The long years of the untouched aspidistra, and the parking station.

July 3, 2020

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In the newly acquired town-house court yard stand amongst the clivias (Amaryllidaceae) an aspidistra that is almost as old as I am and that is pretty old. The astonishing thing is not so much its age but more of , how and why ? It is our most neglected plant. I can’t remember watering it and apart from the occasional shower it doesn’t get moisture or nurture from anyone. A bird might fly over it occasionally. Perhaps a careless rosella  aims its droppings at this loveless plant as a sign of their care at least, which nature often astounds us with. I remember Helvi telling me that we took the plant from the farm in Holland and that dates back almost beyond my memory. We smuggled it in the crates of our furniture that included all our household goods with chairs, our home-made slatted bed, egg-cups, pillows, a large Dutch armoire and lots more. So, it is about at least forty five years old considering we left the farm in Holland around 1976.

And now it is outside near the clivias and still very much alive. At the previous place (of the garden slasher) it had a position in the downstairs bathroom and I suppose benefited from the shower droplets or steamy humidity. We sometimes mentioned it when conversation was about the indoor plants which throughout our many years together gave us so much pleasure. I read up about the aspidistra and we should have been more curious about this plant. Its flowers are so short and low that they just never seem to appear and another insightful information states it propagates with the help of slugs that crawl over those stumpy flowers and help to pollinate the plant. Another name for this plant is Cast Iron Plant. Its the plant that gets put in a dark place behind aunty Agnes’ untuned wood framed piano, and gets totally forgotten till aunty gets buried, the house sold, and removalists find this profusely growing aspidistra made of Cast Iron.

As for the parking station. When I visited my sick daughter at StGeorge brand new public hospital, I with the nonchalance and nous of a Mika Häkkinen drove into their large multi story parking station. Little did I know of the drama looming ahead. I have no experience of city living anymore. In any case, this multi story car park seem to attract hoons that race up and down the very curvy car park just to train for the Monte Carlo or the Dutch Assen race, to stay more local. But, forget about the screeching tires and the nose ringed hoons. At the entrance you are given a ticket that you present on the way out. This ticket has a time and date. After you pull the ticket out of the machine only then the boom gate allows you to enter by lifting it up and out of the way. Th ticket has to held onto for dear life. Don’t ever loose it!

When my visit was over, I made my way to the parking station and noticed with some relief that the race drivers had gone. I slowly retrieved my car from level C and made my way down numerous levels to the exit following the yellow painted arrows. I had the parking ticket grimly between my teeth and felt super-confident. I’ll proof a city slicker yet! At the ground floor I drove carefully towards the boom gate and next to a machine that after inserting my credit card and paying the fee would surely lift up and allow me to exit the parking station. But, as I inserted the ticket and thought I paid my charge the notice on the electronic screen kept saying. ‘charge not processed, try again’. I tried and tried and kept looking at the boom gate that stayed rock solid down in position. It then asked me by a mechanical voice to insert my card the other way around. That failed, by then I was getting into a state. I did not want a rage to well up. Just be an old man, I kept telling me. Pretend to be an aspidistra.  Nothing worked, I tapped and inserted and no help. Finally a voice told me to go to the office but ‘don’t leave the car’. Pay cash. But how? I then lost it and shouted to the machine. ‘I am an old man, and I want to pay, but for f”8£k sake let me out. I have a heart condition. ‘ The ‘office’ could sense a man holding onto the mast before the ship sunk, and soon a man appeared opened the machine and then told me ‘you did not put a ticket in’. I told him I did. He said ‘where is the ticket’, and held up a handful of tickets. My ticket was $10.40 but I wasn’t going to help him sort through tickets.

I said, ‘do you think I am lying?’ I am eighty years old and would I skimp on paying my dues?  He said, no and repeated, where is your ticket? I remained quiet and just looked ahead. He lifted the boom gate and I drove off.

It wasn’t a good moment but I am over it now.

 

The lure of the past and a bed pan.

June 28, 2020

There might be nothing more exciting or upsetting when visiting the past. Over the last three days it happened almost by accident of an emergency. You know that when all has been so settled, quiet and serene for a long while, a suspicion seems to well up that this peace can’t last.

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Our street and house in Balmain where we lived 1976-1996

Sure enough, I received a message that told me in a few crisp lines, that text messages always seem to excel in, but none the less almost always are disconcerting, that my daughter had deposited herself in an Hospital emergency room. ‘Chest pain’, was part of this short text! Of course, the reaction was a trip to Sydney the day after. I had organised the house in such a way to leave our dog Milo an exit in case of toilet visits by placing a stick behind the sliding door, leaving an opening big enough for Milo but not for a robber, no matter how agile or elastic he or she might be.

My daughter after arrival was in the emergency ward and suitable wired up to all sorts of equipment, occasionally a beep would be expelled from one of those machines. I noticed with pride that some of that equipment had Philips as the manufacturer. It is still a Dutch company that originally started out by making light bulbs. It is now a multinational conglomerate employing 80 000 people world-wide

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A closer look at the house.

After visiting my daughter and consuming a delicious toasted cheese and ham sandwich for my breakfast and getting the daughter to keep asking the doctor for more information, I left when her son visited her as well.  She had chest pain but a quick scan and blood pressure test, proved that her heart was alright. A great relief. The bed allows only limited number of people to sit on and the chair was nowhere to be seen or perhaps used in the bed next to my daughter, which was screened off. I saw a bedpan being carried away covered by a cloth. Always a sign one is in good hands. I remember them well from my occasional forays in hospital.

I decided to visit our old house and street where we live so happily for twenty years.  After all, I was back in Sydney. They were really the years that our three children grew up from toddlers to adults. The street has lost none of its charms. The suburb of Balmain is now a millionaires’ nest, hounded by big time foreign currency option dealers,  lawyers and well heeled liberal provocateurs.

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The entrance to our old house.

Amazingly one of my friends that I met here recently in Bowral lived in the same street at the same time when we lived there. Another friend in the same group grew up just around the corner as well. Such coincidences that are so baffling.

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Our veranda with me and the red heeler cattle dog, around 1990 or so.

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This picture is of the street taken yesterday, still charming.

I visited my Daughter again today, and all is well. She might be coming home tomorrow.She was worried about her cats more than about me. But then, I am just a dad.

What an amazing life this has been so far, and still ongoing!

 

 

 

Going Solar And Male Prowess.

June 23, 2020

67 Regent Street, Mittagong, NSW 2575

The third one up is my place.

Hello Gerard Oosterman,Your Electricity Distributor, Endeavour has approved your installation.We can now send your solar install request to your installer.An installer will be in touch soon to work out a time and date that suits you.

Speak soon,

Origin Solar

The above I just copied and pasted from a letter I received 5 seconds ago. There you go!

For many years, Helvi and I used to ponder about installing solar panels. It first cropped up on our farm well over 20 years ago when solar panels first started to make their appearance. We had lots of roofs but somehow the costs were not as they are now and we were advised to wait for them to come down. Of course, now with Government rebates and the cost of panels a fraction of what they were it doesn’t make sense not to do it.  The quality of the panels have also improved. Even so, one has to be careful, we were told there are a lot of shonky operators out there trying to sell you a donkey for a horse.

I remember getting very annoyed with endless phone calls trying to lure you into getting solar panels. I ended up with a perfect solution by telling them we had no roof. You could hear their astonishment being told we lived in a house with no roofs! Another ploy I used was reading them a children’s story in Dutch. They soon hung up and it amused Helvi and I for a while. Such memories I tend to stick to. Laughter and a smile is good medicine and lately I haven’t been happier than right now. I made friends and I meet her, and others almost daily. In seems odd that during this Covid-19 pandemic, people seem to be keen in meeting each other and perhaps also make the time available to talk and give smiles.

Distances are still required and most seem to adhere to that. I haven’t as much as shaken hands with her, or others, let alone try and get intimate. Couples must be busting to get to each other, but… distance please…, eat a carrot instead. At my age, my masculinity is waning ( if you relate masculinity with sexual prowess)  and I have yet to consider asking the doctor for any help in the form of Viagra or other stimulants.

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Years ago, that wasn’t an issue with me, but now with  getting older, some still seem to want to stick to what once was. I now avoid coffee, tea and other stimulants after 8pm as my sleep does need careful planning, and I do appreciate that more than a possible feeble rump about, under the doona.

In any case, lets stick to the solar panels for generating electricity. I was told that it takes about three to four years to regain the initial costs of the installation. That is a pretty good return and it would be foolish not to do it. I also bit the sour apple and bought the place next to mine as well. I am not sure but will probably rent it. A bit of a capitalist, and that, at the fag-end of my life!  Where did I go wrong, daddy? Of course with two places now, I also double my joy in gardening efforts in both places, and that balances the capitalist and the botanist (kasvitieteilijä in Finnish) nicely.

I am so excited.

Life as a sandwich.

June 17, 2020

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It would be rare for most of us to go through life without, at one stage or another, having become intimate with a sandwich. The earliest memories that most of us might have of a sandwich probably dates back to very early childhood. In my own case, I became aware not just of a sandwich but a whole loaf of the ingredients that sandwiches are mainly made of, bread. It was given to me by a German soldier during the last few days of WW2. He was stationed below street level in a cellar in the street we were living in. It was welcomed by my mother like a gift from heaven. We were starving. I feared that the German soldier’s gift of bread might well have been his last action. It happened in Rotterdam.

After that memorable event, and food returning in a more normal manner that the sandwich became a huge part of our lives. And really, it hasn’t stopped so far. There would be few days that this type of food would not be consumed by me today. I still have vivid memories of my mother making huge piles of sandwiches, each day without a let up, except on Sundays when we did not go to one school or the other. With six children and a husband, the making of sandwiches was  a major task which in those times usually fell on the woman of the house.

It was difficult to keep making sandwiches that would satisfy the hungry child and again from memory, it also depended a bit on our financial situation. When money was short, my mum resorted to a simple but generally well liked sandwich, and that was the simple sugar sandwich. A smidgeon of butter and plain white sugar thinly spread and embedded in the butter. A delicacy, still fondly remembered. Another favourite would be the biscuit sandwich. I can’t remember ever having had the luxury of meat on a sandwich. At best, it would be cheese. It wasn’t sliced cheese but a soft variety that could be spread as thin as possible, just to give a mere hint of taste. Peanut butter was my favourite but that did not come cheap!

I am not sure if people still take sandwiches to work. Cafes are now more in vogue and with more money, the home-made sandwich by mum seems to be fighting a rear action. However, the creative side of making sandwiches has made enormous improvements. Some cafes are making delicious sandwiches with combinations that defy gravity, so appealing behind the glass counter, one feels they could take off.

Of course, in the old day when kids took sandwiches to school and well before the advent of air conditioning, many sandwiches during the stifling heat of mid-summer, would get a bit blowsy, stale and smelly. Was  it Barry  Humphries, who when as a schoolkid he would shout out after someone had farted, ‘who opened their lunchbox?’ In those early days, Australian mums would make the much revered banana sandwich, and with the coming of preservatives, the devon sandwich would slowly start making its entrance in the hallowed grounds of the public schools.

And then of course, many schools as an aid to raising funds would open tuck shops. The sausage roll and meat pie made their entries, but that is for another story.

It just never stops.

The Medical ‘Claim-Back’.

June 11, 2020

 

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As was written before, the procedure of a cataract removal involved a number of procedures of which, on the benefit of hindsight, the main one seemed to be of a financial nature more than a medical one. More time was spend on writing and printing the bills than on the actual cataract operation which might not have lasted more than perhaps five minutes or so. The bills were very concise and clear after which it was necessary to pay them, and that took some time in processing with the usual presenting of a card that was swiped or tapped on a special device. There is always the usual moment of suspense to see if the payment would be accepted or not. I always feel a bit anxious with this form of payment. A few times in the past my payments by card did not work and my guilt always goes into automatic when this happens, as if I am trying to gain an advantage through deceit.

After an appointment with the optician some months ago, it was deemed an eye surgeon ought to be engaged and after the corona hold-up, the operation was done some days ago. The total cost was several thousand dollars of which the cost of the operation was small compared with cost of the hospital. A private hospital. I was told by the surgeon that to get this operation paid for by social benefits it would mean waiting a prolonged period and no definite date could be given, worse it was hinted, that ophthalmic ( four consonants) students often sharpen their burgeoning skills by doing minor operations.

Out of the goodness of Australia’s social security’s heart, one can make a claim on the surgical part but not on the private hospital costs, which as mentioned before was the major part of the expenditure. The grand total of $ 579.- was claimable. But let me tell you, that the Private Hospital sandwich was superb and with a glass of juice to boot. The nurses were friendly and so was I, and refrained from a silly remark when I noticed that the lapel on one attractive nurse’s shirt had ‘Gina’ on it.

Years ago I had a number of colonoscopies done in a public hospital and at one stage almost was wheeled into a room to get an hysterectomy done instead, because I had ‘Mary’ on my wrist-band. I still shudder thinking about it. What a blunder. No fear this time of that happening as I had two wristbands, one for each arm. No mistake in a Private Hospital!

So, two days ago I went to the Bowral ‘Centre-Link’ government office to make my claim for the $ 579.-. Helvi and I sometimes had to go there in order to prove we were still alive and not getting benefits by deceit pretending we were alive instead of being dead. It always takes time, to prove life. The atmosphere in Government offices is usually of an all pervading gloom. The room, the people, the whole atmosphere is grey and of totally leeched out despair. This time it wasn’t too bad. Because of the corona virus they only let in five people at the time. Many were in a listless queue waiting outside. I, because of my senior countenance was given preference and was herded in by a man with a large stomach who proceeded asking me questions about my corona history and if I felt giddy or off colour. I was let in and seated at a suitable distance away from others.

There was a jolly woman and friendly husband making the best of the situation, nodding friendly in my direction. I am a sucker for friendly laughing people and my mood went skywards, here is a chance to connect with another soul! It wasn’t long before I had my case dealt with and was told the money would go automatically into my account which I could check the next day.

I did, and it was there.

 

A Bird’s own home.

June 8, 2020

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The latest attempt at blending my life with as much nature as possible resulted in trying to lure birds to within my own domicile. I thought it reasonable to provide them with a interest-free mortgage on a comfortable abode with monthly instalment paid for in colourful plumage with much squawking.  A period in spring with much cavorting and popping into the nest to lay eggs would be a bonus worthy of an even better nest, but let’s just wait for the first ones to arrive. My patience will surely be rewarded!

At my previous abode ( with the pathologically obsessed tree & garden slasher) there were birds galore with the white cockatoos finally dominating the scene. We had to stop leaving unlimited bird-mix around because the corellas became wise to it and would just hoard the feed all day. The corellas really seemed to like that area and flocks of hundreds would be flying about making unbelievable rackets. Hanging from electric wires, rolling around the parks like drunken sailors all in white uniforms, yellow capped and all. Shameless whoring going on at every corner, you would not want to believe what those corellas are up to.

Fruit trees had to be solidly fences off and netted with steel wire. The use of birds of prey (falcon) The use of a drone for bird-scaring purposes. Electronic bird scaring devices. These are some of the things farmers have to use to save their fruit crops from corella annihilation.

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After my eye operation finally went ahead when restriction on elective surgeries were lifted due to the corona virus, I had time to think about attracting birds to my new place. I managed to buy a simple bird box but if I was a bird I would not go near it. There are not too many bird nest specialist builders around. It looked too much like a trap and I felt it needed to be made more welcoming and friendlier looking. Birds are sensitive creatures. The box looked like something out of an isolated dreary far flung suburb where people still adorned the azaleas by surrounding them with worn out car tires. (painted white). Poor azaleas, poor birds.

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What do you think of my bird’s box now? Do you think it will entice some birds to come and not only feed but feel comfortable in making a home inside this box.?

I was careful not to show myself for a few days after my eye operation in case they mistook me for a dreaded corella.

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Of course, I am not really against corellas, I just don’t want so many to so mercilessly dominate other birds and they do.

The importance of Grape Hyacinths.

June 2, 2020

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Grape hyacinth.

Even though many of the restrictions on the Corona virus have been lifted I noticed still a kind of hesitance amongst people. There hangs a fear to getting close, and all those tape and red crosses on floors and grounds isn’t conducive to closeness. Park seats even have crosses on them. I still am afraid to stand or sit anywhere. A few times at the supermarket I noticed people backing away when I walk past them. There are sign still asking people to respect and consider each other and that we are all in the same position. Patience and consideration are being tested.

I took my daughter last night to the railway station and there too were sign to stay clear of each other. The public toilets were locked and so was the waiting room. There were solid padlocks on everything that had a door. It was freezing cold and we could not be further away from other people because she was the only person on the whole rail station. She told me she was also the only passenger in the rail wagon she had jumped in.

Isn’t it sad how the US is now tearing itself apart? China now does not have to do anything to show that democracies can fail miserably. This is why in order to keep sane we might have to move away from both political and human made failures. I can think of no better way than to concentrate on the good and honest earth;  The joy of making soils with cow, chicken, turkey, and mushroom compost, all of which I have been investing in. I wrote previously that I had planted a whole lot of grape hyacinths bulbs some weeks ago. And, even though we are just at the beginning of winter, the advice on planting bulbs was during late autumn, and they now have started, albeit very gingerly, rearing their little heads poking the soil. I risked pneumonia darting outside in my shirt and socks to take these pictures. It was freezing with a strong wind and just 8C.

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The irises have also reared up.

I had to add gas heating to my town house as the reverse cycle ducted aircon just wasn’t doing its job. I am not of such a stoical disposition to enjoy cold. Some do, though. It always surprises me that during these wintry gales and frosty morning I see some walking about in shorts, t-shirts and thongs. What’s wrong with them? Perhaps it is my old age which doesn’t really matter unless you are a cheese.

So, now that I am settled in my new place, I can look forward to a nice garden, good friends, (including the softer ones) and my Café meetings at the Bradman Cricket grounds called ‘Stumps’, world famous cricket grounds. Life is good.

I’ll leave you with this picture of my cyclamen.

 

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No words needed. But why ?

May 28, 2020

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Our previous home with our grandsons. A ‘before’ photo.

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Still garden intact a few weeks ago.

 

But now? This was all done on the order of the “chairperson,” a week ago.

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The view from the living room

 

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Outside our bedroom

 

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The entrance

 

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What would Helvi make of this?  Outrageous!

 

 

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The sweetness of Helvi’s garden. You can understand the need for me to move away from this toxic environment. But I still own it!

 

A peculiar story with an enigma.

May 22, 2020

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Manchurian pear.

Only two days ago I visited again my old place at Bowral. It will soon change hands to the new owner who, according to the Estate Agent, wants to let it, and thought it best for me to remove the old washing machine. That was the reason for this trip. I had taken a trolley which had a lot of use over the last few months. It is a good sturdy trolley and I don’t understand how anyone can get through life without a good trolley.  But, prior to that trip, and on a number of occasions I came across a female renting the place next to my old place and that person is really the reason for this article. A peculiar set of circumstances or perhaps just all coincidental.  An mixture of a conundrum and an enigma.

Many years ago it just happened we came across a diverse group of people living in the inner city suburb of Balmain. We ( my late wife  Helvi and I with three children) lived in Balmain between 1967-1973 and again 1976-1996. It was a hive of unruly students, their brick throwing professors, hairy artists and equally hairy girlfriend, anti Vietnam protestors, foreshore defenders , and many others of often undefinable and sometimes dubious backgrounds. Was it really Tom Uren and Patrick White hand in hand marching and protesting against the Vietnam war during those early days?

As it happened we became friendly with a few that were associated with books and publishers. It was the time someone thought up to start a children’s library in the disused Balmain Watch house, which through the lack of thieves and vagrants had stood empty for some many years. I helped out working on that library, mainly through covering the books, and manning the Watch-house when open to the children to take out books.  Libraries in those early days were of short supplies, unlike pubs of which Balmain in its heyday had almost more than citizens. We all know that the Labor Party was also born in Balmain. But I digress.

We made friends within an indefinable and often chaotic world of all sorts of people who seemed united in wanting change, and change did happen. One woman, who is the source of this article , started up very successful bookshops, including in Woollahra and Double Bay which bore her name till at least 2015. She was also part of a group of publishers and book seller friends that included a giant of publishing whose house we stayed in for a week or so in London. Till 2015 he was a former group CEO of the second largest British publisher, Hachette UK. Our female friend, with the successful bookshops, was riding a wave of selling books often promoted by good reviews with the help of the Hachette publisher and coterie of writers. She also had a knack of knowing what would sell with an acumen that is very necessary in the world of books and sales.

But, as the years went on, as they do invariably, and through moving about to different addresses, contacts were lost and as we know, lives can change and often youthful enthusiasm and exuberance can grow mould or a seriousness creeps in whereby a stocktaking has to take place. New horizons are to be explored and as kids grow older times become more serious. It did with us. We left Balmain.

But going back to my recent visits to our former home in Bowral and meeting the new tenant next door. I waved to her and she waved back. This happened a few times, we chatted and discussed the state of the gardens (that were still being cut back to almost ground level,) I noticed this way of her speaking. It was an educated English. She seemed, but I could be mistaken to know me. A small and slim female, nicely dressed and with a face that showed she had lived through much, a well leafed book, yet smiling and still sunny.

I could not get her out of my mind and went to bed that evening mulling and thinking how she had spoken to me, and how she also had patted Milo inside the car. She might get a dog again, she said and looked at me.  Her voice! I had heard it before. It was familiar. Next morning, an epiphany. She is, I am pretty sure the woman with the book shops. I was so happy to have solved it. But, how could I be sure? I decided to try and solve it and bought a small flowering plant on which a attached a small card; To ‘L.M’ which are her initials, from ‘Gerard’. I put it at her front door.

I went back today and the little plant had been taken inside. I now feel I might be mistaken and that she is a different woman altogether, so many decades have past; however she did introduce herself, and her Christian name tallies with our friend with the book shops. She also loved dogs, as did this woman.

I introduced myself and if she is the book woman she would also remember me. It might be she doesn’t want to renew former acquaintances. Who knows and I don’t want to force it? Should I buy her another plant and see what happens next? Her face is very much like the face on Google which still has her bookshops. She has aged as is the nature of getting older. I have to try and solve it. But, why did she not want to recognize me as well.?

The picture above is of the Manchurian pear tree that Helvi and I planted when we first moved into that place. isn’t it lovely now with its autumn colouring?

Un petit jardin vertical.

May 15, 2020

 

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Now that the weather is promising to get cooler one way of staying warm is to keep busy. Living on your own the temptation seems to lure one into sitting or just standing and ponder. Not that the ponder goes deep into delving or questioning the philosophical side of things, but more into what I should do next.  The ponder into doing next can be tantalisingly close to a lot more of nothingness when at my age and my singular existence, time is of such abundance. I don’t have to catch the 401 bus at  6.30 in the morning to work or have urgent meetings to discuss a takeover of a multinational.

Of course, with the practice of social isolation the art of pondering can rise to much greater heights than ever before. ‘Singular isolation’ would be a better term than ‘social isolation’ which seems a contradiction or oxymoron. The word social means , group, community, collective.

Perhaps it is meant to sooth the right wingers amongst us in accepting the word ‘social’  when we all know that word for many to be a call to arms and arrest anyone who dares to even think of that dreaded word. We all know where that takes us. Morrison must have laid awake for hours trying to navigate around it. Alas, he could not get it past some of his more reasonable minsters, and so the term Social isolation was born.

To get out of my torpor during this isolation I undertook to do more gardening. The front yard faces a busy trainline and I get a kick out of waving to the passengers on the trains on their way to Sydney or coming from Melbourne. It is as close to keeping in touch with people without risking infections.. There are also numerous goods trains, some of them carry well over a hundred carriages all pulled along by just one diesel fuelled locomotive. I also wave to the locomotive driver.

My garden is perhaps about 100 square metres in total and my intention is to transform it into a small forest consisting of many birch and other deciduous trees. In between the trees will be small bushes and on different levels. I hope that eventually I will be able to take small walks between the trees with an occasional stop to do more pondering. I started to also grow my own herbs in the garden at the back of my place.

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Here is it,

Waiting for its first herbs. I bought a flat pack box which I thought was one of those that click together without nuts or bolts or the need for tools. When I opened the flat box, to my horror rolled out a small packet of screws and nuts, 36 in total. It was a job and half to put it together and I almost gave up. I had Helen here who comes once a fortnight to help calm me down and sane. She also gave me a nice haircut. Here it is.  But, never buy a flat pack that holds nuts and bolts.

Here it is; Haircut by Helen.

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The main job for the forest has started in earnest and I have bought four birch trees so far; and that is just the beginning. The metal box shown on the photo was a delight to put together and did not need tools or used any bolts or nuts. I put it together in 5 minutes. I bought a mixture of soil, turkey and cow manure but was surprised how many bags went into this metal L shaped box.

Here it is: metal box.

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It might be hard to visualise a small forest but believe me, it will happen! I sold my old place in Bowral and will have the money to indulge in this idea of creating a magic forest. It will happen for sure. As for my previous post in my wish for a possible liaison with a soft and friendly female to alleviate the solitude of bed and breakfast on my own.  Not many enquiries so far.

I’ll keep you informed.