Posts Tagged ‘Batman’

Is Christmas over yet?

December 25, 2015


Daughter with our grandsons

Daughter with our grandsons

Christmas Eve was spent at our daughter and grandsons place. It was a surprisingly good and enjoyable day. We arrived with four boxes. Two boxes of presents and two with food. It always helps to fill out the space underneath the Christmas tree with as much bulk as possible. Isn’t most of the excitement in opening the presents, especially for the boys? The sound of tearing  the wrapping paper a much anticipated relief from circular and endless Christmas carols. No more Bing Crosby singing ‘dreaming of a white Christmas’ for yet another year! I am definitely so over carols.

Our boys are getting bigger and so are expectations of presents with a bit more substance than water pistols or Batman paraphernalia. But we also thought that their request, ‘Just give us money’  was a bit too un-Christmas-like if not a trifle materialistic. In any case, we already  supplement their weekly pocket money as it is. We pointed this out to them. Grandparents have to use all their life-long attained wisdom to try steer their progeny through the rubble and maze of lax modernity and terrible addictions of consumerism. We always relate how we went to school with a banana or biscuit sandwich. They just ignore us.

Did any of you go to the Shopping malls on the last day before Christmas? I thought it had a nice vibe and people were generally friendlier than last year. A complete stranger pointed out a vacant automatic cash register to me. I thought that after I paid up for my bag of food and tinsel, the message of ‘Thank you for shopping at Coles Supermarket’ had a very nice and heart-warming ring to it.  A girl with a red sloppy father Christmas hat on was even offering me some very nice pieces of ham which were on the end of a tooth pick. I went around the supermarket and had another helping of the double smoked ham (Off the bone). This time I did not put the toothpick back amongst the rest of the offerings.

We now have a huge and almost  complete ham on the bone resting in the fridge. Helvi swears it is best to keep it wrapped in a wet tea-towel. The family did their best to eat ham. But, there was also an oven dish in which I cooked potato and leek in cream garnished with fried bacon pieces and of course the obligatory anchovies, half a kilo of smoked salmon, numerous salads and endless plates of nuts, olives and hors d’oeuvre   that some of us dipped in afterwards. A nice Pavlova with lots of berry fruit finished it off very nicely.

Despite my determination not to slavishly follow the hordes of shoppers in overstocking on food, I failed, especially in throwing all caution to the wind buying this huge slab of a Porker of a  leg-ham. I bet, it will be Milo who will get most of it. He already seen me taking it out of the fridge, hacking into it.

He knows!

Has anyone spotted Easter eggs yet?


I fancy the ‘Batman box.’

June 5, 2014


Anyone who has been to Bali knows that crowing roosters are unavoidable. It is what Bali is about. People go there to infuse themselves with the sound of crowing roosters. They want to find their spiritual selves again and have great hopes of continuing on their ‘journey’. Indeed, the spring solstice of their birthright is embedded in a visit to Bali. Anyone who has seen roosters know they don’t crow for nothing. Roosters are serial monogamists. But, as always there are downsides. Chicken eating is also big in Bali.

No street stall would be without ayam goreng. It is common to see motor bikes parked along the road that have their owners barbequing chilli marinated chicken pieces on small charcoal fires. It is somewhat pitiful to see live chickens, feet tied together, hanging upside down from the handle bars of those motorbikes, waiting their turn while comrades being slaughtered and cooked along the road. However, Bali is poor and the tourist chicken eating does provide a few dollars for families that are still living a very marginal life.

Some years ago we stayed in Ubud’s Bali in one of those delightful ‘home stays’. Most of them are run by families. Balinese families are not like our nuclear compact model of mum and dad with 1.6 kids in private isolation behind the blinds and fence. No, they are huge with hundreds of aunties, uncles, even Royals. Funerals are big events. Not surprising with so many siblings.

One day a couple walked through our sun drenched tropical home stay. Palms waving in the wind and the day was full of beginnings and activity was on the rise. I remember it well, as I was outside reading Patrick White’s ‘Vivisector,’ We had enjoyed a generous breakfast of golden crispy pancakes with black coffee, for which Bali, apart from roosters, is also world-wide known. The couple stopped in front of our small veranda, encouraged perhaps by seeing an English language novel and asked; are there any roosters here as well? Sure, said my wife. Why do you ask, how many do you want ?

Oh no, she said, (with a strong US/Canada accent.) We haven’t been able to sleep well because of the roosters waking us up. My wife raised an eyebrow and said; Oh, we sleep well because of the reassuring sounds of those roosters. When have you last slept with the call of rooster’s heralding a new day, she asked somewhat haughtily or even testily? Yes, but we expected peace and quiet, the husband said. I had to inhale in order not to suggest to them to sleep at the airport’s hotel with the sound proved double glazed windows. Each to their own, especially roosters that enjoy a nice crow. I wondered how their journey was going?

Well, sorry, but there are roosters everywhere, Helvi said. The couple walked off. Odd, that people go to an oasis and paradise of an unequalled cultural paradise of serenity and calmness when the one thing that Bali has; ‘roosters that crow’ is seen as a blight on a holiday.

Some years before we drove with a few friends to the country, just to go and look at a gallery that we had heard about. There are so often baffling things that you find out when travelling with companions. Nothing brings out the strength of a relationship than travelling together.

One of our travellers, a man in his late fifties asked if we could stop at the next KFC fast food outlet. Why, are you hungry? Yes, a little bit, but I really like their ‘Batman Box’, he stated. This friend was totally normal, an accountant and well travelled. Not to be seen as totally dominating our dietary habits, we thought of complying and when the KFC Colonel hairy countenance appeared on the horizon’s highway, we stopped. The man could not stop enthusing about this bloody Batman Box, the perfect advertisement for KFC.

I especially love the gravy, he added. The ‘Batman box’



came with little toys which are now collected by avid Batman fans…

And, so it goes!

The ‘Body Corporate AGM meeting with imposing Table.

August 20, 2013

If your life ever gets to a point where you need to take a break from neck breaking activity, intellectual (pouring over nothingness) or otherwise (pouring concrete), consider going to meetings, especially official meetings. We went to one yesterday, and I have never felt more ready for action than afterwards, any action.

As we entered the meeting room some people were seated already. There was a nod and a formal murmur of ‘morn’ from people that we see almost daily. Do AGM meetings make people change into frozen officious beings, trapped into a pre-destined kind of ‘meeting type?’ The metamorphosis from ‘normal being’ to ‘meeting being’ happens as soon as one is within the range of a large oversized table with the ‘minutes of the last meeting’ distributed out for all the members to ruminate over. The table is so large and intimidating that all seated around it immediately appear much smaller than usual.

The sensible thing to do would be to appear incognito. I wondered what the reactions would be appearing in my Batman Outfit, mask and all. A hushed silence followed with a move away from my chair? Would procedures cheer up a bit? I cannot fathom the rigidity of the ridiculous format that AGM’s or any meetings really seem to adopt.

No wonder they don’t work. There is never an excuse for doing things the most stifling, the most mind bogglingly boring way. Do they hold meetings like that in Cuba or Bali, Mexico?

Anyway, someone asked if there was a ‘quorum’ present. Yes, someone enthused. Ok, let’s start with the agenda. No, not yet. Why not? We haven’t passed the last minutes from the last meeting. Ok, they are now passed. No they are not. We haven’t asked if there are any objections to the last minutes. And so it goes on and on and zzzzzz…

Item 1 on the agenda is the report on Fire Hazards and archive fees. Ah great, really, really great stuff, can’t wait for Item 2.

May I ask you for a dance? Shall we visit the local morgue, a bit of tap-dancing, feed the ducks?

No; Item 3 now. Anyone thought of passing Miscellaneous Expenses?

My First Picture Show

June 6, 2012

It would have been in the very early fifties. I was either in the first year of high-school or the last of primary. In any case, the school was giving film evenings in a hall that would hold perhaps sixty or seventy children. I remember that it wasn’t a big hall like many schools have now. A few years later me and mates would break into this hall and try and make pancakes on a fire made by burning old newspapers. I had taken some flour from the kitchen and someone else brought milk and a sauce-pan.  I have forgotten if golden syrup was involved.

The roof had a sky-light which we lifted and used to lower ourselves onto the floor below. The open sky-light acted as a primitive chimney letting out some of the smoke from the pan-cake fire. They were the years of so many discoveries including my first movie. Those pre-teen years were possibly the most dangerous. We were reckless and without fear, daring to do anything.

The coastal dune areas of The Hague where we lived still had very long underground tunnels buried in the sand of the dunes which linked the large concrete bunkers. Some of the bunkers still had enormous cannons which were aimed across the sea towards England to ward off any attempts to regain the Dutch territory from the German occupiers. I was so lucky to have as my playground those dunes, the sea and those underground tunnels.

They were pitch dark and we used small bottles filled with kerosene with a burning wick floating on top to give  light and guide us through them. No adventure land could have been designed better. We spent many hours and days crawling inside those underground tunnels and bunkers with the kerosene lights. I had four brothers and we all lived in a walk up apartment on the second floor.

Yet, my parents and perhaps most parents of these times did not seem to have been consumed by worry. Perhaps having gone through the terrors of war, bombing and famine, surviving parents took a well earned break from worry afterwards.

I often wonder about the different parental attitudes now and those of many years ago. Just witness all those modern anxious parents of today, scared stiff to even let the kids walk home by themselves. All activities now-a-days are strictly supervised and nothing left to chance or for kids to find their own adventures.

Perhaps the fact those families were bigger played a role. It was simply impossible to check on every child for every minute of the day. In any case, we were free. I felt that we never exceeded danger levels but as an eleven year old, perceptions of danger were somewhat arbitrary. When I jumped between frozen slippery timber beams at an open canal- lock letting boats through the different water levels, I fell down but managed to hold on to a beam. The lock-master saw it and pulled me up, gave me a belting and I never ever went back to that area again.

It could well be that adventure needs some danger. Perhaps adventure is the possibility of danger. Exclude all risk and danger and you stand risking inviting torpor with creative growth stunted. The one light on today’s horizon on bringing back adventure are the provision by so many councils of skate board ramps. If you are looking for kids on the street, forget it. They are all at home being locked up and looked after by parents flat out keeping danger at bay. But, for those that are not quite so protective of their broods, many are released from oppressive parental control and are found skate boarding.  There is still hope for kids risking bruising and breaking bones. At least it is something.

As for my first movie. It was in black and white and called Rin Tin Tin. From memory it involved a large German shepherd saving people from danger. We used to go wild afterwards, terrorizing the neighbourhood pretending we were all heroes, part of the Rin Tin Tin movie. I believe Rin Tin Tin saved the Warner movie industry in the thirties and forties. Twenty three Rin Tin Tin movies were made and countless radio plays based on this dog kept millions enthralled for decades.

Could it be true that Spiderman and Batman have replaced RinTinTin?