Posts Tagged ‘Father’

Is a sugar-tax cricket?

March 20, 2016
Still in The Hague. My parents

Still in The Hague. My parents


The last few weeks have been trying. Getting a book to fruition during a heat-wave is nothing more than self-flagellation. Readers might remember that it was suggested to change back the Father and Mother words to Dad and Mum. This was done via my newly advised and learned Word- processing trick, by instantly replacing all the words in the whole book instead of trawling through the whole manuscript, word by word. It even lets you know how many Mums and Dads were changed. There were new issues about ‘keeping Mum about a secret, ‘changed instantly into ‘keeping Mother….’

Of course, during changing from Father& Mother back to Mum and Dad (for the second time,) when writing about an episode of a budding artistic career involving hand painting Friesian Grand-Father clocks with windmills and sea-gulls in endless flight, it changed into Grand-Dad clocks. It still meant going again through it all. How does one remember having used words in a totally different context or co-joined? Just as well the Catechism wasn’t written. ‘It the name of the Dad, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

My good friend, Paul in Balmain offered to format the whole caboodle.  When it was mentioned more changes were likely to come, he stopped. The formatting formula whereby pages get numbered, photos with descriptions or titles underneath introduced, sub-headings appearing, the different fonts  and so much more, would all become hay wired when any changes are made. It does mean it finally has to come together as good as possible. And, all this, with not excluding serif or sans serif, is making an enormous demand on keeping sane.

It has now come about when opening a book the emphasis is on any mentioning and checking the fonts, both the size and look of the letters, spaces between paragraphs, the inclusion of ISBN number, catalogued with National libraries, the back page blurbs. Dedications and grateful murmurs to all sorts of helpful people. The issue of laying claim to copy-right. Issues of privacy and possible libel. Do people who get their manuscript published continue writing and reading?

Most publishers want the first few chapters and a bibliography. Others want the whole manuscripts ‘print-ready.’ Some want one to study the books they have published and write a synopsis of this or that book.

My goodness. One could have been a good surgeon, or prominent lawyer.

Rest assured that all is well. Just now I have made some cuts in potatoes, added chopped garlic and pepper and wrapped them in alfoil. Did the same with some carrots and shallots. For a few weeks all our cooking has been done outside. We sit in the shade with Milo chasing lizards. We chase some Shiraz instead and wait an hour or so when the spuds and carrots will be almost cooked. We put on the salmon cutlets with some red capsicums that have been sliced.

Voila, a perfect solution to book publishing fatigue. And…not a single spoonful of sugar is used. Poor old England, the sugar- tax bogey man is coming. People are starting to hoard sugar in their cellars. Soon, like smokers, sugar ingestion will be done on street corners behind newspapers or in dark alleys. People will try and stir in the sugar when no one is looking.  Husbands will be suspicious of wives coming from the larder. What is the world coming to…a sugar-tax!

Those going without ‘word-replacement’ features.

March 13, 2016

IMG_0829The Salvia

The angle of his head wasn’t the only sign of despair. The way his left hand was clenching and unclenching was classical of a well nourished depression. Even those slightly interested in body language would know that. However, this man seated on the park-bench was attended by his very alert beagle hound. The dog wanted to be let free to chase ducks.  I decided to pat this dog and try and engage this sad person in conversation.

Lately, by much encouragement from my wife I wanted to put words in action and engage more. I usually steer well clear of raucous or excessive boisterous people but make generous exceptions for those that appear serious or sunk in gloom. They are often more interesting. A psychologist would probably agree and might well say; “there is a lot there.”  You just don’t get serious without good reason!

My Father was always hovering very close to being a serious person. Readers might remember he went to bed for six solid weeks soon after our arrival in Australia in 1956/57. It was too much. “Far out,” might well have been an expression totally justified. I mean the three legged German shepherd dog chasing huge rats around the old house surrounded by cranes lifting stacks of timber. The old 1948 Chevy pick-up on three wheels. The mud and the early morning bucket pissing ritual behind the flimsy partition. And…the house, contrary of what they had told us, wasn’t even owned by our old Dutch friends. It was all too much.

To make it short. After the advice of my co-blogging friends I discovered- none  too late- that my computer too had a button that would instantly change words all over my manuscript. It is called ‘word replacement’ feature. I had laboriously been changing Mum and Dad into Mother and Father, word by word, hour after hour. It was pointed out this could have been done instantly by using the 2013  Micro-soft Word ‘word replacement.’

I changed first Mum which was replaced by Mother in this replacement feature numbering 64 times. But, wait for it…! After I did the same with Dad into Father it did replace it 87 times.  I am not saying that both my parents weren’t equally loving. And, I wasn’t aware that the attention in this memoire manuscript was weighed more towards my Father than to my Mother. On reflection, Father was from my point of view more deserving of getting mentioned out of sheer sympathy . He just wasn’t the pioneering migrant. Instead, a man of dreams, questions and ponderings. A lover of the stars, books and celestial things.

The brutality of the change from the safety and security of Holland to the untrammelled lust for materialism with own house. The world of the Sun-Beam appliances, the yawning car-sales yards and everything on deposits and ‘easy-terms’ wasn’t for him. The New Country just did not beckon the same for Father as it did for Mother.

Mother on the other hand was the achiever and doer. Never to stop and reflect too much. She would be about making the mountains of Tip-Top sandwiches for her six children. Shopping, knitting, crocheting, sewing and making things. She was the accountant. The looker after our beds, warmth, food and comfort. Equally loveable. She would make sure that all obstacles could and would be overcome. Not a person to mope about. On the other hand, my Father, who liked growing flowers and try out gardening was seen by mum more as a way of saving money, not having to buy flowers or vegetables. The practical over beauty. The romantic and the thinker over the pragmatic, the maker and doer.

The man and his dog turned out to be alright. He had struggled for years not knowing he could have used ‘word -replacements’ all along.


This life of camping out. ( Autobiography)

August 31, 2015

The moving about, even just in the mind can be unsettling. Ten days in Bali, ok, let’s move there. Two days at the Eco-village in Queensland, lets go! No wonder my Helvi is getting nervous. “You will still take your own with you. The black curmudgeon sits on your shoulder night and day”, she says.  “People know that,  they can see it,”  is added for extra impact.  The dream of living in like-wise communities is what plagued me since birth.  And that’s how it goes. The attraction of living somewhere were low impact on nature is shared within a community, does pull. That’s apart from the bonus of a ban on fences, especially colour-bond fences, and  electricity burning air conditioning.

It is true that the social skills of easy laughter and merrymaking in company of others is wanting. A demeanour of a seriously looking  man exudes around, and leaps in front like a warning, well before actually meeting.  It can’t be helped, even when wearing my partial dentures.  However, lately I do go around smiling more which helps, but only in combination when walking with our Jack Russell ‘Milo’. I got a smile back last Tuesday at Aldi’s tying up Milo at the trolley bay. I saw her again inside the shop as she was bending over the carrots next to the capsicums. My H is the opposite. She has a Mona Lisa smile. It comes naturally. She feels the smile. People often talk to her which I envy. She draws in people. I seem to repel but am working on it. It is never too late and I can still climb stairs two steps at a time. That has to be worth something.

With the autobiography or memoirs if you prefer, it seems to have stalled. The moving about has rippled into the consciousness of everyday living. The living in a town- house  of seven others in the compound is magnifying the stark differences between communal design and the exclusive or excluding design where privacy dominates.  People might peer from behind the blinds. Perhaps not even that! A garage door rolls up but the owner is already in the car. We can’t see him as he drives off.

In Eco-village last week we saw people moving about inside their houses. There was proof of life. Some were working in the garden. Children were running about. Kangaroos were lulling about sunning themselves on grass with the black water-hens picking morsels out of the compost bins. A man with binoculars was trying to spot birds. He had lost his wife some time back but he had not given up. He recorded all birds and had bought cameras to photograph whatever he felt like photographing. He was happy.

You know that at the age of over seventy five, the egg-timer is slowly running out of sand. One is not totally without optimism. My mother was 96 when she quit. A good omen. Dad smoked but enjoyed it till the end. At his funeral and going back afterwards, my mum cleaned for the last time his ashtray. He was still alive the day before and drove his car. He hated hospitals and going to the doctor.  No sooner when he was taken to a hospital, he died. He died at 78 but not because of smoking. So all up. If we split the difference, ( one has to be fair) it would allow another ten years before the egg-timer would run out of sand.

I would be happy with that. So much still to smile about.

In the Name of the Father and the Holy Dollar.

January 18, 2012

Has anyone read the shemozzle over the attempt by Melinda Tankard Reist to charge Jennifer Wilson with defamation? The SMH has been running stories over this latest stoush between the Goliath of the anti abortion-anti-homo-sexual and anti- porn priestess and Dr Jennifer Wilson’s with her blog ‘No Place for Sheep.’ The online commentary is running hot, twittering and tweeting falling out of the skies and many bloggers looking nervously at their letter box or for the sheriff with a Court writ to arrive. Dr Wilson is faced with either conceding and apologizes or waits for the writ to arrive. It might all be bluff and the letter from MTR’s legal firm a mere scare tactic. Even so, it is rather unnerving that threatening litigation has reached such ridiculous levels and with so much ease.

Dr J.Wilson is a small David compared with the Goliath and the hordes of right wing disciples that have been on the MTR side. We all learnt both biblically and mythically that David won out. A groundswell of M/s Wilson’ supporters are growing by the minute and so are the pledges of support, both by hearts and minds and from generous wallets. The extraordinary feature is that Jennifer Wilson has been running her blog for over two years and that both on her blog and her articles on The ABC’s Drum; the issues between Jennifer, MTR and the many contributors have been in open. At no stage did MTR object or put her, supposedly, opposing viewpoint. Not once a single peep or a hum out of her. By the threat of legal action MTR definitely did not turn the other cheek. She did not have to. She could simply have stated her point of view.

Now, all of a sudden and with nothing much of substance given, accept by some very vague marsh-mellow like few words, M/s Wilson is given the threat of legal action. It is not within limits of acceptability that Court Action is ever the only way of responding to opinions that have been widely given and discussed by many, including on the ABC and over a long period.

Surely, the Courts have better and more significant issues on their books.

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