Archive for the ‘Gerard Oosterman’ Category

The mysterious disappearance of Flies.

December 9, 2016

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Are the flies being courteous? Just when many of us decided to bunker down underground to avoid flies, they have now just as suddenly gone. Not a fly to be seen. I looked underneath the budding Hydrangeas. Apart from lounging around our worm-farm, this used to be their most favourite spot to congregate, plan their next course of action. Only this morning I still noticed a large black one, head down, still spinning around maniacally on the tiled sitting-room floor. He was obviously in their species well known and peculiar death-rite so common in the Australian fly.

There is only so much flies can put up with, not least getting doused with the much feared ‘knock-down’ spray. Forgive me giving the masculine version. I wonder if flies too have multi genders? I would not be surprised. They certainly are heading towards euthanasia. That is for sure. One can tell by the way they line up around my hand held ‘knock down’ weapon. Mortein Fly Spray, the fast loading Adler shotgun of the fly spray. Flies get depressed in Australia. Is it the Turnbull factor?

The real reason for their sudden disappearance goes deeper than love of fly spray or fly-lust for Mrs Euthanasia. We had a great change of weather last night. A Southerly Change. It is the Australia’s version of manna from heaven during relentless heat waves. Just when all hope is gone, despair seeped in, and all energy sapped by heat, that salvation is at hand; The Southerly Change. People regain the spring in their steps, tentative shopping at Aldi gets renewed, some even walk around at random, fly-sprays put back in the cupboard. Can you believe it?

There was Carol singing at our local Bradman Cricket Park. At the end of the singing they promised to let off fire-works. What fireworks have to do with Christmas escapes me. Perhaps a lure for people to turn up! In any case, it was very loud, and Milo, our Jack Russell went berserk. I don’t know what he thought of it all. On one hand he wanted to protect us but on the other hand he was so scared. He ran inside cowering near our feet. Poor thing, so brave. The last thing any Jack Russell needs, is to be thought of as being afraid.

An hour later while I was listlessly watching some incomprehensible movie on TV, named ‘Doctor Foster,’ it was thankfully interrupted by ‘no signal.’ The Southerly Change came about. Within minutes the remaining flies went underground. What is the secret of the flies withdrawal? Can someone give an explanation?

After waking this morning, watching the spinning of the last of the flies, we ventured to go outside again. A miracle, a miracle. Not a single fly! Where and why have they now gone? Perhaps it is wise not to contemplate on those sort of minor issues. Surely, the Christmas spirit should exclude ruminating endlessly about the plight of flies. They have a right to live and I am sure fulfil some kind of need the same as other creatures. Theirs must be of some benefit to mankind, even if just to clean up the mess of others. Many years ago, I heard that for Australia to get rid of flies we should all be eagerly breeding dung beetles. Apparently, they consume dung like no one else. Does anyone know where one can buy dung beetles?
They might make a good Christmas present

Those restless flies. How many did you ingest?

December 6, 2016

img_1041berkelouw-book-barn

The heat was evident early on. The previous night, one slept restless. This is often a sign of change in weather. We decided to go and visit a large book-barn situated not far from here. It is called Berkelouw’s Book Barn. It has books but also an indoor/outdoor restaurant and wine-bar. Berkelouw specialises in both new, second hand and antique books. At this particular venue in the middle of a vine-yard, they also hold weddings. On special requests one can also organise a ripping funeral as well. Something to keep in mind for the future. It would be rather nice to be buried surrounded by friendly books. They are so forgiving and don’t hold grudges.

I was rather chuffed to read that Berkelouw’s actually started their book shop enterprices in my birth city of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. Here a link;
http://www.berkelouw.com.au/pages/about
Do please read this fascinating bit of a successful Dutch family’s migration to Australia.

After Helvi and I arrived at Berkelouw’s book bar we decide to have a coffee and browse through some books. We wanted to find large print editions of John Mortimer’s memoirs. The heat by then was getting hotter and with our dog Milo in tow I went straight to a table in the shade of a large conifer. Conifers always give shade and welcome humans for rest, giving a free renewal for mind’s spirit. A sustenance not easily obtained in pre-Christmas shopping malls! While Helvi was inside browsing Mortimer books, I ordered a Margarita Pizza and changed the coffee into two beers instead. You can see the two glasses of beer and the table setting at a photo on top of this blog.

I don’t know why this is so, but flies in Australia are almost an institution. You rarely see politicians being interviewed in the open air without battling swarming flies. They fling their arms about as if seeking flight. It is known as the Australian wave. The flies too are housed comfortably at Berkelouw’s. Especially after a pizza arrives. When the Margarita arrived to our table, the flies knew they were in for a treat. I understood why most of the people were inside. It took bravery and persistence to eat outside. Even so, it wasn’t too bad if you kept one arm free. One had to be tolerant, and imagine that the black spot on your slice of pizza moments before inserting it in your mouth was just part of an olive instead of a fly.

Of course, the setting of this book-barn is absolutely mouth watering. Just look at that row of poplars above the table. Next door is Berkelouw’s vine-yard. The whole place is built out of local sandstone. Superb architecture of stone and wood with magic fireplaces in use during winter. The flies are a minor issue, really. One could easily imagine being in Tuscany or even a French country-side somewhere north-east of Montpellier. At the end of our lunch I had eaten at least twelve flies and Helvi reckoned perhaps eight or nine. A small price to pay for such a lovely setting. The Margarita was great. Fresh herbs, especially the basil was spot on. We will go again but perhaps after a good thunderstorm. Flies usually disappear after a good storm. At least, that is what we say. It gives comfort.

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE CHILDREN IN NAURU:

December 6, 2016

Nauru , Human Dumping Ground for Asylum Seekers

I HAVE JUST RECEIVED AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE CHILDREN IN NAURU:“We are 53 underage kids in detention and feeling we have been forgotten in Nauru so we decided to take some photo of ourselves. We are between 16 and youngest is 3 and there is 5 baby that they was born in Nauru. pls if you could, spread them . Thanks”

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Wearing bicycle helmets increases injuries.

December 2, 2016
Helvi in Amsterdam

Helvi in Amsterdam

It seems a contradiction. But according to some reading, The Netherlands, where just about everyone rides a bicycle, those injured in bicycle accidents are most likely to be those wearing helmets. Surely, when a Dutch head hits the ground it is equally painful? Is the head of a Dutch non helmet-wearer harder? Of course not. However, what the investigators found is that the few that do wear helmets in Holland (less than -.5%) it is because they ride mountain bikes or racing bikes. In other words they engage in some form of competitive bicycle riding, which normal bicycle riders don’t. In Holland the danger to bicycle riders is the motor car not the cycling. This is why both are separated as much as possible.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-02/nsw-govt-backpedals-on-laws-to-force-cyclists-to-carry-id/8086514

I am sorry for giving you this link. (Just be happy I did not publish the full text!) Here in Australia, the issue of bicycling is truly and well in the hands of sport and fashion. The fact the Government is even thinking of imposing identity on bicycle riders seems to indicate that riding bicycles is seen as dangerous enough in case of accidents. And, they are right. It is dangerous because riding bicycles is much more seen as a sport instead as a way to getting from A-B. The way the rider dresses up. Hours are spent to get into artery-tight lycra. I bet the sperm counts count are drastically lower in male bicycle riders, and I am not even a doctor. The shoes alone costs hundreds and have to be multi ribbed for speed and brightly coloured. If the fashion is not expensive enough, has anyone looked at the cost of those bicycles? You can spend thousands.

Most bicycles in Australia are also highly dangerous. They fall mainly in racing bicycles genre.  They are supposed to be ridden with head lower than bum, facing the ground. How dangerous is that? They have very thin tyres. When those tyres are slightly underinflated it doesn’t take much for the steel rim to connect to the road and the inevitable tumble of the rider. Then, we have here, like in America a very aggressive car-riding population. They think nothing of tooting their horn making sure the bicycle rider understands it is the car drivers’ domain. There have been jailing of drivers who were shown to deliberately drive in to bicycle riders.

In Holland it is proven that the car driver is the one who ought to wear helmets. Far more people get head injuries driving cars than riding bicycles.

Here a copy from WWW. “Tree huggers.”

“It’s also Dutch policy not to encourage helmets because overall it is counterproductive; if you could somehow preserve the bicycle use we see today AND also wear helmets, yes, a few deaths would be avoided. But in practice you can’t promote helmets without discouraging cycling – where helmets have been made mandatory, cycling levels drop. That has a public health cost — lack of exercise is far more dangerous than biking without a helmet. The exact value of “far more dangerous” depends on the local risk of cycling – in England the estimate is that per cyclist the risk:reward ratio is about 1:10; here in the US (with our riskier roads) it is about 1:5, but in the Netherlands it is 1:25. That is, for each year of life lost to bicycle crashes in the Netherlands, 25 years are gained from better health because of the exercise.”

WWW.Treehuggers;

“You’re talking about the Netherlands, where helmet use is almost non-existent, bike use is very high, and yet it has the lowest cycling death and injury rate in the world.
If helmets really were effective, the USA would be the safest place to cycle, right?…

the Dutch don’t need bike helmets because cycling is not an intrinsically dangerous activity – it’s the road environment that is dangerous, and the Dutch have created a safe cycling environment.

The majority of head injuries are sustained by car occupants. Perhaps it is motor vehicle drivers and their passengers who should be wearing helmets?

Similarly, from dr2chase:

Because it doesn’t make sense — cycling there is 5 times safer than cycling here in the US. It would make more sense (that is, the risk is higher) to ask you why you don’t wear a helmet when you drive your car. To put it differently – your risk of head injury per trip or per hour is higher if you drive a car in the US, than if you ride a bike in the Netherlands.”

Protesters stand firm on Nauru and Manus refugees cruelty.

November 30, 2016
Asylum seekers on Manus Island.

Asylum seekers on Manus Island.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-01/politics-live-december-1/8081808

Politics live: Protesters target Parliament House for second day, abseil down front

By political reporter Stephanie Anderson

Related Story: Question Time protesters should be punished, MP says

Map: Australia

Protesters have again breached security at Parliament House, abseiling down the front of the building to unfurl a banner.

It comes a day after Question Time in the House of Representatives was interrupted by a group rallying against Australia’s offshore detention centres

The need to get drunk in Australia.

November 29, 2016

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-30/amsterdam’s-‘night-mayor’-criticises-sydney’s-lockout-laws/8074570

Why does it seem so necessary to get pissed so often in Australia? Is life so boring?
And why do politicians feel that closing down venues or restricting alcohol venues will cure a societal problem?

Why do we keep thinking that punishment is the answer? Is Australia not all that it’s cracked up to be? Do we really think that treating young people, as in the above photo is an answer?

So many questions, but at least this night-mayor of Amsterdam seems to give one reasonable answer.

Going to Pedro Almodóvar. Julieta

November 29, 2016

Pedro Almodóvar’s movies are always as good as taking a holiday. It revives the spirit. One leaves the cinema elated. What Hitchcock was for thrillers, Pedro is for passion and guilt. Julieta is again a film where familiar territory is sought by Pedro Almodóvar. The story is mainly filmed in glorious Madrid. A city for which the movie camera seemed to have been invented. It is not for nothing that even the New York City’s Woody Allen has filmed in Spain if not France as well. The lack of hoardings and ugly signage a bonus on its own.

From the very opening till the last I was taken. With padding the years on, I did not think I still had it ‘to be taken’ Cynicism seeks friendships in the old, and it can creep in. But, there you go. It is never too late. The poetry of images in this film doesn’t let up. The story of relationships, family and children and its insane pain and unavoidable losses along life’s wanderings is searing up front. But,it is the way the envelope of this film slowly opens its contents, that makes this film a work of art. Of course, the architecture of Madrid and all things Spanish, gives it the background. Without this it would just not work the same way.

The story involves a daughter deciding not to contact her mother again for many years. Grief stricken, the ageing mother comes to grips with this terrible loss. She seeks answers and as they begin to reveal themselves, she starts to understand the subtleties of where and how children grow up, move away. It is when the daughter too experiences a terrible loss, she seeks and understands the cruelty. Even loving people are capable of causing so much pain on each other. Why is that so?

A great movie.

Fire, fire…

November 27, 2016

 

IMG_0618home

Just when I thought to take a break, we had a big fire in our small town. As we left to go shopping a huge black billowing sky-high tower of smoke was churning upwards. It was darkening the sun and moving rapidly towards us. Helvi thought we should not venture out. ‘It scares me’, she said.

Smoke and fire are to me what for others might be shopping or leafing through fashion magazines. I don’t want to cast aspersions onto the differences between the many sexes. The burning down of someone’s property and taking a delight into this plight can hardly be seen as an endearing quality or an enlightening embodiment of sensitivity. The taking pleasure in shopping or interest in fashion surely has a more noble aspect. No matter what indeterminate sex choses one such delight over the other. ( one has to be careful not to fall into the trap of just referring to male or female only)

If I suffer condemnation for seeking out and watching fires, so be it. It is all too late to change now. ‘I want to look at this fire,’ I announced to my wife. ‘Well, leave me home, I am scared,’ she said firmly. Firmly is what she is all about. In the meantime there were sirens and flashing police-cars adding to my now unstoppable curiosity about the fire. This black smoke, ‘It must be a large rubber depot or something,’ I surmised with an air of an incendiary expert. By now lots of kids were rushing by, mainly boys with some smaller children being accompanied by anxious looking mothers. You could tell the mother’s hearts were not really into the spirit of fire-watching.

By now the smoke was in such fury it formed and looked like a mini tornado. It was too late for me to drop Helvi back. With total selfishness and abandonment of common-sense I drove towards were I thought the fire was. I remembered a tyre outlet at the back of Aldi’s supermarket. We were on our way to Aldi anyway. I thought to combine both. Buy salmon cutlets and watch a good fire.

However, here is where it all came to nothing. The roads towards the fire had been blocked, and police were diverting traffic well away from this great fire. The only way would be to park the car and walk. But, so many cars had already done the same. Parking anywhere near the fire was already taken by those who wanted front-stall position. ‘Why don’t you have a look tomorrow, Helvi offered kindly?’ ‘I am sure the firemen don’t want the public hindering their work.’ ‘I am scared and want to go home, she said again. ‘Perhaps you can watch it on television,’ she added.

The fire turned out to be this tyre outlet. I drove by this morning. The firemen were still raking through the remnants of this building. Aldi survived and I managed to get the salmon cutlets just now.

Pity, I missed out on watching it.

Communion with a Frog.

November 22, 2016
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Milo at peace with the world

 

The event of my friendship with a stingray following me in the water along a stretch of beach at Bendalong was perplexing enough, but yesterday we had a frog visiting us inside our home. How often would a frog end up inside our homes? It would have to be a deliberate choice; surely?

It happened during last evening’s TV hour of Rick Stein’s ‘Venice and Food.’ He seems to be joining several TV cooks combining culture and food, or at least linking food having its origins in making do with whatever was available at earlier less affluent times . Good food is the result of poverty more than wealth. Herbs were added to basic ingredients to make tasty and often nutritious food by peasants. Of course, at least in Venice, the peasants have disappeared or are rich. The real peasants have morphed into hordes of belching tourists.

Last night’s Rick Stein’s tour along Venice’s Grand canals were interspersed with sea-food risottos or pastas dished on mouth-watering steaming plates, all so colourful, with just the right amount of a verdant green sprinkle of parsley, with Venetian sienna accented intonations by a smiling waitress.

When everything was steaming along on TV, I noticed Milo, our much revered Jack-Russell Terrier, carrying something around in his mouth. As it was dark outside I did not think it would be a lizard. During daytime hours, one of the less social acceptable amusements is Milo chasing lizards and performing amputations of their tails. He is totally flabbergasted that there are now two wriggling beings instead of just the previous single one. We don’t encourage him.

I told Milo to drop his pray. He did instantly. On close inspection I thought it might be a young bird. It kept moving about. I lost sight of it in the semi-darkness of our lounge room. We usually spent evenings in subdued lighting. Milo though, all excited, wasn’t about to loose his pray and directed me to this missing little animal hopping about. It had now jumped into our bedroom. I looked and discovered it was a fairly large frog. I tried putting a dish-washer cloth over it. It jumped away before the cloth hit the floor. It had jumped into the bathroom. Perhaps it needed water?

I managed to find it again underneath a rack of towels. This time I covered the frog with a wet towel. I told Helvi about the frog, but she did not seem interested, and kept looking at Venice and listening to Rick Stein’s cooking commentary on the telly. I duly and with some magnanimity carried (proudly) the frog to the other side of the house and to the safety of a tangled Jasmin bush. During the last few years  this jasmin managed to scramble over the paling fence shared by our neighbour. It was also near an outside light which had a crowd of insects buzzing about. I hoped this frog would find a nice morsel as well. It should not just be the domain of Rick Stein. I then took it a small saucer of water.

After the show was over, I urged Helvi to take a look outside at the frog. It was still there and looked happy. As far as it is possible to detect happiness in a frog.

Good boy, Milo. Good boy, for not pulling the tail off a friendly frog.

I shall not hear the Nightingale. Sing on as if in pain.

November 21, 2016

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These words are part of a poem by Christina Rossetti. Last night’s effort in resisting Alzheimer or dementia, was an exercise in trying to remember the last few lines of her beautiful poem. It was harder than I thought. Why try it in the first place? It could well be this looming Christmas whereby I resort to contemplating what might be next in store. Close to another year having dropped its autumn leaves. Another ring around this aging trunk. Of course, here in the Southern world, it is the wilting of spring flowers that heralds the end of the year. A hot Christmas might well be in the offering. The Bogong moths are already trooping, getting ready for their annual migration to the much cooler Snowy mountains.

This photo from Google images.

 

Our first Christmas celebration in Australia was astonishing. I still remember that smell of beer and ripe prawns. The mid-night Mass with the congregation wearing shorts and rubber thongs. The Bogong moths swirling dangerously above my head, yet most people ignored them. The priest himself pleasantly full of the higher spirit that included pre-mass long necked lagers and brown hearty ale.

The moths were tame and just seeking each other out to form a swarm. When large enough a group would get ready for their long journey of hundreds of kilometres. Nature is so amazingly ordered and logical. In earlier times, the aboriginals, the original owners of this land used to feast themselves to a kingdom as well on these fat moths.

Another memory stuck through all those years, and probably getting richer as time passes, was a particular wedding that we went to. Again it was during summer heat. The venue was a golf course club house. A magnificent affair. The bride looked radiant, the groom suitably flustered and suited. The food all spread out on tables and fine linen. Prawns and salads, mignon steak and spinach sauté, flowing Chardonnay well oaked. As it was during those long gone years.

But then the Bogongs joined the party. Hundreds if not thousands of them. All swirling around. The overhead fans offering so treacherously the cooler air they craved for. The fans also slaughtered them. Those poor Bogongs now falling down in a spray of grey, gently landing on the food below as marital dust. No matter, the party was well on its way. Speeches were made and music flared up in between it all. The beverages had worked its magic. It was a great wedding. She was Croatian and he Australian from English background. They are still together as far as we know. A rare event, nowadays. They even had twin boys.

But here is the poem;  Christina Rossetti.

Those Shadows.

I shall not see the shadows.
I shall not feel the rain
I shall not hear the Nightingale.
Sing on as if in pain
And dreaming through the twilight
that doth not rise nor set.
Hapley I may remember
And hapley may forget.

https://www.amazon.com/Oosterman-Treats-Philosophical-Musings-vasectomy/dp/099458105X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1470095148&sr=8-1&keywords=oosterman+treats