Posts Tagged ‘Bunnings’

The Rat.

February 6, 2019

Image-1White cockatoo

A few months ago we started to feed birds. Our area is populated by large flocks of native Australian birds, especially the white cockatoo. Their loud screeches wake us up very early despite the double glazing. They can graze a fully foliaged tree bare within hours and don’t mind stripping timber windows from their sills. I have been told they, like rats, have to keep chewing on things to prevent their beaks or teeth from growing outlandishly large.

After establishing our elevated dish of special parrot mix on top of the Mexican Chimenea, lots of different birds soon became used to our generosity and became more and more demanding. They would start to queue up before we were ready and while still in our pyjamas, looked in through the windows urging us to hurry up. Even Milo became irritated. It got to a stage whereby when spending time in the garden they would swoop over our heads. After reading something about birds getting spoilt by well meaning bird lovers we thought of stopping the procedure. What really gave our decision to stop and gave us some teeth, was when rats appeared to want to get fed as well.   There were suspicious droppings around our barbeque. One day I spotted a rat looking at me before scurrying away. It had a nasty glint in its left eye. We stopped the bird feeding!

While, after a while the birds stopped coming, not so the rats. We had to take action and went to the local pet shop in search of a good rat trap. We have a large pet shop near us. They are the Costco of pet needs and there is an enormous variety of pet articles, a vast display of aquariums with lots of fish and fishes,  dog and cat medications, shelves full of flea powders, puppy nappies, talcum powders, dog poo scoops and soft bottom wipes. We looked around and I watched a glass cage with motionless pet pythons, all sound asleep, softly snoring. It had a notice taped on the glass cage not to wake up the sleeping snakes. Helvi prefers not to look at snakes, let alone pet them.

We could not find their rat trap division. I asked one of the many shop girls to direct us to rat traps. She said; ” we are a ‘pro-life’ pet shop and only sell humane rat cages.” She demonstrated a small metal wire cage with a trap door that would catch the rat alive without killing it. A normal rat trap breaks the rat’s neck when sampling a bit of cheese with some peanut butter spread over it. It is a spring loaded affair which is set-up with some care! We often used them on the farm with good effect. They work better than lazy cats.

After studying the humane rat cage trap we were told it was $19.90. We then asked what would happen to the rat after it gets caught. Would they take the rat and sell it as a pet to children? I know that we had white mice as pets and we loved them and nurtured them. The shop-girl said, “you are very welcome to give us the rat, and we will care for them”. I asked; ” is there a market for wild rats?”  She answered, “no, but if we can’t dispose of them we feed them to the pet pythons!

What? Feed  live rats to snakes? We shook out heads. What about, we are ‘pro-life’ pet shop with humane cages! We went to Bunnings and bought a wooden old fashioned rat trap that so far has been avoided by a very cunning rat. We check each morning, but no rat so far.

We are not surprised those pythons in the shop looked so happy, snoring away, digesting the latest rat. They are not so worried about the ‘pro-life’ stance of the shop.

The age of grab-rails is nigh.

January 15, 2018


Perhaps wooden handrails come in limited sizes. In our double story town-house the handrail leading to the upstairs part runs short at the very top of the stairs. It means that going down-stairs one had to lean forward to grab the handrail. A rather risky manoeuvre for those whose final celestial real estate deal is getting closer. It doesn’t help to hasten this by having risky handrails. We might as well sing it out as long as possible. The prospect of rolling down the stairs during a windy and dark nightly wandering, just did not appeal.

‘Why don’t you go to ‘Bunnings’ and see what you can rustle-up for a handrail, Gerard?’ Helvi said yesterday. For those that are unfamiliar with the concepts of ‘Bunnings’. They are a huge empire of giant hardware stores throughout Australia. It’s more a way of life than mere hardware. Whole families can easily spend a cosy Saturday inside those giant metallic halls. Bunnings are good at promoting themselves. They have special ‘ladies nights’, whereby the finer points of the latest of demolishing tools are explained to willing females. Giant wrenches and spanners are passed around and fingered lovingly, accompanied by videos showing women on how to beat a disobedient husband into submission to fix the leaking shower head or rotting fence post.

There are child-minding facilities, line-dancing competitions, coffee lounges and on most Saturdays they have charities raising funds for the local fire brigade by selling sausage rolls and soft drinks. All in all, a rather new concept of ‘everything for the home.’ Australia has always been rather fond of doing up homes, renovating or modernising and generally vying with each other to make sure that the ever avoiding and mysterious ‘life-style’ is maintained. Bunnings is the Aldi for the home-renovator.

I duly took myself off to a Bunnings not far from here. The staff are always welcoming and trained to be helpful. Generally, you go through mile after mile of isles filled to the roof with hardware. The isles are well organized and adequate signage show clearly the available products. I headed for the handrail section. I was hoping to find something similar in design to the existing handrail. I did not find this so decided to visit the bathroom handrail section. Of course with the ageing population now greater than the younger ones, handrails are a huge market. Have you noticed that more and more handrails are being installed in public places? Only yesterday, while bending to bowl I needed to visit the men’s convenience, and the chosen cubicle had a mouth watering arrangement of aids to hoist yourself up from the bowl. Amazingly, both the tap and soap holders were activated by merely approaching them by hand. No more touching required! A win for the medical world avoiding those dreadful flu infections. Did you know that the latest to do the rounds in Europe is called ‘The Australian Flu?’

I finally found a rather nifty piece of handrail. It is made from metal, white coloured, and came with screws. It can hold 110Kilos and guaranteed for five years. I am optimistic and hope it will hold for more than five years. Seeing I weigh a lot less than 110Kilos, I reckon it will see me out for much more than five years.

We shall see!

Post-shopping- detoxing at Oosterman Treats rehab. (PSD)

December 31, 2016

images Christmas shoppers

Yes, I understand. It is not your fault. Have you thought of handing it over to your higher power? There were a group of pale looking people huddled up at the basement of the Woollies car park. This car park is particularly cheerless. It has cold-blue neon lighting and looks so grim. Hard concrete columns with paint scrapings left by cars whose drivers took too sharp a turn around those columns. It is deliberate though, we know that. The only way out of the bunker-like environment of this soul-less car park is to walk the gauntlet of ramps and escape inside the warm welcoming, and cash yearning bosom of Woollies ‘the real food people’ shop. The lighting there is warm, inviting, and at the entrance are large pictures of moist apples, and bunches of rosy-cheeked kids showing real food eating with real healthy foods.

The people at the basement car park were part of a group doing a meeting. They were self admitted shopping-addicts. Each time they met it was to try and stop the disease of uncontrolled shopping. A careful observer would notice few men, but women formed the majority. Many had twitching and jerky hand movements. A result of handing over credit-cards, often involuntary. They had no control. But, as it was often pointed out by their leader, a bearded guru-like man of a somewhat elderly appearance; It was not their fault. It is a disease, he kept reminding the group. One woman told the meeting while standing, she had been clean for over seven weeks. A loud clapping followed. When she sat down she had tears in her eyes.

Of course, the shopping addiction does not include normal everyday household items such as apples, salt or oat-meal. No, the goods that are so addictive are generally grouped under this terrible but very addictive and pernicious name; ACCESSORIES. If ever it was possible to become addicted, it was to that word and all that it entails. It hints at something that is terribly needed. We all need accessories to living, don’t we? We can’t live by air alone. We need an accessory. Anything and everything actually falls under accessories. The shopper buys something, comes home, and casually mention they bought an accessory. The husband (or wife), dutifully bound, looks up from the newspaper, often The Daily Telegraph, and mumbles ‘oh that’s nice dear.’ The Daily Telegraphs of this world are of course totally in tandem with the world of accessories. Page after page they feature adds for handbags, lettuce spinners, sound-bars, 3d printers, rocket-like juice makers, vacuum-cleaners. You name it. It is all full on party-time for the shopping addict. The lure of handing over the credit card and walk out with something wrapped up, anything really. The zing-tone of the scanner is enough to set some off on a shopping binge.

One wonders if this desire to shop for ‘accessories’ is associated to the much heralded ‘life-style? Everything is now linked to life-style. From a Norwegian chair to a drill from Bunnings, all is part of a much needed life-style. At many social events it is now perfectly acceptable and normal to ask about someone’s life-style.

One man at the group was sobbing quietly in a corner. When asked, why?, he confessed to having busted a few days before. ‘I don’t know what happened,’ he said. ‘I found myself at Bunnings and bought a hammer-drill. It all went so quickly, it was done in no-time.’ The man was heaving with remorse. It was heart rending to watch. ‘My wife found out. She had enough. She is leaving me. She told me I have six hammer-drills already.’ Some still in their boxes. The floor is littered with Alan keys.’

The group leader sagely and ever so gently, told the man that busting is fairly normal and not his fault. It is a disease, he said. ‘Just hand it over to your higher power.’ We all get stronger after each bust and pick ourselves up and try again. One lady shared she has over 50 handbags. ‘Oh, that’s nothing, another said. I have over 70 pairs of shoes.’ They all clapped again after this revelation and sharing.

The group shared cups of tea afterwards with an Aldi biscuit, and each went their own way.

It is not easy.

Good Friday and Valparaiso.

April 19, 2014
Fire at Valparaiso

Fire at Valparaiso

Yesterday things were so quiet you could hear a sole pigeon flapping its wings on the main street. Good Friday is seen as a day of mourning and the usual clamour of shoppers and their trolleys had ceased. W.H Auden’s muffled drums were tolling, even dogs did not bark. Cars were driven in reverse gear only. Later on the TV, a procession was seen showing a man struggling with a heavy wooden cross barefooted through a main street somewhere. A small crowd was lining the pavement. Children were confused. Should they cheer him on with little flags or cry? If he thought he was on his way to Mount Calvary, what was he doing on the Sydney M5 overpass near Liverpool? That same man, still barefooted and wearing his crown of thorns was interviewed later on ABC TV.

It is all so confusing but at least he had his moment of fame. The day remained terribly silent. All was closed and barred up. Remarkably, the one shop that was open were selling croissants, Vienna sour dough crusty bread and whole fish including giant trouts and snappers, prawns, lobsters, head and all. (no crowns). I was feeling a resurgence of spirits and decided to add some colour to this grey and sombre day. Many customers were pushing and shoving for food proving that the closure of shops did not lesson customers on and about wanting to buy items for later digestion. I recklessly splurged out on a whole snapper and a sour dough crusty bread. It is not as if Good Friday is a day of obligatory mourning for everyone. Once I learnt that my hobby of masturbation was a serious offence with a special place for the serial offender reserved in the hottest of hells, I tossed the whole lot overboard and joined that army of un-repenting onanists and hopeful fornicators. I am not surprised that that poor man was reduced to carrying that cross around barefooted. Further footage on the ABC news showed men self flagellating in Chile or was it Peru? Seeing that, my thoughts went back when we were in Chile many years ago during the Pinochet reign of terror. He was a very good and devout Catholic. Margaret Thatcher remembered him fondly.

We landed in Argentina and after some time in Buenos Aires took a flight to Mendoza and from there a bus over the Andean mountains to Santiago in Chile. The capitol was tense and even though lots of people were about and cafes doing well, the sight of armed soldiers with machine guns at the ready did not make for a relaxed atmosphere. Every time we thought things were quiet and relaxed a mass of people would be running through the streets and a tank would appear. Shops had their shutters pulled down in seconds and the streets became eerily quiet. ( Not unlike Good Friday in Bowral). This happened also during one evening when we went out to have a meal. A disturbance somewhere and again all people rushed away or went indoors. Within minutes the shops were deserted with shutters pulled down. All was now barred and hidden. We had no clear recognisable street signs or beacons to guide us back to the house were we were staying. A soldier with a gun stopped us as were about the only ones still defying the impromptu curfew. We showed him the address where we were lodging and he showed us the way back. It was all a bit sinister and dangerous. We were younger then and the adrenalin made us take risks we would not take now. Today we feel we take lives in our hands shopping for giant Marigolds at the local nursery or a bolt cutter spanner at Bunnings-Hardware or even queuing at the local ATM.

After a week or two in Santiago we went to coastal Valparaiso. Valparaiso was again in the news last week. A dreadful fire had consumed a suburb of that glorious city. It was on that same steep hill consumed by that recent fire that we walked up all those years ago to have some lunch. We were told that Valparaiso had a large second hand book market. We walked around it for a couple of hours. I have never seen a book market like it. A bit like the Hermitage but for books only. Millions of them and in all languages. As we walked up that steeped hill we noticed the tightly packed houses had many trees. Especially the Australian Casuarina and Eucalyptus. Sadly it must have been those very flammable trees that added to the devastation in Valparaiso last week.

Recovery wish for Schumacher with a Marsh Mellow.

January 2, 2014


We are now packing the solar lit twinkling lights back in their boxes. It will be a year before the sun will light them up once again. Soon the cards will follow suit. All in the box or in the green lidded re-cycling bin. The last of the ham and chicken has been given to Milo. Post Christmas blues are on the radio and soon life will get back to normality. I love normality. Let the gas bill arrive in the mail box together with the usual Evangelical pamphlets to ‘repent and seek the Lord.’ A vain request for many, most seek salvation in Bunnings, Walmart or Aldi.

Soon the first cigarette will be lit up by those having made the resolution to not do so. Those tortured by food will get the first pangs of hunger, so…just a packet of marsh mellows will bring relief. The lure of the pink ones. It brings back sweet memories of the kids around the camp fire toasting them on the end of a stick. What’s wrong with that? We have to be able to receive those crumbs of joy from somewhere, anywhere really. Life is so short, they say.

We hope that the shortness of that life will continue for Schumacher. The world is hanging onto every word coming from teams of Hospital’s doctors. A whole pack of reporters have taken over entire hotels. Every nuance, every word is carefully weighed , rolled around and looked at again emanating from anyone slightly connected to the racing driver , all studied with the precision of a Swiss watch. Dodgy priests are now being scanned for a possible connection to the Neurologie department of the Hospital. Hundreds of cameras are trained on the room that he might be in. The slightest movement, even of the hospital curtain, makes headlines around the world. Angela Merkel has even offered words of comfort to the anxious world hoping for his recovery.

We quickly flick past a news’s item of beheadings of children in far away places peopled by those wearing black beards and medieval fanaticism. It is a difficult world. Just because the world turns over another year, so much seems to stand still. We too hope for the recovery of yet another young boy being King hit on New Years Eve. This was within metres of someone being killed by a King hit earlier in 2012.

Is it little wonder we want a marsh mellow?

When will we ever learn?

A Man’s work is never finished.

March 7, 2013

26404_lsausages on white bread

A man’s work is never finished. (With pc addendum; neither is that of a woman).

Driving home yet again from a bout of grandchildren minding in Sydney we noticed a large solar lit sign heralding that Bunnings is having a ladies DIY evening next week. We all know that Bunnings stores are huge cavernous hard ware and tools emporiums. A venerable treasure trove of everything a man can possibly dream about, even more than he could ever imagine even including that which he, as yet, can’t imagine. The ‘not yet’ being able to imagine is not all that difficult for many men that visit hardware and tool stores. They tend to be of a more practical nature rather than of the creative or philosophical bend. Still, many a woman would rather have a man of the nails and hammer variety than someone moping around with Hegel or Kant. Mary knew a thing or two about that when chucking in her lot with a simple carpenter! What would we do without the cloth peg or safety pin?

We often visit Bunnings to buy punnets of blooms or bags of cow manure. I try and coincide this with a Saturday sausage sizzle that gets put on by the Lions Cub trying to raise money for good causes. I am always in awe of how many people do good for society rather than complain or ‘mecker’, they roll up sleeves and do something about society’s ills…The Saturday sausage sizzle at Bunnings sells two thin sausages with lovely fried brown onions between slices of white bread for just $2.-including a choice of different sauces and a paper napkin. I usually go for the American mustard as a kind of gesture of forgiveness or atonement for their Iraqi and Afghanistan involvement, after all, Australia did also get involved. No soul is pure when wars are waged. I hope my simple sausage, with the help of Lions Clubs, will lesson future wars.

H is not so keen on my cunningness to coincide with buying blooms and manure with two dollar Saturday sausages, no doubt considering my health and her fondness for staying beautiful and svelte. I often tell her that voluptuousness is one of the most desirable qualities I admire in a woman and especially in her. Oddly enough, it doesn’t always work and the bloom shopping is steered towards a Friday to coincide with two lean strips of fish fillet, even though we are not, strictly speaking, peoples of the cloth.

One lucky Saturday, while queuing for my sausage allocation at Bunnings a man before me had the gall to complain that his sausages were over cooked and demanded to get new ones for himself and his young son. His four sausages were nicely brown and had crispy and desirable skins as well. In short, they were the perfectly barbequed sausages that could not be faulted except by this miserable ‘meckerer’ of a man. The women running the gas fired barbeque wore head-scarves. They were very busy with many hungry ’nail and hammer men’ lining up. For some reason it reminded me back of my war Rotterdam soup kitchen days long ago when I lost temporarily the touch of my mother’s hand.  I was imprinted for life never to waste food. The man complaining about his sausages almost made me lose the will to go on. Quick as a flash I told the ladies that I would take the four sausages already bedded down within their comforting slices of white bread and garnished with the loving onion rings. I had trouble explaining to H the extravagance of the four sausages.  It had barbeque sauce instead of American mustard as well. It all looked a bit suspicious to her.

A small price to pay.

Illusions in Blue. (Golden Oldie)

February 8, 2013

We had just settled to our first Zeffirellis coffee and a shared Danish, when we noticed a somewhat stroppy couple arguing about something or other. You know those couples that have had decades of ‘quality time’ time together and gone through thick and thin, hell for leather and with far too  few infidelities to reminisce and look back  on. In short, the sort of couple that was somewhat ragged for wear but still on a reasonable footing and with some good years ahead still.

“You would be so stingy”, I haven’t got a stitch to wear, just rags  around my clapped out bones,” she stated with some vehemence and loud enough for others to hear. Was he being shamed into something, we wondered? He was old enough to have learnt that ” I haven’t got a stitch to wear” really translates and certainly  heralds very clearly, “I am going shopping” and “no one can stop me.”  No man worth his salt would suggest going to Bunning’s to buy chip board or more brackets for some shelving. There is a lot in ‘I haven’t got a stitch to wear,’ far more that Bunnings could ever possibly offer.

We finished our coffee and went around town for a stroll and who would we come across but the quarrelling couple in front of a shop called ‘Blue Illusions.’ Her chin was firmly set, jutting forward, and he had a look of total compliance. The scene was one of those moments of couples facing the situation of give and take. He gave up on the quarrel and smiled as she took steps inside this Blue Illusion.

(art work by g.oosterman)

The vertical Food Phenomenon

December 13, 2012

depositphotos_3298753-Delicious-salmon-on-plate-decorated-with-salad-cheese-and-seafooThe vertical Food Phenomenom.

Santa has come early at the hardware-trade, at least here in Mittagong. Driving back late from Sydney, a large solar driven multi coloured sign heralded that ‘face painting’ would be a daily event at Bunnings together with ‘cooking lessons’. You would have to give it to them. Such entrepreneurial spirits flashing every few seconds. Who would have thought hardware shops would give cooking lessons? It is not as if cooking food has been put on the backburner, and people are just eating cold cabbage with tripe.

You only have to turn on the TV, morning or night, to hear and see someone holding up some latest morsel, glistening with juices and with contrasting colours. The cook or taster pronouncing…’oh, yum’ with ‘oh…wow’ second and a somewhat lamer third coming in at ‘how nice’.

I have yet to hear oh… how fucking awful, or even oh yuck, while heaving and retching! Surely, sometimes the result is not up to scratch and the viewer would be so much happier, if, just sometimes, the culinary result was less than planned like the viewers own efforts in the caesarstone kitchen with the multi story oven.

Just consider how on TV cooking is often done under the most harrowing conditions.  Last week on TV a dish was cooked in the middle of a raging Mekong river on a rickety boat and with just one small hardly flickering little flame in the middle of a torrential monsoonal downpour… Yet, the result was stunning and again it was held up as a trophy of cooking art regardless or perhaps because of those dire adversarial circumstances.

The viewer could not but become deeply depressed with their own miserable result of a limp pale yellow poached egg staring at them on a piece of toast which was only just made edible by scraping the charcoal off. No, “oh yum”. Not even a single “how nice’.”

How disconcerting it is for us, salivating viewers, to then, often within the same hour, advertisements are shown urging us to give generously to World Vision. The tearstained mother holding up a dying baby, children reduced to eating crispy insects to just stay alive another day. It would be so much better and more sensitive if those ads were shown during that ‘where do you come from’ programs, together with funeral insurances enticements. How glorious that elderly couple beam at us. They are so happy with their funeral ‘plan’ while their well fed grand-daughter stares out from the top of a bridge over the expanse of a lovely flowing river. Her life is just starting but ours might need a coffin ‘plan;’ but look, we are still living it up to the hilt! But… we don’t want to burden anyone with our funeral. Geez, what would our kids do without us having a plan; bury us in the back-yard?

The cooking program also often shows us food precariously stacked upwards, like a block of home units. Why does it have to be vertical? Are we running out of space? Is this what overpopulation has caused? Or is it because the top layer is closer to our mouth? Everything has to be so effortless lately; perhaps lifting the spoon up is now being investigated by the cooking moguls.

Easy does it. It is the same with the modern cloth line. All clothes have to be taken off the line with one magic swoop. Rrrrt it goes and the washing line is empty ready for the next run.  Very tempting this is, with time so short and busy mothers and (some fathers) driving kids to schools, ballet, and flute and sax lessons. It all has to be so very Rrrrrt now and in split second timing.

Anyway, Bunnings has weighed in with also giving cooking lessons, competing with the outside Barbeque sausage sandwich stall run by the Lions Club. Perhaps it is to entice the sale of outdoor kitchens. Has anyone seen the latest of those? Enormous outdoor stainless steel kitchens costing as much as houses, are now up for sale. They include water taps, rotisserie, and fridge with ice making and fish scaling capability, a fiery turbo driven stone lined pizza oven and ample storage to hold the suckling pig.

I am still getting over assembling a modest two burner affair some years ago. Boy, did it have many nuts and bolts with matching Allen key. It took me 12 hours and had to turn the whole contraption upside down to retrieve a single nut that had fallen in a steep crevice behind one of the burners. Finally a team of mental health experts overseen by a crack psychiatrist were called in to counsel me while I was finishing the job.

It seems that eating is now a disorder for more than a million Australians. Binge eating and binge starving is now all the go. We just don’t seem to be able to get our eating habits right. Yet, it used to be so simple.

We ate to survive.

Rosaria from Gozo (the harrowing story of Halal sausages.)

August 1, 2012

Rosaria from Gozo (Chapter4)

Posted on July 10, 2011by

Azzopardi new bed

Hzanna Azzopardi in the meantime back in Rockdale was excited in anticipation of telling her sister Rosaria on Skype this coming morning about her latest home improvements. Before her husband’s departure to his own butcher shop in Rockdale’s Westfield’s Fantasiastic shopping Mall, she asked him to log on to Skype.

Her husband had started his butcher-shop some years ago and had recently changed its name from ‘Meat for YOU’, to ‘Azzopardi’s MEAT SOLUTIONS’. He thought that, due to the influx of many from the Middle East, an exotic name might add to many more commercial opportunities. He, very judicially, now also proudly displayed ‘Halal Compliant’ on his window. Law abiding, the Azzopardi family was indeed.

After the Skype was engaged Rosaria’s face appeared, looking all flushed and roseate from the family event at L-Ghadira beach. How are you? I am fine Hzanna replied, just as excited. We have just got some new furniture from Harvey Norman and next we will be looking for shelving at Bunning’s. After all the years of scrimping and saving for son and daughter, the Azzopardi couple thought it was time to splash out for themselves. A new lounge and King size bed, she explained. The bed was huge and had a stereo music unit built in the bed-head. Rosaria was somewhat rattled by all this good news from Australia.

She was puzzled by Harvey Norman and Bunning. What were they and why a big bed? Was it to do with privacy or veneering? She understood that things were different in Rockdale.

Why the stereo in the bed? Hzanna was a good singer. She remembered her sweet singing at the school in L-Ghadira before her leaving Gozo many years ago. Hzanna had take pictures of the new bed and also the furniture, e-mailed them all in colour. She was so proud of her new life and her husband with his own Meat Solution business. It would never have been possible in Malta. Besides, everyone in Malta was a butcher, and often a tailor as well or a barber.

Hzanna further enthused about Australia having many people who have a ‘lifestyle’. A lifestyle is what Bunning and Harvey Norman sell. That’s why many like Australia and want to live here. In Malta you just sit on wooden chairs and other crude hand-down heirlooms shared throughout all the families. Hzanna sounded a bit haughty now. Rosaria, smiled sweetly back but her forehead was showing a furrowed effort in getting to grips on Harvey Norman, King bed, Bunning’s and life-styling. It was a big task so soon after her family party on the beach. She could still hear Sophia’s singing and was not ready to comprehend ‘lifestyle’ as yet.

She understood that life is different elsewhere.

Rosaria from Gozo (Malta) halal sausages

July 29, 2012

Rosaria from Gozo (continued)



Hzanna’s husband duly returned from yet another highly lucrative day at his own Azzopardi’s “Meat Solutions’ shop selling an incredible amount of lamb cutlets and rosemary ‘infused’ sausages. He quickly nipped into Bunning to pick up the shelving, special screws and grommets. He had found out that screwing into the plaster boards of his brick veneer home was fraught with failure. The plasterboard after all was part of the veneer. The plaster would not hold any weight, just crumble. Life and life-styles were learning curves to overcome. Nothing was easy. His close friend and husband from the Sicilian Mamone family had far more experience in the ways of own home and home improvements. You need a stud finder, he advised. It will tell you were the timber studs are to screw your shelving on.  You can’t just bang screws in willy-nilly in a brick veneer like back in Malta where walls were made hewn from solid stone.  What’s more; those walls were made hundreds of years ago. Here in Australia we are modern and all is new here. Go, get a ‘stud finder’ and make sure it has a battery, he said.


He was hardly home when Hzanna found her husband creeping along the walls of the brick veneer own home, holding a gadget that emitted a pulsing sound. When the pulsing stopped and made a continuous sound the ‘stud-finder’ had found a stud. It was marvellous. Home improvements technology at its best. In no time were the white shelving unwrapped from their plastic imprisonment and husband proceeded, with the help of the stud finder, to fasten the shelving onto the studs hidden behind the plaster walls. The shelving came with an Allen key, which Hzanna thought belonged to Allen. He explained this was not so. It was just the name of a small hexagonal tool that could drive screws and bolts &nuts to fasten different ‘home improvements’, he explained. Hzanna decided to memorise all those details to relate to Rosaria when next connected by Skype. You need a lot of patience and fortitude but after a while the mysteries of ‘life-style’ will become clearer she hoped.

Even so, when Rosaria send her the photos of the party at Gozo’s L-Ghadira beach, she suffered pangs of warm memories, not quite having faded out. The Malta memories were persistent, not easy to obliterate. The Rosaria olives with stuffing she remembered from all those years ago. The climb over the rocks. The washing and drying of clothes on those same rocks. The singing voice of Aunt Sophia she could still hear together with the peppers and chillies hanging from the doorways and fishing-boats coming at the harbour side. The salted anchovies’ bouquet still on her tongue. Rockdale is just as good she consoled herself, yet again. She knew that her husband was proud of his Azzopardi’s ‘Meat Solutions’ shop in Rockdale. It was doing well and money was rolling in.

Her daughter’s lack of suitable boyfriends was a niggling problem. She thought that perhaps she should give her the chance of finding someone back in Malta. But, she was now more Australian and hardly even spoke Maltese. Even so, it remained a worry.  Hzanna was reflecting how things were different in Rockdale with frowns on her forehead. Malta was different as well. They don’t have Bunning’s improvements or modern brick veneer. Apart from her daughter’s problems with football loving and beer drinking boyfriends, Hzanna had noticed a change in her daughter’s facial features. Her lips were curled and becoming somewhat pouting. She overheard the word Botox and had read that some women thought it important to try and prevent growing older. There was a method of injecting a youth retaining substance now. This method would fill cracks and hollows and loose skin would be rejuvenated to its former unblemished glory. Why did she at twenty three already feel she needed to retain youth? Was her daughter not in the middle of ‘youth’? Perplexing problems reared its head. Still, the shelving had been put in place and she finally had space to put the family photos including the full coloured one of Azzopardi’s Meat Solutions shopfront in Rockdale’s shopping Emporium.