The Tail-end of a Horse

May 4, 2018

IMG_0050horse head

I have never taken to week-ends. They are mainly boring. I don’t understand why week-ends can’t be normal days and a continuation of the week.  Years ago, out of sheer ennui, people went for Sunday drives. Now, many go to look at sport or go to rave parties. Isn’t amazing that the voluntary pill testing has come up with so many people taking pills. It seems that even going to music needs to be accompanied by taking medical enhancement products. Do people take pills to go to an opera or to church? I watched footage of a musical event down the coast. Many young people were jigging about. They were throwing their arms, lolling their eyes. Was that an expression of the musical quality of the event? Are those multi coloured pills doing that?

Before I go any further. Have a look at this 104 year old man. He is on his way to the last event of life in Switzerland. I found it very moving.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-05/david-goodall-trip-to-switzerland-for-voluntary-euthanasia/9716354

Apart from all that, the clay-horse is still fascinating us. I would appreciate if people know more about this horse. Let us know! Herewith a few more pictures as well. We now feel that the horse has Chinese origins. The details are very fine and all this in clay. Amazing.

IMG_0052 a horse, a horse

Helvi made a new tail. Is it perhaps a bit too yellow? In time this might fade. Time does that well. His ears are still in the making. I fashioned them from clay and they are now drying before I will try and fire them in the outside oven. I’ll keep you informed. At least the week-end has now started. And soon it will be Monday.

A normal day.

IMG_0055the horse's tail

 

 

 

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A horse of clay

May 1, 2018

IMG_0047a horse

A Horse of clay

It was maintenance day yesterday at the Campbelltown Radiation clinic. We had a day off. The equipment needed to be checked, oiled, greased or whatever. Most of the equipment has ‘Philips’ on the name tags. It makes me so proud. The radiation has to be focussed with pin point accuracy. I see patients with head shields going in, or neck screens.

Today was normal and all equipment in good order. After arriving I checked the bookshelves. Bingo! My book had been taken again. I had a replacement ready. I quickly flicked it on the shelf. At one stage the man with prostate cancer got up and perused the books. He did not take mine, even though I had put it in the most prominent position.  He was hovering his hand over my book. I nearly told him to take it, but desisted.  Can’t wait to see if that has been taken tomorrow. Its title is ‘Oosterman Treats.’ I am so excited.

On the drive home at about 3PM we visited the sushi take away at the big shopping centre at Mittagong. We both always go for the ‘Binto special’. They are most generous with the little soya and wasabi sachets. I love squirting the wasabi on the lid of the box that the rice, salmon and sea-weed wrapped food comes in. We watch the people go by. There is a weight problem in Mittagong and they seem to congregate at shopping malls. If only they could resist KFC and the 2 litre Coke and go for the Sushi and plain water.

Sometimes we get the urge to go and look at second hand stuff at the Salvos in Bowral. It is a giant Salvos. A good thing is they don’t insist on converting me. It would be a waste of time.  I like religions who leave people in peace. I had to tell the two ‘sisters’ who live at our complex that I am not going to the Mormon cottage meetings but that I do like the choc-chip cookies that they keep making. One of the girls is from US Texas, the other from NZ. They are so nice and even gave us a little impromptu guitar and singing concert on the pavement in front of their place.

At the Salvos, Helvi wanted to try and buy a narrow set of shelves to put our potatoes and other vegies in underneath the stairs. It has a third toilet. The builder must have had a thing about toilets. I can cope with two, but three? Perhaps he suffered bowel problems. We both noticed a clay horse outside the Salvo shop. It spoke to us. It was only $ 10.-. I took the horse under my arms and went inside to pay for it. What a find. It is beautiful even without its tail and ears.

Helvi went on to look for the shelving and shoes. She likes nothing better than to find a $ 500.- pair of Italian shoes for just $20.-. I went straight for a comfortable chair to sink in with the horse on my lap. I immediately fell asleep. I was tapped on my shoulder. A middle aged woman looked me in the face. ‘Would you like a glass of water?’ I am always pleased when somebody talks to me. There is not enough contact between people. I told her I wasn’t thirsty and explained my wife was looking at shoes. She smiled. I think she understood. Women sometimes have common grounds and shoes might be one of them.

Afterwards I wondered why she thought I might like a drink of water. Was she testing me? Did she think I had passed away with that horse in my lap? It does happen. The horse was a fantastic find. Isn’t it beautiful? Helvi last night made a tail from rope which she plucked out. I will try and get some clay to make ears and bake it into the oven after which they will be glued onto its head.  It is now standing proudly near our front door outside. Milo was a bit suspicious.

I think this horse is beautiful.

 

 

The dismal round trip to Centre-link.(unemployment office)

April 28, 2018

IMG_0046the fuchia

The Fuchsia and Cyclamen giving us joy; just like that!

Some time ago we were kicked out of the Australian aged pension. There isn’t a universal aged pension here, but instead a pension only for those that have assets and income below a certain amount. It is called ‘deeming’. One is deemed to have less than what is regarded as acceptable to live in comfort in old age. Only then people get a pension so small one needs a torch to find it. Coming from a culture where pensions are a right for everyone, rich or poor and not a ‘hand-out’, this has always been a thorn in my side, no matter how often I eat meat pies or watch the Melbourne Cup.

We grew up rich in a frugal culture with nothing wasted.   That’s why all our three adult children were helped by us with an original deposit enabling them to buy their own places. That is the reward for not wasting and squandering. Squandering is easily done. Just look around the number of young people walking while ‘downloading’, either electronica or huge burgers with Coke. One can almost hear the cash registers at the Telcos and Dominoes running red-hot.  We hoped our example would set a standard but I am not sure young people really understand it.

The not squandering money stood us in good stead but the Government recently used it to not  pay pensions and instead now rely on the old to spend up the hard earned savings and then hopefully cark it before they are so poor they might just beg for the miserly and dismal pension from the Government’s tight wadded fists. They prefer to give away billions to large corporations in tax concessions so that they can whoop it up in Lichtenstein or the Cayman Isles.

Anyway, with this and that, our savings have now fallen below the amount whereby it might just be possible to creep back into the Australian Pension. Hence our walk, cap in hand, to The Centre-Link office. Centre-Link now is he Australian Federal Governmental Hub whereby all social welfare is handled, from child endowments to unemployment income (‘the dole’, what a dreadful demeaning expression!)  single parents subsidies and the Old Age pension and much more as well.

You know, something dreadful is forever happening here at Centre-link. One sometimes see the police trying to calm down a person driven to insanity. No wonder. The grey-blue fluorescent lights saps the spirit immediately on entering. There is just nowhere to rest your eyes.  There are painted steps on the carpet which one has to follow. It leads you to a battery of computers.  This in an attempt to foster self reliance in doing all the complicated and tortuous paperwork. One is expected to join ‘MY-GOV’ and follow all the prompts to its destination whereby, hopefully one receives whatever benefit is asked for.

Even joining the MY-GOV website is way too difficult and especially the elderly give up. What, with creating e-mail addresses, passwords and a host of identification proof. The atmosphere not only effects the clients but also the staff. It is all so grey and doomed. A ghoulish blanket settles over everybody within minutes. This is a Dracula snooping around in need of a blood top-up exercise.

We can’t wait to get out of the place. I did manage to fill in all the questions, even uploading all the bank statements and withdrawals, the drivers license, my passport and rate notices, proof of citizenship, so much more.  I did the same for Helvi. It doesn’t matter that she is my wife and that all banking, income is shared. This extra punishment is demanded. And of course, all that information they already have from earlier times.

We now can’t wait to go to our radiation hospital treatments, get a needed spiritual lift. Or go home and look at the garden.

I was so determined to get above it all.  I’ll seek council through the Fuchsias and Cyclamen instead.

The round-trip to the clinic.

April 24, 2018
IMG_20150516_0006

Table setting. Hand coloured etching.

 

Today we drove for the 7th time to a special clinic for radiation. There and back is around 140KM. We drive at around 100km an hour. The car has speed control. However, the use of it gives my foot a cramp. I prefer to keep working the pedal. There is also something frightening of a car going on its own volution. I am not sure about sitting in a self-drive vehicle. In any case we will be driving for many days yet, with a total of 25-35 radiation treatments.

The clinic itself is a jolly experience. This is surprising. Most or all of the patients have some kind of cancer. Perhaps the fear of getting cancer has at least been relieved by the certainty of the patients’ diagnoses. There is no more doubt. Still, jolliness and having cancer seems an oxymoron. The clinic has two waiting rooms. One has a TV which is always on, droning on a commercial channel most of the time.  The inane dribble on channel 7 by incessantly smirking presenters will do no good to any patient, not even those that are jolly and in remission. I change it over to the National Broadcaster’s news, ABC, channel 24. This gives News. Even there, the announcers seem to be laughing all the time too. I wonder what do they suffer from? Is the news from the Trump’s US or Syria so hilarious? Perhaps the TV bosses tell the announcers to be cheerful despite the carnage shown.  It surprises me that no one protests when I change the channel. Mind you, no one watches it much. They prefer to talk.

The other waiting room is a better place. They have bookshelves with many books to either read while waiting or take home in exchange for books patients might like to swap with. In any case, both rooms have patients waiting for treatment. Most have a specific given time and as the treatment only lasts a few minutes, many are in and out quickly. The undressing and re-dressing takes more time. The atmosphere is of geniality. I suppose there is a solid common bond. They all have cancer. The radiation perhaps also aids with a kind of warming glow. Shared problems together is a great binder and the laughter in the waiting rooms reflects this very well. Each time we leave the clinic we are both in great spirits.

Maarten is one of the patients whose time of treatment coincides of that of Helvi. He is Dutch born and 82 years old. He arrived here with his parents in 1953. I did in 1956. His Dutch language is still fluent and so is his brain. His parents settled in Wollongong with his father building a house there. He told me he created a Dutch choir in Wollongong which is still ongoing. Maarten also plays a recorder  and when well enough attends courses run by U3A. http://sohiu3a.org.au/   I think he likes classical music. I will ask him next time.  I am a sucker for classical music.

We meet each day at the clinic together with many others. Many arrive by Community buses with carers. Some are in wheel-chairs. We met a couple. The wife gets her nose radiated. She suffers a melanoma and hopes the treatment will prevent losing her nose. Perhaps in total, we spend at the most 45 minutes at this clinic.  We drive home and sometimes take a lunch at the Sushi take away in Mittagong or the Thai place back home in Bowral.  The daily trip means we have to put travel on hold. But, the experience each day at the clinic is a good compromise. Perhaps not a holiday but a good unexpected bonus of joy with strong people on the edge. The snippets of social exchanges between other patients is very exhilarating.

We  like the daily visits.

The Frugals have gone.

April 18, 2018

Image result for Early wooden barrel Westinghouse washing machines

Our washing machine in Australia.

 

Do people still know anyone who is frugal? History tells us that in the past it was normal to be frugal. The Frugals wore clothes till they worn out and kept the best for church or funerals. They darned socks. Does anyone still darn today? A needle with woollen thread was used till the hole went. You don’t throw stuff away because it has a hole, or because it becomes unfashionable. The frugal gene in Australia really became embedded after WW 1 followed by the great depression of the late twenties/ thirties. Generations of frugals would switch off lights not because of saving the environment or global heating but because it saved money. The best way to survive was to become a frugal.

The period during and after WW1 meant the decimation of many Australian males which left an almost doubling of young females keen to find husbands. However, to add to the misery of male shortages it was also rare for females to work, and earn an income. Females just did not work on payable jobs but slogged away at home on the scrubbing board and darning socks.  I know this because that’s what was done in my family, although we, even while still in Holland, managed to have an electric washing machine; an early Westinghouse. That was in the early fifties, when economies started to grow and blossom, making people better off. This electric monster of a washing machine with its oak steel-hooped drum was shipped over to Australia after Mum and Dad decided to migrate there. It was admired in the whole street and worked ceaselessly for many years. It was another proof of sensibility and ardent frugality.

It was perhaps the Korean war and after the Vietnam war that the frugals were starting to loose their grip on domestic frugality. The expenditure on useless consumer gadgets started to raise its ugly head. This was followed by ‘easy terms’. Everything was obtainable through easy terms. It thoroughly corrupted my Mum who foolishly bought a Sunbeam electric frying pan on ‘easy terms.’ Dad followed with buying a B/W TV for an enormous amount of money to be paid over three years. Can you believe it?

Even so, frugality somehow survived. It was the hippy movement with Hair that desperately tried to hang on sensible frugal living with the urge to resist mindless consumerism, but that was overcome by Governments and the invention of huge public hoardings, urging us to buy Instant Coffee with 43 beans or Lovable Bras that could ‘lift and separate’,  nurturing spending, and corrupting us in the belief that the endless buying of things just for the sake of buying was good enough and gave lots of Happy to the chagrined.

All this of course is what happens today. During the previous epoch of frugality, houses, kitchen and bathrooms were not seen as items to be updated. Appliances would last forever. Now, the last of the Frugals, look on in amazement, and disbelief  how the baby boomers hurl themselves into four wheel drives and build monster MacMansions. Do they really come from the same gene pool. How did this happen?

The surplus of women after WW1 meant that those that missed out snaring a hubby, started the frugal movement with many sharing meagre incomes and bitter loneliness by living together, mostly in a non-sexual way.

However, as always the pendulum swung the other way with the arrival of tens of thousands of single men enticed by gloriously coloured Australian Governmental advertisements to work the mines in Australia in the forties till the sixties. Many of those from Europe still enjoyed rock solid and well entrenched frugal genes instilled too by same wars and economic depressions. My parents,  even though Dad did not have blond or blue features nor single, did have a knack for the butter to be spread thinly and for his children to always switch off the lights leaving the room.  We worked ‘over-time’. Over-time paid ‘time and a half’, Sundays paid double. I liked working on Sundays. Mum would be most generous in her Papal dispensational discourse for us not having to go to the obligatory Sunday church and earn double instead. We saved to white knuckled bones and pooled our moneys. It was enough to get into our own home within two years. Proof of frugality that paid off.

There you have it. Since WW1 and within, at best three generations, frugality now has swung to rampant consumerism throwing all caution to the wind. To the present generation, darning socks and the Singer sewing machine, they are relics many would not know about, nor the delights of unknitting an old jumper and re-knitting the wool into a pair of slippers. All gone.

The young and good consumers complain how difficult it is to get into the housing market. Yet, they feel it a normal right not to go without what they regard as essential; the café breakfast with avocados, the overseas holiday, the latest Apple iPhone. I have yet to see a young girl on the train with threadbare jeans sewing them up or knitting.  Where are the young knitters to save for a house?

The last of the Frugals are now shuffling into retirement homes. Some brave souls you see driving around, all bald, knock kneed or grey, having hitched a caravan to the SUV, travelling around Australia, whooping it up, perhaps for their very first time.

I remain amazed.

A Place of Repose

April 14, 2018

From Wiki.

“Repose is a formal or literary term used to mean the act of resting, or the state of being at rest. Repose is also a state of mind: freedom from worry. As a verb, repose means to rest or relax, or to rest on something for support: There he was, reposing on the front porch.”

IMG_0039a place to repose

In the renewed effort to reclaim a more balanced and benign view of the present world there could hardly be a better place to achieve it than shown above. The cushion that our Jack Russell ‘Milo’ is resting on is the reversed soft cotton side. The other side is deemed by him too rough. It is actually a piece of worn Afghan rug made into a large cushion cover we bought somewhere on our travels up North near Brisbane some years ago. You can see how low we have sunk to cater for his every whim. Sometimes I feel Milo is the owner and we mere yeomen, just renting, cap in hand!

The reason for the need of a place to repose is that the bleached bones of some of my past were getting to poke out of storm’s dust, causing anxiety to well up far too frequently and making me feel the fate as unnecessary fickle and punishing. We all know the black-dog’s friendship with darker moods. It is thought and I agree, that the search of man’s obsession for everlasting happiness is futile, unnecessary and might also be very boring. However, the opposite of accepting a pervasive gloom is not really all that popular either. So, what about a bit of each?  Could that be the answer?

Medicine is often prescribed as an answer to shadowy moods, but apart from an aspirin and thyroxine I have never taken any mood changing stimulants, excluding the sharing of coffee in morning and Shiraz at the evening. The capriciousness of fate is hopefully teaching me in accepting the past what can’t be changed. We might as well accept. You would have thought that a man in his late seventies could have come to that insight a bit earlier, but…better late than never. I might just be a late learner and having migrated at fifteen did something.

From now on I will take up residence for a couple of hours each day in the chair where I took the photo from, just behind Milo on his claimed cushion and ‘repose’. The beauty of those few square metres is sublime. Helvi made this Nirvana and paradise. It is just perfect, especially after about four pm when the sun is starting to take a rest and slowly goes down making a mood for respite of heavy thoughts perfect for a change into something lighter and positive. Is it in the opposites, the Wu Wei of life that there might be an answer?

What do you think and looking at Milo, does he give an answer?

 

 

A vase

April 12, 2018

IMG_0027vase

Is this a vase or a work of ceramic art? Perhaps both. Please note that this old table has a white painted top as well. A pity our telephone book wasn’t taken away. It seems to spoil the photo by hiding the rest of this lovely woman’s top part of her body. I do like the composition of the photo though, but don’t ask me why. It’s rather unique.  I doubt there is a similar vase anywhere in the world. We bought it some decades ago while still living in the inner Sydney suburb of Balmain. All I remember is going to a ceramic art exhibition in North Sydney and really like this work. It reminded us of the Italian master Modigliani with its elongated neck and general posture. Look at the Modigliani painting below.

Image result for modigliani portraits

Amedeo Modigliani found little success during his short life but he would be happy to know he now is famous with his paintings and sculptures selling for millions. We went to an exhibition of some of his work many years ago when we were in Paris.

I am sure that the ceramic artist who made this vase could not but be an ardent admirer of Modigliani. It’s funny how we are all influenced by what our eyes take in. Or, would it be better put, we SHOULD be impressed by the visual world and what a blessing eyesight gives us? It begs the question though; if we are so influenced by what our eyes take in, why allow so much visual ugliness to surround us? The madness of materialism now evident everywhere. Those advertising hoarding first invented in the US and almost immediately and eagerly copied and accepted in Australia. Those endless car sales yards with yawning bonnets and happy happy balloons tied to the rear vision mirrors. Is the making of money so important allowing it to override everything?

It’s not everywhere like that though. There are havens of quiet and solitude if one looks carefully. We have a stretch of pure beauty near our house which we walk almost each day and never tire of it. A lovely walk along a small bubbling creek. There are ducks and old men who talk to each other in hushed calm voices. A parrot might fly overhead or we can find a dog scanning the reeds for hidden water fowl. We don’t have to go far to see beauty and that’s a blessing we should not take for granted.

It is lovely and makes it all worthwhile.

A Lily as fair as a Rose.

April 9, 2018

 

IMG_0025lily

At times beauty should be allowed to take precedence. Last week, at a time just before dusk, a ray of sunshine lid up a bunch of flowers on the table. I was sitting a few metres away from it and was struck by its moment of beauty, I took the photo.

The vase of lilies resting on our table tells a story. The lilies, the story is of its obvious beauty. The table’s story is of a life-long history,  possibly much more. I recently painted the top in white gloss. It needed it. Even though the table is of an antique age and valuable best left as it was, at the age we are in, anything of monetary value becomes somewhat inconsequent. Who cares? It gives us great pleasure eating at this table, all white and shiny.

This table and most of our furniture we got while living in Holland in the 1970’s on a very old Saxon farm with a thatched roof. The farm was for sale and with the bargaining between us and its owner, the inclusion of some very beautiful old furniture, the deal was struck. It included the old table whose top is now painted white, giving rest to the vase of lilies.

We had all this furniture shipped over after we returned to Australia. It included amongst many items of great beauty, 11 chairs with thatched seats that through the decades became badly worn. It took some time to find someone who still had the art of rethatching those chairs. He was an old man living in an inner-city suburb of Sydney who took one look at the chairs and knew the period the chairs were done originally in. He managed to re-do them perfectly and till now we sit on those chairs enjoying his artistry.

The chair is not just for sitting,

its beauty in the eye outlast,

mere convenience of rest

the story keeps unfolding

for those who read chair

 

Mexican Boiled Bull’s head taco, yummy.

March 31, 2018

IMG_20150516_0008

 

I thought I would tear myself away from cricket and yellow plastic tape. We know what our PM Turnbull said about it all. “We all work … “We’re very quick to damn nations that cheat in any way or go beyond the rules. “It’s black and white. This clearly is against the laws of the game and we’ve just had our national captain admit they sat down, premeditated, pre-planned a way to cheat. “I’m not going to accept behaviour that is dishonest. “It needs condemnation”. ” A shocking error of judgement.”

Now with the thirtieth poll out soon with 29 of those polls negative to the present Government and in favour of the opposition, we shall see if Father Turnbull will also stick to his mantra of honour, respect etc., and resign. After all, that was the reason given by Turnbull why the previous PM had to step down. Mr Abbot had lost 30 polls. It will be untenable if Turnbull does not step down. The present furore over the cricket will be nothing compared if Turnbull does not step down.

Here is something that will restore calm and serenity to our nation. During times of disquiet and tension, eating a nice meal is always welcome.

I was surprised and much relieved about this lovely recipe of boiled bull’s head food, wrapped inside a taco shell. The recipe comes complements of the well know author Lily Brett.

  1. Get a nice large, virile, and proud looking bull’s head (preferably from a bull reared on the plains of central NSW and having covered at least 150 heifers),  and boil it in a large container. The horns must be kept on.

2. Have at least one kilo of brown onions and garlic to taste, mixed in.

3. Some salt, lots of dry coriander and chillies.

Travelling through Mexico most boiled bull’s heads look much the same, but taste can vary enormously. Most people queue up at their favourite stalls. The boiled head is stripped bare including its eyes, cheeks, tongue, brain and outer skin. The resulting bits and pieces are wrapped in the tortillas or taco shells.

One can also order the tortillas with specific parts of the bull. You can order bull’s head eye tortilla, or just tongue taco. The choices are really endless but it is a much favoured dish by the Mexicans. They eat it with side dishes of lemon wedges, chilli, tomatoes cucumber. At the end there is nothing left of the bull’s head except some white bones, teeth and perhaps the horn.

Try it.

 

The lie of “it isn’t cricket.”

March 26, 2018

 

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Our Grandsons at earlier times. Now teenagers!

 

A few days ago the ABC featured an article whereby fathers were trying to come to grips with the upbringing of boys. It was a father and sons article. It featured a photo of young smiling boys with cricket bats in their hands. The perfect roll model for creating future generations of wholesome men. It was presumed that young boys could not fail but to grow up as honourable and steadfastly focussed in pursuing a life on being good and caring adults. Learning cricket with fathers is sure-fire antidote for young boys to the dreadful Trump and Weinstein culture now so pervasive all around them.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2018-03-24/how-junior-sport-can-help-teach-boys-to-be-good-men/1744754

And then the biggest scandal in cricket exploded. Australia has always been a country of cricket. I remember during the first year of having arrived in Australia I became curious about the steady serious drone of male commentators on radios filtering through the venetian blinds of the suburban street walking on my way home from work. . When I inquired, I was told ‘it is cricket’, ‘don’t you know?’

We now know that the expression; “it isn’t cricket” has to undergo some serious revision. ‘Cheating’ is now embedded in cricket. The fall of this sport from grace is spectacularly shown on every front page and on every TV channel. The cricket ball was tampered with. Every few minutes we are shown the video in slow motion of a world famous cricketer trying to hide a small piece of yellow tape in his underpants. This piece of tape was supposed to alter the cricket ball’s curvature and spin when hurled through the sky on its way to the wooden bat and so presumably give an unfair advantage to one side of the playing teams. The plot to cheat was apparently hatched when during a spell they all were drinking cups of tea. The cricket Captain was involved during the tea break and it met the approval of those ready to win at all cost.

Anyway. For those with long memories, I have always maintained that as long as any sport is run maniacally to win at all cost, it will sooner or later come to a sad end. I even suggested and fostered the idea to have losers declared to be the winners at times. In other words, enjoy the playing of the game no matter what the outcome. Winning is all so overrated.

There are all sorts of sport worms now coming to the fore. In Rugby, rorting with salaries is now being exposed. In cycling a champion had to give up his medals because of taking cycling enhancing drugs. Russian sports people are banned for doping and heaven know what else.  One burly Australian footballer went on a rampage in New York City assaulting a family with children and is welcomed back into his rugby team. Can you believe it?  He hasn’t even apologised and paid the amount of compensation as demanded in a Court of Law.

http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/aussie-league-stars-new-york-rampage-i-didnt-know-when-help-was-going-to-come/news-story/257c6eb3211f91cb63801ff2a96e357d

Well, young fathers; I would give visiting sports venues with young sons ( why not daughters as well?) a miss for a while. What’s wrong with a nice outing to a library or art gallery, let the kids run wild amongst friendly non combatting books or soak up a good nicely coloured Chagall painting?

It might do some good. Sport is just not ‘cricket’ anymore. That is a great pity!