Home and hearth.



It is only fair I put the opposite of life in Australia compared with that of Amsterdam, even if only to calm frayed nerves, my wavering loyalty to a new nationality. Even after the one given at birth was so recklessly signed away almost forty years later. The picture shows our present home. By home of course not just roof and plaster but the heart and soul of things that keep on talking the longer you have them. The chairs ,all re-woven and from the Dutch farm back in 1975. Our children sat on those till grown up. The round table, also from the same period. How many meals did rest upon this ageing table, those place-mats? The clatter of knives and forks, domestic music, chatter, years of it. Grandchildren followed. Now also growing up, becoming into their own. The bits and pieces, also from decades ago. From one continent to another. They travelled and survived well.

And now, there are just the two of us. (164 words)

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34 Responses to “Home and hearth.”

  1. Brian Sutton Says:

    Many if not most of us have been thru the same experiences . ..just memories of long ago , family growing up. How special those days were.. . and such a shame none of us , parents and children alike , appreciated the fast moving moments of time afforded to us as young families growing up together.


  2. bkpyett Says:

    Lovely to see your home Gerard. The feeling of being torn must be excruciating. It’s not easy belonging to two countries. Just make the most of one another!


  3. Dorothy brett Says:

    LoVely photos gerard, and I too remember sitting at your round table on your lovely rush chairs, as well as that huge long table in your kitchen in Duke street balmain. In the words of the song, “thanks for the memories”. Not to mention your lovely cooking, great conversation , your kindness, and more than our share of fun.
    Love to you both from Dorothy


  4. rod Says:

    I’m assuming dual nationality was not an option for you. On the plus side you can now become a knight! There are just the two of us also but I quite like it that way.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      There has been the biggest revolt against the Knighthood here with a Conservative majority in the state of Queensland having had the biggest rout in political history.
      The talk now is of a change in leaders on federal level and if possible to de-Knight or un-Knight Prince Phillip. Most say this will be unprecedented but this Knighthood has been one of the pivotal reason for both levels of government to now be in unwinnable situations for years to come/
      How to un-Knight Prince Phillip is going to be tricky. Does one take a round table back, a sword? A ribbon or gown?


  5. M-R Says:

    That’s OK Gerard: for me there’s just one of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. roughseasinthemed Says:

    That looks nice. Much more my taste. I’m surrounded by furniture older than I am as I inherited my mum’s furniture, so it’s all the items I grew up with. After all, what’s the point of getting rid of it and buying new when it’s perfectly serviceable?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist Says:

    Wonderful memories.


  8. Silver in the Barn Says:

    My old pine table has math homework impressed into it, a permanent blotch where Jen spilled nail polish remover, and numerous scratches and dents. It’s perfect.


  9. Andrew Says:

    A real home. And not ‘just’ the 2 of us. You belong together, have journeyed together and it is the two of you plus all that has travelled with you through the years.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Patti Kuche Says:

    Just a suggestion Gerard but have you thought of doing a house swap i.e. Airbnb, VRBO? You let your house out for 3months (or whatever) while you rent in Amsterdam. It might clear some cobwebs for you without having to burn bridges.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, a good holiday is probably better than selling up and move. Swapping houses is another way to go. Lovely snow in NYC Patti. Great photos. I would make a snowman in Brooklyn with a carrot as nose.


  11. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Well, my experience is that kids never totally go away. 🙂


  12. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Glad you are looking on the other side, but I can see it must be painful to be drawn in two directions. My husband and I both moved around much of our childhood, so when we married we bought a house and… that’s it. We rattle around a bit now, having extended three times, unless the children and partners are visiting all together, but I’d need to take the trees with me if I moved. I guess we (or one of us) will have to one day. So be it.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Not so sure we are doing one or the other. We prefer to remain fluid and flexible. We both hate moving houses and are very happy with our house. If we ever move it will be to Europe where we both grew up in, especailly Helvi who also did a university degree there and comes from a huge family of nine of which seven are still alive.


  13. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    It is lovely to see parts of your home. We learn to know each other from others experiences don’t we? Your old table and chairs are precious near-antiques, and don’t imagine those children don’t remember sitting there surrounded by the love of parent and grandparents. After all, all we really have to give is Love.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, our house is like an old coat. It is warm, well worn in and has many pockets in which to keep bits of string and the occasional frog. I also know where my socks are and H has instant recall on all the contents including my passport and birth certificate..


  14. petspeopleandlife Says:

    You’ve a lovely house but it is really a home that is filled with precious memories and furniture that is irreplaceable, I like your home very much. Light, airy, comfortable and, filled with love. You can’t put a price on that. I like this post very much.



  15. berlioz1935 Says:

    Sorry to hear, you are still comparing the former with the present life. I gave that away. It is no use. The life giver and the chosen one are not comparable. It is like mother and wife. One can’t go back to mother. Your former life equipped you with your critical facilities, but it doesn’t mean you have to go back to it.

    Coming from another environment gives one the ability to improve the life as we find it in the new environment. The memories of my first twenty-four years of my life are stronger than anything that came after. But this was because I was young and the brain took everything in because it was new. Now, life seems to repeat itself.

    Those memories are strong, but I don’t want to go back there to live. Visiting? Yes, If I had the money, I would go every year. Being cut off from siblings, like Helvi is, is not easy. I “Skype” with one of my sisters frequently and I read German papers because I must know what is going on over there.

    When I visit Germany I become quickly aware of the conditions of their lives which I would not like to live under. I take the Australian position.

    At this stage, we plan another visit in about sixteen-month time.


  16. gerard oosterman Says:

    It was more of a hypothetical idea or question. A bit like ‘how would it be like’. We did the same when in France, Argentina and when back in Holland. In fact we did go back for three years with our Australian born children and had to re-migrate all over again as our return visas had expired.

    I have fond memories of Europe and loved travelling through it. I can’t say that I would dislike living there.

    We also enjoy life here. The difference between you and Uta and us might be you two have chosen to come here while in my case it was chosen for me by my parents. I was fifteen but once I got older went back and forth many times. I worked there again for a while before I married.

    When my parents retired they sold the house in Revesby and went back to live in Holland. They were back with their family and we came and visted them regularly, so did their many grandchildren.

    Now with getting older, many options are just day dreaming and in our case wishfull thinking. You know, waking up in Paris, ducking down for a crispy loaf of Vienna. etc


    • berlioz1935 Says:

      I understand that feeling for Europe and I love hanging out there myself. We also dream of doing it again. Paris, Rome and running through Hyde Park London are all highlights. The idea of a united Europe, born out of the ruins of WW II, appeals to us.

      It is good not to get involved in their politics and instead sit outside on the footpath and drink something nice and let the world go past.


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