Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Schizophrenia; Care or jail-time?

June 11, 2019

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Left to Right; Frank and Gerard about 1942!

Last night’s 4 Corners program on the ABC featured the story of a young man who after many years of abhorrent behaviour ended up killing 6 people. It traced his days as a young boy who went through school whereby according to the friends and teachers he already showed up as a boy who was different, with strange behaviours who was increasingly becoming more and more erratic and dangerous. At 14 years of age the school went into lock-down as he had taken detonators to school. He gave as reason;  to blow up the school and get even with his fellow students for picking on him.

https://www.abc.net.au/4corners/time-bomb/11196092

James Gargasoulas was a troubled young man. The ABC decided to spend seven months on the story in order to point out that the tragedy not only could have been, but should have been avoided. It was clear that his spree of crime and violence was well known to the police and for some years. Nothing was done about him and one wonders why when the signs were so overwhelming and his behaviour so unpredictable that nothing was done to try and find out why his behaviour was so unpredictable. Why did it not get picked up that his mental state was in need of serious diagnoses and given some kind of mental examination and care? The only thing sure was the continuation and repeat of his unpredictable behaviour. He was diagnosed with Schizophrenia but none-the- less sent to life-time jail. He killed 6 people. It seems that the only place for mentally ill people who commit violence in Australia is jail.

This whole episode brought back the story of my own brother, Frank. He too was unpredictable and given to bouts of rage and violence. His behaviour too started well before adulthood. He too stood out and was different. His behaviour became unmanageable for my parents and at one stage after have stabbed one of my brothers with scissors was taken in and put in a mental hospital. This was back around 1958 or so, when Frank was just 19, and I was one year younger. His stay in that mental institution was something out of the middle ages or Bedlam. He would be wrapped in wet blankets to try and subdue him! Wardens would walk around with keys dangling from belts. I am just regaling memories of a period when I too was still a young man.

014Frank's birthday

(Right) My dear brother Frank in Holland, a few month before he passed away.

It was a horrible situation.  Our family suffered badly during that period. There was (as so often) a Royal Commission in the affairs of that Mental Hospital, Callan Park, but nothing improved. I am not sure if mental health has improved in the intervening decades! I doubt it. The episode of James  Gargasoulas is proof that mentally ill people remain undiagnosed and not given due care, no matter what happens, and what terrible deeds result from their unpredictable nature due to that illness.

At one stage my brother Frank jumped from a bridge and badly mangled his foot. After many years of bureaucratic battles my parents managed to get him back to Holland where conditions for mentally sick people already then were much better. For the rest of his life he was given good care and was no danger to others or himself. He spent a lifetime in a care institution where he would be managed  and looked after as well as possible. He would be given good care for his physical well being. He had an income for his cigarettes, clothes, or whatever he wanted. He had his own room with TV and suitable mobility equipment towards his latter years. He died almost two years ago aged 79. Below is a photo taken a few moths before he passed away. His life was not wonderful but he was given good care.

Frank could easily have ended up like the poor boy from Coober Pedy, James Gargasoulas now in jail. He killed six innocent people. It could have been avoided!

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The dreaded mid-night knock on the door.

June 7, 2019

Image result for Midnight knock on the Door by the Gestapo

https://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/turkish/en/audiotrack/sbs-turkish-news-25

Australia and its secrecy laws are now acted upon without regards for the freedom of its citizens.  The raids by the Australian Federal Police on the private home of a Journalist, Annika Smethurst, and a day later in the offices of our National Broadcaster, the ABC, ought to set off the alarms for those that believe in the freedom of the press to report truthfully, responsibly and without fear or favour. … its responsibility to those who elect and have faith in the government.

The raids by the AFP on the newsmedia in Australia have been reported worldwide. Australia is now looked upon with aghast and consternation, a country where anything goes to install fear by intimidation. Australia is the only country in the Western world without a Bill of Rights. This was pointed out as a possible reason why Australia has so willingly accepted and is still going through some very dark places. The Governments have seen fit over a number of years to pass laws that enable them to virtually do anything to shut down any criticisms of its actions. They do this by including almost anything the Government wishes to obtain or achieve as  being ‘secret’, and make them by law, excluded from thorough scrutiny. This might be why the exclusion of A Bill of Rights might well serve Governments very well and under that exclusion, gets a handy protection from nosy scrutiny. It’s strange how we ended up being the only country without a Bill of Rights!

Michael Kirby, a prominent judge, has questioned why Australia is so reluctant to have a Bill of Rights. Have a look at this.https://www.sbs.com.au/news/a-lot-of-wrongs-to-repair-justice-michael-kirby-calls-for-national-bill-of-rights_2

Look at our reluctance to accept equal marriage laws, the jailing of refugees who have done no wrong. Then, at earlier times, the horrible ‘White Australia Policy’ banning coloureds from migrating to Australia, the treatment of our indigenous Australians. The ‘Children over-board’ lies. The naming of all crimes in Melbourne invariably blamed on ‘Sudanese gangs’,and the calling of refugees on Nauru and Manus, rapists, killers and wife murderers.

Allegedly, Australia has been getting away with murderous behaviour by its soldiers in Afghanistan. This is being touted as the possible reason for the raids on the ABC offices by the AFP. The Government doesn’t want a light shone on any unwanted or unsavoury consequences of their chosen actions during that stupid war. This Government wants to get at the ‘whistle blowers’ who most often are the ones to dig around for truth. All journalists work with whistle blowers whose job it is to get to the bottom of dirty deeds and deals. As it stands now, they could end up being charged with breeching secrecy laws and jailed. This is scary stuff.

We have to be vigilant.

Australia, right now is in a dark place. We need the lights on, not off.

A matter of contrast.

May 28, 2019

IMG_0128 the daisy as bright.JPG

An Irish family who have lived and worked in Australia for over ten years now faces deportation because their 4 year old son has a disability which the government deems to be too much of a ‘burden.’ Unbelievable, and how does Australia keep getting away with these deplorable cruel acts? https://www.sbs.com.au/news/this-irish-family-is-facing-deportation-because-of-their-son-s-cystic-fibrosis

If it wasn’t for our retreat into our garden with daily sun and nightly stars we would have left this barren and morally depleted country years ago. To be honest it’s not the country’s fault really, and perhaps the idealisation of perceived better places elsewhere on this earth might be totally wrong. I happen to read up on Iceland and was astonished to read they have a law that prohibits women earning less than men. They also do not have an army and at one stage had a government with women only. They also jailed corrupt banking moguls. Those sort of facts about a country gladden the heart, don’t they?

In fact, we did leave many years ago and lived with our three children back in Holland for just over three years. That first summer was glorious with everlasting evenings. The sun did not go down till 10pm and woke us up at 5am. We bought bicycles for all of us and rode around without a worry with weeping willows bowing to the wind and in our faces. We made the move back to Australia because my family were living there and I was missing my brothers and sister. We also had Whitlam,  Bob Hawke and Paul Keating as Prime ministers who moved Australia into the twentieth century.

But, let me just look at the positive. A few days ago I happen to take the above photo. As I walked out of the door I noticed this isolated daisy having risen from the garden during the night. I took out my iPhone and took this picture. Isn’t it lovely? A shy golden nugget daisy nestling against the coarse bark of the Manchurian pear tree. They seem symbiotic. The softness and colour of the flower gives sustenance and beauty to the coarse barked tree which in return gives shelter and support to the daisy.  The flower is raising its head in gratitude to the tree and the trunk seems to answer with ‘no worries’, mate.

If you look carefully at the picture you might see a cane basket at the back of the flower. It was used as a laundry basket for decades but was past it’s use and started to break. Helvi put it in the garden and filled it with leaves and some soil. No doubt the basket will be reclaimed by the garden in time and more daisies will come up. It is a give and take, isn’t?

 

The Virginia Creeper will just have to sustain us now.

May 19, 2019

IMG_0099 Virginia creeper.JPG

Virginia creeper.

All our communal town-houses were originally planted with gardens which included the Virginia-Creeper shown in the above photo. This creeper grows very fast, mainly at night when everyone is sound asleep or if not sleeping, at least inside their dormitories. Originally, our townhouses had a united garden which included the Virginia Creeper. Sadly though, all Virginia creepers were taken out with the excuse that they are known to be destructive. A falsehood was spread that those fast growing climbers would by assaulting and climbing over everything, strangle brick walls and block our much revered and beloved guttering. We, against all advice and scorn of neighbours, held onto our Virginia for dear life, and even if it succeeds in strangling us and our town-house, so be it. It is amazing how gardening is so often seen as OK or mere tolerable as long as it doesn’t take over or threatens our own homes and ‘investment’ as one of our neighbours once uttered.

With last night’s defeat in Australia of the Labor Party to the Liberals against all odds, and the best of News Polls, and predictions, this contemplation of the Virginia-creeper might just have to sustain us for the near future. The near future is not to be taken in vain or too lightly. Perhaps a better phrase might be ‘our twilight years’ as both of us are nearing the eighties and for some things, time is becoming more of the essence. It would have been so nice to  have witnessed an Australia finally coming of an age where change for the better, would override the endless ennui of more of the same. How much longer can we look forward each morning to an Australia where Taxation cuts, Border Controls, sticking to contemplating the past, and Queen Victorian Gun boat diplomacy has to sustain us?

Just think how it now must feel to have for another three years a Scott Morrison as Prime Minister. A man who has on numerous occasions highlighted his belief in Christian faith but at the same time was almost manically keen on locking up for indefinite detention thousands of people who have done no wrong except for trying to escape from wars and bloodshed and look for a safe refuge in Australia. I wonder how those refugees on Manus and Nauru, now well into their sixth year of detention, are feeling today, hearing how their tormenter has been chosen as leader of Australia for another three years?

So much hope was invested in a change of leadership that would finally allow Australia to progress to a more just and fairer society. A society that would be leading in climate change and care for the environment. Today is a day where we celebrate the standing still of Australia. When will we ever learn, that change ought to be embraced even if change might at times fail? It is always better to have tried than not at all. Why is Australia often celebrating the fondness for looking back and clinging to the past? My parents who came here from Holland in 1956 would not be proud today of Australia. They wanted a better future for their children. My wife,  from a very progressive Finland and I with Dutch genes, are almost tempted to book a return to Holland.

We don’t have to look at Holland or Finland for examples of progressive countries. Just look a bit to the side and look to New Zealand. They have a leader that seems to thrive on progress, especially on a social level. Why don’t we look to our Eastern neighbours instead of our much beloved Western US, a nation that is being headed by a morally bereft President man heading his country knee-deep in a moral morass?

It has been New Zealand who offered  several times to take the refugees from Nauru and Manus. Our Australian Prime Minister with his Christian Faith held high on Pharisees  sullied sleeve, heartlessly refused each time. We will just go outside and look at our Virginia creeper. It will have to sustain us till the next time!

My poor country, Australia.

The earnestness of an anti electric-car Prime Minister.

April 22, 2019
The Dementia                               Village

 

With the compulsory voting by punishment in Australia, it forces people to vote who haven’t got a clue. Or, if they possess any clues, they are most likely to have been spouted by the commercial world, especially the Rupert Murdoch world of inanities and plastic bubbles rolling around the sun-baked deserts of our suburban wastelands. You know how it goes; insincere policies are being uttered with as much sincerity as the shifty politicians can muster, this is of course then followed by an earnestness that can only result in becoming so boring that even  good sleep can’t make better or give relief to, it stifles all. We all know where the earnestness of politicians can lead to.

With Easter almost behind us, I can’t wait for normalcy to return, and with that a well-earned rest from chocolate bunnies and the proliferation of  multi-coloured aluminium foil wrapped chocolate eggs, row upon rows, and the kids are getting fatter. I wonder if the art of hand painting of real eggs is still being practiced? When I grew up our parents encouraged the colour-dyeing of real  eggs and hand painting them afterwards. I believe that the people from Eastern European countries were masters of that art.

We are still rummaging through the political scene that no doubt will return tomorrow together with the opening of all sorts of Royal Commissions of Enquiries with scandal after scandal renting the autumnal sky. The latest is the scheme of ‘water buy-backs’ where someone in the government has made a quick buck out of denying drought stricken farmers their entitlement to water that in rapid driven rivers flow past their properties. Farmer’s tear stained wives regaling on TV, husbands’ decisions to sell up the farm. Oh, this Australia ‘the best country in the world.’ We all know that Royal Commissions are guarantees for  non-action.

And then we have a Prime Minister warning us of the disasters to befall us if anyone would be as foolish and progressive as to buy an electric car. He said; ‘It will be the end of our Aussie week-end.’ ‘We will not drive our ute anymore and the price of electricity will go sky-high, he said.’ And to think we left Holland where the Government will not allow new petrol and diesel driven cars to be sold after 2030. In Norway fifty % of cars are now electric and China is starting up world’s biggest electric car manufacturers.

As for Helvi and I with those verging on their final years, getting concerned about ‘Aged-Care’, let me leave you with how CARE for the elderly is being tackled in Holland.

The Dementia Village

If I ever end up with severe dementia I hope I am fortunate enough to live in a village like this.

 

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’!

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

Unwelcome News.

February 19, 2019
Why is it that we receive news that ought not to be read?
“Teenage girl wakes from a coma having given birth.
Newly wed man throws wife from 21st floor on the cold coast.
Footballer charged with rape smiles to victim in Court.
Anita Board died in Perth junior dragster crash two days after becoming old enough to compete.”
Headlines like that ought to avert our eyes. They are such invasions of private lives and grief.  Those death and traumas are too sad and too private to be so recklessly  consumed by everyone. Is our capacity for the sensational so whetted that we are drawn to the misery and plights of cases that don’t concern us at all? Or do we assuage ourselves into a false sense of caring?
We were told that our political parties are now being hacked by very sophisticated experts. The simulated hackers are shown in the dark punching into a keyboard, infiltrating and corrupting data and face-book accounts in Australia.
Not a sliver of real news is actually forthcoming. A large stomached PM Morrison is shown peering suitable outraged into the camera, whipping us into fearing the worst, yet no factual damage or stolen items are reported despite the earnest looking Newsreader. Even so, this story maintains our fear, and to be used as a tool to win elections.
The real news is of course the dreadful plight of the elderly in our nursing homes. The Royal Commission already gives frightening numbers. Over 6000 reported cased of abuse in elderly homes reported in just one year. Malnutrition is suffered by a reported 50% of the elderly. Understaffing, underfunding and badly training are given as reasons.
https://www.agedcareguide.com.au/talking-aged-care/elder-abuse
Another Royal Commission has been agreed for the Disabled people. Again, case after case of reported abuse and mismanagement. Harrowing stories are being told of impossible situations that some parents suffer through the lack of care for their disabled son and daughter. Thousands of parents are suffering situations that could so easily be solved by simple care and compassion. A company with a Kangaroo Island beach shack get $ 420.000.000,-!  We have allowed for over 1000 people, and their children, who did no wrong, to be incarcerated for over 5 years in order to stop boats.
How is it possible to have pride and celebrate living in ‘the best country’ knowing how our aged and disability care can be so lacking and has so for decades?
How come our news turns to the irrelevant and hyperbole instead of the above mentioned serious societal misdemeanours that we, as proud Australian allow to continue?
Why are we not rioting or do some yellow shirting?

The Tent.

February 8, 2019
Image result for Tents

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.