Posts Tagged ‘European’

The ‘Bespoke’ permanent Australian residency test

April 26, 2017
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Bottle

With our daughter being on the ‘cusp’ of buying a three bedroom unit closer to Sydney town, I was intrigued by a new word that seems to have caught the world by storm. It is the word ‘BESPOKE.’ Readers might well remember we were all on the edge of our seats some years ago, when our Government was urging their ministers to find  ‘new paradigms’. This soon spilled over to the voters. As is the wont of most Governments, the task and responsibility of finding the new paradigms was shifted to us. It wasn’t finding just any old paradigm, no it had to be the latest version. It made us all a bit nervous at first, but soon put shoulders under the task looking for our special new paradigm.

During or perhaps shortly after those revelational urgings many also took to forever being on the ‘cusp’ of something. It did not really matter what it was. As long as we were on the ‘cusp’ of something we were on solid ground. Helvi and I used to sit around sipping our coffee while looking for new paradigms, and hovering around being on the ‘cusp’ of something or other. I remember distinctly being on the cusp of buying our new lithium battery powered cordless vacuum cleaner an hour or so before we actually took off to buy one. We deliberately waited in order to prove our ‘cusping.’ Of course, naming our newly acquired vacuum machine a new paradigm might be pushing credibility a bit too far.

Getting back to the business of ‘bespoke’. It all came about when reading the Real Estate Agents’ lofty appraisal of trying to sell this home-unit to our daughter. They provided a lengthy list of the usual mouth watering morsels to attract the potential and often gullible buyer. It had three bedrooms, all with blinds and insect screens, a ‘media’ room and ‘European’ appliances. The word European is like honey to those on the hunt for living space.  It seems at odds with our Prime Minister’s urging us to stand firm on our national identity and hail all that is uniquely Australian. Are we all at risk of losing our permanent residency status if we buy a European stove?

But, what really floored me was that the European 5 burner cooktop had a ‘bespoke’ wok. A bespoke wok? Of course some decades ago Dad was most circumspect of real estate agents. Why are they called ‘real’ he mused, while blowing out his Douwe Egbert’s tobacco infused ringlets of smoke. ‘Infused’ is now on the wane, folks. We are getting some respite. You can all take a rest. None too late. It is hard work keeping up.

Nice dad, he was. I remember him well. He would never look for paradigms or bespoke woks.

 

 

The Foot-rest Car deal.

September 16, 2013

untitledI never knew this, but cars have wells. A foot-well; and it is where your feet are when driving. (Another definition is an example of sentences with their pronunciation, according to Mr Oxford dictionary). Let’s stick with the car foot-well for the sake of this piece of writing.

This is going to be a boys’ piece, so be warned ladies!

For a couple of years we have been driving a car without a foot rest. Unbelievably as it sound and just at the age where many have gout stools, we have a car without a foot rest at the bottom of the foot well. It means your left foot is kind of hanging at half-mast with the toe part pointing upwards. After a couple of hours driving it feels as if your foot has given up the will to go on any further.

This was one reason we thought of getting another car with a foot rest. Without compromise on foot comfort we went straight to a dealer of cars and looked for a model with foot-rests. I know that many people would have car priorities in different areas of requirements but believe me, we wanted just a good foot-rest. If the car had four wheels and an engine as well, so much the better.

”Could you show us a car with foot rests, please’’, we asked the salesman who already observed us from the moment we stepped into the Peugeot/ Volvo/Skoda dealership yard. ’All cars have foot-rests’, he smiled. ‘’Not our Holden Cruze,’ we answered with expert car nous. (We didn’t want to come across as elderly car ignoramuses.) ‘’ Ah, well, you are talking just Holden,’’ he quipped but still friendly. ‘’Perhaps you are after European comfort with a smooth overall superior technical suspension,’’ it sounded as if out of a Peugeot prayer book delivered from the pulpit of the Notre Dame.

‘’Yes, but also with good foot rests, can you show us some,’’ we demanded firmly. ‘’We have several with similar outputs as your Cruze but with far more comfort and good stabilizer controls.’’ The French know a thing or two about comfort and style,’’ he added while looking at Helvi, smelling a sale. He went even further; ‘’you know how good the French are in designing good comfortable yet stylish shoes?’’ ‘’Oh, yes, so much better than here,’’ she answered him. The salesman was on the home run now having observed Helvi’s very Paris looking shoes and fashionable colourful silk scarf. ‘’You are wearing lovely matching ear-rings,’’ he smoothed on.

‘’Just show me the Peugeot with the footrests, please,’’ I curtly stated, not to be left out totally and hoping to gain back the upper foot and my authority in the coming deal. He obliged by opening a few car doors here and there. My foot honed in on the foot-rests on the left of the foot-well. The Peugeot had by far the widest and most comfortable foot rest.
After a ‘free’ coffee, compliments of the yard dealer across the road in an antiques cum old wares cum books cum coffee shop we mulled over the trade-in of our foot-rest-less Cruze and agreed to get the Peugeot 407, 2009 model with low kilometres and great foot-rest.

We are picking it up today.

Our feet deserved it.

Wedding Video and Funerals

March 19, 2013

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The Wedding video and Funerals

When the house opposite us sold many years ago, the new owners had found the wedding video of the previous owners. It had been stuffed in a corner, hidden out of sight, abandoned in a built-in wardrobe on the top shelf. It was the only item left in the house by the previous owners.

Now, there was a story of pathos if ever there was. A lonely dust covered bit of marital biography all in glorious colour at its infancy. One wonders how many wedding videos are being abandoned and end up as landfill.

We knew the couple and shared many a social event. Towards the end, the parties and social contact petered out. There were stormy marital flare-ups, and it was rumored the husband was staying out late. He had many meetings to attend to, was busy working himself up the corporate ladder of a large liquid and powder soap empire of which he was promoted to team leader of the ‘washing machine powder’ division. Her washing, my wife often remarked, was always a ‘sparkling as new white’ with colours remaining ‘unbleached and remaining true’. We ended up buying large 9kg buckets of this amazing soap powder.

In our street, many of us were inclined to Green with some gravitating towards the Labor side of things rather than Liberal and definitely not National. We used to sneer at Royals and Pommies with a cricket and footie disdain thrown in for good measure. We avoided the dish washer and electric clothes dryers as proof of our concern for environment and wastage of coal fired electricity.

Apart from the husband of the soap powder opposite staying out working hard, there were also rumours of him ‘swinging’. His wife had even spoken dismissively about him. She was clearly unhappy. All of a sudden he had gone and she was left with the two children, a lawnmower and buckets of soap powder but also the house which had gone up in value enormously. It was the golden lining to an end of a cloudy and stormy marriage. She cheered up after that and even found a nice new man who was an expert and advisor on superannuation. He was always immaculately dressed in dark blue suits with a short well groomed beard and wearing glasses. Oddly enough he advised anyone within earshot to be well covered for eventualities such as deaths, especially funeral ‘eventuality’. He was definitely not a swinger.

I feel sure some feel drawn to the funereal art of embalming, coffin making and all that goes with death. They make the best of a reasonable and totally predictable event and appearances count in death as much as they do in life. The competition is ferocious and as is the case with spotting fees being paid to tow-truck operators so it is with spotting rewards for  imminent ‘deaths’ reporting, especially if the death is of someone eminent as well.

Some years ago, there was an outcry and public furor about competitors in different cars with screaming tyres arriving at the still warm but none-the- less fatally dead and thoroughly deceased person’s relative front door. Scuffles broke out. It spoiled many a good death. There was an inquiry and certain funeral firms were rebuked for trying to muscle into the industry of the dead with certain middle European and Lebanese groups being mentioned.

The one certainty we hold and know is that we ‘know’ we will finally end up not living anymore. It ought to be reassuring but oddly enough it is not. I have yet to hear of videos being found in vacant houses celebrating the end of life, the funeral. Why is that? We go through lengths to choose the coffin (the Mount Calvary model with brushed metal handles is really ‘in’ at the moment), the gladioli flowers, the venue etc, yet we rarely record that event. I have never had an invitation to watch a good funeral video.

Have you?