Posts Tagged ‘China’

The importance of Grape Hyacinths.

June 2, 2020

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Grape hyacinth.

Even though many of the restrictions on the Corona virus have been lifted I noticed still a kind of hesitance amongst people. There hangs a fear to getting close, and all those tape and red crosses on floors and grounds isn’t conducive to closeness. Park seats even have crosses on them. I still am afraid to stand or sit anywhere. A few times at the supermarket I noticed people backing away when I walk past them. There are sign still asking people to respect and consider each other and that we are all in the same position. Patience and consideration are being tested.

I took my daughter last night to the railway station and there too were sign to stay clear of each other. The public toilets were locked and so was the waiting room. There were solid padlocks on everything that had a door. It was freezing cold and we could not be further away from other people because she was the only person on the whole rail station. She told me she was also the only passenger in the rail wagon she had jumped in.

Isn’t it sad how the US is now tearing itself apart? China now does not have to do anything to show that democracies can fail miserably. This is why in order to keep sane we might have to move away from both political and human made failures. I can think of no better way than to concentrate on the good and honest earth;  The joy of making soils with cow, chicken, turkey, and mushroom compost, all of which I have been investing in. I wrote previously that I had planted a whole lot of grape hyacinths bulbs some weeks ago. And, even though we are just at the beginning of winter, the advice on planting bulbs was during late autumn, and they now have started, albeit very gingerly, rearing their little heads poking the soil. I risked pneumonia darting outside in my shirt and socks to take these pictures. It was freezing with a strong wind and just 8C.

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The irises have also reared up.

I had to add gas heating to my town house as the reverse cycle ducted aircon just wasn’t doing its job. I am not of such a stoical disposition to enjoy cold. Some do, though. It always surprises me that during these wintry gales and frosty morning I see some walking about in shorts, t-shirts and thongs. What’s wrong with them? Perhaps it is my old age which doesn’t really matter unless you are a cheese.

So, now that I am settled in my new place, I can look forward to a nice garden, good friends, (including the softer ones) and my Café meetings at the Bradman Cricket grounds called ‘Stumps’, world famous cricket grounds. Life is good.

I’ll leave you with this picture of my cyclamen.

 

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The corona virus victims will get priority over the Cataract.

March 21, 2020

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Our late son, Nicholas and Helvi.

Today there are 900 cases of confirmed corona infections in Australia, which are said to double every three days. This means that by the time my cataract operation is due on the 9th of April there will be 57.600 cases with a possible 1340 people having died. These are grim figures.

Of course, we all know that life has mainly zero survival and most of us will sooner or later have to accept the icy embrace of the hundreds of millions who went astral travelling before us. Now, the good news is that the survival rate of the corona virus is 96 %, which I suppose is better that the rate of survival by rock fishing or sky diving aficionados, let alone drinkers, smokers etc.

I do my best to stay isolated but will cancel my private cataract operation which might be cancelled anyway by doctors having more urgent work to perform than non essential operations such as mine. By the end of April, unless the peak infections are halted by a complete lock-down, Australia will have over 3.500.000 million victims.!

I went shopping this morning and had a coffee at the Bradman cricket café. There was a nice breeze blowing and Milo got his usual share of treats as well as Tess, a female Jack Russell, hopelessly in love with Milo.

I went to Aldi afterwards, and bought eggs, truss tomatoes, a loaf of Multi-grain bread, two bananas, a bunch of fresh broccolini, and a bag of nice looking mandarins. A woman who had bought four huge cartons of vile looking dried Pizza crackers jabbered on how she read in the Telegraph how the Chinese are emptying the Australian supermarkets and posting it back to China to sell for profits. I told her off and so did another lady in front of me. Of course , the Murdoch paper is only good for toilet paper as a last resort or perhaps it should be first

Stay well, dear readers.

 

The unbearable sadness of the silkworm moth.

January 17, 2020

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As I was ironing my Ralph Lauren shirt for the second time, after patching the inside of the torn sleeve as well as the outside, it occurred to me, that the softness of this shirt could meant it might have been woven from silk. Can one imagine wearing a silk shirt? I checked on the back of the collar but it tells me curtly; 100% cotton, Made in China! At least it was made in a country where the silk industry preceded that in the west by more than two thousands years before the Christian calendar, under the rule of emperor Huangh Ti. who assigned his wife, His-ling-shi, to devise a scheme whereby she take the silkworms into her own garden in which the necessary Mulberry trees were growing in great numbers.

This then marked the beginning of an industry that propelled China to be synonymous with an inexhaustible wealth of silk. Merchants in silk would travel the heights and widths of Asia selling the products of that small mulberry leaf eating insect as if their lives depended on it. Well, of course the insects did and it was by no little efforts of the many following empresses who took the task of manually feeding the worms knowing full well that they in a very short time turn they would perform the metamorphosis needed to become the cocoon where within another short period it became a moth. Each cocoon holds a mile long thread of silk. Can you imagine the joy of the moth when it finally breaks free to conquer the world and able to fly and get away from those bloody mulberry trees and empresses?

That’s what I thought too…but it has a sad ending. When the moths leave it seems that all they are interested in is mating. They have special antenna which tells them who is male or female. They just live long enough to mate. The male after mating sinks into a deep and very melancholic mood and no amount of counsel helps. He dies deeply depressed almost within the post coitus languor. The female still scurries along a bit with just enough time to lay her,  hopefully fertilised eggs, several hundreds of them. She then passes as well.

As a passing note, I seem to remember that the silk industry was guarded by China for thousands of years and it was on punishment of death if anyone informed other empires of the secrets of this amazing silk worm moth, known today as the Bombyx mori.  Legends have it that the secrets of the silk worm was introduced by two Persian friars during the Byzantine Emperor Justinian reign. The cocoons were smuggled inside the hollows of their walking canes. Both friars had worked and lived in China for a long time and knew where the magic of silk came from.

So, there you have it, friends. It seems the sole purpose of the silkworm moth is to propagate and nothing more. One keeps wondering if a male Silk worm moth decides to stay celibate. Would that choice prolong his life? It might be prudent to investigate. The same of course for the female, except she might still be burdened by her eggs, infertile as they may well be.

So much to discover.

 

 

Walking is good.

September 3, 2019

 

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Apart from admiring cyclamen we are now trying to go for our daily walks again. Over the last couple of months we were either busy getting dressed or trying to get undressed. In between we have had an  unrelenting regime, meeting with doctors, nurses, home-carers and physiotherapists. And that is apart from keeping up with provisions, paying gas bills and doing what my mother used to call ‘in between’ jobs. I have learnt so much about fashion. Believe you me, there are a perplexing variety of female  clothes with incomprehensible ways of putting them on. ( and off) Where is the neck or what are the arm openings and what are all those hanging bits about? And despite all that loose-ness in their clothes, why are the leg openings so tight and why also do the sleeves end up inside out?

So this morning it came about that we went for a walk. Not too far, as Helvi is still not as sure footed as she used to be before her crash downwards towards a concrete drive-way. We sauntered past our common drive-way where are neighbour was snipping away at the garden. He likes doing that but we wished he would allow things to grow instead of manicuring every bit of greenery in this place. But, live and let live with tolerance is the answer to cheerfulness and optimism. I am trying to stay away from grumpiness, so I greeted the neighbour with ‘doing a bit of a spring cleaning?’

We ended our walk at Bradman Cricket Oval. In the world of cricket, this oval is the equivalent in Australia of the Egyptian Pyramid of Cheops or The Great Chinese Wall. It holds The International Great Hall of Cricket.https://internationalcrickethall.com/the-bradman-museum-is-now-the-international-cricket-hall-of-fame/

Lots of buses with hordes of people all the way from India, Pakistan, Fiji, Shri Lanka and many other cricket loving countries visit this famous cricket mausoleum, and file teary eyed, past Lenin like tombs of expired cricketers. Donald Bradman is the most famous of cricketers, and new comers to Australia have been threatened to lose their visas if not sufficiently versed in Bradman cricket matches with correct dates, number of runs and Ducks mandatory.

We found a nice seat in the sun and Helvi and I really appreciated this nice park. The children and their mums were playing in a playground but noticed that the iPhone now seems to have morphed into some kind of umbilical cord. Most mothers allowed their kids to break legs or fall off slippery dips without even a flicker away from their iPhones. I would love to know what the urgency is. Should I ask?

Anyway, we walked slowly back home and our neighbour had slunk inside, happy with the day’s snipping and shortening of bushes.

We had a nice walk and had some yoghurt afterwards.

The conservative fear of the implications of ‘socialism’.

August 10, 2019

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American Conservative Union chair, Matt Schlapp was featured on the ABC ‘The Drum’. He certainly knew how to articulate his points of view, especially those held on his hero Donald Trump and in general his Republican Party. The arguments put against him by fellow participants on this program did come across somewhat paltry and weak. It just struck me that he came well prepared and seemingly knew all the answers. He said he was open to all points of view but vehemently opposed anything to do or associated with the idea of ‘Social’. I have noticed before that the word ‘social’ seems to bring out a kind of fear of a murderous Stalinist communism in some people. Mr. Schlapp and I believe his wife, Mercedes, are both of the firm belief that only Trump and his Party will bring happiness back again to the people of America.  His final words on the program was that when things are left to free market forces, problems will resolve themselves for the good of America if not mankind as well.

In Australia we have a move that seems to try and wedge people against China with some politicians barracking for the US to be allowed to install medium range missiles on Australian soil. The implication was that our choice in any conflict anywhere, ought to always be wedded to whatever the US might want to do.

We cannot change our geographical situation and are much closer to the Asian world than the West. Indonesia is rapidly growing and holds almost 300 million people which all live closer to Darwin than Darwin is to our biggest cities in Australia. With the present trade war between China with 1400 million people and the US with 325 million people, I doubt that China’s economic might will knuckle down before the diminishing US economy. Would it not make much more sense to try and stay friends with China? They are a growing nation with its own unique culture and history. But again, in Australia too, we seem to still have a fear of the ‘Social’ ideology. You know’ sharing and caring’ for people less well off, or less fortunate. I just don’t like that  we are being wedged towards choosing one against the other. We ought to stay friends with all.

With Helvi, things are improving. The infection in het left arm has healed and the plaster in her right arm should come off with a week or two. It will involve a lot of physiotherapy for another 6 months or so. We are both in need of a good break and are waiting for a period without appointments or chemo. It is amazing how we managed to get through it all which is more due to Helvi’s Finnish ‘Sisu’ than my own rather cranky demeanor.

 

The three weeks to go.

July 17, 2019

Three weeks ago Helvi took a fall. The surgeon informed us; ‘it will take a year to heal.’ I believe he wanted to let us know there will be a long healing process. It is always better to overemphasize than give false hope. I know positivity does make better and heal things faster than the Jeramiah opposite but even during the last few weeks things are looking up. We have at least managed to get some synchronicity in our ‘ bathroom’ functions, especially during the night, which made an amazing difference. There is now a rhythm in daily affairs.  Have any of you dear readers ever had to put dentures in your partners’ mouths? Try it.

I have learnt that the little things that men expect women to do on a daily basis is a lot more than are given credit for. My dad always felt entitled to put his feet up after work and somehow joined the chorus of men who thought that women at home  had it easy, a kind of domestic picnic, lounging about glancing through glamour magazines, sipping tea with oranges all the way from China.

We are both torn, and alternate between love and fury between us. It is difficult and when Helvi’s left arm got infected we thought, surely now things will turn for the better. The arm was again operated on yesterday and today Helvi is coming down from the anaesthetics helped with strong pain killers. The wires in her arm were removed and this will give one arm, her left arm, more mobility. As a sign of encouragement a single blue flower ( see below picture)popped up roughly the same time as a year ago.

On the political side; is it still worth looking at the news? Trump is manuring his hatred for everything that is decent and honourable, and things in Australia seem just as dismal.

I haven’t got much time to write and am sorry I haven’t been able to respond to some of you and your blogs. We sometimes put on some music. Helvi likes Leonard Cohen and somehow get almost non-stop of his music through the magic of a Bose speaker and the iPhone through Spotify.

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The earnestness of an anti electric-car Prime Minister.

April 22, 2019
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With the compulsory voting by punishment in Australia, it forces people to vote who haven’t got a clue. Or, if they possess any clues, they are most likely to have been spouted by the commercial world, especially the Rupert Murdoch world of inanities and plastic bubbles rolling around the sun-baked deserts of our suburban wastelands. You know how it goes; insincere policies are being uttered with as much sincerity as the shifty politicians can muster, this is of course then followed by an earnestness that can only result in becoming so boring that even  good sleep can’t make better or give relief to, it stifles all. We all know where the earnestness of politicians can lead to.

With Easter almost behind us, I can’t wait for normalcy to return, and with that a well-earned rest from chocolate bunnies and the proliferation of  multi-coloured aluminium foil wrapped chocolate eggs, row upon rows, and the kids are getting fatter. I wonder if the art of hand painting of real eggs is still being practiced? When I grew up our parents encouraged the colour-dyeing of real  eggs and hand painting them afterwards. I believe that the people from Eastern European countries were masters of that art.

We are still rummaging through the political scene that no doubt will return tomorrow together with the opening of all sorts of Royal Commissions of Enquiries with scandal after scandal renting the autumnal sky. The latest is the scheme of ‘water buy-backs’ where someone in the government has made a quick buck out of denying drought stricken farmers their entitlement to water that in rapid driven rivers flow past their properties. Farmer’s tear stained wives regaling on TV, husbands’ decisions to sell up the farm. Oh, this Australia ‘the best country in the world.’ We all know that Royal Commissions are guarantees for  non-action.

And then we have a Prime Minister warning us of the disasters to befall us if anyone would be as foolish and progressive as to buy an electric car. He said; ‘It will be the end of our Aussie week-end.’ ‘We will not drive our ute anymore and the price of electricity will go sky-high, he said.’ And to think we left Holland where the Government will not allow new petrol and diesel driven cars to be sold after 2030. In Norway fifty % of cars are now electric and China is starting up world’s biggest electric car manufacturers.

As for Helvi and I with those verging on their final years, getting concerned about ‘Aged-Care’, let me leave you with how CARE for the elderly is being tackled in Holland.

The Dementia Village

If I ever end up with severe dementia I hope I am fortunate enough to live in a village like this.

 

How 2019 might turn out.

January 2, 2019

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The house is in a scandalous way. The Hoover ‘Freedom’ will have to be re-charged and one of my first task will be to vacuum. I’ll start downstairs first.  My blood pressure this morning was a comfortable 109/73  with a reassuring beat of 82. With the relentless heatwave continuing, and our Government urging people to keep out an eye for dehydrated elderly, we have unlocked the front door in the forlorn hope someone younger will check on us. It would be a nice start of the new year getting my forehead wiped by a strapping young female athlete. With luck she might even do the vacuuming!

The certainties of 2019 will include the continuing march of China towards the new boy on the block of becoming the biggest economy. The poor US will dwindle in importance with an increasingly cranky blood thirsty President bullying the most vulnerable. Heaven knows what will happen. A dangerous country, and with that enormous arsenal of nuclear weapons too!

The remarkable thing of China is that they seem to continue growing in strength without resorting to warring everywhere or bombing the shit out of other countries. Australia would do well to swing over to Asia a bit more. After all, that’s were we are situated geographically. Perhaps teaching the Indonesian language to all school students would be a good move. Indonesia is closer to Australia than the distance between Sydney and Brisbane. Indonesia alone has a population almost the same as the US. And then there is China? Another super power on the rise is India.

We are fortunate of  being in the slipstream of those growing economies which could well rub off on our own economy.  I hold the forlorn dream that with a growing economy, a brave government will try to get more revenue in so that we can finally do something on a social level. Isn’t it finally time to increase the old age pension and the income for the unemployed? They are very low compared with most OECD countries. We can’t call ourselves a caring country if we can’t give the retired elderly a decent income.

Last but not least, it would be nice if those that kept refugee children and their parents in indefinite detention on hellish off-shore camps face an International Court of Justice. It is an international disgrace that hundreds of refugees are now facing their sixth year on Nauru and Manus islands in direct contradiction of international law that prohibits that.

Australia gets away with it because it is the only country that doesn’t have Bill of Rights.

Yes, it would be more than a bit of schadenfreude to see Dutton in front of a Court. I still get this nightmarish image of him each time I peel a potato.

Happy New Year again to all of you, my dear friends.

Defend our Opera House.

October 8, 2018

https://www.change.org/p/defend-our-opera-house-support-louise-herron-4ebd912c-e760-43f1-a396-3e7468869056

Our Opera house is now a billboard. This architectural masterpiece is protected and listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List under the World Heritage Convention, placing it alongside the Taj Mahal, the ancient Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China as one of the most outstanding places on Earth. It just shows that our Government is bowing to commercialism by allowing a silly horse race to be featured on it’s magnificent sails that constitutes its roof.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-08/opera-house-advertising-defended-by-nsw-premier/10350792

Please sign this petition to try, chip in, and reverse this silly decision. At the writing of this post 174.000 people have signed

 

Thank you,

Gerard

The Tail-end of a Horse

May 4, 2018

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I have never taken to week-ends. They are mainly boring. I don’t understand why week-ends can’t be normal days and a continuation of the week.  Years ago, out of sheer ennui, people went for Sunday drives. Now, many go to look at sport or go to rave parties. Isn’t amazing that the voluntary pill testing has come up with so many people taking pills. It seems that even going to music needs to be accompanied by taking medical enhancement products. Do people take pills to go to an opera or to church? I watched footage of a musical event down the coast. Many young people were jigging about. They were throwing their arms, lolling their eyes. Was that an expression of the musical quality of the event? Are those multi coloured pills doing that?

Before I go any further. Have a look at this 104 year old man. He is on his way to the last event of life in Switzerland. I found it very moving.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-05/david-goodall-trip-to-switzerland-for-voluntary-euthanasia/9716354

Apart from all that, the clay-horse is still fascinating us. I would appreciate if people know more about this horse. Let us know! Herewith a few more pictures as well. We now feel that the horse has Chinese origins. The details are very fine and all this in clay. Amazing.

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Helvi made a new tail. Is it perhaps a bit too yellow? In time this might fade. Time does that well. His ears are still in the making. I fashioned them from clay and they are now drying before I will try and fire them in the outside oven. I’ll keep you informed. At least the week-end has now started. And soon it will be Monday.

A normal day.

IMG_0055the horse's tail