Posts Tagged ‘Bowral’

Seeing the movies in Bowral.

June 11, 2018
Image result for literary potato peel society

 

We are not sure where this came from. Out of nowhere we decided to watch movies at our local cinema. It used the be one large cinema. The invention of TV resulted in many single cinemas in closing down. That was a great pity. I remember seeing a movie was almost as good as a long week-end. In those early times it was an outing. Often two movies would be shown. There were intervals whereby we could go outside and replenish our intake of popcorn or Smarties, even an ice-cream. Some cinemas had a Hammond Organ rising majestically from below the screen. A white-suited Liberace type man would play it.

At one particular film the audience were forced to be separated into the two sexes. Even weeks, men, and uneven weeks, women. Or was it uneven and even days? It was supposed to be an informative movie on love, sex and pro-creation. There were long queues.  Many men and maybe women, of course thought there would be a fair bit of eroticism if not a fair sprinkling of nudity. There might not have been much nudity in love but surely with sex there would have to be nudity, including female nudity, which was my speciality and object of desire. The decision to show this movie divided by the sexes came from the Government which gave it enough spice for me to see it with some urgency. I was very young but above 16 years old which was the cut-off point. I had till then not experienced much nudity except that shown by skinny models wearing stiff-solid brassieres,  boned-undergarments and nylon stockings in my mother’s Dutch women magazines, sent over to Australia by her sister…

This sex film was a shocker. It started with the obligatory Hammond organ thumping out the God Save The Queen on stage, after which a man warned the male audience to remain seated, calm, and in control. One could hear a pin drop. The movie started and soon progressed to the informative part of sexual congress. There were black and white ovum,  black and white swimming sperms and mothers pushing black prams, but no nudity or genitalia except in such a medical manner that it killed all eroticism. Within twenty minutes some of the male audience started to walk out. I gave it another twenty minutes in the hope of at least seeing a glimpse of something. I would have been happy with some female pubic hair. But no, not a breast, lonely nipple or any hair, just drawings of medical stuff and quivering sperm. All in a morbid black. It was a most boring movie and a sad trip home to my parents.

During the seventies and eighties the Bowral cinema was made into 4 smaller theatres and they are all thriving. The movies we saw were in the order of; Guernsey literary and potato peel pie society.

  1. https://variety.com/2018/film/reviews/the-guernsey-literary-and-potato-peel-pie-society-review-1202753994/

A very well made film, excellent acting, if somewhat sentimental towards the end but still a very good, worthwhile movie. We liked it.

2. https://variety.com/2018/film/reviews/the-bookshop-review-1202701795/

‘The Bookshop’. A masterpiece of filmmaking. A story about a culturally backwards conservative English village resisting the coming of a bookshop. We thought it the best of the three movies.

3. https://www.adelaidereview.com.au/arts/cinema/film-review-tea-with-the-dames/

Another brilliant movie, very funny if you can follow the dialogue which with my impaired hearing had difficulty with. None the less for us a very entertaining film. How could it not be with those gifted actors?

 

 

Advertisements

A horse of clay

May 1, 2018

IMG_0047a horse

A Horse of clay

It was maintenance day yesterday at the Campbelltown Radiation clinic. We had a day off. The equipment needed to be checked, oiled, greased or whatever. Most of the equipment has ‘Philips’ on the name tags. It makes me so proud. The radiation has to be focussed with pin point accuracy. I see patients with head shields going in, or neck screens.

Today was normal and all equipment in good order. After arriving I checked the bookshelves. Bingo! My book had been taken again. I had a replacement ready. I quickly flicked it on the shelf. At one stage the man with prostate cancer got up and perused the books. He did not take mine, even though I had put it in the most prominent position.  He was hovering his hand over my book. I nearly told him to take it, but desisted.  Can’t wait to see if that has been taken tomorrow. Its title is ‘Oosterman Treats.’ I am so excited.

On the drive home at about 3PM we visited the sushi take away at the big shopping centre at Mittagong. We both always go for the ‘Binto special’. They are most generous with the little soya and wasabi sachets. I love squirting the wasabi on the lid of the box that the rice, salmon and sea-weed wrapped food comes in. We watch the people go by. There is a weight problem in Mittagong and they seem to congregate at shopping malls. If only they could resist KFC and the 2 litre Coke and go for the Sushi and plain water.

Sometimes we get the urge to go and look at second hand stuff at the Salvos in Bowral. It is a giant Salvos. A good thing is they don’t insist on converting me. It would be a waste of time.  I like religions who leave people in peace. I had to tell the two ‘sisters’ who live at our complex that I am not going to the Mormon cottage meetings but that I do like the choc-chip cookies that they keep making. One of the girls is from US Texas, the other from NZ. They are so nice and even gave us a little impromptu guitar and singing concert on the pavement in front of their place.

At the Salvos, Helvi wanted to try and buy a narrow set of shelves to put our potatoes and other vegies in underneath the stairs. It has a third toilet. The builder must have had a thing about toilets. I can cope with two, but three? Perhaps he suffered bowel problems. We both noticed a clay horse outside the Salvo shop. It spoke to us. It was only $ 10.-. I took the horse under my arms and went inside to pay for it. What a find. It is beautiful even without its tail and ears.

Helvi went on to look for the shelving and shoes. She likes nothing better than to find a $ 500.- pair of Italian shoes for just $20.-. I went straight for a comfortable chair to sink in with the horse on my lap. I immediately fell asleep. I was tapped on my shoulder. A middle aged woman looked me in the face. ‘Would you like a glass of water?’ I am always pleased when somebody talks to me. There is not enough contact between people. I told her I wasn’t thirsty and explained my wife was looking at shoes. She smiled. I think she understood. Women sometimes have common grounds and shoes might be one of them.

Afterwards I wondered why she thought I might like a drink of water. Was she testing me? Did she think I had passed away with that horse in my lap? It does happen. The horse was a fantastic find. Isn’t it beautiful? Helvi last night made a tail from rope which she plucked out. I will try and get some clay to make ears and bake it into the oven after which they will be glued onto its head.  It is now standing proudly near our front door outside. Milo was a bit suspicious.

I think this horse is beautiful.

 

 

The round-trip to the clinic.

April 24, 2018
IMG_20150516_0006

Table setting. Hand coloured etching.

 

Today we drove for the 7th time to a special clinic for radiation. There and back is around 140KM. We drive at around 100km an hour. The car has speed control. However, the use of it gives my foot a cramp. I prefer to keep working the pedal. There is also something frightening of a car going on its own volution. I am not sure about sitting in a self-drive vehicle. In any case we will be driving for many days yet, with a total of 25-35 radiation treatments.

The clinic itself is a jolly experience. This is surprising. Most or all of the patients have some kind of cancer. Perhaps the fear of getting cancer has at least been relieved by the certainty of the patients’ diagnoses. There is no more doubt. Still, jolliness and having cancer seems an oxymoron. The clinic has two waiting rooms. One has a TV which is always on, droning on a commercial channel most of the time.  The inane dribble on channel 7 by incessantly smirking presenters will do no good to any patient, not even those that are jolly and in remission. I change it over to the National Broadcaster’s news, ABC, channel 24. This gives News. Even there, the announcers seem to be laughing all the time too. I wonder what do they suffer from? Is the news from the Trump’s US or Syria so hilarious? Perhaps the TV bosses tell the announcers to be cheerful despite the carnage shown.  It surprises me that no one protests when I change the channel. Mind you, no one watches it much. They prefer to talk.

The other waiting room is a better place. They have bookshelves with many books to either read while waiting or take home in exchange for books patients might like to swap with. In any case, both rooms have patients waiting for treatment. Most have a specific given time and as the treatment only lasts a few minutes, many are in and out quickly. The undressing and re-dressing takes more time. The atmosphere is of geniality. I suppose there is a solid common bond. They all have cancer. The radiation perhaps also aids with a kind of warming glow. Shared problems together is a great binder and the laughter in the waiting rooms reflects this very well. Each time we leave the clinic we are both in great spirits.

Maarten is one of the patients whose time of treatment coincides of that of Helvi. He is Dutch born and 82 years old. He arrived here with his parents in 1953. I did in 1956. His Dutch language is still fluent and so is his brain. His parents settled in Wollongong with his father building a house there. He told me he created a Dutch choir in Wollongong which is still ongoing. Maarten also plays a recorder  and when well enough attends courses run by U3A. http://sohiu3a.org.au/   I think he likes classical music. I will ask him next time.  I am a sucker for classical music.

We meet each day at the clinic together with many others. Many arrive by Community buses with carers. Some are in wheel-chairs. We met a couple. The wife gets her nose radiated. She suffers a melanoma and hopes the treatment will prevent losing her nose. Perhaps in total, we spend at the most 45 minutes at this clinic.  We drive home and sometimes take a lunch at the Sushi take away in Mittagong or the Thai place back home in Bowral.  The daily trip means we have to put travel on hold. But, the experience each day at the clinic is a good compromise. Perhaps not a holiday but a good unexpected bonus of joy with strong people on the edge. The snippets of social exchanges between other patients is very exhilarating.

We  like the daily visits.

An unexpected journey.

January 12, 2018

 

photoflooded riverThe Oosterman Treats has been a bit quiet lately. Let me try explain why. My wife Helvi  was diagnosed with breast cancer some three months ago. Perhaps I should use the more gender neutral word of ‘partner.’ Apparently the gender police want reference to male or female lessened or at least only allow it used for pass-port applications. The same-sex ideology seems to get a bit over-excited.

Anyway, breast cancer struck way out of nowhere. Who would think that having reached the age of late seventies it could still happen? The annual letter to have free mammograms stopped after seventy. The funding apparently is tight and limited.  Helvi never wanted to make a fuss over herself and wasn’t all that keen for me to write and use it in my blog. She is just that kind of girl, always concerning herself about others and isn’t keen to talk about herself or sicknesses anyway.

The subsequent chemotherapy thrice spread at three weekly intervals left her immunity very low with the ever opportunistic infections promptly taking advantage and giving her pneumonia. On Christmas day with a kilo of raw prawns, a leg of lamb and the pavlova ripening in the fridge, I took Helvi to the local Bowral Hospital just a hundred metres from here. She was so weak and could hardly stand up. I get choked thinking about how she was.

Helvi was taken to ‘High Dependent Unit’ and stayed there for five night before going to a recovery ward for another six nights. One night I was asked to spend a night with her and a special roll out bed was provided. She was so sick and agitated. Helvi has lost 15 kilos during the chemotherapy period.

The good news is that the chemo has worked with the experts very pleased. The chemo has now been delayed giving Helvi the chance to get her appetite and reasonable health back again. Within the next couple of weeks Helvi will be operated to have either a lumpectomy or mastectomy. The journey is ongoing.

Her care in Hospital was fantastic and the dedication of nurses inspiring. Nothing was too much and to consider the shortage of staff and the hard work they perform I am amazed the system still seems to work so well. I so wished they would get paid accordingly. I noticed some of the most vital equipment seemed in need of repair or modernising. The sink had been taken out of her ward because it was needed more urgently elsewhere leaving the taps open for patients to get water running over the floor. Someone then taped them up to avoid flooding.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-12/nsw-set-for-major-shortage-of-nurses-and-midwives/9321464

So, that is the story at this stage.

A mere bagatelle is that my Visa Credit card had been compromised to the tune of $1100.- I never use credit or any bank cards but have it to get dividends paid in and for automatic payments such as Toll charges and subscriptions. I suspect that my renewal for Norton Anti Virus was used by some scammer to fleece my account. Strange transactions in US dollars in Hong Kong and Cayman islands turned up. My Visa card was stopped and the fraudulent transaction credited to my account. With all that what was going on with my dearest Helvi, I could have done without that.

Please, wish Helvi well.

Is Australia captive to inane trivia?

November 14, 2017

imagesssm

There is a cake and pie shop in Bowral named ‘The Gumnut.’ On its front window it has a very impressive lists of ribbons of yearly ‘best pie or best cake’ of the year won at Sydney’s yearly agricultural show called ‘The Easter Show.’ We often in our daily walk stop to have a coffee and a pie. I still succumb to a ribbon or award winning meaty one but Helvi prefers the vegetable pie with roast pumpkin and sun-dried tomato. Each to their own.

Tomorrow at 10am all TV and radio Stations will broadcast the results of the $120,000,000,- postal vote on SSM. With all that is going, some Ministers and Parliamentarians will try and throw sand over the issue by putting up their own bills safe-guarding religious beliefs or matters of conscience. It is generally predicted through polls that the SSM will get a healthy 60% Yes vote and a 40% No vote outcome.

Many on the extreme right, will under the pretext of protecting religious or conscientious views try and make things more difficult than they are. Some politicians are using the example of cake makers forced to sell wedding-cakes to Gay or Lesbian couples against their conscience or religious beliefs. Can you believe it?  For some time now this cake selling has been popping up almost daily in adult right-wing Parliamentarians seriously rambling on about it on the TV.

One particular Minister gets red in the face about the prospect of SS couples being sold a same sex wedding cake. It gets worse. ‘What about those renting out wedding cars or those celebrants whose beliefs might run against SSM? And so it goes on.

And, while 15000 scientists are warning time is running out for the world to be spared the collapse of our ecology, Australia talks about wedding cakes to SS couples. Are shops at present sussing out homosexual couples and refusing to sell them vanilla slices? I don’t think so. I often see openly gay people munching away on cakes or sausage rolls. Who cares? Why would shops refuse to make a wedding cake just because it might get eaten by people born with a difference. What next. Stop selling cakes to people with beards or with blue eyes?

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-14/climate-scientists-issue-dire-environmental-warning/9147334

Yet, not much about the plight of hundreds of asylum seekers now after two weeks without urgent provisions of food, water and toilets on Manus island. Sometimes during my mind’s meanderings I wonder what my father would make of present day Australia. We used to be progressive and forward looking but now have sunk to inane and silliness. Who would have thought that wedding cakes would be discussed while at the same time being tolerant of untold cruelty to refugees?

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/thousands-rally-in-melbourne-in-support-of-manus-island-asylum-seekers-20171104-gzevx0.html

No tulips with Octane 95 or Ethanol.

September 14, 2017

IMG_0623tulips

With our ‘almost’ new car came a 300 page manual. We are faced with having to make a choice of fuel. Throughout life I never gave buying petrol much thought.  Petrol would be last on the list of urgent considerations. One pays for it after studiously watching the bowser tick over to the exact cent. A boring unavoidable duty sometimes made better by watching others going through the same ordeal.

Some petrol stations now are like supermarkets. One sees people coming out with both arms laden with mainly sugary or salty items. Huge quantities of food. Sometimes the arms are so full that car keys are held between their teeth. Heaven knows what it does to their health.  It annoys the shit out of us. Yet, the bowser has a strict notification not to move the car before paying for the fuel.  There is no option but to grit teeth and hope the owners of the car queueing in front isn’t on an eating while shopping expedition.

The 308  petrol Peugeot we bought makes a recommendation on the inside of the fuel cap not to use fuel less than 95 Octane. I might be skating on scientific thin ice here, but I assume, the higher the octane level, the lower its needed temperature for combustibility. In other words, the higher the octane,  the lesser temperature is needed for the fuel to ignite/explode driving the engine.

In the handbook it also approves of a fuel with an ethanol (alcohol) component of not higher than 10%. This fuel E10, is less polluting and cheaper, more environmentally friendly. However, this ethanol added fuel seems to be confusing. It doesn’t come with an octane level at most petrol oulets. Researching the issue the Government gives a list of cars and models that can safely be driven on this better and cheaper fuel. At the risk of boring the faithful readers so bravely following this blog, I give you the site;

https://www.fcai.com.au/environment/can-my-vehicle-operate-on-ethanol-blend-petrol

The manual that came with this car does also approve the cheaper E10 fuels with a proviso it is at least rated at 95 octane.

I filled up with the E10 fuel and the car drives well, and without any difference. Mind you, I drive slowly in direct proportion to my ageing.  The older I get, the slower I drive. If you see a stationary car sometime in the future, take a peak inside, in case I have carked it! My last will is in the glove box underneath the manual!

Another perplexing issue that has also now popped up is that of tulips. One of the main yearly tourist attraction’s of our town of Bowral in the Highlands, is the yearly tulip festival held in a local park. It attracts tens of thousands of locals but many too from all over the world. This year it is not any different. Busload after busload it disgorges loads of tulip aficionados.  Many Chinese, Indians, Japanese and Europeans. Many decked out with cameras and held on the end of selfie sticks at the ready.

Except…there are hardly any tulips. Someone must have done a terrible miscalculation in the timing. We had some unusual warm weather, yet the tulips are just not there in flower. This has now become a calamity. All those people who pre-paid to come here to admire tulips are now faced with just a conventional municipal park with many venues set up for tourists to buy hats, or jumpers, scarfs ,belts meat pies and other products.  But…no tulips. The music is louder than normal I suppose to compensate for the lack of tulips. Counsel has put a large notification that entrance fees have been waived. “FREE” in large lettering. But what about the overseas visitors who pre-paid their flight and entrance tickets? What about all the busloads of Sydney pensioners looking forward to tulips?

I reckon someone will get an ear-bashing over this. It can’t be all that difficult to have bulbs coming out in time for the yearly fortnightly tulip festival.

Ah well, we can listen to Tiny Tim once again.

The story of Bookshelves and Yassmin Abdel Magied’s demise.

July 12, 2017

Image result for yassmin abdel-magied

 

Apart from Dad’s struggling with the Victa lawnmower and keeping the kerosene-heater’s wick trimmed, he also bravely accepted the lack of books. He once asked in his usual contemplative tone; ‘Gerard, have you seen any books about in our neighbourhood?’ I must admit that at the age of enjoying my first hormonal drives at sixteen, I hadn’t thought much about books. I was a keen admirer of Jules Verne in Holland, but he slipped away after arrival in Sunny Australia. I had to make and work over-time, save money for the future. My Father followed his previous remark up by his observation that, at Mrs Murphy next door, he hadn’t seen any books at all. ‘Mind you, we have only seen the kitchen so far,’ he added optimistically.

It was mainly through my Mother’s persistent and holtz-hammer method that we had even achieved this penetration into neighbour’s next door’s kitchen. It were those minor achievements that made life bearable after our arrival. My parents keenly trying to make a home in what turned out for me to be a most dismal suburban few years. If ever a far flung Sydney suburb shone in neatness and pride with its occupants soaked up in total fenced-off privacy it was Revesby’s McGirr Street in 1957.

We had involuntary chosen to live in the epicentre of  lives , that can only be described, as being agonisingly slow, lived in extreme political ‘niceness.’ It was out of ignorance more than choice. One had to settle down and own home was a fever that still sweeps through Australia as I write.

It was painfully normal and desirable but I could not understand its bleakness. The struggle after arrival was to quickly buy a home, and if possible this home had to be close to a railway-station.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-11/yassmin-abdel-magied-says-she-feels-betrayed-by-australia/8699138

The lack of book issues that Dad grappled with did not really get resolved. I suppose it must have faded in his memory after their return to Holland in 1974. Like salmons flopping upstream to return to their spawning grounds, Mum found again the familiarity of her Dutch neighbourly cosiness and Dad his bespectacled friends peopled by books while questioning Dostoevsky or the bitter Holland weather. In his old age, he once reflected that it just wasn’t the lack of books but that the available book-shelving that he finally spotted in the New Country were used to store garden herbicides or rat poison, with tools for keeping the grass short , all ready for the next assault on unruly weeds which were kept for the ready on the back-veranda.

And now in 2017, decades later, has Australia  grown wiser more inclusive and accepting of differences? Have the kitchens of ‘give and take’ opened up? No one certainly needs to feel deprived of garlic, and the kebab has taken a strong hold at country fairs, even as far away as Coonabarabran. The meat pie however is under threat and in our town of Bowral it was felt by the Municipal Council to hold a week in which to praise and celebrate the meat pie in order to re-invigorate its proper culinary position at the head of the dinky-dye Australian dining table. Time will tell, but some fear the worst and are nervous.

Our PM certainly tells us we are the most tolerant and most culturally diverse nation in the world. Most of us have foreign blood surging through our veins, but, he does also direct us to not go all funny and foreign after arrival. We do need to genuflect and hold to the True and long held Australian values. We must not allow too much foreignness. Foreign blood ought to be directed and channelled to follow well proven roads and he urges us maintain certain ‘values.’ One of those values that must not be tangled with is the Anzac Value. The value of war and battle fought during the world wars. The battle that defines us most as a people and a country must never be forgotten. This is the battle of Gallipoli in Turkey.

History tells us coldly, this battle was a disaster and Churchill should never have given this order. Today it would most likely be seen as a war-crime. Australians were massacred by the thousands… and it was totally avoidable. Of course, it is argued that those thousands that died on those salty Turkish beaches should never be forgotten, hence, ‘Lest we forget.’ One of our true Australians, Yassmin Abdel Magied agreed, but  thought as a considerate and passionate believer in justice for all, that we should also include in remembering the plight of those in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and  Manus and Nauru. This was seen as a breach of being good and true ‘Australian’. It was heresy. You don’t muck about with Anzac day, it seems.

After weeks of bullying and pestering, with posters being plastered about for her to be ‘taken-out’  and that she should be deported or at least sacked, her address, phone and Facebook taken away, she finally had enough and plans to go and live in England. She claims that Australia is only tolerant if one ‘toes the line.’ It seems that the extreme semi- literate racists Pauline Hansons,  and Jacqui Lambie are the really nice Australians.

Yassmin is a trained engineer, female, a Muslim Australian, well educated and speaks better English than the previously mentioned racist politicians. She is an asset to Australia and a beacon for tolerance and inclusiveness.

What a great pity and loss for Australia.

The question is; Where does this hatred come from?

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.

008

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.

We will meet you in the book-shop

September 27, 2016
Mother, daughter and sons on the way to Thai café.

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

I could hardly believe that it is has now come to this. People that bother reading my blog should know I do tend to exaggerate and with a fair bit of word-knitting, twisting and turning, manage to make events and experiences as truthful as possible. With school holidays our grandsons often use the time to visit us for getting and renewing their pancake hits. Their mother is often fed up and glad to be rid of them. We, on the other hand make them wash cars and give them money for the lollies-shop.

A major achievement has been a break-through in travel arrangements. They now come by train. It saves a lot of ‘I spy-I spy with my eye’ while in the car driving home all the way from Sydney. The older one lords it over the younger one, and driving while controlling a fight in the back seat brought this Grandma and Grandpa often close to strangulation or teenticide. (with a quick burial of both of them under a large gum tree.)

They have now gone home again. The eldest likes basket-ball and is now over six feet. The younger boy loves fiddling with his IPhone, almost doubled over it in concentration. He stays up and watches soccer being played late at night. I discovered a jar still full of black Kalamata olive liquid except, there were no olives. It’s useless asking, ‘who ate all the olives? They have reached the age of no return, and I have given up about making them feel rotten, let alone guilty. However, they did heed our constant nagging for getting to read words in books. Oh, we were relentless, and told them that words are the only way to make sense of the world and their future.

It’s not easy to get older and facing adulthood. There could well be a nagging suspicion there must be more to life than one day after the other, to be conquered and gotten through. Their belief in two headed monsters at the sea bottom and fairies in the forests are been given a severe dent, looked at with suspicion and some doubt. However, the repeat of experiences does also coincide with curiosity about sex and what might be possible with those stirrings down below.

I know when I discovered sex more than sixty years ago, I felt a huge load being lifted. This is what it is all about! Why did someone not tell me? How terrific! What a discovery in my early teens. I must tell my friends about this.

Of course, now I think is THIS what has driven me? How pathetic. All that heaving. What madness. Are you for real? Look at yourself. Look at peoples faces instead of their crotches. You should be ashamed of yourself, Gerard. My mother was right. Stop it! Go to confession.

On the second day, the boys wanted to explore a very large second-hand bookshop that opened up here in Bowral. It is called, not unreasonably ‘Reading’. So, we told them we would follow after a couple of hours and asked them where we will meet and have lunch. You know what they said?

“We will meet you at the bookshop.”

Now, wasn’t that something to lift the spirit. I reckon their Mum , Grandpa & Grandma must have done something right.

Don’t lose your relationship and your socks.

August 22, 2016
My parents in Holland, earlier times.

My parents in Holland, earlier times.

According to Alain de Botton, your smelly socks play a larger role in the permanency of your relationship than romantically floating on the Danube while immersed in a bath filled with rose petals. He confronts the hugely popular romantic notion of ‘falling’ in love and living happily ever after. I must say, it intrigues me no end how people can stay in a mono-relationship all their lives.

There are a few that we know but they are mainly in our direct family backgrounds of numerous brothers and sisters from both of us. Outside our own direct background the wedding gondola is listing dangerously and littered with corpses of failed relationships. Mind you, there is a new theory out that a relationship hasn’t necessarily failed just because one or both wanted out. Even so, when a relationship is at the start and still blindingly starry-eyed and way over the top, that most proclaim eternal love and devotion to each other. Psychopaths are seen as Saints. To fall in love is a most dangerous situation. Get out of it. Get real.

According to Alain de Botton; the banana skin on the doorstep of declared love is that we see in each other things that are just not there. We want to see them. Alas, it is all a fata morgana. The things that are there and real are not seen. We think the other is perfect and so does the opponent. The man forgives the woman who lingers longingly in front of the High Fashion shop and he feels it rather cute. The woman likewise, when he seems to swear at other drivers or watches football all the time. She thinks ‘boys are boys.’ We only see perfection and can’t understand nor are willing to see, how this notion of love is blind and certainly foolish.

Of course, blind love is fed by cinema and books. With us, even right from the beginning, any sign of romantic love and H and I bolt out. The first whiff of a lingering look of real love or a wafting of underarm brutish man, and we are out, running along Bong Bong Road to Woollies car-park, glad to have made it in one piece. By mistake we switched on the ABC News too early last night only to be confronted with the Nigella Lawson now famous sideway glance while cooking a sponge cake. No better example of false charm and allure.

The thing that Alain de Botton points out is that we are all imperfect. In fact, we are broken. We are the result of genes and our own imperfect parental upbringing, totally hopeless when confronted with relationship and marriage. Instead of seeking love we should really get an understanding of own faults first. Try and be the normal obnoxious self when finally confronting a suitable partner. Show her/him your true self. Be honest and don’t move your jaw or flex your pectoral. Hard as it is, don’t believe your partner is all that lovely either. Both are broken. Work on being happy and try and enjoy grey. Do things together and expect fights and making good. It is not for everyone. A good relationship is one that goes on regardless of itself. It is surprising how the years go by. You fight and love, and fight and love.
That’s the secret.
51alYWDUUGL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_oosterman treats

Here a few things from Alain de Botton on love.

“Every fall into love involves the triumph of hope over self-knowledge. We fall in love hoping we won’t find in another what we know is in ourselves, all the cowardice, weakness, laziness, dishonesty, compromise, and stupidity. We throw a cordon of love around the chosen one and decide that everything within it will somehow be free of our faults. We locate inside another a perfection that eludes us within ourselves, and through our union with the beloved hope to maintain (against the evidence of all self-knowledge) a precarious faith in our species.”
― Alain de Botton, On Love

“We are all more intelligent than we are capable, and awareness of the insanity of love has never saved anyone from the disease.”
― Alain de Botton, On Love