Posts Tagged ‘British’

Hunky Dorey. Getting pissed.

July 29, 2017

 

IMG_1108Tash Balcony

The daughter’s balcony.

A few months ago our daughter decided to move closer to Sydney. Most daughters need help when moving. The help she needed were both materially and physically. You know how it is! Estate agents are so far removed from presenting reality in their ‘for sale’ advertisements, that I ended up replacing ‘large’ with ‘small’ and expansive  water views  with ‘a garden-hose’ or a ‘sprinkler’ going around aimlessly.

After narrowing down to an apartment with no water or city views to just rooftops and suburban gardens, Helvi with daughter and I made a move on an apartment that had a large balcony with a sunny northern aspect. It had a reasonable size lounge & kitchen, and three bedrooms, all with build-ins.  The building which holds fifty two apartments was still being finished. On arrival we were watching the gardens being put in. We also noticed kitchen cupboards being carried.  A hive of activity, one could say. The main building work seemed finished. I did not see any cranes or bull-dozers groaning around. The Estate Agent told us, ‘by the time your daughter needs to put up the lolly (settle) and pay for the apartment, all building work will then all be Hunky Dorey and finished’.

Hunkey Dorey

As sung by Christy’s Minstrels.
Air – “Limerick Races”

One of the boys am I,
That always am in clover;
With spirits light and high,
‘Tis well I’m known all over.
I am always to be found,
A singing in my glory;
With your smiling faces round,
‘Tis then I’m hunkey dorey.

 

It came to pass that after the daughter managed to buy the new apartment after selling the old one, we were called upon once again to assist in the house-moving. It turned out that the ‘2  honest guys with a truck’ at $100 per hour, were British backpackers trying to make a quick buck. Totally inexperienced, they just hired a truck and honed in on the house-moving industry.  The police were called  after one of the backpackers threatened to drive off with all our daughters belongings if she did not pay up.  This is when we were called upon. We paid them half what they charged but only after they emptied the truck of all of our daughter’s belongings. The police were on our daughter’s side which helped. I can’t imagine another road rage attack on video and on the front paper featuring me laying into  British Backpackers.

Soon after I  caught the raging cold from the female haircutter with the previous mentioned copious snot trails across her apron. They say colds are opportunistic and attack those that are weak. When the cold subsided I joined bowling, but now feel that a good ‘piss-up’ is in order. It’s been too much and so full-on.

Both of us just now went to the ‘Imperial’ and ordered two Napoli pizzas and a bottle of Deakin Estate Shiraz. ‘Just leave us the cork if we don’t finish the whole bottle,’ I asked the smiling waitress. She agreed, but we finished the whole bottle, and more.

It’s been a busy and trying time. Did we do the right thing?

Can retirees get pissed too sometimes?

 

 

 

 

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A sigh of relief or is there more to come?

April 24, 2017

 

Getting up early is a habit that I indulge in each morning. Around 6.30 am the kettle is put on. The kettle is made of stainless steel, has a whistle and its water is boiled on gas. It is almost the first sound that is heard in this household every morning. The silver crested cockatoos are usually the first at that lovely honeyed twilight betwixt dark night and morn’s light.

It’s been three weeks now since I had my morning’s coffee. I swapped over to tea instead.  Helvi still insists on her first drink to be coffee. Making both coffee and tea each morning is a rather nice change from the earlier solo beverage routine. This morning was special. France had voted.

Anxiety always follows me in a symbiotic relationship. I am sure things would just not be the same if all went smooth.  That was one reason I jumped out of bed with a bit more than the usual sprightliness this morning. Watching last night’s news with Le Pen and its right-wing antics had me all keyed up. Last time I felt similar pangs of fear was during the Dutch elections when Geert Wilders was in the running. I felt most ebullient when he was dealt a mortal blow. But…France seemed a different kettle of poisson.

What joy, what relief greeted me opening ABC’s news. Marine le Pen was second. The other main parties will now back the Emmanuel Macron who came in first getting 24% of the vote. The new wonder boy is likened to Canada’s Trudeau. He is on the right  side of politics but in a refreshing twist is actually promising an increase in welfare.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmanuel_Macron

Just cop this!

“he is “neither right nor left” and that he advocates “a collective solidarity”

And what really attracts me is the following;

“In his book Revolution, published in November 2016, Macron presents himself as both a “leftist” and a “liberal … if by liberalism one means trust in man.”[39] With his party En Marche!, Macron’s stated aim is to transcend the left–right divide in a manner similar to François Bayrou or Jacques Chaban-Delmas, asserting that “the real divide in our country … is between progressives and conservatives”. With the launch of his independent candidacy and his use of anti-establishment rhetoric, Macron has been labelled a “populist” by some observers, notably Manuel Valls, but Macron rejects this term.”[40][41]

France does not suffer from the Westminster political system,  wherein any change is almost impossible to achieve seeing the aim of the British system is to forever try and knock the opposition out by endless warring and shouting from a chair high up ‘order- order.’

With the German right wing in retreat the world is again showing signs that xenophobia and fear of the foreign might be fading. I don’t know how we in Australia will go. At least this government is also getting on the nose, and I don’t think Pauline Hanson is making much headway anymore either.

I feel so much better now, and might even have a coffee again.

Christmas Pudding.

December 1, 2013

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A Christmas pudding needs no introduction in Australia. However, back in 1956 it did need explaining for us. We had never heard of a pudding dedicated to a religious event in Holland. Mind you, it was only a few years ago when I mentioned a spongy type of chocolate cake with shredded coconut that this was called a lamington. For most of my life I was ignorant of one the most hallowed and revered delicacies, as British as fish and chips or a Beefeater on his watch.

It is still the same with Christmas puddings. An event and tradition I have been excluded from till now. The exclusion was never deliberate. I never really experienced it, it was my own ignorance. The esoteric world of the dietary and culinary delights of Britain is lifting its veils and I am most honoured to have been accepted.

Little could I have foreseen that in my post middle age, but not yet in my final pre burial stage, I would be called upon to help and prepare and cook a Christmas pudding. Not only that, the lady who politely requested my help is English, very English. I have to be very careful not to mention my support for Australia’s push into a republic. It would not be a good ‘show’. She has taught me the whole lineage of English Royalty right back to the Prince of Orange of Nassau and a diversion even further back to William the Silent. I learnt to be just as polite ( and silent) not wishing to point out that the Dutch Royals are also Oranges of Nassau related.

The lady is our good and very lively neighbour. Too old to have bothered about the ways of her new stove, computers, skyping and all that electronic wizardry. I too have problems with this stove. As usual, too many options. I am surprised it doesn’t have photographic capability or Windows 8.1 Clouds with Sky-drive.

All the help she required from me was to simply switch this beast of an oven on with about 4 hours of cooking time on 140c heat. Please, could you be at my place at about 6 o’clock, she asked? On arrival she had a large ceramic container filled with all the fruity looking ingredients including bright red and viridian green glace bits. Most of it were what looked like raisins and lots of dark brown dried fruits, perhaps dried plums, apricots, persimmons, dates, currants and some nuts. The lot she kept turning and mixing in a churning type of electric powered machine.

I fulfilled her request by trying out all the buttons to find the 4 hours cooking time. On our own similar stove I usually put on many hours and just keep track on the required cooking time before switching it off. I rarely use the oven. In fact I cook mainly outside lately.

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Before I go any further I must add that our neighbour cannot be hurried. Her cooking is more of a slow meticulously laboured organized way of life rather than cooking. I swear that the walk between the kitchen bench top and the oven takes her about two hours. She gets waylaid by lots of diversions. She will shake the salt or just look at the bowls contemplating something. She surveys her vast array of cake dishes, ladles, spices, and like a conjurer keeping rabbits well hidden or…a voodoo priest contemplating in deep concentration a beheaded chook, finally makes a decision…she calls a good friend on the phone!

I decided to give the oven a couple of extra hours, just in case! When I left, she was still on the phone. Next day I enquired. She said, “oh, I think I forgot the baking powder.” “It did not rise”. “It is solid though.” “It tastes alright.”
Very nice Christmas cake, thanks Gerard, she added.

Why does Australia imprison innocent women, children and men?

October 23, 2013

120813_03_Immigration-620x349https://newmatilda.com//2013/10/21/echoes-white-australia

What motivates a democratic, peace-time government to imprison innocent men, women and children? Former Liberal MP Judi Moylan looks at the divisive history of Australian border policy.

Few matters have been more fiercely debated in the Australian Parliament or more unsparingly ventilated in the media than the recent and ongoing treatment of asylum seekers arriving by boat.

To understand what motivates a democratic government in peace-time to implement policies that imprison indefinitely thousands of men, women and children who have not been charged with or convicted of any crime we must turn to historical, social and political attitudes.

Though countries around the world guard their sovereign powers jealously to determine who may enter, the treatment of asylum seekers in Australia has been particularly high profile and divisive. This article seeks to understand why.

The White Australia Policy

Immigration has been contentious in Australia since the early days of European settlement. It was an issue during the establishment of the Federal Parliament in 1901 when two early bills underpinned what became known as the White Australia Policy.

The Pacific Islanders Act prohibited islanders from entering Australia and the Immigration Restriction Act imposed an English language test, effectively barring entry for most non-English speaking people. One Member of Parliament said: “No matter what measures are necessary, Australia must be kept pure for the British race who have begun to inhabit it.”

Between 1945 and 1955 one million immigrants came to Australia. Even after the Menzies government signed up to the 1951 UN Convention, refugees continued to be selected according to the colour of their skin.

(You can read on clicking above link.)

Australian Family Courts are still alienating Children.

April 18, 2013

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If you think the Australian Family Court isn’t capable of being abusive to children, think again. The most important part of ‘what is best for children’ is often overlooked by the keenness of ‘experts and Independent Children’s Lawyers’ (I.C.L) to engage in their often biased and latest sociological quackery. At no stage do the wishes of the children come directly before the Courts. Experts and ICL take over and give their opinion of what should happen to children.

The area of making errors is huge, not least by expensive lawyers whipping up discords and marital whiplash between the warring parties. Often it is a fight to the bitter end with children coming in last instead of first.

The inherited adversarial British form of Justice is the ideal vehicle to make a bad situation even worse. Lately the term ‘less adversarial’ is bandied about in Family Court as if it is spared from some of the worst excesses of Criminal Courts. It is not. It still pits one party against the other. Just spend a day in Sydney’s Goulburn Street Family Court and  ‘the less adversarial’ soon oozes out into the grim faces of the warring couples with the swishing of jovial barristers gowns about the only ‘less adversarial’ item on display. At five thousand dollars a day, who would not be boisterous, smiling and engage in a bit of swirling about like insane dervishes on a shish kebab bender?

The outcome of a family Court case by and large is in the hands of barristers and Court appointed Experts. If one partner doesn’t have the funds, legal aid might be provided. The legal aid will not pay for barristers. If the other partner has money and employs a barrister, chances are he/she will win. If both employ a barrister, the more expensive one, ‘by and large’ will probably win, if not by tactics, then by exhausting the finances of the other.

http://www.civicresearchinstitute.com/toc/DVAC%20TOC.pdf

But, going back to actual cases, it is the aim of the Court to always determine an outcome based on ‘what is best for the children’. This sound reasonable but in the hands of lawyers, ‘experts psychiatrists’ and Court appointed counselors; this concern for those children does not include being heard directly. Children do rarely, if ever, appear in Australian Courts. Yet, they are often fought over tooth and nail.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/parental-alienation/3392436

One of the most contentious areas being used in Australian Family Courts is Parental Alienation with at times terrifying results. While many marriages and relationships seem to end on what could be described as for superficial reasons, there are others that have genuine impossible situation where the harm to children is foremost on the mind of the parent wishing to end the relationship. Very logically, children of an abusive relationship then often choose the non-abusive parent to live with. If a couple cannot amicably end the relationship and decide on a Family Court to resolve the issues; let there be a loud warning.

While many countries have disbanded and disallow Parental Alienation syndrome from being used, Australian Family Courts still persist in this very controversial unproven practice to be used extensively.

The main theory behind Parental Alienation is that instead of accepting , first and foremost, the logical explanation given by parents and their children wanting to live with one parent more than the other or not all because of having suffered abuse (psychological or physical). The Court uses the appointed ‘expert’ to determine the bone fide of the children’s wishes. The ‘expert’, often a psychiatrist, then uses this unproven Parental alienation theory to turn around the children’s concern by blaming the preferred parent of ‘somehow’ having turned (alienated) the other parent against the child or children.  In their keenness to have the children be looked after by both parents, they run the chance of overlooking the issue of the ‘habitual abusive parent’.

They use techniques in asking loaded questions; do you love mummy, do you love daddy etc?  Answer: Children love daddy and mummy, even bad ones. While physical abuse can be more easily detected, it is the well hidden emotional abuse that children have great difficulty in articulating. This is the contentious side of ‘experts’ to indulge in at best, a very controversial side of psychology. It remains unrecognized, unproven and certainly far from being allowed by most countries in Family Courts.

Young children might say; my daddy or mummy is ‘mean’ to me, or, they ‘make me cry’ etc. A bruised eye or broken arm is easily shown up, but a bruised soul or broken spirit is far more difficult for children to express. Certainly, it is the short time or so by the expert psychiatrist or therapist with a seven year old child that their bruised psyche or soul could easily slip by unnoticed, let alone give proof of that in Court. This is especially so, when the ‘experts’ are disciples of The Parental Alienation credo.

It is at that point where  logic and directness is at greatest risk of becoming corrupted by the adult ‘expert’, a complete stranger, that the child runs the most risk of being handed to the abusive parent. While there are of course couples so warped in hatred to win at all cost they might indeed alienate their partner from children. But, there are also, perhaps the majority, who have genuine reasons to break up because of an abusive partner. Children of course should then not be forced by a Court against their wishes to live mainly with the abusive parent. Yet in Australian Family Courts it happens often.

The balance of probability in the Court should indeed be weighted in favour of the child’s welfare and wellbeing, ALWAYS.

It should never be weighted in favour of the parent that is abusive. While parenting is not an exact science, a parent that is abusive should not be allowed to be seen by the Court as a victim of deliberate alienation by the other parent.

It is the abuse that alienated the child from the parent and not the other way around. You can imagine how this would damage children. Yet, in Australian Family Courts it happens often that the distant abusive parent is seen as being the victim of the other parent’s attempt at alienating them from their children. What nonsense!

The Parental Alienation is a very loopy theory but it is still used in our Family Courts.

The saddest thing and Democracy in the US

March 1, 2013

handbag12The saddest thing and Democracy in the US

One of the saddest things I saw on the news a couple of days ago was a father in the US with his six or seven year old son teaching him the finer points of holding a gun and learn to shoot. When asked a few questions, this little boy just parroted the father’s mantra of ‘pride in his country’ and freedom to ‘defend’. This poor little boy.

Another man proudly stated he had about 14 guns and was buying more. He was shown to shoot at clay pigeons together with a woman who also was a great believer in being ‘prepared’.

There is something very odd about how a country which prides itself of being at the forefront of democracy yet is now desperately fighting to retain a right which to me is proof of the opposite, an apparent inability to listen and take action against an evil opposing democracy.  The right to bear arms back in 1875 or earlier has nothing to do with hundreds of millions owning assault weapon and guns. The British have long gone and left, so have naughty Indians and Cowboys.

There is no way that a country that has more  firearms belonging to its citizens than their daily needs for loaves of bread or protective roofs over their heads can still belong to the pool of countries of the true democratic world.  It just doesn’t add up when guns generally are for detaining or locking away freedom. Has the US become a Liberia or Sierra Leone? How far is it removed from rampaging citizens roaming the streets looking for kills? There are already 30 000 people dying of guns a year. It is just staggering.

cruise-liberia

Has anyone seen the footage lately of enormous exhibition halls, the size of cathedrals, holding gun shows? Row after row of sinister black assault rifles, all displayed in its macabre magnificence, gleaming and with glistening erect barrels ready to ejaculate its deadly load towards the perceived loathsome enemy, seemingly lurking everywhere  around  US’ wholesome societies corners. Last time it were the 20 children of Sandy Hook that were the ‘enemy’ together with 6 adults. Who knows where the next enemies might be hiding; in hospitals, churches, or more schools? At the gun shows there were hundreds and thousands of guns all shown as exhibited like up- market fashion items. Prospective buyers were seen to lovingly stroke and caress the naked barrels, murmuring sweet nothingness in their dark crevices of silencers and bullet magazines. .

With 30 000 shot dead annually, all one can say is,’ if believing that in the US citizens must be armed against the enemy, it follows also there must be lots of enemies in the US.’ You just can’t have it both ways. “We need guns to defend ourselves, but they are hardly ever used because in the US there are no enemies”, or,” we need guns because we are surrounded by danger and enemies are everywhere we turn”. ” At every step we take we might face our enemy and danger. Watch out or you’ll get shot so… get a good and faster gun and shoot first”.

It all sounds ridiculous and doesn’t make sense. There are now hordes of women buying guns with Prada and Bling being the main reason. Gun shops are run off their feet and everyone is onto more guns, hundreds of millions of them. The gun lobby now seems to dictate the country and I saw one man loading up his car with ammo and guns. He smiled into the camera almost expecting to be canonized for his foray into a frenzied shooting-out campaign against the enemy.

It’s clear that the NRA does everything in its power to whip up the hysteria and fear of enemies. They even advice that schools ought to arm themselves with a ‘good guy with a good gun.’ Is that democracy?

I am speechless.

English Privacy and Rebekah Brooks.

May 16, 2012

Rebekah Brooks and Phone Hacking

While the tentacles of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire stretches well beyond Britain, the phone hacking and intrusion of ‘privacy’ seems to be mainly concentrated in the Anglo world. Why, one could reasonably ask?

Well, one answer might well be our obsession with deliberately living lives that are hidden. This wanting to be hidden dates back hundreds if not thousands of years. Perhaps the pillaging, raping and burning by the Vikings on our soil left its inedible mark on our proud British heritage.  Our home is our castle and if it wasn’t for lack of money, everyone  of us would want to be surrounded by moats and drawbridges. We compromise and have blinds, thick curtains and 6 feet high fencing instead.

We like our privacy. It is the first word of preference when asked how we would like to live. Where is my privacy? This is often the primary requirement when moving into a new home. When neighbours apply permission to extend or build something next door, the possible invasion of privacy is often the reason for councils objecting to the development application. I sometimes wonder why we build houses with windows.

We like our gardens but don’t want to be seen in them. When do the Anglos do their gardening, at night perhaps? We put in outside furniture and giant turbo driven 8 burner stainless steel gas barbeques but, by and large, we stubbornly want to remain hidden and prefer to have all that in the back yard and not at the front, risking fully exposing snags and ourselves to the dangers of the outside world.

Now, with this almost universally well known need for the Anglos wanting to remain hidden, unknown, unseen and ‘private’ till the grave, it is baffling what we are so keen about in wanting to remain hidden. What goes on behind those curtains of privacy? What lurks behind that wall or fence? Are dastardly acts of the most hideous and perverted nature  happening? Are the Anglos whipping themselves into a frenzy of orgiastic delights unknown to the rest of us?

Phone hacking outside the British Empire would never have that attraction to readers because everyone knows that the French Prime Minister has affairs or that the Italian President has a penchant for rubbing coconut oil on nubile young girls. Continentals live their lives in the open and rely on openness and community values in keeping an eye out over each other. In fact, the scandals that the Brits so delight in would at best elicit a yawn amongst most of the rest of the world.

Of course, the neuroses to remain hidden don’t mean that we are not curious in finding out what others are doing. It is a double edged sword. Make something hidden and we will inevitably want to snoop around, if only to find out if others are like us as well. This is why people were paid to do all this phone hacking.

Finally it becomes an addiction, hence those awful Anglo Sunday papers revealing who is doing the latest stint in a re-hab., or who is looking suspiciously pregnant and not even married to boot. That close up, is it proof of a Brazilian wax, surely not?  Gee, doesn’t Andrew Beiber look a bit pale; I am sure he is back on the crack-ice again, is he?

For the Murdoch Empire it was a colossal and monumental opportunity of money making. It worked while it was going on. And now, the spectacle of Rebekah Brooks in Court with her lovely tousled red hair will be another one of those continuing sagas, raking in even more money. Go for it boys.

Is Turkey showing us the Way?

June 18, 2011

Turkey promised to keep their borders open for the people fleeing the violence in Syria. Many thousands of Syrians have crossed into Turkey and footage shows men and women, children walking into that country.
Even though Turkey is a country with a large population of over seventy million and already coping with an overflow of many other nationalities, it has not lost its humanity in doing the right thing by extending its hospitality to those so much worse off. They are quickly opening disused buildings and building camps, constructing a temporary hospital.

If Turkey can do it, where is our compassion?

Lack of ‘humaneness’ is what seems to doggedly divide Australia from most of the rest of the world with a deeply engrained hostility towards others. It is especially directed to those hapless victims of endless wars that somehow managed to make it anywhere near our shores.

Our present minister and previous Government ministers have exalted in, ‘we must make conditions here as harsh as possible as a deterrent’. The general gist of the messages from our Governments has been very constant., “No-one, we repeat, no-one should come here under the understanding they will be treated with compassion or care if they jump the ‘queue’ or come ‘illegal’ by boat,” is what they mainly are saying. The political leaders are well aware that those sentiments will be well rewarded with the approval of thousand of voters.

The latest threat of sending at least 800 refugees to Malaysia just about takes the cake in the manoeuvring of our desperate Government keen to further whip up our xenophobia. The fact that this whipping might be translated to a caning in Malaysia was just seen as a mere bagatelle, easily overcome with a few soothing words of a promise that that would most likely not happen. The UNHCR seems less convinced.

While the conversation is continuing and a flurry of visits to New Guinea and Nauru intending to underline our tough stance once again, some might question where this dreadful fear comes from. Is there something in our history that gives us clues?

We couldn’t do much wrong by visiting our most recent history of how we treated children, both in our mother country of the UK and in our own.
Just having seen the film “Oranges and Sunshine” and previously read D.Hill’s, “The forgotten Children”, I wonder if one day we might admit there was something rotten going on in our culture dating back perhaps hundreds of years. I know of no other country that exported and deported over a 130 000 children in recent times. I also know of no other country that then allowed the further destruction of those children in the institutions they arrived at.

Is it is the history of bullying children and sending them into the hierarchical system of the English Boarding Schools, the Public ( Private) Schools with its whipping masters and the degrading of all those coming into contact with the ‘British system’ of parenting and educating?

This seems to go to the very heart of why Australia has never managed to shake of that bullying that defined us from the very start.

Yet, when it comes to cattle or suicidal whales we all get teary eyed, ban the export of cattle or stand in the sea for days stroking dying whales. Where is the stroking for the flotsam of humans cast on our shores?

Last Monday’s ABC’s 4 corners, again ‘bullying and degrading’ at the very core of our armed forces. It is totally ‘us’ and not just the isolated few of ‘them’. Howard, Ruddock, Abbott, Gillard, Morrison, Bowen. What chance did they all have growing up and indoctrinated into a system of bullying? No Government except the British, conduct parliament so appallingly and again, bullying is at the very heart of it.

In the meantime we should take a leaf out of Turkey’s book. We will not turn them away, is what the Turkish Minister for Immigration is reported as saying. They are human beings in distress.

I can’t even imagine one of our politicians saying that.

British and oh so Private

January 3, 2011

Privacy, ( a Golden Oldie)we are British.Posted on January 3, 2011 by gerard oosterman

Gerard Oosterman

Mention the word ‘table’ (tavola) to an Italian and the implications are clear: family, food, laughter and above all, the excitement of conversation. The word ‘tavola’ could easily bring tears to any red blooded Italian, having been away too long from home.

But, mentioning the word ‘table’ to an Australian and someone might ask: Ikea, or have you inherited a “Parker Table”?

(This of course is not the only difference between Aussies and the European or other nationals. But, as they say in Russia, Viva La Difference!)

A curious form of isolating oneself, at times, from the outside world persists here more than anywhere else that I know of.

Perhaps the words ‘Own Home’ demonstrate this difference. Am I right in thinking that those two little words would conjure up for Australians what the word ‘tavola’ does for the Italian?

The words ‘Own Home’ for us Australians is the need for the world of absolute ‘privacy’. Perhaps, to our Anglo forbearers, their ‘Own Home’ was their castle – up with the drawbridge and just in case of anything or anyone unwanted, they had the back up of a moat to keep out intruders, including any unannounced visitors.

While the drawbridge and moat have gone, we have substituted them with the paling fence, and now the impenetrable colour bond aluminium partition fence, blocking even the remotest chance of seeing a neighbour, or worse, a neighbour seeing us.

Some ‘own homes’ now have total block-out metal electric window shutters. Perhaps in the future they will do away with the need to have any windows at all.

We used to run a self contained farm cottage that we let to anyone at weekends. It iwas miles from neighbours and we lived also well away.

When the Europeans came to stay, they kept everything open – doors, curtains, and weree quickly outside, keen to strike up a conversation. The Aussies drew curtains as soon as they arrives.

The need for ‘privacy’ seems to overwhelm everything, even when it means blocking the glorious country views and light. Perhaps they were impatiently waiting to jump into bed for a bit of an old fashioned quickie, but so would the red blooded Europeans, would they not?

We  had a couple celebrating 40 years of marriage. Surely they would want to relax, unpack and watch cricket, go to the loo, or do something decent first? No, the curtains closed soon after arrival.

With the culture of one’s ‘Own Home’ comes another curious phenomenon. You rarely actually see anyone outside in their gardens and I am buggered if I know how Aussies maintain their gardens so spotlessly. The petunia borders are all weed free. The lawn is in absolute submission and not a leaf is allowed a minute’s rest in the guttering.

Back about fifty years ago, we lived in a new Sydney suburb called Revesby, near Bankstown in NSW. A neighbour would, at weekends only, climb on his roof and sweep the shiny ‘Wunderlich’ glazed tiles clean of bird shit, deposited generously by my brother’s pigeons. It was the only time we actually saw him outside, ever.

These days, if you want to see people enjoying their outside garden areas, one has to go to the suburbs of mainly Italian or Greek inhabitants. In Sydney, the Middle Eastern areas are probably the best place to see outdoor activity – people hanging over the fence, kids playing on the streets, the burning of rubber by over-excited youths, and a general feeling of excitement or ‘things happening’.

Now we come to the tricky ‘Unleashed contributors’ bit. Is it also this ‘privacy’ thing that sees so many people writing under nick names, often even changing their names as they go along? Is it safer to write something a bit controversial under the guise of a nick name?

What is the answer to all this nonsense?