Isn’t it sweet and proof of the conviviality of the readers including those ‘Pigs Arms’ patrons that my writings are never purely judged by its spelling? There I was happily ‘stamping’ away at my old ‘stamping’ grounds of Revesby being haughtily dismissive of lawns and petunias. And yet, with the dawning of another day and with more words urging me on, I remain humbled, (doing a Rupert Murdoch) by the kindness and tolerance of the readers, not only allowing me to dwell on these pages, but also being presumptuous enough in thinking those words worth reading, including the ‘stamping’ around.
Perhaps this stamping around in suburban Revesby has some basis in happenings at earlier times.
I was given a stamp album for Christmas in 1948. I have kept it ever since but no stamps have been added since 1956, the year of our arrival in Australia. I started saving postage stamps as soon as I could walk (my mother told me). They used to include stamps from all over the world. It became far too complicated and I decided with my new album to concentrate on The Netherlands and its colonies instead. The colony of Indonesia (former Dutch East Indies) was then tottering on the edge of becoming independent under Sukarno and I remember tens of thousands arriving in Holland taking with them the world’s finest cuisine and different cultural habits. Many could not hack the colourless Dutch climate and its relentless damp weather and moved onto Australia. This eventually resulted in many Indonesian restaurants popping up in Sydney and elsewhere. One of those was called Selamat Makan in Victoria Street, King’s Cross. Much later another one opened up in King Street, Newtown ‘The Safari’. I can sometimes still taste the spicy ‘Rendang’.
The date of this Christmas gift stamp album from my parents of 1948 is written on the front page in lovely long- hand writing. Do kids still learn long-hand or has that gone overboard as well? The world of the abbreviated language is now much in vogue, with C U LTR or LOL with ROLFING being bit more expansive. I remember in the late fifties the start of texting with the 4 SALE signs arrivals in front of second hand car sale yards stretching mile after ugly mile on Parramatta Rd, Sydney.
Going back to my album, I used to get a yearly stamp catalogue specifying and updating the latest stamp issues and, more importantly, the value of stamps. The value of some stamps, depending on the numbers issued, would drastically increase as the years went by. I kept a little book with their updated values. Sadly, while I still have the album somewhere, the book of updated stamp values has gone, disappeared. Perhaps my parents chucked it out or left it behind in our house at The Hague together with the lovely tropical fish aquarium and all those Neon-Tetras.
Now, with the likelihood of more years past then coming still, the inclination to dwell on what has been, have to be resisted somewhat. The temptation to finish up being called ‘a boring old fart’ by many will surely become the incentive to look afresh at the ever changing world and its many colours. There is no other way and so many words might still be queuing.