Posts Tagged ‘Canadian’

1945 After the liberation,

October 24, 2022

Those first few weeks, after Holland was liberated, were filled with joy and pride, with dancing on the streets and kids waving little orange flags. Swaggering Anglo soldiers with keen girls on arms. Loudspeakers, urging us in English, to come out of hiding and that the war was over.

One of the worst problems of the war which caused my dad untold misery and almost brought my mother’s ingenuity to breaking point, was the tobacco problem, or rather, the lack of it. My father was hopelessly addicted to tobacco smoking. The chance of having tobacco during the occupation was not unlike and perhaps even on par with the chance of becoming obese. The shortage of tobacco was worse than shortage of food, at least for my dad. It must have been at its worst just shortly after liberation.

My mother urged me to walk the streets and follow those smoking Canadian and English soldiers who were our liberators.  ‘Put the cigarette butts in this little box’, she urged me. What a wonderful wife my dad had. What a magnificent woman. The problem was that there was stiff competition from bigger and stronger kids who were sent on the same mission. I was faster though and managed to get many cigarette butts and came home feeling a bit like a soldier myself.

Dad soon unpicked the butts and rolled his ciggies, lighting up the secondhand Camel and Lucky Strike like a king, tomorrow would never come. it was the first time that awareness seeped in my psyche that taking action could have rewards and a world of possibilities had opened up.

I was almost 6 years old.

Waste not want not. Just eat your lumpy Porridge.

November 5, 2014

 Some time back

Some time back

I was abused from an early age by having to eat lumpy porridge. It has left its mark and no psychologist or therapist has given me any insight into how this continues to shape me into the present dysfunctional personae, still grappling with life so fraught with fits of uncertainty as to its real meaning or purpose.(Phew)

The weeks just prior and after the end of WW 2, Holland was on its knees. Oats, Biscuits and Spam was fought over by people running towards the US, Canadian and English Lancaster bombers overhead, dropping food parcels. I remember my dad running on a field towards one and bringing home a huge metal box with rock hard but very nutritious English biscuits. The sky was dark with food being parachuted , raining down on Rotterdam. How glorious a liberation it was! Dancing in the streets.

untitled food at last

Despite the biscuits saving us from starvation, I still remember being very churlish about having to eat porridge with lumps and preferred the biscuits soaked in water. It was years later, when ‘easy oats’ came into being that could be cooked with milk without resulting in uneatable lumps. The porridge cooked by my mum then became silky smooth and with the Golden Syrup was delicious, a real delectable food. Even so, I have hardly touched porridge ever since. The lumps left their mark. That’s what a war does to you.

Walking around, pondering and practising a pensive thought or two is now a well earned pastime in advancing years together with offering adages and words probably so wasted on the much better informed. Together with Helvi and Milo, I traipse through our town forever hoping to find solutions to life and purpose. How this can be found by walking with a dog, hand-scooping his toilet habits in plastic bags, and drinking a latte in between is questionable but probably as good as studying Plato or taking Prozac.

images Food drops

But going back to lumpy porridge and hunger, we are surprised how much food can now be found just on the streets and parks. A half eaten hamburger here, bags of chips there. I sometimes, much to the horror of Helvi, lift a lid on public rubbish bins to see what has been discarded, much the same as I am curious about peoples washings on the line. Don’t ask, why? There is no hope. There is so much that can be gleaned from washing lines. Is the husband an office worker or tradesman? Are there children? How lithe and slim (or large) are they? What are the favourite colours etc. (Even that little joy is getting less with so many now lazy and using a cloth-drier).

But for discarded food…Only last week an entire ‘meat lover’s’ pizza in its specially designed aerated box was thrown out in the bin. Half full drink bottles, chips, steaks, even calamari rings, all gets thrown out.

It is nice to know that if ever I became destitute and homeless, food will not be a problem. I could probably make a living as well from sitting near a supermarket with Milo at my side, a cap with a few coins next to him and holding up a sign. “Help, I have still not found the purpose of life.”

There is hope where there is life!

A short return to Cosmopolitan Life.

September 20, 2013

With the new foot-rest car we felt reinvigorated and wanted to take the Peugeot for a spin to the big smoke. Our home stomping ground was the inner city of Sydney when we were still young, foolish, reckless and desperate to be seen as part of something we thought would swing on forever. After many decades this ‘’swing’’ has now morphed into an afternoon ‘’snore’’. But as Peugeot lovers would say, c’ est la vie.

With my foot firmly on its designated rest and La Marseillaise in the CD player; (Arise children of the fatherland. The day of glory has arrived. Against us tyranny’s. Bloody standard is raised. Listen to the sound). We left just before lunch.

No yet familiar with all the knobs and levers of the car I thought it best to put everything possible on automatic. Did you know that cars have climate control? I put it on automatic, not wishing to get a tornado developing above the back seat. The same with speed control which I put on a comfortable 97 km per h. You’ve just got to give it to the French, so much sophistication and joie de vivre inside a metal box that rolls around on wheels. When I get back home again, I’ll look up Paris appartements en la arrondissement de 3 ou 4.

Our car had a log book in which I found that the seats were made of ‘’genuine’’ leather. Is leather more leather if it is genuine? Are there leathers around that are dishonest and not genuine? Lately there are some puzzling descriptions around. There is a company selling ‘’organic’’ water. Don’t tell me water is now also made of PVC. I hope we are not being swindled out of one of the last natural resource, just water. It is bad enough seeing ads by MacDonald’s making one believe that by eating their salty fatty food it transforms us into such robust health we end up leaping over farm fences and riding Canadian white water rapids in rubber boats.

You wonder when it will be that the world will recognize it is not Syria that is the enemy but the large Multi-National purveyors of death and destruction, the pushers of fast food and sugar laden drinks. Look at the world’s Shopping Malls where millions of masticating jaws are grazing out of polystyrene containers, racing to an early diabetic death.

But…back to Mrs Euphoria and the glorious Peugeot trip to our wild unfettered, still saucepan free and tempestuous past.

As we got closer to the stomping ground of our reckless youth, a feeling of exultation of spirit, already soaring as a result from the patriotic CD and the sultry climate inside our Peugeot, reached a new peak. We parked and noticed a lovely old pub, The Newtown Hotel, just across the road. We noticed many students and their professors sunning themselves on the upstairs very ornate cast iron railed balcony sipping schooners of healthy Cooper’s brooding ales. It all looked just as we remembered. We were swinging once more.

What the heck, (we thought) we are just like them, no difference and clambered up the stairs, one step at the time, and ordered two schooners of heavy Ale with garlic prawns and a pumpkin pizza and feta cheese. Straight away another schooner and for H un peu de Chenin Blanc. We whooped it up. The music was cathartic too, student hips were swaying and the bearded professors started leering. More Ale and Chenin.

On the way home, the climate control had a job keeping my claps of thunder away, let alone flashing bolts of intestinal attacks of indigestion and not an anti-acid automatic button in sight. This music really helped.