What price Freedom?


Mum in Holland with a Hoover electric vacuum cleaner. (not cordless)

We are all not so sure anymore if it is safe to visit the US. A pity. We have never been there. Perhaps it might be possible take a cruise and visit New York without getting off board and risk going through Border Control and be detained. When Ali Jr hardly got through how about anyone with a non-Anglo name? I visited Egypt back in 1961. This might well come to punish me. No doubt the FBI or secret service have kept a tab on that visit.


While ‘Oosterman’ doesn’t sound Arabic, it does smack of something sinister. Oost is easily an East, and we all know what that means, don’t we? And what about that ‘man’ at the end?  A man from East? Say no more; detain him.

All kidding aside, and with all respect to my US based friends rest assured that the same is going on here in Australia. We don’t detain for a few hours, our prime minster Turnbull detains people for years if not life on Manus and Nauru. Woe those daring to enter Australia and not having drowned. You will be punished.

When I visited Egypt so long ago it was still allowed and possible to get right inside the Pyramid of Cheops. There was a tunnel that led one right up into the Queen’s chamber. It was quite a hike up and then down with a never ending stream of tourists doing the same. Afterwards there was the obligatory camel ride. I took a bit of stone from the pyramid and kept it for years together with a fez that I had bought in Port Said on our migration trip to Australia in 1956. So, our involvement with the middle East started early. The fez and pyramid piece of stone have long gone, possibly pinched by our children when young, showing off to their friends how well travelled their parents were!


Rumblings of Turnbull’s demise and Trumps impeachment are growing fatter and gets richly fertilized as time goes by. We shall see. In the meantime I am still kept busy with another type of freedom; the Hoover cordless ‘Freedom.’ I have just done ( vacuumed) our whole house with one charge. What do you think of that? Of course, the battery is a lithium. It is now the new catch word in electronic jargon. People ask ; How are your lithiums going?

We were in Sydney yesterday having a lunch with daughter and one grandson. The other one is fighting with his mother over not being home ‘on time’ as promised. We know that problem well. However, it is their turn now. We are old and beyond feeling guilty about grandchildren behaviour, especially teen-grandchildren. There are lots of books about teen problems now. Just don’t read them.

Ever since we started brushing Milo, the hair load on our floor has eased. We brush him twice daily. He likes it and actually leans against the steel rubber tipped hairbrush. I then have the job of unpicking Milo’s hair from the brush. It is quite a job. (twice a day) I was surprised therefore that even with all that brushing I had to empty the ‘Freedom’ cordless twice as the canister was chock-a-block with Milo’s dust and hair. Milo just studies my vacuuming and then yawns.

That’s freedom for you.


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36 Responses to “What price Freedom?”

  1. Christine Says:

    Gerard, of course you’ll be alright going to the U.S. of A.
    Come on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I should go and teach those Border Control a lesson, Christine. I’ll tell them straight, ” Don’t come the raw prawn with me, Mate.”


      • berlioz1935 Says:

        Don’t joke with those stern border guards. They have no sense of humour. If you get on an American plane in another country they ask already silly questions. In Paris, once they ask us whether we have a bomb in our luggage. As a terrorist I would have lied, of course, but how do they know? When we arrived in America they asked us, “Are you a member of a Communist Party or ever have been?”

        When we arrived a Newark Airport they went through our luggage piece by piece. They found a Swiss pocket knife in Uta’s suitcase. The lady border guard hit the red button and more security guards surrounded us. The confiscated the knife right away. We probably could have bought another one in one of the airport shops.

        Vancouver airport, in Canada, is tightly controlled by Americans. They make you feel guilty for just not being American.

        I have boycotted the USA for years now and will continue till I move into my grave. I don’t buy any fruit from there as we were ordered to close the windows during the night as they were spraying the fruit and vegetable gardens during the night.

        We had another run-in with them over the airport shuttle bus, but this is another story. They are weird beyond weird.

        The daughter of a cousin of mine lives in Florida. Once they had to evacuate their multi-story tower building and as they ran out the looters were running in, nearly running them over.

        But I must say they are extremely polite.

        And they say WE are a weird mob.


      • gerard oosterman Says:

        The closest I have even been to the US is having a Coffee at Gloria Jeans here in Sydney, Berlioz.

        A few years ago it got close but then all hell broke lose going through Border Control. I had to take my belt off, shoes, and then get frisked, spread-eagled while feet apart.
        It wasn’t my idea of travelling.

        Now , we travel to the local shops and wished the world was a different and kinder place.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yvonne Says:

    I love your rambling, it all makes sense to me. 😆

    Liked by 2 people

  3. 8 Degrees of Latitude Says:

    Gerard, what a lovely piece of pointed whimsy! It quite made my morning. Milo sounds fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carrie Rubin Says:

    I’ve been wearing a heavy cloak of gray since Trump got into office. It’s distressing to see what’s happening in my country. I love traveling to other countries and I love having foreigners travel to mine. The one thing that keeps me going is the coming together of people all over the world in voicing their outrage. This is not what America is about.

    Hope you’re well. Happy vacuuming!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. shoreacres Says:

    I brush Dixie Rose twice daily, too. She loves it, and in fact will demand it. She’s the only cat I’ve personally known who will bring her brush to me if I’m not prompt enough in satisfying her wants. I drink my first cup of coffee in the morning while brushing her, and we have another brush in the evening. The evening brush can be skipped if the schedule doesn’t allow, but woe until me if I don’t produce her evening treats on time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I have three brushes now, Linda. Milo is a rough coated Jack Russell. Yet, on top of his head he has very fine hair. I would guess his rough hair to be at least 50 microns if not more. A micron is a hundred’s of a millimetre diameter.

      A baby alpaca can have a fleece of 16 microns which is very fine. However, alpaca’s fleece grows coarse within a few years of up to over 25 microns after which the fleece feels prickly.

      Milo sheds a lot of hair which a fine haired JRTdog does not do.

      He loves the brushing and now, as soon as I show the brush he will stand next to it. Is it not amazing how much joy a pet can bring? Milo says hello to Dixie Rose. He likes cats.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. petspeopleandlife Says:

    I like to refer to Turnbull and Trump as T &T. Their egos are so big maybe the egos will just keep inflating and they’ll eventually explode.

    It is probably a good thing that you did a fair amount of traveling when young. Now is not a good time- in my opinion, not that my opinion matters. 🙂

    Pets do shed a lot, some more than others. I have a Dyson heap vacuum ad it gets lots of use. Also, three hepa air purifiers.Those machines are well worth the money.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Funny you should mention those hepa air purifiers. We have a number of very large casuarinas growing nearby. When they are in flower they carry a lot of fine powdery dust. Of course it also enters into rooms and air supply. We are hoping that the intake grille of the ducted-air- conditioning will purify the air by removing this tree pollen.
      Let’s hope the two TT will soon disappear. What was wrong with Bernie Sanders. A man of reason!
      The Dyson is supposed to be the Rolls Royce of vacuum cleaners. They certainly look very high tech, almost like rockets. Very expensive here.
      I am very curious about those sort of items. I sometimes ask people if they have a cordless vacuum cleaner. Helvi reckons it is a bit strange, but sometimes it is enough to break the ice and people open up.

      Liked by 3 people

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        I have never owned a cordless vacuum cleaner but I bought too many of the other kind before a good friend asked if I wanted to buy her Dyson. She did not like how the canister came off when it was time to empty the waste. I think I paid $200 or it could have been $300- just can’t remember. It does not spew dust back into the air and all the other ones did and I would get sick each time I used the non-hepa ones. The Dyson is the best deal I have ever gotten in my entire life. It really picks up fine dirt and little hair particles that I cant’t get with a really good broom or even the mop. It is used mainly in the kitchen, den and, my bedroom.

        Yes. Sanders had too much opposition from the Clinton campaign. He is a good guy and a smart one too.

        Liked by 3 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, Ivonne. The Dyson is legendary.

        My mother’s Hoover they took with us when we migrated to Australia 1956. Holland then had fridges, hoovers, washing machines, TVs , modern cars, and a lot more.

        When arriving in Australia there were none of that. We had an ice-box no fridge, no TV and worse, cars out of the middle ages, trains made of wood , no toilets that flushed.

        The hoover lasted for years and so did our Westinghouse electric washing machine that we had also shipped over from Holland. A fantastic machine but a bit dangerous. It weighed a ton. The tub was like a wine barrel made of oak that was hooped together with steel bands.

        It lasted till all the Oosterman children married and had children themselves.


      • Christine Says:

        hahaha ha ‘people open up’


  7. Julia Lund Says:

    Our cordless only lasted 12 months, so it’s back to the cumbersome, heavy, but highly effective seventeen year-old cord-bound vacuum cleaner we (thankfully) kept hold of.

    As for immigration … yet another story in The Guardian today of a woman, originally from Singapore, married to a British citizen for almost 30 yrs. She has children and a grandchild in the UK. Deported on Sunday. Why? Spent too long out of the country caring for her parents as they were dying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I hope you got your money back on the cordless, Julia. America is becoming a dangerous place, now. Anyone with a whiff of foreign risks being deported.

      Hopefully, the man will get sacked soon.

      Excluding, deporting, building walls. We need more inclusion not exclusion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Julia Lund Says:

        No refund on the cordless, sadly. But life is too short and too full of other things to get worked up about – in the scheme of things, it’s not a high price.

        I hope you have a wonderful day.


  8. stuartbramhall Says:

    Come to New Zealand. We won’t hassle you here.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. gerard oosterman Says:

    New Zealand is a beacon of enlightenment in a dark world, Stuart.


  10. Big M Says:

    We had the conversation today about where to travel before we shuffle off this mortal coil. My reply was ‘no where, well,,except maybe New Zealand, or Canada.’ Everywhere else seems to be crazy. An Australian children’s author was detained en route to receiving a literary award in the US. This was in the Guardian. She reckoned was well off compared to the mother and child, or the Farsi speaking Iranian in the same room.

    Yes, I’ll be happy and safe going no where.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Big M. It is all getting complicated. Yet, we ought to fear far more walking past a church or exclusive boarding schools. Abuse seems to seep out from all those institutions.

      Thousands of children were exported from the UK to try and get some decent British stock in colonies. It never stops.

      As far as being deported from Australia, I used to be the secretary of the Parramatta scooter club ( Lambretta) in 1961. I wonder if they know that and would it be reason to get deported back to The Netherlands?

      I reckon lying low in Manly somewhere might be an answer.


  11. Patti Fogarty Says:

    I envy Milo his yawning freedom! As for US travel, you can’t let boofmhead put you off (that’s a plea btw) plus immigration officials will just assume you’re going to Minnesota, or Pennsylvania to see kinfolk – those people who migrated from earlier times!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I’ll arrive incognito wearing gabardine coat and back to front baseball cap. Would that help?


      • Patti Fogarty Says:

        Turn the baseball cap around, you’ll fit right in. There’s a crusty brand of NY man and they all seem to be so reliable & dependable described just so. T***p is not America, even if he is from NYC but everyone here wishes he wasn’t.


  12. gerard oosterman Says:

    Could he be ex-communicated from NYC from NYC, Patti?


  13. DevBlog Says:

    Yes, I’ll be happy and safe going no where.
    I hope you have a wonderful day.


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