but always on ‘humanitarian missions’ their faces flushed with a righteous fervour, hoping voters will be taken in with their faux intent of spreading sweetness and goodness, instead of the reality of fanning world’s discords and hatreds. ( not heard much of dropping food parcels over Gaza)

But getting to the latest Wagyu. It used to be good old Angus Beef used in ham burgers. Not anymore. Out of nowhere it has morphed into Wagya beef. Restaurants are quick to print off new menues. The much revered Angus beef has now staled.
It is now Wagya beef. It has taken us by storm.

The Earliest Recorded Direct Democracy

August 11, 2014

gerard oosterman:

A very interesting article by Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall. Please take the time to read it.

Originally posted on The Most Revolutionary Act:

This is the first of four posts about experiments in direct democracy, where ordinary people assume responsibility for running society. The first, over 4,000 years old, is a recorded account of early Frisian society prior to the Roman conquest of Gaul in 52 BC. Imperial Rome dismissed the Frisians and other Germanic tribes as barbarians for the same reason Europeans dismissed Native Americans as savages: because they owned the land communally and rejected authoritarian governance.

the other atlantis

The Other Atlantis

By Robert Sutton (Neville Spearman Limited 1977)

Book Review

The Other Atlantis concerns an extremely controversial manuscript called the Oera Linda Book (OLB). It concerns the ancient history of the Frisians, a Dutch ethnic group. The OLB was dismissed as a hoax almost immediately after its publication in 1872. During the 1930s, Heinrich Himmler and Nazi occultists heavily promoted the book, believing it support their theories of racial purity and an Aryan…

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Can’t decide who to hate more – ISIS or ISRAEL? Use this handy guide:

August 10, 2014

gerard oosterman:

For those that are confused onto who to sheet home responsibility for all the world’s mayhem and murder, here is a handy guide.

Originally posted on Pride's Purge:


Trying to decide whether to support ISRAEL, HAMAS, the US or ISIS? Check out our handy guide!

Having trouble deciding whether you hate ISIS or ISRAEL more?

Don’t worry – help is at hand.

You’re not alone in thinking that the responsibilities of choosing to support one side over the other can be overwhelming at times, but there are a variety of ways to learn about the process of choosing which one of the two brutal massacres of civilians you ignore – and which you are publicly appalled and shocked by.

If you are leaning toward hating either ISIS or ISRAEL more but can’t decide if it’s the right move to make now, then you may want to consult some professionals before you decide to support one or the other.

That’s why before you make such an important move as declaring your support of one side or the other on social media – it’s…

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The weeping Palestinian Father.

August 7, 2014

Palestinians carry the body of Mohammed Abu Khudair during his funeral in Shuafat“Today I saw a picture of a weeping Palestinian man holding a plastic carrier bag of meat. It was his son. He’d been shredded (the hospital’s word) by an Israeli missile attack – apparently using their fab new weapon, flechette bombs. You probably know what those are – hundreds of small steel darts packed around explosive which tear the flesh off humans. The boy was Mohammed Khalaf al-Nawasra. He was 4 years old”.

The demise of the Car in The Netherlands.

August 5, 2014


Here you go. The answer to planning, more intimacy and a vital caring community.
Have a look at this video. It shows what bike power can achieve.( and no silly helmets nor lycra clad maniacs)

The ‘Birthday box of useful Presents’.

August 4, 2014
many years ago

many years ago

It is here again. I had forgotten but face-book reminded me of a looming birthday. Is there no escape? How do they know all those details. Does the IT world now also check up on my underwear swinging in morn’s breeze? Will I get reminders to shower or cut my nails? I had a twitter message from a far away relative in Finland. Can you believe this? The whole world seems to anticipate my own and utterly single future event. There is still time for me to cark it before this 7th of August has even arrived. Such optimism is wonderful. I stand in awe and am so grateful.

Not only that, but the Goulburn Workers Club posted me, by normal mail, a ‘happy birthday’ including four gifts. I can spend up to $25.- on a meal and get the same value of a second meal gratis. I could sneak out to Goulburn and order two huge meals all by myself or…invite the lovely H to participate and share this feast with…a free middy of beer or…a free glass of house wine, each. It doesn’t stop there. The third gift is a token of $ 5.- to play Keno. I never played Keno but it is never too late. It sounds terrific. The fourth and final gift is a chance to win $ 500.- and simply place the ticket in the drum of ‘happy birthday members’. It just never stops.

Problem of birthdays for those of advancing years is what to want to receive. I would like a nicely wrapped box with a ribbon (blue) of blissful uninterrupted sleep without having to go up to four times a night to the toilet. That would be nice. Another one would be to be able to drink half a bottle of fine red wine without having to suffer up to a fortnight of racking indigestion with an unforgiving brooding sense of an overriding guilt that can only be relieved by copious amounts of a smooth all absolving large bucket of butter milk.

Another fine gift would be a large box of instant recall of names and useless memories and events of all those years gone by. Who wrote this book? What was the name of that politician or this actress? What was the time we sat in the park and a bird snatched our sandwich was that before or after we visited Genoa? Do you remember the name of the captain on the Roma that you danced with?

The ageing Greengrocer.

August 1, 2014


It seems unbelievable. I was hoping for a better and benign world. Only yesterday the sun seemed so happy and yellow. Temperatures above average. And the shopkeeper had a spring in his steps while putting out his cases of vine ripened cherry tomatoes outside on the sun-lit pavement. They were on special for $8.90 a kilo. It was going to be one of those days where he felt happy to be alive. It wasn’t like that yesterday when he was soaked in a gloom without reason. Most times the feelings he harboured, good or bad, had no real cause. They just came about irrespective of daily events, past or present. His wife thought her husband was a natural for gloom and doom but also seemed to have an inborn stubbornness whereby his good humour, by and large, overrode his charcoal gloom. He was his father’s son and as a bonus had inherited the Fruit and Vegie emporium on the High-way to Cronulla. Sometimes, especially when he was in a good mood, he joked ‘the Highway-to hell.’

For some reason he found much to be dark about. Almost everywhere he looked. His loving wife often thought he should stop looking so much and concentrate on the cases of fruit and above all; the cherry tomatoes. She cared deeply about his state of mind and often bought a nice colourful scarf to try and put more cheer behind the counter and also to compliment the roseate coloured pink ladies. Anyone who ever had a bite of a pink lady would remember the unforgettable taste and crispiness. She was out to make things look better, lighter, and spread cheer and sweetness. Her cheeks, especially around her eyes, had creases from decades of laughter and seemed ( to the initiated at least) to oppose his potato coloured frowns and rampant worry lines.

He did his best but also had to cope with the years passing by. The unloading of boxes of Dutch Creams or Desiree at the Flemington fruit market had taken their toll, as inevitably heavy physical work does. He had developed a stoop and a weary sighing. The latter more due to dark thoughts than ageing which his dear wife was sometimes at pains to point out to him. She cut a blood orange and showed him how lovely nature can be. Here,have one, she offered him like the good Eve she was. He smiled and took her offer.
All was not lost.


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