Of isolating and the Smart TV


Etching by G. Oosterman

The longer our self isolating is going on the more the question arises; what about the victims of this isolating? In my case, I find it reasonably alright as I have rarely been much of a social roustabout, never really learned the skills on attracting much of an audience at social gatherings. I suppose also, that much depends on an audience as well.

At my indoor bowling adventure the social intercourse that I was hoping for did not come to much fruition. A peculiar and firmly ingrained habit of that sport seems to be that even though women and men bowled together, in between the bowling while having a cup of tea, the men and women strictly did their sipping at separate tables.

On the other side of the scales, the latest attempt at meeting people I was invited and met an extraordinary group of people who one feels totally at ease with. Both men and women embrace the sipping in total unison. We sip different beverages to the bowlers and enjoy coffees instead of tea, but I don’t think it is just the difference in the liquid. On second thoughts, perhaps there is a tie that links the differences.

Going back to 1956 when my family arrived in Australia we noticed that coffee drinking was mainly the domain of the reffos. Reffo was the name given to European refugees known for the same obnoxious xenophobic stupidity as now falling on the Iranians and other Middle Eastern refugees’ ears. Funny enough they too seem to prefer coffee. But, I am drifting off subject. In those early days my mum had to travel to Sydney by train to get ‘real’ coffee in the form of beans. The brave Australian born and bred thought coffee always came in powder form and each cup had 43 beans. So, what is your problem they used to tell my mum who kept insisting that coffee has to be freshly brewed from ground coffee beans.

Tea drinking is a British institution. The Queen would not dream of ever be seen drinking a latte. Can you imagine the horror of the British if it became known? A filthy European habit will never do in between the Beefeaters.  Now, is the link between the bowling club people the reason for the separation of the sexes caused by their ingrained tea habit? Is my new found group of the most friendly egalitarian people and their open ended welcome caused by the Euro linked latte? The link might be a trifle tenuous, some might even thing tedious!

Who knows?

As for my opening line of ‘Isolating and the Smart TV. It is difficult, and yesterday I did not talk to a human being. However, the good news is that I managed to get my Smart TV working and…more than that. On the SBS ‘on demand’ classic movie channel I discovered Wim Wenders’ ‘Wings of Desire’, a black and white masterpiece of a movie Helvi and I watched years ago.


What a find and there are a lot more good movies to watch. Of course, meeting up with friends and share the latte will also happen again and there is a lot to look forward to.


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47 Responses to “Of isolating and the Smart TV”

  1. janesmudgeegarden Says:

    I’m very glad you’ve connected your Smart TV! SBS On Demand has sustained us in the evenings for over a year because there are so many excellent movies to be found there. And all for free, of course.
    On tea: although the daughter of an Englishwoman, I have never really found tea to be an interesting drink and rarely drink it. Coffee, on the other hand, is a drink to be had in many guises such as flat white, black, macchiato, piccolo, latte, cappuccino and many more. We’re missing our coffee mornings with good friends and conversation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Jane. The SBS on Demand is an isolators dream come true. With change of address came the change in my internet and the smart TV. I received a different NBN modem and with that came a password or key unique to my internet and, forgotten by me, the same for the smart TV.
      I was sweating night after night to get this SBS on Demand and finally ‘bingo’, a message came up I had to type in the key. I was almost ready to call nurse to give me something, instead success!

      I actually have to be careful with my coffee drinking, it is known for intestinal hurry syndromes. So, my first job whenever bivouacking near a café and sipping a latte, to check out the toilet situation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yvonne Says:

    Like you, I am a bit of an introvert, but even for us, we yearn for just a little touch of human contact. I’m glad I have my cat who purrs at me from time to time!

    I reckon you may be right about the tea/coffee divide! My parents were from Flanders, there was always a pot of coffee brewing on the wood burning stove. I only drink tea if forced to, or if I’m ill!

    Isn’t SBS brilliant. I invested in a smart tv just before all this hell exploded on us, and have patted myself on the back a few times. I’ve found a lot of good movies, and crime series from the Nordic countries. Yay for SBS.

    Hello to Milo.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I particularly like foreign films with subtitles in English. The Scandinavian crime series were fantastic and after a hard day sorting my new abode there is nothing better that a gruelling massacre in Iceland with heads being fished up from the depth of an icy sea.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Big M Says:

    I’m quite impressed with the likes of Netflix and Stan who have added plenty of entertainment to their catalogues, as well as allowing those in financial difficulties to continue to use their services in spite of failing to pay their bills. Even the NBN has somehow managed to find more bandwidth to accommodate the increase in demand through home schooling and streaming services.

    The other unsung heroes are the You Tube channels that upload the old black and white films that I love. Some are putting up two and three films a day!

    Your mum was a wise woman…coffee from coffee beans, my kinda coffee.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I haven’t yet explored Netflix and Stan. I’ll be lucky to get through all the SBS films and series. I hardly watch normal TV at all anymore and find most programs a bit boring.

      ABC news seems to be sliding towards a more commercial way of telling the news, a bit silly with laughing and that infuriating kind of pushing happiness onto the audience, just tell the news, I feel like shouting.


      • Big M Says:

        I gave the ABC a serve after they ran some stupid story about what sex the royal baby was likely to be. I didn’t donate money to the Save our ABC fund to be given that sort of sh*&. Yes, the ABC news adopted a commercial style a few years back, especially with that idiotic ‘breakfast telly’ programme. Even the website seems to be full of facile articles.

        Netflix has plenty of ‘Nordic Noir’ series, which I enjoy.


  4. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Amen to smart TVs and SBS. I’m hanging out for the next series of Bosch having exhausted Better Call Saul on Stan – which rem8nds me to re-cancel their otherwise crappy content.

    I can give something of an explanation of the bowling club curiosity. My late parents were foundation members of Picnic Point Bowling and Social club in the late 1950s. Under the one roof there were separate men’s and women’s clubs and although they sometimes played mixed bowls, the serious bowling was played under different associations.

    Men had exclusive use of the greens all day Saturday – back then most women in Mum’s world did not work for pay and they had exclusive use of the greens in Tuesday of Wednesday. In return for this the women did all the catering – also for no pay.

    The men got stuck into the piss on Saturdays from lunchtime, drove home pissed late in the evening and so often engaged in their second sport – domestic violence and verbal abuse.

    As far as I could see, it wasn’t a case of tea or coffee (although all coffee was instant – and shit). It was a case of alcohol-fuelled misogyny.

    I reckon your recent experience in this curious gender divide is the crusty residue left in the club atmosphere.

    Liked by 4 people

    • doesitevenmatter3 Says:

      We are really enjoying Bosch and Better Call Saul. Harry Bosch and Saul Goodman are interesting characters. 🙂
      Can you recommend any other good shows?

      Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, booze seems to ply a big role in bowling and so are the pokies. They seem to go hand in hand.
      Thank goodness for the Smart TV. It took me a while to figure out I had to put in a new password with the new Telstar modem.

      Here is something worth looking at too.

      My café friends are different, much more outgoing and considerate and above all with lots of laughter. A great mob.


  5. Sandie Harvey Says:

    Different countries, different habits. I recall being in England in 1970 and no one knew what a pepper or capsicum was. At least it has changed now. Or after your experience, mostly!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Not that long ago, we were shopping at Woollies and the cashier girl asked us; what is this? We had garlic, and she did not know what garlic looked like.
      After our arrival we had to get introduced to Vegemite; when the lid came off, I felt like getting some toilet paper.


  6. bkpyett Says:

    Dear Gerard, I’m so pleased you managed to get your smart TV installed and working. This isolation isn’t so easy for people on their own, so I do hope you have good neighbours who keep an eye out for you. I loved your comments about coffee and tea and the segregation that happens so often in Australia. You could always sit at the women’s table and see what happens!! ❤ Stay safe. Barbara

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, my neighbours are why I moved to here. They could not be better and offered food and help with my move. They keep an eye out on each other and that is so nice. One feels included in a human group.
      I did try and sit at the woman’s table and it did help.
      Thank you, Barbara.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Yes, we all have a lot to look forward to!

    YAY for your smart-TV!
    Guess what?!? Both my TV and my phone are smarter than me! 😉 😛
    We are watching a lot of old movies, and crime dramas from around the world! Fun!

    My parents were coffee drinkers and I’ve always preferred tea over coffee.

    What Barbara ^ above^ me said about you sitting at the women’s table made me smile! 🙂 I’m with her. You could shake things up a bit. ??? 😀

    Your etching is wonderful and made me smile! Hope that one is framed and hung on a wall in your new place! It reminds me of one of my fav artists: Gustav Klimt. 🙂
    HUGS and stay safe and well! 🙂
    PATS and RUBS to Milo! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I too am often overwhelmed with what those smart gadgets can achieve. I downloaded an app that can help identify if I have been close to a Corona infected person. Heaven knows what else they can glean from that app. Mind you, my privacy is not all that precious. And if it helps to fight the pandemic, all the better.
      Gustav Klimt is a great artist and I am more than chuffed that my etching reminds you of his work.

      An extra hug for you and Cooper…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. jennypellett Says:

    In defence of the Brits – we do have a thriving coffee culture here in the UK – there is nothing nicer than meeting friends for a coffee and a danish! Although many of my country folk defer to the disgusting instant variety, I always drink fresh coffee at home and guiltily think of it as an extravagance – how mad is that?

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I know. Coffee has made an inroad into Britain. Perhaps the coffee came together with curry. Oh, the Danish don’t just make good crime thrillers but also great cakes and the Danish is now an institute here in Australia too. People stand at corners and ask; ‘how was your Danish today?’


  9. berlioz1935 Says:

    Hi Gerard, social isolation is the opposite of socialism, isn’t it? We are saving lots of money this way. We are missing the best coffee in town at the local David Jones, of all places. Indeed, as jennypellet says we are always have a wonderful piece of danish with it. I can’t wait for them to open up again.

    We haven’t got a smart TV but using Apple TV instead. There is so much entertainment available mostly for free or the latest movies for a small fee. Still, we are missing going to the cinema.

    The film, Wings of Desire, is one of my all time favourite. It has the real feel of the divided Berlin about it. If you like Bruno Ganz you might like him portraying Adolf Hitler in the Downfall. A real masterpiece. But it is also a war movie and some people might not like it.

    We discovered a Russian Film Hub where we can watch Russian movies or TV Serie to our heart content. While we like the programming on SBS on Demand we can’t stand the adds.

    As German speakers we are able to watch various German TV channels or via SFR (Swiss TV via YouTube) on philosophy. Even at our advanced age we never stop learning. But all this knowledge has its downside too, as we realise how bad our government is.

    Anyway, restrictions on social distances are being eased now and we hope to see our family coming to visit soon again.

    Liked by 5 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, social isolation comes at a cost which will become clearer in the weeks ahead. The alternative is to accept many deaths. In the US people are protesting against the closing down and clamour to be allowed to work again. It is life versus acceptance of huge numbers of deaths.

      We bought our smart TV a few years ago and I did set it up by following the cues shown on the screen I am not good at those set ups which requests passwords. I miss out on joining many things because as soon as the dreaded ‘password’ is required, I am filled with dread and switch off and have a nap instead.

      So, I was so pleased when I managed to link my TV again with all those delicious choices of movies. Wings of Desire was the first movie I watched and it filled my mind for hours. Such a great masterpiece.

      I hope that one of the first things that will ease on the lock-down will be the opening of the theatres, museums and art galleries. I hear a lot about NRL and other sports being allowed to be played and public to watch. I hope that RSL clubs will stay shut for a while, many a family must be relieved that the pokies are now off limit with hundreds of millions of dollars lost on poker machines before. It is a horror story.

      The isolation on the elderly is hard. Often they are alone and living by themselves and not to have the grandkids visiting must be hard. Mind you, my three grandsons are now well into their teenage years and am not sure they always feel like visiting the old grandpa which I try and alleviate by generously donating to their pockets.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. DisandDat Says:

    I too joined a bowling club. The secretary was a lovely women and made me very welcome. I was new to the game but was given kind instructions. That was not the problem. By no means am I a extrovert but I don’t do beige nor grey. The long white socks and beige apparel don’t appeal. Come time for a break from trying to get close to the little white ball, the jack, I found it so odd to see the men and women separate at the tables. As bkpyett sad, I decided to join the opposite sex but was totally ignored. No more bowling for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Well, my foray into bowling was a desire to mix and mingle with people and that happened very well. I do like the game and it does involve good skill and it kept me fit. There is always a chance to make friends and learn to be less critical. However, it wasn’t just the separated by sex tea drinking culture, it was also that a few people kept on being obnoxious about Muslims, Lebanese, Russians, Chinese, Bulgarians, Rumanians. It became too much.
      In that way, the women were far kinder and did not engage in the running down of cultures or religions.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. petspeopleandlife Says:

    It is good to know that you are surviving the crack down and the virus. I always figured you as a social being but of course since you live alone I can see the desire to interact or if you prefer the term, co-mingle. Here in the states folks either drink iced tea or coffee and of course coffee was made even more popular by Starbucks which made the founder many millions or billions. Before afib “got a hold of me” I was a coffee drinker and absolutely loved to drink 6-8 cups a day with milk and no sugar. Now, per my cardiologist, I am not allowed even the decaf version.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      My cardiologist I saw last week and I never told him about any coffee drinking. Instead I asked him about drinking wine. He astonished me by saying; ‘it is still a bit early for me.’ It was 11 am, Did he think I was carrying a bottle of grog in my coat pocket ready to have a nice little shifter with him?

      The good news was that my heart has improved, a rare story of success due to the variety of meds I am taking.

      How is your heart Yvonne, apart from you having a kind and good heart?

      Liked by 1 person

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        My afib is doing so-so for the past several months. I need to have an ablation but don’t know when that will happen. My heart problem keeps me from doing things that I really like since it limits my level of stamina. But I am grateful for being alive and in fairly good health.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        With ageing comes a lack of stamina. I now live in a place whereby I climb stairs a lot more. My sleeping quarters and computer are upstairs. It’s exercise and I suppose keeps one a bit fit.
        Glad to hear you are in fairly good health, Yvonne.


  12. freefall852 Says:

    Well and good to have a “smart TV” Gerard…and I hope it serves you well…here, we have a “effing dumb ipad” that we adopted as part of a Telstra mobile broadband “plan” that has turned out to be a millstone around our necks at a cost of $30. / mth that has not worked from the day we first kicked it into gear!…and now is in a “lockdown” mode without ever having been accessed and despite our best efforts AND the whiz-bang whiz-kids at the Telstra shop where we signed on to the rubbish, it will not respond!…what a piece of junk many of these “smart” devices are…oh how I sometimes long for the old bakelite phones and community chatter!
    And those tech-shops…full of kids who LOOK like they know something, TALK like YOU know nothing and yet cannot resolve any issues…I have to comment that when I was there, while the “service people” were all under thirty, all the customers looked like they were over fifty!…The trouble with these youngsters, is that they believe all the bullshit they are fed by their managers, but do not have the experience of us oldies who know the way AROUND all the bullshit that is fed to us by the managerial class…it takes years of working at the “coal-face” in whatever industry to know what is shit and what is clay!….and all I can see with these later than Boomer generation “experts” is a firm knowledge of just s-h-i-t!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, I had my frustrations with Telstra, mainly because I was cut off from the internet, yet I was forced to deal with Telstra on the internet. It is almost impossible to get a person to talk with. I now found out that those Telstra workers are often from the Philippines and Thailand, India and are worked to exhaustion, being forced to sleep on matrasses dragged into their offices.
    All to make profits.

    Any way, finally a kind Telstra technician came around and managed to sooth my state of foaming rage and had me connected to the NBN within twenty minutes. It came with a new modem and a card on which their was a new key, a set of numbers and letters in both lower and higher case. A miracle I managed to connect to Wi-Fi and since then also my smart TV.

    I can well understand your frustration, Jo. Our first phone in Holland was hung from the wall and had a circulation disc and when it rang its sound was comforting, nothing like the nervous and thrill beeps one get now. My iPhone gives irritating signals that still shock me into thinking some disaster is coming my way. It doesn’t matter what sound I chose they are all nervous and unsettling.


  14. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Hey Gez, I recall that you once said that you did not get paid for those shitty ads that appear around your posts.

    If that’s true, could you not remove them ? I find particularly annoying those exhortations to put crap on my skin to get rid of the spots (symbols of my advancing seniority) to which I’ve become attached.

    But if you DO receive a small return, sufficient to cover the cost of some Aldi wine, Im happy to put up with the ads.

    Fond regards, Emmjay

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Yay ! No ads. Fantastic customer service, Gez / by you and by WordPress 👍👍👍👍

    Liked by 2 people

  16. rangewriter Says:

    Wow, congratulations on being smart and persistent enough to get your Smart TV hooked up and operating. Your observations about tea vs coffee drinkers are interesting. It does seem that there’s a difference in personalities that go with either beverage. I’d not put much thought into the cultural/ethnic roots of the preferences. Makes sense. I was well into my thirties before I could stand to drink coffee. Now I enjoy a cuppa. I’ve tried to like tea. I have a lot of friends that like tea and it seemed the drink of choice for my bookclub. But I’ve always felt like I may as well drink hot water. Tea just doesn’t move me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I now drink tea as the coffee seems to upset my digestive system. Lucky that wine agrees very well with me and I always cook with wine and sometimes even add it to the food.


      • rangewriter Says:

        It’s great to be able to shift to something that doesn’t turn your system inside out. My abiding fear is being told I can no longer have liquor…most especially wine!

        Liked by 2 people

  17. shoreacres Says:

    Odd — I don’t remember ever seeing ads on your blog, Gerard. Maybe I have an internal filter that just screens them out. In any case, there aren’t any now, so there’s another success in this crazy world.

    I can’t comment at all on the television-and-etc issues, since it’s been years since I’ve had one, but coffee and tea? There’s something worth talking about. I’ve been thinking about it, and realized I didn’t taste tea until past my college years. I grew up in a Swedish household, and strong, bold coffee boiled on the stove with an egg added in the end was the fashion. My parents were coffee drinkers, of course, and by the time I got to college, it was the fashion to catch existentialism and sit by the hour in coffee houses philosophizing.

    There’s nothing better than a neighborhood cafe/coffeehouse, that’s for sure. Of course it’s fine for tea to be served, as well, but tea still brings visions of tea parties, dolls, and cucumber sandwiches to mind. Coffee means pastries, and a different kind of socializing. I don’t go to Starbuck’s, but I’ll be glad when my friends and I can meet for a coffee at our favorite local spot again — if they manage to survive the economic devastation wrought by the decision-makers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      For some years now I too saw ads on my blog but only on the iPhone and not on the computer. It is a strange world whereby one has to pay not to get ads. The same with music; I listen to Spotify, and again there you pays a fee not to get ads. I can understand that life musicians should get paid for the music they created. Too much is being copied and pilfered without recompense to the artist.

      However, if they load someone’s blog with ads, then the blogger should get paid. However, try and talk to Amazon or Google! I never wanted money for the blogging articles and when I was writing for our National Broadcaster I was paid very nicely.

      As for coffee and tea.

      I think that people that are out on the streets carrying their drinks on the go are mainly coffee drinkers, and those that sit inside around tables with doilies and side-plates are tea drinkers. Your reference to cucumber sandwiches is very good. In Australia coffee drinkers also eat croissants and tend to gravitate to the more left side of politics.
      At home I drink tea as coffee upsets my stomach but in public with friends, I tend to act more macho, and with bravado drink coffee but with an eye focussed on the nearest toilet.

      Liked by 2 people

      • shoreacres Says:

        I’ve cut back on my coffee drinking, and generally have only a cup or two in the morning, and perhaps one at night — especially if there’s a nice dessert around. On the other hand, I’ve completely cut out caffeinated soft drinks: a move that lets me think I have more latitude to stick with the coffee!


    • Therese Trouserzoff Says:

      Coffee with egg ! Good grief- is that a food or a beverage 😊 ? Do you just drop it in, whip it up Chinese soup style or go for a kind of brown poaching? What fun !

      Liked by 1 person

      • shoreacres Says:

        It is fun, and it’s wonderful coffee. Here’s a recipe that tells how it’s done. One of the nice things about it is that you can leave a pot of coffee on the stove after making it this way and it will get stronger, but not more bitter.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Good grief, Linda. I thought one ate an egg while drinking coffee or after. I had two yesterday and felt nothing special. No wonder! Now your recipe advices to add a raw egg to the ground coffee. That makes more sense and I’ll try it out at sparrow’s fart tomorrow, and also tell all my friends. Perhaps even jokingly tell the local Café about it as well and bring my own raw egg.


      • Therese Trouserzoff Says:

        Sounds like an expensive repair to my espresso machine.


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