The way forward to a more rounder and softer future.

May 8, 2020

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Etching by G. Oosterman

It seems hard to believe but the past is so much larger than the future. Joining the army or the police force is now definitely off my agenda. From my previous abode in Bowral I used to see a large crane helping to build a new hospital. I could have been a crane driver, but that did never eventuate. Mind you, I did work on swinging stages on multi story buildings and was lucky not to suffer from fear of heights, and it paid well.

Each day that crane almost towers over me when meeting my new friends at the cricket park where we queue for a coffee first before sneaking round the back to sit in the grandstand. It is a very sunny grandstand. There are many chairs whose seats are spring-loaded and of a faded green that I think might well have something to do with the game of cricket. Perhaps it helps the patrons seated on those chairs to see the cricket ball clearer as that has a dark reddish-brown colour. A matter of contrasts perhaps to the chairs? The spring loaded part gets a bit snappy and for those with the male propagation equipment it calls for some caution when getting up. One doesn’t want to be tethered to the seat of a chair that is bolted to concrete.

Six months have passed. Living on my own has been painful but also rewarding in that I am still alive. It surprises me daily. If grief was capable of causing mortal wounds I would surely have died many times over. On the contrary, I am now having moments of great happiness and joy as well as those on the opposite scale of feelings. I feel, therefore I am, even sometimes catch the sound of laughter coming forth just like that. The miracle of friendship with others and especially during the lockdown has been a blessing and will be treasured. Overcoming has been successful, so grateful!

Not only laughter springing forward but thoughts about a friendship of the more intimate nature. Would that still be possible? Care has to be taken not to assume that things are still the same as before. It has been noticed for a while that the awakening in the mornings, and situated underneath the doona, are not so gloriously filled and swollen as used to be in the past.  I can hear a refrain from those from the so lovely and more softly endowed opposite or female gender; ‘It is not important, there is more to life or love than your stupid state of tumescence on your awakening.’ Yes, that is true, but even when faced with mortality getting closer, I am not totally sex-dead yet. I still get twinges and even suffer (at infrequent times) thoughts of a clearsighted sexual clarity and vividness that can be utterly mouth-watering. Perhaps I am bragging, in truth my sexual clarity would probably be pretty meek and limp towards the need for a hug and a kiss more than anything.

Even so, I am now giving vent to thoughts of romance and a possibility no matter how faint and ridiculous, in trying to find a person of the softer, rounder and more opposite, nubile sex that can forgive and put up with a less than mouth-watering male.  We shall see. I am no Ferrari with twelve cylinders, more of a smoky Goggomobil with worn out rings. You have to be attracted to the simple things in life. (like men)

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Just in case!

oostermn@tpg.com.au

 

Of isolating and the Smart TV

May 2, 2020

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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.

Gerard

From the ashes doing a Lazarus.

April 24, 2020

No one weeps much for someone who moves houses but I could have done with a bit of a weep from someone… at times. This will be my last move but  before I’ll let you in on my tale of woes, it in no way infers things were all that bad. I am just totally exhausted but at the same exhilarated when just an hour ago the Holy saint of Telstra came finally, oh so finally; and repaired my umbilical cord to the world by re-connecting me to the internet. But while my tale in no way reflects a dead Lazarus rising from the ashes I never thought that going without my Helvi would be so hard in this move of houses. All the packing and unpacking, and where to put everything. The photos that kept turning up. Especially this photo of my lovely daughter Susanna (1968- 2012).

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“Pope Leo the Great referred to this passage when he discussed the two natures of Jesus: “In His humanity Jesus wept for Lazarus; in His divinity he raised him from the dead.” The sorrow, sympathy, and compassion Jesus felt for all mankind. The rage he felt against the tyranny of death over mankind.”

Feeling bad about not responding to some of your lovely blogs and pieces. Of course, much of it could have been done on my iPhone but with limited data and the lack of dexterity of both sight and fingers, it wasn’t an option for this almost octogenarian.

It has all been done now and while still waiting for council rubbish bins, all is now working. What I thought was rather telling of this modern internet world is that it is now impossible to talk to the internet providers. They blithely through endless repetitive pre-recorded messages, tell you to push this button and after that another button to get to the right section applicable to the specific problem, and then tell you because of the corona virus they can’t help you on-line and suggest that all problems can be dealt with on-line. But…I felt like screaming, “I am not on-line.”  The latest to totally make you go around the bend is to send verification codes. The codes appear just for a split second and by the time you retrieve the code, time has run out. It drove me to such a rage I strangled two tea-towels to death.

I know, the Corona is serious but I have a sneaky suspicion that it is also a convenient way of hiding inefficiency. I am not so sure of this Holy Telstra man!

Here is a picture of my new place.

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Plant Dutch Irises or perish.

April 3, 2020

 

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Milo in self isolation

 

The news is so horrific, it begs one to forego listening to the media and instead I get up and wash hands again or open the fridge for inspiration. And that’s apart from living isolated, a law that forbids leaving the front door except for essentials or work, and a handwashing mania that is supposed to lower a peak of infections. Even lovers are supposed to stay a metre and half away but this hasn’t passed legislation/laws yet. At my age and in my own case, all I have to do is wash my hands.

We must all work towards flattening the curve. Hospital beds are at a premium. In Holland elderly people are now volunteering to give their place for a high emergency care (H I C) hospital bed to those that have a much better chance of survival and instead will be cared for at home…I know Holland sorry, The Netherlands,  is progressive but I am buggered if I would be so keen to volunteer.

The 30 days of staying at home has now been extended to 90 days and billions are being spent on welfare and helping the rising army of unemployed. All of a sudden our Prime Minister has mellowed towards social softness and kindness. He was even a bit teary last night! No more talk of ‘dole bludgers’, or single mothers ‘rorting the system’ by having conveyer belt babies, or demonising acid laced drug users unwilling to look for work. No more pep talks of boat people climbing over our dunes, taking our women and jobs. Illegal dark foreigners etc.

No, now it is all empathy and benevolence towards everyone. Renters can get rent relief and land lords are being threatened with severe punishment if they dare to kick out non-paying tenants.  Banks have been ordered to give at least six months grace to those that can’t pay their mortgage. Businesses that have closed are entitled to get hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep employing staff that have been made redundant and I believe the unemployed staff will get $1500 fortnightly to be able to pay their bills.

I am now so immune to all that gloom that I have taken to the only sensible thing to do, and that is to buy bulbs and plant them now while facing the coming winter. It is the only thing to do. I noticed Aldi is selling a variety of bulbs together with a bevy of different citrus trees. I went the whole hog and bought the Dutch Iris bulbs and two small trees, a lemon and a lime tree. I have planted them already at my other place. I drove through quiet streets, hoping I wouldn’t be stopped by police for being outside my home. The police have already given ticket to those disobeying the new laws. They are supposed to use discretion, but I believe an elderly gent caught with bulbs and small citrus trees inside his car would be spared a fine.

Still, we live in strange times. Who would have thought that even a few weeks ago that people would end up fighting over toilet paper in a super market? People now look tense and I get the feeling it would not take much to get a fight going. I am careful to keep a distance in the shopping aisle and wait obediently behind the strip of tape on the floor. I pay by card and once I paid, step quickly away from the cashier and go outside.

On the other hand, while walking with our dog, Milo, I have a good smile on my face and with my dentures in place, it seems to work like magic. Many, many people smile back. That gives me great pleasure and is encouraging for the future of this pandemic suffering world, don’t you think? A smile goes a long way when on your own and in isolation. I live off a smile almost all day. In the evening I start my glass of red wine and get on the ‘Facebook and ‘Messaging’ which is a Godsend.

I can’t wait to see my citrus trees bear fruit. It will be something to look forward to.

It all helps.

Love to you all,

Gerard

Keep Clinging to the Wreckage.

March 26, 2020

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FOR SALE

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Lifestyle Advantages Galore!

 

Amazing how much has happened in just a week. We in Australia now have a virtual lockdown in the effort to try and contain this Corona virus to manageable levels. All sorts of laws have been passed whereby we are lucky to still be allowed to marry or bury. Funerals no more than ten people are allowed not including the deceased and in marriage, just the couple, the celebrant and two witnesses.

I heard on the grape-vine, that this Government is now thinking of strongly recommending newly wed couples to not consummate their conjugal forays or coupling until the end of May or to each do it separated by a one and a half metre space, (with recommended mechanical aids available at hardware shops), with thorough hand cleansing afterwards.  They are tough measures, this Government understands, but absolutely necessary if we want to get on top of this pandemic. Already there are rumours for the long (lost) married to be recommended, to sleep in separate beds and forego sex, (as if that would be so difficult.) with all the gloomy attention on the media on Corona virus and the number of deaths, night and day. Hardly an aphrodisiac.

Of course, none of the above, bar the possibility of a  inopportune funeral, apply to me. I have space all around me and all day. I sometimes startle myself with a cough or a sneeze and look around if it was a stranger who has entered my house. As for the  conjugal joys, I have just myself now, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a very nice female friend offered to stay with me during the planned cataract operation. Of course, nothing inappropriate is allured at nor to happen. Still, it is nice to think it.

I was phoned up last week by the hospital whereby they wanted to know who would pick me up from the hospital and if I had someone staying overnight in case the coming down with the anaesthetic would play up. I am not sure what would be playing up! However, all category three medical procedures including cataracts, are now cancelled as the masks and other protective equipment used is needed for the victims of this virus. This applies to both public and private hospitals.

As if it can’t get any worse. The second buyer of my place in Bowral pulled out the day after it was announced that no real estate auctions or open in-house inspections will be allowed anymore. So, now the agents ( Duncan Hill) are putting it up for sale again and for those interested, here it is. Of course, I am still moving to my place in Mittagong and very happily so!

https://duncanhill.com.au/listing-detail?listing_id=25868

The corona virus victims will get priority over the Cataract.

March 21, 2020

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Our late son, Nicholas and Helvi.

Today there are 900 cases of confirmed corona infections in Australia, which are said to double every three days. This means that by the time my cataract operation is due on the 9th of April there will be 57.600 cases with a possible 1340 people having died. These are grim figures.

Of course, we all know that life has mainly zero survival and most of us will sooner or later have to accept the icy embrace of the hundreds of millions who went astral travelling before us. Now, the good news is that the survival rate of the corona virus is 96 %, which I suppose is better that the rate of survival by rock fishing or sky diving aficionados, let alone drinkers, smokers etc.

I do my best to stay isolated but will cancel my private cataract operation which might be cancelled anyway by doctors having more urgent work to perform than non essential operations such as mine. By the end of April, unless the peak infections are halted by a complete lock-down, Australia will have over 3.500.000 million victims.!

I went shopping this morning and had a coffee at the Bradman cricket café. There was a nice breeze blowing and Milo got his usual share of treats as well as Tess, a female Jack Russell, hopelessly in love with Milo.

I went to Aldi afterwards, and bought eggs, truss tomatoes, a loaf of Multi-grain bread, two bananas, a bunch of fresh broccolini, and a bag of nice looking mandarins. A woman who had bought four huge cartons of vile looking dried Pizza crackers jabbered on how she read in the Telegraph how the Chinese are emptying the Australian supermarkets and posting it back to China to sell for profits. I told her off and so did another lady in front of me. Of course , the Murdoch paper is only good for toilet paper as a last resort or perhaps it should be first

Stay well, dear readers.

 

Shelves stripped bare.

March 18, 2020

 

The meat shelves at a supermarket are nearly entirely empty. 

The world’s turmoil is now palpable, especially entering the local supermarkets. Chins are jutting, mouths are clenched, fists are bolded. Trolleys are again waging war with shins and ankles being pushed relentlessly towards the toilet roll sections. The news is grim, schools are being closed world wide and the numbers of corona victims are rising daily. If only we could follow what the Chinese did! But it seems too late now, the horses have bolted. Are we taking ‘democracy’ too seriously even knowing it will cost more lives?

My own personal story is showing light at the end of a few weeks of uncertainty. The sale of my own place fell through even though contracts had been exchanged. Almost at the same time I was told the bad news, another buyer wanted to sign up and exchange as soon as possible. We shall see! I am going through with the purchase of the two townhouses. I lost my lovely daughter, my dear son, my wife of 54 years, and then to have the birch tree cut was a step too far. I simply wanted to move.

But back to the story of the supermarkets. I will let you in on my foray in the feminine hygiene products. My bladder seems to have developed a will of its own. Helvi knew it and told me that most men and women getting older, do suffer from bladder irregular behaviour. I have been perplexed for some time by my own.

No sooner do I get home and turn the key in the door, that an almost unbearable urge overcomes my bladder and forces me to make a run for the toilet. Mostly I make it. I don’t understand why all this is connected to turning a key and the front door. There is a lot there! Helvi too, but to a much lesser extend. She was very strong but with excessive laughter and sneezing she too had problems, but, as the woman she was, had a practical solution. She bought panty liners. I have to admit, I too started using them.

But apropos the moral of this story. I went again this morning to the supermarket to try and replenish my depleted supply of panty liners. I had used the last box that Helvi and I shared. They are in a pink box and branded ‘Olivia’. Fancy wearing Olivia so close yet so far!. To my utter surprise, the whole of the ‘feminine hygiene ‘ shelf was stripped totally bare. Not a box or tampon, slim-liners, invisible panty inserts, and heaven knows what else, to be seen. Not even condoms, male nappies (for the mature).  Not Olivia, nothing. People even hoard those items.

I am perplexed.

Fever Pitch

March 11, 2020

IMG_0497 the new place

Apologies for not having responded to so many of my faithful friends or that I haven’t let you know the latest developments. It has been a very busy time and what with all the Corona virus crisis, things have come to fever pitch.

My move to the new address will reach settlement on the 14th of April but I have had the keys to the place for the last few weeks, so used the opportunity to move most of my personal belongings myself by endless driving up and down in the Peugeot. This in itself has been a bit of a blessing, keeping me busy as it were and ‘off the streets.

IMG_0519 the move

The garage at my new place is now full of boxes and baskets, tons of it. Right now I am unpacking at the new place and trying to find places on shelves and inside cupboards. I miss Helvi’s domestic adroitness and practical input terribly. But, there is a silver lining! The friendly neighbour has been helpful in visiting me during my countless moves and introducing me to all sorts of helpful suggestions. A real help. How  a good neighbour is so much better than a far-a-way friend.

I will leave you with a picture of the front garden.

Moving to better pastures.

February 29, 2020

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The lopped top of our birch-tree which threatened the gutters.

If people thought things have been a bit quiet on the Oosterman Treats blog, they are right. After more than ten years of ‘putting up’ with a strange inexplicable  toxic atmosphere, I am moving. Helvi and I both tried to make things work, but with some people that just doesn’t work. Perhaps it makes them happy when unhinging others. The chairperson of this community likes nothing better than to hack away with secateurs and cut down anything that blocks his view of fences and gutters. You will get the picture I am sure!

I am moving a few kilometres up the road where I bought my new abode. It is brand new and so far only a few town-houses are occupied. I met one couple who immediately were helpful and welcoming. Another couple opposite also friendly and jovial. It renewed my confidence in people. I also met very nice welcoming people at the local Bradman Cricket café. A joy to behold and we meet two or thee times weekly for a coffee and exchange of the latest. Nothing serious and oddly enough, no cricket talk, not that I would mind, I just don’t understand the game.

I was so happy with the decision to move away from the present noxious body corporate and so overwhelmed with my friendly new abode, that I bought another town-house, which I will let out to get a bit of income. Good karma so far. Helvi wanted to move earlier but with her cancer and endless hospital visits it did not eventuate. She would be happy to see me move away from this present address.

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I am now packing endless boxes and sorting out all the paraphernalia we collected through the years. My goodness, 19 egg-cups, and so many sets of knives, far out. Father Riley’s charity shop is groaning with the superfluous household items of our previous life’s sojourn.

I am so happy to have made this move. I am on cloud nine and no secateurs in sight at my new address.

Bullying, and the shame of it all.

February 22, 2020

This speaks for itself.

untitled Quaden Bayles