Posts Tagged ‘Fruit.’

Shopping perils.

July 24, 2018
Image result for shoppers

 

I like shopping. Supermarkets are my second home. I like the way to try and untangle the shopping trolley. And that is just the beginning. I hope for shoppers that have trouble to untangle a trolley. I then like to offer my help. At the end of our shopping expedition I sometimes help a customer retrieve their trolley deposit from the slotted device. You can only get the return of the coin by joining the trolley to  the stationary queue of trolleys. For some shoppers retrieving that coin is difficult. Their elderly hands might be rheumatically contorted. That’s when I offer my help again. So do other shoppers. A working together community. Elderly shoppers don’t give up easily. They keep going stoically and with determination.

Shopping with my wife is the norm. It has worked for decades. It is almost an institution. Through the years a kind of shopping etiquette between us has formed. I do the trolley duties including opening the car, getting the bags, clutching my trolley coin in right hand, and then wrestling with trolley. Some trolleys have a mind of their own and are unwilling to go into the direction they are being pushed to. Helvi likes to do shopping by perusing. She insists on looking at the item for enough time before it percolates into action. Only after that has taken place she will place it in my trolley. I never understood what one gets out of looking at potatoes. But, I just accept. I always push the trolley. Helvi never does! It is my domain.

Because of the perusal shopping habits by my wife I have taken to following her dutifully from behind. The middle isles at Aldi’s are the slowest.  They carry non-food items. This is where mainly women are to be found. Men only congregate around the power-tools or sets of multiple screwdrivers. Each Wednesday there are new items. Most of them are of utensil or household varieties but can include fashion, ski apparel, chairs, TV’s and lots of kitchen gadgets. Some of the uses are too esoteric for me to comprehend. These aisles can still at times cause some marital friction. I have to be extra beware not to make snide remarks. Last week there were large rubber balls to roll-around over to become athletic and slim again. ‘Athletic, with row after row of sugary drinks, acres of chocolate and lollies, I suggested?’  ‘Don’t always be so negative’, Helvi said.

I have a roll of calming mints just in case.

The ultimate of self-control is mustered when we get to a new supply of beauty products/pharmaceuticals, especially creams and re-hydrating ointments including carotene make-up with celery extract. The worst are the moisturising creams and hair-colouring divisions. I get close to feeling sick. There is something about that section that I need support with. I end up leaning against a shelf. I need support, almost medical intervention. It is so boring. Helvi knows it but takes no notice. She knows the ritual and tells me, ‘Just go to the frozen fish section.’  ‘I need more time, she says.’ She knows I like prawns and salmon. Of course, she is right. I don’t mind the perusing of fruit and veggies, fish. Why then the impatience at the middle aisles, especially the beauty articles.

Could it be the profusion of so many beauty articles in the bathroom already?

But as always. It comes to an end.I load the car up and return the trolley. I get my coin. We drive home.

Till, next time.

 

‘Winter in America,’ Children’s Library and Vegie co-op (Auto-biography)

July 26, 2015
Balmain Watch-house.

Balmain Watch-house.

The way things are going in this auto- biography it will run into a literary cinemascope  version of  Days of our Lives with the Hammond organ belting out a circular and never ending tune.  The cheek of thinking that my life is any better or more important or interesting than that of any living being or Jo Blow!  I shall just continue because I enjoy this very much.  And if there is a blow out of too many words, well…just skip a few pages… or start at the end and work towards the middle. Even if it relieves insomnia for just a single night for just a single person, I’ll be a happy man.

Apart from the baby-sitting club, another community enterprise was the vegie co-op which also started to sprout up in the various communities of inner Sydney suburbs. I am not sure anymore if this came about during our stay at Gertrude’s cottage between 1969-1973 or after our stay in Holland and subsequent return in 1976. In any case a group of people decided to fork out $10.- each week towards a kitty to buy fruit and vegetables at the Flemington wholesale fruit and vegie markets at Homebush.  It was a huge market covering a very large area where all the fruit and vegie shops would get their produce at wholesale prices. It also had several cafeteria where the buyers could get sustenance and a coffee. Many fruit and vegie shops were run by Italians and Greeks, so food and coffees were as necessary as the apples, kale and celery which they filled their trucks up with, especially when the buying started at 5am.  You can imagine how early the growers had to get up and prepare their stalls? Farming is tough! It was a hectic few hours and the men, and many women too, would be ravenous by seven am. The market as all markets do, also had great atmosphere and laughter was everywhere.

Of some interest was my market shopping partner Jimmy Stewart. He was  Irish. He loved a good yarn and food. He looked somewhat like a juvenile Oscar Wilde. He had dark hair hanging over his face and a large stomach. After our shopping of many boxes of fruit and vegies, we would visit the cafeteria, enjoy bacon and eggs, coffee and a cigarette. He loved women and they generously reciprocated, yet he was never good marriage material. His income sporadic and swallowed up by international phone calls to entrepreneurial music and record companies. He generally managed to get me to buy cigarettes and pay for the bacon and eggs. But, he was terrific company, always whistling and singing. A cheerful soul. A great friend.

He was a writer of music, popular music and would let nothing stand in the way of doing that. Sadly, it did not bring in a regular income, yet women were attracted to him often in order to find out that a future including a cosy and secure family-life would be hazardous at best and reckless at worst.  That’s how so often and so sadly, love gets lost. The combination of income with a mutual everlasting and reasonable attraction is so desired and yet so rarely achieved. Money so often the banana skin on the doorstep of many relationships. Indeed, even with plenty of money things can get perilous.

While we drove to the markets and back he used to hum a song that really hit the world at that time. It was ‘Winter in America’.  It had a line that included the ‘Frangipani’. “The harbour’s misty in the morning, love, oh how I miss December / The frangipani opens up to kiss the salty air” – Ashdown’s lament to “leave love enough alone” has become one of the great Australian standards.

It was Jimmy Stewart’s creation and he would often sing it while driving to Flemington markets..

Here it is;

At the same time of the weekly boxes of fruit and vegies, another group also brought to fruition a Children’s library. Another community effort. The retired chief Commonwealth librarian named Larry Lake was the main person behind this idea. The National Trust had given the use of the Balmain Lock-up to a group that called themselves “The Balmain Association’. The ‘Lock-up’ or Watch house’ was busy during the heydays of Balmain still working as a Stevedoring and Waterfront suburb. There were lots of maritime associated industries and that is what attracted many to the area when that ceded to exist. During earlier times and at night the local constable would have been busy locking up inebriated sailors or others that liked to frequent so many pubs it was difficult to find normal houses in between. I believe Balmain had over 60 pubs at one stage. The air used to be thick with coarse oaths and rank vomit renting along the blue-stone cobbled noisy streets. It frightened the horses at times.

A group including myself spent many evenings getting this library working. There were fundraisings and book covering, cataloguing and getting shelving to fit into one of the Lock-up cells. It had a heavy steel door and sliding locking mechanism. Those poor drunks! The children that used to visit the cell library afterwards, just loved it.

Those were the days. It did include occasional bra removals, but also baby-sitting, vegie co-ops, music and books for children.

The Art of making Shopping Lists

January 8, 2012


Perhaps there are others but I collect shopping lists that the careless shopper discards after its use has been extinguished with the items on the list having been bought. I have always had a fascination for Homo sapiens and their living habits. What I would not give to be invisible and spent time under their dining table or better still underneath their conjugal nests. What rich pickings that would offer. It will never happen and I’ll just have to do with the flotsam that one can pick up from the streets or discarded shopping trolleys.

I am not alone in those habits. In fact, TV now has shows totally dedicated to assuaging the curiosity of others about others. We had a long list of “Big Brother” type of programs including much footage in the dark of the night, of the antics of couples on top of endless rows of mattresses. Millions were glued to their TV’s with special cameras focused from all angles to the cavorting or sleeping couples, all in a very convincing blue-black-grey colouring adding greatly to the authenticity of a hoped for glance of something exposed and naughty. Millions of people became instantly good old perverts with unbelievable riches rolling in for the Media Moguls. Of course, our rapacious need for the sensational became jaded with “Big Brother” and moved into “Big Cooking” and “Big Family Fare” shows, with expulsions and similar psychological tactics, trying to woe us back to TV and advertisers.

Anyway, with the shopping lists, it’s not just the items on the list but also the manner of writing, the attention to details and the pain that some go through making the list. I found a list that included snail bait and had in brackets (safe for pets). Another might have 2 liters of milk and specify ‘full cream’ or another ‘low fat’. I picked up a list from a trolley that had just been emptied by a somewhat overweight man. His list included ‘low fat’ cream. Good on you, I thought, you are on the right track. The lists that give me the greatest satisfaction are those that include lots of fruit and vegetables. I once found a list that included 3 bunches of celery. Three bunches, can you believe it? I could just imagine the frank, honest and sonorous voice of the husband calling out to his wife; “don’t forget the 3 bunches of celery and the apples dear.” They might have been starting their celery and apple juicing diet. Such heroic efforts in health and vigorous bowel maintenance don’t go unnoticed by me.

Just when I thought I had about exhausted all the ‘oeuvre’ in making shopping list I discovered a new form of ticking off the items. As you probably all do, most tick off (or not) the items by pencil or ball-point ensuring each item gets bought. Amazingly I discovered a totally new form of ticking off. This person, their sex remains a mystery, ticked off the items by a very precisely executed little tear next to the item on the list. This whole and very extensive list had all those little tears next to each and every item. I surmised it would have to be an academic or perhaps even a scientist. A professor in statistics or may be just a top person in charge of the Bureau of Meteorology. Could it have been a person in charge of ‘Birth Certificates or even a Mortuary, a Boeing pilot?’ The good thing though, was, plenty of fruit and vegetables.

There is hope for all of us.