Posts Tagged ‘Iphone’

Walking is good.

September 3, 2019

 

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Apart from admiring cyclamen we are now trying to go for our daily walks again. Over the last couple of months we were either busy getting dressed or trying to get undressed. In between we have had an  unrelenting regime, meeting with doctors, nurses, home-carers and physiotherapists. And that is apart from keeping up with provisions, paying gas bills and doing what my mother used to call ‘in between’ jobs. I have learnt so much about fashion. Believe you me, there are a perplexing variety of female  clothes with incomprehensible ways of putting them on. ( and off) Where is the neck or what are the arm openings and what are all those hanging bits about? And despite all that loose-ness in their clothes, why are the leg openings so tight and why also do the sleeves end up inside out?

So this morning it came about that we went for a walk. Not too far, as Helvi is still not as sure footed as she used to be before her crash downwards towards a concrete drive-way. We sauntered past our common drive-way where are neighbour was snipping away at the garden. He likes doing that but we wished he would allow things to grow instead of manicuring every bit of greenery in this place. But, live and let live with tolerance is the answer to cheerfulness and optimism. I am trying to stay away from grumpiness, so I greeted the neighbour with ‘doing a bit of a spring cleaning?’

We ended our walk at Bradman Cricket Oval. In the world of cricket, this oval is the equivalent in Australia of the Egyptian Pyramid of Cheops or The Great Chinese Wall. It holds The International Great Hall of Cricket.https://internationalcrickethall.com/the-bradman-museum-is-now-the-international-cricket-hall-of-fame/

Lots of buses with hordes of people all the way from India, Pakistan, Fiji, Shri Lanka and many other cricket loving countries visit this famous cricket mausoleum, and file teary eyed, past Lenin like tombs of expired cricketers. Donald Bradman is the most famous of cricketers, and new comers to Australia have been threatened to lose their visas if not sufficiently versed in Bradman cricket matches with correct dates, number of runs and Ducks mandatory.

We found a nice seat in the sun and Helvi and I really appreciated this nice park. The children and their mums were playing in a playground but noticed that the iPhone now seems to have morphed into some kind of umbilical cord. Most mothers allowed their kids to break legs or fall off slippery dips without even a flicker away from their iPhones. I would love to know what the urgency is. Should I ask?

Anyway, we walked slowly back home and our neighbour had slunk inside, happy with the day’s snipping and shortening of bushes.

We had a nice walk and had some yoghurt afterwards.

Puccini inspired by Dutch nursery rhymes? (Klap eens in de handjes)

August 27, 2019

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As a very young child  my mother and her sister, ‘Agnus’, used to sing typical little musical ditties to us. I still remember many of them and of late they seem to have made a return to my brain. I hope this isn’t the beginning of brain-loss, or worse dementia, and will cling to the life-craft that it might well be due to our iPhone transmitted musical soirees that we are now having instead of the nauseating diets of dreadful news on the TV. I mean, how many more times do we have to hear that sending war ships and surveillance aircraft to the Straits of Iran (Hormuz) are part of a ‘de-escalation’ of tension in the Middle East?  And, not to forget the images of the burning jungles of the Amazon?

With Helvi’s arms needing daily exercises to return to previous levels of usage, including bringing food to mouth or other functions normal for hands and arms, we thought that listening to hours of wonderful music might help. All I have to do is type in ‘Pavarotti’,  push an app on the iPhone, and voila, wonderful singing of operas. One piece we particularly like is Puccini’s,  ‘Oh mio Bambino Caro’ sang by Maria Callas in 1965.

 

Isn’t this sublime singing? The odd thing is that I feel Puccini could well have been inspired by those traditional Dutch nursery rhymes dating back hundreds of years and handed over from generation to generation. I sang the same Dutch songs to my grandsons and they still remember. The song they remember most is ‘Klap eens in je handjes’. Here it is, and it almost brings me to tears taking me back to those good times when we were sung ( helping verb, otherwise ‘sang’) to by our parents and when we ended up teaching them to our kids and now us to the grandchildren.

Now tell me, listening to this old Dutch children’s rhyme can you hear Puccini’s Oh Mio Bambino too or am I going cuckoo? Is there still hope for me and should I eat more Tofu?

Is eating associated with dumping shopping trolleys?

July 9, 2018
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Nowadays people eat while doing things. You see eating going on everywhere. In the library. Crossing the street. While buying food. In church,and Post office. Even Real Estate agents are eating continuously now. Lawyers eat while being presented by briefs. On TV ads you now also see large models being featured. They too eat while lounging in a Norwegian chair. This morning I watched a mother parking two young children in a child-minding place. She had a sandwich clutched between her teeth while undoing their harnesses. People eat while driving.

Cars now have twin-cup holders at front and back. Some cars have refrigerated glove boxes.  They keep TV dinners in there. I heard that special mini micro-waves can be plugged in the car for some quick cooking of pizzas or sides of pork. Eating while working go hand in hand (or more likely in mouth.) Of course eating food involves the buying of it. The most normal combination is eating while shopping. What can be more convenient? The shopping cart is being filled with yet more food.

With my iPhone now used to count steps we went for a walk to town and back. Milo is getting older in tandem with us. We break our walk in town with a small latte. In winter we do rug up. Carrying coats and wearing gloves and scarf we started around 11am. During our latte stop-over we counted 2600 steps. Not bad. We resumed back again with the three of us having had a rest. Helvi decided to walk seriously and sprinted ahead of me. I can’t do that with Milo. He wants to sniff every bit of greenery before the obligatory leg-up. It makes some people smile. Often they will ask permission to pat Milo. He is indifferent to patting. He is spoiled.  I wish I could get those pats. One woman who I asked for a pat said; ‘if you were as good looking as Milo you too would get patted’. A cruel world out there.

It was when Helvi went around the next corner I noticed a fast walking young women pushing a food loaded trolley past me and Milo. It has always irked me to find abandoned shopping trolleys. Was she a shopping trolley dumper? She had all the hallmarks of one. They have an arrogance about them. She did not give Milo a look.  Not a good look!  She stopped at her car and opened the door. Of course, needless to say, she ripped a packet of something and fed some of its contents into her mouth. Milo was busy sniffing a bit of garden belonging to the United Church. I turned my back to this young woman unloading her shopping trolley. I wanted her to be relaxed and not feel being surveyed by an elderly chagrined looking man. I so desperately wanted to know if she had the decency to return the trolley. Would my summation of her being a shopping trolley dumper be correct?

Milo, in the meantime was sniffed out and wanted to know where Helvi had disappeared to. The girl had unloaded the trolley and slammed the car door. What next? I slowly walked by and deliberately dropped a paper hanky on the pavement. This gave me time to observe what she was doing with the trolley. I bend down to pick up the paper hanky while hoping she would be able to recognise the civility and obligation of someone not littering the footpath. I was pleasantly relieved to see she walked with the trolley across the road.  Was I so mistaken? Why do I so often see the bad sides of people? Am I so negative?

The woman crossed the road with the trolley and lifted it in the ‘nature strip’. She walked back to her car and drove off. She was a trolley dumper. I could have smacked her. But she was across the road. I am thinking of getting some wheel-clamps.

I was vindicated after all. The iPhone told us we did well over 6000 steps. That has to be good.

A week in Byron Bay.

September 1, 2017

 

 

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If this blog seems a bit quiet, it is because we are not home. The blogging on the move isn’t the strongest part of my writing oeuvre. Not that the words disappear or fade, but the technical aspect of using a computer away from the familiarity of our upstairs little office is challenging. Although, I admit freely that anything away from home is now becoming a challenge. This is why we decided to wrench ourselves to the outside, and take a break up North at Byron Bay. You know how it is; sun and surf still appeals.

Did you know that two days ago my Apple iPhone became locked for no reason? The internet provided by TPG had dropped out. Both my computer and Helvi’s just did not walk. Nothing, rien, nichts or niks would make it work. It’s funny how a break in our IT world can be so unsettling. And I thought we were pretty aloof on the possibility of being hooked on computers.

A good friend suggested I take my locked Apple iPhone to a Telstra shop. Our account is with Telstra which are the biggest telephony company in Australia. The service provider of the internet however is TPG, a much smaller company. They seem to have a permanent advertisement on the TV which drives me mad but not enough to change providers.

Telstra shops are always busy and you can tell that it are the lost and the forlorn oldies that have the most trouble with  modern electronic communication gadgetry. They are doomed to forever catch up with the increasingly more intricate cell-phone world. It is all so baffling, but you can tell by their worried puckered up faces they are all at their wits end. I too joined them which gives comfort. And after I gave my name, which a man wearing a Telsra name tag tapped into a tablet, was asked to take a seat and wait for my turn.  The shop was now full of Mobile/Cell-Phone traumatized elderly people holding up their gadgets like a S.O.S.

When my name was called a young girl approached and asked about my problem with the locked iPhone. She suggested it could well be due because of the age of the phone (rather than my age). ‘Why not update and buy a new one,’ she suggested?  New iPhone made by Apple costs hundreds. I baulked at spending so much on a telephone, especially when they appear to get ‘locked’, and apparently at their own volution! I noticed a new Telstra phone for $99.- with all the colourful buttons and apps much the same as an Apple iPhone. After I bought it she tapped in all my details and as I kept the same number I was pleased to have this problem of my old locked phone solved at minimum costs.

When I came back and tried my new phone it wasn’t easy to get used to the change. The buttons were all different and the sheer number of choices that one had to make to install the workability of it all was dauntingly depressing. Just to install the phone numbers of family and friend’s in the new phone had me close to calling the ambulance, while Helvi threatened to call the police. This new phone wanted me to accept ‘good morning’ reminders of, ‘time to go to work’, all sorts of memories and reminders and birthdays. It was just so endless and pointless.  Who is the sadist thinking this all up?

It all made me wish to go back to try and unlock my old trusted iPhone.  The message of contacting Apple was still on the old Apple screen and even had a phone number which I rang. Much to my relief, but after going though another round of pressing this number and that number on my landline-phone, I got to talk to a real person. Not only real, but with an Aussie accent. To ascertain my identity I was asked secret questions for which answers were apparently given some years ago when I set up the iPhone. Fortunately, two of the secret bits of information I gave were correct. He guided me to set-up a new password, and bingo, my Apple iPhone did a Lazarus and came back to life. Of course, even though the iPhone went back to life, the phone account had been switched over to the new phone.

The upshot of it all is that I use the new Telstra phone as a normal phone ( if there is still such a thing as a ‘Normal’ phone) and the old iPhone for internet and downloading e-mails.

It’s not easy, and that’s why we are going to Byron Bay to soak up some warm sun and drink cold beer.

Word drought in The Highlands but spring is knocking. ( seniors)

August 14, 2016

IMG_0918 front garden August 2016

‘It won’t be long now.’ This is a saying that people use when expecting something to come along. It is sometimes used when on the Nr 1 platform waiting for the train to arrive. ‘The train is coming soon’, often spoken aloud by a brave soul to break the silence between waiting travellers, especially when a chill wind is blowing here in The Highlands. Most often, there is a response; ‘Yes, I think it is due in one minute, according to my timetable.’ This answer gladdens the heart, gives hope to the other fellow.

Those snippets of exchanging words to each other is so welcome. There can never be enough words getting exchanged between people, irrespective of waiting for a train or getting served at the Super-Market conveyer-belt. There is nothing more uplifting than getting a few words, after having gone through those endless isles of mind-numbing dairy goods/personal hygiene/ split peas/. There are now endless choices of toilet paper. We are figuring out the mathematical challenges with being confronted by the cost per hundred sheets per roll! No wonder people are becoming silent.

I could be wrong. Is there a shortage of spoken words being exchanged lately? If we feel like a good fill-up for spoken words we need to take Milo (our dog) along. He elicits the words from others so much better than if we walk without him. The word drought in public seems to be getting worse. I am curious if others have noticed this too? Most times, we used to strike it and get to hear words from others. They seem drawn to our Jack Russell more than us. Totally understandable in my own case, but with the welcoming and smiling Helvi, it used to smooth things out so much better.

It seems the problem might lie elsewhere. Often, people look serious when approaching. However, if they allow themselves to change their thought-train away from paying gas bills on line or texting and coping with obstinate or nasty relationships, and allow themselves to focus their sight downwards away from their gadget holding hand, and spot our Milo, an involuntary smile often escapes. Not only that, but many will actually stop, say a few words and pat him. That is the magic of the Jack Russell. We are still in touch. Are spoken words to adults getting less though?

I get the feeling that many are so mute now because their puckered up faces are so often close to their IPhone. I too have become a bit drawn to this gadget and at times open the IPhone without even being aware of it. Helvi gives me warning every time I slip into that. Certainly on trains we now rarely see passengers looking around or in conversation. Most stare seriously on what is in their hands.

I know, I speak and show my age now. It is all old hat. ‘Get real, Opa. This is our world now. Move over rover!’ The grandchildren have no trouble with it. They tell me that ‘Social Media’ is what is being practised. One hopes that this new form of mute media is not going to impact on relationships. I notice that so much modern TV drama is very intertwined with noise and deafeningly loud threatening thundering gun-fire type music, substituting drama where there might be none… It makes us tense and restless in expecting something, but it rarely comes or satisfies.

The words are just drowned out now.

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Garlic Prawns, Grandsons, and a close encounter with the Prime Minister.

May 16, 2016
Australian PM. (second from left)

Australian PM. (second from left)

As foreshadowed in my previous post, the grandchildren were coming. They stayed with us last week-end. The weather promised was sunny and warm. It was going to be a good week-end. The eldest had broken his iPhone but the other one had just been granted a $30.- month pre-paid on his, compliments of grand-parents. The excuse was that it would allow him to be able to contact his parents. Always a blatant lie. According to a quick inspection to my access of the Wi-Fi download data on my own account, gigabits of games is what he really uses his iPhone for. He cunningly uses our Wi-Fi to connect his iPhone to.

A lot of successful week-ends depend on getting them away from the gadgets. Parents and grandparents are tested to the limits of their endurance faced with this modern phenomenon. Surely, it has to be possible to invent an electronic devise that would allow parents/ grandparents to stop and zap iPhones into the silent mode with the screen just showing rain pelting down gutters or perhaps long advertisements on the benefits of eating ‘easy oats.’

We try and lure them into bookshops. They can buy any book they like. Of course, the lure has to be sweetened with an afternoon movie. However, no books were chosen this time, but they still managed to see the movie. I forgot the name but is was a movie about a young person aspiring to greatness in sport and included Hugh Jackman. It might have been skiing. I will look it up and just put this one for a moment in ‘save draft’. Please, bear with me!

It was called ‘Eddie The Eagle.’ The boys thought it better than expected. At least no Bat Man or Shrek re-runs anymore. We do our best to try and instil a distaste for mashed potato Hollywood movies. After the danger of iPhones overload, the next problem to deal with is their enormous appetites. Despite movie watching and a general tendency to fiddle with devices ( when we are not nearby) it does not seem to lesson their need for food intake. However, both parents and us have been fortunate to have steered them into reasonable dietary habits.

Especially pleasing is that none seem to be particularly oriented towards sweets or sugar loads. They do drink those fruit sugar-loaded juices, but as for lollies, chocolate bars or sparkling soft drinks, they are not all that keen anymore. It might also be a result of the rather alarming media reports about sugar and salt and fat diets. Especially the eldest who seems to live of fruit and vegetables. However, they do make up for quantities. I know the score. Pancakes are now made to a height of about ten centimetres and are wobbling on the plate while I am cooking, threatening to collapse onto the kitchen floor. A compromise to some jam or golden syrup is made if they also allow a generous squeezing of lemon juice. Milo is looking upwards and in hope. He too knows the score.

The rack of lamb with totalling about 5 each (cutlets) and as for garlic prawns; half a kilo and that is just for garlic. I don’t know what the other cinema goers felt or smelt about that little delight? But, as always; all good things come to an end. Sunday afternoon was the time to drive them to the railway station where they would catch the train back to Sydney. After parking our car we took them to the ticket locket which was closed. You don’t get to buy train tickets anymore. That too has been gadgetized. You now swipe something in front of a pole and is called ‘Opal.’

The train station staff were everywhere but not selling tickets. I stood my ground and the locket was opened. There was a kind of nervousness about. A tingling expectation or a bomb alert. Terrorism crossed my mind. Was the dreaded Mars Bar man lurking somewhere? No, the Prime Minister is on his way, someone said. Oh, the horror. Out of nowhere, a couple of tall blue suited men rushed by talking into their sleeves. Indeed followed by our new Prime minister, Mr Turnbull looking all suave and powdered. I flashed my own iPhone and managed to get a picture while he was posing with rail staff, arms around each other. He is the second from the left.

We went down some stairs where the train to Sydney was waiting. The PM followed us and jumped in the train sitting almost opposite our grandsons. Something they will remember forever. I do hope he will lose the election on the second of July. He is cutting education, health funding and is just another Abbott. Just because he catches a train with our grandsons hasn’t made him a forward and progressive man to lead a country.

Cevaps and pancakes.

April 16, 2015
The Cevaps and grandsons with Milo

The Cevaps and grandsons with Milo

This last week has been spent nursing a well earned cold. My dad used to shout, “close the door”, over and over again, often to no avail. As kids we never did, as cold wasn’t something we felt. In fact we were always warm and running. Dad was the keeper of our warmth in winter and felt it his duty to keep living areas warm. He was the stoker of fires. It is strange how men are drawn to fire much more than women. In the period between post WW2 and pre our migration period, heating by dad was done with the help of coal in ornately decorated cast iron combustion heaters. The coal was taken up two flights of stairs in jute bags carried on the back of strong Dutch coal carriers. Mum used to put drop- sheets down from the bottom of the stairs all the way to the top and leading through a corridor to the back balcony were the coal was dumped in a small coal shed. The jute bags would be  taken back empty. It was one of those yearly events in early autumn for the coming winter. My mother’s job would be to make the amount of coal last as heating was expensive. A severe winter was never welcome.

These were some of my limpid flu inspired  thoughts trying to make the best of the situation as well as having two of our grandchildren for a couple of days giving their mum a break. She had to work and school holidays are not easy on working mums. Both grandsons have a father born in Australia but from Croatian background. No need to dwell on its history but most will agree that the eating of chevatis always played a big role not just with Croatia but also Serbia and surrounding States, that vacillated between bloody endless wars with each other, yet never forgetting that sharing the cevaps also held promise of peace between neighbours. With that in mind and a promised barbeque made inescapable by gloriously warm weather I made my way to Woollies with grandsons hopping behind and around me,  busy on IPhonic mania of which I have long given into and surrendered.

I love the Super market’s somewhat hidden  counter proudly displaying the items ‘close to out of date’ and spotted a packet of twelve cevaps for just $ 5.75 reduced from $7.85 and still two days left till being be a bit off or rotten. I bought them quickly and after buying a loaf of white sandwich bread rushed home. The kids were ravenous and probably ready to eat anything irrespective of any dates. The rugged Croatian blood line and the frugal Dutch a perfect combination. I pointed out to grandsons that we should be so happy to have rescued those almost out of date cevaps from getting thrown out. Many in this world go hungry, why waste food at all?

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Thomas looked a bit serious after that little sermon. He could well end up telling his mum to go and loiter around the ‘out of date’ food items, which might be a good thing apart from saving money. I lit the barbeque and all twelve but one of the cevaps were packet between the white bread and eaten quickly. My flu symptoms were pushed  in the background by the show of grandsons concentrated enthusiasm for their, no doubt inherited love, for the Croatian  cevaps. It was a joy to watch. Next morning it was always going to be pancakes. I mentioned many posts ago about having an inscription;  ‘Here rests a good Opa, he made very fine pan-cakes and loved bargains.’ For those that wondered about the twelfth cevaps, that was given to Milo.

Iphone triumphs and models

July 21, 2014

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” Troubles will never leave you alone, Gerard,” “wait till you are married and have children too”, she added with gusto and succinct foresight. Mothers know best, don’t they? Nothing prepared me for IPhone and computer connectivity though. You read more and more about road rage attacks. The latest in Australia where a man with a revolver pursuing another driver up to speeds of 200km an hour. The man being pursued screaming for help as he drove on till out of petrol. I wonder if there has been IPhone rage around?

Boy did I get close to hurling my computer out of the window.All out of the blue I could receive but not send e-mails with strange messages of protocol and socket errors 10060. My outgoing POP was not right. I was advised to contact my service administrator. First I got a lady with an incomprehensible English who kept rattling on about my identity and password. I hung up and had a little rage and strangled a tulip. I tried again and this time a man with an accent I could manage to hear most of it. I was on the phone for about 45 minutes and went to my ‘account’ and changed pop and outgoing and ingoing mail while Milo was lustily farting away underneath my chair. However, that is nothing compared with the inability to get my IPhone and computer synchronised.
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The sad thing was, that it was working before but I suspect Microsoft Live Mail is a very unstable entity. I gave up and made my outgoing mail to an outdoor eating place and with H had a nice Fish and Chips.

As we were eating I glanced through a Vogue magazine and noticed that the models all seem to be scowling so unhappily. Do they have IPhone troubles too? Who would want to open the door to those model sourpusses. I would phone the police or at least an ambulance. Look at the photo of the couple. She has her back to him and he looks as if he needs a bit of a Charley Chaplin or perhaps some counselling.
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After lunch I went back to the computer. H had calmed me down and the fish and chips worked their magic as well. (Barramundi fillets) Amazingly, the IPhone and computer are back working as normal and as before. A triumph of a fickle and unstable world. And I did nothing except skirt with a coronary.

The Iphone salvation.

July 15, 2014

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It finally had to happen. After weeks of absence in more ways than just physical, I took the plunge. I bought a ‘refurbished’ Apple IPhone from a large toy and game shop. Perhaps they were called a B and D games shop. I could look up the receipt but won’t in case I lose the impetus to go on with this tale of woe and joy.

We were overseas and as I needed to contact urgently some of my contacts by e-mail, I was looking around for a techy device I could use. Most tourists still doing the usual clicking, swiping and tweexting. Why could I not enter that same sort of world? I have a mobile phone that is a phone and doesn’t allow e-mails or give location maps.(Tweet and text) I had been warned not to get caught in an outrageous mobile bill and had taken the precaution in switching off my ‘roaming capability’ believing that I could still use my mobile but without the exorbitant high charges. It turned out my phone was switched off. It took five days for my brother in Australia to get my phone back on roaming with much relief of woe replaced with a drop of joy.

I still had more than 36 dollars of re-charge left so managed to make the necessary calls including to Telstra not to ever switch off my ‘roaming’. If nothing else, aimless roaming is the essence of life, surely! Is there any other way through life than to roam?

After our return to Aus and the grim reality and horror of Abbott’s gaping mouth on TV and the triumphant Chris Morrison regaling his killing of refugees, I took the plunge and with total disregard for the state of my future mental health bought the IPhone. It was very sunny. There was a blinding reflection from the concrete parking lot in front of the toy shop. After entering the shop one was greeted by lots of pink coloured wares. Most of the shop was bathed in a pink halo and I am sure that would have added to this lapse in my mainly purposeful directional sanity. The salesman was aware of my diminished being and knew there was the perfect customer. I had entered his lair openly and without hesitation.

He addled up to me and asked if I wanted anything. Was I perhaps after a computer game or a good game console? Do you have grandchildren, he asked sweetly? He had a broad smile and pearl white teeth, perhaps of an Afghan ascendency. I have noticed that endless wars seems to bring out the best in smiles and white teeth. No amount of indefinite detention seems to diminish their good cheer and friendliness( there is lesson for us here, surely)?

I now have the device and it works. In public I make a show of swiping and acting out the world of the esoteric and well informed, of all that is IT and has a coloured screen showing Apps. What next? Should I get a gleaming white pair of ear phones and walk past a Dick Smith store?

I am one of them now!

Steve Jobs and the Art of Spectacle making.

May 4, 2012

Steve Jobs and the Art of Spectacle making.

I have changed my mind about ‘Apple’. Steve Jobs was a creative genius and may his soul rest in peace. I watched a program about Steve’s life on TV last night and it just blew me over.

If ever there was proof of ageing stultifying opinions, my previous haughty disdain for any gadget with little buttons, was in the pudding. The proof of the pudding is that very often, people with advancing years resist the jigging about of the younger ones and fresh ideas. It must be a form of dormant jealousy that pops up when it starts to dawn on us, that that’s it, the fag end of life is nigh. There is little I can do about it now except repent and try and improve, become tolerant of little buttons and their pushers. Perhaps take up dancing lessons or knitting.

Years ago, on the train chockers with passengers I once stood up for a woman who looked a bit pale and tired. I was perhaps seventeen and working for Spectacle Makers and Co, a company in Clarence Street. My job was to grind lenses to their prescribed specification. A horribly dirty job that included splashing slurry of water and fine grinding powder on the future lenses of chunks of glass that were fastened on a metal rotating chock with the use of hot tar. It was then a world of concave and convex measurements with strange and exotic workers initiating ceremonies involving blue ultramarine dye rubbed around the novice apprentices’ private parts.

When I stood up, gallantly offering my seat, I was astonished by the reply,’ do I look that bad, she said?’ I mumbled something like’ no-sorry, you look OK’. Of course, I moved carriages and never stood up since, even if they were pregnant and close to breaking waters. The world of convex surfaces taught me a lesson and pregnant women did not break my resolve to remain seated.

Some many years later, with the Balmain local ALP Branch firmly in the hands of right wing crooks and welders of steel containers smuggling drugs and importing loose women, I queued up to renew membership. Suddenly a few large burly blokes entered the Balmain Town-Hall. One came behind me and said ‘make room for a pregnant lady, you poofter.’ I retorted, ‘you are not pregnant and you are not even a woman but could be a poofter’.

Pandemonium broke out, especially when a fire extinguisher was pulled from the wall and hurled through the upstairs window. The police, who were next door never even turned up. They were in cahoots with the punch throwing right-wing thugs. All the women at the meeting turned pale. The member books were stolen, lights switched off and we all (the bleeding left wing faction) adjourned to the local William Wallace for schooners and solace. My bleeding nose was soothed by a woman called Elisabeth, I remember it still. My pain started to wane after the fourth schooner coinciding with Bridie King’s band starting up a wild and tempestuous blues number. It shows that the world of pregnant ladies and my cruel refusal to get up for them in trains finally caught up with me.

It came back to me on the train last week, this time between Mortdale and Central Station. There I was, standing up swaying amongst all the Iphone pushers and shakers. I was hoping a young person would get up and gallantly offer an elderly gent a seat. No, not even a hint of respect, they kept bent over their world of Apps and GPS’s. “It tells me I am on the train”, someone whispered to a friend; really, wow?

Perhaps pregnancy and old age used to be neck and neck during the past when it came to standing up in public transport.

I’ll try it on crutches next time or shall I just faint and dribble a bit?

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