Posts Tagged ‘Breasts’

A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.

October 27, 2015


Did you all watch the ABC’s ‘Catalyst’ last night? We thought it was riveting viewing. The program questioned the wisdom of modern healthcare and its reliance on preventative  medicine and put the question to a few experts; are we overdoing it?

At the end of the program it stated that next year, the worlds expenditure on pills would come to a staggering trillion times a trillion dollars. A trillion is a thousand times a billion. A trillion times a trillion is so much that I don’t have enough noughts in my possession to express it here on the limited space of my computer.

One expert came to the conclusion that the cost of breast X-rays to try and prevent breast cancer did not actually do anything to reduce the incidence of breast cancer which she proved by producing graphs of studies done on those women who had the tests done and those who had not. The incidence of breast cancer was exactly the same. She stated that the money used for breast X-rays could be put to better use. At least, that’s how we understood it. Of course anything can be proven by using graphs!

“Could our relentless pursuit of good health be making us sick? Advances in medicine have propelled health care to new heights and a vast array of diagnostic tests and drug therapies is now available. But are we getting too much of a good thing? An increasing number of doctors now say that sometimes, “less is more” when it comes to medical interventions. Some doctors are concerned that resources are being wasted on the “worried well” and that the ever-expanding definition of how we define “disease” has been influenced by vested interests. Could excessive medical interventions be causing more harm than good? Dr Maryanne Demasi examines how our relentless pursuit for good health might be making us sick.”

An interesting analogy was made by even more experts in the extraordinary increase in diagnosing depression. This is a subject close to my heart. I have a natural capacity and have always been drawn to feeling  somewhat ‘down’. I have had this from birth and would not want it any other way. Sure, it does not enhance my attraction to others but I am often delighted with making friends with those owning similar attributes of the feeling somewhat ‘down’ syndrome.

Of course in Australia with its fondness of sport and endless sun with world’s largest T-bone steaks, acceptance of those with ‘down feelings’ is not exactly promoted. I suspect (but am not totally sure) that the Northern European countries would be more inclined to take to its misty bosoms  and accept those that are inclined towards seriousness or even sadness. Whenever my seriousness is at risk of waning, a quick  Northern Sibelius symphony will quickly restore any feelings of excessive joy or  wanton pleasure.

In any case, with generously broadening the scope and breadth of clinical depression, hundreds of thousands are now on anti depressants like never before. Australia has now got the second highest rate of ingesting the ‘happy pill’. I find that a serious incursion on those that love being the way they feel.

Sad, isn’t it?

The forbidden words formed long queues; memoires.

October 2, 2015

The seventies were already getting very modern. You would have thought the world belonged to those wearing jeans and perms. Yes, that’s right, I too had a perm done. It was a sign of male emancipation. The journey ( and who is not on ‘journey’ now-a-days?) of freeing  the shackles of the sixties started in my case a few years earlier with a vasectomy performed by two female doctors, one of whom had the word ‘Cock’ in her surname. I remember both of them crouched down at the bottom of the bed, intent on the snapping of my vas deference.  A good omen. The perm ensured acceptance and added to confidence.  The vasectomy a discontinuation of the family who already counted three in an over-populated world. Why could the world of blond curls and untidy beards not be an outward sign for  those who owned the world?

What was not so modern though, and it seems ludicrous today, that words were still banned. Portnoy’s Complaint and Lolita were banned. The literary experts whose job it was to look after our morals and employed as Censors needed an ambulance after they had ploughed through those books. They were maimed for life. That’s what words can do. Words like ‘cunt and masturbation’, ‘breasts and erection’ and the unspeakable ‘penis’. When the books were finally released from being pent up by the tens of thousands on our wharfs in grey camouflaged wooden crates, pandemonium broke out. Police on horseback had to whip back and restrain rain-coat wearing men, blunt-stone women, all queuing up to get a copy and read all about banned words. There were no signs, as feared, of anyone going in a sexual frenzy. There were no rapports of fornication on the foot-path outside Hans delicatessen with the signs of Heisse KnackWurst for sale, or indeed inside the KFC take-away.

A few years earlier, similar horse-backed police had to restrain theatre patrons in front of the Metro in King’s Cross where after weeks of parliamentary arguments ‘Hair’ was finally allowed to be shown. Permission was given after agreements were reached whereby during the ‘nude’ part the undressing of all the actors and dancers were to be strictly performed under a large army canvas which would then be hoisted up by a crane. The nudeness had to be done in absolute stillness and no body parts moving. A single quiver in testicles or breasts and the show would be cancelled. It was an electrifying moment that we all waited for. Slowly the large canvas was lifted. The audience mouse-still. Not a flitting of an eyelash. Real nudes. Unbelievable. Afterwards, the patrons silently left the theatre, overwhelmed by it all. Many went home got undressed and looked in the mirror!

Next morning people queued up for the bus. Life seemed to go on the same as before. It always does. On week-ends the lawnmowers happily rattled on and the suburban nature strip wasn’t forgotten either. Petunias were being planted, rockeries cemented and fences re-painted.

It was always thus.

The Tulip-Festival Parade.

September 19, 2015


We just stumbled upon it. It was one of those grey overcast days again. The sun obstinately refused to come out. One of the disadvantages of life high in the clouds. It isn’t called ‘Highlands’ for nothing. As we drove somewhat listlessly to town, with Mr JRT Milo in an effort to cheer us up, perched between us on the console, we noticed the main street being blocked off. We remembered suddenly it would be because of the ‘big tulip parade’. It is the yearly event that draws many tourists from all over the place. Even as far away as from the country of tea and oranges, China!

The crowds were everywhere and finding a place to park the car would be difficult. “There is a place, but be quick, my Helvi commanded!”  It had been raining. The parking spot was underneath at the shopping mall and next to stairs with water cascading down the overhanging slab of concrete. Still, it was better than nothing. “Are you coming too, I asked.”  “No, she said, with strong emphasis on NO.”  The morning had a somewhat curt start. We have spent so many years together and every nuance in words is picked up by our  marital antennas forever poking up and on the alert. Sometimes, as was the case this morning, on high alert. I think it was wrong for me to have stated after the first coffee,  “it is overcast again.” The ‘again’ was the banana skin for possible simmering discontent. I should have avoided the ‘again’ and I knew it.

Ever since my enthusiasm for the Currumbin Eco Village things have been a bit tense.  You know how it is, the fear of uprooting, packing endless boxes and all those knives & forks and the books, the books! How to get the second settee out of the bedroom?  No matter how the reassurance was stated that both of us would want to move and that Milo would never be abandoned,  (no pets at the Eco Village), I had to tread carefully. Both in our seventies, moving would be traumatic. Still, people in their eighties jump out of aeroplanes or go snorkelling in shark-infested waters.

The word ‘again’ uttered earlier on was probably the reason for My H to chose to stay in the car with Milo. Another reason might well have been the cascading waterfall next to the car. I do tend to take rejections personally. Later in the afternoon when things were back to normal, my wife of over fifty years stated; ‘do we always have to walk together?’ The walk together would have been to the bank. I wanted to check if I had paid a bill twice on credit card. It had indeed turned out, I had paid twice. One reason I never or very rarely use credit card to pay bills. We always draw out cash, walk (together) to the post office and pay the bills. I was annoyed I now had to contact the supplier and arrange a credit back into the Credit card. This tulip festival parade would have to reverse the negative. The day threatening to grow very sombre indeed.

When going back to the car and avoiding the waterfall, H was doing a cross word.  “I feel like a nice Barbequed sausage, I said, wilfully adding, “I am sure they are doing them right now”. This was adding fuel to the fire. We both generally avoid sugery or fatty foods but I do have an occasional penchant for a lonely sausage.  “Oh no; you and your fucking sausage, is that why you wanted to come here, is that all you ever think off”?

I quickly retreated. We, ever so gingerly left the car and with Milo proceeded towards the crowds now lining the main street. A man on a scaffolding belted out the Parade’s coming procedures through huge speakers. He represented the local radio-station and made sure, his comments were peppered by referring to that. It was still another twenty minutes or so when it all stared to come along.  The crowds, including many Chinese tourists were at fever pitch. Many were holding pink balloons. The pink balloons were sold to raise money for breast cancer. The marching girls came first, followed by  WW 1 Horses and their soldier riders wearing slouched hats, blowing the bugle. Milo was nervous. It was all a bit much for him, especially the brown-grey dusty WW1 horses and bugle.

Milo in deep contemplation

Milo in deep contemplation

Next came a parade of dogs from the Council’s pound looking for a loving home. Rural parades are always on the look-out for things to include in a parade,  help fill it out as it were. This Tulip related parade was no exception. There were old Buicks, Fords, Massey Ferguson tractors, fire engines and hospice nurses perched on a rooftop of a double decker bus. All of a sudden another parade of dogs on leashes. They were run past us and the Chinese tourists. They were from a local ‘dog’s obedience school. ‘Milo’s ears pricked up. Suddenly a huge German Shepard broke ranks with his brothers and sisters and went for Milo. Now, if there is one thing Milo is good at, it is showing absolute fearlessness of snarling huge dogs. Boy, did he teach this German a lesson. The owner did not have to pull his dog in line or into obedience, tail between his legs, he followed his mob of dogs ever so sweetly.

Now Milo, there is a good boy

Boner’s Plight.

May 1, 2014

gerard 003
There used to be cinemas that featured news and documentaries only. At least in Holland they did. They were cheaper than movie theatres and ideally available for those with little money. School boys and girls who earned pocket money by collecting and selling rags and newspapers after school hours would be included in any audience. I did too but supplemented my meagre earnings by stripping (stealing) lead flashings from underneath windows. It would have been 1955. A year after, my parents took that five weeks voyage to Australia. Goodbye friends, goodbye school, goodbye everything including the Newsreel Bioscoop.

Back to 1955. I vividly remember getting to see my first erotic movie. I have never forgotten this since. In fact, I am only just now getting over it. Please, all of you, get a bit closer to your screen, écoutez bien! It was my first adventure in a burgeoning world of sexual awakening. My imaginings running amok. Erections were unpredictable, diabolically spontaneous and unstoppable, especially in front of the class-room. I used to feverishly fantasize being run over by the tram, all to no avail. I somehow understood ‘it’ finally had to go somewhere, but where? No one had told me yet. All I was told by my mother was ‘whatever happens, keep your hands above the blankets,’ or ‘ eat an apple, read a good book.’

I was seated in the cinema and probably watching the news with an Eisenhower urging on troops in Korea or other foreign country when out the blue came a short B/W documentary of an African nature. It was some kind of parade of young beautiful African girls WITH BARE BREASTS. My first sighting of the real soft breasts of which I had dreamt. I already had looked at some of my mother’s women magazines but they, the desired breasts, were always encaged in sturdy white or cream panzer like brassieres underpinned by steel. It wasn’t enough. I wanted the real (reel) item. This short movie of the African beauty parade was a God’s send. I somehow learnt where all this was going to finally lead to. The erection was palpable right down to the end of my shoelaces. It was my first honeymoon.

I caught the tram home, erection still in full flight while I was hanging from the leather strap. As the tram stopped and started I was jolted backwards and forwards. It was a delicious trip back home. I have seen many breasts since but none as impressionable as those first ones on the white screen back in 1955. It had to do for a long time. Australia experienced in Revesby and Bankstown a rough awakening. I am sure this would have helped me in front of the classroom.

The agitated heart

April 7, 2014


Just when I thought a measure of equilibrium had returned to life a program popped up on TV mucking it all up. It made a mockery of modern life and its conveniences. Plastic and PCBs are the bane of our health.
I am not aware we can still buy food that hasn’t been encased in plastic wrappings. Its a wonder wine hasn’t appeared in plastic bottles, but there is still time. Perhaps the acidity of it attacks the plastic, that’s why. I don’t know why I bother worrying.

Better just keep looking at the sky or watch raindrops clinging onto the edge of a roof. Far more inspirational than staring at packs of meat from which all oxygen seems to have been extracted. The revolution on selling meats with almost infinite days of expiration has now arrived. We are now planning to buy our meat direct from a normal butcher. A normal butcher who takes cuts direct from the carcass hanging from the back of the shop. Those shops used to have wood shavings on the floor and the children would be give a slice of delicious sausage. I am not sure if today’s children would not turn up their noses to that past delight.

Last night I watched an SBS program on ‘Breasts’.
Documentaries rarely are uplifting. They either touch on histories of the past with corpses littering the screen or deal with catastrophes of the present with dire predictions of future corpses. Last night’s documentary was no exception with almost total predictions now available which woman is likely to get breast cancer and what to do to limit it or even prevent it. Breast feeding is one of them. However, a study of human milk discovered in eight mother volunteers high levels of toxins. The implication wasn’t clear on the contamination of human milk causal in cancer but neither was it dismissed.

Breasts can now develop and appear on girls as young as seven. Boys show equal signs with sprouting of pubic hair and early maturation. No one is sure that this plague of unusual early maturation of girls and boys is not to blame on a frightening amount of toxins now entering our bodies from our daily environs but perhaps most of all from our ingestion of pre-packaged food. This program pointed out the possibility of that. Not a good viewing for a Sunday evening. The other choices on TV were even worse. Endless Sunday night sport result with men grappling on the ground manically fighting over an oblong shaped ball or details of a political defeat in a West Australian by-election.

Going back to the meat packaging. The latest is the vacuum packet meat. The plastic that encases the cryonic meat is so tight it needs a scene from an Edward Scissorhand movie to release the meat. One can clearly hear suction noise as the meat is finally freed from its plastic and allowed some oxygen. The information on the packaging advices to wait for some colour to return to the meat before eating. Who would not want to mature earlier faced with a future of more and more vandalism going on within the food industry?

This from Wikipedia; “Cryovac meats will last between four to six weeks in the refrigerator, assuming they were properly sealed. They can last nearly indefinitely in the freezer.” Yuk, I’ll be a wild carrot in my next life with a friendly horse as best friend.

Cheese, at least good cheese, we buy as is. Cut straight from the block. I know there is pre-packaged with slices individually wrapped in the dreaded toxic plastic, but we take a wide walk around that part of the small-goods division. We have strict Dutch inherited rules on cheese. It has to be pure! No nonsense with cheese and plastic, please. And nicely matured.

I had a few slices of nice mature Swiss cheese before going to bed.

The Restless Book Searcher

June 28, 2011

The Restless book searcher.
The sun was at its highest this time of the year. A man carrying a swag and back-pack was seen walking the deserted streets. His cattle dog cleverly walked in the limited shade that the walker was still casting. The merciless heat was parching the dust which was as much in need of water and as thirsty as the man and his dog.

He finally arrived at a small shop which had a ‘Tip-Top bread’ sign hanging from its awning. On the shop window there were plastered a variety of signs, including one on ‘Big Ben’ pies, also a poster of Camel Cigarettes featuring a goggled fighter pilot in his cockpit with ‘nerves of steel’ and a ‘Vincent’s APC Headache’ powder advertisement. Even though the torn and battered fly screen door was slightly ajar, it had a ‘closed’ sign facing any possible customer on the outside of it. The owner of this shop had lost the will to turn the sign around to ‘open’ a long time ago, and anyhow, with the fly-screen refusing to shut properly for some years, the shopkeeper reckoned people would guess the shop was open regardless of any sign. The few locals would know. It was just about the only ’mixed goods’ shop for the next fifty miles. The settlement still had a garage and a butcher shop, a left over from a gold rush mania long time gone.

The interior of the shop had a couple of tables and matching chairs, all from the same vintage with splayed legs. The tables had an aluminium strip screwed all round the sides and over the edge of the Laminex which had bubbled up here and there. The shop’s counter was levered towards the customer and made of a glass display cabinet which had a crack at the front, where at some earlier times, efforts had been made with tape to try and prevent it from falling either out towards the floor or inwards towards the listless display of custard-tarts, dry looking Lamingtons and some lonely mince pies. The tape was still holding on even if somewhat yellowed and curled. Against the back wall was another glass case with a bowl of floating beetroot slices and a plate holding sliced onions with next yet another couple of plates holding some limp artichokes with a hard boiled mess of what looked like chopped up eggs which had been sprinkled with Keens yellow curry powder. The Keens curry powder tin was still standing next to the plate, leaving open the optimistic possibility for future use.

The ceiling was of pressed metal, bravely keeping some semblance to a floral pattern somewhat obscured by the numerous coats of paint applied through the decades. It was now painted a light hospital green and decorated with the hangings of three brown fly strip spirals that had lost its fatal attraction to anything in flight some years back. The whirring of a ceiling fan above the custard tarts glass case might have finally been installed to at least show the flies they were not all that welcome anymore. Besides, the health inspector had become somewhat grumpy and insisted the fan to be installed, as well as a written direction to clear out the dead flies from the glass display cases.

The man put down his swag and back-pack outside, told the dog ‘stay’, which he instantly obeyed, squatting next to the swag. The dog was thirsty as well as hungry. After entering through the fly screen door, the solitary walker surveyed the interior and took in the sparsely filled shop. He knew that he could rely on a hamburger and cup of tea. The rancid smell of 50/50 hamburger mince and 100% lard had permeated floor, ceiling, furniture, not even giving the hard Laminex a chance in warding it off.

The day had been hot. The back-pack of the walker contained a small hoard of books as well as clothing. Dried fruit, including apricots and sliced apple, some nuts with a couple of bottles of water completed the solitary walker’s total inventory. The heat had weighed him down more than usual. He needed sustenance as well as to replenish water for himself and his dog. A woman appeared. She was dishevelled looking, hugely breasted and all crumpled. The TV blaring out with canned laughter from somewhere at the back indicated the possibility she might have been horizontally positioned when he entered the shop. He asked for a hamburger, a pot of tea and some water.

His daily walk in search of new and unread books had taken him longer than usual and even though he passed several small settlements, none had books. His roving eyes had spotted shelving with frayed looking books just behind the tables facing the right hand wall away from the counter. His spirit lifted even before the hamburger arrived, which the shop-owner plonked on the fiery Laminex table in the well practised and desultory manner of the country shop. She came in again and served a pot with cracked spout filled with hot water and a separate dusty tea bag and sugar and milk. She also, without wasting a single word, walked through the fly screen door with a dish of water for the dog outside. The Bluey dog was still camped next to his master’s swag. His grateful slurping was heard inside with his dog- tag tinkling against the metal dish.

The man’s thirst quenched by tea, the intrepid walker started on his well layered hamburger, bits of beet-root trying to escape slipping and sliding towards the edge which the solitary book searcher prevented from falling by rotating the bread bun while expertly eating the protruding slices of guilty vegetables including the brown rings of fried onions.
The wandering book searcher had in the meantime surveyed the rag-tag of books on the shelving. He cast his eyes over the titles, holding his head askew this way and that way trying to read as much as was still visible on the torn covers. He munched approvingly on his rotating burger which was now almost eaten to its core.

His usual modus operandi was to exchange his quarry inside the back-pack for any unread ones. He mainly succeeded in that, especially if he traded two books for just one. Depending on his limited finance he would just sometimes buy a book, a reckless splurge of the moment which so far he had never regretted. His need for books was till now still unrequited dating back to childhood, deprived of letters and words printed on pages by an uncaring culture and not made better by a bookless neighbourhood. He would never fill the void but made up the deficit as good and as diligently that he was still capable off. He was lucky to have been taught reading in the first place. He knew that if he was to catch up with books and the reading of them he could never waste time working for a living and money. He wanted to understand more of the world that he lived in. Time was of the essence, and because of that he could not afford wasting time in working for anything, let alone just money whose value could never be read.

His reading skill had been installed when very young and in a far away country of which he still had some vague memories. He also remembered fondly that a distant uncle, rumoured to have emerged from a Tsarist Russian background and nobility, had taught him to play the mouth organ. He now had a small ‘Hohner’ organ with a button on the side for half-notes. His early childhood training had stood him in good stead despite the deprivations later when circumstance had transferred him to the relenlessly hot and dusty world he now resided in. When he arrived at a place that, through no intent of him, featured a market he would put down his belongings, told Bluey to ‘sit’ and start to play his mouth organ. He would only play long enough for people to provide him with enough coins for some future food and a frayed but un-read book. He knew that by following a certain repertoire the coins would be dropped in his hat, especially during his playing of the very popular ‘When the Saints come marching in’. The combination of the music with Bluey’s mournful looking eyes, cast upwards towards the audience; many would not walk past without chucking a couple of pennies.

When the hamburger had finally been eaten and the last of the tea been squeezed and scored from the tea bag our searcher stood up and paid for the food including a couple of Spam-ham cans, making sure the cans still had the keys attached at the top. He already knew that there was yet an unread book on the shelves that he badly wanted. He took a book from his back-pack. It was a well thumped ‘The Brothers Karamazov’. He asked the large breasted shop-owner if he could swap this for the maroon coloured hard cover book on the top shelve. He also offered to top his offer up with a tuppence coin. She agreed and offered him the use of the outhouse for a shower; that’s if you want to shower, she asked? He, for a split second thought there was something in the furtive way she looked sideways as she made the offer, away from his open gaze.

She knew the rule for wanderers with swags and cattle dogs. Itinerants ,ringbarkers, fencers and shearers, they were the ones that she still managed to eke a living from. Some she befriended and even loved for a night or so, snatched away from the uncompromising hard fist of an otherwise solitary life, a life not unlike those that she sold her wares to. She hardly remembered her husband who had vanished without a grunt of a good-bye years ago. A hopeless drunk of piss-pot, he was. That’s the most she recalled. Her solemn but generous giving of relief to the itinerant wanderers and flotsam of those on endless dirt roads cut both ways and she preferred that to her previous marital mishap. Besides, it did give her business a chance to limp on.

After the swap to the maroon coloured book ‘Riders of the Chariot’ he took up her offer of the shower at the back but first went to the butchers for some bones for Bluey. This time it was a dishevelled male that served him. He was dressed in shorts and grimy singlet. Just some bones and lamb chops, he asked. There were no books or shelving. Carcases were dangling from hooks at the back wall and a compressor was busily trying to keep the room cool. The book searcher asked where the nearest town was, somewhere with a market, he said. Oodnadatta, fifty miles from here, the butcher answered. Take plenty of water, but you might take a ride on the cattle train, he advised. I have got some water and food from the shop up the road, the book searcher said. Taking a shower first? The butcher smiled back, with just a hint of something more, but left untold.

He got back, gave the bones to Bluey who had patiently waited confidently that his boss would not forget. Our wanderer, now satisfied with yet another book but still unwashed went to the back of the shop for his shower. He got undressed, started to soap himself when the large breasted shop owner got through the door, offering him a towel as well as her-self. She was naked but held her hands modestly before her large pendulous breasts. I’ll soap your back, she said. She pushed him against the wall. There was limited space and the softness of her generous body pressed against his lean hardness was as good as any hot afternoon would ever get fifty miles from Oodnadatta, for him as well as her.

Afterwards, with the sun at four in the afternoon our happy book searcher bade his goodbye and wandered to just outside the settlement. He spotted a large and lonely ghost gum. He spread his swag and told the dog “sit’. He took out his P.White’s “Rider of the Chariot,” and started his first page of his unread book:

“Who was that woman?” asked Mrs Colquhoun, a rich lady who had come recently to live at Sarsaparilla.“Ah,” Mrs Sugden said, and laughed, “That was Miss Hare.” “She appears an unusual sort of person.” Mrs Colquhoun ventured to hope.

The Restless Book Searcher had found his book, yet again.

Agfa Clack

December 14, 2010

Agfa ClackPosted on December 15, 2010 by gerard oosterman

There must have been some spare money about but when about twelve or so I had a Kodak box camera given by my parents. It was a simple box and had two little mirrors in which to focus on the subject. The film was wound on an empty spool two and a half times and then inserted in the camera; the box would be closed ready for the 8 or 12 photos that it then could take. What a glorious gift it was. The photos took about a week to get developed and sleepless nights would be followed by euphoria when the big day would arrive to get the photos. Money for the development was earned by collecting old newspapers and rags after school.

After the go-a-head for migrating I had spotted a camera far advanced to the Kodak Box. It was an Agfa Clack. Forty five guilders.  A small fortune. Many times I stared at the shop window.  As I remember, it had two apertures and two shutter speeds and was flash capable. The approval to migrate coincided with parents taking me out of school in order to work to help and fatten the communal Oosterman wallet. Something at least for the totally unforseen and unfathomable future.

It was all a bit shaky and nervous during that time. Friends would be left. No more handball games on a Sunday with girls and budding breasts…. Eric Nanning, Anton Van Uden, Louis Gothe, all would disappear within a few months. The same for our street, the ice cream (between crusty wafers) shop, and hot ‘patat de frites’ as well, soon be gone. What need for a good camera, etched the good times in photos’ eh?

The job was delivering fresh fruit and vegetables to the very top of The Hague’s society and its burgers, Including royalty and most embassies. The delivery was done by carrying the goods in a huge wicker basket fastened above the front wheel of a sturdy and large steel framed bicycle.  I peddled like one possessed. There were lots of orders and the boss was strict. No loafing and it was winter.

The stingiest of tippers are The Hague’s wealthiest, the best tippers the staff of embassies. They all had jars of money to be tipped to deliverers of goods. The US embassy was unbelievably generous. My earnings were always tipped into the parental wallet, ‘for our future,’ I kept being assured. All tips were mine and at times they eclipsed earnings, especially after a delivery of imported black grapes to the Yank kitchen at the back of the Embassy, the tradesman entry… A ten guilder tip gave me almost a quarter of the Agfa Clack in one scoop. Not bad, considering I had filched a couple of those grapes from the delivery. Geez, they were those black ones as well.

I soon came to that glorious walk to the camera shop and bought my camera. A couple of weeks later, a leather case with carry strap. Soon after that a battery operated flash with 6 globes. Even sooner came the day, just after Christmas on a bleak and rainy day that it came about, that we all walked the dreadful walk up the gangplank and boarded our ship to Australia. Goodbye all. And that was that. My Agfa around my neck.