Posts Tagged ‘Food’

A strange patient.

November 23, 2017
imagesCA3UWFVI

My paternal grandparents

 

There can’t be anything more telling of old age when conversations focus on ‘sicknesses’ ‘food’ and the ‘cost of electricity.’ I plead guilty to all three of them so my age is showing. But I had a rather unusual experience yesterday in a Doctor’s waiting room. Actually, the term ‘Doctor’s waiting room’ is dated. We now go to ‘Medical Centres’. They are mainly owned by large corporations who employ PhD trained business experts  in maximising returns on investments. The sick and frail now have to travel to those centres. It is rare for the doctor to visit the patient at home.

I had an appointment at 7.45 am to a medical centre’s pathology facility for a thyroid blood test which I haven’t had for a long time. I was amazed how many were already at this centre. There is a waiting room with 27 chairs, all padded and soft-backed with arm-rests. On the floor in one corner it even had a small play- centre for kids. It had a doll’s house and a mini slippery-dip.

During my waiting, several mainly elderly patients shuffled inside, some struggling with walking frames or other mobility aids. One mother with a pram like a WW1 tank manoeuvred around a man who had to keep one leg straight out because it was all plastered up to his thigh.

When my number came up for the blood test, I got up but stopped at the desk as a man had just walked in to tell the receptionist his wife had sent him to see a doctor.

My wife wants me to see a doctor but I also need 10 Dollars. Can you give me 10 dollars, please, he said politely. The man was neatly dressed and possibly in his late sixties or even seventies. He wore black knee socks , shorts and gym shoes. I would never wear knee-socks let alone black ones, but this is a very English type village. A foreign language is hardly ever heard except in week-ends when we receive many tourists.

The receptionists, a youngish woman, told the man she would consult her superior. Yes, but could you please give me 10 dollars now, he said again. The receptionist now somewhat alarmed asked the man if he wanted to see a doctor. Yes, I do, he said, but could you please give me 10 dollar, I am so hungry! Well, just sit down and doctor will see you. At this stage the man walked to a chair and sat down.

I had my blood test done and as I walked out I saw the black knee-socked man still waiting. I don’t know what happened or if he got the 10 dollars. Maybe one of the patients or even the staff had given him some food. It was all rather strange. If his wife sent him to the doctor, could she not have given him breakfast? Why would a neatly dressed man go without food and go to a medical centre to beg for money?

I went bowling afterwards and told the story to the wife of one bowler. She said that many people do go hungry and that poverty in Australia is now widespread. She had a friend who volunteers and drives a van picking up bread and food from the local supermarkets to be distributed to the different agencies that feed the poor and hungry.

A recent ABC TV segment was about the abuse that many elderly suffer in old age care homes. Apparently between 4000 and 6000 elderly die well before their time each year in Australia through neglect in those Aged Care facilities. Many are owned and run by churches. Astonishingly, we were told that there are no qualification required to work in aged care. Most that died pre-maturely were murdered, suicided or just through lack of basic care while in expensive ‘Aged Care’.

What awaits us while shuffling forever onwards towards the promised Pearly Gates?

Advertisements

Potato baked in foil is the only way forward

March 27, 2017

photochevati sausages

We all know we have to keep going. One way is to keep things simple. It is amazing how quickly things can turn complicated. Sometimes we get churned up and on reflection are amazed how we reacted so badly despite having arrived at an age whereby wisdom is supposed to be our domain. We all plod along the best we are capable of. One way forward in giving respite to anxiety and relief from life’s foibles is through the potato baked in foil. It is not just by accident that the word foible includes foil.

For some weeks now this family has come to realize that what has been dormant for many years in our kitchen drawer, the roll of aluminium foil, is now finally being used to its full potential. It was staring us in the face all the time. This last sentence doesn’t seem to follow the rule of logic. Following rules have never featured very strongly, let alone logic..

There is no getting away from the fact that we have to sustain ourselves. Food is just one item of that sustainability. We have discovered that through the week we eat fish at least twice a week.  After having tried different fishes, it is the salmon cutlets that have won out. We get 4 cutlets each week. They cost about $14.- The salmon cutlets are spread out over 2 days but not consequently. We might have a pasta or a risotto in between, just for variety.

The potato in foil is now so much part of our dietary habit that I felt it my duty to inform you why we feel so strongly about this ‘potato in foil’ discovery. It is delicious and dirt cheap. Let me give you the low-downs on it and it is free. I cut two or three potatoes in quarters or even smaller. This depends on the size of the potato. The bigger the potato the more you cut it. I prefer the Dutch Cream potato, even though I became an Australian some years ago at the Sydney Town-Hall. I had a choice of doing the oath of allegiance on the bible or in the name of the English Queen. I thought it an odd choice but the biscuit and cup of tea afterwards, prepared by the Salvos, repaired my suspicions and anxiety somewhat.( but not totally, even till this day)

I don’t peel the potato but that choice is yours. After having cut the potatoes, I drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle some pepper, salt and oregano on them. I wrap the potatoes into 2 packages of aluminium foil and leave them for an hour or so. At about an hour and half before eating, I light the outside gas barbeque, put it on low, and put on the  wrapped potatoes. A red capsicum is cut in half and I follow the same procedure by adding some olive oil, pepper, garlic and herbs of choice. This is added to the top of the barbeque plate about 3/4 hour before eating. NO foil around the red capsicum!

In the last ten minutes before eating, the salmon cutlets are fried,. 7 minutes one side with skin crisp and brown, turned around for another few minutes on the other side. All that is left now is to unwrap the potatoes add them on 2 plates with the char-grilled capsicum, salmon cutlets and just eat it all. Slowly does it. It really is a simple dish, nutritious and healthy and with such little effort.

It is the only way forward.

 

 

The Couple on the Train.

October 15, 2016

Almost There

Train travel is now almost done without rail employees. You can’t buy train tickets anymore. A few weeks ago we walked to the local train-station to try and travel to another station to pick up the grandsons. We hopefully went to the locket to order our tickets. The man behind the glass panel shook his head. ‘No way, tickets for the pensioners are now only available through ‘Opal’ ticketing system,’ he said. ‘If you don’t have Opal you have to pay full fare.’ ‘Fair enough,’ we answered. ‘Please, two returns to Campbelltown.’ ‘Oh, no again, you can’t buy tickets here.’ ‘You must buy from the machine near where you are standing.’ The full fare was $14.50 each. Normal pensioner tickets is $ 2.50 all day, no matter where you go to. The machine is complicated, at least for us, used to logic and straightforward paying with cash to a person and not a machine.

The really strange thing is that you can’t buy the Opal card at railway stations. You have to do that ‘on-line,’ or at certain News-agents or shops. I am proud to announce that I managed to achieve this electronic journey on-line without any assistance or nervous breakdown. Both Helvi and I now have an Opal Card tucked away in our wallets. We each have $20,- credit on it. The world is now our oyster and we can travel at any time by train. I wonder what happens to those credits when people cark it. I bet there are millions of dollars laying about from people whose last journey was the train to Rookwood. Feeling as ‘Crook as Rookwood’ is one of my most favourite expressions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rookwood_Cemetery_railway_line

Using Opal requires a form of tapping a pole each time getting on and off the train. No-one really checks if you have ticket. The poles all over Australia must store your identity and synchronises it with this Opal card which is in your name and linked to pensioner number. It also comes with its own pin number and password. Each time you tap the pole with your Opal card, the travel cost is deducted from the money that one has credited the Opel-Card with. Amazing technology, but what happens if you travel by train and walk past those poles? Does the pole do something? Do they take a photo? How does the pole know you haven’t tapped it?

We have as yet to try it out. I have seen the system in action. We watched people tapping the pole. It looks hilarious. I mean, who would have thought that normal adults, totally sane people, would get a card out and tap it against a steel post? The post doesn’t say or do anything. At least in supermarkets, the automated scanning cash registers give you a receipt and even are polite enough to thank you for having done the shopping. I always wait for the announcement, ‘Thank you for shopping at Woolworth, the Fresh Food people.’
I even answer, ‘no worries.’

The Mobility Scooter looms for millions.

October 9, 2016

41yjSAQeq1L__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ oosterman treats

You know that when the birth rate drops below replacements, we oldies are all going to suffer. Even Catholic Italy, which used to pride itself on breeding like rabbits are now not replacing its citizens fast enough to replace the dying. In Australia we still have a healthy intake of migrants, but even here the ageing population is putting a strain on almost all services. I wonder who will visit me when placed in a care-home? In Holland they have already introduced a form of visiting the elderly by harnessing school kids in volunteering to visit the lonely oldies staring wishfully behind their ‘updated’ aged-care windows. I am not sure I would welcome a know-all eleven year old to visit me. It could be boring.

In Holland too, they now try and ‘update’ elderly care which in many cases means less staff and heightening the bar for entry into an ‘aged care facility.’ One has almost has to have one foot in the grave or half-way into the crematorium-oven before a place might be found into an old age home. By that stage, most elderly have exhausted their savings and the kids inheritance. Fat chance now of cranky kids visiting Grandpa sipping his weak tea! This is why more and more old people are encouraged to keep going without needing ‘updated care’ in the horrors of an Anglican ‘Eventide’ facility.

I suppose, my own ‘Government initiated Health Assessment’ is one effort to keep me on my toes as long as possible. Strange, that Helvi has not received that request! Perhaps women stay healthy longer? This explains that old age homes feature mainly women. It must be very challenging for an old man to be surrounded by mainly elderly women and their never ending talk of ailments, the weather or food. 😉 Smiley!

One of the advances made in keeping us mobile is not just to keep on walking but also the availability of the mobility scooter. More and more seem to prop up. I believe one has to be in need of one of those before one can get one. Are they licensed or does one need to get a test done? With many an elderly person slowing down and reacting more slowly, I wonder if accidents occur? With two of those coming from opposing directions will the footpaths need widening. What about in super-markets? Do they fit in between the turnstiles. What about inside the shops? Will the lane between Toilet Paper and Asian Food facilitate the mobility scooter. I have witnessed a local woman parking her mobility scooter at the local hospital, and seemingly quite sprightly, walk up some stairs to enter and possibly visit a sick friend.

In the local Australia NRMA ( Road and Motorist) organisation’s magazine a bewildering assortment of the Mobility Scooters are now advertised. Some come with shopping bags, either in front or stowage opportunity below the seat. It shows turning circles and tip-over ratings. I noticed a local man happily scooting along while puffing away on his cigarette. I wonder if his smoking has caused the need for his mobility scooter. Did he develop diabetes and did he get his toes amputated as a result? Apart from smoking I noticed him taking photos around the place. It is an admirable way of ageing while keeping on his toes!

We still are walking each day. No need to think of a scooter. It will come about that walking will get less. I do believe that road rules will have been introduced for those mobility scooters by then. What about parking those scooters. Imagine the queues at shopping centres? Will there be incidents of Mobility Scooter rage? I can hardly imagine special ‘invalid parking’ spaces for those scooters. There will be millions of them!

It makes one wonder.

An indecent Habit

February 17, 2013

13SQ_Mfood

An indecent Habit.

They say that the largest and biggest problem facing the world is the threat of over-population together with lack of food. Yet, this morning I watched a program whereby an eminent professor scientist had all the numbers and statistics at his side proving half the world’s food gets thrown out. That’s right; we chuck out half of our food. Searching for answers, the good professor put the blame squarely on the young, the baby boomers children, even grandchildren.  It must be right though.

Most mornings on my walk I am tempted to pick up the throw outs of food. This morning’s takings; a bag clearly identifiable with a Big M and gold arch and a carton of a Domino Pizza box with a half eaten mozzarella ‘family size’ morsel still in its box. The food would have been eaten direct from the bag or box, perhaps while driving, and heaved out when the opportunity arose and the look in the back mirror revealed no one was watching.

After I opened the Big Golden Arch bag, there was a complete bun in it with soft ochre coloured cheese and some green leaves still neatly tucked in between. The owner of this bag must have just taken the beef minced patties out and chucked the rest. The domino pizza was decorated with grey pieces of mushroom, some red coloured stuff, perhaps beet-root or tomato but, apart from one previously mentioned half eaten morsel, no mozzarella. It seems that the meat gets targeted for the gaping mouths and masticating jaws, but the rest abandoned. What wealth, what moral abandonment of food ethics.

I placed the bags and carton in a bin and noticed the bin had lots of pizza pieces with boxes and other throw away food items discarded. The smell predominantly was a mixture of pizza, gravy ladled chips and acidy pungent stale slushy remnants soft drinks looking to slake thirsts. Take away, throw away.

Dear mother, stay where you are. The world has changed since the potato peeling soup you saved for us in your green enameled bucket of the 1945 soup kitchen in Rotterdam! Did that bucket not have a ceramic holder in the middle of the handle, allowing the bucket to swing freely? Since those days, no food was ever wasted by us, scraps always used for compost or for the ducks along river’s edge.

Of course, food thrown out in the public arena might pale in what gets chucked out privately. What I would not give to take a peek inside the kitchen disposal bins of our societal neighbours, friends or foes. It would be too rude to saunter over to your friends’ disposal bins in the kitchen while you and friend have just arrived, but, perhaps after a couple of shiraz’, and as your host goes to the bathroom, go and be brave and opportune and have a quick glance. You might be surprised.

Who knows those kinds of intimate food preparations or dietary secrets about each other?  We take for granted certain aspects of our friends, s a, they are not murderers or likely to self-immolate in front of an embassy or airport, nor rife through the pockets of your jacket hanging from the coat-hanger in the hallway.

Yet, when it comes to food, who knows what dastardly deeds are performed and on so many kitchens Caesar-stone bench tops? If half the food gets thrown out, it can’t just be only our kids. Who goes still hungry, surely no one? Put up hands that only slice and use the white bits of the leeks or chives, jettison the rest in the bin? Who throws away stale bread or the odd spouting spud? That’s just penny pinching stuff, what about the Christmas Turkey or half eaten but double smoked 6 kilo ham?

Mumbai Slums

As the plane sliced through the clouds an enormous rubbish tip came into view directly below the passengers. Over that ocean of rubbish crawled an ant like colony of human waves, all looking for scraps of food as the convoy of trucks spewed out their fresh loads onto the hordes of the hungry.

The Boeing captain announced; we will be landing in Bombay shortly; please keep your seat belts on and remain seated. At the airport the air-conditioning was humming while the Coke machine was being reloaded. A pale looking woman was unfolding a pram and her husband lowered a young sleepy child into it and gave the bottle of milk, the luck of the right birth.

A couple of miles away, the rubbish tip was getting busy, being clambered over, scraps of food were being prised out of the steaming morass and eaten on the spot. The things we miss out on while travelling.