Posts Tagged ‘Argentina’

The Tent.

February 8, 2019
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In our efforts to become leaner and not willing to burden our family with the washed-up flotsam of our earthly but temporary stay, we undertook to try and ditch some possessions we no longer use. The clutter of our third bedroom, used as an office is where we started some time ago. All those papers stored, ‘just in case’ but never looked at again. Do we really want to look at old gas bills, or Water & Sewage rates and taxation notices? Out they went.

We had stacks of photo albums. Hundreds of camping trips when our children were small. Holidays on the South Coast dating back to the sixties and seventies. Many recorded by my Agfa Clack camera bought from my savings while delivering fruit and vegetables to embassies in The Hague just prior to my parents’ adventure migrating to Australia. That camera was indestructible. Colour films at that time were sent to Melbourne for developing and it wasn’t cheap. Later on a new camera was bought and recorded our overseas trips to France, Holland, South America and a still lovely Bali, with some of our best memories from Santiago de Chile post Pinochet, and Argentina. We kept the best of those photos now stored in a blue Dutch Verkade biscuit tin and chucked the  empty faded albums in the recycle bin.

We have as a matter of getting away from inside our house also made attempts at cleaning up our garden shed. It seems that order of things don’t last even without actually using tools from within the shed. Sooner or later things become disorderly again out of their own volution. We discovered a rather large and bulky bag that looked almost as if it held an assortment of cricket gear. Most unlikely. We are to cricket what a herring is to a seagull.

It was a tent!

The tent was used a lot on our previous life on the farm. We can still hear the echoes of laughter from our grandchildren who, with their mothers, slept in the tent on many occasions. They would take books and read with light from candles. Did we not all do that when young? We did. I had rigged up a battery with a small globe and read Jules Verne’s adventures under the blankets during winter’s nights with the windows all iced up with frost designed flowering shaped greetings in the morning. Dutch winters were still cold.

With our grandkids now almost young adults and us on life lengthening medications we are most unlikely to go camping again. How would we get up from the ground? I suppose by the help of a tent pole. Over the last few weeks we did leave useful items on the ‘nature strip’ at the front of our housing complex. The nature strip is a green grassy area reserved for Australian suburbs. It also sums up to me a kind of terrible dullness. The noise of the petrol lawnmower doesn’t liven it up either.  Anyway, it held our small enamelled barbeque and several still working electric fans. They were all soon taken. However, I did not want to abuse this nature strip too often, and decided on a different method for ditching the tent.

Last Wednesday morning I went to the Moss-Vale Returned Soldiers Club for my weekly indoor bowling event. I thought that leaving the tent in the parking area, no doubt someone will get the benefit of this still in very good condition tent. The tent is one of those spring loaded pole affairs and easily put up. It was also large, for six people and a shade sheet for over the top with a floor sown onto the sides. Years of designing this tent went into its production.

After arrival at 10am, I parked the car out of sight from other cars. I opened the door and gently lowered the tent on the bitumen next to our Peugeot. No one had seen me doing it. But…just before the start of bowling who would walk in with a large bag? It was Peter.

‘Guess what I found next to my car, Peter said’?  It was my tent. He had parked next to my car after arrival. Other bowling mates advised Peter to unzip the bag to see what it was. I acted just as surprised and even said; ‘perhaps it is a gun’! After unzipping, it was found to be a tent. I wasn’t surprised. He decided to hand it in to the office near the entrance where members are always asked to show their identification before being allowed in. When I left after the bowling was over, I noticed the bag with the tent at the back of the office counter.

It had found a good home.

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A house in Rio de Janeiro

December 14, 2013

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In between getting older and being old, have I left living in Brazil a bit late? I have always felt that there must be places that offer more excitement than Australia. “Oh Gerard, have you not learnt enough yet. Excitement is what you make yourself?” This is what reasonable people have always told me. “You are out of your mind”, from the same reasonable people. Another favourite saying thrown as a morsel to keep me sated or even sedated. ” You will never find anything better than Australia”, “it is the best country.” Is this last bit an attempt to quell their own uncertainty?

Perhaps it is nothing more than my own wish to escape from getting old, pretending that moving about will stop ageing, I have a tendency to dream that a nirvana exists always somewhere else except at the present place. Another bout of useless dreaming of foreign countries. It could also be, that reasonable people are possessed with a lot of sangfroid but bereft of coping with anything much more exciting than a change of direction of stirring the tea and milk anti clockwise. Their major concession to adventure. I am surrounded by a sea of tea stirrers all in tandem. Round and round they stir.

I know, that Christmas always brings out in me a kind of melancholy. Contrary to what most people seem to want, my melancholy runs its course and doesn’t stop just because of a looming deadline. Perhaps unreal expectations are running rampant in others and I know and feel that too keenly. Does a certain date of 25th of December make necessary for a total mayhem of life? Is the 26th or 29th of Dec not very much like any other date? If the 25th is such a nice date, why is every day not like the 25th? Yes, I know it is Christmas and very special, but we still continue breathing, laughing, or not, like every other day. The sun comes up and goes down, just the same as any other day. It also often rains.

Today, it is still more than ten days till Christmas. Even so, in the shopping avenues there is a certain tension building up already. You can see an increase in tempo. Is time starting to run faster? Is the minute now getting shorter?

Brows are furrowed and people are nervously lugging huge trolleys laden with mountains of food. Today I saw a lady wearing a floral dress who would normally, (I assume somewhat brazenly) calmly go through the dairy division (small goods) of the super market to buy a small diet yoghurt. Today though, she threw all caution to the wind, loading 12 six packs of apricot smooth yoghurt with attached spoons in her groaning trolley.

Later on, while I was studying the different bags of garden potting mix outside, this same lady was ripping into one of the six packs apricot yoghurts with the spoon now unattached. After I bought and rolled my two bags of potting mix on my trolley to the footrest car and taking the trolley back, this same lady was on her third yoghurt. Is the Christmas spirit causing a hot fever resulting in an uncontrollable urge to slurp fruit laden yoghurt?

I remember last year finding a half eaten leg of ham in a bin just outside the Woolworth super market. It was in the full sun and would have gone off. In any case, flies were busy buzzing. It had teeth marks on it. Did some soul’s hunger get the better of him or her? Later on I speculated on who could possibly have partly eaten a leg of ham and then discard it in a bin. Did some people hold an impromptu ham eating party around the corner on the grass verge to celebrate the Christmas. Did they eat it late at night?

It is not unusual to see people buying food at the supermarket only to see them outside the door and start eating. They wrestle with the plastic wrapping. Their hands are shaking. This eating seems urgent and the need to satisfy hunger is immediate. Not a second to lose. One can assume that food had run out at home and that finally only hunger drove them to the shop…

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It is therefore not surprising I started dreaming of how life would be in Brazil. An escape from the tedium. I can hardly believe that those sort of strange Woolworth eating cultural habits would exist there as well. I know that hunger thrives in Brazil. The slums of Rio have hordes of hungry kids going around for food. But they also laugh and play soccer. From my experience in Argentina, people do have different life habits. Hunger here seems lonely and suffered in isolation. In Brazil, I hope and speculate, hunger if it is still rampant there, is shared and communal. A shared hunger is preferred to an isolated one. Shared anything is better.

I found a house outside Rio de Janeiro with twenty five hectares and two waterfalls. Here it is.
http://www.viviun.com/AD-194312/