New Year’s ( but happy?)

IMG_0225The Hydrangia

We are again at the doorstep of another year rolling over. I thought to-night was the fireworks at Sydney’s harbour bridge, but I was mistaken. It is tomorrow night. Fire now seems to be associated with the breaking of the new year, but the traditional fireworks are on the cusp of being cancelled. There are so many fires burning now, it is difficult to find something that is not burning at the moment. To celebrate the New Year with fire-works seems insulting, especially to those that have given their time fighting fires all over the joint. I noticed that one fire out of control is now approaching our area. People are a bit tense, huddling in groups and talking in hushed tones to each other, no doubt advising on possible escape routes. The quickest way to a lake or pond with a view to immerse oneself in case the firestorm approaches. There are also designated safe areas for people to evacuate to, including the Returned Soldier’s Clubs where I play my bowls.

“Alpine, Aylmerton, Willow Vale, Braemar, Balaclava, Mittagong and Mt Gibraltar areas

  • Monitor the changing conditions. Strong north westerly winds may push embers into the area.
  • Stay alert for embers and spot fires.
  • Embers can be blown well ahead of the main fire front, and start spot fires that can threaten homes”.

The above is copied from the latest warning on a fire approaching the Southern Highlands. It is out of control and covers over 227 000 ha. It is large enough to create its own climate and cause dry lightning to strike for fires to spread even more. Tomorrow is going to be very critical with predicted temperatures in the 40’s C. The nation is on high alert.

I was given a couple of nice bottles of wine at Christmas time. It included a ten year old tawny Port. I am actually considering to cut down on my alcohol consumption. I noticed that my appetite is languishing and lessening. I have a banana and pear for breakfast and that seems to carry me over lunch as well. And then in the evening I force myself to eat a salad with a salmon cutlet. Of course, I had the lamb curry on Christmas Eve, but on the whole I seem to eat a lot less. But…I still had my few glasses of alcohol, I suppose to carry me through the evening when my new sole-ness makes itself felt so keenly. It helps to make me go to sleep. But I noticed that in the morning on wakening I feel parched and often suffering a grey mood.

I decided two nights ago to cut down and just have at most two glasses of wine over about a five hour period. I started last evening and it helped, I woke up feeling better and put on my socks with quickened pace.

I am also considering giving up some of my bowling in exchange for doing the U3A The bowling is a nice exercise but in between, while having a cup of tea, the players segregate into one table for the women and at a separate table the men. It seems so anachronistic. On top of that, at the men’s table they have a ‘swearing tin’. This is a tin in which the men are supposed to put in money if they swear. It seems that swearing is the domain of men.  And then the remarks about ‘Muslims are bad, Lebanese, Chinese are bad, etc. Before I could cope but now I am too fragile to just put up with it.

What do you all think about that?,


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33 Responses to “New Year’s ( but happy?)”

  1. Big M Says:

    I went though a period quite recently of drinking a fair bit. It seems like a great idea at the time, but, I found it pushed me down, from my usual morose state, into a depression. It doesn’t help when one wakes up in the morning ‘unwell’ enough to be disinterested in going for a walk, cycle, row on the rowing machine, etc.

    I guess the opposite is true, also. I have reconnected with a bloke who was a great mentor to me at work, but now suffers from dementia. Of course all dementia sufferers are advised not to drink at all, as it may exacerbate their condition, yet we go out weekly, drink three schooners, enjoy lunch while we reminisce and solve the problems of the world. He reckons it does him the world of good, and his wife is grateful of a few hours to herself.

    I suspect that it has it’s place but is best suited to being our slave, not our master!

    Anyhoo, we should be wishing each other the best for the New Year, but, as we know, the new year is essentially contrived. perhaps we wish each other the best?

    Liked by 5 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, and also with getting older the alcohol seems to effect one more than when one was young and eager. I thought nothing of downing 4 or 5 schooners at the Locomotive on Parramatta Rd, Homebush in the late sixties. And when the kids came along we had those 2litre plastic bags of the most awful cheap wine when camping.

      But now, it is different and I was already on the way cutting drinking when in those last few months with Helvi. You mention dementia and that sure frightens me. I can’t imagine the horrors of an aged care home.

      It is now 8.30pm and am on my first glass of Shiraz.

      I would like to wish you and Bernadette a good New Year…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. berlioz1935 Says:

    Dear Gerard, your mood can not be called good and I understand why. When I hit the “Like” button I wanted to acknowledge that you have written. When men are left behind, they feel what they have lost more urgently than they ever thought possible. Perhaps you are the rare exception who knew before that you will feel the loss.

    I certainly will when the time comes.

    Wen Uta and I were still unmarried young lovers we wished the other to die first to avoid them the pain you are now feeling,

    Your not eating as much does not be so bad. A banana and a pear for breakfast are probably alright. But in the long run, keep an eye on your appetite.

    It has now been decided to go ahead with the fireworks in Sydney. We decided to boycott it even on TV. We won’t watch it. The temperatures will have dropped considerably by midnite tomorrow. But I think it is immoral at this stage of the bush fire season.

    Those people in government always looking out for the $$$ are the same who thought shamelessly advertising betting on the shells of the Sydney Opera House is okay.

    You had a bad year in 2019 but 2020, surely, must be better. The U3A courses will do you good. And I’m sure there won’t be a tin on the table to collect money for swearing. And men and women are not segregated there either.

    Uta and I, we wish you a bright 2020 and you never know the Roaring Twenties might repeat themselves.

    Liked by 5 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Peter. I am surprised that the fire-works on New Year’s Eve are going ahead. There are too many commercial reasons for that, but the volunteers fighting the bush fires will feel left behind. I will look forward in seeing the German movie that gets featured each year on New Year’s Eve of the Butler and the Baroness. A b/w classic which never seems to loose its hilariousness.

      As for my mood, yes it is sombre and the way forward will be a long trip. My mother lived for many years after dad died but she was also a social creature who made friends easy.

      Helvi too, was the friendly easy going and socially skilled and smiling part of my life which is why we got on so well. My part was to try and make her laugh which she often told me I was equally good at. It worked for 54 years.

      I have inherited many of Helvi’s friends and they are keenly inviting me to join and visit which I am doing and will do more when I am a bit more advanced in accepting life now in the post Helvi era…

      Writing my blog is also a way to keep connected, and I hope this will continue for some time yet. It is the anchor that keeps me tied to the good ship of life, That is, if people don’t get bored…!

      I have Milo to keep me company and that helps too.

      I too wish you and Uta a Happy New Year.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yvonne Says:

    Oh, Gerard, of course you are feeling down. You had such a strong relationship with your Helvi, and you can’t help feeling adrift. I think your friends would agree you are doing a darn good job of coping through this rotten hard time.

    It’s good there’s no swear jar om the women’s table. If I belonged to that club, I would have to be darn sure to have plenty of loose coins in my pocket!

    I have installed an emergency alert on my mobile devices, to let me know how things are going with these frightening fires. It is beeping all too often. My son, daughter in law and I had a little meeting to discuss our evacuation plans. It might not happen, but it’s better to be ready, I suppose.

    May 2020 give us all some calm and peace, and rain.

    Liked by 4 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Yvonne. I thought you would be one that would use he swearing tin a lot. I stand in awe and really like your admittance. We are on equal footing after all. I never thought that swearing was a male thing. In Holland and Finland women swear too, it is normal…

      I feel better this morning and had my banana but heard on the news we are now supposed to be on high alert. The conditions today are now ‘catastrophic’ and we must keep an ear to the radio or TV for the latest updates on the fires.

      I sometimes think it would be nice to have someone living with me. This place has two large bathrooms and is fairly large. Just nice to hear domestic sounds. The tinkling of a tea-spoon, the running of a tap or the closing of a door. A cough or laugh?

      All the best for the new year, Yvonne.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Andrew Says:

    Gerard, I find it very understandable that you have lost some of your appetite. Too much alcohol won’t help but I am sure a glass or two (or three) won’t be too bad. I had to give up all alcohol 13 years ago and I can tell you I still don’t sleep well but I do feel better generally for it. I miss my glass of red wine though. The loss of Helvi is still raw and I am not sure I could adjust to being on my own again. My mother lived 14 years longer than my father and was never the same without him. It’s just so hard to come to terms with such a loss. I rather like the sound of bowls but I think you should rebel and join the ladies. Would they expel you? Then you could make a decent contribution to the swear box. Try to keep your self well and take Milo for a few extra walks. May 2020 bring you better times.

    Liked by 5 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I did mention we should all sit together at the bowling events but the response did not leave much hope. It’s so steeped in that age group that grew up with the Australian ‘white policy’ of the time.
      It still lingers amongst the bowling clubs, a last refuge for the conservatives , Andrew.

      I am pleased and impressed that you managed to not drink alcohol for so many years. A year ago, Helvi urged me to get my heart checked and loo and behold, my ejection fraction is way down at a mere 26% due to suffering a heart attack in the past, which was news to me. I am now on a cocktail of tablets that makes my heart function more efficiently even though immensely saddened.

      How are you going in Hong Kong, Andrew? We hear a lot of upheavals going on. Hope you are safe and well.
      All the best for the new year, Andrew, and thank you for your kind remarks.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. catterel Says:

    Gerard, I can only echo the above comments and wish you a good 2020.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. janesmudgeegarden Says:

    Your friends’ responses all make excellent sense. I think if you’re eating an apple and a banana for breakfast and salmon and salad for dinner, you are being really quite healthy, although I can understand why you feel you have to force the food down. It’s hard to have a robust appetite when you are going through a hard time, such as you have been.
    I find I’ve had to cut down on alcohol too as more than a couple of wines ensures that I wake up at 2 am and spend the next two or three hours wide awake. This is something that never used to bother me, and I put it down to old age.
    I hope you find some like-minded people at U3A: I find those conversations about Muslims and ‘the Chinese’ very distressing, they happen in Mudgee too.
    I wish you a better 2020, and hope you manage to avoid the fires.

    Liked by 4 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We have been told to watch the fire alerts now 24/7 hours on the news, including TV. People on many suburbs near Melbourne are being evacuated. Here in Bowral a huge fire is blazing not far from here and darkening the sky. The smell of smoke is terrible and must affect a lot of people with asthma or lung problems.

      My house is still echoing of the past when things were taken for granted that it would continue, but it did not. I wish there were other sounds than just this quietness. Perhaps in the future I should look for someone to share for a while. We shall see.

      ‘Dinner for one’ is what I think will be shown on TV tonight. It is a classic bit of comedy each year without fail.

      Yes, the racists remarks from some of the bowling players are distressing and I am supposed to call out racism whenever it rears its ugly head. I don’t want to lose an activity that I still enjoy and am good at. Just gnash my teeth for now.
      I had my two glasses of Shiraz last night and woke up feeling a bit better. I might now take it further and reduce the volume in the glasses to a more normal size, that one received when ordering from a pub. ( no cheating)
      All the best, Jane.


  7. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    I think you are doing some good things for you! And that is great!

    I think you have many friends here, Gerard. We like you immensely. We like when you write. (Please keep blogging in 2020!) We care about you. And we wish you the very best each and every day.

    I think you’ve received some good advice and wonderful love here in the comments on this post.

    I think about it a lot…and I can’t even imagine how difficult and sad life is without your precious Helvi. 😦 But, you will keep moving forward, find your way, enjoy new things, enjoy people (new and “old”), have adventures with Milo ( 🙂 ), ETC! 🙂

    I thank you for asking me what I think and for listening to my thoughts. 🙂

    (((HUGS))) and may 2020 surprise you will an abundance of love, peace, contentment, joy and so much more…all good!!! 🙂

    PS…In my family there are people of all races and religions.
    When a person, who doesn’t know my family, tells me a racist joke or makes a negative comment on a particular people-group, I say, “Oh, by the way… Did you know? I have a nephew who is Chinese, a niece who is African, a brother-in-law who is Mexican, a sister-in-law who is Biracial, (etc) and each of them are amazing and wonderful human beings!”
    The person will look shocked…but they never ever ever say another racist joke or comment in front of me again!

    Liked by 4 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Carolyn. I hope Cooper will stick to his New Year’s resolutions. Somehow I think you are the one that will give in to Cooper. Dogs are so smart. Milo now gets his treats even when misbehaving.

      The firestorms are now the main item of news here in Australia. As I mentioned before people are anxious and keep looking at he sky as if something dreadful might happen soon.

      I went shopping this morning to buy some cherries that are very reasonably priced. One woman bought only toilet paper and I noticed the reason why. They were discounted on special and featured on the Aldi weekly catalogue.

      She bought two huge packs of 24 rolls. It filled her entire trolley but she wheeled them back to her car with the élan of someone all dressed up and ready to go to a wedding. I haven’t got that sort of courage even though I know, as everybody else does, what toilet paper is used for.

      I always buy a small packet of 4 rolls that fits in my shopping bag. Helvi did not suffer from that sort of silly concern and always bought those large packets. It is funny how those memories are now so important to me.

      Yes, the xenophobia is still rife in certain areas and not helped by the like of our prime mister who with his Dutton minister for Disdain of Foreigners is manuring the anti foreign psyche in the population knowing it will bring in votes. Oh, how I detest this shady aspect of Australia.

      Liked by 2 people

      • doesitevenmatter3 Says:

        The lady with all of the toilet paper made me laugh. I tend to stock up when I buy it…and that way I don’t have to buy any more for at least 4 months or so. 😀

        We used to live in an area of California where we had fires every summer. It can be so very scary.

        Yes, I am very generous to Cooper. But he is a VERY good boy and brings me such joy every day. 🙂

        More HUGS!!! 🙂
        More PATS and RUBS!!! 🐾 🐶

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, I am sure Cooper is a good boy, but so is Milo. Cooper looks as if he also knows how to get his way but does so in a manner which makes you think he is pleasing you instead of himself.


  8. freefall852 Says:

    Perhaps, Gerrard…I can contribute toward your aspiration for a happier new year with a bit of an anecdote…

    Ron’s shopping trolley experience.
    While not wanting to tangent away from the header subject on to shopping trolleys and their “weaponisation”, I would still like to relate a most tragic moment that happened to a relative of mine some years ago concerning a shopping trolley, that has affected him up till this day…:
    A humble bricklayer, he had just bought himself his first brand spanking new car…a Holden Kingswood..bright lime-green..he was a gregarious chap..and being super cautious to not have it scratched or knocked whilst parked up at the local mega-market, he made it a point to park the car way-away in the bottom corner of the car-park.
    This one day, he decided to have an expresso coffee before shopping…Sitting there in the cafe at the big window, he could see his bright lime-green Kingswood parked in splendid isolation at the bottom of the car-park..he sipped his coffee whist admiring his beautiful toy…when movement at the upper end of the park caught his eye…
    You know..Lady Fate has a cruel streak in her…in that she will first draw your attention to her intent to do you harm in a most un-nerving way and with awful premonition, she will taunt you with an unease of the certainty of disaster and yet allow you no chance of stopping it…like watching a train-wreck in slow motion, she will gleefully torture you with a cruel certainty of inevitability.
    My relative watched a young, frustrated mother wrestling with baby on hip, boot open, loading bags of shopping into her car whilst obviously attending the wrestling infant..slamming the boot-lid down and then angrily shoving the shopping trolley away without care or concern…My relative watched with both mesmerising curiosity and horror as the trolley performed a slow, predictable, parabolic curve of most pure mathematical precision, and , guided by the tyrannical hand of cruel Fate, gathered speed down the gentle slope and made a bee-line to a bright lime-green Kingswood..set there now looking as big as a barn-door just waiting for a projectile….and with all the emotional tempest of a Heathcliff and Catherine moment of rushing toward each other’s open arms from Wuthering Heights..they did indeed find each other…
    We can draw the curtain of sympathy down over my relative’s facial expression at that moment…sufficient to say that from that day forward he ceased to contribute to ANY charitable religious collections…concluding, quite correctly, that there is no good God!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      A good story, Freefall. There is a lesson for those who attach too much value to cars but also for those that are so mindless with shopping trolleys.

      Did I tell you, I have found trolleys at the most unusual places. One found itself in the middle of a creek, not far from here. The ducks used to perch on it as if it was the most natural object in the world. Another trolley had been manoeuvred over a no parking sign. Not an easy task considering the trolley’s opening latch had to be manoeuvred past the No-Parking sign. I consider that man to have been a fan of the Kubick mania many years ago.

      I had a Holden ‘special’ many years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      • freefall852 Says:

        I believe back in the 70’s..when research imagination was restricted only by the limitations of available drugs of choice..there was interest in the tribal habits and gatherings of renegade shopping trolleys…many choosing to abandon thier safe-havens of the trolley rack in the car parks to wander aimlessly about the nearby ‘burbs…Sometimes a cowboy-like person could be seen to lasso several of those trolleys together and drive them ruthlessly back to their holding yard.
        But hey!..that was the 70’s…everything seemed so much more interesting then.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Some souls, perhaps lost to life, pile all their belongings in a trolley and go wandering all over the place. They seek shelter under a gum or wattle and dream of good times and love. It rarely escapes them that love does not thrive from a trolley nor sleeping under a gum. A solid mortgage is what some love demands.


  9. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Dear Gerard, I feel for you- the pain and the loneliness. It will pass but in due time- at least I hope for you that it will. It is considered normal to feel blue and very sad and perhaps bitter, as well. One does not spend 54 years of their life and not feel immense sad when one’s partner is gone. You have no one to talk with and I can see how you would enjoy the wine to help you sleep and maybe even feel a little happier for a while. But the wine is not helping your body and mind. It is a proven fact that alcohol is detrimental to brain cells. Each time alcohol is consumed brain cells are destroyed. Further more you are more likely to have heart attach and or to get cancer from alcohol. Many studies have been done and it has been proven that more than one glass of wine is bad. No alcohol is best and you will continue to feel physically better without the wine. Maybe listen to music that has an upbeat and by all means keep up the walking. It is good for you.

    As the New Year is about to arrive, I can attest that I never look forward to a better year. It is just another year to age one more year and to feel not as good as the year before.

    I hope the fires do no affect your town, But do be alert and have what is needed to take with you, if you must evacuate: medications, glasses, important photos and documents, cell phone, and by all means take Milo on leash. Just be prepared to have it all at hand. I have no idea how serious is the threat of fire where you live.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I am determined to stick to minimising my alcohol intake, Ivonne. I am heartened though by the thought of my dear mum who drank a bit daily, especially towards the end of het life. She liked that Dutch Advokaat which is a sweet kind of yellow coloured liquor made from eggs and heaven knows what else. She lived till almost 96 years of age. Every time I visited her in Holland she would bring out the Advokaat or a sherry and have a small thimble of the beverage.

      In any case, getting older, it would be wise to either not drink at all or just no more than a glass of wine occasionally. I take your advice seriously and many thanks for your support. The idea of the killing of braincells really frighten me. I can’t imagine ending up on the streets, rambling incoherently with Advocaat stuck on my beard.

      The New Year is almost here and the Fireworks in Sydney are going ahead even though tragic stories of lives and homes being lost through wild fires are getting updates every ten minutes on the radio and TV. My car’s headlights came on in the middle of the day as a thick smoke is now blanketing all sun and its light
      It is all eerily gloomy and not at all in the spirit of a happy New Year.

      Thank you so much for your words of giving me the understanding that in time the sadness will lesson and that it is normal to feel the sadness. I know it, but it helps very much when others support what I am feeling.
      In any case. A better New Year for you.


  10. Master of Something Yet Says:

    You’ve made it to the end of a truly difficult year, Gerard. Keep moving forward.
    I feel a bit akin to you in your thoughts about the future. I have not suffered as you have but I have gone through some challenging times with my mental health in the past year or so and the solutions I’m looking for are similar to yours. I also want to reduce my alcohol intake and to that end, we purchased a Soda Stream for Christmas. I am hoping having ready access to some bubbly water will make me reach for that with a slice of lemon rather than the wine or gin bottle. I am also looking at new places to find social contact along with learning or creativity. So yes, I really think you should look into the U3A and broaden your social contact base along with some learning.
    All the best for the year ahead. May it go easy on you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Heather. I really liked that initial feeling of euphoria when drinking alcohol but the after feeling is not so good, and killing braincells is off-putting as well. I will now try sticking to just one glass of wine, after the success of just two before. I never drink spirits.

      The problem is I know somebody with a very melancholic character who never drinks. He has those deeply lidded eyes that seemed to forever seek out those who drink and then would go on about how he never drinks. ‘Not a drop’ he would say, emphasising these words with an admirable lack of joy. He did this with such Jerimiah conviction I am sure he will spend the rest of his life roaming the streets in an effort to seek gloom. He seemed to be one of those born to lead inconsolable lives.

      So, what to make of the coming year? I am going on and that’s as far as I will make a resolution. I will lesson my alcohol intake but with what shall I replace it? I lost my partner and love. The echoes keep running amok in my head. It is so quiet now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Master of Something Yet Says:

        I do believe there is a good place somewhere between the wowser and the drunkard. A happy medium of moderation.

        I think, at a time in life like this, whatever will get you through the day is best. There is no right or wrong, good or bad. The key, I think, is not to get stuck in one mode of coping. If it’s a good day, make it social or productive, if it’s not, take time out for yourself. It’s all okay. Life has changed dramatically and forever and it will take some getting used to and time finding your feet again. Allow yourself that time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, so true, Heather.
        It is not so easy this life. This morning like most mornings I see little kids on swings and see-saws and not a worry in the world. It seems as the years go by, life becomes less of a swing-about and more of a race to heed pitfalls of diets, drink and that other one, ‘life-style’…

        What is one to do and cope? If ever there is a road ahead it is that of getting on and making the best of it. No one pushes an ageing adult on the swings and see-saws of life, do they?
        Thank you, Heather.


  11. rangewriter Says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately, Gerard. Firstly because of your new soleness condition, which has got to be so difficult. But also, because of the fires. I looked at a map of Australia and it appears there’s almost no place that’s not on fire. Even if your own community is more or less safe, the air and the emotional toll must be awful. No way to bring in a new year. Fireworks are an insult in a time like this.

    You’re smart to pay attention to your wine consumption and your relative appetite. Although it sure seems tempting to let wine take the edge off. But you’re right to note the after effects.

    And for heaven’s sake. Ditch those silly bowler boys! I think your U3A sounds far healthier and more interesting. Well, I hear random fireworks going off in my neighborhood, while you are already into the next year. Really, it’s just another day, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, it is hard but I am getting your empathy and the same by others. That helps a lot. Friends are important, and who knows, we might meet up in real life sometime.( I know you went to Africa recently, and Australia is only a bit further!)
      Right now I am staying put but will meet people on a more regular basis.
      Yes, I might ditch that bowling, it is just too annoying to keep swallowing all that nonsense and empty rhetoric.

      The fires are now getting even worse, as if that was still possible. I went to look at our old farm about 60 km from here and my goodness, the horror of it all. Not even a stubble of grass, all dead, not through fire but no rain.
      I went to bed after about 10.30pm and after watching ‘Dinner for one.’ here it is.


  12. shoreacres Says:

    I’ve been keeping up with the fire maps, and watching videos from the ABC and such. It’s truly horrifying, particularly the videos I saw today of people on the beaches watching the fires come. The toll something like your fires takes even on people who aren’t directly affected, in the sense of having to evacuate or having property destroyed, is considerable. Staying alert requires a lot of energy, too, much as waiting to see where a hurricane is going to make landfall wears a person down.

    I saw that some backburning has been done about 21km north of Bowral — there was a report in the Sydney Morning Herald. If only the conditions would ease, they might be able to make a bit more progress.

    I still have a glass of wine or a beer with a meal occasionally when I’m dining with others, but otherwise I gave it up long ago. There wasn’t any medical need to do so, but over time I always felt worse after a couple of drinks, and doing that to myself seemed foolish. Alcohol is a depressant, too, so it’s not such a good thing for those times when we’re already feeling down. The one trick I’ve learned is to drink plenty of water if I’m having a glass or two of wine with a meal; it helps to counteract the dehydrating effects of the alcohol.

    While you mentioned your lack of appetite, I’m equally concerned that you take in enough water. Our muscles are 80% water, and the heart is a muscle — so any significant lack of water can affect the heart (as well as the eyes, the skin, and so on). In summer, I always drink enough, because the heat makes me think of it. In winter, I’m not so good. Anyway — like so many things in life, drinking water can seem boring, but it’s awfully good for us.

    I so understand what you say about the emptiness, and the sense of being off balance. Losing a parent is hardly the same as losing a beloved spouse, but after my mother died, it took forever to adjust to her absence. Having cared for her for five years, it took a while to stop ‘caring for.’ Even now, I’ll sometimes see something in the grocery that she liked, and think to bring it home to her. Then, I remember, even after eight years. It’s not a painful remembering, it’s just a momentary slip into the past. In a way, it’s a way of affirming how deep our ties were — just like yours were with Helvi.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, the footage and the smoke is terrifying. This Saturday is going to be another very anxious day and NSW and Victoria have both announced a State of Emergency for a week. The navy is standing by in case people have to be evacuated from beaches..
      I had the worst night after visiting our old farm of Rivendell some 50km south west of here on N Year’s day. Helvi and I planted so many trees, hundreds of them and now they looked dead. I am glad Helvi was spared this sight.

      Because of water restriction we can only water with a bucket and I am sure this garden at our villa will remain alive.
      You are right about alcohol being a depressant. Helvi told me the last few months to cut it down. She stopped altogether even though she loved a good glass of wine. However, our love of wine is known so many of the Christmas presents were in the form of some very fine wines which I shall sample in moderation, during, and after meal-time and before bedtime.

      Today I bought some fresh sardines which I will eat pan-fried with chopped up parsley, onion and tomatoes. Tabouleh. I finally found a place where I can buy those marinated Scandinavian herrings in jar too.

      As for water, strange how I don’t seem to drink a lot of that during the day but I will make an effort, Linda. Thank you so much for your care and from so far away.

      While walking with Milo I met up again with a woman who always bends down to give very enthusiastic pats to Milo. Milo knows her and greets her just as fondly. This time she was struggling helping a man get out of her car. He was severely lame and almost unable to stand upright, perhaps have suffered a previous stroke. I helped her keeping the door of her car open so she could manoeuvre him in a wheel-chair. I met up with her again inside the café where I ordered a cheese and ham croissant with a late. She asked me how I was and I told her that I lost my wife Helvi. I burst out with suppressed sobs in front of the coffee sippers and the Milo woman.

      She was very nice and asked if she could do anything. I just told her to keep patting Milo when we cross our path again.


  13. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Australia is on the front page of our newspapers every day at the moment, and each time I see this, I think of Helvi and of you coping with your changed life and loss. You are making a good fist of it. U3A is great idea – anything new, different and challenging, that occupies parts of your brain and makes sleep come more easily has to be good. Stay safe!


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