Australia day, where is the ‘joie le vivre?’ It seems a bit lacklustre.


Almost ThereThe night before last we watched our PM Malcolm Turnbull, lavishly praising himself while handing out the ‘Australians Of The Year Awards.’ Sam Kerr who won the  Young Australian, was my favourite. There is just no one like her, and she has put soccer in the limelight not seen since Dutch Abe Lenstra in the fifties. Of course, the Quantum Computer builder, Michelle Simmons is the worthiest recipient of this award ever since it was introduced. And what about the other two recipients? Eddy Woo. Amazing, an inspiration to all. The taciturn Senior, Graham Farquhar was outstanding, such talent.

Next day, Helvi and I got up early to go out and sample the exuberance of Australia Day in Bowral. There could be no doubt, there would be music and all-round jollity with neighbours forgetting old feuds, congratulating each and all on the all inclusive and diverse nature of this lucky brown sun-kissed land of Australia. But, it was all eerily silent and quiet. No tooting of horns nor flag waving. We noticed many shops were closed and the few elderly people that were about looked a bit lost. I quickly hovered over the idea if they too were struggling with accessing ‘Aged Care’ and perhaps had lost their ID numbers!

Some years ago, canny estate agents had put out little flags stuck in lawns in front of every house. Not this time. In fact not many flags at all. We went home and had a coffee, pondering about what the reason was for this lack of Australia Day fervour. Was it the previous heatwave that had sapped remaining energy already depleted through over-indulgence during Christmas? I know I had witnessed mothers loosing their cool with kids’ demands for ever more ice creams or mango slushies. I overheard one mum telling her son, ‘wait until I tell your father’, an ominous warning for the poor boy.

I suggested to Helvi we have another go at sampling Bowral exuberance some time late in the afternoon, when heat had sunk below horizon giving people time to re-charge and give outbursts of National pride a fair chance. I also suggested to Helvi I might ask some of the passing pedestrians how they celebrated this momentous event and it if they knew where there might be music or even public dancing?

We waited till about 8,30pm, and for the second time went about sampling Australia Day. The evening was lovely and balmy. I wore sandals without socks. It was almost dark anyway. Again, there were not many people about. The main street was empty and a black crow was screeching its head off sitting on top of a telegraph pole. At least the bird was giving festivities a bit of a leg-up. There was no music. In the distance we noticed three people coming our way and I had my question ready. When we were level with each other, I noticed they looked dark, possibly Indian. They were three men with one of them wearing a large dark coloured T-shirt with AUSTRALIA emblazoned across it.

I congratulated them on Australia Day which surprised them. They smiled and I quickly asked them if there were any celebratory events they might be looking for. I explained we too were celebrating Australia Day and were looking to share this. ‘It is very quiet,’ I said, and followed this up, ‘where are the celebrations’? And there was this immediate response of recognition. ‘Oh, always very quiet,’ Australia is quiet country,  one man smiled broadly. ‘Maybe across the road in the pub is a bit of life,’ another offered.  It was true.

We all had reached common ground.

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32 Responses to “Australia day, where is the ‘joie le vivre?’ It seems a bit lacklustre.”

  1. Yvonne Says:

    “I wore sandals without socks.” You little devil, you!

    It was very quiet up in the Alpine shire, also. Too darn hot to get up to much mischief.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. gerard oosterman Says:

    A lot of jollity today, Yvonne. We saw the movie; Just to be Sure (Otez-moi d’un doute) (I wore socks) A brilliant movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yvonne Says:

      On SBS on Demand, the movie The Hunt for the Wilderpeople. I think you and Helvi would like it.

      How is that dear woman? I was late to hear about the ordeal you two have been through. We just never know what’s around that corner, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        We have seen The hunt for the Wilder people and loved it.
        We intend to get a TV on which one can see SBS movies on demand and IView. I believe those TVs are smart TVs. I hope so because I am not the greatest in electronic pole vaulting.

        Helvi lost 15 kilos and since the chemo was stopped regained one kilo and is slowly getting her appetite back. She is fine, cheerful and as always, positive.

        This Wed. an operation to remove the breast lump and lymph node.

        Liked by 5 people

    • leggypeggy Says:

      We loved this film. So much fun.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Probably Aussies are like Americans. There is not much to celebrate these days. The governments of the US and Australia are corrupt, there is a problem with immigration, high un-employment and many changes that have been put into effect by our politicians.

    I don’t get excited about out July 4th, Memorial Day or Labor Day. Some people go ga-ga over these holidays but I don’t see any merriment about a country that is, in my opinion, falling apart.

    Hopefully things will get better for both our countries. Perhaps one must created their own party at home and be at peace that you still have a home and reasonable health. I think that is what is most important at our age. Just my little humble opinion which is worth about two cents.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Celebrations might have to be more spontaneous. Ivonne. For weeks we are told about the coming Australia Day, and our uniqueness in the world so drummed into the nation that one expects to be woken up by trumpets and a bouquet of flowers compliments of the Prime Minister.
      Our multi national nation is not so inclusive when considering the two thousand or so refugees languishing on those forgotten islands now in their fifth year!.

      On top of that, the landing of the first fleet was also the beginning of the colonisation, killing, and massacring of the real original Australians, the aborigines. They don’t see that date as something to celebrate.

      I feel Trump and Turnbull have a lot in common. They grave attention, and adoration which when it is not coming, eggs them on onto even greater act of narcissism and tweeting selfies or grandiosity on TV.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. leggypeggy Says:

    Hope Wednesday goes well for Helvi. Canberra was a beehive of activity yesterday. But I think everyone is a bit ambivalent about celebrating on the 26th.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, the Canberra day would be a lot livelier. I watched the unfurling of the flag with the sound of cannons.
      We were told that in Bowral people had barbeques but we did not see or smell much evidence while taking our walk. Usually the local churches put on barbeques. Today was very busy. It almost looked as if pent up energy was being unleashed. Many people were laughing and talking kindly to their children.
      I told Helvi about your well-wishes. Thank you, Peggy.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. shoreacres Says:

    Here’s a half-formed thought that hasn’t even quite reached the level of an opinion. The kinds of celebrations we enjoyed even a couple of decades ago were dependent, in part, on a sense of community, and that’s been fragmented in many ways of late.

    Beyond that, many of our national days have been afflicted with the same hype and over-commercialization that have nearly done in Christmas and Valentine’s Day. I think a reluctance to celebrate in the kind of frenzy the merchandisers would like us to experience is in part a rejection of the hype: at least, for those who still find the days themselves important.

    I did come across something this week that you may find of interest, even though it has to do with the Dutch rather than the Australians. It certainly was of interest to me.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, community spirit is what makes gaiety and celebration go-around. Perhaps domestic architecture might have something to do with it. So much of housing is focussed on privacy and separation. What will the neighbours think?

      I have to become much more inclusive and engage better. It worked with those three Indian men that I approached late on Australia Day.
      The Dutch article on how the hackers were hacked is amazing. How odd that America chose to ignore it.

      Years ago we had bon-fires which brought neighbours together in the suburbs. It was an obscure event based on Guy Fawkes history. People would don old coats and meet around a fire and just yarn to each other.

      We have this need to meet up and mingle, talk about joys and plights, but it is getting harder. Those remote controlled garage doors also took away an opportunity to say hello. Now the car drivers slinks back inside without even been seen.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Sorry there wasn’t more dancing, music, horn-tooting, or reveling…but, it sounds like your quieter Australia Day was lovely!

    I remember some days (eons ago) in Los Angeles, CA where celebrations (for Super Bowl wins and other good news) went too long and turned into rioting. I never could figure out how/why fun parades and celebrations would end up in fighting. Maybe too much alcohol involved?!

    Maybe with TV and all of the tech devices these days, people chose to watch stuff rather than participate in stuff. ??? Sad.

    Continued ❤ and healing thoughts and best wishes and prayers for Helvi. I think of her often.

    (((HUGS))) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Curt Mekemson Says:

    All such days seemed more magical as children, Gerard. Don’t know whether it was the result of our youth then, or the divisiveness we face now. There was great celebration at the women’s march last week, however! Change is in the air! Go women! –Curt

    Liked by 3 people

  8. berlioz1935 Says:

    We did not celebrate Australia Day, never have. We too think it is more like “Sorry Day” nothing to be proud of. The reasons, for celebrating Australia Day, given by various people including Turnbull could apply to any day of the year. But if you want to connect it to a historical day, it could be the 1st of January or the 9th of May.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I can’t remember Australia Day from earlier days. It seems to have sprung up only since the late eighties or so. Do other countries have similar days? Is there a National Dutch or Italian day? I don’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

      • berlioz1935 Says:

        Germany has one now since 1990. It is the day of reunification on the 3. October. That day was chosen because there was no nastiness lurking in the historical background.

        In Imperial times they celebrate the emperor’s birthday and the battle of Verdun (1870).

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Forestwoodfolk Says:

    It was also the first yeast we have nit celebrated much, Gerard. The debate around the date change has dulled the party and the heat is horrendous atm. Just read Helvi is having some health concerns. I do wish her a speedy recovery.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you. Helvi is positive and is looking at many good years to come.
      The Australia day here was deadly quiet, yet the day after, the streets were full and music from buskers re-appeared like magic. The discarded shopping trolleys were littering surrounding streets once again.
      It felt almost like a relief and cosily familiar.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Celebrations certainly are not what they used to be. Christmas starts before Halloween is over so that by the time it gets here we’re too tired of it to celebrate. There are also so many “new” ethnic holidays being advertised we can’t keep up. Everything is too commercial. It”s all about money now. Sparklers for the Fourth used to be magic. Now they aren’t even on the menu. We have no sense of community.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I noticed the first of the Easter eggs already a few weeks ago. Christmas sparkles still glowing and the Easter bunny pops up.
      We still have Easter eggs in our cupboard from last year. Who is supposed to come down the chimney? Is it Father Christmas or an Easter bunny? It is all so confusing and I now have to measure the Lymphatic fluid that drains in helvi’s plastic bag each day that she carries around her neck.
      We need ‘normal.’ so desperately.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Just popping in to see how Helvi is doing.
    Healing (((HUGS)))

    Liked by 1 person

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