Posts Tagged ‘Grandchildren’

What price Freedom?

February 27, 2017

Mum in Holland with a Hoover electric vacuum cleaner. (not cordless)

We are all not so sure anymore if it is safe to visit the US. A pity. We have never been there. Perhaps it might be possible take a cruise and visit New York without getting off board and risk going through Border Control and be detained. When Ali Jr hardly got through how about anyone with a non-Anglo name? I visited Egypt back in 1961. This might well come to punish me. No doubt the FBI or secret service have kept a tab on that visit.

While ‘Oosterman’ doesn’t sound Arabic, it does smack of something sinister. Oost is easily an East, and we all know what that means, don’t we? And what about that ‘man’ at the end?  A man from East? Say no more; detain him.

All kidding aside, and with all respect to my US based friends rest assured that the same is going on here in Australia. We don’t detain for a few hours, our prime minster Turnbull detains people for years if not life on Manus and Nauru. Woe those daring to enter Australia and not having drowned. You will be punished.

When I visited Egypt so long ago it was still allowed and possible to get right inside the Pyramid of Cheops. There was a tunnel that led one right up into the Queen’s chamber. It was quite a hike up and then down with a never ending stream of tourists doing the same. Afterwards there was the obligatory camel ride. I took a bit of stone from the pyramid and kept it for years together with a fez that I had bought in Port Said on our migration trip to Australia in 1956. So, our involvement with the middle East started early. The fez and pyramid piece of stone have long gone, possibly pinched by our children when young, showing off to their friends how well travelled their parents were!

Rumblings of Turnbull’s demise and Trumps impeachment are growing fatter and gets richly fertilized as time goes by. We shall see. In the meantime I am still kept busy with another type of freedom; the Hoover cordless ‘Freedom.’ I have just done ( vacuumed) our whole house with one charge. What do you think of that? Of course, the battery is a lithium. It is now the new catch word in electronic jargon. People ask ; How are your lithiums going?

We were in Sydney yesterday having a lunch with daughter and one grandson. The other one is fighting with his mother over not being home ‘on time’ as promised. We know that problem well. However, it is their turn now. We are old and beyond feeling guilty about grandchildren behaviour, especially teen-grandchildren. There are lots of books about teen problems now. Just don’t read them.

Ever since we started brushing Milo, the hair load on our floor has eased. We brush him twice daily. He likes it and actually leans against the steel rubber tipped hairbrush. I then have the job of unpicking Milo’s hair from the brush. It is quite a job. (twice a day) I was surprised therefore that even with all that brushing I had to empty the ‘Freedom’ cordless twice as the canister was chock-a-block with Milo’s dust and hair. Milo just studies my vacuuming and then yawns.

That’s freedom for you.


On the Farm

November 14, 2013


One measure of getting older is that one sees a bit less of grandchildren. Two of them are in their early teens. The other one is still friendly, is not scowling and is still only ten. The two thirteen year olds are like bean shoots. Each time we see them, I feel like asking for their names. They have changed into modes of extreme vacillating personas. One minute they are on their bikes and next they are skyping in secrecy with the bedroom door closed. When they sit on a chair, if you can call half way between the chair and on the floor ‘sitting’, their knees look like rhubarb sticks.

How are things, I’ll ask, trying to be as nonchalant as they would so desperately like to be? FinejustfineIamdoingOK, they answer in the rapid speech that has gained enormous world-wide popularity. I have noticed that the cadence or the lilt at the end of each sentence is now becoming a bit jaded. Not before time. I could hardly believe that even newsreaders had fallen for increasing the last few words of each sentence into a slide going upwards. “Thirty thousand people have died in battles between rival forces in Syria.” The “forces in Syria” would move from middle C into F minor higher up the scale. Or, “A man was stabbed by a reveller at a party in Ashfield”, again a celebratory kind of upward singing end in “paaaarty in Aaashhhhfffield!”

It must be difficult now to face a world so fast and restless. I remember Tolstoy with his war and peace. Things were slow and one would relish the words while slowly eating mother’s ladling out of mashed potatoes and rookworst cut in equal pieces so the children would not knife each other over an imagined favour to a rival brother with a piece of sausage one millimetre bigger. 😉 At least we talked without machinegun rapidity or a nauseating lilt at the end.


The first picture is two of the boys in our farm’s lounge-room, playing chess. I am not sure they still play that game. At least they know the moves and might pick it up when they get bored with skyping.

The next picture was taken by the Agent selling the farm in 2010. The room was magic. Such lovely proportions and the open fire used to be on almost day and night during the 5 months or so of winter. I know it would go through a barrowfull of fire wood a day. I was quite manic swinging the axe around. Later on I used a hydraulic wood splitter, petrol driven, with a force of 22ton. Now, that was really manic.

Grandchildren and Rubbish Dumping at St Judes.

January 13, 2013

005We enjoyed the delights of having all our grandsons staying for a few days. The tent was put up in the back yard with stretchers and blow-up bed duly installed inside. A torch was suspended from inside the roof of the tent in case of an emergency. Max said he would provide emergency food rationings which we thought would be of some most dubious nutritional value, seeing he had been spotted at the Bowral ‘Lolly’ shop earlier on the day. Max and lollies are often one and in total sympathy with each other. We did not say anything about his stash of ‘food’ inside the tent. The boys are on holidays. So much for inherited genes. We both love vegetables thrive on just about anything that grows out of the soil.

The tent we had for some years. It is design whereby inter-lockable short pieces of spring loaded rods fit together and arranged through a series of loops sewed on the tent, then arch themselves around the outside of the tent and help to hold the whole structure of the tent up nice and taut. A simple design but what a genius who finally managed to get it right. There is so much in the design of good tents. Have you seen those small light-weight tents wherein the Himalayan climbers huddle in during freezing nights on their quest to conquer Mount Everest? They are small and weigh almost nothing. I remember seeing a movie made in the early fifties on those that climbed that mountain first. (Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay) They were lugging heavy canvas structures up that mountain. Now-a-days, hundreds climb it almost daily. The whole mountain littered with disbanded tents, oxygen bottles, toilets, and other debris and equipment with some horribly grimaced in their frozen death throes climbers as well.

H and I have long given up our plan to climb the Himalayans and are now just happy to take brisk daily walks through the church Yard and cemetery of St Judes. Milo, our incorrigible Jack Russell, forces us to go through the cemetery because, even though the church is in central Bowral, he knows there are rabbits around. A couple of weeks ago he found a frightened rabbit kitten and killed it instantly, merciless Milo is. Milo has beseeching eyes but don’t be fooled. He is a killer when it comes to rabbits and ducks. Bad boy Milo, good boy Milo.

St Judes’ church does its best to keep its ageing congregation and has many concerts, musical soirees and fund raisers. Parts of many churches are the collection bins near the gates where people can give and donate their unwanted goods to the less well off. Well, in Bowral it seems that many use those bins, in the dark of the night, to just jettison their rubbish. Too stingy to pay for tip fees, they use the bins to get rid of rubbish without having to pay. Broken TV’s, three legged chairs and wheel-less prams, smashed computers, broken Macy’s furniture, headless teddy bears, stained pre-loved mattresses, settees with springs poking through, bottomless suitcases, hose less vacuum cleaners. Week in week out the same story. Who dumps all that stuff and why?

Just read on the ABC ‘Just in’ News. The world throws out 50% of food. I reckon there must also be a steady stream of people who not only throw out massive amounts of food but also consume and chuck out, consume and chuck out goods. A kind of joyless life, the 2 minute thrill of buying unneeded stuff, spending money and then chuck it out, broken before even having used it. In between, jaws masticating just as joylessly unwanted food while driving (in the dark of the night) with a trailer and chuck it at St Judes.

Inside the church the congregation is enjoying a Johann Sebastian Bach recital.