Posts Tagged ‘Cod liver oil’

The conversion to ePub plus MOBI.

April 13, 2016

‘Tantalising close,’ would be an understatement. ‘What price would you like to sell your eBook for, Gerard?’ Can you believe it? Yet, this was the question put yesterday while filling in a form to convert the book ‘Almost There,’ to a format called ePub plus MOBI all done by the Australia Society for Authors. It hit like a bolt from the sky. But that wasn’t all. Try and understand how it felt when reading on the same form; ‘Please provide details of the bank account into which your sales revenue should be paid.’ Your name of account, the BSB number and account number. ‘Your sales revenue?’ Joy, oh joy!

I could hardly believe it and neither did Milo. Out of the goodness of my heart, I gave him not one but two raw chicken necks. He looked perplexed but did not muck about, burying one neck for later consumption. He is prudent when it comes to his food larder. Only yesterday, while digging at the front garden I uncovered one of his beloved pig’s ears. He was watching me. I left it near where I found it and after leaving the garden I observed him re-burying it again. I suppose, it had not quite reached the level of dead carcass decay that Milo likes when consuming a pig’s ear. It explains where that broodingly dark smell comes from when Milo is sitting between us on the console of our car just inches away from our own faces.

We are al prepared and ready for the onslaught. The grandkids are coming over. The school holidays are on again. We have stocked up on half a litre of cod-liver oil and promised if they behave they will get a nice treat. Last time, just a few weeks ago at Easter, they managed to use up our monthly allocated Telstra data in just two days. We only ever use up about 1/10th of our monthly data. Just imagine how quick kids can rack up bills for their parents? In our days we would be lucky to get a spoonful of cod-liver oil for our birthdays. Or, when times were really good, get a pair of hand-knitted grey coloured socks. By the way, cod liver oil as sold in the past in liquid form is now mainly dispensed in very silly and expensive little gelatine sugar coated capsules. However, Price-Wise chemists still sells this wonderful golden nectar in its full liquid form. So, rip into it while it still lasts.

The latest controversy about the effects on health by eating sugar might well bring the liver oil back into vogue. I can see people crossing the street, slurping it up. Cafés will be selling it as ‘liver oil latte.’ And liver pizzas. The return of slim people

Anyway, the book is ‘Almost There.’

Queuing for nice Spoonful of Cod-liver Oil.

June 27, 2012

After the war many children In Holland went through children colonies (Kinder Kolonies). The aim was for children to be given their good health back again. The Dutch Government’s aim to give good health and hygiene to children dates back to the 1890’s when many children were put into State run homes and given better care than within their own poverty stricken families.

This scheme really took off after the war when thousands of undernourished children were put into those homes. I was one of them after a doctor thought I was too skinny. My grandkids still get a good laugh when I tell them how people used to bump into me and say, “Oops, I didn’t see you”. “Your arms were like sticks, Gerard, like this, and my mother would hold up her finger, together with the encouraging, and you used to cough so much.” I had bronchitis almost permanently. I was send three times to different children colonies for six weeks each time.

The general aim for those post-war children colonies was to make them gain weight. Not an unreasonable aim in my case. Weekly weigh-ins was one routine strictly adhered to. A letter would be send to the parents with the good news of weight gain or perhaps not, when no weight was gained. My memories don’t include the finer details of any arrangement of those that failed to get heavier. Anyway, the idea was sound. Another routine was the weekly change of underwear together with a hot shower; again a pretty reasonable affair considering whenever the need for a ‘number two’ arose, a request included having to ask for toilet paper from the leader. It must have been in short supply.  There was very little generosity in giving the required number of sheets. One had to ‘row with the given oars,’ was a popular saying of the times.

While the aim was for children to gain weight, it was also necessary for them to be given rest. Rest to recover from years of famine and hunger. This rest was generally in the afternoon between 2 and 3 pm and on stretchers. For a reason that was never explained, rest and sleep was only allowed by laying on your right side. We had one group leader whose job it was to look out for any recalcitrant trying to sleep on back or wrong side. She also happened to have a loose arm and would give you a good smack around the ears followed with the word, “please”, if you had disobeyed this one sided rule. Of course, I was never smacked at home but smacking was far more common in those days and I suppose those young women only gave back what was given to them. Even so, it was particularly painful and not just because of the pain. Children would often be wracked by homesickness, yearn for their mums. A smack with ‘please’ afterwards wasn’t exactly pedagogically a child friendly or wise thing to do at those times but what can I do now? Another form of therapy was for bed-wetters to give them an extra our between the wet sheets. Teach them a lesson.

However, the best of the lot was that after the afternoon rest you were made to queue for the daily spoonful of cod-liver oil. (levertraan)This ritual involved opening your mouth wide and a large spoonful would be shoved in there. Many children would develop an aversion to anything fishy for the rest of their life. I was most fortunate that I had developed a taste for anything that ended up in my mouth. Even a wooden stick would be welcome. My hunger and lack of food a few years earlier made me an addict for anything oral for the rest of my life. Show me food and I’ll show you determination.

After the ladle of cod-liver treat, a new queue would have to formed, and again with mouths wide open we would be given two pills of vitamin C. You were given time to swallow and had again to open your mouth wide in case you were cheating and spewing them out when away from scrutiny. Day in, day out, for six long weeks!

No matter with all those efforts, my weight-gain was measured in ounces rather than pounds or kilos. Before the ‘weigh-in’ we were told to drink copious amounts of milk or even water. Of course those grams added up and the rapport to the doctor was nicely blown up.

In many cases, the efforts in weight gains were mainly in vain. The heartbreak of being without mothers was so overwhelmingly felt, especially in those afternoon rests. I can still hear not just my own sobbing but also of so many other five and six year olds. All the spoonfuls of Cod liver oil and all the vitamins could not make up for the lack of mothers. When I was visited by my mother I ran after her when the visit came to its inevitable end, I promptly lost a kilo in my hand-knitted underpants and without those sheets of toilet paper as well. I could not care anymore.

Readers will be pleased to know I am still on the slim side. I am as fond of food now as then and apart from brown underpants-like vegemite can eat anything. Even now I keep a bottle of cod liver oil in the fridge, just in case.

Old habits die hard.