A normal day.

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When the forecast was for rain, it was decided to quickly put in some more plants. Two star Jasmines and a couple of Hebes had been bought the day before. Retirees often have time on their hands and planting things and gardening helps time pass. Helvi suggested a few times I go and visit a men’s club and pass time talking to men. I am not sure if she is not a bit fed up with me hanging around. I remind her I am retired and free to pass time as I see fit. ‘Yes, but you often take naps,’ she tells me. But I told her straight out that I always thought napping was a very proper and well known past-time for elderly, especially men.’

Anyway, I did try and join a Men’s shed. It was last year. I walked into a local Men’s shed and noticed a lot of carpenter and building equipment. Lots of different electric tools, bench- saws, drills, planers, even a welder with eye goggles. A few men were busy making things. My idea of a men’s club was a bit more Singapore-Raffles like. A kind of establishment with easy chairs and a raconteur holding forth on the benefits of retirement in Venice or Thailand. Anyway, this Men’s shed wasn’t talk friendly, with all the machinery whirring around. I noticed a large nervous rabbit in a small birdcage. His master was making a hutch.

I would not really know what to make. I remembered a good friend of mine who spent a fortune on all sorts of tools. He proudly showed me a small wooden box with a hinged lid for putting in and allowing sheets of Kleenex tissues to protrude. I advised that the obvious next home made thing could be a wooden toilet roll holder? Perhaps one could varnish it or even make it look a bit antique? Some years ago making things look antique was popular. The art of making antique has since been surpassed by ripping into brand-new furniture. The side-board or dining table with chairs is now deliberately hoed into, roughed-up, and smeared and wiped white. For good measure sometimes copper nails are banged into the furniture as well. It is to get this much desired French-colonial-farm-country-side look. Some combine this with huge hanging clocks also given the same genuine faux French treatment.

I did not end up joining a men’s club. Just now I dug some holes for the plants. They will be growing against the paling fence. I gave them some extra chicken manure. Today was just a normal day. It is raining now. But that’s alright too.

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29 Responses to “A normal day.”

  1. Dorothy brett Says:

    HomGerard, i wonder if men use the Men’s Shed just to make things with the tools available to them, and not for social intercourse.
    Perhaps you should have persisted. But then again maybe not.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, Dorothy.
    The Men’s shed was set up primarily to encourage men’s health through providing a male setting for doing things that men traditionally do in sheds. It was also thought to encourage social interaction. The Men Shed I attended was well equipped to make lots of things. It included lots of woodwork. One could also repair bikes or make toys. There wasn’t much talk going on.
    I was at a loss on what to make. I am more of a word tool-man. I suppose I could have used their computers for writing inside the shed, but…I really felt a couple of women around would be more my cup-o-tea.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. berlioz1935 Says:

    they would start talking what superior class of people they were. That would be no good for me either. You are right, there are women who are much more interesting than silly men.

    But then, I’m not really a men’s man: just a male of the species.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A very important story about my wife's family background Says:

    “I am more of a word tool-man. I suppose”
    Good answer for not “fitting in” with Men’s shed. I found the same rejection. You need to be able to speak sport…..its essential.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The sport I used to like is hand-ball and basket-ball. A while ago I was invited to a re-union of the Cronulla Scarborough basket-ball club. I did not go. They remembered me as a good player which surprised me. I was forever running around half dazed and with a nose bleed and broken glasses.
      Now, if a ball rolls towards me I run away.


  5. shoreacres Says:

    I thought the phrase “men’s shed” was so interesting. Back in the day, when people here had sheds, they were the best places ever. There was tool storage, of course, and a work bench for small repairs, but mostly it was a place for the guys to go and have a cigarette and get away from the women. Important Things took place in the shed. One of my very few photos of my grandfather shows him, with my dad, in front of Grandpa’s shed. My dad has the cigarette, and as I recall, there are some bib overalls involved.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      On the farm we had a very large shed that held the tractor, slasher , hydraulic wood splitter (22 ton) and lots of other equipment.

      It also housed a very determined wombat. It used to dig an enormous hole in one corner of this shed. Wombats are very territorial.
      In desperation and not willing to surrender my shed I put in a steel corrigated floor on top of the dirt. The wombat gave up and must have wandered somewhere else.

      Should I not have taken that drastic action? Our property housed dozens of wombats!

      So..the shed was important to me. It featured nice large timber posts and cross members and was cosy to work in. I never smoked in it nor wore bib and braces. It smelled of diesel and hardwood.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. jennypellett Says:

    Oh lord, I bet your self righteous neighbour will be complaining about the smell of the chicken manure now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes Jenny,

      Another theft of our plants. The police came out all rigged up with revolver, baton and wearing dark blue uniform. He was huge. It isn’t the theft as much as the bullying to get rid of us.
      But guess what? the main protagonists claimed they too had plants stolen. They are lying. Amazing what some women will do. (and men)


  7. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    I believe some are called “Man Caves” in some places today. A place to call one’s own like the woman’s kitchen. I don’t know why that is, except that most women don’t smoke cigars today. But the idea is the same; to get out of the house and out of the way. It depends upon the personalities and the need for privacy. Virginia Woolf wrote that everyone needs a room of one’s own.. I run to my computer and write. In the not too distant past, I ran to my studio. They are places to “get away”. I’m glad you got your plants in the ground. They needed a place to “get out”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I suppose a Man Cave sounds more primordeal. It hints at the good ole days when men were men who used to snare women by rather violent manners. This week is supposed to be ‘Domestic Violence Week.’ Last week it was all about ‘Mental Health.’ I am confused about next week, could it be ‘Incontinence Week?’

      My dad used to really love the ‘Flintstones.’ He never clubbed my mum though, and his Cave was the comfy easy chair smoking his beloved ciggie next to the kitchen where mum was slaving away on a dinner.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Forestwoodfolkart Says:

    Oh yes, the men’s shed. I suggested that to my recently retired other half as he too is taking lots of naps and wandering around in the garden planting beans, nasturtiums and Russian Kale. My man is a tool man, so I thought the Men’s shed might be fun as he used to make loads of things, including… dare I say… paper towel holders that we antiqued!!! Then I heard that the men’s shed is frequented by a lot of men who are depressed and if you are lucky enough not to be afflicted, you might end up counseling them. So perhaps it is not the place for you or him…. better stick to the nasturtiums and napping on the sunlounge!

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Fwf,

      I wasn’t going to mention it. The rates of men’s suicides is going through the roof, especially amongst the indigenous. It was thought that by building Men’s Sheds it would give men an opportunity to not only build things but also give a chance to rid or talk about emotional baggage or issues that give rise to thoughts of self harm.

      My only day spent at the local Men’s Shed wasn’t a barrel of laughter and therefore I should have fitted in quite well. It did not work out though. The nervous rabbit gave me an understanding look and I appreciated it. I am so glad the owner made a nice hutch. I mean fancy keeping a rabbit in a bird cage?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Big M Says:

    We are at that age when people talk about retirement. ‘What will you do? You must have a hobby!’ Of course the Shed Men are out and abound, aggressively proselytising outside Bunnings and Big W.

    I did mention that I already enjoy some creative writing that is published online. ‘I suppose it is run by cranky buggers like yourself’ was,the reply!

    Resist the Shed Men, Gerard, just keep that word order going.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Big M.
      I noticed the Men’s Shed advertising their services outside Bunnings a couple of weeks ago. The problem I have is that women are not welcome in Men’s Sheds.

      I don’t know if that is even possible but with the bullying going on in our own housing compound I am not going to challenge the legality of excluding different sexes from the Men’s Shed org. I have enough on my plate to last me for years to come.

      I believe there is now a ‘Coming Out’ week coming for those who feel they want to go public about their sex identity. Should we come out and expose ourselves as ‘Normal Hetero?’

      Heaven only knows where all this going to end, Big M?


      • Big M Says:

        Yes, I see the same representatives of the local men’s shed demonstrating their skills in plywood cutting, etc. having previously built rooms, decks, verandahs, and reroofed half a house by myself out of necessity, I can’t see why one would do any of this for ‘fun’. It would make sense for such a club to be ‘co-ed’. Men could eventually learn from the women folk about friendship, support and emotions, instead of silently pushing bits of timber through the bandsaw.

        There is a ‘week’, or a ‘day’ for everything, may as well be normo-hetero, or is that ‘eusexual’?

        I don’t know how you cope with the bullying. Don’t they know who they are dealing with?

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Ah, Gerard, you and I are on the same page. My favorite tool is my laptop. I consider tools dangerous. πŸ™‚ –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  11. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Digging holes for plants is the best past-time ever – I did some of that today. My father made a brilliant loo-roll holder, he put ball-bearings in the roller and you only had to give it the gentlest tug to dispense 30 sheets at a time – hours of fun for the whole family. It is now and antique and my daughter has it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Glad the roller-bearing toilet loo roll holder has survived to tell a tale.

      My dad made a beautiful wooden box, which had an ingenious way of opening the lid. If you did not know you had to slide the lid backwards and turn at the same time, you would be perplexed in not being able to open it.

      It still holds one of his cigars.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Jeyran Main Says:

    I nominated you. The Versatile Blogger Award

    Liked by 1 person

  13. gerard oosterman Says:

    That’s very nice, thank you.


  14. Patti Fogarty Says:

    Perhaps you should start a club, on your own terms!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Well the tool shed is a good thing -if one likes to make things but that too can get very boring after a while. I think you did the right thing by backing out of the shed. You can create your own fun or things to do like setting up a camera to catch the plant thieves.

    Your lying thieving neighbor is a piece of work, as we say over here. Put that camera up and put out some fake flowers that look totally real. Pretend to water them too. Maybe the neighbor will come over to inspect and you’ll catch the thief in action.

    The new plants will be gorgeous with the addition of chicken manure. I hope it was well composted or it will burn the plants.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We have an arsenal of electronics defending out plants just outside our living-room’s window.
      It did not deter the thief who took only enough plants to carry in one arm. He left one Kalanchoe.
      We have again re-stocked and put new plants outside.

      Keep fingers crossed.


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