Posts Tagged ‘Bahamas’

Sipping out of Napoleon Brandy Balloons for Seniors.

July 10, 2016
Old Turku, Finland

Old Turku, Finland

With the world’s volatility at fever pitch, one could be forgiven in taking out of the lockable glass door cabinet, the special festive balloons. I don’t mean the blow up types. In the past, people used the brandy snifter as an art form, especially those who read Somerset Maugham’s novels, with being on polite coughing terms with members of the House of Lords or those who went through Cambridge and became professors. I am not aware if that art ever became common in the US’s Harvard. I have heard in American movies the expression, ‘he is an old Harvard boy, you know.’ It (the art) might have gone trans Atlantic seeing John Harvard was an alumnus from Cambridge. Sniffing out of balloons might well have travelled with him.

The Oostermans never managed to reach that elevated level. I wonder why? It just seems so nice to read about it. Napoleon Brandy conjures up a world of its own. Plush, deeply buttoned leather chairs. The Lords revelled the absence of women. The smoking room and clubs for the privileged! Remember a few weeks ago, a bowling club was disqualified and their license taken away for refusing women as members. Was it in Queensland again? Pauline Hanson with her anti-Islam and Halal certification got 4% of the National vote. Now likely to have three seats in the Senate.

How on earth did clubs came about refusing women? I know that in the past women and children were not allowed in public bars. There was the ‘Lady lounge.’ A room of sherry and shandy sipping, blue tinted hair and rouged cheeks. Back in 1956, my dad, who was an astute observer, noticed this separation of the sexes. It was another one of those features in our new country. It would now be called ‘a challenge’ or finding ‘a solution.’ Today, of course, we all mellow together. Now we would not know what sex people belong to anymore. There is a bewildering variety of choices and sexes out there. You would not know what to find after a romantic evening out, and the question, ‘your place or mine?’ It might be wise to keep the light on very diffused and both hands around the brandy balloon.

The balloon glasses were used so that it would allow hands around it to warm up the brandy. It then released, ever so subtly its mouth-watering aged burnished aromas. Some brandy sniffing enthusiasts used to draw up the brandy through their nostrils, hence the name taking ‘a snifter.'(sniffing) This resulted sometimes in coughing. That’s why in those excusive men’s clubs in England and India, even still today, the polite form of men acknowledging each other was through a well practised cough behind the left hand while holding the balloon behind the back in the right hand. It would be considered bad manners to cough over the balloon. Eye brows would be raised ever so perceptively.

All this apropos to the world being in such turmoil. Countries are exiting long held alliances. Here they are still counting votes. No one is sure anymore and small groups are talking in hushed tones on street corners. In the US, assault weapons are selling like lamingtons here. The Bahamas have issued travel warnings for the US. Some say, if people had more weapons the likelihood of getting shot would be less. One would shoot first. But the last two killings were done by police who thought they were reaching for a gun. Which one is it?

The world would be a better place if more people went for a good bout of polite coughing, and taking a snifter of Napoleon Brandy instead. Of course, in our case it might well be a couple of herrings and a drink of buttermilk.

The plight of democracy for Dogs (Milo will be calling you soon)

March 13, 2013

008The plight of democracy for dogs. (Milo will be calling you).

My, how time flies. Just now, while taking our Jack Russell ‘Milo’ for his constitutional, I saw and heard the first of the season’s leaf-blower at full throttle. No, it’s not a kind of rare bird or marsupial. It’s a petrol machine dreaded by some but mainly revered by many suburbanites whose life long aim seem to be to keep errant leaves at bay. This is going to be a noisy period and I dread it.

As it was, while walking past this lady with the strap on leaf blower, Milo decided he would let go of a couple of brownies of his own as well, right in front of her gloriously flowering pink Myrtle tree. They blended in well and were almost indiscernible from those golden shimmering autumnal leaves.  I always carry a bag to bare hand scoop the poop in but decided the lady’s’ blower might do that job just as well.

Some dog walkers carry the plastic bag ostentatiously in their hand or have it tied to the dog lead.  It is as if they want to say; look at me, I am brave enough to pick up the still warm and steaming turds of my dog. Look at me, look at me! I don’t suffer from this habit because I am a bit rebellious by nature and do not wish to conform in the poop scooping traditions of the neighbourhood at all times. I carry a bag in my pocket next to my hanky and this leaves many guessing if I belong to the brigade of callous dog poop on the footpath abandoners.

Milo and I have an unspoken understanding that, at times, he is allowed to do it spontaneously without his efforts being scooped away insensitively within seconds. We all know that dogs like to mark their territories by leaving calling cards. Who am I, as an intransigent dog lover to deny him those instinctive urgings?  It would be cruel, and I am merely heeding good dog etiquette. How would you like it if someone’s strange hand underneath deprived you of the same in such callous manner?


Some years ago, when dogs were free to roam and do their business at call and with reckless abandonment, you could not walk around Amsterdam without risking slipping and sliding around the Damrak or Prinsengracht as a result of the unfettered democratic freedom rights of dogs and their calling cards. Some wit decided to exploit this natural phenomenon by sticking the world’s national flags into the dog poop and taking close-up photographs, producing souvenir Post cards for tourists to send home to.  He called those cards “Tulips of Amsterdam”. He made a fortune and is now whooping it up in the Bahamas stretched out on a deckchair while in deep contemplation of his deposit savings book.

A fair reward for laying flat out on the pavement taking those close-up shots within centimeters of dog s…t in Amsterdam before their free roaming days were outlawed and strict toilet habits for dogs introduced and made law…Amsterdam is now clean but many dogs are nervous and usually wait till they are back in the department and deposit it under strained conditions in a special box with vermiculite.

Milo is so lucky able to decorate the Myrtle tree amongst the autumn leaves. Good boy Milo, good boy.