Posts Tagged ‘Fleas’

A normal day.

May 14, 2018


Jan. 1956. Our arrival In Fremantle with dad (with bald head) and mum (white hand-bag) in the foreground.


Normal day are getting rarer. That’s why I am glad it is Monday. I have never taken to Sundays in Australia. They are boring. I know it was mother’s day last Sunday but that doesn’t mean an uplift  in the general mood of all Sundays. It is hard to put one’s finger on the reason for feeling this way. It might date back to our first arrival here. Has anyone ever been to WA Fremantle on a Sunday? We did. Back in 1956. It was our first contact with the mainland of Australia. It was empty. Well not really empty. It just felt like it. No people about except other passengers from the migrant ship. We were all prancing about in our Sunday’s best. We wanted to make a good impression as newly arrived migrants tend to do. It was difficult to make any impression as the locals were nowhere to be seen. We might as well have well walked around stark naked. Some desultory looking dogs were scratching their fleas. It was better than nothing.

Mother’s days of course are different. Our mother used to emotionally blackmail us in saying; ‘Mother doesn’t want any present this year’. ‘Just make your beds, lay the table, do the washing-up and… above all , behave yourself.’ It must have been a murderous job with six kids running around a third story apartment back in rainy Holland. Do kids make their beds now? Some say they are getting away with murder. It’s no wonder when I see those huge black SUV’s dropping off the spoiled kids at school. Make them walk, I would say! My mum had the right attitude!

Our mother’s day was good. We had my brother staying over and on Sunday the grandchildren and our daughter visited us. I tried to book a lunch but the pub was booked out and an upmarket place called ‘The Mills’ was full of mothers, nervous looking partners, prams full with babies and their primordial screams. I recoiled and got out quickly.

We ended up eating very nicely at home. Helvi said; ‘just get big steaks.’ I bought 5 huge Porterhouse steaks. We heated up some left over pasta and an even earlier dated, but still in perfect condition, potato-bake. Both dishes I had used generous quantities of anchovies. I now tend to use anchovies in almost every dish. It might well work as a preservative as well as giving a nice taste. As we sat down to eat, the boys hoed into the porterhouse steaks with great enthusiasm. It was exactly as Helvi had predicted. Our grandson, Max, gave the Bolt salute. We could not have been given a greater compliment.


It was a nice Sunday.



Milo moves out

January 17, 2011

Helvi Oosterman

Milo moves out…

Milo is a dog who knows what he wants. When he turned into a grown-up dog, when he stopped being a puppy, he decided that he was ready to sleep outside. It was more exciting to be out there with the wombats, kangaroos and the occasional blue tongue lizard, and all the weird Australian birds.

The cold did not bother him; frosty nights of Southern Tablelands did not drive him inside. He popped in on Tuesday nights to watch The Inspector Rex, but only if the little boys happened to be visiting the farm. The old sofa on the big verandah was his bedroom. Surrounded by many cushions, which he nightly arranged into a cosy bed, he was off to doggy dreamland only to scratch the door in the morning to be let in to share breakfast with us.

When we moved into a new home and surroundings, we thought it best that for time being he’ll sleep inside. The huge floor cushion made of an old Persian or Afghan carpet, bought in Byron Bay, became the base of Milo’s new bed. He made clear it was too rough even for a rough-coated Jack Russell, and I had to add one of those large European style pillows for softness. He now had a proper double decker, and he was happy.

There is a right time for everything, and when we discovered that the Bowral’s more humid warmer weather had  brought the fleas, which we never had in Brayton, Milo had to move out, or at least sleep outside. We bought a little Doggy House with a blue roof and over-hanging eaves to keep the rains out. Hubby and other family member were doubtful about this house moving. I knew that it would be successful. The time was indeed right and Milo was ready to sleep away from us again.

Yesterday our old neighbours visited us with their three year old daughter. It was a warm day and we had the doors to the street and to the garden open for a breeze. As we were all talking excitedly, happy to see each other and to share news, we did not notice that Hannah was not around anymore. We rushed upstairs, checked the bedrooms, the front and the back garden…no Hannah.

And then, there she was, crawling red-faced out of Milo’s little house…