A normal day.


Jan. 1956. Our arrival In Fremantle with dad (with bald head) and mum (white hand-bag) in the foreground.


Normal day are getting rarer. That’s why I am glad it is Monday. I have never taken to Sundays in Australia. They are boring. I know it was mother’s day last Sunday but that doesn’t mean an uplift  in the general mood of all Sundays. It is hard to put one’s finger on the reason for feeling this way. It might date back to our first arrival here. Has anyone ever been to WA Fremantle on a Sunday? We did. Back in 1956. It was our first contact with the mainland of Australia. It was empty. Well not really empty. It just felt like it. No people about except other passengers from the migrant ship. We were all prancing about in our Sunday’s best. We wanted to make a good impression as newly arrived migrants tend to do. It was difficult to make any impression as the locals were nowhere to be seen. We might as well have well walked around stark naked. Some desultory looking dogs were scratching their fleas. It was better than nothing.

Mother’s days of course are different. Our mother used to emotionally blackmail us in saying; ‘Mother doesn’t want any present this year’. ‘Just make your beds, lay the table, do the washing-up and… above all , behave yourself.’ It must have been a murderous job with six kids running around a third story apartment back in rainy Holland. Do kids make their beds now? Some say they are getting away with murder. It’s no wonder when I see those huge black SUV’s dropping off the spoiled kids at school. Make them walk, I would say! My mum had the right attitude!

Our mother’s day was good. We had my brother staying over and on Sunday the grandchildren and our daughter visited us. I tried to book a lunch but the pub was booked out and an upmarket place called ‘The Mills’ was full of mothers, nervous looking partners, prams full with babies and their primordial screams. I recoiled and got out quickly.

We ended up eating very nicely at home. Helvi said; ‘just get big steaks.’ I bought 5 huge Porterhouse steaks. We heated up some left over pasta and an even earlier dated, but still in perfect condition, potato-bake. Both dishes I had used generous quantities of anchovies. I now tend to use anchovies in almost every dish. It might well work as a preservative as well as giving a nice taste. As we sat down to eat, the boys hoed into the porterhouse steaks with great enthusiasm. It was exactly as Helvi had predicted. Our grandson, Max, gave the Bolt salute. We could not have been given a greater compliment.


It was a nice Sunday.



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18 Responses to “A normal day.”

  1. pethan35 Says:

    When we arrived at Fremantle in May 1959 we had a similar experience. We saw no people. In fact, we thought we had arrived on the film set for the movie ”On the Beach”. It seemed Fremantle was not only at the of the known world but also at the end of civilisation. The culture shock started right there for us.

    On Mother’s Day, we had the house full of people. Even two of our great-grandchildren came and our son-in-law brought his mother along.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      So far we arrived in Fremantle by boat three times. Each time on a Sunday. You are right, it is something like out of ‘On the beach’.
      We too enjoyed mother’s day especially the mother, Helvi.
      Father’s day is just not the same. I still get up and make the first coffee. Mind you, I enjoy doing that.
      No great grand children yet, Peter. We might well be like the last of the Mohicans with long lasting marriages. The new generation are not willing to put up with torture. (Smiley)


  2. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Nice to know that you and the family had a nice Mother’s Day. Good company and good food. Nothing better.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, the home cooking wins out often.
      Mother’s days are the worst for eating-out. The cooks are run off their feet. One runs the risk of waiting a long time to get served. And all those kids running wild. Prams are run up your shins or tripping you into the Emergency Ward.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Fremantle Sunday 1956.

    I think we can see where the doctrine of Terror (sic) Nullius was born. A place that time forgot – and allegedly the birthplace of cricket.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Julia Lund Says:

    Mother’s Day is in March in the UK. I’d far rather go out for lunch on a normal day – mothering Sunday tends to mean restaurants are heaving. And as for quiet Sundays … before the Sunday trading laws changed and allowed shops to open, they were very quiet days. I miss them …

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I loved the old Sundays in Holland. Throngs of people on the streets. Many walking around. Visiting each other and family. Going to the café, enjoy a drink, a beer or wine, seeing a movie. It was a day for life and merrymaking. That’s at least how I remembered it.
      Going for lunch on mother’s day can be punishing. You are right, any day for lunch but not mother’s day. I wonder if cafes are too busy on father’s day?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. auntyuta Says:

    I think every one in our family wanted to go out for lunch on Mothers’ Day, last Sunday. But Peter and I decided on that day.we’d much rather have our lunch at home. So we asked the family to join us at our place after lunch for coffee and cake. And as Peter said in his comment, we had the house full of people. Yes, in the afternoon we had a lot of company. That was indeed very enjoyable. It is very gratifying that they all still love to visit us. 🙂
    Good to hear, Gerard, that you and Helvi had a great Sunday too with all your visitors. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Mother’s day is often a day when mothers don’t cook and going for lunch seems a natural choice, giving mum a break.
      In this family I am the cook because I love cooking and kitchens. So going for lunch isn’t the same. However, our grandchildren and our daughter like going out. But, mother’s day is a nightmare in most places for eating out.
      I had ready cooked food left over and just fried 5 giant Porterhouse steaks.
      The family loved it. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • auntyuta Says:

        You say: “But, mother’s day is a nightmare in most places for eating out.”
        I think there is a lot of truth in this, Gerard. We were very happy to stay home for lunch. Of course, there is only the two of us to cook for. No big deal. Peter and I often share in the cooking and setting everything up for a meal. It usually works out all right! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  6. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Your Mum DID have the right attitude! 🙂

    I’m so glad you all had such a nice Mother’s Day!!! 🙂

    I had a great day, too! Oh…and my hubby fixed me some chicken tacos with lots of veggies and salsa to put in them!

    HUGS!!! 🙂
    PS…love the vintage photo of your parents!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      In large families there is often not much time for deliberations or pros and cons of the right action. Discipline was often swift and spontaneous. However, after landing in Australia when my mother learnt that her young 10/11 year old children were given the leather strap or cane by Christian Brothers, she lost it and wrote letters to the Headmaster. Unbelievable, that the assaulting of children was approved and actually encouraged.

      Liked by 1 person

      • doesitevenmatter3 Says:

        A good mom can turn fast and deal with what needs to be dealt with. Especially related to her kids.

        Yes, it was a different world. And some of the worse “discipline” happened in religious schools. 😦


  7. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Strange how even the simplest of things are usually the best. A grandson and girlfriend shared a crab quiche and champagne with us for brunch. The garden showed off beautifully and the hummingbirds joined in to celebrate me on Mothers Day! It was a nice day.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. shoreacres Says:

    Mothers’ Day rituals have changed here over the years: or so it seems. When I was young, we made cards for our mothers (so much construction paper and so many lace doilies!) and it was the custom to go to church, where all of the mothers would be given a rose or an orchid corsage. Then, we’d eat out, but there weren’t so many people, and it wasn’t the horror it can be today. Besides, eating in a restaurant was a special treat, reserved for very special occasions.

    The one thing I learned over the years was never, ever to believe my own mother when she said, “Oh, I don’t need a gift. Don’t get me anything.” Try that, and there was trouble ahead! No matter what else happened on that day, flowers and a card were required!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We still have the hand painted Mother’s day cards with messages of love and thanks from our grandsons.
      They are now in their teens, a hair-raising time. Even so, they still are bothered enough to keep in contact which we appreciate very much.


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