Archive for the ‘Gerard Oosterman’ Category

The tidy kitchen.

April 12, 2019

IMG_1083interior

That is one thing we try to achieve before going to sleep. Tidy the kitchen. Most times when rising from a sound sleep, the kitchen is what I head to first. There have been many times in the recent past that the kitchen was left in disarray from previous night’s events with the remnants of tea-cups, wine-glasses, even a plate with half eaten crackers or the detritus from fruit with glutenous grape pips, plum, apricot and peach stones tucked in sticky tissues or sometimes just brazenly left naked on the timber coffee table or even left to drown in the wine-glass itself.  There was a wantonness about it all. One could argue that that sort of recklessness ought to be accepted between grown adults and that surely after over fifty years of dalliance together, little offence could be attached to what really ought to be looked upon by most mature adults, as a domicile freedom. There never was any offence. Both of us are not addicted to domestic fanaticism or keeping things in scrupulous order. We do enjoy beauty and domestic architectural simplicity.

But, as of some weeks ago, I decided, without making it into a big deal, to tidy the living room and kitchen before the good-nights.  The dishes were always washed before the start of the evening, usually while the weather report is on the TV. The tidying up of the evening remnants was left till next morning. Not anymore now.

This recent tidying up had an immediate and amazing result. Each morning now before I reach for the kettle and coffee maker, all is free of clutter. The sink is clean with the sun streaming over the polished stone bench-top, playing around the beauty of a dark blue vase while giving a pleasant contrast to the Valencia oranges and deep magenta purple plums all held on a large multi-coloured ceramic dish.

It is nice to lord it over the morning’s ritual, and the coffee and tea making is done in an uncluttered environment. It really starts the day on a positive note. I make the coffee in an Italian coffee maker. It is in three compartments with the bottom holding the water above which is the holder of the coffee and on top of that again the actual coffee pot.  The last coffee device was similar but the rubber ring had worn out. We went all over Sydney trying to get a replacement ring but none fitted the pot. We ended buying another pot with three replacement rings for the future. Helvi always know when the coffee is being made because the air-conditioning is spreading its fragrance through the bedroom. It’s not always made at the same time which adds a kind of spice and adventurism to our domestic life.

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Walking the dog and Autumn.

April 5, 2019

IMG_0067the Manchurian tree

Our Manchurian pear-tree

The weather is getting to the benign state of allowing daily walks in comfort. The hot blue skies and simmering asphalts have finally given way to soft rain with dove-grey clouds keen to welcome an honest autumn. Even the TV’s weatherman has taken on a calmer stance, showing a clear bias to cooler nights and crispy mornings. Two weeks ago I moved the aircon switch from cool to heat together with adding an extra blanket on our beds.

Here in the Highlands the seasons are distinctly different and is particularly inspiring to watch in the changing of garden greens and trees. Oaks, birch, claret ash, the different beeches, maples and elms are all keen to ditch their leaves. Soon the dreaded strapped on beefy looking  leaf- blowing Bowral Burghers will announce their presence.  I’ll try and summons patience and acceptance of the things we cannot change!  Gardening as a whole has become so much noisier and taken on the form of a war against the growing of things.  I often feel that over-enthusiastic bourgeois gardeners feel it all has to be kept in check and dominated and so line up on Saturday mornings, and buy all those petrol driven equipment to achieve that.

In our housing complex the gardeners are forever being implored to keep things tidy. Some ten years ago when this complex of eight town house were built a unified garden was established which included the Virginia creeper. This creeper always gives a great display during autumn with leaves turn a bright red to burnt-orange. They are fast growers and climb happily against any wall. They use tine anchors in the shape of little suckers to climb up. However, all of those creepers were removed. They were seen as not being ‘tidy’ by the management of this complex. We insisted on keeping our Virginia creeper.  It happily grows against our garage wall each year and even sometimes climbs over a section of the roof.

Milo, our Jack Russell terrier also prefers the cooler weather. He never fails to get admirers who will stop in order to pet him. Sometime he will jump up and sniff their bags. He hopes for a treat. He was lucky a few weeks ago when a woman stopped and opened her bag with hot chicken in it and gave Milo a juicy warm piece of chicken, freshly cooked. Milo showed his pleasure by wagging his tail.

Can you imagine how nice the world would be if men would treat each other in  similar fashion? I don’t know if I will ever reach a level whereby I would offer food to other people on the streets. I do give generously to people who play an instrument or sing on the streets. I went as far as losing my shopping trolley tokens last week to a man playing the didgeridoo. I just emptied my pockets on his little blanket that he had spread on the pavement. More and more people are going hungry. In ‘rich’ Australia many children go to school without even having had breakfast. Why don’t all schools follow Finland? Twice in a row, Finland has been nominated as the ‘happiest country’ in the world. All primary schools provide lunches and have done so for decades.

 

The importance of the ceremony.

April 2, 2019

Image result for japanese tea ceremony

With the ingestion of a third pie yesterday we thought it might be a worthwhile enough event to try and include it in our list of daily rituals. The main one on awakening is always the first coffee and tea of the day, together with scanning the news. Despite fervent wishes to get ‘new’ news, we invariably get disappointed. I pour Helvi’s (percolated) coffee first and then proceed to make my tea. I like to dangle the tea-bag for it long enough to give my cup of boiling water just the right dark colour, before adding milk to both beverages. I gave up coffee some weeks ago after finding out that my  percolating bowels often resulted in a fast run to a  toilet. This often happened after morning’s coffee. So far, it has done the trick and since changing to tea, all seems settled.

We mostly, depending on the quality of the previous night’s slumber, sip our drinks in silence. I broke the silence this morning with suggesting to go for our daily walk before breakfast, and even offered that we might get something to eat in our little town of Bowral instead!  Of course this breach from our usual protocol imbued our sipping ceremony with a strange flavour. I felt that a sudden transmutation in the order of things can often enhance the pleasure.  Of course, in younger years almost everything is a change and its pleasure never ending, and wildly adventurous. It is odd how in advancing years we experience change as an entity to avoid. We get used to our own pyjamas,  the mellowness of own pillows, and can get quite upset to find a pair of socks inside our Headache & Medications cabinet.

We got dressed and walked to Bowral with enough time on our hands to take it easy. Taking it easy, is one of the pleasures of retirement, and our town of Bowral is a haven for ‘taking it easy’ couples. The tapping of canes on pavements is a familiar sound giving great comfort for those without as yet the need for a cane. I know of course that many old people relish being maddingly fit, busy and they show off on TV how at the age of 92 they still go on running on bush tracks saving Koalas, or, how they can still do push-ups and study for PhDs.

With a third meat-pie now making its entry in our lives and consumed just outside at the Gumnut Pie shop it seems reasonable to assume that it has taken a hold in our list of habitual events. The transgression of our habitual daily routine has taken us to an unexpected turn, ripening the pleasures for those like us, ‘taking it easy’. One can never take things for granted and that change ought to be accepted as an unintended gift in spicing up our daily ceremonies.

We have as yet to formalize the eating of our meat-pies. It will take time and habits will ensure that it will grow into a similar yet different path of a ceremony, like our first tea and coffee mornings. This third pie was taken with a sachet of tomato sauce of which its secrets of opening it without squirting, was achieved by some forbearance and patience. It was  a splendid gift of an unexpected morning’s pleasure. Every drop of this fragrant meaty nectar with tom-sauce was consumed with an  aura of a rebirth.At moments like this we are re-born with life revealed, ever renewed by the power of another ceremony.

A surrender to the Meat pie.

March 25, 2019
Image result for meat pie

 

The walk with our Jack Russell dog ‘Milo’ is during the week-ends taken along a small river that flows through our small town. This routine was established because of the town itself being inundated with motor bikes and their riders during week-ends. Milo has a ‘thing’ about motor bikes which through the years we haven’t been able to solve, no matter how many dog psychology books we have read, or trained him to accept motor bikes. He just goes ballistic. Most of the motor bikes are being driven by pre-coronary failure bearded middle-aged men on their last hurrah before the motor bike gets replaced by the mobility walker.

We broke with this river walk tradition, and took Milo to town last week-end. The weather was pleasant with the sun demurely casting a nice glow amongst the oaks and birches planted in the town square. The town square is surrounded by enough shops and cafeteria to give it an almost European feel of a community at ease enjoying a Sunday without guilt.

As we started to get a bit hungry I suggested we might get something to eat. We sometimes go the whole hog and order ‘lunch’, mainly at Thai restaurants of which Bowral sports a couple.  Depending on the level of hunger, we also, at times, just grab a sandwich or share a plate of fish and chips. This time however, like a bolt out of the sky, Helvi said; ‘I might get a meat pie’. One has to understand that Helvi in all her past septuagenarian years never ever had a meat pie. She took one look at a meat-pie back in 1965 after our arrival in Australia as a married couple, and almost fainted. ‘How could you have shown me that’, she asked? I explained to her that my first experience of Australia was the meat pie. Years before our marriage and as a young 16-year-old newly arrived from Holland, I worked in factories sweeping and cleaning but also ordering lunches for the workers. The main lunch orders were meat pies and bottles of Fanta soft drinks. I was amazed at the conspicuous wealth shown of Australia already then. At times, half eaten pies were thrown out, just like that! Can you imagine? To be able to afford throwing out food surely was the epitome of a belching opulence and wealth. I might have had trouble then in accepting this new cultural discovery but put it down as proof of Australia being everything that we had been told. Not exactly streets paved with gold, but at least with a thick runny brown gravy bravely encased in a brown baked crust.

After Helvi’s declaration and intention to eat a meat pie, I could hardly contain myself. For the first time too, ever! I asked her what changed her mind. She said; The shop advertises that their meat-pies have won many ribbons at the yearly Sydney’s Easter Show. This show is Australia largest agricultural event. A competition of all agricultural products imaginable, even those that are unimaginable. A rich yearly kind of carnival where kids pester their parents to visit, mainly to get their hands on ‘show bags’. Show bags are made to corrupt kids into eating sugar and contain amongst other, Coca-Cola, Mars Bars, Violant crumble, sickening lollies, fizzy powders and much more. After a day of murderous mayhem, the exhausted mothers and kids used to be able to get relief at Bex , Vincent APC and other nauseous and headache relieving medication bars near the exit. I kid you not. They were called BARS!

Anyway, the pie shop is called ‘The Gumnut’ and the windows are full of Easter show ribbons and awards proving their meat-pies ‘year in year out’, are indeed the best in Australia. The meat-pie judging is done by seven pie experts on a podium in clear sight of judges, all in white garb and donning white caps. Gloved fingers prod the pies for buoyancy, firmness, springiness, before actual sampling. It is an exhausting all day affair. The public, including nervous nail-biting pie enthusiasts are seated in the special arena where the judging takes place. We know how involved this all can be because we used to show our finest alpacas at the Easter-show. (Sadly, we never won a ribbon.) It turns out, according to the ribbons shown in this Bowral pie shop, that their pies are the best.

And this, dear readers was the reason that Helvi for the first time ever had a meat-pie. She loved it. ‘Real beef, she exclaimed’!

Balm for the saddened heart.

March 21, 2019

 

We thought of looking at some TV again. I mean we generally watch the news but not much else. Thank goodness for SBS’ ‘On Demand’ and the ‘ABC I-view’ which allows one to see almost anything that has been filmed. We have taken to foreign movies and serials as never before. Anything with a foreign language and we will most likely watch it. Sometimes an English language movie pops up but with both our hearings failing we loved the subtitled foreign ones. For an unknown reason English language serials on the ‘Smart TV’, don’t show subtitles.

But back to out latest attempt to watch the normal TV programs. We watched two documentaries on the one night. Number 1. was Foreign Correspondent exposing the dreadful plight of how the multinational drug companies have managed to wreak havoc on millions of US citizens with a drug called Oxycontin. It belongs to the opioid class of pain killers and apparently this drug was sold in the US without warnings of risks of dependency. The camera on Foreign Correspondent took us through the streets of San Francisco showing us the sights of dozens of people, young and old, nodding off on heroin or meth.  A few sober enough to answer questions all spoke of how Oxycontin started them off on heavier drugs. Millions of US citizens’ lives are ruined by this scourge. And the blame squarely put on the Medical corporations responsible for their plight. It was a most depressing documentary.

Nr 2. was even worse. It was a documentary made by Louis Theroux on Milwaukee. It showed us the frightening casualness and acceptance of mindless shootings and killings in that city. It is called ‘Murder in Milwaukie’.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09c4ppc

A loving grandmother is shown watching TV with a gun tucked under her cushion next to her, ‘just in case.’ Her grandson had been shot dead the week before. A group of young men interviewed by Paul Theroux on the cheerless looking street did not throw much light on this violence. They were seen smiling and joking. A man drove by and one could hear a shot being fired from the car. They did not even look up. It is that normal. The mother of her son shot dead the week before was showing her gun with a rapid motion ejecting life bullets on the bathroom floor. How utterly depressing. The despair and weariness of the police trying to bring the shooters to justice was included with an attempt to bring some balance to the footage.

I think we will go back to our Skandia Noir serials. At least the murders are fictitious.

And now the murderous male.

March 17, 2019

What happened in New Zealand is beyond words. All of a sudden politicians are scrambling to try and take back some of the notion that free speech is one of our most cherished democratic rights. The availability of the killer’s video is now suddenly seen as over the top, and agents are desperately trying to take it down. Face-book, Google and a host of other websites are now being deleted of that video. Our own Prime Minister is full of indignation and now suddenly changing his rhetoric on Muslims and Refugees. It was only a couple of weeks ago, he called out that the Muslim refugees on Manus and Nauru held rapist and murderers.

The insincerity of Morrison was dripping down my TV screen. I felt like chucking an egg. Let’s not forget that Dutton’s demonising of refugees and Muslims could not have been honed any better either. He has been a bit quiet since the massacre! This terrorist, one of the world’s worst, is a dinky dye Aussie, as is the world’s most notorious paedophile, Mr Pell. It must be a bitter pill to swallow.

It’s been rather depressing that all of a sudden, free speech is getting a new look. When it comes to inciting hate and murder, I believe free speech should not be used as a vehicle urging others to violence. The racial prejudice, racial abuse and the covert urging of violence by the extreme right has been allowed to flourish as never before, all championed by our Politicians under the guise of ‘free speech.’ Australia is taking an example out of the US and to a lesser extend some European countries. Does Trump not call the Porte Ricans, Venezuelans, Mexicans scrambling over their borders, murders and drug pushers, killers. All bad people?

We are going to see Stan and Ollie. It is supposed to be a good movie. We have had a good run of seeing good movies. First is was ‘The Green Book’, excellent film. Then ‘The Favourite’, which was a spiel on the lesbian antics of queen Anne. Good movie too. Last but not least, The Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen.) A fantastic movie as well.

“Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I’m easy come, easy go
A little high, little low”
Anyway the wind blows, doesn’t really matter to me, to me

 

 

 

The illogical and immoral Male.

March 12, 2019

 

Image result for Morrison and Dutton
Mr S. Morrison and Mr P. Dutton (reflecting on refugees)

 

Not even a Kafka or an Edgar Allan Poe could have thought up the idea of locking up thousands of innocent people in order to stop drownings of people desperate to escape murder and mayhem from their home country.  It just doesn’t make sense. No one wants people to drown, and the suggestion by Australia’s Prime Minister, Mr Scott Morrison, that those opposed to locking up refugees, now in their sixth year, will be responsible for new cases of drownings, is just too silly for words. It begs the question; are we still living in a world of science and rational thought? Or could it be that this is how the male mind works? I say this, as it seems to be the domain of mainly males that are attracted to illogical thoughts.  Things have gone haywire with Morrison, Dutton & Co.

It is perplexing how a country’s leader could ever have reached such an abominable stage whose thought processes must border on the mentally unstable. Some argue that, this Government’s action on the indefinite locking up of refugees on Manus and Nauru is particularly bad considering that our PM, Mr Morrison, proclaims to be a devout Christian. He belongs to a  Pentacostal church whose parishioners sometimes break out in a religeous fervor, and start speaking in tongues.

Some are claiming the opposite. It’s precisely the result of those adhering to the non-questioning and under the suppressive and superstitious shadows of religion and the subsequent irrationality of demons and retributive spirits, that causes those male politicians to behave in such an appalling way. In any case, the refugees are still going mad and as the years go by, the toll will rise, and even, when finally taken in by some other country, their trauma  will last.

Australia will stand condemned forever.

 

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door—
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
“‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
This it is and nothing more.”( Edgar Allan Poe)

The flamboyancy of Women.

March 8, 2019
Image result for A women in sexual joy

 

Today is International Women’s Day. There will be all sorts of commentary and publicity on this day of celebrating being a woman. It can’t be easy at times and with this special day comes the painful truth that being a woman can be very dangerous. It can be outright precarious during relationships with man.  In Australia some 350 or 450 cases of domestic violence is reported to the police daily. At least once a week a woman gets murdered with the ex or present partner in most cases responsible. Emotional abuse is also very common. Most women go through life having experienced some type of abuse which is mainly perpetrated by the male.

The way forward seems to lay in educating the young to have respect for each other and that boys and girls be allowed to grow up as children before reaching their teens and adulthood. Some experts believe that co-educational education is a good start. I personally feel separating the sexes at school age is silly. Girls, by and large outperform boys, yet, when growing into adults for one reason or the other the jobs get taken over by men when it comes to employment. So much for equal opportunity!

We all know or should know that women rank 9 out of 10 in many areas with most men a mere 6 or7 out of 10. One wonders why that is so. We know that at times,  and honest men looking inside themselves might agree, one can get a bit intimidated by strong women. Somehow there is this confusion that strength is the sole domain of men. None is better demonstrated more than on the sexual side of things. Men might well grow up believing that their prowess in bed is somehow Tarzan-like and that women are the submitters to their often 5 minute skill of up and down male love mastery. Of course in many cases that is not so.

The flamboyancy of the female in full flight during an episode of considerate sex is something to behold. I would not be surprised that many a man feels a bit intimidated by the force and honesty of this female sexual prowess. Compared with the male it is the climbing of Mount Everest while with man it is a kind of topping a wombat’s burrow.

So, with the International Day of Women let’s be mindful that women are terrific lovers, friends and companions.

“International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. After the Socialist Party of America organized a Women’s Day on February 28, 1909 in New York, the 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference suggested a Women’s Day be held annually.” Wikipedia

A friendly Bird.

March 5, 2019

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For two days now this bird has been perching itself around our garden. It keeps staring at me as if looking for an answer. Most living creatures main aim is food. Last week, the same bird was on the garden-shed’s roof while I was trying to fasten some trellises to help grow a Jasmin against it. It wasn’t at all shy. Did it escape from a cage? I never heard of those type of birds inside birdcages. I think that keeping birds in cages is cruel, and always felt that the singing of a canary inside a cage was more the sound of dreadful agony than an expression of joy. Still, don’t some men break out in songs about jails? Johnny Cash and Elvis  spring to mind.

When the same bird arrived for the second time I felt it might just be hungry so went inside and got it some rye bread. Of course, I was assuming it was a bird being brought up its parents to be vegetarian. From the start when seeing this bird I felt it belonged to the Kingfisher variety under which the well known Australian Kookaburra falls. This is of course a much larger bird, well known for its Australian rollicking sound totally synonymous for its fondness of the Australian suburb.

 

Of course, The Kingfisher family are meat eaters so I should have got the bird some anchovies but not an easy task for they come in small tightly packed glass jar. Are those responsible for the pickling of anchovies afraid they might escape? We assumed the bird was asking for some food and we now have some mince ready for next time.

It was one of the sweetest moment of men and nature. With all the political drama and the imprisonment of a top-notch cardinal on sexual abuse of children, the appearrance of this lovely bird was most welcome.

It does help to restore faith in life, doesn’t it?

Clinging to the Wreckage.

March 2, 2019
Image result for clinging to the wreckage

 

The good news keeps on coming. Not a week goes past without another Liberal minister resigning. Are they seeing the writing on the wall? Within the next 10 weeks a federal election will be held, and as the weeks go by, the outlook for the Liberals is getting dimmer and grimmer. My prediction is that by around 7.20 pm on election day, Anthony Green will call the election over with a resounding win by Labor.  As it is now, the Liberals, are running a minority Government. This would normally result in an immediate election. As it stands now with politics, the Government seems to only sit for a few weeks of the year. It is not a mystery what all those politicians are up to when Government is not sitting. They fly around the world and fatten their own portemonnais. Million dollar share deals are discussed around NYC Spotty Pig’s restaurant where the finest steaks mignon are served with sautéed chanterelles and marinated lupin pods. Fine wines are quaffed, and linen serviettes absorb the occasional burb and moistened sneering mouths.

The exit queue leaving the Liberals includes ex foreign ministers, ministers for defence, refugees, business, environment, and more, with women ministers taking the initiative. As it stands, even if the Status  quo remains the government is doomed. At present they are a minority Government. It must be hard to know who to vote for as seats are becoming vacant and in utter disarray. A frenetic search is on for new people to stand for those seats now becoming vacant. On top of it all is the criticism now levelled at the Liberals for being a cosy boys club. Women that do stand the heat of this patriarchal club have to be twice as good and face the relentless bullying of male opposites with their oafish behaviour.

Personally and without rancour. ( Oh well, a little rancour is in order) I so hope for potato head Dutton to lose his seat. It would be the olive in the martini. As for Tony Abbott, he can also get lost in the wilderness of forgotten ministers. He can console himself by listening to Pat Boone’s music or reflect on his soon to be de-frocked friend ex-cardinal Pell.