Posts Tagged ‘Bowral’

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.

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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.

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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

Sand-bagging for Seniors facing Climate Change

June 9, 2016
Snr Oosterman sand-bagging

Snr Oosterman sand-bagging

The rain came as predicted. It is amazing how the prophesy of weather has become so accurate. The art by holding up the index finger to guess future weather patterns has vanished, and has been replaced by satellite and bearded scientists peering at screens while sipping coffee out of a take away carton. We hear about El Nina and El Nino which I always get mixed up. In any case, climate change has thrown a spanner in weather forecasting.

We thought living about six hundred metres above sea-level would be safe. But this low pressure system was as predicted ‘a monster storm’. Warnings were flashed on our TVs to stay indoors and bunker down. The timing of this low moving south were precise to the hour. We stayed up and watched the sky turn an ashen grey. It started a bit light with the wind picking up. The northern part of Australia copped it first and footage was shown of palms and people bending in the wind. Umbrellas were turned-inside out, always a favourite by weather journalists who keep inside-out umbrellas in their cupboards together with sad looking teddy bears as props for future use.

We, by the time the monster storm reached our region, were dressed in our pyjamas and felt safe. We had some previous minor flooding in the garage but addressed it by building a concrete levy between a property higher up from us. It worked perfectly by diverting water to the road instead of our garden and garage. The Dutch always had a thing about staying above water, no matter what. The rain intensified and was lashing our area as never experienced before. The wind was howling, and was clearly out for revenge.

However, reports now came in of fatalities and angry rescue teams that people were still foolishly driving through rising water levies. It was now getting light and without having slept and still in pyjamas noticed the garage had flooded again. The water entered from the street which had become a raging river. Helvi took a measuring tape from her sewing basket and measured the depth of water in the garage. It was three centimetres. Our living quarters next to the garage is about fifteen centimetres above the garage floor.

Gerard was seen, heroically stepping to the fore, carrying sandbags in an effort to divert the flood to the stormwater drain in the middle of the road about six metres from our front door. He was in his pyjamas and it was so cold. Never mind, you do anything to prevent water entering your living-room and wet the Turkish carpet. Milo was nervous as well but cunningly stayed indoors. He, in the meantime noticed the storm water drain had had enough and could take no more. Helvi again went to the garage and measured the depth of the flooding. It was now six centimetres. She shouted out to him; ‘it is now six centimetres.’

He was still (heroically) battling the storm-water drain. He surrendered. It was beyond reason no matter how he cursed and swore. The rain was now a solid waterfall. ‘It is eight centimetres,’ she shouted anxiously. He went inside, worse for wear, as the cliché demanded, very wet, cold, and his partials-teeth rattling. He, in a mighty last effort carried sodden bags to the front door. The water was three centimetres from entering our living quarters.

We were amazed seeing footage of properties tumbling into the sea. One property even lost an entire swimming pool. We wondered why, when living so close to the water, a swimming pool was put in. Did they not know the sea-water was just metres away?

Bowral Ducks

Bowral Ducks

We were so close to getting water inside. One man here in Bowral drowned inside his car being swept away by rising water in the creek that flow behind our property. The same shallow murmuring creek that we almost daily take Milo to.

The ducks were none the worse for wear.

My book is for sale; ‘Almost There,’ by Gerard Oosterman. ( Amazon, Lulu and other outlets.)

No escape from Ducks and the ‘Book.’

May 19, 2016

BookCoverPreview

It now seems the latest version of the book ‘Almost There,’ is for sale, both in paper-back and electronic format, and has trickled down into many outlets, including Amazon, Lulu and our own Australian kindle format for Authors by ASA. (Australian Society for Authors)

There is no escape and one can live in Spain, Germany, Italy, France or the UK, sooner or later you will come across the chance to buy and read it. Don’t hold back.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0994581033
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0994581033
http://www.amazon.de/dp/0994581033
http://www.amazon.es/dp/0994581033
http://www.amazon.fr/dp/0994581033
http://www.amazon.it/dp/0994581033

The US has also not escaped with; http://www.amazon.com/Almost-There-Fragments-Restless-Life/dp/0994581033/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1463626908&sr=1-4&keywords=Almost+There

Australia as far as I know doesn’t yet have ‘print on demand’ facility, so for those living in Australia I bought forty books from the CreatSpace in the US which will be here within a couple of weeks and can be bought direct from me even cheaper than from the US, including postage.

Bowral Ducks

Bowral Ducks

As for the ASA electronic book in Australia, it is for sale here: https://authors-unlimited.org/book-member/almost-there

Almost There

Almost There

It was a fine moment indeed to see the book in print and on the Kindle device. The hard part is to sell the book and for buyers to read it. I would be so pleased if some of you, after having perused a few chapters, write a review. (It doesn’t really give me much joy in asking) It might give the book a ‘leg-up.’

In the meantime I am somewhat pleased with the above photo of the ducks in the creek not far from our house. Consider that Milo was pulling me almost into the water. I really love that photo.

I’ll have TV with Sound-bar, please.

April 7, 2016
Milo at peace with the world

Milo at peace with the world

The latest to hit the commercial world is a sound-bar. I heard people talk about it in the Bowral Strawberry coffee lounge. ‘How is your sound-bar going?’ The question was put by a lady in her late fifties bravely wearing tight white jeans and a floppy top with those hanging wings that at times can conveniently hide the possibility of a bulge here and there. The receiver of the question was a man wearing a bright pink striped shirt and a hat shaped a bit like a Dr Livingstone helmet. I had seen him before. A well know Bowral eccentric, of which there can never be enough.

The conversation got lost with the embarrassing and unashamedly endless high-pitched barking of our Jack Russell, Milo. Despite all our efforts, Milo still goes nuts at the sound of a Harley Davison. We have asked several motor bike riders, before they mount their bikes, to allow Milo to have a good sniff and total freedom to whatever he might want to engage in. Bite the muffler or attack the pistons etc., even the rider. Milo does nothing he just stares at the bike. What goes on in his wise little brain? However, he does know we don’t like this behaviour and tries to be extra nice afterwards. He kind of wags his tail and settles down, but only after he has disturbed the serenity and peace of all the other latte sippers.

But, back to the issue of the sound-bar. Some months ago a large electrical retailer went belly up and into liquidation. No buyers could be found to try and rescue and save the hundreds or so retail shops scattered around Australia. There are now big signs on the Dick Smith shops ‘Closing Down,’ all items MUST be sold. This draws in the bargain hunters. We have been, for some time now, contemplating buying a larger TV, especially one with a better sound. The ears are getting worse with the approaching station’s terminal.

It wasn’t really urgent. We rarely watch TV much, prefer the sound of silence, as they say. If sounds are sometimes heard, they are most likely be our domestic voices; ‘How did you sleep’, or,’should we go for a walk now or later?’ Sometimes a more pertinent question;’Does this rubbish go into the red-lid bin or is it for the yellow one?’ Of course, the Danish-Swedish productions we always watch. ‘The Bridge’ we would stay home for, and perhaps even our own ‘Janet King’ with Marta Dusseldorp.

After all the weighing of the pros and cons we walked into our own Dick Smith shops. The atmosphere somewhat gloomy. The shop looked as if it had been visited by bandits. The salesgirls looking sad with dust now allowed to settle on empty shelves previously occupied by IPhones and ear-attachments. A computer cable resting listlessly on the floor. Where would they now find another job? Business is all so reckless now. Consideration for alive people seems to have got lost lately. Have you noticed that too?

We stared at a row of special 40″ TV’s with the DICK SMITH logo emblazoned on the carton boxes featuring a brightly coloured Italian village hugging a steep cliff on the Mediterranean coast somewhere. Perhaps it was the Amalfi Coast! One could almost just have the box on a stand in the living room? Anyway, we asked for ‘the best price’ which came in at $399.-. ‘How is the sound, I asked?’ ‘Oh, not bad really,’ she said, looking sideways. ‘Ok, we will have it.’

After unpacking, and almost giving up on trying to wrench it out of it’s carton box, we turned the TV on. I thought I was hearing a message from the Station Master or my IPhone. The sound was like an announcement through the speakers on the platform of Bowral rail-station, ‘stay in front of the yellow lines, please.’

We had to go out and ask if anything could be done. My brother who inherited the same lack of hearing gene from our mother, spent $ 1200 on a ‘surround sound’ system to supplement the squeaky TV sound. The google machine was cranked up and after much research, a Phillips sound-bar was chosen. We bought the thing from Bing Lee for $ 299.- including a sub-woofer. It was a revelation. The sound superb and TV watching improved greatly.

A long story! Aldi is now selling 40″ TVs and separate sound-bars. Can you believe it? No wonder Bowral is excited and people ask each other; ‘How is your sound-bar going?’

Pardon me Sir; your lack of paragraphs is showing.

January 24, 2016
Just glorious.

Just glorious.

The Salvation Army in Bowral has moved to the main shopping street. They used to be behind the railway line in an industrial area. Some shopkeepers are miffed. They feel it lowers the standard and tone of the main street. They are also scared many shoppers will get bargains in all sorts of fashionable up market brands for just a couple of dollars. A few days ago, we went there to check it out. Checking things out is what we often do. It passes the time and soothes pain.

I bought a two disc C-D of Pablo Casals’ suit of six suites ‘pour violoncelle by J.-S. Bach.’  They were in mint condition for $2.-.  Not even a finger print on them.  I now play the music while trying to find breaks in “Almost There.” and insert a new paragraph. Unfortunately, the Salvo’s are out of paragraphs but still have boxes of commas, and some semi-colons left.  Check it out!

You know, there is a lot of things to learn when writing. I am ashamed to admit that I was totally outside the loupe when it came to inserting all those exclamation marks. It gets worse. I did not even know that many of those marks come after full stops. The full stops must have felt so insulted, getting dragged behind. I do feel sorry. I am still unsure (unsicher) about a capital letter needed after the semi-colon or not. Is it legal to alternate and please both options? Consistency is what is required.

From “Almost There.”

As I motor-biked past a car sales yard, I noticed a large car for sale amongst many others. This car was a powder blue colour. Its chrome glimmered seductively. They say men fall in love with cars. Even the primates shown recently on TV, the male gets drawn to anything with wheels while the female ape cuddles dolls. What hope have we got? As a male homo sapient, men might as well do away with free choice when a car sales yard beckons us more than a bevy of dolls. I mean what could be nicer than cuddling a doll? Yet, it is the hot embrace of high revving steel pistons and killer speeds that men seem to be drawn to. The smarmy salesman saw me coming looking out from his little window inside his pigeon-hole office overlooking his domain of gaping cars. The perfect customer. A young man on the hunt for his first car.

‘Care to take a closer look,’ the man said while consolidating his opinion of me. He had seen so many come and go that day but not many young ones. He could tell, having honed his car salesmanship at his previous sales yard along Parramatta Rd called ‘Pacific cars is Terrific’. He had broken the back of many a customer’s reluctance. He knew the ropes and his cars, and was keenly sought after around the car-yard precincts of Sydney. The year would have been around 1961/62. I had gone through a Lambretta scooter after which I bought an ex-police bike with side-car in which I used to go rabbit and fox hunting with my brother John. John was very tall, over two metres. I don’t know how we fitted tent, two rifles and big John in the outfit but we must have. When one is young matters of comfort are hardly ever considered. When getting to my present age, comfort is all and sleeping in a tent gets a bit hazardous with serpents and crocodiles around, huge poisonous cane toads that can kill by leaving a slimy substance. After seventy, the inner spring mattress beckons like a nun waiting for her habit.

 

Normal is back again.

January 1, 2016

This chair.

Already the second of January, 2016. It all went rather smoothly. There were no great dramas or upheavals. The threat of terrorism raised its head but only to turn out as false alarms. People in Munich wanting to catch a train were inconvenienced. A fire in Dubai with no-one seriously injured. A heavily armed anti- terrorist man carrying a fearsome gun in Paris was filmed yawning. The news was mainly about what had not happened.

Our large porker leg of double smoked ham I wrote about previously, has now been reduced enough for Milo to gnaw on to bare bone level.  Yesterday, I fried up the last of the ham  together with  pine-apple slices and some mushrooms. It was nice, but the wet towel in which I had wrapped the ham in, started to smell a bit sour. We are now ready to tackle the coming year, full of ham and resolve. Resolve of what? Get a book  ready and in print.

I have now got most of my pieces in some sort of order on M/soft Office Word, ready for a good re-read.  I have some doubts if it is in a fluid enough form . I wasn’t aware of this Office Word capability till a friend suggested I down-load the program. It is magic and allows me to insert pictures as well as correct spelling and make good other English language injustices. I also wonder at the size of the coming book. What is a normal book? Is a seventy thousand worded book reasonable? I suppose it is not really about the number of words but more about in what order the words have been written and…the quality of those words. They have to make sense and be uplifting to the reader in the sense he or she wants to continue on reading the words. It is such a huge task and it mustn’t be boring. There is nothing worse than boring the reader. It is criminal to bore a reader and an insult to well-meaning words. It is never their fault!

We went for an early walk yesterday. Being the first day of the New Year, we thought that the streets of Bowral would be awash with people celebrating this event. It was disappointing. The shops were mainly closed. The super-markets were open and some shoppers were seen to park their cars and stock up again on food. The coffee lounges and cafes were all locked up. Perhaps, the owners were hung-over and stayed in bed. We were disappointed that ‘Dinner for One’ wasn’t shown this year. It is the one thing I look forward to on New Year’s Eve. SBS Channel must have cut this comedy loose. A great pity. I watched it next morning. A blogger had put it on her post. It still makes me laugh. A great comedy.

I could be wrong, but New Year’s Day back in Holland was a day of exuberance and joy. People were out on the streets with the pavements crowded. Christmas Eve was always celebrated with dancing in the street at the local square. Can you imagine, people dancing in the streets?

Perhaps my memories are always rather colourful of yesteryears in Holland but Bowral on its first day was rather solemn and serious. Some coughed politely and held their hands in front of their mouths. Another made way for Milo to pass. Sedate and peaceful the day passed. I noticed a well-dressed man on a bench adjacent to the little river running at the back of the town. He was eating a sausage roll. Now, there was normal for you! We walked home somewhat reassured that things were alright…

Today is the second day and I expect ‘normal’ to have returned fully.