Posts Tagged ‘Australian’

The ‘Bespoke’ permanent Australian residency test

April 26, 2017
IMG_20150516_0010

Bottle

With our daughter being on the ‘cusp’ of buying a three bedroom unit closer to Sydney town, I was intrigued by a new word that seems to have caught the world by storm. It is the word ‘BESPOKE.’ Readers might well remember we were all on the edge of our seats some years ago, when our Government was urging their ministers to find  ‘new paradigms’. This soon spilled over to the voters. As is the wont of most Governments, the task and responsibility of finding the new paradigms was shifted to us. It wasn’t finding just any old paradigm, no it had to be the latest version. It made us all a bit nervous at first, but soon put shoulders under the task looking for our special new paradigm.

During or perhaps shortly after those revelational urgings many also took to forever being on the ‘cusp’ of something. It did not really matter what it was. As long as we were on the ‘cusp’ of something we were on solid ground. Helvi and I used to sit around sipping our coffee while looking for new paradigms, and hovering around being on the ‘cusp’ of something or other. I remember distinctly being on the cusp of buying our new lithium battery powered cordless vacuum cleaner an hour or so before we actually took off to buy one. We deliberately waited in order to prove our ‘cusping.’ Of course, naming our newly acquired vacuum machine a new paradigm might be pushing credibility a bit too far.

Getting back to the business of ‘bespoke’. It all came about when reading the Real Estate Agents’ lofty appraisal of trying to sell this home-unit to our daughter. They provided a lengthy list of the usual mouth watering morsels to attract the potential and often gullible buyer. It had three bedrooms, all with blinds and insect screens, a ‘media’ room and ‘European’ appliances. The word European is like honey to those on the hunt for living space.  It seems at odds with our Prime Minister’s urging us to stand firm on our national identity and hail all that is uniquely Australian. Are we all at risk of losing our permanent residency status if we buy a European stove?

But, what really floored me was that the European 5 burner cooktop had a ‘bespoke’ wok. A bespoke wok? Of course some decades ago Dad was most circumspect of real estate agents. Why are they called ‘real’ he mused, while blowing out his Douwe Egbert’s tobacco infused ringlets of smoke. ‘Infused’ is now on the wane, folks. We are getting some respite. You can all take a rest. None too late. It is hard work keeping up.

Nice dad, he was. I remember him well. He would never look for paradigms or bespoke woks.

 

 

True blue Australian Values; What are they?

April 20, 2017

images

It used to be a thorough understanding of cricket together with compulsory viewing by all migrants of Phar Lap’s ( a famous race horse) pickled heart in a glass jar and Bradman’s cricket paraphernalia. Together with a clear understanding and pronunciation of ‘My Bloody oath.’

This has now changed! These are our new Australian Values!

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-20/australian-politician-property-ownership-details/8453782

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-20/housing-affordability-decisions-made-by-big-property-investors/8454978

GILLESPIE, David Nationals Port Macquarie, NSW commercial/investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Port Macquarie, NSW commercial/investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Port Macquarie, NSW commercial/investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Port Macquarie, NSW commercial/investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Port Macquarie, NSW commercial/investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Port Macquarie, NSW commercial/investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Port Macquarie, NSW commercial/investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Port Macquarie, NSW commercial/investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Port Macquarie, NSW commercial/investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Port Macquarie, NSW commercial/investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Randwick, NSW investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Port Macquarie, NSW investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Port Macquarie (unit), NSW investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Port Macquarie (unit), NSW investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Port Macquarie (unit), NSW investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Port Macquarie (unit), NSW investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Port Macquarie (unit), NSW investment
GILLESPIE, David Nationals Wauchope, NSW residential
DUTTON, Peter Liberal Townsville, QLD investment Owned by family trust
DUTTON, Peter Liberal Kingston, ACT investment
DUTTON, Peter Liberal Moreton Island, QLD investment
DUTTON, Peter Liberal Palm Beach (unit), QLD investment
DUTTON, Peter Liberal Spring Hill, QLD investment
DUTTON, Peter Liberal Spring Hill, QLD investment
DUTTON, Peter Liberal Camp Mountain, QLD residential
BILYK, Catryna Labor South Hobart (unit), TAS investment
BILYK, Catryna Labor South Hobart (unit), TAS investment
BILYK, Catryna Labor Kingston, TAS investment
BILYK, Catryna Labor Griffith, ACT residential
BILYK, Catryna Labor Kingston, TAS residential
BANKS, Julia Liberal Malvern, VIC investment
BANKS, Julia Liberal Braeside, VIC investment
BANKS, Julia Liberal Bealiba, VIC investment
BANKS, Julia Liberal Malvern, VIC residential
BANKS, Julia Liberal Mornington Pensinsula, VIC residential
ANDREWS, Karen Liberal Mudgeeraba, QLD investment
ANDREWS, Karen Liberal Palm Beach (unit), QLD investment
ANDREWS, Karen Liberal Ayr, QLD investment
ANDREWS, Karen Liberal Deniliquin (unit), NSW investment
ANDREWS, Karen Liberal Deniliquin (unit), NSW investment
ANDREWS, Karen Liberal Deniliquin (unit), NSW investment
ANDREWS, Karen Liberal Forbes (unit), NSW investment
ANDREWS, Karen Liberal Forbes (unit), NSW investment
ANDREWS, Karen Liberal Kalgoorlie (unit), WA investment
ANDREWS, Karen Liberal Clear Island Waters, QLD residential

Go and figure this one out!

February 5, 2017

 

Most of the world knows about  refugees. Italy alone took in 180 000 during 2016. More than three years ago anyone trying to reach Australia by boat would from then on be locked up. Manus and Nauru were the places agreeing to house refugees. Australia vowed never to let those into Australia.There are  more than 1200 refugees still on those Islands. Most have been granted refugee status.

The cost in housing refugees has been in the billions. Private contractors are the main beneficiaries as well as New Guinea  and Nauru. The idea in not letting the refugees ever into Australia was that letting them in would result in an armada of refugees coming to Australia, clamber over our dunes, take our jobs or bludge of welfare! They would covet our  women and make cliterectomy compulsory for all.

The idea of locking the refugees up had to be seen as harsh enough to deter the so called ‘people smugglers.’ At present refugees trying to flee to either Europe or elsewhere in primitive boats have a chance of 1-100 in drowning. We know that many are desperate enough to take that gamble. The Australian Government knew that risk of drowning wasn’t enough a deterrent. The idea was born that the punishment for not drowning had to be far more severe. Teach the survivors a lesson they won’t forget. More importantly, the message would go out. “Don’t think of coming to Australia.”

That’s why the conditions for refugees locked up  indefinitely had to be far more stringent and better thought out. The refugees were not charged with any crimes. They just had to be kept locked and deprived of the most essential need of all. A future to look forward to. For children not to grow up in freedom and get an education. Teach them a lesson.  After several suicides and many incidents of self harm, even by children, the Government rejoiced and proudly stated that no boat had arrived. The prime minister Turnbull was jubilant; “We are the envy of the world dealing with refugees,.” he announced proudly.

It was decided that after the UNHCR, the UN, and Amnesty International had become vocal in condemnation that Australia tried to fop off the refugees elsewhere. Forty million dollars was spent to bribe Cambodia in taking just three refugees. Two have since left.

Now Trump and Turnbull ( Trumble) have locked themselves into horse -trading over allowing 1200 refugees from Manus and Nauru  into America. The vetting will be extreme. Americans are justly asking why Australia can’t take them in. It must be a mystery. Per capita Australia has far more space than the USA. So what about that deterrent?

If you dare to come to Australia you might go to America?

More importantly, what about those people? You know the people on Manus and Nauru?

Go and figure!

The Art of Recycling the yellow lidded bin on time.

January 5, 2017

Almost There

Do you find it confusing too? We have two rubbish bins. The Red-lidded one gets collected weekly on Thursday. The Yellow-lidded fortnightly, also on Thursday. You can never go wrong with the red one. I simply put it out each Wednesday at the front on the much heralded ‘nature strip’.

This nature strip is an Australian invention as is the Hill’s Hoist. Both quintessentially Australian as a prawn on a barbeque during a boozy summer’s afternoon quaffing from a Coolabah Riesling wine-cask. The nature strip fulfils two main needs.
1. For dogs to defecate on.
2. For residents to drop their unwanted and over-bought consumables, mainly in the form of excess mattresses or bright-blue sagging Nights-and-Day sofas.

The dog defecators use the nature strip mainly at night.They are the night stalkers. They walk their dogs without the aid of a plastic bag to pick up or catch the dog’s load, and simply allow the nature strip to get used as a toilet under the cover of darkness. I would not be surprised if the walkers themselves at times follow the lead of their dogs and do the same! I am suspicious of the look of some of those turds. I am no expert, but even so.., they don’t look very doggy to me.

The third one is of course to put our full bins out on for the local Shire Council to collect. The confusion lies in remembering the collection of the yellow lidded recycling bin. We know that fortnightly means once every two weeks. Yesterday afternoon I put out both. I had not given much thought about the Yellow bin but assumed it was time. It was very full! The Christmas festivities and associated New Year gaiety are often trying times for the Yellow bin. The grandchildren and their presents caused much refuse. Paper wrappings, boxes and soft drink bottles. We do allow some sugar intake for the grandkids during the Christmas holidays. 😉 Hence the plastic bottles. However, we also stock up on lots of bananas and mangoes for balance. The glass bottles, of which there were many, used to contain lovely Shiraz or mouth watering Pinot-Gris.

I often am the first one to put out the bins. And so it was yesterday. It seems to encourage others to do the same. By late afternoon an army of residents were diligently putting them out.There were rows and rows of both Red and Yellow bins festooning the ‘nature strip.’ Imagine this morning discovering that the Red bin had been emptied but not the Yellow one.
Did I have my dates wrong? It was just as well that no-one noticed it was me who, as a result of putting the Yellow bin out first, encouraged all the others to follow suit. A bit like the pied piper.

It means that many residents now have to drag to Yellow one back inside. The yellow bins are really much bigger and when loaded very heavy. (One could almost live in one.) Anyway, I feel a bit foolish now. My over-concern is punishing innocent people.

It’s not a good start of the year! Is it?

The long lost Leek. (for Seniors)

August 16, 2016
The long lost Leek for potato-bake

The long lost Leek for potato-bake

There comes a time that a lost leek is the only way out for seeking relief from life’s unrelenting savagery. I mean our Minister for Immigration has stated that, “some refugees have resorted to self-immolation in order to get a foothold in Australia.” http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/asylum-seekers-have-selfimmolated-to-get-to-australia-peter-dutton-20160811-gqq48f.html

The release by The Guardian newspaper of several thousands of complaints about the conditions of refugees on Manus and Nauru seems to have caught the attention overseas but hardly made the media here in Australia. Children are right now being sexually assaulted, as are the adults.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/series/nauru-files

What a fate. My parents came here for the children’s future. I can still hear my dad saying that to his own family of brothers and sisters before our departure from Holland. He might have had some trepidation. His own family thought it a somewhat dangerous and foolish choice. Has it turned out to be a mistake? I am ashamed of my adopted country now. I even took on the Australian Nationality. I remember the ceremony at Sydney’s town-hall with getting a cup-o-tea and an Arnott’s biscuit from the Salvos, together with my Australian Nationality Certificate.

Australia has stopped dog racing as being cruel but seems unwilling to give the same consideration to refugees warehoused on Nauru and Manus.

The potato bake is one way of coping. I rummaged around the bottom of the fridge and found a long-lost leek and some lonely and somewhat wrinkled carrots. A potato-bake sprung to mind. I sautéed some onions and mixed that with fried bacon after which I mixed in about 250grams of frozen spinach. Get real spinach NOT silver-beet. In an olive-oiled baking dish I put layers of thinly sliced potato interspersed with the sliced long lost leek and cut thinly the lonely carrots. Spoon over this some of the bacon-spinach-onion mixture followed by grated Parmesan cheese. Of course, oregano is obligatory as well.

The leek had actually started to grow inside the fridge with the inner rings bravely sprouting forward bypassing the outer rings. I used four freshly bought potatoes. This whole lot is now given a baptism of three cupful of milk and sour cream. with the leek, spinach, onion and carrots layered with a final dosage of cheese on top is put in a pre-heated oven at about 200c for fifteen minutes. This gives it an irresistible crust. Turn oven down to 150C for about one hour.

One can forgive or at least momentarily forget all the problems by eating this lovely but modest dish. I do hope some of you will get respite. (Try and not think of our Migration Minister, Dutton, when slicing the leek)

https://www.amazon.com/Oosterman-Treats-Philosophical-Musings-vasectomy/dp/099458105X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471308264&sr=1-1&keywords=oosterman+treats

Relief for Seniors with Sun and Shadow.

June 13, 2016

IMG_0904after the flood

With the world reeling from disasters, one could be forgiven for keeping the TV’s switched off. After the recent flooding, he was seen to hurry to Bunnings to buy wooden beams, some tubes of strong adhesives and bitumen paint. Bunnings of course, is a large hardware chain which sell dreams for the handy-man and home DIY…(Do-It-Yourself). They are huge. In a clever move to involve both men, and women, Bunnings introduced classes in general homecare, such as minor carpentry, basic plumbing, clearing drains, and tool handling for women. Last year the classes were combined with line dancing. It included face painting for the kids, and on Saturday they have Lions Club volunteers raising funds by selling Barbequed sausages, and onions on sliced white bread, with a variety of sauces. The kids and husbands love it. Bunnings is to hardware what Aldi is to food.

He had felt it his duty to try and prevent future water inundation, even without wearing pyjamas. After measuring the distance of the required levy he lowered the back-seat down in the car. He only recently discovered this possibility. It doubled the capacity to carry wooden beams to almost twice the lengths. He finally also read in the car manual that the reason his car did not carry a spare wheel in the back, was that one could drive with flat tyres. He had given up reading the car manual. He kept falling asleep. Instead read yet another Mankell thriller. Apart from some Ruth Rendell books, he never was much into crime books…

His recent book marketing and selling of his own book had come to a bit of a hiatus, and the recent threat of minor flooding was just the ticket to lift him out of his beloved tendency to nurture gloomy feelings. Something that he tended to do anyway without any outside encouragement. He had often told himself that his efforts to publish his memoirs was for the family to deal with in case he went missing in action, or had carked it. Not an unreasonable assumption, seeing he was nudging seventy six years in total so far. He was previously given to pondering he would like to leave something a bit more substantial than just his faded Municipal Rate notices or his record of Dutch and Australian pension entitlements.

Almost There

He found himself humming ‘when the Saints come marching in’ while driving home with the necessary wooden beams poking against the back of the front seat. A box of liquid nails adhesive was secure on the passengers seat. He was going to glue the beams outside near his garage door to form a barrier, and prevent future flooding. He had written a stern note to the Strata Body Corporate but the courtesy of an acknowledgement was yet to be given. He did not really want to rely on the blocked stormwater drain to be fixed. Even so, he did notice a remote camera for sale at Aldi’s with the necessary cables and manual. The camera would come in handy to send it into hard to reach areas to investigate any problems. It is amazing how technology outpaces the elderly now. No doubt the camera could be sent into the drain and transmit in detail any blockage. Something to ponder about for the future.

After arriving home and unpacking the beams he got stuck into the job at hand.

His wife noticed he was very cheerful.

The second coffee.

March 10, 2016

 

Mother, daughter and sons on the way to Thai café.

Mother, daughter and sons on the way to Thai café.

The second coffee usually treads a familiar path. Normally it comes after the first. But, normality took a break this morning. You have no idea how complicated the publishing of a book can be. I wonder if the homeless under the bridges or highway overpasses are the results of those desperadoes seeking self-publishing? I am so sick of reading my stumbling words with  ‘a kind of this’ and a ‘kind of that’ getting repeated so often. I’ll delete them, but the rate I am deleting, soon I’ll have a brilliant book with no words.

With each change the family gets  consulted. Their patience will be rewarded in lofty credits in the book if it ever manages to escape the US taxation laws or the pernicious PDF Word Files. One major decision was to change referring to Mum and Dad to father and mother. Back through the whole thing again re-edit and change to the latter. Was it a good move? At 3am I get up and micro-wave a mug of milk (60 seconds) add a spoonful of wattle honey, climb back in bed afterwards and hope for kindness of mind and some sleep.

I made a fatal mistake on reading (Googling) up on back-page blurbs. The general idea is to give the background to the book with the minimum of words. ‘Less is better,’ is the sage advice. In any case, the expert blurb writers warn never more than 250 words. I spent days on that alone till my daughter took over and wrote a very good one. She reckoned my own blurb concentrated too much on colonoscopies and wacko erectile dysfunctional benefits. ‘Just give a hint, don’t rub their face in it,’ she advised.

The torture of the night gets relieved when the first of daylight manages to climb through the bedroom window. It is first- coffee time and this alone heralds a new day. I  leap out of the bed and put on the kettle.  The leaping is not as vigorous as it used to be. The kettle has a whistle and the water heats up by gas. I try and prevent too much of the whistle in case it wakes H who normally gets an extra half hour in. Often breakfast doesn’t happen till well in the morning, usually after 11 or so. This is where to-day’s the second-coffee comes in. Most times we put in a solid couple of hours upstairs on our computers, abusing the Australian Government on the ABC’s on-line forum.

This morning second-coffee was unusual. The same amount of boiling water is put on about three table spoons of ground coffee. I rattle the cups and spoons so Helvi upstairs knows the coffee is in the making. This morning I was perhaps a bit more absent than normal and instead of taking Helvi’s keenly awaited cup of second coffee, I carried a complete two litres of milk upstairs instead. I did not even realise what I had done till I handed it over.

‘You are going ga ga and slipping,’ she said, and laughed her head off.

Moscow and overnight train to St Petersburg.( valley of Lily)

April 6, 2015
The red square with queue from l/r to see Lenin in his mausoleum.

The red square with queue from l/r to see Lenin in his mausoleum.

( About 1985) After a week or so in Moscow with the obligatory viewing of Red Square with the mile long queue at the Lenin Mausoleum,  the Stalin built but magnificent underground railway  with marbled statues and chandeliers,  an evening at the theatre watching ‘An American in Paris’ by American composer of Russian parentage, George Gershwin, we all took a late evening overnight train to St Petersburg. It was in July, very hot and days were interspersed with short but violent lightning storms. I was surprised that the giant  down pipes of those large buildings jettisoned the pelting rain straight onto the footpath whereby pedestrians had to perform large leaps into the air not get washed into the kerbs. I was astonished how high the Russians could leap but it did give me a better perspective on The Bolshoi Ballet phenomenon.

The overnight trip to St Petersburg has been covered earlier but is now buried at the bottom of this pile and in any case, my memory might well have shifted to even greater heights.  Here another retell. After getting on-board we were given the seats as shown on the pre-booked tickets. My compartment had a couple and a woman of typical generous Russian proportion and spirit. The two compartments behind me were taken up by an American group of singers who had performed in Moscow and now on their way to St Petersburg.

The Winter Palace (Hermitage)

The Winter Palace (Hermitage)

We soon settled and when I took a walk around my wagon I noticed the Americans who after introduction told me they were part of a choir. As I told them I was Australian they were keen for me to give an impromptu performance of  a Paul Hogan ‘Crocodile Dundee’ and several versions of   ‘Goodyaj, howszego’en maitey?’. I obliged but quickly escaped back to my cabin.  I can only perform on my own without an audience or mirror.The woman and couple introduced themselves and so did I. The Russian woman’s name was Lily and she could speak some German.

IMG_20150406_0009

One has to understand we were all going to sleep together so a kind of bonhomie and familiarity might ensure a reasonable and peaceful slumber later on. Russian trains do not segregate and at least in USSR sleeper trains, sleeping is not fraught with fear of an opportunistic sex maniac creeping in. That seems to be more the domain of those cultures that believe men and women are  so entirely different they ought to be separated from birth whenever possible.  For some, to attack remains the only option to get together.

Lily became instantly the epitome of what their race is known for. A socially, inclusive and talkative person. Friendly and keen to exchange talk on almost anything and everything. It was easy for me when we could also talk in German, but I am sure that even without a common language she would have seen that as a minor obstacle, easily overcome by gesture and body language, facial expressions. It was a hot and somewhat brooding thunderstorm threatening train journey. We were all sweating profusely and while talking Lily would pat and dab in between her generously forthcoming bosom with a crocheted hanky. ( I remember it well) that she kept sprinkling with  Eau de Cologne number 4711.

The Hermitage.

The Hermitage.

We exchanged small talk the best we could of which I have forgotten most but not all. What I did not forget is what ensued after she asked me what I did. “Ich bin ein Kunstler (..) und Lehrer. I answered”. I am an artist and teacher. Well, it was instant pandemonium.  You would know that teachers in Eastern Europe and especially Finland and former USSR countries are regarded and revered like lawyers and doctors, if not a new Dostoevsky or a burgeoning Tolstoy as well.   To be an artist and teacher is like being 2 doctors in one. She took out a small bottle of a greenish colour and poured some of the liquid in a metal beaker. The cabin immediately smelt strongly of aniseed.  She also had a packet of sugar cubes which she had opened earlier and given me some.

She went around the wagon telling all that here was, an Australian artist on board, while sharing the aniseed dipped sugar cubes all round. They all came and wanted to inspect this Australian ‘teacher – artist’. It was my moment of fame. When things calmed down we retired back to our cabin while she kept up the talk while  dabbing and giving  absinthe laced sugar. Around midnight we had enough and  as the aniseed euphoria and drowsiness was starting to wear off, all decided to go to sleep. The couple and Lily promptly pulled the beds of the wall.  We all took turns going to the corridor allowing ablutions and getting ready for bed. I took the top bunk and Lily the bottom one.

We were woken up early by the train lady conductor and given tea and sweet bread which famously gets served in a large very ornate silver  teapot with drinking glasses held in equally ornate silver holders with swan-necked ears.

We had arrived at St Petersburg.

St Petersburg Fortress which had held some very famous people including Trotsky.

St Petersburg Fortress which had held some very famous people including Trotsky.

The Haircut.

November 2, 2014
our 3 grandsons

our 3 grandsons

The most avoided event for young boys and perhaps girls as well was the looming of the haircut. That’s why I cannot remember this ever happening when I was very young. I am sure it was done and most likely by my mother or perhaps even dad. There were vague references to a terracotta flower pot being used to snip around the perimeter after it was placed on the hapless victim. Money was scarce and seen as a waste spending it on kid’s hair.

Adults would go to a barber and a women’s hairdo were referred to in French as in coiffure or bouffant to give it a special and heightened sense of feminine importance. With men it would be a shave and a cut. A flick knife with a frighteningly long blade would be sharpened in front of the victim on a leather belt before the stubble or beard would be tackled. You would not want to have a violent disagreement with the barber and politically savvy positions would be taken at all times. The barber would politely ask ‘brush good and warm today, Sir?’ The reply was always a mumbled, ‘yes, very nice and warm.’ The brush would be soaped up in warm water and rubbed around the palm of the barber’s hand or a special dish to get a nice lather, not too sloppy nor too firm. There were skills involved that seem to have got lost.

However, my last haircut a few days ago, those lost skills were re-discovered. I had held off as long as possible but after Helvi’s remark I looked like a Hottentot, I felt I should really get a cut, especially as our fiftieth marital milestone had been reached. I decided to try a new barber shop. It looked rather snazzy and had a computerised system with special rewards for loyal customers. Now-a-days, any business has to have some gimmick and what more gimmicky than having some connection with the electronic world, especially a computer. I punched in my name and phone number. Out came a ticket with a number and I sat down waiting for my turn.

I was immediately struck by the performance of one of the cutters. He was hair cutting enthusiasm incorporated. He had a dark complexion and with a full head of pitch black hair, always a major plus in my opinion. I mean a bald hairdresser doesn’t quite cut the mustard in the world of hair. I don’t know why; perhaps an odd prejudice on my part?

He displayed a barber agility I had never seen before except perhaps in the world of gymnastics or even ballet. He danced and jigged around the man he was haircutting. The amazing part was that the customer did not have much hair to cut. He was an elderly gentleman of slim proportions with the only hair available at the back of his head creeping towards the lower part of his neck. Even so, the hairdresser was clicking his scissors as if approaching a fully fleeced Merino. The customer’s wife was sitting next to me, giving gentle instruction to this dancing and swiftly darting about hairdresser who, in full flight, was giving every strand of his remaining hair full and undivided attention.

photo Gerard

I could not wait for him to do my hair. I was fully rewarded. He was overjoyed to work on my still fully bouffant head of hair and soon got in his stride. Fever pitch would be an understatement. It turned out his darkness was not Spanish but originated from a Philippine mother and Australian father. He learned his considerable skills on the job and did not go to a technical college. Towards the end he rubbed some fragrant pomade between his hands which he did by holding them above my head. I felt I was getting some kind of laying of hands, it was almost religious. He looked at my head and turned it a bit here and a bit there, almost like an architect contemplating a new opera house on the banks of the Danube at Bratislava. He finally rubbed it on my hair, gave a sigh of utter satisfaction and was finished. I must say it was the best haircut I ever enjoyed.

An improvement on the terracotta job of so many years ago.

Be gentle:photoselfie 2

A more provocative one. I am the one at the front.
005

Fish & Chips with Fruits of Love

July 15, 2013

fish-and-chips2
There might still be a few of you who remember the Fish & Chips of yesteryear. I do and remember well that The Daily Telegraph was the preferred newspaper into which the fish and chips would be wrapped in. Nothing will ever wipe out the memory of the fragrance of the newsprint embedded into those chips. The generous sprinkling of vinegar would help not only spread the newsprint bouquet but also actually imprint the black lettering onto the chips.

Who could ever forget or replace the joy of eating them and at the same time enjoy the luxury and opportunity to do some serious reading while picking at the lovely fish and chips. It was then as it is still now that juicy scandals were the preferred newspaper article. In those days a divorce could only be obtained if proof of infidelity could be obtained and presented into a Court. As the chips were being unwrapped so were the juicy divorce articles that I would eagerly devour as well. I was a randy teenager given to raging spontaneous erections no matter from which concrete reinforced steel park bench I was eating my chips.

Boy, oh boy (or, if you like, Girl, oh girl) did people go through trouble finding that proof. Nothing was more profitable that being a private detective stalking the guilty party. The best ones could name their price. Some had waiting lists as long as your arm and would even feature on the Sunday Telegraph social pages. They were the aristocracy of Australian Society on the move, almost on par with Nola Dekyvere who was the doyen of raising funds for charities and President of The Golden Ball committee. The private detective’s job was to get clear and unequivocal proof of sexual peccadilloes from anyone not being the conjugal and legal spouse (wedded bliss).

I remember reading (while devouring my chips) of a gabardine cloaked detective who had hidden underneath a bed into which, he feverishly hoped, an improper act would come to fruition. It did not take long for a couple to enter the room. He could tell they were man and women by just able to observe feet. One wore male shoes while the other had high heels. He ‘observed the undressing’ he told his Honor solemnly. It became very un-appetizing he went on to say.

“Why”, his Honor asked, keen to get to the nitty gritty? “Well, the detective offered,” while they were clearly enjoying the fruits of their improper behavior, they chucked the peeling onto my coat, he replied. “They did what,” His Honor clearly getting into his stride now, asked? “Not just once, the detective offered, but three times in one hour.” He followed this up by taking a small parcel from out of his suit pocket which the Court’s orderly, ever so solemnly, took to the Judge for damning evidence.

There was to be a short break for his Honor to contemplate this damning evidence. After resuming and the obligatory three knocks on the door, the ‘all to stand’ order was given, the divorce was granted. It was noticed by the detective, who had seen it all, that his Honor looked slightly flushed. Human nature is frail, he pensively reflected. He would not have been surprised if his Honor had a bit of private fruition just by himself. It’s not easy to listen to all those stories of human frailty and expect not to be affected.
It’s all so much Fish & Chips.