Posts Tagged ‘delights’

Going for Thai lunch.

August 12, 2017


photothighs and toms


We have an arrangement with friends to go at least once a month for lunch. So far we have had three lunches and all have been at different Thai restaurants. In between lunches with friends we sometimes sneak in a lunch just by ourselves. Helvi really likes ‘lunching’ to be kept to a minimal. ‘What’s the point of going often when it will finally end up just as boring as putting on your socks?’ An argument difficult to counter. An oft repeated act always runs the risk of suffering the ennui which we are so keen to avoid.

Some acts oft repeated seem almost unavoidable. One of those involves getting dressed and undressed. I have written about this before. But putting on a different uniform when going to bed always has struck me as a rather futile arrangement. Why not just go to sleep? If we are part of the animal world we certainly don’t follow the pattern of animals by crawling somewhere horizontal and wait for sleep to overcome us. I don’t know of any animal that changes its coat or outer garment, do you? Why do we insist on this ritual of wearing two uniforms during each twenty-four hour episode of our lives? Has it always been like that?

Taking a holiday is also a good circuit breaker in softening the deadening routine of everyday life. In the past I foolishly argued that life ought to be exciting on its own without needing a break. Routine would just not occur if we had the nous to be creative and innovative in arranging the hours between waking and sleeping. A holiday was superfluous. Life was a holiday. But, and this is the dilemma we face in ageing; energy wanes.

I know, some maddening examples are given on Face-Book of people in their late eighties, climbing Mount Everest, swimming in polar regions or tirelessly re-marrying. But these are infuriating examples teasing us to click on a Face-Book advertisement urging us to buy   ‘Go-Ease Stool Softener,’ or worse, ‘Gastro-Stop’ . Modern parlance calls this ‘click-bait.’ Ageing is not without those sewer- entrepreneurs that cunningly exploit the old and try and ease us of our savings. The exposure on TV of the horrors of what happens in Retirement Villages could very well encourage many to hurry, and click-on ‘Delights of Euthanasia.’

I have been poring over ‘Princess” cruises which entice people to go on a large boat across many waters, explore tropical islands, get tempted by locally hand-made baskets or watch iridescent lagoons glow at the setting sun, watched over by waving palms.

When I ‘clicked-on’ the details of what to wear and what to pack in clothing on those cruises I read that they do insist on ‘smart-casual’ dress code and ‘formal’ for some days when they have social events such as ‘Gatsby’ evenings.

The women might like to dress as ‘flappers’ and the men like ‘Crosby’. Cocktail dress or frock for the ladies and black jacket and pants for the ‘boys’.

This was followed by a stern warning that jeans with holes in them would not be allowed on-board in the restaurants. We all know that jeans with holes cost a fortune. In fact the more holes or even complete missing legs are beyond the financial  resources of most people. A curious Princess rule.

When I told Helvi, she now refuses to consider a Princess cruise. She scoffed at ‘Cocktail dress’.

Nothing is easy. Best to stick to the occasional ‘Thai Lunch’.



Only the lonely

February 8, 2017



But where are the people? This was very often a question asked during the time we had foreign students living with us. We lived in Balmain. It is a suburb which many Australians would classify as having medium to high density living. We always look back with fondness of the twenty years we lived there. It is the place where our children grew up. So, how come this question; but where are the people?

The foreign students came from Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Germany with a couple from Holland. The question has to be looked at from the perspective of living in cities. Australia right from the start understood it had space.  Space was lacking in England, especially in the big smoked filled cities. Thus the suburban block here was soon to be seen as desirable for people to be housed on. At the beginning, people lived in terrace houses joined together forming complete streets. Balmain was one of those earlier suburbs of Sydney with streets of terrace houses. Parks were everywhere and it still felt very spacious.

However, the foreign students came from cities that were teeming with people. They would form throngs on the streets. I am sure that those that have been to Asia understand there is a huge difference between density of people there in cities compared to here in Australia. It were those people on the streets that the students were sorely missing, even in inner city Balmain.

My parents soon after arrival in 1956 went to live in western Sydney. Real Estate agents and blocks of land were the main topics of conversation amongst the migrants.  We too were swept up into saving a deposit for our ‘own’ block of land.  There was no real understanding of the social consequences in making a choice of where to live.  To be near a rail-station was desirable but as for other desirable needs, it just wasn’t about or questioned. Migrants had a need to have a roof and security of an income, all else was secondary. It was like a fever. One got caught up in the frenzy of making a new life. It was all a bit puzzling for my dad. He was different.

The street that my parents ended up living in was like millions of suburban streets anywhere in Australia. There were people living in houses but you would rarely see them. It felt achingly lonely. Sometimes a curtain would stir or a car would drive by. For me it was deadly, spiritual dehydration. Sure, the petunias and rockeries were plenty. Rosellas would be screeching and flying about and then there was cracker night. This was a yearly event with bon-fire on the street, somehow mysteriously related to Guy Fawkes or something. It was an occasion for neighbours to meet up.

All this in response to having read a lecture by Hugh MacKay. He is a well know social commentator. “The State of the Nation starts in your Street.”

It seems to fit in what is happening with all that card swiping and waving at poles. We are forced to dealing with less and less people. Banking is done silently in front of an ATM. People buy food on-line and sit at home all sated and possibly overweight. The steel posts at rail stations. Most work will finally be done by  steel posts and robots. Soon we might go to bed enjoying the icy embrace of a steel post or with a rotating robot with a waving of cards giving consent to heaven knows what sexual delights


I don’t know what can be done to liven up lonely suburban streets. My mum did her best and was fearless in her search for social contact. It was difficult. All those Venetian blinds and that obsession with privacy. A sign of change is that most people now prefer an apartment close to the city. People do seem to want to live close to each other, able to walk to shops and work. People need people.

We shall see!

Master Chef or Bullies?

July 22, 2010


The revelation that the popular TV show Master Chef would detract the majority of viewers away from the political debate held in the same time slot got me gobsmacked. There is a lot there, isn’t it?  More than enough material here for sociologists to keep busy for decades. 

How on earth can this be and how could a society get to a level whereby the importance of a country’s future is deemed to be less important than a ‘show’ that relies basically on instincts not far removed from the cheering, while knitting, ‘les peuples’ sitting around the guillotine watching cleft off heads rolling with still lolling tongues into the bucket during the French revolution ruckus.

Of course, earlier on the Romans had a taste for blood sport as well, with the Christians being eaten by lions in the Roman Coliseums or gladiators fighting to the death as per the Quo Vadis.  The analogy with those events with the present lust for Master Chef is also based on the same instincts of seeing victims humiliated and slaughtered for the pleasure of the audience.

 Master Chef has nothing to do with cooking or helping us to better dietary habits and everything to do with our love for the nail biting habit of watching the twitching faces of possible losers and perhaps but certainly, to a much lesser extent, the winners. Ah, our vicarious pleasure at watching the aspiring white coated little master chefs waiting for their fait to be decided by the big Master Chefs who are in total control over their quivering subjects. It is so good and so pleasurable that to make it last into endless weekly shows was the next logical masterstroke, the inventors and owners of the program could hardly believe their luck or their fortune.

The ‘arena’ of the kitchen is very well thought out by, no doubt, specialists in human behaviour, and how to get the best results in considering the all important physical environment. The stark, prison like brick walls, the distance between the subjects and the ‘executioners’, the Master Chef Judges. The gleaming hard reality of stainless steel benches and echoing audio. Then there is the galley above on which the Masters can prance around looking down on the subjects and their nervous attempts at cooking procedures with just the right kind of smirk for the well trained camera men to catch and blow up into the viewers TV room.  Of course, during the procedures of cooking, with every little nuance of the subjects nerves and tensions, are also expertly caught and exploited to the max by batteries of the ever vigilant camera…

There must be a flurry of Master Chef addicted viewers queuing at supermarkets on evenings prior to the show, stacking up on instant TV meals and other ready cooked delicacies such as instant mashed potatoes, frozen lasagne and crumbed chicken nuggets or calamari rings. The kids will be allowed to stay up and handy packets of Frooty Loops or crunchie bars with instant pop corn, so handily cooked in the micro wave. The irony of it all passing the viewers by while watching the latest culinary efforts.

Then, what we all wait for; the expulsions. Oh, Marquis de Sade, wake up, even you could not have conjured up this one. The quivering tensions as they line up, so full of hope and expectations. Of course the obligatory hugging takes place with brilliantly shown flash backs of earlier culinary attempts with the spatula and tongs, the sprinkling of just the right amount of all spice or turmeric with  our real  ever watchful camera poised to enlarge the twitch or quiver of the participant. It’s all manna from heaven for the TV channel moguls though, and much dollars by the millions. With the latest admittance that the Federal Election TV stoush will be taking second fiddle, the Master Chefs must be rubbing their hands. Are they now real leaders of our country?

Well, my grand kids watch the show. They love it. I don’t.  I find the show as boring as watching the petrol bowsers ticking over. As someone said before, it’s not as if you can smell the food, let alone eat it!  Surely the political debate has to be better than watching others cook?