Posts Tagged ‘French’

A sigh of relief or is there more to come?

April 24, 2017

 

Getting up early is a habit that I indulge in each morning. Around 6.30 am the kettle is put on. The kettle is made of stainless steel, has a whistle and its water is boiled on gas. It is almost the first sound that is heard in this household every morning. The silver crested cockatoos are usually the first at that lovely honeyed twilight betwixt dark night and morn’s light.

It’s been three weeks now since I had my morning’s coffee. I swapped over to tea instead.  Helvi still insists on her first drink to be coffee. Making both coffee and tea each morning is a rather nice change from the earlier solo beverage routine. This morning was special. France had voted.

Anxiety always follows me in a symbiotic relationship. I am sure things would just not be the same if all went smooth.  That was one reason I jumped out of bed with a bit more than the usual sprightliness this morning. Watching last night’s news with Le Pen and its right-wing antics had me all keyed up. Last time I felt similar pangs of fear was during the Dutch elections when Geert Wilders was in the running. I felt most ebullient when he was dealt a mortal blow. But…France seemed a different kettle of poisson.

What joy, what relief greeted me opening ABC’s news. Marine le Pen was second. The other main parties will now back the Emmanuel Macron who came in first getting 24% of the vote. The new wonder boy is likened to Canada’s Trudeau. He is on the right  side of politics but in a refreshing twist is actually promising an increase in welfare.

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

Just cop this!

“he is “neither right nor left” and that he advocates “a collective solidarity”

And what really attracts me is the following;

“In his book Revolution, published in November 2016, Macron presents himself as both a “leftist” and a “liberal … if by liberalism one means trust in man.”[39] With his party En Marche!, Macron’s stated aim is to transcend the left–right divide in a manner similar to François Bayrou or Jacques Chaban-Delmas, asserting that “the real divide in our country … is between progressives and conservatives”. With the launch of his independent candidacy and his use of anti-establishment rhetoric, Macron has been labelled a “populist” by some observers, notably Manuel Valls, but Macron rejects this term.”[40][41]

France does not suffer from the Westminster political system,  wherein any change is almost impossible to achieve seeing the aim of the British system is to forever try and knock the opposition out by endless warring and shouting from a chair high up ‘order- order.’

With the German right wing in retreat the world is again showing signs that xenophobia and fear of the foreign might be fading. I don’t know how we in Australia will go. At least this government is also getting on the nose, and I don’t think Pauline Hanson is making much headway anymore either.

I feel so much better now, and might even have a coffee again.

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The drunken conductor and Bush. More hyphens.

January 7, 2016

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As mentioned earlier a Pole had become a self-proclaimed taxi-driver. In Holland this would never ever be allowed to happen. It was an example of how one could become and have the freedom to initiate an independency without interference from higher up the Australian Bureaucracy. It was a heaven of freedom. However, on the way to the train I could hardly look the Polish taxi-driver in the face. I had observed his wife in the shower and seen her ‘bush’. The showers were sex separated but in the same block. I had already heard through the camp grapevine, that if you took the last cubicle adjacent to the female section, one could get a peek. Soon after, I too became privilege to that peek and had obtained another level of attainment in sexual observations. At that time I was the envy of aspirations held by many boys in their early teens. It was such a specific goal in growing up…I could now hold my head high.

Of course, today those things are observed in all its plucked colonoscopy chicken wing minutia on the Internet well before 15 years of age. Different times now, but far more erotic then. It was afterwards and with some guilt (always on automatic) I recognised the woman walking along the mess-hall. I could not look her in the eye. One can imagine going to the Polish taxi-driver’s hut when she came out. It was his wife that I had been viewing through the opening of the flimsy shower partition. A deep shame must have coloured me red…But, I was fifteen.

The train trip. We had all settled in the train. Mum was holding a small suitcase in her lap in which she had packed numerous sandwiches made from the free white bread and previously mentioned free fruit laden IXL jam. Those sandwiches would see us through the day and perhaps even on the trip back. Frugality would reign in this family through thick and thin but mainly thin. But, the rhythmic rocking of the train together with the pleasure of viewing the new passing landscape was interrupted (never to be forgotten) by the conductor wanting to clip a hole in all the passengers’ tickets.

There was something a bit odd about him. He had a dense smell and unfocussed eyes. ‘Show us your thickets or fickets’, he kept mumbling, swaying along while holding onto mum’s seat. We could not understand what he was saying but knew he might want our tickets. Even so, dad wanted to know and asked; ‘pardon?’ Pronouncing it in French. ‘Show us yer frucking thickest mate’, he persevered, now lurching dangerously towards my mum. She kept her suitcase firmly in her lap. We were by this time getting very alarmed. Were we about to be robbed or worse, was our mum and her sandwiches at risk? All of a sudden, the conductor gave up all pretence of soberness and just fell on top of mum and her case with sandwiches. We were all dumb struck. What was this? Someone said ‘he’s been on the turps.’ We had never heard of this term, didn’t know even what ‘turps’ was. A man who understood our plight gave the hand to mouth gesture indicating drinking. We understood quickly. The passengers helped the man up who stumbled back to his locket. We were so scared. In Holland we had never ever observed a drunk. A drunken conductor on a train? What would be waiting for us in Sydney? Lucky, that was the only incident but it was a great shock to us. We made it back home and the kind Polish taxi driver was waiting at the station. This time I was more brazen and felt that after the shock of the drunken train conductor, a mere peek of his wife in a shower was now an honest well-earned bonus. We had survived some difficult times and I needed something to cheer me up.

Whitby-Peterborough-Rotterdam-Bruxelles-Sydney.

April 10, 2015

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The stay in London’s Shepherd’s Bush was during the time Holland won a World soccer cup or European soccer cup. Sport is not my forte, apart from a short stint of basket- ball playing, I generally have always ran away if a ball of any shape threatens to roll towards me. Of course at my age now, balls have given up all hope and never roll towards me anymore.

My Australian friend was really English and he suggested I could spend some time with his mum. His dad had died a few years earlier. Her name was Maureen and was living in Yorkshire’s Whitby and had worked as a Magistrate dealing with difficult English youth. The English seem to specialise in rearing difficult children. Already then, whenever a soccer match was being played on the Euro continent, the police forces were marshalled in by the thousands and lists of banned English fans were already in the making.

After a farewell to Lord and daily English bread pudding we took a train and after introduction to my friend’s mum settled in at a spare room at Maureen’s charming cottage at Whitby. She was a very chatty and jovial person and she drove me many times to places of interest. It included the beautiful East coast up and down from Whitby and of course we had ‘real smoked’ kippers for breakfast while viewing Whitby Abbey during lunch.

Whitby or Robin Hood Bay?

Whitby or Robin Hood Bay?

A few years before Maureen’s husband had died he had left her to live with a French women. According to Maureen they met while enjoying a week’s  stay in a Yorkshire -Dale bed and breakfast high up one of those breathtakingly beautiful hill tops that the area was so famous for. I had already heard this sad story of her husband’s philandering way with a ‘French woman’ from her son. He was less accommodating and reckons his dad had the happiest few years of his all too soon end of  life. ‘My mother nagged him to death’ was the rather merciless opinion about his mother. Even so, I was given the opposite story from Maureen.

During their stay in that B&B the father met this French lady who was asking for directions. Maureen told me that soon after many bottles of French wine were bought by her husband who, according to Maureen was much more of a beer drinker. I heard that a much clearer sign of husbands’ infidelities are the mysterious appearances of brand new underpants. No new underpants in Whitby though! She did not think much about it till out of the blue, he just left her to live in France with the French woman, leaving the French wine in her cellar next to her car.

She was still totally overwrought with this as we sat around for the few evenings I was there, she asked me if I minded drinking the French wine that her ex-husband had bought at the beginning of the ‘affaire’. “I can’t stand the sight of those French wine bottles” she added ever so sadly. It was amazing that her husband had so abruptly left his wife and mother of children on a whim, just like that! As we kept up the French wine drinking, she kept repeating her surprise and anger interspersed with much love and devotion for her husband still lingering after the passing years and his early death, in the words flooding out with tears of unrelenting bitterness and so much regret;  a conjuring act between much love lost and hatred fanned. Are they really that close?

A bay somewhere on the East Coast of Yorkshire.

A bay somewhere on the East Coast of Yorkshire.

After a few days with Maureen, listening to woes of a lost marriage while drinking her ex-husband’s, ( deceased and buried) French wine I ended up cooking her a nice tuna pasta before saying goodbye, and caught a train to York. After wandering and some sight-seeing I suffered terrifying pangs of being on my own, decided to return to Holland and Helvi and caught a train to Peterborough, booked a bus-ferry-train to Rotterdam-Nijverdal and stayed there with my mum as well. So that’s two mums within a bit more than a week.

The whole trip away from Helvi all took place with just a bit over three to four weeks. Before going home to Helvi and family, I travelled by train to Brussels of which the reason why, I have forgotten. It was a wonderful visit and as someone pointed out afterwards, the world’s best restaurants are found there. My money was short so I  used to walk around the streets of cafes and restaurants and just tried the fare for free, offered by the waiters standing outside the restaurants for passers- by to try out. I tried not to overdo this in case they started to recognize me (the third time around) as some kind of free- loader if not a vagabond. I especially liked the way some expert cook  had done the mussels on toast.

Brussels restaurants

Brussels restaurants

From there back to Sydney and my Helvi. On return she reckoned the state of my underwear was ‘scandalous!’

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Western Polo-necked Youth drawn (radicalised) to Isis.

October 1, 2014

untitledvoodoo

The local youth don’t know what they are missing out on. What’s the golden syrup that draws the future jihadists away from our lovely, caring and all inclusive culture? Of the estimated 30000 Isis army about a thousand or more are alleged to have come from Western countries. The videos and the beheadings in Syria are supposed to have been done by someone with an English accent. Perhaps even an English national. Claims were made that the identity of him is known. Many countries are scrambling their fighter jets. We are daily shown TV images of pin point accurate bombs honing in on enemy targets with plumes of black smoke radiating dangerously close towards us on the comfy couch, accompanied by a shot of a pulverised, disintegrating enemy(real people).We almost end up clapping or at least hope for an encore.

If those figures are correct, it means about 10% of all the Isis forces are from Europe, America and Australia. That sad video made by a woman undercover in Syria, of a French youth on the phone to his crying mum back home in France, telling her that he wants to stay in Syria and fight. “I am not coming home”, he said

The reason given is that of being ‘radicalised’. The young people are being radicalised! It almost sounds as if there is some Voodoo going on. You know, feathers and chicken heads besmirched with demonic dancing around funereal fires. There must be hypnotic Isis practitioners out in the suburbs casting strange spells on our youth. Oh, that’s the explanation! Yes, we see now. Yes, that’s why! Nothing more? Is that all there is to it? The magic of radicalisation? How simplistic, but that word is being used to explain the hard to swallow fact that many of our young feel attracted away from our much revered system of consumerism and capitalism. How can that be?. Let’s cancel their passports; teach them a lesson.

http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/09/dutch_cancel_49_jihadist_passp.php

Isn’t that a bit easy? Surely there must be better explanations offering more thought out and credible reasons why so many are drawn to fight in far away sandy and risky countries. I don’t know either but I am now old and often in repose mood, not yet listless. I well remember, as if yesterday, not being like that. My main aim in life was always to savour the new and skirt and flirt the adventurous, avoid the staid cemented-in, like the plague. I have been reasonably successful in that and wasn’t ever tempted to become a lawyer, a quantity surveyor or actuarial expert with a sound grounding in so much nothingness. Not the stooped-over office chair for me. I too might have been tempted to join an Isis!

I do remember the opposition to the Vietnam war. Young boy-like soldiers laughingly saying goodbye to wives, mothers, girlfriends. Many never to return but in bitter graves under moonless skies. There were escapes for youth then, with protests by students, energetic rock throwing by their professors. America and its allies capitulated. The war lost.

But now, nothing but a numb acceptance of everything that is imposed, unquestioningly and obediently. Dreadful things happening under the guise of ‘humanitarian concerns.’ The killing fields of our detention camps. The 15% unemployment rates of the young. It must be having an effect on our youths. Is despair rampant?

Perhaps this disillusion felt by youth has spread to the Western world as a whole. Has capitalism and consumerism run its course?

Don’t we give back what is given to us?

Is that perhaps one reason for some of the youth to be attracted to Isis.

Is that the radicalisation? I don’t know.

What do you think?

Mr Vlad. Putin cummen all toot’n for ‘n root’n to Brisbane.

September 22, 2014

images G20

It hasn’t been confirmed but I have it from an unconventional peanut sauce that Putin is coming to Australia’s sunny Brisbane. He was after all invited to the G20, and as most of those coming here are rogues and thieves, it was thought, nay welcomed, he might as well join the tribe of merrrimen and merriwomen. A huge table made from finely hand hewn Eucalypt and French polished with a mixture of gumnut and wombat faeces is now on its edge getting all those little alarm buttons fitted, just in case someone unexpectedly says …boo or, in extreme cases, says..poo. In that case machine-gun toting marshals will drop down with the help of long coiled up ropes (unexpectedly) from the Candela-bras high up, jump on the huge table, say stick’ em up, and shoot blue-berry muffins at the perpetrators.

The meat pies are already on high alert, lamingtons are now in lock-down mode behind reinforced glass counters and Morton Bay oysters have been told to practise coitus interrupt us. (just in case) On previous occasions, many male oysters committed mortal sins by leaving their mass before communion, hoping to avoid an oversupply of little baby oysters… Strictly, a no no in their neck of the salty environs. It is so difficult being a pious girl oyster.

I remember many decades ago, going to a very ‘in’ and ‘up’ market restaurant/ nightclub. The place where one could expect Rod Steward or a fake Elvis to pop in. Ladies were sitting at the bar smoking from elegant cigarette holders. It was during a period where women had their hair held back with large Rhino horned combs. They would blow out smoke and at the same time scan the diners making an or having their entrée.

I was with H and wearing a wine-red safari suit with a huge belt, not around my pants but around the jacket, that looked like phoney gold.(it was), but at least it gave me a bit of shine (where there was none). H was pure Scandinavian and so honestly told me I looked totally nerdy. Could I refrain from speaking at the dinner table, please?

nr two

Anyway, I was so nervously unsettled. All the expense which started off with a taxi and a generous tip. The first course was ‘ spinach stuffed oyster’ which were so expensive I developed an immediately headache. I mean stuffed oysters? I had a main dish of pigeons guaranteed to have been bred with reckless abandon high on the Southern Highlands but with a nervous disposition, making them extra lean.

There was so little sustenance in that meal I had to take a pain-killer while sitting on the toilet, reflecting also what a huge mistake it was to try and join the ‘in it folk.’ I left hungry but relieved we got out of the place.

I remember the nightclub/restaurant was called ‘Rogues’.

The lost Train Ticket

December 16, 2013

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While most of the world is now in panic about obesity, many years ago the reverse was at play. Many victims of the last WW2 were underweight. Especially children. It was a battle then to put weight on.

“Gerard is too skinny, Mrs Oosterman, you must send him away. There is a family in South Belgium who have volunteered to try and feed-up the chronically undernourished,” doctor advised. “They are well off with plenty of food. “Gerard must put on weight. He is malnourished”. The years of potato peelings soup and limp water porridge wasn’t enough.

I can’t remember this precise conversation. It must have been something like that though. My mother often told me that the doctor was scared I would not survive. It was after 1945 with the war over. By the end of the war there were tens of thousands of children whose level of malnourishment was so severe, a national programme was set up to help those unable to regain normal weight and health. I and my brother Frank were both considered in the category of needing fattening up.

I remember my mother putting me on the train and she also impressed on me not to lose my ticket which she told me many times, “it is in your top jacket’s pocket.” She showed me. I was put in a train cabin which was one in a series of cabins with a corridor running alongside them. She asked the adult passengers to make sure I would get off at the destined station and also showed them where my ticket was to show the conductor and the border control. ( I was travelling on my own to another country) My mother had three other children to look after and perhaps no money for her own ticket. My father was working in another city. Anyway, I travelled on my own.

My memories are scant except for this dreaded nightmare of my life. When the conductor came along, my ticket was gone. I searched all my pockets. The passengers searched my pockets. The conductor searched as well. No ticket. It was gone. I cried, sobbed was lost myself. I had lost my ticket, my life. No mother around. I still have that fear of loss. I had lost my ticket. I must have been put off the train at the right station in Belgium. The Belgian French speaking people would have picked me up. I can’t remember.

The memories of my stay in the southern part of Belgium are rather scarce. I loved the mussels. I still see a huge saucepan filled with steaming pink-orange coloured mussels. It is the only food I remember from that time in Belgium. The other lovely memory was of a crepe paper fan that was attached between two flat sticks. When you held the sticks a little apart and waved it down quickly, a most amazing patterned and colourful world would open up. If you closed the two sticks together again, the paper pattern would fold back. It was my first introduction to pure magic. I spend days with this fan in a large garden… I could not understand French nor their Flemish-Dutch. The garden had apple trees. I ate real apples. I was inconsolable when this paper fan of magic finally broke. A second loss, and no mother.

The mussels greatly made up for that loss. The family also gave me a bike to ride on. They must have taught me. I can’t remember. But the proof is in that picture. It was a large house and my room was upstairs. I can see my bed which was left of the door.

The French speaking Belgian family wrote my parents updates over the few months that I stayed with them. I was doing well and had gained 300 grams after the first three weeks, they wrote to my mother. “Gerard is very brave,” they wrote. I still have that card. It was also when I learned to speak French which my parents could not understand on my return.

I am now a good 78 kilos and never go without my ticket.

When I see a film I clutch the ticket in my hands during the entire performance. I keep checking where my passport is and get quite annoyed when I lose something. H. has a hard job keeping me calm and not panic. I am not sure if it is related. Odd, how such an event could possibly keep one from being a bit more normal. I don’t easily give up fretting when something is temporarily missing. H. keeps saying it is NOT lost. She says don’t FEED your anxiety. The Allen key or ‘special’ bit of written note, your glasses will turn up. Don’t worry so much, she says with so much care and love.

Yes, true, but I lost my ticket. It was so long ago.

Louie the Fly is still around.

October 24, 2013

2210_diningoutside_jpg-500x0During the smoke haze some days ago I noticed the flies were in a frenzy as well. The sky had an eerie orange tinge. People seemed tense and walked faster than normal. It reminded me of the last days of shopping before Christmas. Perhaps the threat of fire and Christmas are related. Both are filled with a dread that something might not have been done or achieved. Did we really have enough food in the house for the upcoming festivities, and now, have I cleaned the guttering of dry leaves?

As we took our daily walk along the river with our Jack Russell Milo, I happened to choke on a fly which promptly got ingested. It reminded me of our life on the farm. Even though we left the farm three years ago, many memories persist. The best of them were the large house and the old settlers cottage from around the late 1880′ or so. We had a pool. I drove a ride-on mower and tractor to slash and keep combustible growth to a minimum.

Fire in summer was always on our minds. We had bought a petrol driven fire fighting pump and a wide arrangements of large diameter hoses with brass couplings. The first thing to go is often the supply of electricity, especially in farming communities when electricity poles catch alight. We had 40.000 litres of water from the pool at our disposal. We also prepared ourselves with buying a large generator that would give us enough power to run our sprinkler system and water taps around the farm and spare settler’s cottage. On most farms water is supplied from tanks or dams by electric pumps that get activated when a tap is turned on. We had a water license allowing us to pump 6 million litres from the Wollondilly river.

We were well prepared for bush-fire but still had anxious days when fires used to break out in the area. Fires could start by a farmer using a tractor to slash ,hit a stone, and a spark would ignite a fire in no time. Other fires were proven to be deliberately lit by bored youths. The mind boggles!

During the bushfire periods I always used to scan the sky for a hint of smoke and watched the local news. A previous bushfire in the sixties had destroyed most of the local community including a school and church.

One of the most amusing times were to be had on internet sites where the farming community used to chat with each other. Some of the responses were priceless.

A favourite subject to prop up during the heat was flies. How many did you eat today, was asked? Someone replied; I had at least twelve today, how about you?

In most French, Spanish, Greek movies, sooner or later, a scene props up whereby in the shade of a large oak, the family sits outside with a perfectly chosen out outdoor setting and a table decked out and laden with food and wine. People are convivial and wild gesturing adds to the excitement. Romantic and idyllic with perhaps a bee humming around the family about the worst threat to the event.

Did you notice on the TV news about the wild-fires, the flies buzzing around the news readers faces? I felt like getting the spray can out.
We can honestly say, those scenes would be hard to achieve here. We know, we tried many times. The flies made outdoor dining on a farm impossible. The only way to do it would be to wear black netting around one’s head and pop in the food by quickly lifting the netting, even so, flies would be opportunistic and get in. Unable to escape, yet another fly would get ingested.
That’s how it was.

A Horse, a Horse, my Kingdom for a Horse…(Steak)

February 10, 2013

galloping-horseA Horse, a Horse, a Kingdom for a Horse… (Steak)

There are so many different strokes for different folks it makes a mockery of absolute truth, common sense or even us keeping a semblance of  being sane. As some say; what is grist to the mill is porridge for the porkers.

Who can’t but be amused over the ‘shocking revelations’ that horse meat has been eaten in Britain? People were seen choking on their tripe and tripping over their chokos. What, eating horse? We are English, don’t you know? Cameron was keen in pointing out, the moral repugnance of having been dudded by the French in meat being horse meat instead of real meat, the holy ‘cow’. I am sure many were also outraged by having eaten horse, never mind morals of eating any animal.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-09/cameron-condemns-horse-meat-scandal/4509702

There is growing outrage, and of course, its le frogs who are to blame. What insult, with ’les chevaux’ being mixed into our beloved frozen hamburger mince. What will the neighbours think?

The irony must be crystal clear to many of the non-Anglo world that in a country where just about everyone is brought up on horse racing, betting and punting, that the eating of horses is seen as abhorrent, close to eating babies or to boarding out children to schools. (Hold onto your horses, we do that lovingly).

We all know that horses are not allowed to be whipped anymore and much is made to prove we don’t, with lots of TV footage of horses being stroked and even kissed (on the flaring nostril after having made a packet for the owner and the punters). Surely, that’s proof of our love for horses!

Yes, but what about the proof also that horse racing is cruel and not far removed from Espanol bull fighting or Indonesian cock-fighting. The animals are manically competing against each other and when their chance of winning is beyond hope they will end up in paddocks, hopefully looked after caring owners but many also with enlarged hearts, lungs and tissue damage. It is estimated that about 60% of horses trained for racing end up at the knackery well before their natural lives would have expired.

That’s right, next time you open a tin of Pal, look deep inside, you are looking at Beaux Hoofs or Triple Ur Dollar. Many also are so psychologically damaged, too nervous and flighty, unfit for casual riding around the paddock as well. We also know that many are damaged during racing with torn muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Look, having come from Holland I have eaten horse meat as well. Mea Culpa to all horse lovers. It was one of mum’s bitter disappointments that David Jones in Australia did not sell smoked prosciutto from horse meat.’ Oh, no we don’t sell horse meat,’ she was told. My mum blithely unaware of the cultural sensitivity, answered, ‘oh, you should try it, and it is sooo delicious… mmm…she smacked her lips.’ The shop girl disappeared, fainted behind the counter.

I don’t think the French, Dutch or Italians love horses any less than the Brits or Irish but make less of a fuss when eating them. The Dutch are more likely not to eat sheep. Those poor little lambs etc. It is strange isn’t it, with that lovely children’s song with little Bo Peep that it hasn’t filtered down in Britain to then also not eat lamb.

 

Different strokes etc… and so it goes on. The more one learns about people the more I like my lentils and stroke my Milo. Our incorrigible Jack Russell.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUql207FuW4

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A severed Head in good Word order

January 16, 2013

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Writing words in a reasonable order.

The first thing in writing is to start with a word which you follow up with another word. Usually the first word suggests the next one. It is best not to start off with a word plan that would prevent the freedom to change as you go along. It mustn’t be too preconceived. That would stifle the creativity of things that words are capable off. You wouldn’t know how words behave once they have been put in view. I mean, you can have certain words in mind but on reading those words it might just not always work out. It’s a bit of a mystery, but that’s the power of words for you.

“Head,” here is a first word. “Head found”, might be the next. Was it yesterday I read someone found a head in a plastic bag? The horror of an eleven year old girl finding a severed head in a plastic bag will be a difficult memory to overcome. Can you imagine? Poor girl. Why is it that lately we seem to read so many of those strange stories of murder and mayhem? I mean, a severed head accidentally could be possible, but a head in a plastic bag seems to have something deliberate about it. I mean man-made deliberation. I can’t really get to ‘woman made’, I really can’t imagine a woman capable of doing something like that, even though packing things in plastic bags might be more the domain belonging to the female sex.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-17/man-arrested-over-rottnest-head-find/4468644

Heaven knows how long the head had been in the plastic bag but police, after staring at it for a long time, seemed to have recognized something familiar about it. Something about the glint of those eyes perhaps?  At first they couldn’t put their finger to it, but there was something, just something about it. You wonder how they viewed the head. Did they put it on a desk wedged in between a couple of weights preventing it from rolling around? Perhaps it was adorned with ear-rings. How did they determine the sex of the head?  So many questions, so many answers, all related to this gruesome object of a body-less head. For me it seems difficult to imagine a head without a body. Sure, I have seen paintings of heads being held, usually triumphantly aloft, but curiously mainly in biblical scenes. The power of the sword, because those scenes, if I remember correctly, usually showed a man with the dripping head in one hand and a cutting implement in the other.  Is there also not a famous scene of a head presented on a serving platter?

As a child it held enormous fascination and I was captivated by the scene for many years. I would contemplate if it was possible to be still alive, even for just a split second, after the head was cut off. What exactly was the precise point of death? Could the eyes still see, just for a short second afterwards, or did everything look black? I vividly remember at history lessons and the French Robespierre being led, oh so deliciously and so finally, to the guillotine with the women in the audience, comfortably seated, cheering on, while some were knitting booties for their babies.

Can you imagine?

English Privacy and Rebekah Brooks.

May 16, 2012

Rebekah Brooks and Phone Hacking

While the tentacles of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire stretches well beyond Britain, the phone hacking and intrusion of ‘privacy’ seems to be mainly concentrated in the Anglo world. Why, one could reasonably ask?

Well, one answer might well be our obsession with deliberately living lives that are hidden. This wanting to be hidden dates back hundreds if not thousands of years. Perhaps the pillaging, raping and burning by the Vikings on our soil left its inedible mark on our proud British heritage.  Our home is our castle and if it wasn’t for lack of money, everyone  of us would want to be surrounded by moats and drawbridges. We compromise and have blinds, thick curtains and 6 feet high fencing instead.

We like our privacy. It is the first word of preference when asked how we would like to live. Where is my privacy? This is often the primary requirement when moving into a new home. When neighbours apply permission to extend or build something next door, the possible invasion of privacy is often the reason for councils objecting to the development application. I sometimes wonder why we build houses with windows.

We like our gardens but don’t want to be seen in them. When do the Anglos do their gardening, at night perhaps? We put in outside furniture and giant turbo driven 8 burner stainless steel gas barbeques but, by and large, we stubbornly want to remain hidden and prefer to have all that in the back yard and not at the front, risking fully exposing snags and ourselves to the dangers of the outside world.

Now, with this almost universally well known need for the Anglos wanting to remain hidden, unknown, unseen and ‘private’ till the grave, it is baffling what we are so keen about in wanting to remain hidden. What goes on behind those curtains of privacy? What lurks behind that wall or fence? Are dastardly acts of the most hideous and perverted nature  happening? Are the Anglos whipping themselves into a frenzy of orgiastic delights unknown to the rest of us?

Phone hacking outside the British Empire would never have that attraction to readers because everyone knows that the French Prime Minister has affairs or that the Italian President has a penchant for rubbing coconut oil on nubile young girls. Continentals live their lives in the open and rely on openness and community values in keeping an eye out over each other. In fact, the scandals that the Brits so delight in would at best elicit a yawn amongst most of the rest of the world.

Of course, the neuroses to remain hidden don’t mean that we are not curious in finding out what others are doing. It is a double edged sword. Make something hidden and we will inevitably want to snoop around, if only to find out if others are like us as well. This is why people were paid to do all this phone hacking.

Finally it becomes an addiction, hence those awful Anglo Sunday papers revealing who is doing the latest stint in a re-hab., or who is looking suspiciously pregnant and not even married to boot. That close up, is it proof of a Brazilian wax, surely not?  Gee, doesn’t Andrew Beiber look a bit pale; I am sure he is back on the crack-ice again, is he?

For the Murdoch Empire it was a colossal and monumental opportunity of money making. It worked while it was going on. And now, the spectacle of Rebekah Brooks in Court with her lovely tousled red hair will be another one of those continuing sagas, raking in even more money. Go for it boys.