Archive for the ‘Gerard Oosterman’ Category

Australian designed Burkini taking the world by storm.(Haute couture)

August 26, 2016

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-25/australian-designed-burkini-at-centre-of-national/7786732

“18th Century:

Although sea bathing was fashionable in the 18th century, it was considered proper to keep the skin white and untouched by the sun. This 1797 Gallery of Fashion print shows two ladies protected by face-shading bonnets, shawls and gloves as they approach a group of bathing machines, a sort of cabana on wheels. Ladies were known to sew weights into the hem of their smock-like bathing gowns to prevent the garment from floating up and showing their legs. Modesty ruled over fashion.”

 

 

What a lucky break for our country. Our economy is being saved by the Burkini. Who would have thought?
Now that the stupid ban has been overturned in France, the world wide interest in this garment is now promising to turn things around. Let’s hope the refugees on Manus and Nauru will now be released as well. You cannot imprison people that have done no wrong.

Almost There

Almost There

The Plight of the Sunday Mirror Girls and Real Estate Agents.

August 25, 2016
Me and mother 1995?

Me and mother 1995?

Estate agents are not far behind car-salesmen in the popularity range of professions. Even joining the army or becoming a police man are judged far above them. In the fifties, teaching was also a somewhat dodgy profession to pursue. It makes me wonder whether that might be the reason that our school kids don’t seem to be doing all that well. Apparently 45% of adults in Australia do not possess proficient spelling and math skills. But, if someone studied law, (even for those within the 45% semi-literate range)the prestige barometer would run red-hot. I noticed that amongst our elderly neighbours’ granddaughters, some are doing a university degree in ‘design.’

If job security is important I reckon, estate agents and car salesmen will probably be better placed than lawyers or designers. Australia has one of the highest rates per capita of lawyers in the world, and as for design, the Ikea flat pack with Allan key has taken care of that. Many are out of work and even barristers are scrimping around trying to make a quid. It’s in science and engineering that the future beckons and holds the best prospects.

Selling cars or houses does depend on smoothness and swiftness in seizing up the customer. If the pitch is overly keen, it might make the buyer a bit reluctant. There is the tendency of many people to go against a proposal if put too strongly. Lately Helvi and I are back ‘in the market’ as the parlance go, looking at houses. Even if just to spend time away from our own house. I like looking through other peoples houses. I quickly scan the bookshelves. Of course, bookshelves are not guaranteed.

Back in the fifties, my poor dad used to try and see through neighbours windows, hungry for sighting books. They were very rare. The best, in those years was a horse-betting guide or a real estate section resting seductively on top of little tables. In our house, my mother used to put The Catholic Weekly on top of any reading material. She held hope that we all would go through out teens wholly beholden by men of the cloth. We soon saw through their voodoo tricks. How can anyone take to walking on water and virgin births?

One of my friends remarked; ‘why do your newspapers have all those holes in them? I admitted, ‘because my mum cuts out all the provocative pictures of girls.’ Those photos used to be displayed in Australian Newspapers, especially the afternoon papers. The same papers also used to have screaming headlines with ‘SHOCK SEX’, or a whole page with just one three letter word ‘WAR.’ My mum thought she could save her family, possibly including her husband, from filth and decadence perving on grainy images of swim suit wearing girls.

As soon as we hit the car driving range we would pretend to go to church on Sunday. We all sat inside my old V8 Ford single spinner outside the church. We would take turns in getting snippets of the main sermon before getting back in the V8 and continue the perve on the Sunday Mirror paper girls, before we presented them home for mother to get her scissors out for. It is an endearing image I still treasure.

My mum was brought up together with her sister in an orphanage. She lost both her parents when very young. The orphanage was run by nuns in Amsterdam. As a child she took me to this orphanage and introduced me to some very old nuns who were still alive from the time she was a little girl. The orphanage was stone-cold with marble stairs. Her sister was there too, but strictness by the nuns separated them. She was forbidden to have contact with her. Her sister was my dear Aunt Agnes.

I surmised she must have got her staunch religious beliefs from that period. Her cutting images from newspapers that might invite her sons into carnal pleasures might well have been her intention to save us, and for that I have respect and my love. Of course, she failed, but that is a different matter. Apart from the cutting pictures she was also the eternally undefeatable worker and optimist.

A really great mother.

41yjSAQeq1L__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ oosterman treats

Don’t lose your relationship and your socks.

August 22, 2016
My parents in Holland, earlier times.

My parents in Holland, earlier times.

According to Alain de Botton, your smelly socks play a larger role in the permanency of your relationship than romantically floating on the Danube while immersed in a bath filled with rose petals. He confronts the hugely popular romantic notion of ‘falling’ in love and living happily ever after. I must say, it intrigues me no end how people can stay in a mono-relationship all their lives.

There are a few that we know but they are mainly in our direct family backgrounds of numerous brothers and sisters from both of us. Outside our own direct background the wedding gondola is listing dangerously and littered with corpses of failed relationships. Mind you, there is a new theory out that a relationship hasn’t necessarily failed just because one or both wanted out. Even so, when a relationship is at the start and still blindingly starry-eyed and way over the top, that most proclaim eternal love and devotion to each other. Psychopaths are seen as Saints. To fall in love is a most dangerous situation. Get out of it. Get real.

According to Alain de Botton; the banana skin on the doorstep of declared love is that we see in each other things that are just not there. We want to see them. Alas, it is all a fata morgana. The things that are there and real are not seen. We think the other is perfect and so does the opponent. The man forgives the woman who lingers longingly in front of the High Fashion shop and he feels it rather cute. The woman likewise, when he seems to swear at other drivers or watches football all the time. She thinks ‘boys are boys.’ We only see perfection and can’t understand nor are willing to see, how this notion of love is blind and certainly foolish.

Of course, blind love is fed by cinema and books. With us, even right from the beginning, any sign of romantic love and H and I bolt out. The first whiff of a lingering look of real love or a wafting of underarm brutish man, and we are out, running along Bong Bong Road to Woollies car-park, glad to have made it in one piece. By mistake we switched on the ABC News too early last night only to be confronted with the Nigella Lawson now famous sideway glance while cooking a sponge cake. No better example of false charm and allure.

The thing that Alain de Botton points out is that we are all imperfect. In fact, we are broken. We are the result of genes and our own imperfect parental upbringing, totally hopeless when confronted with relationship and marriage. Instead of seeking love we should really get an understanding of own faults first. Try and be the normal obnoxious self when finally confronting a suitable partner. Show her/him your true self. Be honest and don’t move your jaw or flex your pectoral. Hard as it is, don’t believe your partner is all that lovely either. Both are broken. Work on being happy and try and enjoy grey. Do things together and expect fights and making good. It is not for everyone. A good relationship is one that goes on regardless of itself. It is surprising how the years go by. You fight and love, and fight and love.
That’s the secret.
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Here a few things from Alain de Botton on love.

“Every fall into love involves the triumph of hope over self-knowledge. We fall in love hoping we won’t find in another what we know is in ourselves, all the cowardice, weakness, laziness, dishonesty, compromise, and stupidity. We throw a cordon of love around the chosen one and decide that everything within it will somehow be free of our faults. We locate inside another a perfection that eludes us within ourselves, and through our union with the beloved hope to maintain (against the evidence of all self-knowledge) a precarious faith in our species.”
― Alain de Botton, On Love

“We are all more intelligent than we are capable, and awareness of the insanity of love has never saved anyone from the disease.”
― Alain de Botton, On Love

The Pariah State?

August 19, 2016
Asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Asylum seekers on Manus Island.

http://theconversation.com/why-does-international-condemnation-on-human-rights-mean-so-little-to-australia-53814

“Australia’s human rights record is increasingly subject to international critique alongside pariah states like Saudi Arabia and North Korea. On the face of it, this juxtaposition is easily rejected. But strong evidence backs the increasing weight of international sentiment opposing Australia’s record.

Australia may already have pariah status in terms of its asylum policies. So why does its government – and perhaps also the majority of its people – seem to care so little for Australia’s tarnished international reputation?

Australia’s behaviour condemned – again

Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2016 condemned Australia for its “abusive” approach to asylum seekers. It noted widespread criticism of Australia’s outsourcing of:”
Read on!

The long lost Leek. (for Seniors)

August 16, 2016
The long lost Leek for potato-bake

The long lost Leek for potato-bake

There comes a time that a lost leek is the only way out for seeking relief from life’s unrelenting savagery. I mean our Minister for Immigration has stated that, “some refugees have resorted to self-immolation in order to get a foothold in Australia.” http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/asylum-seekers-have-selfimmolated-to-get-to-australia-peter-dutton-20160811-gqq48f.html

The release by The Guardian newspaper of several thousands of complaints about the conditions of refugees on Manus and Nauru seems to have caught the attention overseas but hardly made the media here in Australia. Children are right now being sexually assaulted, as are the adults.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/series/nauru-files

What a fate. My parents came here for the children’s future. I can still hear my dad saying that to his own family of brothers and sisters before our departure from Holland. He might have had some trepidation. His own family thought it a somewhat dangerous and foolish choice. Has it turned out to be a mistake? I am ashamed of my adopted country now. I even took on the Australian Nationality. I remember the ceremony at Sydney’s town-hall with getting a cup-o-tea and an Arnott’s biscuit from the Salvos, together with my Australian Nationality Certificate.

Australia has stopped dog racing as being cruel but seems unwilling to give the same consideration to refugees warehoused on Nauru and Manus.

The potato bake is one way of coping. I rummaged around the bottom of the fridge and found a long-lost leek and some lonely and somewhat wrinkled carrots. A potato-bake sprung to mind. I sautéed some onions and mixed that with fried bacon after which I mixed in about 250grams of frozen spinach. Get real spinach NOT silver-beet. In an olive-oiled baking dish I put layers of thinly sliced potato interspersed with the sliced long lost leek and cut thinly the lonely carrots. Spoon over this some of the bacon-spinach-onion mixture followed by grated Parmesan cheese. Of course, oregano is obligatory as well.

The leek had actually started to grow inside the fridge with the inner rings bravely sprouting forward bypassing the outer rings. I used four freshly bought potatoes. This whole lot is now given a baptism of three cupful of milk and sour cream. with the leek, spinach, onion and carrots layered with a final dosage of cheese on top is put in a pre-heated oven at about 200c for fifteen minutes. This gives it an irresistible crust. Turn oven down to 150C for about one hour.

One can forgive or at least momentarily forget all the problems by eating this lovely but modest dish. I do hope some of you will get respite. (Try and not think of our Migration Minister, Dutton, when slicing the leek)

https://www.amazon.com/Oosterman-Treats-Philosophical-Musings-vasectomy/dp/099458105X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471308264&sr=1-1&keywords=oosterman+treats

Word drought in The Highlands but spring is knocking. ( seniors)

August 14, 2016

IMG_0918 front garden August 2016

‘It won’t be long now.’ This is a saying that people use when expecting something to come along. It is sometimes used when on the Nr 1 platform waiting for the train to arrive. ‘The train is coming soon’, often spoken aloud by a brave soul to break the silence between waiting travellers, especially when a chill wind is blowing here in The Highlands. Most often, there is a response; ‘Yes, I think it is due in one minute, according to my timetable.’ This answer gladdens the heart, gives hope to the other fellow.

Those snippets of exchanging words to each other is so welcome. There can never be enough words getting exchanged between people, irrespective of waiting for a train or getting served at the Super-Market conveyer-belt. There is nothing more uplifting than getting a few words, after having gone through those endless isles of mind-numbing dairy goods/personal hygiene/ split peas/. There are now endless choices of toilet paper. We are figuring out the mathematical challenges with being confronted by the cost per hundred sheets per roll! No wonder people are becoming silent.

I could be wrong. Is there a shortage of spoken words being exchanged lately? If we feel like a good fill-up for spoken words we need to take Milo (our dog) along. He elicits the words from others so much better than if we walk without him. The word drought in public seems to be getting worse. I am curious if others have noticed this too? Most times, we used to strike it and get to hear words from others. They seem drawn to our Jack Russell more than us. Totally understandable in my own case, but with the welcoming and smiling Helvi, it used to smooth things out so much better.

It seems the problem might lie elsewhere. Often, people look serious when approaching. However, if they allow themselves to change their thought-train away from paying gas bills on line or texting and coping with obstinate or nasty relationships, and allow themselves to focus their sight downwards away from their gadget holding hand, and spot our Milo, an involuntary smile often escapes. Not only that, but many will actually stop, say a few words and pat him. That is the magic of the Jack Russell. We are still in touch. Are spoken words to adults getting less though?

I get the feeling that many are so mute now because their puckered up faces are so often close to their IPhone. I too have become a bit drawn to this gadget and at times open the IPhone without even being aware of it. Helvi gives me warning every time I slip into that. Certainly on trains we now rarely see passengers looking around or in conversation. Most stare seriously on what is in their hands.

I know, I speak and show my age now. It is all old hat. ‘Get real, Opa. This is our world now. Move over rover!’ The grandchildren have no trouble with it. They tell me that ‘Social Media’ is what is being practised. One hopes that this new form of mute media is not going to impact on relationships. I notice that so much modern TV drama is very intertwined with noise and deafeningly loud threatening thundering gun-fire type music, substituting drama where there might be none… It makes us tense and restless in expecting something, but it rarely comes or satisfies.

The words are just drowned out now.

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The stolen Car and other strange procedures for the Aged

August 11, 2016

41yjSAQeq1L__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ oosterman treats

It has been some four months since the daughter phoned us up to say her car had been stolen from inside her remote controlled garage. Even though the car was recovered within a couple of days, the police impounded it because it had to be used as proof in a court case. The sales yard where the car was recovered from had bought the stolen vehicle from the thieves and claimed innocence. A police Court case ensued. Our daughter was told she would have to go without the car for a while. She thought though she would get the car back soon.

It is a complicated story but she finally got it back yesterday. No apology or explanation from the police. They expressed surprise the car wasn’t returned immediately! We gave her our car to use in the meantime. As time went by, we too had to get around and after driving past a car on the highway with a “For Sale’ sign, we ended up buying the car. It looked nice and had no obvious signs of being previously crashed. It was a car built by Bayerische Motoren Werke. What made us decide was that the owner told us you can drive this marvel of German Technology with all four tyres flat. Now, there is car which gives a new meaning for driving flat out.

However, now that our daughter finally got her car back, we took the train yesterday to Sydney to retrieve our car, the Peugeot (with foot-rest). However, we don’t need two cars. The BMW is smaller with endless electronic gadgetry for which one needs to take a couple of weeks to plough through the manual. A baffling mix of so many options on heating, steering, lights, the seat tilting up, down, sideways or forward. Locking of doors and bonnet alone takes a PHD to comprehend. However, as we again became embroiled in the Strata Body of our housing complex, and a heated dispute about parking problems, Helvi thought it best to keep both cars in order to give the neighbours something to worry and speculate about.

Just as things had calmed down and peace returned, the painting by the Iranian born Father and Son contractor and conflicting claims of priorities to some owners resulted in the percolating up of dormant problems. Some owners claimed their patch of front garden had been trampled on. One owner reckoned her Rosemary bush had been snipped. The colour of paint was wrong, or not enough coats of paint. Some demanded their town-house be painted first. It just kept on bubbling away. The usual fights of periodontal suffering pensioners, all keyed up and nowhere to go. So little available irony despite all the attempts for seniors to do fitness classes.

In any case. We will keep both cars for the time being. The rego is free for one car but not for both. There is a limit to our Government’s generosity towards pensioners. We would like to claim our spot of visitors parking which is next to our garage. The neighbours opposite us have three cars. One for each daughter and one for husband and wife. We get on well with them. They also are considerate enough to have lots of potted plants in front of the house which gives us a glowy feeling. Kindred souls so to speak. They were nice to the painters.

Spring is on its way. Millions of daffodils are nodding in parks and nature strips. All is well and the daughter has her car back.

https://www.amazon.com.au/Oosterman-Treats-Gerard-ebook/dp/B01IRQZY7C/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1470877728&sr=1-1&keywords=oosterman+Treats

In Australia they are adding jails, re-opening old derelict jails.

August 10, 2016

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-10/nsw-prisons-to-see-1400-extra-beds-old-jails-re-opened/7712570

Well, there you go. One would think after the abuse in detention centres, government would be actively looking at doing things differently. No, we are getting more jails, more punishment, more prisoners, more re-offenders. It clearly shows that our attention is not on lowering crime by rehabilitation and re-education. No we are pursuing what has proven to be so wrong. Punishment alone does not work.

It achieves the opposite.

Can Australia help Holland out in closing down their prisons?

August 8, 2016

While here and in the UK, plans are under way to build more prisons, Holland is closing them. They even asked Norway to send a thousand criminals, to at least fill some of the empty cells and keep employing guards.
http://qz.com/644914/the-netherlands-keeps-having-to-close-its-prisons-due-to-lack-of-prisoners

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

The Dutch Aunt married in Kings Cross.( Seniors only)

August 4, 2016

41yjSAQeq1L__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ oosterman treats

Faithful readers might remember a period when I was working for De Rotterdamse Bank, Bij-Kantoor Middenweg, Amsterdam South, as the book-keeper. It all happened during my first trip back to Holland around 1961/62 or so. A few years after my parents migrated to Australia. I wanted to work in an office wearing a suit and carrying an attaché briefcase to and fro work on the tram. It was also thought that my school friendships of the past could be resurrected. There was also the hope it might be possible to find a ‘good woman/girl.’ (I had already met ‘good woman’, but little did I know, but of that later.)

Prior to my first return to Holland and still in Australia, the search for first romantic liaisons had resulted in a piquant but dangerous episode with a large Maltese woman who was married to a nice butcher who kept a loaded shotgun in their marital wardrobe. While this episode solved some of my curiosities about the opposite sex, it wasn’t really all that edifying. The seduction came from her side, giving me a rather weak excuse. It happened while watching the epic ‘Bonanza’ with Ben Cartwright’s three sons chasing bad cowboys on galloping horses going around and around the same set of rocks. It was breathtaking in its audacity. The husband was sitting opposite! I was sure it wasn’t a reflection of Maltese cultural standards. I am so lucky to have survived. ( Dutch migrant shot dead while watching Bonanza!)

I was trying to make the best of my stay in Amsterdam, and lived with an uncle I never heard of. The poor man was permanently red in the face with anger about his former wife whom his was divorced from for many years. He also had cancer in his shoulder. He loved my chili meat patties which was nothing more than minced meat mixed with bread and lots of sambal. He felt it would burn his cancer away and cure him. It did not and he died a few months after I had left to live in Italy.

There were lonely times too, which my ‘good’ Aunt Agnes relieved somewhat by inviting me over to her place on Surinamer Plein, Amsterdam not far from the angry uncle. It was on one of those visits that she introduced me to one of her best friends who lived at the same address. It was a multi story building housing single women only. It is proof of the well developed social conscience of the Dutch that good housing is provided for all groups including single women. I never thought much of it and accepted that good social housing was the norm.

Aunt Agnes’s friend’s name was Rieta van de Meer. Also a retired teacher and never married. But, and here comes Rieta’s amazing story. On a holiday in Norway in the bus doing the rounds of Fjords and snow-capped mountains around Bergen, the Cupid angel of romance had shot it’s arrow inside this bus. She met a retired Australian farmer. He turned out to be the epitome of the jovial, easy going Australian. A barrel of laughter and lightness. Easy come easy go. The original larrikin of the ‘no worries’ man from the bush.

He was divorced too but not an ounce of rancour or bitter heart. He was also well retired, not short of a quid. Helvi and I met this jovial man a few years after Rieta and the ex-farmer married and living in Australia. She played the piano and both lived in an apartment in King’s Cross-Sydney, for many years. The hub of life and Continental excitement. It was obvious they both shone in each other’s company. He was a lot older and sadly going blind. She worked hard at making the best of it. I remember my parents visiting all of us and grandchildren in Australia meeting up with the happy couple. She was on the floor trying to hack open a can of something with a hammer and chisel. My Mum couldn’t understand the trouble she was going through. Rieta just laughed and said it amused her husband watching her trying to open the can. A kind of challenge.

It is never too late for joy and happiness.


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