Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

The first house and Billabong

January 12, 2020

Billabong by Oosterman.jpg

Billabong 1972 entree for the NSW Wynne Prize. https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/prizes/wynne/1972/24292/

It is a miracle that this painting has survived because, as indicated above, it was shown decades ago in 1972 at the NSW State Art Gallery. Each year this gallery runs a competition for the best portrait, the best Australian landscape, and the Sulman for the best genre or subject painting. It is a yearly well published artistic event followed keenly by the public almost as enthusiastically as the Melbourne Cup, which is a world famous yearly race-horse event where many women turn up wearing funny hats and many men with ties get drunk. Well, not all men, but some do, and then some of those inebriated men end up grabbing women inappropriately (who are wearing the funny hats), and end up in court charged with indecent assault or even worse.

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/billabong

But the real miracle about the painting is that it is still in my possession. I am not sure when I painted it because it is not dated. The year after we moved to The Netherlands so I must have taken it with me and then some years later back again. It now rests in my garage at Bowral. Amazing. Another oddity is that not only was this painting accepted for hanging but the very walls on which the paintings were hung were also painted by me. I had won the contract for the painting of the new addition to the gallery of NSW. I am sure that this combination of painting walls and the art object hanging, from the same person, was unusual. I have now been asked to provide a photograph of Billabong in order for the Gallery to update their electronic data. The photograph was taken yesterday by my American friend who has the right very large and heavy cameras.

After the taking of the photo we decided to go around our old haunts where we lived in Balmain so many years ago. The little cottage where I painted Billabong is still standing upright . Here it is. Helvi and I lived there between 1969/73 and from 1972 with three lovely children.

IMG_0384 18 St Mary's Str

We bought the house for $12.500.-in 1969. It was built in 1869 on a very small block of just 135 Sq. m. It has extensive harbour views including Sydney’s harbour bridge, the city itself with lots of water including the coming and going of boats, both large and small, luxury yachts, ferries, pleasure boats, anything that can float and move about on water. Large freighters when being pulled ashore by tug boats and reversing their engines used to make the landmass shake including our old weatherboard cottage. It was probably the nicest place to bring up children and paint pictures. It was a life of excitement. The house was stimulating to live in. In fact all of our places we lived in have been stimulating or at the minimum they were made to be inviting and stimulating.

Here an old photo from the inside;

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Our daughter on the phone

Notice the modest b/w TV now-a-days  overtaken by many people showing giant screens to such an extend they have to have ‘home theatres’. Some TVs are now so large they are being sublet to small families. The house was completely open and all walls downstairs had been taken out by the previous owners, an architect, leaving a large living space that included the kitchen and bathroom. Right in the middle was a slow combustion old cast iron heater that heated the whole house. With the exposed wooden floor and a mat here and there we made it into a lovely and glorious home. Oh, the nicest memories I have of that period now.

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Our little daughter in front of the cast iron solid fuel heater.

Here a photo showing the living room. Behind the pine wall is the bathroom and laundry which we partitioned off. Previous the bath was fully exposed to the living area which our friends thought as rather progressive.

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Christmas party. Helvi looking at the camera.

Notice the modest sitting arrangement on paint drums and wooden planks! We felt like Lords. A real pine Christmas tree on the left.

Those were the times!

( the present value of that timber house is estimated at 2.7 to 3.5 million dollars)

New Year’s ( but happy?)

December 30, 2019

IMG_0225The Hydrangia

We are again at the doorstep of another year rolling over. I thought to-night was the fireworks at Sydney’s harbour bridge, but I was mistaken. It is tomorrow night. Fire now seems to be associated with the breaking of the new year, but the traditional fireworks are on the cusp of being cancelled. There are so many fires burning now, it is difficult to find something that is not burning at the moment. To celebrate the New Year with fire-works seems insulting, especially to those that have given their time fighting fires all over the joint. I noticed that one fire out of control is now approaching our area. People are a bit tense, huddling in groups and talking in hushed tones to each other, no doubt advising on possible escape routes. The quickest way to a lake or pond with a view to immerse oneself in case the firestorm approaches. There are also designated safe areas for people to evacuate to, including the Returned Soldier’s Clubs where I play my bowls.

https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/about-us/our-districts/southern-highlands

“Alpine, Aylmerton, Willow Vale, Braemar, Balaclava, Mittagong and Mt Gibraltar areas

  • Monitor the changing conditions. Strong north westerly winds may push embers into the area.
  • Stay alert for embers and spot fires.
  • Embers can be blown well ahead of the main fire front, and start spot fires that can threaten homes”.

The above is copied from the latest warning on a fire approaching the Southern Highlands. It is out of control and covers over 227 000 ha. It is large enough to create its own climate and cause dry lightning to strike for fires to spread even more. Tomorrow is going to be very critical with predicted temperatures in the 40’s C. The nation is on high alert.

I was given a couple of nice bottles of wine at Christmas time. It included a ten year old tawny Port. I am actually considering to cut down on my alcohol consumption. I noticed that my appetite is languishing and lessening. I have a banana and pear for breakfast and that seems to carry me over lunch as well. And then in the evening I force myself to eat a salad with a salmon cutlet. Of course, I had the lamb curry on Christmas Eve, but on the whole I seem to eat a lot less. But…I still had my few glasses of alcohol, I suppose to carry me through the evening when my new sole-ness makes itself felt so keenly. It helps to make me go to sleep. But I noticed that in the morning on wakening I feel parched and often suffering a grey mood.

I decided two nights ago to cut down and just have at most two glasses of wine over about a five hour period. I started last evening and it helped, I woke up feeling better and put on my socks with quickened pace.

I am also considering giving up some of my bowling in exchange for doing the U3A  https://sohiu3a.org.au/course. The bowling is a nice exercise but in between, while having a cup of tea, the players segregate into one table for the women and at a separate table the men. It seems so anachronistic. On top of that, at the men’s table they have a ‘swearing tin’. This is a tin in which the men are supposed to put in money if they swear. It seems that swearing is the domain of men.  And then the remarks about ‘Muslims are bad, Lebanese, Chinese are bad, etc. Before I could cope but now I am too fragile to just put up with it.

What do you all think about that?,

 

Slowly does it

December 22, 2019

IMG_0363 lamb curry

This Christmas I will try and keep the tradition of the lamb-curry going, hard as this will be. It’s been almost two months since Helvi past away and the grief wells up at the very mentioning of it right now. I don’t want to stop the grief from doing that, I owe it to Helvi and myself, even though she would not want me to suffer. It has to be seen through, and perhaps a time will come when it lessons and the joyful memories of her will grow in strength.

You know,  last week my sister and husband stayed with me for four days and the second last evening we decided to grab a meal at a restaurant. The choice was to go to the local Chinese, always a handy and safe standby, even though through the decades the ‘Chinese’ here in Bowral has been toned down to something between a spicy cultural experience to a more muted localised event! Perhaps the reader might conjure up the localised Chinese fare slowly but inexorably edging towards Fish & Chips! Anyway, I chose a mixture of Szechuan chicken with black bean sauce while others went for a variety of similar dishes, including prawns, all served with white rice.

On the table near us an elderly couple had taken a seat at a table for two. When entering the restaurant I noticed both were unsteady on their feet and he used the aid of a walker to get to his seat while she was seated down by the help of a kind waitress.  Soon they placed their order and even quicker came their dishes. In Chinese restaurants one of a huge advantage is the quick service and no sullen waiters either.

What amazed me was that during their entire meal not a word was spoken between, I assumed, husband and wife. I noticed she looked at him but he did not respond to this eye contact. The wife might have wanted to say something but their contact, during meals anyway, had gone beyond talk or exchange of words. They kept looking past each other. I have seen it before, and not only between elderly couples. Young couple too. They just sit there, and have giant jaws masticating up and down, but no words. They get up and walk away. The elderly couple were dressed for the meal though, but I wondered how they were going to bed that night. Would they say; ‘we had a lovely evening?’  But no words.

Anyway. right now I have the following ingredients in the oven to make what I will hope will be a really nice lamb curry with spinach. An easy dish which just needs a couple of fried onions mixed with a de-boned leg of lamb all cut in large chunks. Added to that are at least two table spoons of curry paste with a tablespoon of turmeric. Then the whole lot given a tin of Italian dice tomatoes, two cupful’s of vegetables stock, 250mls of coconut milk. The then whole lot in the oven on low heat of 150c for a bit more than an hour. Just before the end one mixes in about 250gram of frozen spinach. When dished out you can garnish it with fresh coriander and then just eat…

But please, talk

Christmas and the Pavlova.(667 recipes)

December 24, 2018

IMG_0052 a horse, a horse

We have bought the ingredients for the pavlova including the cream. Helvi thought that the cream was overdoing it, but reading the recipe on the box, it clearly stated that cream was needed. The supermarket was in a total pandemonium. Some people so swept up, they grabbed whatever they could get hold of. As if possessed by voodoo magic. It is the same each year. People try and remain calm but then totally loose it during the last few days. Hospitals are on standby, broken bones, bloodied faces and marital whiplash are so common during the Christmas festivities. For some it just gets too much. The say; ‘uncork and unwind’ does come with consequences!

My Christmas started early when I found an abandoned trolley with its 2 dollar coin still in its little holder near my car.  I suspect some shoppers might well think it costs two dollars to go shopping. They walk to the car with the full trolley and after loading the car just leave the trolley to its own devices. All the better for the canny shopper on the look-out for trolleys with 2 dollars. Something for the school kids to latch onto.

Getting back to the pavlova. Its history continues to be a much disputed item over a sweet dish made in honour of the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who toured New Zealand and Australia during the 1920’s. It is a dish made in honour of her. Till this day both countries still claim ownership of this dish. Some even totally dispute the Pavlova being of NZ and Australian origin, and say it was invented in the US. Another in-depth study claims its origins are Austrian.

This from Wiki.

“Keith Money, a biographer of Anna Pavlova, wrote that a hotel chef in Wellington, New Zealand, created the dish when Pavlova visited there in 1926 on her world tour.[7]

Professor Helen Leach, a culinary anthropologist at the University of Otago in New Zealand, has compiled a library of cookbooks containing 667 pavlova recipes from more than 300 sources.[8] Her book, The Pavlova Story: A Slice of New Zealand’s Culinary History, states that the first Australian pavlova recipe was created in 1935 while an earlier version was penned in 1929[2] in a rural magazine.”[1]

A potpourri of pre-Christmas events.

December 20, 2018

Last week we drove to Sydney to visit our daughter who was meant to visit us. Due to storm damage  the trains were delayed and the buses were not running, we thought it easier to drive to Sydney instead. Trains are often risky and even a rogue wombat can derail trains. I bet the old ‘fast-train’ service will be raised again now that an election is due soon, together with the perennial second Sydney airport.  It keeps us nice and docile. Gee, the French sure know how to get things moving. I like their spirit.

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This is our daughter and her youngest son, Max, who has reached that stage of being a teenager very drawn to languorousness.  This means he likes to adopt a seating arrangement between sitting and lying. He is Tom’s brother who is almost at the end of his Indonesian adventure and at present in Bali’s Ubud. Tom is 18 and now taken to sitting upright again.

The lunch was beautiful and included as a dessert a nice chunk of water melon ‘infused’ with mango gelato. This coming Christmas day she and both our Grandsons will be visiting us for a Christmas lunch with a possible stay over-night. Of course, that has the proviso the trains are running and that the wombats stay away from the rails.

The latest new’s item that really stunned me that for over 150 years a Tattersall club in Brisbane, Queensland, prohibiting women becoming members. They excluded women. Can you believe this? A vote was taken on the issue and the ban was lifted. Oh, Australia; where is your Santa list for moving forward?

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/brisbane-s-exclusive-tattersall-s-club-votes-to-allow-female-members-20181219-p50na1.html

The vote in favour of allowing women wasn’t all that overwhelming. It was mainly for financial reasons and not because it was so outrageously  misogynistic.

I wonder if the Republican issue will be dealt with soon? I suppose, we are waiting for the English queen to pass away. Another terrible sad bit of news is that the issue of refugees on Manus and Nauru will not be resolved before Christmas. When, oh when, will Australia be dragged in front of some court to face charges of crimes against humanity?

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-20/boy-raped-on-nauru-asylum-seeker-lawyers-claim/10632882

But, there is also good news. It seems that keeping pets helps to keep children healthy and possibly avoid getting infections. And…the more pets, the better!

A baby lying on the ground beside a small dog.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-12-20/pets-allergies-asthma-dogs-cats-immune-system-microbes/10630174

We are both now fitting in some more medical appointments as well. The medications we now ingest are keeping us alive as much as possible. This morning at 9am I was ordered to get in my underpants and take my valuables to the medical room and submit myself to a bone-density test. It was a remarkable experience. My feet were strapped in while laying on a hard surface in the horizontal position. ‘Just relax’, I was told by a female technician operating a sliding monitor taking images of my totally prostrated body. You know, when it was all over, I had trouble getting vertical again. The woman had to actually lift me up and prop me up a bit. The ignominy of ageing. It seems only yesterday we were skating and somersaulting about.

And now, look at it!

 

 

The Hydrangeas are coming.

December 17, 2018

IMG_0225The Hydrangia

The Hydrangea.

It always seems that when Christmas gets closer the days give up less of their time for the normal things to do. This morning at 8.45 we had an another appointment at the local hospital. Just a routine visit but the waiting room was already crowded. The oncologist who saw us said; ‘Christmas is a crazy time’, the sooner it gets past, the better’. This was wholeheartedly agreed. Helvi said a few weeks ago; ‘oh dear, Christmas is coming. We so much like normal times.’ The waiting room was so full, we stood upright, no empty chair, and the TV was on some commercial channel espousing the benefits of a face-cream, guaranteed to take wrinkles away. Most of the patients were glued to it, I suppose, any promise is better than none, even though no cream has ever taken away a single wrinkle. We believe in magic as we believe in a jolly Christmas. The doctor told us he read somewhere that thirty days of food are bought for just one single day when the shops are closed. I enthusiastically added; ‘. We have seen people buying complete trays of mangoes and 5kilo hams.’

So when we got home, we took Milo for a walk hoping he would do his ‘business’ under the bushes. He is very hygienic normally and have no need to take a plastic bag with us in case he does it on the food-path. He did it once in front of a kitchen shop and people were hopping about, while Helvi quick as a flash distanced herself from me and Milo. However, he again happened to do it on the street in front of some pedestrians, but I pretended not to have noticed and bravely walked on. ‘ Hey, someone shouted, look at this,’ pointing to the still steaming little tart. I joked, ‘I did not do it.’ The woman looked totally perplexed but lacked humour. ‘Of course, you did not do it, your dog did. Go and do the right thing.’

Helvi was furious with me, especially when it was added, ‘finders keepers’ to the humourless woman. All social graces seem to have gone. Where are the good old day when there was laughter about? Is this the Christmas spirit so many bang on about?Surely, no one could have taken my remarks seriously?

When we got home  and things cooled down, Milo looked me in the eye. He winked. What do you feel about the above Hydrangea? Isn’t it a beauty?.

 

Buffet.

August 13, 2018
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Grapes, strawberries and figs.

We sometimes like  to eat out.  This eating-out is usually a lunch. The winter cold keeps us inside more than is necessary. But, winter-cold and getting older seem to result in an increase in staying indoor. However, when we do take the courageous step to eat out we chose venues for value and lively atmosphere. This usually means either a pub or a well-run restaurant or café. There is nothing worse than eating in a place that is empty. So, a good lively crowd is part of our occasional lunch or dinner.

Our choice of eating out last week was a buffet dinner at a Returned Soldier’s League (RSL) club of which both of us are members. They do give exceptional value. I play my twice weekly indoor bowls at different soldier’s clubs. The value those clubs give are due, to no little part, to gambling and poker machines. The income from gambling gives discounted meals and cheap drinks to members and friends. I feel a bit ambiguous about that. No-one seems to care much about socials ills that gambling brings. The ‘free choice’ is often muttered. But many mums and dads go home to hungry children. How free is that?

Part of this generosity are discounted meals and drinks on member’s birthdays. Mine was last week. I received a letter congratulating me with an enclosed list of vouchers which gave free meals and discounted wine and something called ‘Tombola’. I don’t know what Tombola is. It might have something to do with winning a meat-tray or a chance at Karaoke gift.

One gift I received was a discount of $25.- on a buffet bought by at least two people costing $37.50 each. Last Thursday we braved a fierce evening’s arctic storm and drove to the RSL club at Mittagong. This buffet includes table settings on white linen with an impressive assortment of cutlery only outdone by a linen napkin the size of a bedsheet and in red. I suppose the red is to camouflage any wine stains.

It was a self-service which we both are very comfortable with. Nothing worse that a waiter hovering about like a drone on a flattening battery. The entree was impressive. Cooked prawns, Pepper Calamari, Potato and leek soup, chicken Vol au Vents etc.

The mains including Roasts; Glazed ham Yule, Penne Boscaiola, Peppered medallions of Steak, Curried Prawns & Rice. You name it and it was there.  Breasts of some poor Turkey. Pork and Crackling. All that with vegetables/salads.

But, the best was yet to come; Desserts! Being mid-year, Christmas was thrown into the mix. Christmas Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce& Custard. Pavlova with Fresh Fruit Salad including Figs. Triple Chocolate Torte, nut Tartlets and so it went on. And for those still standing up, Tea and coffee bread roll & White Christmas.

Now here comes something totally amazing and worth mulling about. A couple, both ruddy faced and corpulent did the same as everybody was doing. Getting the cooked Prawns, Calamari rings followed by generous helpings of many Roasts and Main courses. You could tell they enjoyed it all. He, I assume a husband, was very quiet till he had his fill. His wife looked at him waiting for the moment he would say something. And he did. His became animated and you could tell they were enjoying themselves.

After they had eaten all the choices and varieties of the food courses, both ambled towards the table with the Pavlova with Figs and Fruits and Cakes.  We too ate some dessert. We are not normally given much to desserts, but what the heck? We too enjoyed the eating out, and the size of the napkins really gave the experience a totality normally missing. Part of the table setting was a small dish of water and slice of lemon swimming. We could wash our hands in this. This is how I came to understand the size of those napkins. They seconded as towels.

At this stage and after the eating of the Pavlova we thought the evening was coming to an end. The couple near us seemed to also had their fill. The husband got up again. I thought perhaps a call of nature, after all that drink and food. No, I was wrong. He came back with a plate of prawns and rings of Calamari. We were flabbergasted. How could he? But, that’s not all. The wife got up, all shiny with mirth and pork crackling. She came back with a plate of curried Prawns and rice. They hoed into it with gusto, yet again.

Unbelievable.

 

 

Australia day, where is the ‘joie le vivre?’ It seems a bit lacklustre.

January 26, 2018

 

Almost ThereThe night before last we watched our PM Malcolm Turnbull, lavishly praising himself while handing out the ‘Australians Of The Year Awards.’ Sam Kerr who won the  Young Australian, was my favourite. There is just no one like her, and she has put soccer in the limelight not seen since Dutch Abe Lenstra in the fifties. Of course, the Quantum Computer builder, Michelle Simmons is the worthiest recipient of this award ever since it was introduced. And what about the other two recipients? Eddy Woo. Amazing, an inspiration to all. The taciturn Senior, Graham Farquhar was outstanding, such talent.

Next day, Helvi and I got up early to go out and sample the exuberance of Australia Day in Bowral. There could be no doubt, there would be music and all-round jollity with neighbours forgetting old feuds, congratulating each and all on the all inclusive and diverse nature of this lucky brown sun-kissed land of Australia. But, it was all eerily silent and quiet. No tooting of horns nor flag waving. We noticed many shops were closed and the few elderly people that were about looked a bit lost. I quickly hovered over the idea if they too were struggling with accessing ‘Aged Care’ and perhaps had lost their ID numbers!

Some years ago, canny estate agents had put out little flags stuck in lawns in front of every house. Not this time. In fact not many flags at all. We went home and had a coffee, pondering about what the reason was for this lack of Australia Day fervour. Was it the previous heatwave that had sapped remaining energy already depleted through over-indulgence during Christmas? I know I had witnessed mothers loosing their cool with kids’ demands for ever more ice creams or mango slushies. I overheard one mum telling her son, ‘wait until I tell your father’, an ominous warning for the poor boy.

I suggested to Helvi we have another go at sampling Bowral exuberance some time late in the afternoon, when heat had sunk below horizon giving people time to re-charge and give outbursts of National pride a fair chance. I also suggested to Helvi I might ask some of the passing pedestrians how they celebrated this momentous event and it if they knew where there might be music or even public dancing?

We waited till about 8,30pm, and for the second time went about sampling Australia Day. The evening was lovely and balmy. I wore sandals without socks. It was almost dark anyway. Again, there were not many people about. The main street was empty and a black crow was screeching its head off sitting on top of a telegraph pole. At least the bird was giving festivities a bit of a leg-up. There was no music. In the distance we noticed three people coming our way and I had my question ready. When we were level with each other, I noticed they looked dark, possibly Indian. They were three men with one of them wearing a large dark coloured T-shirt with AUSTRALIA emblazoned across it.

I congratulated them on Australia Day which surprised them. They smiled and I quickly asked them if there were any celebratory events they might be looking for. I explained we too were celebrating Australia Day and were looking to share this. ‘It is very quiet,’ I said, and followed this up, ‘where are the celebrations’? And there was this immediate response of recognition. ‘Oh, always very quiet,’ Australia is quiet country,  one man smiled broadly. ‘Maybe across the road in the pub is a bit of life,’ another offered.  It was true.

We all had reached common ground.

An unexpected journey.

January 12, 2018

 

photoflooded riverThe Oosterman Treats has been a bit quiet lately. Let me try explain why. My wife Helvi  was diagnosed with breast cancer some three months ago. Perhaps I should use the more gender neutral word of ‘partner.’ Apparently the gender police want reference to male or female lessened or at least only allow it used for pass-port applications. The same-sex ideology seems to get a bit over-excited.

Anyway, breast cancer struck way out of nowhere. Who would think that having reached the age of late seventies it could still happen? The annual letter to have free mammograms stopped after seventy. The funding apparently is tight and limited.  Helvi never wanted to make a fuss over herself and wasn’t all that keen for me to write and use it in my blog. She is just that kind of girl, always concerning herself about others and isn’t keen to talk about herself or sicknesses anyway.

The subsequent chemotherapy thrice spread at three weekly intervals left her immunity very low with the ever opportunistic infections promptly taking advantage and giving her pneumonia. On Christmas day with a kilo of raw prawns, a leg of lamb and the pavlova ripening in the fridge, I took Helvi to the local Bowral Hospital just a hundred metres from here. She was so weak and could hardly stand up. I get choked thinking about how she was.

Helvi was taken to ‘High Dependent Unit’ and stayed there for five night before going to a recovery ward for another six nights. One night I was asked to spend a night with her and a special roll out bed was provided. She was so sick and agitated. Helvi has lost 15 kilos during the chemotherapy period.

The good news is that the chemo has worked with the experts very pleased. The chemo has now been delayed giving Helvi the chance to get her appetite and reasonable health back again. Within the next couple of weeks Helvi will be operated to have either a lumpectomy or mastectomy. The journey is ongoing.

Her care in Hospital was fantastic and the dedication of nurses inspiring. Nothing was too much and to consider the shortage of staff and the hard work they perform I am amazed the system still seems to work so well. I so wished they would get paid accordingly. I noticed some of the most vital equipment seemed in need of repair or modernising. The sink had been taken out of her ward because it was needed more urgently elsewhere leaving the taps open for patients to get water running over the floor. Someone then taped them up to avoid flooding.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-12/nsw-set-for-major-shortage-of-nurses-and-midwives/9321464

So, that is the story at this stage.

A mere bagatelle is that my Visa Credit card had been compromised to the tune of $1100.- I never use credit or any bank cards but have it to get dividends paid in and for automatic payments such as Toll charges and subscriptions. I suspect that my renewal for Norton Anti Virus was used by some scammer to fleece my account. Strange transactions in US dollars in Hong Kong and Cayman islands turned up. My Visa card was stopped and the fraudulent transaction credited to my account. With all that what was going on with my dearest Helvi, I could have done without that.

Please, wish Helvi well.

The Art of Recycling the yellow lidded bin on time.

January 5, 2017

Almost There

Do you find it confusing too? We have two rubbish bins. The Red-lidded one gets collected weekly on Thursday. The Yellow-lidded fortnightly, also on Thursday. You can never go wrong with the red one. I simply put it out each Wednesday at the front on the much heralded ‘nature strip’.

This nature strip is an Australian invention as is the Hill’s Hoist. Both quintessentially Australian as a prawn on a barbeque during a boozy summer’s afternoon quaffing from a Coolabah Riesling wine-cask. The nature strip fulfils two main needs.
1. For dogs to defecate on.
2. For residents to drop their unwanted and over-bought consumables, mainly in the form of excess mattresses or bright-blue sagging Nights-and-Day sofas.

The dog defecators use the nature strip mainly at night.They are the night stalkers. They walk their dogs without the aid of a plastic bag to pick up or catch the dog’s load, and simply allow the nature strip to get used as a toilet under the cover of darkness. I would not be surprised if the walkers themselves at times follow the lead of their dogs and do the same! I am suspicious of the look of some of those turds. I am no expert, but even so.., they don’t look very doggy to me.

The third one is of course to put our full bins out on for the local Shire Council to collect. The confusion lies in remembering the collection of the yellow lidded recycling bin. We know that fortnightly means once every two weeks. Yesterday afternoon I put out both. I had not given much thought about the Yellow bin but assumed it was time. It was very full! The Christmas festivities and associated New Year gaiety are often trying times for the Yellow bin. The grandchildren and their presents caused much refuse. Paper wrappings, boxes and soft drink bottles. We do allow some sugar intake for the grandkids during the Christmas holidays. 😉 Hence the plastic bottles. However, we also stock up on lots of bananas and mangoes for balance. The glass bottles, of which there were many, used to contain lovely Shiraz or mouth watering Pinot-Gris.

I often am the first one to put out the bins. And so it was yesterday. It seems to encourage others to do the same. By late afternoon an army of residents were diligently putting them out.There were rows and rows of both Red and Yellow bins festooning the ‘nature strip.’ Imagine this morning discovering that the Red bin had been emptied but not the Yellow one.
Did I have my dates wrong? It was just as well that no-one noticed it was me who, as a result of putting the Yellow bin out first, encouraged all the others to follow suit. A bit like the pied piper.

It means that many residents now have to drag to Yellow one back inside. The yellow bins are really much bigger and when loaded very heavy. (One could almost live in one.) Anyway, I feel a bit foolish now. My over-concern is punishing innocent people.

It’s not a good start of the year! Is it?