Posts Tagged ‘Jack Russell’

Romantic notions in vain.

April 10, 2014
Gustav Aschenbach

Gustav Aschenbach

I have been fortunate that a Jack Russell attracts the attention more than I. It leaves me free to enjoy in observing the people squatting down while patting Milo. I would be lying in denying that at times I also get drawn into looking at attractive ladies. The drawing down includes, especially in summer, a peek inside their blouse. What sort of etiquette would be expected to be observed? What can I do? Should I glance at the passing traffic or upwards towards the sun, start reading a good book? No, I feign compassion towards Milo as well and partake in making comments about his age and other general chit chat.

In fact, last week I lamented again to a nice lady that a dog gets patted so much…and left the obvious answer ..why not the owner?; to be contemplated by the patter. She just gave me a lovely smile and I knew she took the hint. She understood, which was nice. It doesn’t take a lot to get a friendly exchange. Thank you Milo, you make an old man happy.

I have always thought ‘happiness’ was over-rated. Mainly by the west and especially by the US. Many make millions by writing books about how to attain ‘happiness’. Advertisers really know and understand the dichotomy of the aim for happiness and the reality of life’s struggles and pain. They cleverly exploit this endless and utterly futile aim by linking happiness with a product. We queue up to buy the product because we seek ‘happy’.

I do like tranquillity and I suppose it is really a balance between both happiness and sadness. They are like the ocean’s waves. They come and go. It is like breathing and the reason for our existence.

Would endless ‘happy’ not be very boring? I like experiencing and growing towards finding some truth or reason why we live. That includes a lot of joy including laughter and a lot of pain or sadness which includes tears.

In my new resolution to seek more tranquillity and joy than pain (and save money) I decided to cancel my teeth implants. It wasn’t that difficult. Those graphic photos of jaws being drilled into with screws inserted in the holes was all the incentive needed to cancel the appointment. The secretary was somewhat miffed. It was still over a week for the appointment and I fibbed in telling her I was going overseas. I always had trouble cancelling promises. It must date to childhood. I so much wanted to please my parents, especially my mother. Kids are different now. They say ‘get fucked’ easily to their peers, including even their parents.

My vanity in providing a better smile to the public bending to pat Milo is now taking a step back, I know. But in my seventies, and considering the missing two teeth are downstairs in my lower jaw and generally not visible when smiling with lips closed, I am willing to forego the perceived uptick in my visual public persona.

I so remember Gustav Aschenbach ( Gustav Mahler) in Thomas Mann’s filmed version of ‘Death in Venice’ dyeing his hair black in his pityfull attempt to still be found attractive to the young Polish boy Tadzio. That scene on the beach with the dying Aschenbach, sunk in his deckchair, while Tadzio, wading in the water with his hand raised, as if to say goodbye. Unforgettable scene. His blackened hair finally did not help or save him.

Life is but Ginger and Dates.

April 1, 2014
Ginger and date cake

Ginger and date cake

As the the overall economy edges down, patronage of cafés and eating out are going up. Economists point this out and the stats proved that the change in our consuming habits were in equal proportion. You wonder what the connection is. Here, where we live, dress shops are closing down or if not, the owners look forlornly towards the street hoping for customers. The customers however are next door sipping a short black or a macchiato before sauntering off to the charity shops that sell second-hand top brand names at $ 5.50 a pop or $12.50 the max. Money saved is spent sipping coffee or munching on deep fried salt & pepper calamari with fashionable red and greed lettuce leaves and chopped Spanish onion. Happy dogs are tied to the tables forever hopeful of a spare piece of Apfel-kuchen or beer battered squid.

We walk past one such café almost daily with our JRT ‘the incorrigible Milo’. Today, while waiting for the traffic light to turn green, H pointed out a man deeply immersed in his food. The immersed in his food man was sitting directly next to where the cars were driving. The patrons in this café are seated inside as well as on the footpath. The outside patrons are shielded from the sun by white umbrellas. The traffic separated from the diners by heavy concrete barriers and some greenery.

I noticed him, the enthusiastic eater, as well. His jaws were firmly locked on whatever he had partially managed to stow inside his mouth. In between he managed to masticate, eyes manically focussed on his plate. His wife/partner or girlfriend looked on in amazement. Such was his level of concentration.

I was in awe.

“That’s how you eat too”, I was told after we reached the other side of the intersection. “Like an animal”, she added. The walk was taking a nasty turn. Milo sensed it and looked up. He is acutely attuned to our marital squabbling while crossing streets.

I have to admit; my eating habits sometimes include an unnecessary concentration on the plate directly below my chin. H often asks me; “can you look up a bit and converse with me.” “I am your wife.” I then stop eating and rack my brains off in finding something amusing to say. I am overwrought with guilt and that’s not helpful in steering the lunch or dinner into something in a more entertaining direction than just the forking in of mouthfuls of squid or potato wedges.

Our dietary habits are different. I eat as if in an emergency. H has more of a slimming or keeping slim attitude towards food intake. She maintains and remains a svelte figure much admired by many but achieved by few in our age group. My problem has always been putting and keeping weight on, no matter how much I ate, I remained somewhat slim. As a child, but after the war, when food once again reached our tables, I used to skim cream from the bucket filled with milk. In those days milk was delivered by a person called ‘the milkman’. He had a horse and carriage. He would go from door to door selling just milk by the litre. My mum used to shout down the stairs “4 litres today please milkman”. The milkman had a long handled steel scoop which held exactly a litre which he used to fill our green enamelled bucket with.

When the accusation of my animalistic eating habits had calmed and cooled a bit, I offered to have a latte with a ginger and date cake. “We can share the cake”, I added, always considering her keenness in remaining svelte. “Yes, that would be nice”, she smiled happily.

All was well.

What price vanity?

March 21, 2014
Milo after many pats

Milo after many pats

My social life is not hectic. Our Jack Russell gets all the smiles and pats. I even told a nice lady who was patting Milo, “I never seem to get such attention.” She gave a quick answer “if you looked anything like him, you would too.” I never had the physical facial combination of a Jack Russell who, in the case of Milo, immediately attracts pats and belly strokes.

At parties (a long time ago) no one really looked much at me, even unattractive people would kind of look me over and quickly avert their eyes to the table with crackers and bits of gherkins pierced and clothed by sliced ham or prosciutto. I took notice of how people react to appearances. The loud thumping music at most parties does cover a lot of awkwardness between people. I think it acts like blotting paper soaking up difficulties in relating to others. It wasn’t unusual for people to walk away while I was still in mid-sentence about something as riveting as the local council and new parking laws, or the advantages of a particular paper shredder..

Of course through the decades, my concern about my exteriors in facial features such as nose, chin, lips etc. did wane and with a bit more nous, obtained through bitter experience and soul searching of the heart, overcame the frivolity of looks and charmed myself into relating to others on a more, if not substantial level, at least on a more sustainable plateau. It just took more effort and a repertoire of succinct one liners, nothing too obvious. The trick is to show interest in the other person without getting too personal.It’s the sage advice given to me during a stint in a George Gurdjieff group many years ago.

Even so, it is worrying that Milo seems to so effortlessly get all the attention. Are they my teeth? For years I have forgone wearing my ‘partials’. Partials, I just learnt, are partial false teeth embedded in a pink look alike jaw. I haven’t worn the contraption for years. I hated putting a combination of plastic and fish hooks in my mouth. In any case, I still did not get public pats, stroking or any, “oh, you are so cute.”

The double glazing now being put into a future action, I am now toying with teeth implants. Ideally I should get a complete facial re-build or at least a kind of fill-up. I have most of my teeth but foolishly had three teeth pulled by an over-enthusiastic dentist many years back. Some molars at the back disappeared as well. With my inexorable decline towards a coffin of one sort or another the remaining years might well get a boosting renewal with tooth implants. I will never reach the looks and charms of Milo but I am hopeful of more public attention in the future. Now, just notice the use of ‘future’. Isn’t that a positive sign? I have made an appointment with a local implant specialist.

I’ll keep you informed.

Those Irish

January 5, 2014

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While walking with our Jack Russell ‘Milo’ a few days ago, a woman approached us with great enthusiasm. “Oh, your dog, he is so lovely”. “We had them too,” she added. Milo looked up, as he does when the conversation turns to him. He knows he is a star,the rose amongst the thorns, or the daisy amongst the thistles.

She started talking with a question of whether Helvi was Irish. No, I’m from Finland. Oh, I thought you had an Irish accent, I’m from Ireland, she said. I thought, I better add Holland before being asked. Boy, did she love the talk. No wonder the Irish are so loved. The next item was how the Dutch are so clean. Tell me about it, I said. They even scrub the stoop, wash the windows as if a single speck of dust will send them to eternal hell-fire. One reason while we love living here in Australia.

This was the very thing she wanted to hear. “We have Dutch friends, she added, and are so clean we are petrified of crumbling the biscuit.”. It is scary, she added. Not us, I replied. I understood her perfectly. The Dutch are a bit manic with cleaning or at least, they used to. Perhaps with the influx of so many from dusty countries, the window washers and stoop scrubbers have been overwhelmed with those that rather spend time in social intercourse with friends standing on the stoop instead of soaping it.

I remember years ago, arriving at Schiphol airport after an absence of many years and within half an hour from leaving the airport seeing a man dressed in a suit standing on a small ladder soaping, and washing his spectacles shop window. It was a surreal scene. It brought it all back in waves.

It came out they were thinking of retiring here in Bowral and wanted to know our opinion of the place. Clever woman. We love living here. It is a great place. We live near, not one, but two hospitals. Where can you find that, we added.

Anyway, all of a sudden a man approached her and said; “I’ll be around the corner if you want to find me, near the shoe shop.”. “Yes,” she answered rather routinely. “He is just my husband and knows I am forever accosting people on the street with conversation,” she added. “Feel free any time”!

How great it is to have a Milo and hoorah for the Irish.

Louie the Fly is still around.

October 24, 2013

2210_diningoutside_jpg-500x0During the smoke haze some days ago I noticed the flies were in a frenzy as well. The sky had an eerie orange tinge. People seemed tense and walked faster than normal. It reminded me of the last days of shopping before Christmas. Perhaps the threat of fire and Christmas are related. Both are filled with a dread that something might not have been done or achieved. Did we really have enough food in the house for the upcoming festivities, and now, have I cleaned the guttering of dry leaves?

As we took our daily walk along the river with our Jack Russell Milo, I happened to choke on a fly which promptly got ingested. It reminded me of our life on the farm. Even though we left the farm three years ago, many memories persist. The best of them were the large house and the old settlers cottage from around the late 1880′ or so. We had a pool. I drove a ride-on mower and tractor to slash and keep combustible growth to a minimum.

Fire in summer was always on our minds. We had bought a petrol driven fire fighting pump and a wide arrangements of large diameter hoses with brass couplings. The first thing to go is often the supply of electricity, especially in farming communities when electricity poles catch alight. We had 40.000 litres of water from the pool at our disposal. We also prepared ourselves with buying a large generator that would give us enough power to run our sprinkler system and water taps around the farm and spare settler’s cottage. On most farms water is supplied from tanks or dams by electric pumps that get activated when a tap is turned on. We had a water license allowing us to pump 6 million litres from the Wollondilly river.

We were well prepared for bush-fire but still had anxious days when fires used to break out in the area. Fires could start by a farmer using a tractor to slash ,hit a stone, and a spark would ignite a fire in no time. Other fires were proven to be deliberately lit by bored youths. The mind boggles!

During the bushfire periods I always used to scan the sky for a hint of smoke and watched the local news. A previous bushfire in the sixties had destroyed most of the local community including a school and church.

One of the most amusing times were to be had on internet sites where the farming community used to chat with each other. Some of the responses were priceless.

A favourite subject to prop up during the heat was flies. How many did you eat today, was asked? Someone replied; I had at least twelve today, how about you?

In most French, Spanish, Greek movies, sooner or later, a scene props up whereby in the shade of a large oak, the family sits outside with a perfectly chosen out outdoor setting and a table decked out and laden with food and wine. People are convivial and wild gesturing adds to the excitement. Romantic and idyllic with perhaps a bee humming around the family about the worst threat to the event.

Did you notice on the TV news about the wild-fires, the flies buzzing around the news readers faces? I felt like getting the spray can out.
We can honestly say, those scenes would be hard to achieve here. We know, we tried many times. The flies made outdoor dining on a farm impossible. The only way to do it would be to wear black netting around one’s head and pop in the food by quickly lifting the netting, even so, flies would be opportunistic and get in. Unable to escape, yet another fly would get ingested.
That’s how it was.

Here is Milo, the incorrigable Jack Russell..

August 15, 2013

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I give you ‘Milo’, the incorrigible Jack Russell.

Our pet dog is named Milo and someone asked me to give him his turn in my next piece. Milo celebrated his 8th birthday on the 1st of August. We have recently been thinking of a trip to somewhere, preferably France or back again to Bali. Even though we have nice neighbours willing to care for Milo we thought of upgrading his credentials with the necessary injections at the vet in case of a stay in a kennel.

However, it brings a cold sweat to my armpits thinking of bringing Milo to a kennel. His beseeching eyes after dropping him off will haunt me forever. On the other hand he is skilled in manipulating things to his advantage, knowing full well my guilt gets into automatic very easily. He generally now runs the family and it is him who decides the events of the day and in what order.

Most evenings he now wonders in and out at his will. He either stands in front of the back-yard door or in front of the entrance door. Often he does both within a few minutes. His reason is the possums. He can smell them each evening. In early spring even possums’ thoughts turn to love and are busy plucking flowers from our garden which they garnish with Italian parsley, rosemary and cos lettuce before having an all out orgy with lots of grunting and leaping about. All this enrages Milo, who has decided now to sleep outside.

Before going to bed, usually around mid-night, I check on Milo who just sits under our Manchurian pear tree in which a couple of the possums have managed to climb into. I can see their beady eyes glinting with love/ lust and sex, in that order. So does Milo and he just quickly casts a look at me as if to say; don’t worry, I’ll keep an eye on them, just go inside boss. The problem is that there are so many of them that despite Milo running about, they slip by and climb from tree to tree. They know Milo can’t climb.

Milo is unperturbed by his lack of being able to climb trees or flying and does practice as much as he can. He leaps up surprisingly high for his size but inevitably returns to earth. At best, he seems to levitate for just a split second and that gives him hope which I am loath to take away. I usually look away when he leaps up so bravely and determinedly, not wishing to be witness when he lands back . I told him we are sure one day he will fly. He quickly looked away as if he somehow knew we were bullshitting. Milo is clever.

Even so, a stay at the kennel might teach him he can’t always have it his way. He will have to behave. I wonder if we will phone him from Paris to find out his welfare. My sister and husband looked after a house whose owners went to the US for 5 weeks. They had two French Bull dogs and the owners phoned up daily to find out about their dogs.

There is hope for Milo.

One of those Week-Ends

April 20, 2013

North-Idaho-Waterways1_3

One of those week-ends

Even though half of the week-end had passed, I dreaded the next half. All day it was all over the media about the two brothers allegedly responsible for the planting of explosives that killed three people including a young boy. Hundreds of millions world- wide were glued to their Apps and Iphones getting the latest. The two brothers are supposed to be ethnic Chechen who arrived in America aged about 7 and 12.They grew up in America. Some years later they plant bombs! What happened in between? One could ask the same about the man responsible for the massacre at Sandy Hook; what happened? They used to be lovely little boys not long ago. I suppose Klara thought the same of her little boy, Adolf.

I decided to (resolutely) to try and shake my gloom by taking a walk with my wife and our incorrigible Jack Russell ‘Milo’ to our little river at the back of our complex of eight town-houses. I call them ‘units’ but some also refer to them with the rather more grandiose name of ‘villas’! Coming from Europe, I hesitate to call them villas seeing they don’t resemble anything one would find facing the sea at Monaco or the waterfront French Riviera with 50 metres of swimming pools and helipads with Portuguese maids dressed in white uniforms serving Dom Perignon in tall stemmed glasses.

Years ago soon after arrival in Sydney and aged 15 I was desperate to investigate a Sydney suburb named ‘Palm Beach’. Having grown up in Holland and seen the occasional movie with waving palms and people lounging in hammocks while sipping from a coconut with skimpily dressed Hawaiian girls swanning about I was desperate to soak up and make real my vision of waving palms. I thought the hoola girls can come later as a concession to a possible disappointment. (Even then there were already creeping in shadows of doubt or negativity about my possible unrealistically enlarged projections of fantasized distant futures, dreams or visions.)

I was right to be skeptical; not one fucking palm. I walked along and noticed a garden facing the sea. It had a profusion of white peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) which I knew in Holland to be tropical indoor plants. I can still see my dad bending over them with a small watering can. I thought, well, at least something tropical at last. But…here my skepticism and previous negativity came to the rescue once more; on touching them, leaning over the white picket fence, ( just like dad bending over his indoor plants) they turned out to be plastic. Can you believe people spending time to plant plastic greenery? What sort of country had my dad migrated to with locals having the hide to call their suburb Palm Beach with no Palms and gilding the Lily as well? I have found out that the English speaking world is somewhat over-generous with naming things that are only just skirting along the edges of ‘truth’. They sell fresh-cream apple pies with the cream oozing out being a grainy mock cream and the apple probably plastic grown at someone’s Palm Beach garden. They advertise ‘free gifts’. Electrical shops are named “Good Guys”!

The walk along our little river or bubbling brook is always a restorative event. Milo goes berserk sniffing out the ducks while nervously cocking his hind legs alternatively every few metres. He is clearly eternally optimistic in breaking loose and murdering a nice duck, no matter how strong the leash is, he jumps around and is  enjoying jumping and bucking about. I don’t allow him his duck but as a concession to murder, I will let him loose at the church yard where he  chases the occasional wild rabbit and even killed one. Rabbits are in plague proportions, so…

Good boy Milo.., Good boy.

A bad world with Noam Chomsky and the UK Cardinal

February 25, 2013

chomskycarp460

A  bad world with Noam Chomsky and the UK Cardinal.

A sex scandal is engulfing a top UK Catholic priest. Allegation of this top Cardinal sharing drinking session with other priests with inappropriate behavior as a bonus will overshadow news of the flooding at the Australian Clarence River valley. Blade runner Pistorius is accused of murder and his brother of manslaughter as well as the top police prosecutor. The chance of scallywag Berlusconi returning to the top job in Italy. It just never rains but it pours.

It seems hard to come to anything redeeming this world. Where are the good news stories? Well, we lived for a long while on how Malala is showing the world to be courageous and not let being shot at in a bus remain a hindrance in wanting to attend school. She was indeed an ‘Icon of bravery’. The handing out of bravery medal for saving a drowning toddler, plus the occasional story of people with miraculous returns to life from dreadful diseases, do make headlines of sorts, but how do they weigh up against the ‘misery’ one?

Some years ago I remember reading a book called ‘the manufacturing of consent, by Noam Chomsky. While he might be best known for that book, he is lesser known for his writings about language and his theory that language is innate and that grammar and syntax ought not to restrict the language by too many rules. The innateness of language is one of the reasons why children learn languages so easily, almost effortlessly and naturally with the ability to understand and convey messages with the most eloquence and brevity which many also lose when growing up.

Why is that? How come they end up saying ‘stuff like that’ or, unable to find words to answer a question, escaping in the inane ‘you know’. No, we don’t! Perhaps the parents are mute, watching non-stop TV and with swallowing endless snack bars without uttering many words. Children do have to hear words being spoken.

We are so often surprised and entertained when the 4 year old comes up with the most astonishing observations and able to give words to it. Walking around with our dog (the incorrigible Jack Russell) Milo, he is often noticed by children in prams before they actually take notice of the adult a bit higher up, if at all. It seems that children and pets also connect better when they are still very young. Perhaps, dogs and toddlers are much closer in nature, more alert, more observant and an understanding, especially by dogs that children have much in common, including a language.

The understanding that priests, no matter how godly they are supposed to be, are without the tincture of carnality, would only escape the ignorant or the most fanatical of unquestioning believers. Why should they be excluded from that blessing or curse, depending on the acceptance of carnal pleasures or feelings of eternal misery infected by guilt and flames of promised eternal damnation?

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I can well imagine the priests after a couple of lovely cold ales or stouts freeing up, letting go of the stifling and forbidden, being cloistered up for weeks, trying  running away from their risible combustible erections and other forbidden mea culpa  temptations to give in to what the rest of us
are allowed, more or less, give free reign to.

Now years later, after all those thirty years of struggling in being good, all hell on earth now breaks loose with another hell waiting just around the corner. The poor Pope, it is all getting a bit much. He too must have had his morning glories. Perhaps, with a particular lovely nun having looked at him, oh so coyly sweetly and Virgin Mary like, in the papal eye and given rise to nature’s natural temptations.

A helicopter will soon take him away to a retirement and holiday destination south of Rome. He will still remain a catholic with a deep faith, he has promised. I wish him a few good years.

It’s not easy and we will be lucky to get out alive.

Bad news always outpaces the good.

A Horse, a Horse, my Kingdom for a Horse…(Steak)

February 10, 2013

galloping-horseA Horse, a Horse, a Kingdom for a Horse… (Steak)

There are so many different strokes for different folks it makes a mockery of absolute truth, common sense or even us keeping a semblance of  being sane. As some say; what is grist to the mill is porridge for the porkers.

Who can’t but be amused over the ‘shocking revelations’ that horse meat has been eaten in Britain? People were seen choking on their tripe and tripping over their chokos. What, eating horse? We are English, don’t you know? Cameron was keen in pointing out, the moral repugnance of having been dudded by the French in meat being horse meat instead of real meat, the holy ‘cow’. I am sure many were also outraged by having eaten horse, never mind morals of eating any animal.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-09/cameron-condemns-horse-meat-scandal/4509702

There is growing outrage, and of course, its le frogs who are to blame. What insult, with ’les chevaux’ being mixed into our beloved frozen hamburger mince. What will the neighbours think?

The irony must be crystal clear to many of the non-Anglo world that in a country where just about everyone is brought up on horse racing, betting and punting, that the eating of horses is seen as abhorrent, close to eating babies or to boarding out children to schools. (Hold onto your horses, we do that lovingly).

We all know that horses are not allowed to be whipped anymore and much is made to prove we don’t, with lots of TV footage of horses being stroked and even kissed (on the flaring nostril after having made a packet for the owner and the punters). Surely, that’s proof of our love for horses!

Yes, but what about the proof also that horse racing is cruel and not far removed from Espanol bull fighting or Indonesian cock-fighting. The animals are manically competing against each other and when their chance of winning is beyond hope they will end up in paddocks, hopefully looked after caring owners but many also with enlarged hearts, lungs and tissue damage. It is estimated that about 60% of horses trained for racing end up at the knackery well before their natural lives would have expired.

That’s right, next time you open a tin of Pal, look deep inside, you are looking at Beaux Hoofs or Triple Ur Dollar. Many also are so psychologically damaged, too nervous and flighty, unfit for casual riding around the paddock as well. We also know that many are damaged during racing with torn muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Look, having come from Holland I have eaten horse meat as well. Mea Culpa to all horse lovers. It was one of mum’s bitter disappointments that David Jones in Australia did not sell smoked prosciutto from horse meat.’ Oh, no we don’t sell horse meat,’ she was told. My mum blithely unaware of the cultural sensitivity, answered, ‘oh, you should try it, and it is sooo delicious… mmm…she smacked her lips.’ The shop girl disappeared, fainted behind the counter.

I don’t think the French, Dutch or Italians love horses any less than the Brits or Irish but make less of a fuss when eating them. The Dutch are more likely not to eat sheep. Those poor little lambs etc. It is strange isn’t it, with that lovely children’s song with little Bo Peep that it hasn’t filtered down in Britain to then also not eat lamb.

 

Different strokes etc… and so it goes on. The more one learns about people the more I like my lentils and stroke my Milo. Our incorrigible Jack Russell.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUql207FuW4

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Australia; don’t rubbish it.

November 5, 2012

Australia, don’t rubbish it!

When is the last time any of you have taken a decent walk along a country road? We are now taking a frisk 6 kilometre walk almost daily. For us it was an eye opener, and not just from the experience of joy or the fitness angle. The “keep Australia Clean” is starting to slip again. This can only be seen when taking a walk along any road, but especially those country roads that one dreams about. You know the ones; no traffic or noise, just birds’ song and waving tree tops, the occasional tractor with the friendly farmer tipping his beanie or a soaring wedge tail eagle with prey.

We walk along just such a  road, and have a choice of either side from our entrance gate. Some days, especially if it is cold, we turn left. This takes us through a pine forest for a kilometre or so and then through scribbly gums, ghost gums, argyle eucalypt, wattle trees and tea tree bushes. It all provides a lovely fragrance and as the road might just get a dozen or so cars per day, it is a lovely and peaceful walk. It runs steeply uphill and then down and past an old timber cottage called ‘Kymridge’. We are usually stared at by both sheep and cattle, with the occasional rabbit scurrying away and Milo, the Jack Russell, then straining maniacally at the leash. He is a killer.

Turning right on a sunny day, we walk through open country with views to die for. It goes downhill towards the Wollondilly River, which through the drought and as proof of climate change hasn’t flowed for years. All the ’real farmers’ around here have never known a period like this one. The fingerlings of the released  rainbow trout have all died, but the black swans are still hanging on and this year even had some young ones. We can still hear the song of frogs and warbling of wattle birds. The white and black cockatoos persist in eating our fruit and gnaw the top of the trees, screeching defiantly. There is still hope!

The reason for this article is that, despite our area being relatively free from traffic and city pollution, the rubbish strewn about is awful. I just cannot understand why this is so. The walk has now prompted us to take a bag with us to fill with the discarded rubbish. There are those blue and green foil chips bags that originally held twelve smaller packets. The smaller corn, chicken, barbeque and ‘plain normal’ packets are also almost indestructible. The wind fills them up like balloons, but they are not festive. Then, there are some large wax coated big M coke containers with the straws still stuck through the lids. Of course, many bottles, beer, soft drinks, both plastic and glass and with  those formidable large brown take away big M and white KFC bags, family sized, and still redolent  of sad meals taken in great haste and with indifferent resentment.  Also festooning from the barbed-wired fences, with glistening tears of morning frost, are those plastic shopping bags, just blowing listlessly.

The sheer volume of rubbish along this country road is nothing compared with that slung out on the highways. It is back to where it was many years ago. What is happening? Why have we reverted to throwing it out of the cars again. It can’t just be ‘others’ that are doing it. It must be us; even you and me. I feel terrible just chucking an apple core and make sure that no one drives behind. I watch the core bobbing about for a hundred metres or so before the distance takes it out of my view.  Truth is; apart from apple core, I don’t chuck anything out. So, it must be you. Ok, it is not me and not even you,  it is ‘them’.

Is it a revenge taken out on our lovely country?  Are we so miserable that, at the moment of not being watched, we lower the window and chuck it out, relishing our satisfaction of getting ‘even’. Have our lives gone so badly wrong? Is the misery of loneliness, the drying up deep in our throats of all speech, the intolerable monotone passing of days, with unrelieved stilted and stolen years  the culprit now?   The choice of not chucking things out, surely is ingrained naturally and re-enforced by parents, schools. Why rubbish something so nice as our country and nature? At shopping malls, I notice mattresses getting dumped and shopping trolleys miles away from shops. It must be some hatred that finds relief in throwing out and defiling. A bit like rape really.

I wish a good psychologist could give a reasonable explanation for this sudden explosion of chucking rubbish out again. Perhaps it is a disorder that has reared its head, a bit like swine flu, popping up every ninety years or so. All of a sudden a compulsion, lowering the car window, and chuck out the 2 litre coke and the hamburger bag, out it goes. But do we feel better afterwards? We were doing so well and could go along our roads and highways that were spotless and clean. People must have heeded the campaign by Ian Kiernan, and since 1989,  5 million Australians have helped 155, 000 tonnes of rubbish being collected. It now seems that the ‘keep Australia clean’ needs to be given a bit of a hand again. Stow it. Don’t chuck it out. While we are at it. Public rubbish tips ought to be phased out. It is old fashioned to foster the idea, that one can go somewhere and dump unwanted goods and rubbish.

Perhaps we always thought our country to be so big that it would accommodate our rubbish, and even somehow re-claim it all through time and ravages of weather. Is our psyche wrong and do we need to change? Not just keep our own house clean but also our common shared house and garden. Let’s make this the ‘bloody best’ and the cleanest in the world. Our Australia.