Posts Tagged ‘Ham’

The Author is going indoor bowling.

July 24, 2017
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Our kitchen of ‘give and take’

While sitting in front of the computer dispensing words of comfort if not wisdom, can be very fulfilling, there needs to be interaction with people in the flesh as well. We are not all islands on one’s own although with age, one gets the sneaking impression it might not be all that bad. Just reading this morning that my car is fitted with faulty airbags. In America a man was found dead in his car with his face so badly lacerated, police thought he had been shot at close range. It was a faulty airbag!

Of all the things that death might come to visit me one day, to have had life finished by a faulty airbag is about as futile and ineffectual as it can get. One can just imagine the grandchildren going through the Oosterman’s heritage finding out Grandpa died by an exploding airbag. A cunning one could well add, ‘he always was.’

It was with the insightfulness of not having enough real-life people around that I felt something should be done to meet more people.  H. said on a few occasions ‘You are cranky lately, and not easy to live with’, followed by  ‘you used to make me laugh.’ This last one bit me. I knew it was serious.

Some time ago I joined the local Labor Party, but it was held in one of those musty Halls of Women’s Christian Fellowship. The moment one stepped in, the wafting of aged doilies and stale biscuits, forlorn plastic bouquets fading in forgotten corners, Christian dust to dust photos and so much more would greet one inconsolably.  On top of it all are my hearing impairments, making the whispered minutes of the last meeting inaudible. I went twice and with all the support of keeping the refugees locked up by Labor as well, I quit and joined the Greens. It still did not really result in more people contact. It was too sporadic.

Of course, the daily walk with Milo often brought bystanders to stop and ask if they could pat him. Only last week, a man stopped who was wearing very thick gloves. I noticed them and thought it a good opportunity to talk about gloves; where are they from, what are they made off, where did you buy them? I wrought the conversation out as long as possible and went home wiser about gloves. I even bought a pair.

It was in the afterthought of H’s remark of getting about more, that I took the decision to join something of a more physical nature. In my foolish youth, so many decades ago, I was always amused to walk past the East-Balmain outdoor bowling club. The ridiculously white uniformed Bowlers, all bending over to bowl, showing bulging bums and possible medical devices compensating amputations or irritating bowel syndromes.

The sport seemed to attract the retirees who on a Sunday could combine all this bending over sport with a couple of beers with ham and cheese wedged-sandwiches ( no crusts). Later on, those sandwiches as a result of Slavic incursions could well contain garlic and gherkins. I even remember stalking past seeing platters of olives doing the rounds.  I swore never ever to reach an impasse in my life that involved becoming a member of this white uniformed bending over bowling fraternity.

And yet, it has come about, dear readers. I joined the Mittagong RSL and this Wednesday join the Moss-Vale RSL ( Returned Soldiers League)indoor bowling club. I have reached the age of Bending Down (or over) to Bowl. I loved my first bowling day yesterday and even took to the cubed sandwiches. Ham and cheese. It was all a rather casual affair. Vaughan, a wiry haired gentleman, explained to me the basics of the game. It included that the balls that one bowls with are weight-biased. Anything biased takes my attention. I took to it like a duck to water. I love how the game includes the bending over and how this bias can be used to advantage in order to get to the aimed destination. It is surprisingly skilful AND both sexes play together. Banter is the norm. No uniforms or protocols. Being mainly elderly players, there is no fuss.  Nice people.

I have reached the age of Bowling.

 

 

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Normal is back again.

January 1, 2016

This chair.

Already the second of January, 2016. It all went rather smoothly. There were no great dramas or upheavals. The threat of terrorism raised its head but only to turn out as false alarms. People in Munich wanting to catch a train were inconvenienced. A fire in Dubai with no-one seriously injured. A heavily armed anti- terrorist man carrying a fearsome gun in Paris was filmed yawning. The news was mainly about what had not happened.

Our large porker leg of double smoked ham I wrote about previously, has now been reduced enough for Milo to gnaw on to bare bone level.  Yesterday, I fried up the last of the ham  together with  pine-apple slices and some mushrooms. It was nice, but the wet towel in which I had wrapped the ham in, started to smell a bit sour. We are now ready to tackle the coming year, full of ham and resolve. Resolve of what? Get a book  ready and in print.

I have now got most of my pieces in some sort of order on M/soft Office Word, ready for a good re-read.  I have some doubts if it is in a fluid enough form . I wasn’t aware of this Office Word capability till a friend suggested I down-load the program. It is magic and allows me to insert pictures as well as correct spelling and make good other English language injustices. I also wonder at the size of the coming book. What is a normal book? Is a seventy thousand worded book reasonable? I suppose it is not really about the number of words but more about in what order the words have been written and…the quality of those words. They have to make sense and be uplifting to the reader in the sense he or she wants to continue on reading the words. It is such a huge task and it mustn’t be boring. There is nothing worse than boring the reader. It is criminal to bore a reader and an insult to well-meaning words. It is never their fault!

We went for an early walk yesterday. Being the first day of the New Year, we thought that the streets of Bowral would be awash with people celebrating this event. It was disappointing. The shops were mainly closed. The super-markets were open and some shoppers were seen to park their cars and stock up again on food. The coffee lounges and cafes were all locked up. Perhaps, the owners were hung-over and stayed in bed. We were disappointed that ‘Dinner for One’ wasn’t shown this year. It is the one thing I look forward to on New Year’s Eve. SBS Channel must have cut this comedy loose. A great pity. I watched it next morning. A blogger had put it on her post. It still makes me laugh. A great comedy.

I could be wrong, but New Year’s Day back in Holland was a day of exuberance and joy. People were out on the streets with the pavements crowded. Christmas Eve was always celebrated with dancing in the street at the local square. Can you imagine, people dancing in the streets?

Perhaps my memories are always rather colourful of yesteryears in Holland but Bowral on its first day was rather solemn and serious. Some coughed politely and held their hands in front of their mouths. Another made way for Milo to pass. Sedate and peaceful the day passed. I noticed a well-dressed man on a bench adjacent to the little river running at the back of the town. He was eating a sausage roll. Now, there was normal for you! We walked home somewhat reassured that things were alright…

Today is the second day and I expect ‘normal’ to have returned fully.

 

 

Is Christmas over yet?

December 25, 2015

 

Daughter with our grandsons

Daughter with our grandsons

Christmas Eve was spent at our daughter and grandsons place. It was a surprisingly good and enjoyable day. We arrived with four boxes. Two boxes of presents and two with food. It always helps to fill out the space underneath the Christmas tree with as much bulk as possible. Isn’t most of the excitement in opening the presents, especially for the boys? The sound of tearing  the wrapping paper a much anticipated relief from circular and endless Christmas carols. No more Bing Crosby singing ‘dreaming of a white Christmas’ for yet another year! I am definitely so over carols.

Our boys are getting bigger and so are expectations of presents with a bit more substance than water pistols or Batman paraphernalia. But we also thought that their request, ‘Just give us money’  was a bit too un-Christmas-like if not a trifle materialistic. In any case, we already  supplement their weekly pocket money as it is. We pointed this out to them. Grandparents have to use all their life-long attained wisdom to try steer their progeny through the rubble and maze of lax modernity and terrible addictions of consumerism. We always relate how we went to school with a banana or biscuit sandwich. They just ignore us.

Did any of you go to the Shopping malls on the last day before Christmas? I thought it had a nice vibe and people were generally friendlier than last year. A complete stranger pointed out a vacant automatic cash register to me. I thought that after I paid up for my bag of food and tinsel, the message of ‘Thank you for shopping at Coles Supermarket’ had a very nice and heart-warming ring to it.  A girl with a red sloppy father Christmas hat on was even offering me some very nice pieces of ham which were on the end of a tooth pick. I went around the supermarket and had another helping of the double smoked ham (Off the bone). This time I did not put the toothpick back amongst the rest of the offerings.

We now have a huge and almost  complete ham on the bone resting in the fridge. Helvi swears it is best to keep it wrapped in a wet tea-towel. The family did their best to eat ham. But, there was also an oven dish in which I cooked potato and leek in cream garnished with fried bacon pieces and of course the obligatory anchovies, half a kilo of smoked salmon, numerous salads and endless plates of nuts, olives and hors d’oeuvre   that some of us dipped in afterwards. A nice Pavlova with lots of berry fruit finished it off very nicely.

Despite my determination not to slavishly follow the hordes of shoppers in overstocking on food, I failed, especially in throwing all caution to the wind buying this huge slab of a Porker of a  leg-ham. I bet, it will be Milo who will get most of it. He already seen me taking it out of the fridge, hacking into it.

He knows!

Has anyone spotted Easter eggs yet?

 

Overcoming the Sunday. (Handy hints)

September 27, 2015

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Soon it will be dark.  It is reassuring that Monday always follows a Sunday. This is what we must cling too, no matter how slow the Sunday is passing. On our daily walk we noticed even nature was struggling  with a bad case of Sunday gloom. The tulips were a bit despondent with the Camellia buds rotting even better than normal. The morning is usually the least gloomy and for some the best part. Many get the Sunday paper, scan the adds for Fiji holidays or  three metre TVs with inbuilt DVD capability. After that, many will settle for sweaty rugby or tennis ball whacking. The rot sets in after that.

‘Don’t go to Australia my friends warned me back in 1956, there too is the dreaded English Sunday.’ No one ever went to England for a holiday. France, Spain or even Austria and Germany were preferred. As it was, each time we arrived back to Australia our first port of call was Fremantle, worse…  on a Sunday too. The English Sunday always held some notoriety as being very peaceful and dormant, and more than just quiet. Many Continental friends keen to spread bad tidings told us that you could not get a beer on Sunday. Can one imagine? The very day that one would go out with family ,visit a café and perhaps enjoy a beer or even a shifter of advocaat or jenever on the one day off, the Sunday in Australia forbade all that. It would be many years before a beer would be allowed on Sunday.

Of course, all that has changed. England rocks and as young people will testify..it is really cool there now. Australia is now being swamped with tourists looking for excitement and space to move around without having to wear oxygen masks or be shot at. Even so, I am still struggling with passing the Sunday. I try and remain optimistic and look for things to happen. The Bowral tulip festival is one good escape, even if just to watch all the tourists. Another one is to prepare for a really complicated dish needing lots of ingredients that you might have to go and shop at Aldi for. Aldi shopping is one of the greatest Sunday gloom escape diversions to engage in. I relish the chance and go each Sunday. Of course, some of you might prefer Woollies or Coles. Each to their own. It all helps and we have to stand together in overcoming a Sunday.

On Sunday many products get down-priced as the date of expiration gets closer. You can observe customers carefully weighing up the pros and cons of getting a discounted meat product against the risk of a bout of intestinal hurry. What to do with a pig’s trotter that is one day from extinction? Or what to make of a slightly discoloured packet of double smoked ham but for a mouth-watering $1.50? Or a suspiciously pale looking salmon cutlet, but for $3.99?  Should it be taken home and the discounted ticket peeled off with the suspicious husband left in the dark. What to do with your conscience, especially after he is doubled over the porcelain bowl heaving and wracked with dreadful diarrhoea? There has to be a limit. Be careful, don’t overdo escaping the Sunday. You would not want to be charged with manslaughter.

Many take to gardening in the Sunday afternoon. The lawnmower taken out. A bag of soil opened, a plant to be potted. Discussions about the state of this year’s Hellebores. Questioning the state of mites on up-coming roses. Is it too early yet for the white-oil? Should the shears be sharpened, the shed re-organised?  The ingenuity of the Sunday escapee knows no bounds. A good husband might offer help in the kitchen. ‘Would you like me to spin the lettuce, darling,’ I overheard our neighbour saying. It was a particularly bad and difficult Sunday but it helped him pull through.

All of a sudden it was 6.30 pm and we rushed to the SBS News. Then at 7,the ABC. A quick glance at e-mail and at 9.30 in bed.

It will soon be over…glorious Monday is knocking.