Posts Tagged ‘Chardonnay’

Aged Care.

September 16, 2018

An old man in Sydney

Hold onto your seatbelts folks, it’s going to be a rough ride. This Monday a TV programme on ABC 4 Corners will feature the state of Australia’s Aged Care. It will be broadcast in two sessions. Something to look forward to during the following Monday evening as well. The Government getting wind of this program, decided to now have a Royal Commission into aged care. Royal Commissions are made to quieten down things.  It shows the Government ‘doing’ something. We sometime get a bit restless and there is nothing like a Royal Commission for the Government to subdue us into passive acceptance of whatever might be happening.

Aged care has always been the weedy neglected garden of few countries, including Australia. If you survived the years of receiving the miserable pension, you have been well warmed up for the end of it all in a retirement village. Many of you would have seen the footage of several videos on TV whereby elderly aged-care recipients were bashed up or assaulted.  The videos were a result of family members’ concern that often their elderly parents showed repeated bruising or festering wounds. A daughter or son would install a secret camera hoping to catch the assault and have it as proof. In many cases it showed assaults taking place. Police took action and a paddy wagon was shown whereby the nurse was led into. That’s just one case where he was caught.

How often does this happen? I can’t say I look forward to that kind of journey.  If it happens I will not keep any slippers near my bed or other implements that might get used as weapons to attack me. Certainly not hard cover books, magazines, hard fruit, coconuts. Just imagine getting hit over the head by a copy ‘Of Human Bondage.’

It is more a reason to stay well away from nursing homes no matter how well they advertise themselves. I don’t believe footage of an elderly retiree around the communal aged care home ‘The Setting Sun’,  sipping a chardonnay while swirling around with a svelte 89 year old. The elderly gent is more likely to get bashed up by his own slippers as shown in one video where an enraged nurse hoed into the defenceless old man.

It’s not getting any easier. Is it?

I shall not hear the Nightingale. Sing on as if in pain.

November 21, 2016

41yjSAQeq1L__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ oosterman treats

These words are part of a poem by Christina Rossetti. Last night’s effort in resisting Alzheimer or dementia, was an exercise in trying to remember the last few lines of her beautiful poem. It was harder than I thought. Why try it in the first place? It could well be this looming Christmas whereby I resort to contemplating what might be next in store. Close to another year having dropped its autumn leaves. Another ring around this aging trunk. Of course, here in the Southern world, it is the wilting of spring flowers that heralds the end of the year. A hot Christmas might well be in the offering. The Bogong moths are already trooping, getting ready for their annual migration to the much cooler Snowy mountains.

This photo from Google images.


Our first Christmas celebration in Australia was astonishing. I still remember that smell of beer and ripe prawns. The mid-night Mass with the congregation wearing shorts and rubber thongs. The Bogong moths swirling dangerously above my head, yet most people ignored them. The priest himself pleasantly full of the higher spirit that included pre-mass long necked lagers and brown hearty ale.

The moths were tame and just seeking each other out to form a swarm. When large enough a group would get ready for their long journey of hundreds of kilometres. Nature is so amazingly ordered and logical. In earlier times, the aboriginals, the original owners of this land used to feast themselves to a kingdom as well on these fat moths.

Another memory stuck through all those years, and probably getting richer as time passes, was a particular wedding that we went to. Again it was during summer heat. The venue was a golf course club house. A magnificent affair. The bride looked radiant, the groom suitably flustered and suited. The food all spread out on tables and fine linen. Prawns and salads, mignon steak and spinach sauté, flowing Chardonnay well oaked. As it was during those long gone years.

But then the Bogongs joined the party. Hundreds if not thousands of them. All swirling around. The overhead fans offering so treacherously the cooler air they craved for. The fans also slaughtered them. Those poor Bogongs now falling down in a spray of grey, gently landing on the food below as marital dust. No matter, the party was well on its way. Speeches were made and music flared up in between it all. The beverages had worked its magic. It was a great wedding. She was Croatian and he Australian from English background. They are still together as far as we know. A rare event, nowadays. They even had twin boys.

But here is the poem;  Christina Rossetti.

Those Shadows.

I shall not see the shadows.
I shall not feel the rain
I shall not hear the Nightingale.
Sing on as if in pain
And dreaming through the twilight
that doth not rise nor set.
Hapley I may remember
And hapley may forget.

You are nothing but a Latte Sipper.

October 20, 2012

You are nothing but a Latte Sipper

March 4, 2011



The world even in its normal state and without dire future climate changes is on a roll: floods, earthquakes, fires, airports are frozen, planes can’t take off, cars are bobbing about in raging torrents, people clinging to trees and revolutions are toppling tyrants. All this is happening almost as a daily event. No sooner do we climb out of our bed, switch on the telly, and it starts again. Some sparkling ABC journalist is interviewing either a bearded climate expert or a shiny faced business expert, both telling us the world is getting better or getting far worse. The weather girl isn’t all that optimistic either: storms in the Illawarrah, hurricanes are reforming and there is a map where there are little zig zags or windy signals flashing ominously. Nervously we search for weather warnings on the net. El Nina is going berserk.

Politically, we are divided not just by poor or rich, the left or right, the moderately accepting or the fanatically opposing: No the criteria for the good or bad for any of us now depends totally on our preferred beverage. The battle lines are now drawn on what might be found at the bottom of our beloved Wedgewood beaker or the Royal Leerdam wine glass.

The masked shaman poring over the bleached and knuckled bones of our coffee dregs or corks, the veiled future teller at her tea leaves. All now are studiously peering into the remaining dregs of our daily imbibement.  This latest has now turned us into a divided nation, not based on just political leanings as in the past. All of a sudden we are judged by our liquid habits.

How did this ever come about? When did it all start? Can’t we just carry on without the lament of; “you are nothing but a latte sipper?”  Or, the war cry from the others, the tea drinking brigade, shouting from roof tops, “if it aint broke don’t fix it.” Only as little as two years ago it was ‘chardonnay’ drinking that carried the wrath of the right. This issue has become blurred where now both sides, including even Queenslanders, accuse each other of belonging to the Chardonnay set, irrespective of left or right..One would not want to stand in the shoes of the sommelier trying to predict future trends in wine consumption.

Does this coffee drinking somehow point to a form of unruly benevolence bordering on socialism that the knee sock wearers& tea drinkers are so suspicious of? Does latte sipping encourage riotous behavior?

Years ago, someone remarked rather disdainfully,” Who are all those people sitting around drinking espresso?” “Haven’t they got something better to do?” This coincided when more and more shopkeepers started to display their wares spilling out on the footpaths. They were truly revolutionary times. Local councils were at their wits end trying to figure out the laws governing the public use of footpaths versus shopkeepers trying to make a quid. At first, only moderate and narrow bits of footpaths were allowed to occupy merchant’s wares. When this did not cause any breakdown of society or rioting pedestrians, more of the footpaths were given over to boxes of tomatoes, buckets of flowers and even hardware, including stepladders, wheel barrows. And so, the coffee drinking on the footpath was born.

These were also the times when dogs were still allowed to generously deposit their wares on the footpaths as well. It wasn’t uncommon to see brown foot-marks leading to the news agency on a Saturday morning.

Ah, they were such easy going times. Tolerance and community sharing and caring were still the norm.

Those walks to the news agency combined with the Vietnamese croissant shop are becoming a thing of the past. The piles of papers spilling out from News agency are becoming thinner. Instead, the tapping on our laptops in the solitary confinement of our home office are becoming the norm, and sadly without those flakey croissants.

But, the one thing that is not getting less and much to the chagrin of many still, is our relentless latte sipping. History tells us that this humble bean’s first entry into Australia were with those brave Afghans that helped Australia establish its first overland telegraphy between Adelaide and Darwin back in 1870’s. Ah, how they coped with heat and dust, the dark brew giving sustenance in the void of the outback desert.

It remains for historian to fill in the puzzle how this beverage got lost and how tea sipping became the norm. Alright, I concede that the vile habit of ‘Instant Coffee’ ingratiated itself just after the war. Real coffee was lost and when it reappeared it would be seen as something related to sub-ordinance or the opposite, subservience.  Communism was hinted at during the Menzies period, and to be feared. But soon after, the Reffos from the Balkans and Hungary were, reintroducing it, disturbing the peace of afternoons with tea and the munching of lovely 1916 invention of the SAOs during Bingo.

Here and there in Sydney’s underworld regions of inner-west and Palmer Street the coffee drinking became more and more brazen. Now, some sixty years later, coffee has become mainstream. Yet, pockets of resistance are still around. We must remain vigilant.

Resist the shout; stand up ever proud; “we are the Latte sippers.”