Posts Tagged ‘Book’

And now for the good News

February 24, 2017


Almost ThereThe last few posts have been the work of the curmudgeon supreme. Jerimiah seems to have  reached a new level in delight and joy, highlighting the never ending stream of all that is going wrong. Sorry for the bleakness, but somebody had to do it. I don’t know why I watch the news. Relentless Trump and Turnbull. Neck on neck trying to outdo each other in a race to the bottoms-up, dehumanising their patch. Surely, there is something more cheerful to write about. Those grim purple faced bishops fronting the Royal Commission. Footage of one eminent church leader dipping a large feathered brush in Holy water sprinkling the congregation. Oh, such folly of voodoo and chicken feathers dressed with mitres and in flowing robes. Are there Technical tafe courses in becoming agnostic?  I am sure many are now queuing up.We need many more doubting Thomas’s.


The good news came from our National Library of Australia in Canberra.  ” Dear Gerard Oosterman.” “We would be DELIGHTED to receive a print copy of your book  ‘Almost there.’ Our records showed that this title is now published.”

Can you believe it? All this apart from both my books also having been entered in two of the State Library literary competitions. I am so happy that, after I posted the book at the Post office, I promptly shouted myself a nice  micro-wave heated up sausage roll. The word ‘delighted’ really did it. It was about time somebody got delighted.


I walked with my fat sausage roll to a park bench in Corbett Gardens, Bowral. The same park where the three elderly sisters were hit by  lightning  last week.  I sat down with Milo. He looked keenly at my poly-styrene package holding the sausage roll. It was a mini celebration. I would like you all to share in my joy.

I gave Milo about half my treat.

It was so lovely and good.

The art of genuflecting is disappearing

September 15, 2016

41yjSAQeq1L__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ oosterman treats

When political figures meet they often will shake hands. The recent climate change meeting or COP21 (Conference of Parties) showed endless footage of people facing the camera while shaking hands. I never understood that this has to be filmed. I mean; who thinks that shaking hands is so interesting that they actually want to see a film reportage of it? The Chinese leader was a bit bored by that conventional gesture. He looked as if a lemon had difficulty being accepted. Shaking each others hand and fingers interlocking seems a reasonable thing to do in accepting the other person as an equal. A kind of, let’s be friendly and acknowledge each other. The arms and hands are the logical tools to do that with. One could perhaps use legs and feet, but balancing on one foot would be difficult, especially for the elderly.

There are some cultures that have different methods of greeting. Here and there nose rubbing is normal and the ‘Dab’ amongst the young is also practised. See below.

But, the gesture of acknowledging each amongst royalty remains stuck in genuflecting or curtsying. I am not totally sure of this ritual between royals but certainly in strangers or other non-royals we are supposed to do a bit of a dip on one knee and then, if done appropriately, might be given the opportunity to touch the hand of the Royal. It is supposed to be a sign of one standing above the other. I am not sure if I could or even would do this. Apparently, if one is lucky enough to meet a royal, many are urged to practise the art of genuflecting well before. No doubt, one could even do a course in genuflecting, a bit like when I took dancing lessons from Phyllis Bates’ dancing academy back in the late fifties. This was held above a milk bar in Sydney named ‘Spyros.’ At that time a malted milkshake could be bought for one shilling and sixpence. I had to make sure that the book was held between the teacher’s and student’s breast or chest. It is still a much revered achievement that I successfully managed to do that. I remember the title; it was ‘Of Human Bondage.’ Of course, holding a book between a royal’s chest (or breasts) and a ‘common’ while genuflecting would never do.

As for the spat between us and the nasty one; let me just put this one up as a response to a dear follower on my previous piece.

The person we feel is responsible to the threat that we should go and sell up, also has a thing about the Royal Family. When the English Prince Phillip was given a Knighthood by Australia, she fully applauded the move by our previous government. It was such a silly move that the government subsequently lost the election.
We joined in the chorus of most, in condemning and rubbishing the giving of Knighthoods and Dame hoods. However, the nasty neighbour is English and when she holds Court would bore us to death about her regaling the English monarchy to its minute detail. She hinted she actually was the illegitimate fruit of one of the many Prince Phillip’s amorous conquests, supposedly consummated in a swanky address along the Seine in Paris.
We finally had enough and refused to genuflect and told her off. She is silly.

The Art of morning’s Bed straightening.(for Seniors)

July 11, 2016
Almost There

Almost There

It’s a forlorn hope and belief by some, that with age comes wisdom. Some say, a good politician reaches their top when over seventy. Cynics often contradict this and might well say: they only achieve that level of pure wisdom, when they are richly fermenting in the Mount Calvary cask below ground level, or sometimes, elevated above ground as in an Argentinian Mausoleum. I believe that in Buenos Aires’ La Recoleta cemetery, a number of those past buried politicians are still believed as being a little bit alive.

We did not see much evidence of life of those dearly departed souls. Many cats and dozens of volunteer ladies feeding them is as much an attraction as touring this enormous cemetery. Some of the graves are multi storied, have dining rooms and bedrooms with imagery so real of the dead, one whispers in fear of being overheard.

But, back to gaining wisdom in the search for reasons and answers of what the heck we are doing here, it pays to remain humble in its pursuits. That is if there is such a thing as getting answers. It would be nice that between birth and the veneered Mount Calvary cask we get snippets of information leading us to some rest of the anxious mind in our nodding years.

The day could not start less ambitious and humble than just making the bed without any creases in its top cover. This is what I have been trying to achieve of late. It is more than depressing to discover, just prior to hopping in, that the bed is still unmade. Those days are rare. Of course, most times H makes the bed. Her manner of bed making is perfect, a level that I want to achieve in my quest gaining better and more wisdom. Where does perfect bed making come from? It is a joy to contemplate and watch a bed without flaws before finally diving under the doona.

No matter how it is tried, the efforts I make always includes some little imperfection or fault. It might be that a sock found its way down the bottom of the bed and buried itself between sheet and mattress. To rectify that, after you completed the bed making, is dispiriting, but this has to be overcome in the search for life’s answers.

Sometimes I find that the electric blanked switch gear found itself the wrong side up, showing a lump just below the pillow. Of course, I try and cover it up by throwing a book over it. H reckons that is not honest. In any case, you can lie to others but not to yourself. You know the book was put there for a reason. Your wife might be fooled but not your conscience. It nags you, and results in your search for wisdom down a notch to boot.

I noticed the old lady higher up always puts her bed pillows in the sun on a chair. I asked her some years ago, and she said; ‘It kills germs and keeps me healthy.’ She should know. She worked her whole life as a nurse. Is that why one often sees hospital patients sitting outside in the sun? Some smoke though!

It is part of this bunched together lot of townhouses, and perhaps also old age, that things like pillows on chairs outside get noticed. Sometimes I even say to H. while driving past, ‘oh, Mrs so and so must be home, her pillows are outside.’ Sometimes, but not often, a reply might come from H, ‘oh I haven’t noticed she was gone, ‘I don’t keep an eye out for those sort of banal signals.’ Why, and how come do you? This hurts a little. I am caught out once again being involved in the triviality of life.

What hope for answers and wisdom can there be when I seem stuck between bed making and adventures at Aldi?

The money is in the bank but have you fixed your gutters?

June 30, 2016
Just glorious.

Just glorious.

Of course, before the writing and publishing period, a question about guttering might well involve hardware items and a trip to the hardware shop of Bunnings again. A wife would perhaps hold a ladder while husband is cleaning the gutter from leaves. Leaves always find a home inside the gutter. I can’t remember that cleaning gutters played much of a role in continental Europe. It is strange, but in Holland it was far more important to clean windows. Cultural differences are always so fascinating to reflect upon.

I remember as if it was yesterday. We had arrived at Schiphol airport, near Amsterdam. It was May, 1973. We walked through customs and into the below sea-level of Holland. The first thing I noticed after booking a night in a hotel nearby, was a solitary man standing outside on a short ladder washing his shop window. He was wearing a white jacket but wasn’t a doctor. I don’t think doctors stand on ladders cleaning outside windows.The shop was a spectacle shop. It had ‘optician’ written on the window, behind which was a display of different spectacles. This shop was all on its own with no other shops nearby.

All of a sudden I experienced a rush of recognition. Holland was still this window-cleaning paradise. It all came flooding back to the period before my families’ departure from Holland to Australia back in 1956. It was so long ago, but I felt, just for a second or so, doubtful if we had made the right move. I did feel a bit dispirited. Perhaps it was jetlag.

But, almost sixty years later I am on my second book. The gutters now involve the formatting of the pages. This time the book will be better. I am not saying that the word-order is different. The editing sorted out the worst of my crimes. After all, in my Word-Press blurb I seem to advertise grammar and syntax mistakes as an advantage and enticement. No, this time the presentation will be better. I know that in formatting one has to go for the ‘mirror option.’ It means that the margins of the book will alternate differently between the pages, facing the spine of the book. That is called the ‘gutter.’ I am also starting the different chapters or sections on a fresh page, instead of joining the previous one straight below it.

Yesterday, while checking the bank account I noticed a deposit. It came from Amazon. My first income from the previous book, ‘Almost There.’ It was a rather small amount. Enough to celebrate the event with a rack of lamb and a nice red. As yet I have to pluck up the courage to go to the local book shops and try to get the books on the shelves. In my minds eye I am preparing a little spiel on introducing myself and the book. I have to exercise and present solid confidence and a mien that oozes the successful author, with a straight look in the eyes of the bookshop owner. But, every time I come out practising the introductory sentence in the safety of home, it seems to come out reticent and hollow.

Still, it is all worthwhile and it keeps me away from washing windows while standing on a short ladder.

“Almost there.” ( The reluctant bride)

January 16, 2016
Old Australian cottage on our farm.

Old Australian cottage on our farm.

With six days away we spent some time mulling over a title of the book that I plan to self- publish. One can actually have a computer generator going that will come up with thousands of suggested titles on the internet. It is called a ‘title generator.’ We quickly gave the generator the flick. I have a petrol generator underneath a small bench outside in case of a power failure. We have used it a few times. The noise is nerve wrecking, but with the double glazed windows it is bearable and very handy in an emergency. The neighbours have no such protection!

In any case, after much mulling on our mind’s generator, we came up with ,”Almost there.” It feels nice and does relate to a journey as told in the following chapters holding many fictional memoirs. Is there such a thing as fictional memoirs? Is this a severe case of tautology? I am curious. Aren’t all memoirs to a degree fictional. Are all our memories so set in concrete when so many years have passed? I suppose in biographies of famous people, the writer uses dates and much  corroborated material that can be dug up from archives etc. One can say that a biography is non-fiction, but memoirs…?

I do believe the title of a book is very important. It has to be interesting enough to catch the viewer’s attention as the first step. A casual observer in general just gives a few seconds, to make up his or her mind to take it to the next step in glancing a few pages or the header. It is after those first few moments a book is either bought or not. Perhaps mainly not!

I am making an enormous leap here. The fantasy of having my book in a shop is nice to contemplate but let’s not hurry to the altar too quickly. This bride is very reluctant and likes to spent a bit of time mulling as well. She might well think the groom is a bit of a Wally and she needs more time in contemplation.

The previous suggested miss-mash linking vignettes and memoirs with a nostalgic looking back on Colonoscopy and Erection Dysfunctional Benefits (EDB), were howled down unceremoniously. “How could you even think of it,” followed by, “are you mad, stupid or something, you call yourself a writer?” Being the general gist of it.

Most other titles seemed  clichéd or sentimental, not really connected to the story, plain silly. It is not easy. Fortunately I have Helvi who is very good at connecting things and coming to the unembroidered essence of things whether with titles, arguments or in general matters. Isn’t it odd that is took a few days to come up with  ‘Almost there?’

The title then has to be followed with a short and general description of what the book is about. This too is very important. If it doesn’t hold attention, chances are it will be put back on the shelf. Each word has to be succinct and arouse the interest.  And then, the choice of cover. What then and what next?

And so it goes.