While walking with our Jack Russell ‘Milo’ a few days ago, a woman approached us with great enthusiasm. “Oh, your dog, he is so lovely”. “We had them too,” she added. Milo looked up, as he does when the conversation turns to him. He knows he is a star,the rose amongst the thorns, or the daisy amongst the thistles.
She started talking with a question of whether Helvi was Irish. No, I’m from Finland. Oh, I thought you had an Irish accent, I’m from Ireland, she said. I thought, I better add Holland before being asked. Boy, did she love the talk. No wonder the Irish are so loved. The next item was how the Dutch are so clean. Tell me about it, I said. They even scrub the stoop, wash the windows as if a single speck of dust will send them to eternal hell-fire. One reason while we love living here in Australia.
This was the very thing she wanted to hear. “We have Dutch friends, she added, and are so clean we are petrified of crumbling the biscuit.”. It is scary, she added. Not us, I replied. I understood her perfectly. The Dutch are a bit manic with cleaning or at least, they used to. Perhaps with the influx of so many from dusty countries, the window washers and stoop scrubbers have been overwhelmed with those that rather spend time in social intercourse with friends standing on the stoop instead of soaping it.
I remember years ago, arriving at Schiphol airport after an absence of many years and within half an hour from leaving the airport seeing a man dressed in a suit standing on a small ladder soaping, and washing his spectacles shop window. It was a surreal scene. It brought it all back in waves.
It came out they were thinking of retiring here in Bowral and wanted to know our opinion of the place. Clever woman. We love living here. It is a great place. We live near, not one, but two hospitals. Where can you find that, we added.
Anyway, all of a sudden a man approached her and said; “I’ll be around the corner if you want to find me, near the shoe shop.”. “Yes,” she answered rather routinely. “He is just my husband and knows I am forever accosting people on the street with conversation,” she added. “Feel free any time”!
How great it is to have a Milo and hoorah for the Irish.