The Funeral Insurance scam and camping.

November 29, 2015


Isn’t it amazing that the latest scam involves getting children to sign up for funeral insurance with the weekly payments automatically deducted from welfare entitlements?

Anyone who worries about what happens after you die, is lacking imagination. Gloria Jeans will not sell you anymore espressos nor will you have to worry about putting your socks on. It is baffling why anyone takes on funereal insurance. You can get buried for as little as $1000.-. I know that most advertise a funeral costing anything up from $ 3000.- to ‘the sky is the limit’, ;)  but let me give you that no one ever, was not buried. So, why people worry or even take out a  funeral/burial insurance is baffling. I bet people that persevered with the premiums have paid enough for a burial at Moscow’s Red Square with 110 canons.

Last Monday my brother had travelled with his VW tracker camping van to the South Coast at Bendalong. This is the place of some significance to the Oosterman clan. After our arrival in Australia, then growing up in Revesby, getting married (to the opposites sex.) We all subsequently ended up having children and then started to take our holidays at this Bendalong. No sooner could the babies breath and burb we would pack tents and head off to this idyllic unknown fishing village.  For years on end. We stopped when the area became a well known spot and the trickle of campers became a flood, especially at Christmas and Easter. Soon, the lawn mowers arrived and concreted lions appeared in front of the colour bond aluminium annexes. Open fires were banned. The camping had lost much of its charm but the kids also grew up and started to make their own lives, do their own camping. We haven’t camped since. It was a special era though! So many lovely memories.

Last Wednesday we met up with my brother who had his van parked inside the Bendalong camping ground. The grounds have many cottages and vans that can be rented from the shire. A manager runs the camp. There are still camping sites as well with water and power available. On arrival you have to get a special  permit number from the office that allows the boom-gate to be opened after entering the number into the electronic devise on a post, accessible through the car’s window. It did not work. Helvi went back to the office and was told to enter the hash tag. I had entered the hash-tag. It did not work! The manager came out and entered the number and hash-tags many times. It did not work. She then over-rode the device and the boom-gate finally opened. Such a relief and it was so hot.

We drove around and were pleased that the area is still green with many advanced eucalypts and she-oaks giving lovely shade. The Lantana has gone. There has been an upgrade in facilities, good flushing toilets and showers and no more need to  hand dig pits. My brother was waving from a distance  and we parked our car, took out our canvas folding chairs and in the shade just talked. One could still hear our children shouting but it was also quiet. So many years ago. A glass of wine in reflection.

After a few hours we said goodbye. The boom-gate would not let us out. Again the entering of the number followed by the hash-tag. Again the failure. The manager came out and she beeped the electronic device (again). The gate opened. We drove home through the Kangaroo Valley. It was lovely.

It is funny how quick life goes. Between burping babies and burial is life.


The garlic wars of migrants and Islam!

November 25, 2015
Fibro garage. Our first 'temporary' home.

Fibro garage. Our first ‘temporary’ home.

It used to be the Italians and Greeks that were blamed for woes and wiles by ‘true Aussies’. The smell of garlic was enough for angry outbursts to the ‘dagoes’ of the fifties and sixties. They were knife pullers and had strange sexual habits.

This was overcome but the next lot to receive abuse were the Balts and Lebanese. The usual abuse and accusations of taking virtuous women, climb over fences and corrupt the Australian culture with kebabs and even more garlic.

The introduction of soccer was met with riotous behaviour, bottle throwing and burning down of strange flags.

Hot on the heels were people from Vietnam with rice dishes and totally ignorant of cricket and Phar Lap.

We are giving the same to Muslims that are coming from all sorts of countries that by and large we have bombed without much effect.

When will they ever learn, by Marlene Dietrich springs to mind or should that be ‘when will WE ever learn?

The Himalayan salt revolution.

November 24, 2015


It just had to happen. Aldi is selling Himalayan salt. People are queuing up and a special isle (nr3) has been set-up to cope with the demand. No one wants to be seen serving food at their Christmas turkey laden tables without this special pink salt. Just imagine the ignominy of it? It started in the US; where else? Since then it has taken a foothold in Europe. I have been told the salt has, since last week, spread to Latvia, Lithuania and even Estonia. Pink salt waves are swamping the world.

This salt has magic healing properties. A lame man was seen rising from his bed after just a single sprinkle of this magic salt on his eggs, sunny side up, after years of living horizontally. Special trace elements are imbued in this salt. Cooks now swear by it and no restaurant worth their salt would dare to serve food without this Himalayan salt, mined in Pakistan. Corns, sciatica, vertigo and nervous dispositions are all curable. No parliament subject to limp indecisions can afford not to have those pink salt containers on their front benches. As soon as a hiatus is reached, the opposition will just walk over to an obstinate senator, and sprinkle some magic salt.

Of course, this iron oxide laden pink salt has to be combined with serving food on wooden slabs. No one seems to know exactly if the wooden food platters came first or if the magic pink salt can lay claim to that distinction. We had our first experience with the food on a wooden slate in a Bowral pub well over a year ago. I though it was a mistake and that a carpenter was perhaps helping out with timber off-cuts.  Perhaps the pub’s ceramic plates were in the dishwasher, who knows? It was well before the pink salt period.

It was difficult to eat from this wooden platter. It’s shape had a protruding handle to hold a grip on when the buzzer announced the T-bone was ready to be picked up from the counter. As I like my meat rare, it took careful balancing not to dribble the juice over other diners while walking with it back to our table. Once seated, I built a little dyke around my T-bone steak with the clever use of arranging the chips tuck-pointed with the tomatoes. It stemmed the flow. Helvi did not have any things flooding over, as she had ordered a pizza, the Napoli special.

Since then the Himalayan salt containers and wooden serving platters are now everywhere. No restaurant use normal salt or silly ceramic plates. The diners nod knowingly to each other and we are all  now so terribly ‘in’. We joined the real world and nothing scares us now.

In between all this chaos in salt and wooden platters there is the Himalayan salt rock lamps making inroads in our interiors. Positive ions emitted from those lamps cure those suffering from the more mental afflictions together with those with dark or grey marital unevenness. The person suffering from clear-sighted despair, the hopelessly addicted to moodiness and heavy thoughts are best advised to turn those lights on next to the book case or even the TV.

Not even Isis will make an inroad. We just sprinkle them with special salt, turn on the salt rock lamp and hurl wooden boards at them. That will teach them a lesson.

We have won.

The ducks know: Bin liners rarely match kitchen tidies.

November 22, 2015
The flooded creek

The flooded creek

In five weeks time it will all be over folks. Don’t give in now. I know, I know, the running of the Christmas shoppers has started early this year. Santas are already in short supply. Some are now being lured away by Captains of Cash Registers (CCR’s) from underneath bridges and wheelie bins. I already noticed an abandoned trolley. Its owner sobbing (inconsolably) nearby. Her tears wetting the grass but some ducks were consoling her. Ducks are good at that. You can tell by their kind eyes. They always seem to be saying “It is never too late to reform”, repent, all will come good.”

There is hope growing eternally, especially along our creek at the back of our house. Each year and few weeks prior to Christmas, more and more elderly but still in revolutionary spirits, are to be found fondly looking into reflections of the creek’s water bubbling demurely over reeds and rushes. Some have, very wisely, taken the grandkids, to partake in the simple act of feeding wise ducks. For those with insight into the real spirit of Christmas it is the only thing left to do. Seek an answer in duck’s eyes and listen to flowing waters. Give generously to ducks.

We know the pull of materialism is strong and overwhelming. Most succumb to drop-dead shopping-malls, only to be taken by howling ambulance to hospital and hoisted into emergency beds, still warm from  previous shoppers still with laden trolley’s frozen turkeys oozing bags of Violent crumble and 2 kilos of acidly sweetened jute bags of Mars Bars. Jingle bells, jingle bells!

We are almost ready to go for our daily walk and meet up with the elderly but true believers at the creek. I know the ducks will be waiting and Milo is respectful, even considerate, seeing we are feeding the ducks food that he normally would receive. Good Boy!

We had a bad fish yesterday. The kitchen still smells even though I cooked the fish on the Webber outside. It wasn’t a good meal. The sauce was far too spicy. I had bought a jar of Sambal Oelek and even half a tea-spoon proved too much. Fortunately Helvi had also opened a jar of Hak’s sweet red cabbage that somehow diluted the chilli taste. Sundays are not good for fish buying. I should have known. Since buying the fish cook book I seem to want to try out recipes. Why are the pictures of food books so alluring? We ended up squabbling because the meal was almost inedible. Yet, the intention was so noble and good.

This morning I discovered the reason for the fish smell. The foil that the fish was baked in was doing its stinking job in the kitchen tidy. I had once again bought a large roll of those plastic tidy bags that never seem to fit the tidy. Either too big, too small or without handles. We even bought a large roll and then went shopping for the tidy so that both would match. Alas, even though they were matched, the bags did not have handles allowing it to be tightened into a bag without any spillage on the floor. The bags just had four flaps that somehow hung listlessly over the edge of the kitchen tidy. It is quite an art to then lift it out of its tidy without a nervous break-down.

We need the ducks this morning. They know and understand!



Do you trust him too?

November 21, 2015

Originally posted on The happy Quitter!:

All it takes is one person to make a difference. This video is going viral and I would love to share it with everybody, who is following my blog.

View original 48 more words

A hot day, but all is still fairly normal.

November 20, 2015
Milo contemplating biting a bit.

Milo contemplating biting a bit.

After emptying the contents of the shopping trolley into the boot I noticed the car’s outside temperature was 39C. We decided against walking Milo around. He was keen, but we were not. Instead took him with us in the car. We took his water dish and water bottle. Both are kept in his own little bag. We always tie him up in the shade with his water dish. Within minutes he gets surrounded by admirers who queue up to pet him.

Isle Nr 5 at Aldi in Bowral is the one that has the liquor license. That’s right, one can buy butter and Whisky all at the same counter, and at the same time, and from the same cash register and no questions asked. How we have progressed. I reckon, eventually all the registers will be so bold and allow the sale of alcohol. It just takes time. Easy does it, especially in Australia where you can sit in a train, have a nap and on awakening still see the same cows outside your window.

Since Milo’s limping with a possible tendon problem we have to lift him in the car. He now also doesn’t jump on his chair anymore. He is wise to his problem and knows his limits.  Soon after Milo’s trouble, I developed an excruciatingly painful back. We are now in a kind of symbiosis where before, one were the strong and large with the other being small and agile. I barely am capable of lifting Milo in the car. He is small but surprisingly heavy. I know how to lift him and even go through a preliminary exercise where I ,ever so gently tell him, ” wait a moment, just wait a moment”, before gently lifting him in the car’s back-seat. I bend my knees as advised by hospital’s doctor. He gave me very strong tablets and they do help but are addictive, so I only take them sparingly or not at all.  I don’t want to end up mugging old ladies while wearing a hoody, kicking them in the groin, and stealing their Panadol Forte.

Milo allows me to lift him in the car. He does look a bit embarrassed but what can you do? He refuses to let Helvi lift him and bites her instead. Not seriously, but he is letting her know he is not happy with her doing it. We find it hilarious. The reason is that Helvi is action woman. She grabs and just does it. A no nonsense woman. Milo always refuses to do anything he is asked. In fact, often does the opposite. That’s why he is so lovable. He doesn’t like being grabbed suddenly and from above,  probably thinks another dog is biting him.

I told Helvi to calmly approach Milo and stroke him a bit first, gently lift him whilst whispering soothing words in his small ears. “Get f*&cked,” she told both of us. I am rather chuffed Milo doesn’t bite me and prefers Helvi. And yet, it is Helvi who makes sure he gets everything he might possibly want and much  more. He gets his wants far in excess of his needs. No wonder the world is in disarray.

This post seems to lack cohesion. The binder of what makes things stick together has gone watery. It must be the heat. 41C now.

But apart from that the day is turning out ‘normal’.

A normal day.

November 19, 2015

After all the sardine excitement of a few days ago topped by the glorious rack of lamb yesterday, it was time to calm down, take a breather and try have a normal day. One ought to be on the guard of excessiveness, even if it involves sardines.  As I got up this morning I was so resolute. Before even the first coffee, I went to the front of our compound and picked up both garbage cans. Earlier on I had heard them getting emptied. I have seen those modern garbage trucks in action.

They are fitted with extendable hydraulic forks that clamp the garbage can, hoist them up while also tipping them upside- down. They disgorge their contents inside a covered truck.  All this is done flawlessly in one swoop by just a single person who also drives the truck. The empty can gets gently put back on the nature strip.

With a bit of squinting and fogging ones glasses one could just imagine it being a kind of ballet where the prima donna gets picked up, turned over and then gently put back on the stage. A kind of  modern Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s ballet of The Sleeping Beauty. Other aficionados of watching garbage trucks in action might well prefer and dwell over his version of the Nut-Cracker suite.

In the old days, the garbage cans were made of zinc and it took a whole army of men to deal with them. I remember a kind of large heavy gate at the end of the truck compressing the garbage. It was the norm to leave a crate of brown ‘long necks’ for the garbos at Christmas time. This was a particular difficult period for garbage- men. Especially afterwards when all the remnants of the festivities would rank darkly inside those cans. The hot sun relentlessly cooking the prawn-shells and heaven knows what else that had putrefied. A  tough period. A cold beer was very welcome. That has now all gone. No more gifts for the garbo.

After I picked up the plastic lidded garbage cans, I dressed and made coffee. The plan was to tackle the snails in the garden for which we had to shop. We also had run out of garlic. Lately we have made the decision not to economise on garlic and get the Spanish variety. The Chinese garlic, with all respect for Mao, doesn’t cut the mustard. We make up to the Chinese by getting their Bok-Choy. There is just nothing like blanched fresh Bok-Choy glazed with some sesame oil. It really is the most delicious vegetable and at 99cents a bunch at Harris Farm Market, is a top buy. Go and get it.

I do hope farmers make good money. They deserve it. I can’t believe when dieticians complain that the poor get fat because they can’t afford good food. How cheap are vegetables, including carrots, potatoes,  beans. A packet of rice or pasta? Tinned sardines or tuna. Even fresh Australian salmon,  four fillets for $12.90? It is far more the intrusion of the Macdonald’s and their rotten food quarter pounder outlets, KFC is another one. Why are they still given development application approvals when Australia has one of the world’s highest numbers of those Fast food and take-outs Per Capita? It is Capitalism murder on a grand scale now. It is! How long before action is taken? It kills more than Isis. Far more.

Take it easy now, Gerard. remember a ‘normal’ day.


There is a mastermind lurking somewhere.

November 17, 2015


The world is awash with terrorism. I wonder how it feels to be branded a mastermind? Opening the page on the latest News I read there is a hunt out for the ‘Mastermind’ in terrorism. In the past a mastermind was someone who won TV quizzes. An answer for all questions, no matter how obscure the subject. In England there is group called ‘The Eggheads”, branded the ‘most formidable squiz masters’. It is amazing how much of facts including trivia seems to be able to get stored in people’s minds. The retentive memories play a role there. Of course elimination or deduction of other fact given in a choice of options is often helpful in getting the right answer. I often guess totally wrong which proves I have a lot to learn about pop music and names of 18th century Earls of Warwick.

But the terrorists was again up front this morning. The brother of one was featured on TV imploring his brother to give himself up.

It seems that the brothers grew up in a suburb of Brussels named ‘Molenbeek’ which is Dutch for ‘Mill- Brook (creek). No doubt in earlier times it would have featured a small river flowing in between the Belgian country side.

This from Wiki;

“The name Molenbeek comes from two Dutch words: molen, meaning “mill”, and beek, meaning “brook”. Although first applied to the brook that ran through the village, the name eventually came to be used to designate the village itself around the year 985. In the early Middle Ages, Molenbeek was known for its miraculous well of Saint Gertrude, which attracted thousands of pilgrims.

The village was made part of Brussels in the 13th century. As a result, Molenbeek lost many of its lands to its more powerful neighbour. In addition, its main church was dismantled in 1578, leading to further decline. The town’s character remained mostly rural until the 18th century.”

It is now a neglected and poor suburb of Brussels and many of the people there are from a middle Eastern background. Most of them law abiding and a  ‘thriving and convivial community’ as someone living there explained in a TV interview. At the same time the area is known for being the hub of jihadist youth ripe for radicalisation. If ever there was a time for calm and reflection was needed, it is now. Bombing even more in Syria and Iraq does not help when the attacks are carried out by local born and bred people. They seem to be attracted to go into Syria and learn their evil trade before going back and install fear into millions

The anti Islam rhetoric as expressed by the likes of Pauline Hanson in Australia or Geert Wilders in Holland, Jean-Marie Le Pen in France, is exactly what the Is mob wants to hear, giving the excuse to keep on killing all around the world. Their aim is to foment anti-Islam hatred. We might try not to give them those encouragements.

It seems almost beyond solving but hatred is not the answer.


The sardines are coming your way.

November 15, 2015


The week-end was exceptionally good. We met up with our daughter her friend and our grandsons. Of course, much of it was also spent in reflections on the horrors of Paris and Beirut. Both Lebanon and France subject to so many people getting killed. It seems the media’s attention was focussed on France and much less so on Lebanon where over forty five people were also massacred. No national Lebanese colours draped over our harbour bridge or Parliament house. Hardly a word!

Our daughter’s boy friend is a well known chef who used to run the kitchen at Berowra Waters restaurant near Sydney. He now runs his own restaurant. He was going to cook lunch at our daughter’s place in Allawah. To give them both a free go, we took one of our grandsons to Miranda  Shopping Mall, a Mecca for shoppers and eating. We parked just outside the parking station on the street because in the parking station itself there are just too many trying to park and nerves get frayed and agitation is so often just below the surface. A kind of mini-terrorism classes seem to be growing at large Shopping Mall parking stations. Has anyone else noticed that too?

I decided to follow a terrific act of generosity and benevolence . Some days ago as we were getting out of the car at Aldi, a woman offered me her trolley. She was getting in the car and had finished her shopping. I quickly flashed her my two dollar coin. She refused with kindness. “No,” she said; “I want you to enjoy this as a small deed, a small gift,”, she added. I was so pleased that I returned the favour after we had done our shopping. The woman I gave our trolley to, looked somewhat perplexed. I quickly walked back to our car. I did not want to be seen as some Samaritan which I am not at all. I do hope she appreciated it. I remember many years ago when the Harbour Bridge toll still had to be paid in cash. The driver before me paid my toll.  I have never forgotten. There are kind people about.

While at the large Miranda Mall I managed to get a hard-cover linen bound cooking book on fish dishes. It was discounted to $ 5.99. I noticed a brilliant recipe for sardines. I told Helvi that we should now also try to get fresh sardines to practise the recipe. I bought a kilo of them!

Back to my daughter’s place, daughter and friend were almost ready with a lovely lunch of grilled lamb cutlets,  grilled Dutch  carrots and Dutch Kipfler potatoes. All that downed with a very fine bottle of Leeuwens Estate  wine. It was a great day.

After driving back home I decided to fillet the small sardines, take the back-bone out. Dust them with some flour and pepper and fill them with pine-nuts and spinach. We are going to have them tonight.

I will keep you informed.

Jingle Bells, jingle bells…jingle cash registers.

November 13, 2015


It is that time again. You can see it in their eyes. The quickening in their walks to the super-market. An edginess in the voice. ‘Father Christmas is coming to town’. More and more shopping malls are employing experienced  female  ‘father’ Christmases.  With all the sexual abuse of children coming to the fore, the last bastion of male domination has been abandoned. It is frightening is it not? Not a religion or faith has been spared. The clergy are now queuing up at courts and even distant Cardinal’s finest damask mitres are starting to wobble. In any case, children are deemed to be safer  on mother Christmas’ knees than on the old bony but jolly male version. Soon, prams and mother will line up to get the obligatory photo taken. The transition to the female Father Christmas has been seamless. No worries at all. Father Christmas is sulking and his reindeer off their moss.

On a 7.30 am ABC rapport, a warning was issued that even though for most this pre-Christmas period it is a happy time. Not for all. Families get together, enjoy a nice dinner. The giving of presents. The Christmas tree taken out of the box, branches all screwed together, all electrically lit up inside a cosy lounge. The outside of garages, eaves, doorways and even gutters also all alight with festive multi coloured twinkling lights. The shops are full of buckets and buckets of those lights and it is a competition like nothing else. Neighbours trying to out-do this latest race to have the most intricate lit up exterior.  The MacMansions are of course unbeatable when it comes to large areas being able to get lit up. Some of those now look as if driving past an air-port or Las Vegas.

The warning on the program touched upon that charities were stretched to the limit. That family violence was already picking up and that the time of partner and wife abuse was always at its worst during the period leading up to Christmas. Someone commented on another program that in the hours at the end of the last shopping day on Christmas eve, financial transactions are peaking at 250.000 per SECOND. There has to be a connection between that and outbursts of violence. Where is the money coming from?

Are we all somehow joined to cash registers? Has capitalism managed to convince us that happiness is only available at Westfield shopping Cathedrals. I remember a pair of hand knitted grey socks hanging from the chimney back then and perhaps a toy or two. A meccano set. Dad’s rare cooking skills came out in making fondant sweets that he made from molten sugar and some almond essence poured into  small metal forms. The Christmas tree was real and so were the candles and dad’s fondants hanging from the pungent smelling spruce-tree. The streets sounds were muffled by snow and all was real. No electronic nervous sounds. Christmas had a smell and  it was so real. No plastic or racing twitching lights, or drunken brawls . No garbage cans afterwards spilling over with un-eaten food, rotting hams or pizzas  eaten out of a box. The lonely prawns abandoned on the nature strip.

It was so peaceful then and it was real.


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