Now that the medical investigations of physical health and other possible upcoming frailties in the future have been dealt with I can perhaps go back to my earlier musings about the past. They were all bundled under the somewhat pretentious title of ‘Auto-biography’, towards the end morphed into autobiography’ or perhaps were even referred to as ‘memoires’. Perhaps memoires is the most suitable. Who knows? It has a hint of someone getting ready for the softness of blissful forgetfulness but would still like to leave behind a story of when that was not so. A kind of evidence based of the purpose that life once might have held.
Not that life is totally without a purpose now. The garbage bin has to be put out, not forgetting the alternative weeks (fortnightly pension day) that the yellow lidded recycle bin has to be put outside but the red bin always weekly. A routine that is now well established and I never forget. There is something very endearing about those bits of routine. It beds us down, makes us feel secure. One can imagine the millions of refugees on the run from bombs and terror. All routine of daily life stolen at a moments notice. You can see it in their eyes. Frightened of what the future holds. How fortunate we are. It is only the luck of our birth that separates us from those running the gauntlet of many borders, clambering over train windows, desperate to escape from the uncertainty. Nothing more than that.
As I remembered, after our family’s return from Holland in 1976 we moved into our house back in Sydney’s Balmain and had taken delivery of our furniture and all other remnants of our previous three years in Holland. I enjoyed the artists salary, had some exhibitions, sold some paintings but also missed our large extended family. The Australian bush as well as the disorder of rusted roofs and the chaos of Parramatta Rd beckoned. Those yawning second-hand car sales yard seemed so attractive. A funny thing. The Dutch sense of order and discipline had taken its toll. The breathing space that we have in Australia is not to be underestimated.
When life got back to ‘normal’ the children back to school and a smooth transition into work and paying bills, life resumed its path with routine getting established once more. The garage was transformed in a place to make the stretchers for paintings. Part of it was made into a darkroom. I suddenly developed a keenness for taking photographs and with my brother used to develop our own black and white shots of people and city/ landscapes. A very prolific period of paintings followed. I entered many in local art competitions which many councils annually held all over Australia. Balmain was attractive to artists and in our street alone there was a group of them all beavering away inside their studios. Some of the artists were very ‘arty’ and used to delve into mysticism or were very esoteric to the extreme. Bach remedy was used for everything, even giving birth or a dog’s broken leg. Dreadlocks and smoking dope was very popular and so were music of a kind sung by the massively curled Carly Simon, especially ‘You are so Vain’. Of course, we were united all against war, especially nuclear war and used to march in rallies together with Patrick White, whose popularity as a Noble Price winning writer of fame seems now to have waned.