Posts Tagged ‘Bowral’

Walking and vitamin supplementary quakery.

June 17, 2019

 

the grandsons

Our two grandsons and Mother with Grandmother ahead walking. 2016

We are forever being urged to keep walking. In times gone past we moved about using our legs which took us between different spaces. Inside our homes we still practice moving our legs till this day. Outside it is a different matter. I suppose, when the riding on top of a horse became fashionable, we managed to move a bit faster. In regions with snow and ice, skis and sledges were discovered, but, by and large we used our legs if we wanted to get somewhere…Some countries, the bicycle became a mode of transport which not only served to move people faster but it also kept  legs and body very fit.

This is now all gone. Since the invention of wheels and engines, the car replaced our legs. Not only that, putting wings and engines together gave us flight, and we can now use airplanes to get from A to B. I am not sure at this stage what I am going to arrive at, or indeed what I am aiming for, except that the reason why streets in Australia always seem to be so empty of people might be because we have developed a way of living whereby the use of legs slowly became less important. And the car took over. Today, when we want to go from one place to another, the car clearly dominates over our legs. People think nothing of living somewhere whereby even to get a loaf of bread or the newspaper, they have to jump on wheel carriages and drive the metal box on wheels to get a loaf of bread or a bottle of milk.

I watched a good program on SBS last night how in the US and Australia, the market for vitamins and all sorts of untested medical supplementary paraphernalia is sold over the counter without having to proof their worth of the product nor the veracity of the printed label on the product. . Here it is:

https://www.sbs.com.au/programs/vitamania

Is this why there are so many chemists around? They are a major money making enterprise and one questions to what extend is their concern for our health? Some of the larger chemical shop consortiums are listed on the stock exchange. The huge number of chemist shops are in direct proportion of how far we live away from shops and each other. Even here in Bowral with a population of 12 000, it is spread out over an area the size of Amsterdam which has a population of about a million. In Amsterdam people can walk to get bread, here in Bowral most have to plan a major journey by car or bus to do the same. We are almost next to major hospitals and that has come in very handy. We were so lucky!

It is not always so easy to live near infrastructures such as shops, schools or trains, because most cities and towns have zonings that are either commercial or residentials, and when shops are zoned commercial they generally exclude  residential dwellings. This means that people have to live away from shops or around the shops, and hence we revert to the car instead of our legs. We have cities and towns where very few actually live in those towns or cities. In the evenings they become empty ghost towns because people have gone home in their cars miles away.

Our way of building houses is very dependent on driving. So, by and large, people drive and give up walking, and that is why we are losing the use of legs and for many the only way to get legs moving and supple again is through joining a gym or get a rowing machine/weightlifing equipment stowed in the bedroom. Again to get to the gym, a car drive and not walking is the main mode of transport. It is no wonder so many now have to get knee and hip repairs done. They say; use it or lose it, don’t they? This might also be that  there is a link between our lack of physical movements (walking) and our love of supplementary medicines and vitamins as promoted in chemist consortiums/emporiums. We prop up of what we feel we lack.  Why have we developed a way of housing whereby we live so far from what we often need? And these needs are shops, entertainments, and streets full of people to talk with, and exchange some latest news.

I miss European cities.

 

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The importance of the ceremony.

April 2, 2019

Image result for japanese tea ceremony

With the ingestion of a third pie yesterday we thought it might be a worthwhile enough event to try and include it in our list of daily rituals. The main one on awakening is always the first coffee and tea of the day, together with scanning the news. Despite fervent wishes to get ‘new’ news, we invariably get disappointed. I pour Helvi’s (percolated) coffee first and then proceed to make my tea. I like to dangle the tea-bag for it long enough to give my cup of boiling water just the right dark colour, before adding milk to both beverages. I gave up coffee some weeks ago after finding out that my  percolating bowels often resulted in a fast run to a  toilet. This often happened after morning’s coffee. So far, it has done the trick and since changing to tea, all seems settled.

We mostly, depending on the quality of the previous night’s slumber, sip our drinks in silence. I broke the silence this morning with suggesting to go for our daily walk before breakfast, and even offered that we might get something to eat in our little town of Bowral instead!  Of course this breach from our usual protocol imbued our sipping ceremony with a strange flavour. I felt that a sudden transmutation in the order of things can often enhance the pleasure.  Of course, in younger years almost everything is a change and its pleasure never ending, and wildly adventurous. It is odd how in advancing years we experience change as an entity to avoid. We get used to our own pyjamas,  the mellowness of own pillows, and can get quite upset to find a pair of socks inside our Headache & Medications cabinet.

We got dressed and walked to Bowral with enough time on our hands to take it easy. Taking it easy, is one of the pleasures of retirement, and our town of Bowral is a haven for ‘taking it easy’ couples. The tapping of canes on pavements is a familiar sound giving great comfort for those without as yet the need for a cane. I know of course that many old people relish being maddingly fit, busy and they show off on TV how at the age of 92 they still go on running on bush tracks saving Koalas, or, how they can still do push-ups and study for PhDs.

With a third meat-pie now making its entry in our lives and consumed just outside at the Gumnut Pie shop it seems reasonable to assume that it has taken a hold in our list of habitual events. The transgression of our habitual daily routine has taken us to an unexpected turn, ripening the pleasures for those like us, ‘taking it easy’. One can never take things for granted and that change ought to be accepted as an unintended gift in spicing up our daily ceremonies.

We have as yet to formalize the eating of our meat-pies. It will take time and habits will ensure that it will grow into a similar yet different path of a ceremony, like our first tea and coffee mornings. This third pie was taken with a sachet of tomato sauce of which its secrets of opening it without squirting, was achieved by some forbearance and patience. It was  a splendid gift of an unexpected morning’s pleasure. Every drop of this fragrant meaty nectar with tom-sauce was consumed with an  aura of a rebirth.At moments like this we are re-born with life revealed, ever renewed by the power of another ceremony.

A case made for change.

January 27, 2019

Image result for Power outages hit Melbourne, regional Victoria

With the present heat-wave seemingly continuing, it presses home climate change. People were shown on TV, cooking eggs on their car roofs. In one case someone was also baking butter-cookies on the bitumen road. The Government through radio and TV urged people to conserve energy, not use the washing machine, TVs, irons, and limit hot water. They feared electric outages. That fear was realised when in Victoria there were electric outages affecting 200.000 people for up to two hours. But, to start cooking on the top of cars or on the hot bitumen is not for the elderly. We can go without cookies or eggs for two hours. In any case, here in Bowral we had no outages and did not see any outdoor cooking by pensioners.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-25/extreme-heat-for-victoria-melbourne-hottest-day-in-a-decade/10748330

It is absolutely astonishing that in Australia with so much sun and wind, governments have neglected to provide for such a comparative small population enough energy to not run short during hot days or very cold days. One of the reasons is of course, that this government is of a horse and buggy era. They believe in a flat earth and chicken feather future telling. It is so neglectful I wonder if a court case could be mounted by a clever lawyer suing the government for neglect? People are dying out of climate change neglect, and the government is responsible.

All housing, with proper planning, could have double glazing and reverse-cycle air-conditioning as being part of standard construction. Dark roofs should be banned, especially in the hot northern states. I notice that seas of charcoal roofs on houses are spreading around Sydney’s outer edges. Are the inhabitants going to fry eggs on their roofs, or make a lamb-curry (with lots of turmeric) on the dark concrete driveway? Is this what Messrs. Dutton, Abbott, and Morrison want?

Anyway, folks. The end of being deprived by reasonable Governments is nigh. Ministers of the Liberals are lining up in resigning. The few women in this government have left of bullying by rogue males. Some wit wrote, ‘that the only woman left in parliament is Christopher Pine. Very witty, I thought. Let’s hope that the Liberals will be gone for at least ten years and that the Labour will fulfil at least the obligation to wholeheartedly fund renewable energy. It’s not rocket science. It is proving itself all over the world. We should be leading not lagging.

Reffos and Tulips.

October 2, 2018

IMG_0126 Tulips.JPG

A carpet of Tulips in Bowral.

The film ‘The Ladies in Black’, left enough of an impression for me to urge people to see it. The film deals in some parts about the influx of reffos into Australia during the fifties. That’s the period this Australian film is set in. The ‘reffo’ was a shortened term for refugees. Our family came to Australia in 1956. We were not reffos in the strictest term. Europe in Australia during the fifties was seen as a war-ravaged stain on a map. Geographical and political differences between Hungary or Holland were beyond interest or hardly known. The issues in this magnificent movie really hit home. The differences (and similarities) in cultures are what this film, in a kind and humorous way, points out. The poignancy for H and I was overwhelming. One is always pleased when things we experienced about the past, agrees and coincides with others. When pointed out in a major film, it is double pleasing.

https://theaimn.com/nostalgia-and-sunshine-bruce-beresfords-ladies-in-black/

The ambiguity of migrating to another part of the world will probably stay with me till the very end. Was the pain of leaving own country and friends worth it?  The mental dehydration suffered in foreign and strange suburbs! Those differences experienced between the locals and the Reffos during the fifties, the lack of herrings, garlic ,olives, and real coffee. The blight of the determined curmudgeon.

Australia in the fifties was a kinder and more tolerant place though. The governments of that period did not foment xenophobia nor detained refugees on hellish islands for years on end.

The present Prime Minister is a fervent Pentecostal believer. Yet on his desk he proudly shows a sign ‘We stopped the boats,’ referring callously to the detained refugees on those islands. Their punishment is used to warn and prevent refugees from trying to come to Australia. They are saying ‘if you try, and come here by boat we will lock you up on those islands for the rest of your life.’ In the fifties Australia did not try and demonise a single African group doing 1 % of crime and yet close their eyes to the other 99% of crime perpetrated by local born.

The tulips belong to a different class. Nothing scary here, dear readers. You can tell they are just there to give us pleaure.  This photo was taken this morning. There must be thousands of tulip photos being e-mailed around the world. The Tulip show in Bowral was magnificent. https://www.southern-highlands.com.au/tulip-time

It always brings me back to the time in Holland. I used to cycle to the tulip fields. Can you imagine seeing tulip fields as far as the eye can see? In different colours too. The tulips in Bowral are in cahoots with sun and clouds. I am sure they talk to each other.It dazzles and so many people taking selfies. In years to come grandchildren might find the tulip photos in drawers and wonder about the lives at earlier times.

Try and see ‘the Ladies in Black’, and the Tulips.

 

 

Crotches.

August 29, 2018

Image result for crotches

It’s funny how women went from huge sail like billowing underpants to almost nothing or at most a piece of string between their buttocks. We have a shop that sells nothing but bras and skimpy female underpants here in Bowral. There are two shop dummies wearing lace panties and bras facing the pavements. All men, even old ones, who pass the shop inevitably look down at the crotches of those dummy mannequins (diminutive of man) as if expecting to see heaven knows what.

Even dummies make male heads turn around. Is that all there is to you, men?
What’s wrong with them?

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?

 

 

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