Leek and beef-mince pasta.

November 21, 2019

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There can’t be any better way to get going to make something of the day then to prepare cook a meal for the evening. Today the weather forecast was for another catastrophic day with searing heat, bushfires reddening the smoky haze over cities and bushland. The news on TV gave the usual proof of catastrophe in pictures showing frantic couples looking over the still smoking ambers of what once was their home. The photographer  getting the moment right when the wife would break down, suppress a heartfelt sob. I know the feeling of a great loss.

I left our home early to go to the library, study the newspaper and look for possible ideas on volunteering. I did not see any but did read an article whereby our local community had been siphoned off millions of charity dollars on a scheme to house those with fatal terminal illnesses into hospices where they would be allowed to spend their final time on this earth with good care and respect. It turned out this will never happen. It is one thing to build the hospice after acquiring the land but another to actually run it. The government has made it clear more than ten years ago, they will not support this private hospice, and instead will extend present hospices at aged care facilities and public hospitals.

https://www.southernhighlandnews.com.au/story/6304692/find-a-new-model-calls-to-halt-hospice-plans/

In the meantime hundreds of thousands of $$$ has been spent on fees, and paid out to architects, planners and those at the top of this charity who do get paid and are on full remunerations. We often donated stuff and also bought things from the Bowral hospice shops believing we were helping a good cause.

It is best to concentrate on cooking. I found some minced beef in the freezer and at the bottom of the fridge a somewhat forlorn and neglected leek. A bit on the limp side but still firm inside the stem and with some coaxing by olive oil and oregano could possibly get revived. I added some grated carrot,  chopped onions, garlic, and of course some Italian tinned tomatoes. After reading of the hospice dilemma I forego buying Australian tinned tomatoes. They are dearer, and the Italian tomatoes taste better. You try them. The whole lot is now simmering in a large saucepan with a lid on it. Low heat.

I now go to an airconditioned shopping centre and have a short black with two sugars. It is so hot. I look forward to my pasta tonight. By the way, the pasta too is Italian. Very thin and takes 8 minutes to cook.

Enjoy.

Chores and knitting.

November 16, 2019

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Now on my own there is a need to get from dawn to dusk as painlessly as possible. The days have to pass, and grief impedes on the passing of time as nothing else will. It bites and fights at every moment that one passes on reflection. How else can it be? It has to be so in surviving, and carrying on with this life that was so much more glorious in the past than it is now. It will get back to some glory, I am sure. Helvi would want that.

One of the best form of passing time is the domestic area of ‘keeping things in order’. This includes the washing up. I always did the washing up, so no stranger to detergents and swishing my hands in warm water. I have a dish washer and both my daughter and Helvi kept urging me to start using it again. As a gesture of obedience and compliance I did give the dishwasher another go for a few days not long ago. Without saying anything to both of them, I stopped doing it. I prefer doing it by hand. Is satisfies. I now am forever scanning the sink to see if anything needs washing up and will almost out of a need to be busy create dirty dishes in order to wash up. It might seem a bit strange but, before you know it another hour has passed and the next chore might present itself.

I have done a lot of chores that many believe are traditionally done by women. However, I don’t think we were much given to traditions, or when it came to doing chores believing they were male or female oriented. However, she knew something might happen, so over the last few months she taught me the delights of using the washing machine.  It wasn’t complicated and hanging the washing was also a job I gradually mastered. Again, we have a cloth-dryer, but with generous Australian sun, why waste electricity? ( generated by burning fossil fuel).

I am egged on by trying to remain busy by the sweet memory of Helvi, not one to waste time. She was rarely bored. She used to knit little sleeves for wrapping around the coat hangers so, her and my clothes would be suspended by a woollen sleeve around the cloth hanger. She was a wonderful example of always using time to best use.

So, please chores. Keep me busy.

Of earlier times and now.

November 10, 2019

While walking through my house (or should that still be our house?) I am struck how everything is still so much Helvi. They say that in grieving it is best to be busy and sustain from sitting too much. Walking around the place I sometimes just go in circles ( to while the time, achingly passing so slow)around one of the old tables that was part of the very old furniture from the farm in Holland. We lived there with our three children from 1973-76. This table through travel between continents and daily wear became a bit battered and some years ago, Helvi urged me to paint the top of this table white. At first the idea of painting an old semi-antique table at all seemed a bit questionable but Helvi never really attached much monetary value to things that we owned. It’s not as if one can take it with you, is it?

And that’s how it is. This place is the embodiment of so much that is still Helvi. Her sense of form and aesthetics would exclude any other consideration. Some tell me I should move somewhere else, but I now need time to pass. I go bowling tonight and in an effort not to fall in a heap I keep walking with Milo and shop at the slightest pretence. I haven’t as yet dealt with anything much at all, and am surrounded by flower arrangements and cards of condolences. The house is tidy and I wash up regularly, even if it is just a single cup and single plate. It is not easy.

I leave you with an early photo of us soon after arrival in Australia from Finland in 1965/66. We moved into a small apartment in Pott’s Point ,Sydney, which I had bought a year or so before. We were just married. The photo must have been taken with a self timer but it doesn’t look posed. We had such a lovely time there.

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Helvi from Finland has passed away.

October 30, 2019

It’s with a heavy heart that am now telling you that my dearest Helvi has passed away on the 29th of October at 6pm. The next day was going to be our wedding anniversary! We married in 1965.

She blew her last breaths on our bed and at home. A few day before she was begging me to get her out of the hospital. We shared our most loving moments declaring our undying love for each other.

Those last few days will for sure sustain me for the rest of my life.  They are now a a beautiful garden of memories. Helvi was always good at gardening.

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Gerard

The Iris has come

October 8, 2019

Sorry for my shortcomings in returning to your responses in my latest article or indeed to some of yours. I have been too busy with personal duties and issues of health and my dear Helvi. Her arm became re-infected again which resulted in her hospitalisation for yet another 5 nights. We are now home and hopefully things will improve, it has been a hard slog. Hospitals are not good places to recover and if there are any benefits I have yet to learn about them.

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In the meantime let me cheer you up with this lovely iris.

I promise to get back to answering some of your marvellous pieces and responses but can only do so when getting some rest and Helvi getting better. I can do with some bowling or walks along our little river. We are both so exhausted and in dire need of better times ahead.

Australia’s Prime M. Scott Morrison is an International embarrassment.

September 26, 2019

Scott Morrison just told world leaders he will not apologise for his dangerous inaction in the face of the climate crisis.1

He’s just not sorry – not for pushing for public funding for dirty new coal power.2 Not for gutting CSIRO jobs, suppressing data, or censoring reports about the threat of climate change.4,5,6 Not for belittling Greta Thunberg and the climate strikers.3

He is utterly out of touch with the overwhelming majority of us who understand the threat of climate change and want urgent action.7 But if we say nothing now, we let Morrison speak for us to the world.

Together, we can correct the record – with the highest environmental authority on earth. If our Prime Minister won’t represent us, we’ll deliver a message to the UN ourselves:

TO U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES:

Scott Morrison does not speak for us.
Australia wants climate action now!
ADD MY NAME!

It’s an embarrassment, Gerard

While hundreds of thousands of us are still sharing the signs and speeches of the biggest climate mobilization on earth, Scott Morrison skipped the UN Climate Summit to look at a shiny, new McDonalds Drive Thru.8

And today, in a speech to the UN General Assembly he’s telling the world Australia is “doing enough” – even as Greta Thunberg’s slammed world leaders for stealing the dreams of her generation.9

But the strikes proved that we do not need to leave politics to the Prime Minister. We came together. We set the agenda. We dominated the press. We sent a message.

We are better than this.

Morrison has no idea what he’s talking about, and press and leaders around the world are calling him out for it.10 Now we can put Australia’s commitment to climate action on the record on a global stage.

Click here to tell the UN: Morrison does NOT speak for us! We want climate action now!

Morrison is scrambling to bury the truth. We will not let him.

While so many of us continue to step up, this movement is popular, powerful, and will not be silenced.

Yours in solidarity,
Patrick, Tessa, Sarah and Charlie – for GetUp ❤️

References:
1. Scott Morrison uses UN speech to slam ‘internal and global critics’ of Australia’s climate change policy, ABC Online, 26 September, 2019
2. Emissions Reduction Fund review considers opening the scheme to coal-fired power stations, ABC Online, June 21, 2019
3. Morrison responds to Greta Thunberg by warning children against ‘needless’ climate anxiety, The Guardian, 25 September, 2019
4. Job cuts in Australia target climate scientists, Nature, 5 February, 2016
5. Australia pressures Unesco over impact of climate change on Great Barrier Reef, The Guardian, 29 August, 2019
6. Australia’s carbon emissions continue to rise despite Government assurances about climate change policy, ABC Online, 30 August, 2019
7. The Climate of the Nation Report, The Australia Institute, 9 September, 2019
8. World leaders discussed climate. The PM admired a ‘smart Drive-Thru’, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 September, 2019
9. ‘This is all wrong’: A transcript of Greta Thunberg’s Climate Summit speech,
10. Australian government seen globally as climate ‘denialist’, UN summit observers say, The Guardian, 25 September, 2019.


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Springtime is here.

September 20, 2019

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The magic of Irises.

The irises are now starting to show their flower buds. Very small still, but to an expert, clearly coming to the fore. They look like closely bundled sharp spikey leaves but each night they inch forward. Soon they will become flowers and I hope to be witness to that event. It is always a mystery to me how a bud suddenly is a flower. I am sure they wait for a turn of a head or during the dead of a silent night when this wonder happens. Of course, Mr D. Attenborough has teams of photographers with special slow motion cameras to catch that magic moment. I put it in the singular because I am sure it is not a slow motion flowering but a rapid transformation, otherwise how does one explain that one moment it is a bud and next a flower? I looked up the Iris flower in singular and most images showed a variety of flowers grown by the Irish people and not the iris as a single flower. In fact, word-check puts a red line under iris.  Yet iris without the h is part of our eye. The mystery deepens.

I have been slow and sparse in my posts. Life is still hectic, and recovery a slow train. Here is some food for thought on cancer medications. https://thenewdaily.com.au/life/wellbeing/2019/09/19/cancer-drug-fake-benefit/

It makes one wonder. Perhaps profit prevails over altruism even in the world of health. It is much better to look at Iris than at a box of medication.

PS; The auto-correct did put the h in iris(h) but on second try I managed to correct it and now the h is gone.

Out of sight but not out of mind.

September 7, 2019

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The plight of the family  threatened by being deported to Shri-Lanka is now reaching its final stage. No matter the outcome, the way this has been dealt with is just symptomatic of our Government’s decline in being humane. I am talking about why it was felt necessary to remove this family to Christmas Island while their case is being dealt with in an Australian Court.  Surely they could have been given a right to remain on the mainland with friends and neighbours with whom they have been living for a number of years. They have two Australian born children and have not committed any crime.

It is just sheer bastardy by the Australian government. How can one see it any other way as inflicting the maximum of punishment on people who have done no wrong? A last minute injunction stopped the plane in mid-air from flying them back to Shri-Lanka. A Court has ruled their case will be heard in due course and it seems likely this might take several weeks.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-49519805

Seeing the case will be heard on the mainland why was it thought necessary to go to the extend in flying this family as far as possible from their friends and supporters to Christmas Island. Christmas Island is part of the Asian Continent and thousands of kilometres form the major cities of Australia. It was formerly used as an Australian detention centre for refugees but is now closed.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/sep/05/biloela-tamil-family-our-daughters-are-scared-on-christmas-island-mother-says

I always thought that the Christian way was pro humane and compassionate. Our PM Scott Morrison  is a fervent Christian who doesn’t shy away from being filmed swaying his arms and jigging about inside his Mormon church. Here is a good opportunity for Scott to practise what he preaches and allow that family to stay in Australia.

Image result for Scott morrison and his church

 

Walking is good.

September 3, 2019

 

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Apart from admiring cyclamen we are now trying to go for our daily walks again. Over the last couple of months we were either busy getting dressed or trying to get undressed. In between we have had an  unrelenting regime, meeting with doctors, nurses, home-carers and physiotherapists. And that is apart from keeping up with provisions, paying gas bills and doing what my mother used to call ‘in between’ jobs. I have learnt so much about fashion. Believe you me, there are a perplexing variety of female  clothes with incomprehensible ways of putting them on. ( and off) Where is the neck or what are the arm openings and what are all those hanging bits about? And despite all that loose-ness in their clothes, why are the leg openings so tight and why also do the sleeves end up inside out?

So this morning it came about that we went for a walk. Not too far, as Helvi is still not as sure footed as she used to be before her crash downwards towards a concrete drive-way. We sauntered past our common drive-way where are neighbour was snipping away at the garden. He likes doing that but we wished he would allow things to grow instead of manicuring every bit of greenery in this place. But, live and let live with tolerance is the answer to cheerfulness and optimism. I am trying to stay away from grumpiness, so I greeted the neighbour with ‘doing a bit of a spring cleaning?’

We ended our walk at Bradman Cricket Oval. In the world of cricket, this oval is the equivalent in Australia of the Egyptian Pyramid of Cheops or The Great Chinese Wall. It holds The International Great Hall of Cricket.https://internationalcrickethall.com/the-bradman-museum-is-now-the-international-cricket-hall-of-fame/

Lots of buses with hordes of people all the way from India, Pakistan, Fiji, Shri Lanka and many other cricket loving countries visit this famous cricket mausoleum, and file teary eyed, past Lenin like tombs of expired cricketers. Donald Bradman is the most famous of cricketers, and new comers to Australia have been threatened to lose their visas if not sufficiently versed in Bradman cricket matches with correct dates, number of runs and Ducks mandatory.

We found a nice seat in the sun and Helvi and I really appreciated this nice park. The children and their mums were playing in a playground but noticed that the iPhone now seems to have morphed into some kind of umbilical cord. Most mothers allowed their kids to break legs or fall off slippery dips without even a flicker away from their iPhones. I would love to know what the urgency is. Should I ask?

Anyway, we walked slowly back home and our neighbour had slunk inside, happy with the day’s snipping and shortening of bushes.

We had a nice walk and had some yoghurt afterwards.

Puccini inspired by Dutch nursery rhymes? (Klap eens in de handjes)

August 27, 2019

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As a very young child  my mother and her sister, ‘Agnus’, used to sing typical little musical ditties to us. I still remember many of them and of late they seem to have made a return to my brain. I hope this isn’t the beginning of brain-loss, or worse dementia, and will cling to the life-craft that it might well be due to our iPhone transmitted musical soirees that we are now having instead of the nauseating diets of dreadful news on the TV. I mean, how many more times do we have to hear that sending war ships and surveillance aircraft to the Straits of Iran (Hormuz) are part of a ‘de-escalation’ of tension in the Middle East?  And, not to forget the images of the burning jungles of the Amazon?

With Helvi’s arms needing daily exercises to return to previous levels of usage, including bringing food to mouth or other functions normal for hands and arms, we thought that listening to hours of wonderful music might help. All I have to do is type in ‘Pavarotti’,  push an app on the iPhone, and voila, wonderful singing of operas. One piece we particularly like is Puccini’s,  ‘Oh mio Bambino Caro’ sang by Maria Callas in 1965.

 

Isn’t this sublime singing? The odd thing is that I feel Puccini could well have been inspired by those traditional Dutch nursery rhymes dating back hundreds of years and handed over from generation to generation. I sang the same Dutch songs to my grandsons and they still remember. The song they remember most is ‘Klap eens in je handjes’. Here it is, and it almost brings me to tears taking me back to those good times when we were sung ( helping verb, otherwise ‘sang’) to by our parents and when we ended up teaching them to our kids and now us to the grandchildren.

Now tell me, listening to this old Dutch children’s rhyme can you hear Puccini’s Oh Mio Bambino too or am I going cuckoo? Is there still hope for me and should I eat more Tofu?