The wandering again regained. ( Auto-biography)

Mantingerzand

Mantingerzand

The decision to return to Australia came unexpectedly. I was the last one to recognize its coming. As noted before; things were steaming along nicely. Painting was in full flight. Money was being earned as a fully fledged artist. I was teaching adults. Our children were growing and thriving. We lived in a lovely farm-house. The Shetlands were settled and  the  beady eyed Barneveldt chickens were very happy and laying generously. What more could one want?

There are several possible explanations that led to this decision. None are valid enough on their own but perhaps together and in total, might shed some light on this sudden and strange ‘out of the blue’ return to Australia. Let me start on just a couple of explanations of events that I remember as if from yesterday.

We decided to go swimming in a small lake popular for swimming during those rare warm days that even rainy Holland sometimes gets rewarded with. The province that our village was situated in is the least populated area in Holland.  At that time, one could still find small areas of wilderness to enjoy, without huge swarms of people crowding out all pleasurable activities. When we arrived there were some people and kids about but that only made it even more enjoyable. This little lake used to be a sand quarry in the past but had been surrendered to mother nature when the sand digging had ceased. It was a lovely spot surrounded by bushes seeking shelter under pine trees. Included in those bushes was a haze of purple heather, somewhat shy. There was laughter and joy about. The perfect day!

After arrival we all jumped in. It was a kind of jubilation, a celebration of unbridled joy and fun day. There was a large family also jumping about with a tribe of children skirmishing and splashing up and down in the shallow water mucking about with a large log that they had dragged into the water. They seemed to talk in a foreign language. Perhaps they were Turkish or Moroccan immigrants. In any case, they had a lot of fun. The parents were looking on. All were safe.

Out of the bushes and all of a sudden a person of some grey authority appeared almost like something out of a faded book of doom or The Treaty of Utrecht. He went to the edge of the water and ordered in no uncertain manner for the children to take that unauthorised log of wood out of the water. The kids looked somewhat frightened. The parents got up to find out the problem that this killjoy figure seemed to have. They understood that the log had to be taken out of the water. An argument ensued after the parents wanted to find out the reason why this log seemed to be so difficult to accept in the water. They wanted to know what the problem was. At this stage, the man of authority could have just shrugged his shoulders and walk away. He did not. He started on a long prologue and explanation on what would happen if everyone would take a log into the water. “What then, he demanded?”  “Suppose we all take a log?”   “What then, he added again?”  A cloud came over the event. The kids dragged the log out of the water and back into the bushes. The parents said something in their own language and gave in, not wanting to risk a fine or Court appearance for non-compliance of an order. Order in Holland has to be maintained at all cost.

A similar event  occurred a few months after the unauthorized log event. There exists a lovely and unspoilt piece of original nature. It is called Mantingerzand. It was within a twenty minute drive from were we lived and a very beautiful, original and unique nature reserve.

https://www.google.com.au/#q=Mantingerzand .

We decided to go for a pick-nick and had packed sandwiches to take with us for a lunch. Throughout this nature reserve are walking paths which one has to follow. Of course, in order to not disturb the uniqueness of this original piece of nature it is pointed out and fully understandable, to stay within the pathways.  As we were walking along, absorbing the beauty of the place, we all were getting hungry. The fresh air in nature does that, doesn’t it?  And decided to just stop, sit down on the pathway and eat our cheese and peanut sandwiches.  Within a few minutes and within the time-frame of having swallowed the first vigorous bites into our  sandwich, the faded and dreaded figure of authority turned up on his bike. “What do you think you are doing NOW?, he said?”  We turned pale and the kids looked frightened. We are eating sandwiches, I stated with some hesitancy, in case we were doing something else, considered to be so dreadful, it wasn’t worth thinking about.

“Now just think a bit”, the grey man stated! We immediately started thinking feverishly but obediently. Our sandwiches were patiently waiting to be chewed into further. But we had all gotten strangely un-hungry.  “Just imagine, just imagine”, the grey figure was now warming up to his favourite phrase. (He had honed the wording in front of his proud wife the very night before). “Just imagine if all of us would sit down and eat sandwiches in nature, just like that, he said.”   “What would happen then, he asked”. He looked at us in turn. We gave in, got up and resumed our walk. We put the patient sandwiches and thermos back in the bag and silently walked on.

Order was maintained.

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33 Responses to “The wandering again regained. ( Auto-biography)”

  1. Carrie Rubin Says:

    “Just imagine if all of us would sit down and eat sandwiches in nature…What would happen then…”—I’m thinking if we all did this more often, the world might just be a better place. Sounds like Mr. Grey Authority Man could’ve used a few more picnics in nature himself. Might have calmed his angry soul a bit.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. auntyuta Says:

    Has this Mr. Authority man something to do with your wish to go back to Australia? I guess we have to wait for your next installment.
    We saw a great movie yesterday in Melbourne (Last cab to Darwin).
    The vastness of Australia is very impressive.
    Alas, we’re back in Dapto now and are looking forward to seeing you as planned.🙂

    Like

  3. nonsmokingladybug Says:

    One can find silly laws and regulations in Europe, especially when it comes to the outside, parks and field areas.

    Later on in life I learned stupid regulations are existing everywhere (don’t know about Australia, but have a hunch there too).

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, there are regulations everywhere. Not least Australia’s compulsory voting system by punishment. We are in bad company with countries that also have compulsory voting.
      Australia a country that bleats all the time about ‘freedom’ yet fines people for not voting.

      Liked by 2 people

      • nonsmokingladybug Says:

        People get fined for not voting? Wow, that’s interesting. Make them vote or pay hmmm. A law like this forces people to vote even though they don’t have a clue or any interest. I have to think about that one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, and when you point out that compulsory voting is a bit dodgy one gets acused of not being loyal to the country for ‘which we have fought so hard for’ and hint at being a traitor or something, without questioning the validity of free choice as against the compulsory voting.

        Liked by 1 person

    • berlioz1935 Says:

      You should see the signs on p;arks and playgrounds here in Australia. There are so many thinks nor not allowed that the sign sometimes is bigger than the park.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. ninamishkin Says:

    People with only a very small level of actual authority often love to wield it as often as possible, to make other people aware of how powerful they are. What can you do?🙂 Is it better in Australia?

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, you are right. If you see that in action, watch if they combine it with rocking backwards and forwards on their heels. It is a sure sign!
      I think there are less rules in Australia, but it also means more lawlessness and bending the rules. Don’t get me going on tax evasion. Our national sport.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. gerard oosterman Says:

    And then there is this too.
    https://asidewrite.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/the-refugees-are-coming/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. bkpyett Says:

    I can visualise that grey man with his feet far apart! What a killjoy!
    I’m glad you find the freedom in Australia advantageous, but you’re also right about people abusing the rules, especially the rich.

    Like

  7. rod Says:

    So is the bureaucrat, paid by the people whether they like it or not, the servant of the people or the master of the people?

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The guardians of parks and nature in Holland seem to be a breed on their own, at least when we were there. I remember as a little kid walking along the beach and my dad wanted to know roughly how far we had walked along the coast-line towards the south. He climbed the first row of dunes (forbidden). He was immediately spotted by one of those nature guardians (boswachter) and fined.
      We were so scared as kids and it spoiled our day.

      Like

  8. Andrew Says:

    Ordnung muß sein. Sound familiar? A jobsworth of the lowest order. Time to fly away, Gerard.

    Like

  9. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    So many silly laws and silly people to enforce them. It give self importance to those who would otherwise fade into the shadows. I wonder where that grey man has his picnics? Perhaps he is too serious to enjoy the beauty of outdoor eating.

    Like

  10. elizabeth2560 Says:

    I was born and bred in Australia. In my early twenties, I spent two years in the UK and Europe. I felt very stifled by “rules” that we did not have in Australia (at the time), things such as lining up at the bakery, movie theatre, and post office. Believe it or not, in those days it was ‘push your way through’ mentality in Australia at the time. This has changed and we too all dutifully wait in line now.
    However, the thing that really stood out to me was walking down the street. In Germany one day, I was unaware pedestrians walked on the footpath in the same way as on the roads. That is, walk on the right hand side. I found this out when a gentlemen very crossly told me the rules. As first I thought it was only when you needed to pass someone, but then I observed they always did it. I suppose it is more civilized but definitely in Australia you could walk on the footpath wherever you wanted.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, but the European countries are much more densily populated. The cities are compact and many do walk on pavements that are crowded much more than here.
      We walk daily to town and be lucky to come across half a dozen people or so. Most go by car even if the distance is a couple of hundred metres…
      The Dutch are supposed to be the healthiest in the world. They walk and enjoy the bicycle which is given as a reason for their robust health. ( and eating herrings)

      Liked by 1 person

  11. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    You must have absorbed the Aussie culture more deeply than you realised. As a nation they are famous for not being on being told what to do (and yes, I am sure there are are humble and obedient Aussies too).

    Like

  12. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    …not being keen on being…

    Like

  13. Patti Kuche Says:

    Some people never leave school and stay class monitors forever, always happy to report us to Miss for bad behaviour.

    Like

  14. gerard oosterman Says:

    Bad behaviour is the only way .

    Like

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