Posts Tagged ‘bowling’

Bowling and toilet breaks.

August 28, 2017

IMG_0623tulips

The Sunday event of playing bowls with another club went smoothly. Most clubs don’t open before 10 am. This is probably linked to those strict license laws.  We can drink ourselves into a stupor but not before a certain time. We were told to arrive at 9.30am in Goulburn and naturally found the door closed. We walked around and found another door slightly ajar which allowed us to sneak in. It might well have been the door that the cleaners and staff used to prepare for the day.

No-one was at the desk and this will probably be our last and only time we entered a club without having to show proof of identity. Prince Frederick of Denmark; please note! After entering the bowling room upstairs, we noticed many of the Goulburn’s bowling members being present with most of our own club’s members. I was given a light green t-shirt with our club’s name  ‘The Berrima Social Bowling Club.’ emblazoned on it. It had a dark blue collar. The Goulburn club all wore a dark-blue outfit which included pants. All had name tags which was a great relief. I just hope the ladies did not think I was perving when staring at their chests trying to get to their names!

After a while we were all split into different teams. I was supposed to be a ‘lead’ in my team. I was unprepared for that role. I asked what this meant and was informed it meant my side would start the first bowl by tossing a coin.

‘Ok, I said,’ and dug out a coin, flipped it into the air and gravity did the rest. It fell onto the ground. ‘You have to call it,’ an opposing team-member said.  It turned out you have to say ‘heads or tails,.’ before flipping it. How does one know those things? I am a fast learner though, and  successfully flipped it the second time. I said ‘heads.’ It happened to land with the queen’s head showing. I bowled first. A giant leap forwards.

It turned out the two different teams were all playing together with each other and not against each other. Isn’t that a giant step forwards? This is social sport at its best. For me, a dream come true. I propose that when  Germany plays England next in soccer, that each team have a fifty- fifty mix of each others players. This will do away with all forms of violence and unnecessary competition. We play for the joy of the sport.

As I had put our own club’s t-shirt over my long sleeved shirt I was told that a T-shirt is not normally worn on top of a normal shirt. Panic struck. I wasn’t going to strip down to my singlet. The sight would have been so undignifying, some might have fainted. I have long passed the age of once perhaps being seen as the Prince of Passion, polar necked golden chained, God of the pounding surf. ( I never was.) A man over seventy should never be seen in his singlet, not even in the dark.

There were two games before lunch and one after. The lunch was ordered before hand and at 12.30 we all filed into a special dining room. Most of us went for the ‘Roast Pork with Vegetables. I had earlier inquired if this would include ‘Crackling.’ The answer was in the positive. Boundless enthusiasm followed after that bit of news. I am sure it improved my bowling.

After lunch we all filed back and took our positions behind the greens again. Of course with most of us full of the Roast Pork and apple sauce now queuing up in our intestines for digestion, it should not come a surprise that some sneaked in a hurried trip to the toilet. This happened to one of our own players. ‘I have to go to the loo’, John said. Fair enough, everyone understood and when it became his turn to bowl we all patiently waited his return. We looked to the floor and engaged in some chit-chat. However, it took a bit more time and after about ten minutes of waiting we were just about to suggest a rescue operation when, much to our relief, John re-appeared and took his turn bowling. His bowling was superb.

We had a great day.

 

Advertisements

Going Danish in Queensland.

August 24, 2017

IMG_1083interior

When I tried to make an attempt to increase my social life by joining an indoor carpet bowling club, I never expected friendship to grow so quickly. From a mere first timer, the progress of bowling, rapidly went to competition bowling. It still is social and not at all serious. We drive around now to other venues whereby we meet new groups just as keen on the game. Most are elderly and so am I. We might well all have reached the age where social intercourse is better.

Before the idea grew of getting about between more people, I considered taking up ballroom dancing. You know how it is. You see those elderly couples keenly trying to keep their marbles about them, (and so am I.) The music’s urging gliding along the parquetry floor taking slowly tango’s rapid littles steps, turning their heads this way or that way, taking care their interlocking legs and noses don’t collide inappropriately. It was the fear of collisions that I feared most.

In a way, the game of bowling does or can appear to resemble dancing as well. The experts seem to almost force the bowl to go to its intended journey by slow body movements alone.  A keen observer might well notice a form of ballet in action. Of course, with  ageing the ballet becomes less agile. Even so, by squinting eyes, some of us could easily have been performing Swanlake if not the dance of the Valkyries.

The friendship was further enhanced today by a lunch invitation held at the Scottish Arms Hotel. We arrived spot on at 12. I ordered my favourite salt and pepper calamari. Helvi had the flat-head fish. The price included a schooner of beer or a glass of wine. We both had a schooner of beer. The group consisted of about twenty five all seated around a long table. I think the women outnumbered the males.  Half the males were bald, but most of the women generously bouffant.

I am still battling to remember names. I suspect that I have reached a stage whereby names seem to get stuck into a colander without going through. A Kevin becomes an Eric and Jill became Joan. I am going to suggest people should wear name tags. It is funny but at clubs one needs proof of identity but not in pubs. Both serve drinks and food,  people play games, especially poker-machines. Yet, the clubs insist on proof of identity. It is something to do with liquor- license laws. I suspect there is a lot of money involved in all that.

It all came to a head when the Danish Crown-Prince Frederik tried to enter a club in Brisbane and was stopped because he could not produce proof of identity even though the  accompanying security police vouched for his identity.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/queensland-id-scanning-laws-turn-away-danish-crown-prince-frederik/news-story/a400fe9870b014896b6e37b6bcd5bee8

You can just imagine how this piece of news went viral around the world. It is true though. There are some things that seem impossible to change and that includes outdated and archaic license laws.

The prince was let through, but…there were ramification. It appeared the club had made an erroneous exception for the Prince. The police ended up apologizing for not insisting that Prince showed proof of identity. He just did not have it on him.

Australia at times can appear very quaint. The High Court at some distant date will have to decide if Australia is being governed by rogue foreigners. Row after row of parliamentarians are queuing up having discovered they have another nationality, which according to the present constitution is strictly outlawed.

What with bowling and all this, how could life not be fascinating? I can’t wait to get up early and welcome the day.

He was as fit as a fiddle.

July 27, 2017
IMG_0659flowering garden

Just glorious.

‘As fit as a fiddle’ is often said by those who are missing the passing of a good friend. With the joining of indoor bowling, it seems likely that the dropping off by friends will not be all that rare. Of course, with just having played twice, this claim of ‘friends’ is still a bit premature. Still, in between, and even during bowling, I struck up conversations. The game started at 10 am at the Moss-Vale Returned Soldiers League and as I had to join the club first, I arrived at 9.45.

The club was still closed. There are still strict rules to opening clubs. I think it might be that alcohol can’t be sold before 10 am. Cafés can open up and so can supermarkets or petrol stations but not clubs. So, I stayed in my car listening to the radio till exactly 10am after which I was allowed in.

The joining of clubs now involves getting a plastic card with your face photographed and printed on this card. This is the id used each time you enter the club. Non-members can still enter clubs as well, provided they show an id with some corroborating evidence such as a driver’s license or passport, health card or pensioner card. This procedure is rigidly adhered to which I never quite understood. It is on that same rather quaint level at Aldi, selling alcoholic drinks at an approved designated cash register but not at a similar looking register in the next isle, apparently not approved. At least with buying a bottle of wine at Aldi’s you don’t need to show an id.

The age of those that engage in indoor bowling in my group is roughly between sixty and perhaps the nineties.  This is in reference to my opening line of; he/she ‘was as fit as a fiddle.’. This could well be said at times, as the file of relatives and grieving friends passes the black hearse at the United Anglican Church here in Bowral.  We could be saying goodbye to Bert or Muriel who died unexpectedly at 86 years of age. A  life-long member of the Indoor Bowling Club.

“He was one of the best, and bowled like a champion.”  “He even anticipated the slight canter of the floor when bowling”. “It will be the last we shall see of his kind ever again bowling at the Bowling floor at Mittagong RSL.”  And with that, a few tears would be hastened on its way.

The Indoor Bowling is my sort of sport. Both sexes are playing together and even though the winning teams are displayed on a board, not many seem to look at that. It is somewhat of an afterthought. When people feel isolated,  sociologists reckon that loneliness is the worst amongst the elderly. The Indoor Bowling sport seems to tick most requirements to solve this aching isolation. Some of the people I played with might well have lost partners. It is inescapable that that will happens. Good luck to those that go at the same time, but it is unlikely.

The Indoor Bowling sport gives excellent opportunity to find friendship, engage in physical activity with social intercourse perhaps the glue that binds people together with being the most important part. I can recommend anyone to join indoor bowling. Of course, eventually someone too in the future, might well say those very same words about any of us; “he was as fit as a fiddle, a bloody good sport.”

The Author is going indoor bowling.

July 24, 2017
DSCN2895 - Copy

Our kitchen of ‘give and take’

While sitting in front of the computer dispensing words of comfort if not wisdom, can be very fulfilling, there needs to be interaction with people in the flesh as well. We are not all islands on one’s own although with age, one gets the sneaking impression it might not be all that bad. Just reading this morning that my car is fitted with faulty airbags. In America a man was found dead in his car with his face so badly lacerated, police thought he had been shot at close range. It was a faulty airbag!

Of all the things that death might come to visit me one day, to have had life finished by a faulty airbag is about as futile and ineffectual as it can get. One can just imagine the grandchildren going through the Oosterman’s heritage finding out Grandpa died by an exploding airbag. A cunning one could well add, ‘he always was.’

It was with the insightfulness of not having enough real-life people around that I felt something should be done to meet more people.  H. said on a few occasions ‘You are cranky lately, and not easy to live with’, followed by  ‘you used to make me laugh.’ This last one bit me. I knew it was serious.

Some time ago I joined the local Labor Party, but it was held in one of those musty Halls of Women’s Christian Fellowship. The moment one stepped in, the wafting of aged doilies and stale biscuits, forlorn plastic bouquets fading in forgotten corners, Christian dust to dust photos and so much more would greet one inconsolably.  On top of it all are my hearing impairments, making the whispered minutes of the last meeting inaudible. I went twice and with all the support of keeping the refugees locked up by Labor as well, I quit and joined the Greens. It still did not really result in more people contact. It was too sporadic.

Of course, the daily walk with Milo often brought bystanders to stop and ask if they could pat him. Only last week, a man stopped who was wearing very thick gloves. I noticed them and thought it a good opportunity to talk about gloves; where are they from, what are they made off, where did you buy them? I wrought the conversation out as long as possible and went home wiser about gloves. I even bought a pair.

It was in the afterthought of H’s remark of getting about more, that I took the decision to join something of a more physical nature. In my foolish youth, so many decades ago, I was always amused to walk past the East-Balmain outdoor bowling club. The ridiculously white uniformed Bowlers, all bending over to bowl, showing bulging bums and possible medical devices compensating amputations or irritating bowel syndromes.

The sport seemed to attract the retirees who on a Sunday could combine all this bending over sport with a couple of beers with ham and cheese wedged-sandwiches ( no crusts). Later on, those sandwiches as a result of Slavic incursions could well contain garlic and gherkins. I even remember stalking past seeing platters of olives doing the rounds.  I swore never ever to reach an impasse in my life that involved becoming a member of this white uniformed bending over bowling fraternity.

And yet, it has come about, dear readers. I joined the Mittagong RSL and this Wednesday join the Moss-Vale RSL ( Returned Soldiers League)indoor bowling club. I have reached the age of Bending Down (or over) to Bowl. I loved my first bowling day yesterday and even took to the cubed sandwiches. Ham and cheese. It was all a rather casual affair. Vaughan, a wiry haired gentleman, explained to me the basics of the game. It included that the balls that one bowls with are weight-biased. Anything biased takes my attention. I took to it like a duck to water. I love how the game includes the bending over and how this bias can be used to advantage in order to get to the aimed destination. It is surprisingly skilful AND both sexes play together. Banter is the norm. No uniforms or protocols. Being mainly elderly players, there is no fuss.  Nice people.

I have reached the age of Bowling.

 

 

Going to the movies

May 22, 2017

new cover 1704 front big Book cover 18april

Over the last week or so we have seen an Opera and two movies. We plan to see another film tomorrow. It is a good way to spend surplus time. Some people tell me they are always short of time. That is admirable. Wasn’t there a play  written about a man that had lost his job but pretended to be still employed by catching the same bus he normally did when still working? Was it ‘The Death of a Salesman’ by Arthur Miller?

I spend a fair amount of time behind the computer, mainly writing stuff. I do so mainly out of pleasure. I do have time. You know how it is with writing words down in a sensible order. Retirement for some bring out a long held desire to play golf or bending down to bowl at a club with likewise elderly bowlers all in white pants and white shoes. I am not in that league. Not yet. I prefer writing to sport. I do like walking and walk a lot.

The movie that really digs into the subject of retirement and resulting curmudgeonly is ‘A man called Ove.’ (By the way, Rotten Tomatoes gave it four and half stars.) It is a Swedish movie about a cranky old man who dominates, out of pure chagrin, the housing estate where he lives. He has recently lost his good wife and feels lost and angry. He is plain nasty and gets gratification out of making life miserable for others. He is not really all that bad though.

It rang a bell for me, if only because we too experienced some of the disadvantages of living on a joint-owned development with a Stasi like ‘committee’ in charge of communal parking,  gardening etc. Out of sheer revenge and spite we had our cyclamen stolen not once but twice by one of the committee members. We have since installed CCTV and a solar-alarm.

The movie too has this wonderful mixture of pathos and humour. Go and see it.

The next movie we enjoyed was yesterday’s  ‘Viceroy’s House.’ A real cracker of a movie. Again, Rotten Tomatoes gave it  four and half stars. This is a totally different movie. A spectacular event with just about everything thrown into it. It has India at the feet of Mother England, but not  for long. In 1947 it gained independence, alas with the formation of Muslim Pakistan which was cut off from India. The last Viceroy Mountbatten was give the task to arrange it in a very short time-frame. Ghandi and all that came with it features it this film. The love between a Hindu man and a Muslim girl spins throughout this movie giving it a strong romantic and humane touch. It could easily have turned schmaltz but it did not. The resulting re-settlement of millions of people to and fro  newly formed Pakistan was something I wasn’t aware of.

A great movie.

The Train to Rookwood

February 9, 2011

The Train to RookwoodPosted on February 10, 2011 by gerard oosterman

The Train to Rookwood. http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/37682.html

The Kerry O’Brian’s interview with Woody Allen last Wednesday night on the 7.30 report would have to be one of ABC’s best coups. Woody’s interviews are collector’s items as he is notoriously shy of publicity. His answers to Kerry’s questions were quirky, witty and to the point. His best was towards the end when he seemed to reject the notion that getting older equates to the getting of wisdom. On the questions of why we are here and what the point of life was, he remains modestly unsure. Whatever he gained through all the years, he would gladly have exchanged it all for; quote, ’wiping 35 years of the calendar’, adding with a distant look, that he would probably make the same mistakes all over again.

This might have been a bit tongue in cheek but made me think how much profit there is in getting older. Surely, there has to be some reward for having survived all the misery and sadness of having lived through so much uncertainty and the many difficulties. It is not unreasonable to assume that one becomes better with the passing of years at coping with some of the misfortunes and events that could, with foresight, have been avoided, and that the benefits of getting older begets us the wisdom to not repeat errors and mistakes into the future.

We plod on with expectations of improvements, and hope that with age, we will undoubtedly get rewards for the courage, determination and resilience in having cobbled something out of our lives. When enough time has lapsed we can have the luxury of reflectively taking stock and do the accounts, and hopefully find out, that, by and large, we stayed the course and that we had achieved the things that we sat out to reach with the positives having outweighed the negatives.

When young, and bursting with enthusiasm and raging hormones, we recklessly hurled ourselves into the future, taking and accepting risks, relationships and partners all at once and with wild abandonment. We brazenly and bravely fought to make our mark. Nothing would stop us and we blindly believed that hard work and enterprise would ensure a stake in prosperity and much goodness, not just for ourselves, but also for our offspring and others. Deposits would be made on house and car, schools for kids would be booked years in advance, and inexorably with the passing of a few more years, we would reap rewards by climbing into even better and bigger houses with more bathrooms now and larger cars with DVD player hooked from the back seat for kids to watch Shrek when driving somewhere and anywhere.

Did we also not take in our stride the misfortune of family life gone off at a tangent or even astray, with lives, like forgotten letters in the drawer, damaged or lost through accident, illness and inherited gene, or the scourge of modern age, addiction to evil substance?

With the advance of years beyond the half century, we fully expect that wisdom and experience will guide us to calmer waters and ease us into a nice and comfortable latter part or even, with the luck of robust health and benefit of not smoking anymore, to old age. We paid our dues and mortgage man is now finally sated. The credit card we will keep on sailing with, just in case of the unforseen, the failing of car or broken and worn washer-dryer, a trip to Venice or even Chile’s Santiago.

Having steamed through that post mortgage, and for some, post marriage years, we have now travelled to the beginning of an advanced age with the cheerful Newsletter and Senior’s card in the post. The Senior Newsletter has holidays for the advanced seniors at Noosa and a plethora of advertisements for those handy battery operated electric little carriages with shopping tray at the back. Are we to zoom in and out of shopping  centres soon, using ramps up and down? With the sheer numbers appearing on footpaths now, it won’t be long and there could be outbreaks of motorized wheelchair-rage, could it not?

I suppose there has been a major drop-out of readers now. Who wants to get ahead that far?

Please, don’t get impatient. Just hang in here for another eighty or so of words, when at age eighty, we are almost there, indeed, we have arrived. How did we fare? It is time now to have one more go at something, perhaps golf for the very fit or, dread the thought, bowling with cricket gear all in pristine white and with men wearing neatly pressed pantaloons but suspiciously bulging when bending to bowl!

Once more, we listen hear and hum the forlorn ‘Le piano du Pauvre’.

                                                                   I am nothing

                                                                      I exist 

                                                         Only in the generous eyes of others

Somehow, with The Train to Rookwood now at station, we have so far stumbled, bumbled but stoutly plotted on. Time has finally arrived, with casket to carriage, no time for regret.

                                                                      Death

                                                                   Inaccessible

                                                                  Even to memory

                                                               Appears and goes away

                                                                   With a scull

                                                                    For a nod

The Train to Rookwood.

Poems by friend Bernard Durrant.

Lawns and Dungog Lady Bowlers

August 20, 2010

August 19, 2010 by gerard oosterman

 

One of the more lasting impressions of my distant past are memories of our neighbour, Bill Miami. Bill Miami was of Italian descent but adopted out to an orphanage as a baby. At least, that was the story told by others. He never spoke about it and why would he? Our family who had only recently arrived in his neck of the woods, Revesby, were his new neighbours for many years to come. Bill was married and also had six children when we arrived. So with twelve kids all-round, there was plenty of activity. Never a dull moment, as they say.

My memories of Bill were his fondness for keeping his lawn. During an industrial accident he had lost four of his fingers which left him just his thumb on his right hand. Despite this handicap Bill would spend hours each week-end on his knees prising out unwanted grasses. He wanted a stable mono-grassed lawn. Every now and then he would stand up, overlook his little pile of unwanted weeds and proceed with rolling compressed tobacco between his open palms. The cigarette paper was held between his lips. After the ‘ready rub’ was loosened to satisfaction he would roll it into the cigarette paper and light up. These were probably his moments of greatest joy and satisfaction.

We had a lunch yesterday at the Dungog Ladies Bowling Club. We walked in and as expected, it was suitably empty with just a few ladies bowling outside. One lawn was perfectly cut and groomed. The other lawn was artificial lawn, perfect for bowling. Not a man in sight. I felt I was treading on a very hallowed but flowery carpeted ground. The bowling club was from the 1965 era. At least that is what the honour rolls seemed to indicate. You know those brown maple veneered boards with scrolls and golden lettering? There were lots of names of lady champion bowlers dating back from 1965. There were champions from single, doubles, triples and foursomes.

We walked into the restaurant part of it, all still decked and decorated out from the opening date of 1965, I suspect. They had those tables and chairs with splayed legs, soft vinyl covers on the chairs. Plastic embroidered table cloths and huge menus. We had sizzling pork, vegetables with oyster sauce and a chicken-chilli dish. We were the only customers.

While we were eating our meal, some lady bowlers walked in silently, all in correct white attire and with small cases that must have held their bowling balls.

It reminded me so much of the days of Bill Miami and his lust for lawns and ciggies.