Posts Tagged ‘Harvey Norman’


March 5, 2014


Last Sunday was clean-up day. Notices were nailed on trees asking for the public to sign up. The job means energetic citizens fulfil an admirable civic duty in filling sturdy rubbish bags with what unconscionable people throw out not only on the streets but also in our parks, rivers and waterways. Hundreds of tons are collected each year from mother nature. The rubbish can range between Big Maccas Quarter Pounder bags (with or without onion rings) to complete cars or parts thereof. You wonder what possesses a person to just drive into a creek and then walk away. Have they lost hope? The same with fast food bags. I can understand in that case. The utter despair of grazing out of a polystyrene box!

Even shopping trolleys are discarded. What is it that we seem so careless about our environment. I am not tempted ever to drive in a creek or chuck out bags. Perhaps it is part of a mysterious form of ‘life-style.’

For the last few years I have felt missing out on my own ‘unique lifestyle.’ The news-papers and what they advertise are full of the promise of lifestyles. It is apparently very unique and elusive. Millions yearn for it but it is only the few chosen that will obtain a really worthwhile lifestyle. You can buy it. Even so it remains esoteric. That seems to be the attraction. Only last week I noticed Harvey Norman advertising a settee that with the flick of a hand converts into a sofa bed or with another hand movement becomes a nook for lying across with a smiling blond girl in your lap. “It enhances you life style, the advertisement enthuses.” Buy it now! Thousands queue up and arrive back home with yet another ‘life-style’ infused settee.

Another adv. has a man rolling down a sloping grassy hill, peals of stereo happy laughter hits the viewer, loving kids, obviously his family, share this intimate scene, all rolling down in carefree abandonment. They are safe and secure. His partner with a very even gleaming set of teeth and a bit higher up on the hill looks at him from a distance, but she too shares into the laughter. She is also secure. Secure in husband, sorry partner, having bought an ‘AMP Golden View’ life insurance. In case he carks it, she will get an income. It includes a nice, with a guaranteed dignified (with full cortege) funeral. Again, you won’t have to worry about not continuing your life-style. It is in the bag.

I have yet to view any specification what this ‘life style’ actually is supposed to be. It can’t just be exclusivity. After all, what is exclusive if we buy a settee that has to double as a bed for an plan B drunkard or as an emergency for a drop-in friend suffering from temporary marital whiplash? Is ‘life-style’s’ elusiveness the essence of it? I would not be surprised. It must be very elusive. I haven’t yet experienced this phenomenon, even though we have two settees.

Perhaps that is the price of being on the edge of things. The observer instead of an enthusiastic participant. He is the lukewarm pan-cake at the bottom of the stack. An outsider forever doomed to mediocrity with an utterly normal life. The sort of person who keeps his gas bills, rate notices and bank-statements diligently in a filing cabinet. Year in year out. His wife sometimes catches him being busy, kneeling in front of this filing cabinet.

Those statements too will also finally be thrown out. Relatives will pore over them, sort them and chuck them. I do hope not in a creek or wedged between the trunk of an eucalypt like so many discarded aluminium cans.

This is the true life-style none of us will or even can avoid.From dust to dust, the final ‘life-style’. Buy it now!

The Joy of ageing with Milk bottle Lenses. (no walking stick)

April 25, 2013


The joy of ageing with Milk bottle Lenses. (No walking stick)

The eye test is scheduled for 30th of April at 10am sharp. The hearing test will be May the 13th, anytime after 2pm and in Sydney. In both cases bring your health benefit card!

The right eye is being threatened by a good bout of (old) age related Macular disease resulting in loss of vision. It is irreparable but a good diet is advised and there can be injections into the affected eye that may be of some help as well. There are lots of aids including magnifying glasses, super strong spectacles with milk bottle lenses, enlarged print in books and change the settings on computers to giant format with an added opportunity for those that as the loss of vision increases and a thick depression blankets in, you can share your loss with an experienced counselor who will ease you into accepting that life is short, and anyway,” it doesn’t last forever”. Have you chosen your casket yet? That’s just such great news. Keep up your pecker Gerard.

I know I should fear large brown bears or trucks on the footpaths, but loss of vital organs is in a class of their own. I mean, can’t read the small print on the gas bill anymore? What could possibly be worse? Can’t hear the ads on channel 10 or 7, those lovely jingles by Harvey Norman’s ‘Get it now” exhorting us to buy the latest nest of woven plastic tables and chairs for outdoor dining together with a gleaming turbo driven eight burner stainless steel kitchen cum barbeque life style enhancement.

Why then do we get so many ads relating to funeral cost protection lately? You get to see this happy family cavorting with kids on a sloping lawn with the wife beaming happily in the knowledge that her hubby has taken out a good solid funeral protection plan. He looks so proud! It all adds so much to lifestyle. What are they trying to tell us? Should we ask the funeral organizers to put the cremation retort on low or stand-by? Is that part of ‘life-style’ as well or is it more of a death-style? How’s your death- style going might well be the next catchy phrase?  Is it still thriving, getting warm?

If that is all what lays ahead it can’t be too bad? There is still lovely food and nice conversations with friends and family but I do resist the temptation of the old and weary to rabbit on about   ‘the good old days’ when petrol was 2shillings and six pence a gallon and Franquin the Great Magician was as hilarious an evening of entertainment it could ever get. I just put on the ‘for the hearing impaired’ ear phones and listen yet again to ‘le piano du pauvre.’

Nothing could chase the grandkids back home to mum and dad quicker than when I put on that piece of music and ask H for yet another fox-trot. (Or talk about the benefits of a Jules Verne book)

I have learnt my lesson well and leave the kids to their IPod, Pad, Tablets and Apps and console myself that a similar fate will befall them as well. “You will all be lucky to get out of it alive, I tell them”. They look a bit bewildered when I say that. Oma puts them at rest and says “your Opa is just kidding you”; “he is always joking and making fun.” “Don’t take him seriously!” “He is going gaga.”

I can still put on my own socks and you walk rather briskly, so my lovely wife tells me.

This journey is still ongoing.


Australia Day

January 23, 2013


Soon we will have another day off. Just when I was rejoicing things were getting back to normal. I so wish we could just celebrate things without special days. Can’t all days be a bit special and normal? There seems to be an obligation about ‘special days’, and when many don’t feel any different there is the danger of feeling rejected and then dejection might easily follow. I mean, are we going to wake up different, jump out of bed next Monday and feel elated because it is Australia day? Will I not make the first coffee of the day, overlook the previous night’s dishes and the red stained wine glasses all left in the sink filled with cold greasy water with on top floating a halo of onion infused film of grease?

I noticed at the local supermarkets there was an atmosphere again of rejuvenation and optimism with a kind lady smiling at me in the butter section. Why is it that the dairy divisions of supermarkets seem to attract friendly customers? Perhaps it is the nature of those basic ingredients; butter, cheese, milk and yogurt that brings out our inherent friendliness.

The Christmas did take a lot out of people. With the public holiday next Monday, this feeling of a growing sense of normalcy returning while still so fragile, could well unravel easily. Routine gets disturbed.

I always felt that when overseas, especially in warm tropical countries, ever day often seemed a celebration and one lost the idea of it being a Sunday or even a lousy Wednesday. Is it a peculiar western thing to have days off to celebrate something?

Anyway, even Eurocentric Aldi is now selling those collapsible blue canvassed chairs with a kind of Southern Star Australian emblem screen printed on the seating. I suppose it is meant to be sat upon while watching the fireworks next Monday, Australia Day. I haven’t looked closely to see if it has one of those fish netted pouches to put a drink in. In advertising those chairs I noticed that Harvey Norman mentions those chairs as including having a…..’ drink station.’

At no stage have people on the streets ever been as thirsty as now. I can’t remember, (I could be wrong) but in my youth we never crossed streets while sipping some liquid from a bottle. It was never such a harrowing experience crossing a street in fear of dehydration before having reached the other side. Yet, today almost all have a bottle clutched in the hand and a mobile phone in the other. I suppose to call triple zero in case the other side hasn’t been reached.

Whatever, it must be such a boon for those drinks manufacturers. Can you imagine paying $ 3.20 for a bottle of water? As a young boy I used to lay awake in glorious anticipation of getting a drink of orange cordial next morning at my birthday. They were prepared by my mother the day before. Whole rows of them all filled to the same level and covered by a tea towel.  The drinks would be shared by my brothers and sister and invited friends.

Now, young people buy a fizzy drink, take a sip, and chuck the still almost full full bottle in the local park in contemptible defiance. I have often been tempted to pick up one of those almost full bottles and take a sip, perhaps as a way of atonement or making amends for those days of frugal pasts. I doubt however if the taste of those abandoned cola or other fizzy drinks could ever reach the delicious heights of those post war cordials waiting under mum’s tea towel in anticipation of next morn’s birthday…

How the sun keeps rising for the lucky young able to cross streets, take sips and then chuck away the almost full bottles?

We never took that kind of liberty for granted.

As for Australia Day. It should celebrate something, some event or happening. Is there an Argentine day, an Italy day or even a Finland day? I find it difficult to celebrate  being a larrikin or fond of sport and drinking. Perhaps it ought to be a celebration of something else, a kind of celebration of our artistic achievements, what with Australian aboriginal rock and cave art and present aboriginal art being unique and very Australian. Then we have Patrick White and Sydney Nolan as well…together, very Australian.

Rosaria from Gozo (the harrowing story of Halal sausages.)

August 1, 2012

Rosaria from Gozo (Chapter4)

Posted on July 10, 2011by

Azzopardi new bed

Hzanna Azzopardi in the meantime back in Rockdale was excited in anticipation of telling her sister Rosaria on Skype this coming morning about her latest home improvements. Before her husband’s departure to his own butcher shop in Rockdale’s Westfield’s Fantasiastic shopping Mall, she asked him to log on to Skype.

Her husband had started his butcher-shop some years ago and had recently changed its name from ‘Meat for YOU’, to ‘Azzopardi’s MEAT SOLUTIONS’. He thought that, due to the influx of many from the Middle East, an exotic name might add to many more commercial opportunities. He, very judicially, now also proudly displayed ‘Halal Compliant’ on his window. Law abiding, the Azzopardi family was indeed.

After the Skype was engaged Rosaria’s face appeared, looking all flushed and roseate from the family event at L-Ghadira beach. How are you? I am fine Hzanna replied, just as excited. We have just got some new furniture from Harvey Norman and next we will be looking for shelving at Bunning’s. After all the years of scrimping and saving for son and daughter, the Azzopardi couple thought it was time to splash out for themselves. A new lounge and King size bed, she explained. The bed was huge and had a stereo music unit built in the bed-head. Rosaria was somewhat rattled by all this good news from Australia.

She was puzzled by Harvey Norman and Bunning. What were they and why a big bed? Was it to do with privacy or veneering? She understood that things were different in Rockdale.

Why the stereo in the bed? Hzanna was a good singer. She remembered her sweet singing at the school in L-Ghadira before her leaving Gozo many years ago. Hzanna had take pictures of the new bed and also the furniture, e-mailed them all in colour. She was so proud of her new life and her husband with his own Meat Solution business. It would never have been possible in Malta. Besides, everyone in Malta was a butcher, and often a tailor as well or a barber.

Hzanna further enthused about Australia having many people who have a ‘lifestyle’. A lifestyle is what Bunning and Harvey Norman sell. That’s why many like Australia and want to live here. In Malta you just sit on wooden chairs and other crude hand-down heirlooms shared throughout all the families. Hzanna sounded a bit haughty now. Rosaria, smiled sweetly back but her forehead was showing a furrowed effort in getting to grips on Harvey Norman, King bed, Bunning’s and life-styling. It was a big task so soon after her family party on the beach. She could still hear Sophia’s singing and was not ready to comprehend ‘lifestyle’ as yet.

She understood that life is different elsewhere.