Posts Tagged ‘Milo’

The incorrigible Jack.

January 21, 2020

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Milo.

You can tell that the above Jack Russell dog is one of the most intelligent breeds of mammals around. This particular one is our dog Milo, so that explains my prejudice, but just have a good look at him. He exudes wisdom and a certain clear-sightedness of the world that he, together with billons of other creatures, shares with lesser mammals, the human variety. It has been known for a long time by some scientists the truth that the humans are now belonging to an inferior placenta mammal whose lack of intelligence made them introduce bows and arrows, nuclear bombs and endless wars with an innate desire to kill their own species. Some of those mammals belong to a special sub-species named poli-tic-ions, some of whom eat lumps of coal, are now busy resisting climate change of which most normal intelligent mammals are now acutely aware of and indeed have been trying to point the verity of climate change to the less intelligence endowed mammals for years…

The recent bushfires in Australia are responsible that over a billion animals have now perished. The cause of those fires are now well known to have been part of ignoring what the world of the more advanced mammals (phylum chordata) have been pointing out to the lower human mammals for years. Thus on a worldview, human mammals are just shown to be much lower on the evolutionary scale than the much more evolved mammals such as the koala, the kangaroo and of course the Jack Russell. Humans are not fundamentally different from mammals according to an evolutionary worldview, but certainly less evolved…

“The world’s species and habitats are under more severe pressure than at any time in human history. Over 10,000 tree species are threatened with extinction, as are almost 8,000 species of bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian and fish. The number one contributor to this alarming state of affairs is habitat loss, all of it driven by human activities, but the problem is compounded by unsustainable exploitation in all its forms. This collective mismanagement of our planet’s resources is leading to widespread declines in biodiversity and driving increasing numbers of species to the brink.”

https://www.fauna-flora.org/approaches/species-and-habitats

 

This is what the  human mammal is thriving for unless it changes course!

This morning while having a coffee with friends I took this photo of Milo and his girlfriend. You can tell they are a good couple. Milo is now almost sixteen years and Helvi and I used to wager who would go first. Sadly, Helvi did, and my morning coffees at the Bradman cricket Café named suitably ‘The Stumps’ are a real treat with good friends and they help to get used to the new situation of my quiet house, silent mornings and single plate at the sink.

 

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Milo and girlfriend. They are both great companions.

A widower’s attempt at mending his Ralph Lauren shirt.

January 15, 2020

IMG_0388Ralph Lauren shirt

Gerard’s shirt.

The above photo is of a shirt that I had re-arranged to fit over Helvi’s arm after she broke it on the 26th of June, 2019. I remember it well. It was a sunny day and I went bowling, but unbeknown to me and about an hour before I was due back home, Helvi while taking Milo for a walk, stumbled over a raised concrete footpath, and broke both her arms. What followed has already been exhaustively described on previous posts and I am still too mangled and upset to go back to it.

Helvi’s right arm was in plaster and had a steel or alloy plate inserted to help it heal. Her other arm had wires inserted to again help heal the arm. It did mean that her clothes would be hard to fit over her arms, especially her right arm. What amazed us was that we noticed many women ( and men) with enormous arms that were always clothed. The arms were tightly wrapped, but even so. Those arms were encased in material, shirts jumpers. You name it. How did those huge arms get into the garments?

So, why did I have such difficulty fitting clothes over Helvi’s plaster encaged, but reasonably slim arms, especially her right arm? One problem was that her arms were very painful and  the slightest force would result Helvi suffering pain, and she wasn’t one to complain easily! Her face would let me know! It was pitiful.

I did not really have the time to ponder about how large people managed to get dressed and instead investigated on overcoming my problem of dressing Helvi in clothes that would fit easily without causing too much pain while dressing her. I had shirts that were fairly wide-armed, men’s’ shirts generally are fitted loosely. I made them even easier to fit by cutting the right arms open to where the sleeve met the shoulder. This gave Helvi’s right arm the freedom to move about without any pressure on the shards of her broken bones. Of course the cuff would be left uncut so that the sleeve could still be buttoned up.

Now that all this has moved into the past, and Helvi gone since 29th Oct, it occurred to me to mend the shirts that were cut. I looked into Helvi’s mending basket and amongst all the bobbins of cotton, the needless, the boxes of saved buttons , her zipped-up container of small scissors, knitting needles and all other bits of haberdashery, I found a tape that one can actually iron on to mend tears in clothing items. I remember having used this form of tape before. It needs to be ironed on without actually ironing. You put the iron on ‘wool’ temperature and press it down on this magic tape. It is a type of clear material that adheres to the material without any visual changes. A bit of a true miracle repair tool really.

I went about first threading a needle with black cotton and stitching the long tear in my shirt sleeve as good as possible. I remember Helvi getting the cotton thread through the eye of a needle fairly quickly. I took a lot longer. After the threading I filled the sleeve with some padding to expose the stitched up sleeve and tear.  I took out the iron put it on ‘wool’ and ironed on the tape of mending material. Here is the shirt now. All as good as possible, The mend is on the inside so hardly noticeable.

IMG_0396 the iron mending

Here is the final result. Of course I could have thrown all the shirts out but I believe in not polluting the world. It is also a very good and comfortable shirt. I am so proud of my achievement.

Getting on with it.

December 6, 2019

IMG_0242 The kalanchoe

We are often told that getting over bereavement one has to try and refrain from sitting down and instead keep on moving about. Generally that is good advice even without being struck with bereavement. Of course, our houses have furniture, especially chairs, stools, and for the horizontal position lovers, beds. They are all instrumental in beckoning us to sit or lie down.

In my case of coping with a loss of my friend and partner, lots of friends have given advise on how to move forward and warned me of the dangers on sitting down. I like sitting down, and hardly ever get bored while seated. In fact, moving about I often felt an ennui creeping in more than when seated. The reason might well be that when seated one does not get distracted by moving pictorial images passing by while ‘on the move.’

In any case I thought of combining both the sitting down and the moving about way of overcoming a mind numbing grief. It is still so recent. I have applied to do some courses in U3A. Here it give a summary;

“The University of the Third Age is an international movement whose aims are the education and stimulation of mainly retired members of the community—those in their third ‘age’ of life. It is commonly referred to as U3A. There is no universally accepted model for the U3A. Wikipedia

Founded: 1973″
I have applied in doing 4 courses. Here they are.
1. Creative writing.
2. Thinking sociologically.
3. News in Review.
4. Global economy.
Already last year on the advice of Helvi, I managed to do a course in Dutch language also run by U3A. Unfortunately the person who ran the Dutch course passed away. Of course this 3 age includes the undeniable fact that with ageing one also approaches the finality of life much surer than when starting going to kindergarten.
I also have now decided, in the spirit of ‘keep on moving,’ to have a daily coffee at the local Bradman Cricket park café. It includes a good walk and with Milo in tow I hope to attract people. Even though Milo is the main attraction. An opportunity might present itself to engage in conversation with the friendly dog patters.
This morning’s coffee, a couple with a dog  were seated at a table outside in the sun. The dog had a plastic device around its head and must have had an operation in which it had to prevent gnawing the part of its body it was operated on. Poor dog.
Another woman was doing a cross-word puzzle but without a dog in tow.
This afternoon at 1pm I am going next door across the fence for a barbeque and a bottle of wine is being chilled in the fridge.
I am getting on with it.

Of earlier times and now.

November 10, 2019

While walking through my house (or should that still be our house?) I am struck how everything is still so much Helvi. They say that in grieving it is best to be busy and sustain from sitting too much. Walking around the place I sometimes just go in circles ( to while the time, achingly passing so slow)around one of the old tables that was part of the very old furniture from the farm in Holland. We lived there with our three children from 1973-76. This table through travel between continents and daily wear became a bit battered and some years ago, Helvi urged me to paint the top of this table white. At first the idea of painting an old semi-antique table at all seemed a bit questionable but Helvi never really attached much monetary value to things that we owned. It’s not as if one can take it with you, is it?

And that’s how it is. This place is the embodiment of so much that is still Helvi. Her sense of form and aesthetics would exclude any other consideration. Some tell me I should move somewhere else, but I now need time to pass. I go bowling tonight and in an effort not to fall in a heap I keep walking with Milo and shop at the slightest pretence. I haven’t as yet dealt with anything much at all, and am surrounded by flower arrangements and cards of condolences. The house is tidy and I wash up regularly, even if it is just a single cup and single plate. It is not easy.

I leave you with an early photo of us soon after arrival in Australia from Finland in 1965/66. We moved into a small apartment in Pott’s Point ,Sydney, which I had bought a year or so before. We were just married. The photo must have been taken with a self timer but it doesn’t look posed. We had such a lovely time there.

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Walking the dog and Autumn.

April 5, 2019

IMG_0067the Manchurian tree

Our Manchurian pear-tree

The weather is getting to the benign state of allowing daily walks in comfort. The hot blue skies and simmering asphalts have finally given way to soft rain with dove-grey clouds keen to welcome an honest autumn. Even the TV’s weatherman has taken on a calmer stance, showing a clear bias to cooler nights and crispy mornings. Two weeks ago I moved the aircon switch from cool to heat together with adding an extra blanket on our beds.

Here in the Highlands the seasons are distinctly different and is particularly inspiring to watch in the changing of garden greens and trees. Oaks, birch, claret ash, the different beeches, maples and elms are all keen to ditch their leaves. Soon the dreaded strapped on beefy looking  leaf- blowing Bowral Burghers will announce their presence.  I’ll try and summons patience and acceptance of the things we cannot change!  Gardening as a whole has become so much noisier and taken on the form of a war against the growing of things.  I often feel that over-enthusiastic bourgeois gardeners feel it all has to be kept in check and dominated and so line up on Saturday mornings, and buy all those petrol driven equipment to achieve that.

In our housing complex the gardeners are forever being implored to keep things tidy. Some ten years ago when this complex of eight town house were built a unified garden was established which included the Virginia creeper. This creeper always gives a great display during autumn with leaves turn a bright red to burnt-orange. They are fast growers and climb happily against any wall. They use tine anchors in the shape of little suckers to climb up. However, all of those creepers were removed. They were seen as not being ‘tidy’ by the management of this complex. We insisted on keeping our Virginia creeper.  It happily grows against our garage wall each year and even sometimes climbs over a section of the roof.

Milo, our Jack Russell terrier also prefers the cooler weather. He never fails to get admirers who will stop in order to pet him. Sometime he will jump up and sniff their bags. He hopes for a treat. He was lucky a few weeks ago when a woman stopped and opened her bag with hot chicken in it and gave Milo a juicy warm piece of chicken, freshly cooked. Milo showed his pleasure by wagging his tail.

Can you imagine how nice the world would be if men would treat each other in  similar fashion? I don’t know if I will ever reach a level whereby I would offer food to other people on the streets. I do give generously to people who play an instrument or sing on the streets. I went as far as losing my shopping trolley tokens last week to a man playing the didgeridoo. I just emptied my pockets on his little blanket that he had spread on the pavement. More and more people are going hungry. In ‘rich’ Australia many children go to school without even having had breakfast. Why don’t all schools follow Finland? Twice in a row, Finland has been nominated as the ‘happiest country’ in the world. All primary schools provide lunches and have done so for decades.

 

A surrender to the Meat pie.

March 25, 2019
Image result for meat pie

 

The walk with our Jack Russell dog ‘Milo’ is during the week-ends taken along a small river that flows through our small town. This routine was established because of the town itself being inundated with motor bikes and their riders during week-ends. Milo has a ‘thing’ about motor bikes which through the years we haven’t been able to solve, no matter how many dog psychology books we have read, or trained him to accept motor bikes. He just goes ballistic. Most of the motor bikes are being driven by pre-coronary failure bearded middle-aged men on their last hurrah before the motor bike gets replaced by the mobility walker.

We broke with this river walk tradition, and took Milo to town last week-end. The weather was pleasant with the sun demurely casting a nice glow amongst the oaks and birches planted in the town square. The town square is surrounded by enough shops and cafeteria to give it an almost European feel of a community at ease enjoying a Sunday without guilt.

As we started to get a bit hungry I suggested we might get something to eat. We sometimes go the whole hog and order ‘lunch’, mainly at Thai restaurants of which Bowral sports a couple.  Depending on the level of hunger, we also, at times, just grab a sandwich or share a plate of fish and chips. This time however, like a bolt out of the sky, Helvi said; ‘I might get a meat pie’. One has to understand that Helvi in all her past septuagenarian years never ever had a meat pie. She took one look at a meat-pie back in 1965 after our arrival in Australia as a married couple, and almost fainted. ‘How could you have shown me that’, she asked? I explained to her that my first experience of Australia was the meat pie. Years before our marriage and as a young 16-year-old newly arrived from Holland, I worked in factories sweeping and cleaning but also ordering lunches for the workers. The main lunch orders were meat pies and bottles of Fanta soft drinks. I was amazed at the conspicuous wealth shown of Australia already then. At times, half eaten pies were thrown out, just like that! Can you imagine? To be able to afford throwing out food surely was the epitome of a belching opulence and wealth. I might have had trouble then in accepting this new cultural discovery but put it down as proof of Australia being everything that we had been told. Not exactly streets paved with gold, but at least with a thick runny brown gravy bravely encased in a brown baked crust.

After Helvi’s declaration and intention to eat a meat pie, I could hardly contain myself. For the first time too, ever! I asked her what changed her mind. She said; The shop advertises that their meat-pies have won many ribbons at the yearly Sydney’s Easter Show. This show is Australia largest agricultural event. A competition of all agricultural products imaginable, even those that are unimaginable. A rich yearly kind of carnival where kids pester their parents to visit, mainly to get their hands on ‘show bags’. Show bags are made to corrupt kids into eating sugar and contain amongst other, Coca-Cola, Mars Bars, Violant crumble, sickening lollies, fizzy powders and much more. After a day of murderous mayhem, the exhausted mothers and kids used to be able to get relief at Bex , Vincent APC and other nauseous and headache relieving medication bars near the exit. I kid you not. They were called BARS!

Anyway, the pie shop is called ‘The Gumnut’ and the windows are full of Easter show ribbons and awards proving their meat-pies ‘year in year out’, are indeed the best in Australia. The meat-pie judging is done by seven pie experts on a podium in clear sight of judges, all in white garb and donning white caps. Gloved fingers prod the pies for buoyancy, firmness, springiness, before actual sampling. It is an exhausting all day affair. The public, including nervous nail-biting pie enthusiasts are seated in the special arena where the judging takes place. We know how involved this all can be because we used to show our finest alpacas at the Easter-show. (Sadly, we never won a ribbon.) It turns out, according to the ribbons shown in this Bowral pie shop, that their pies are the best.

And this, dear readers was the reason that Helvi for the first time ever had a meat-pie. She loved it. ‘Real beef, she exclaimed’!

The Neighbour’s cat.

February 14, 2019

001The cat

Neighbour’s cat

This is a picture of the cat that keeps the mice and rats on their qui vive at Harley’s property next door. Harley and his wife keep three chickens which he calls ‘his girls.’ I feed the chickens when they go away. In exchange, Harley, or his chickens really, allow us to keep the eggs.  We like a nice Pinot Grigio so a bottle from that grape variety gets thrown in with eggs. They are our best neighbours and gives a good break from the cyclamen thievery within our compound. It still riles us! Remember how for exchange in saving our Body-Corporate $10.000,- in obtaining a far more competitive quote for the exterior painting, we were hit by abuse and threats for us to move and sell-up, and the twice theft of our potted in beautiful ceramic containers, the oft mentioned and loved cyclamen!

But the cat is what I want to write about. Just forgive my regression on the cyclamen era. The neighbours next to us are not in the same group as the dusty frumpy relics of the past. She, a single mother, moved in a year ago or so. She has two teen-age sons, and two cats. One of the cats is the one in the above picture. It taught Milo, our Jack Russell a bitter lesson. When he saw the cat for the first time he went furious and tried to teach him a lesson amidst the summer daisies. The cat with one swipe did the job. Milo retreated with a yelp and one closed eye. He badly underestimated the stance of this mighty cat. The cat was not to be mangled with. From that moment Milo gave it due respect and no further issues arose. Milo often spends the nights outside and so do the cats. I suppose they met up again and made a truce, if not a good friendship as well. Our Milo was the best of friends with our cat on our farm before 2010.

It turned out that Milo almost lost an eyes with this single swipe from the cat. He still bears a mark on his bottom eye lid. It was that close. What astonished us is when the cat now takes naps on Milo’s outdoor sleeping blanket as shown in the picture. Milo knows and approves. All has been forgiven.

Isn’t that an example how nice it would be if people could behave like cats and dogs?

The Hydrangeas are coming.

December 17, 2018

IMG_0225The Hydrangia

The Hydrangea.

It always seems that when Christmas gets closer the days give up less of their time for the normal things to do. This morning at 8.45 we had an another appointment at the local hospital. Just a routine visit but the waiting room was already crowded. The oncologist who saw us said; ‘Christmas is a crazy time’, the sooner it gets past, the better’. This was wholeheartedly agreed. Helvi said a few weeks ago; ‘oh dear, Christmas is coming. We so much like normal times.’ The waiting room was so full, we stood upright, no empty chair, and the TV was on some commercial channel espousing the benefits of a face-cream, guaranteed to take wrinkles away. Most of the patients were glued to it, I suppose, any promise is better than none, even though no cream has ever taken away a single wrinkle. We believe in magic as we believe in a jolly Christmas. The doctor told us he read somewhere that thirty days of food are bought for just one single day when the shops are closed. I enthusiastically added; ‘. We have seen people buying complete trays of mangoes and 5kilo hams.’

So when we got home, we took Milo for a walk hoping he would do his ‘business’ under the bushes. He is very hygienic normally and have no need to take a plastic bag with us in case he does it on the food-path. He did it once in front of a kitchen shop and people were hopping about, while Helvi quick as a flash distanced herself from me and Milo. However, he again happened to do it on the street in front of some pedestrians, but I pretended not to have noticed and bravely walked on. ‘ Hey, someone shouted, look at this,’ pointing to the still steaming little tart. I joked, ‘I did not do it.’ The woman looked totally perplexed but lacked humour. ‘Of course, you did not do it, your dog did. Go and do the right thing.’

Helvi was furious with me, especially when it was added, ‘finders keepers’ to the humourless woman. All social graces seem to have gone. Where are the good old day when there was laughter about? Is this the Christmas spirit so many bang on about?Surely, no one could have taken my remarks seriously?

When we got home  and things cooled down, Milo looked me in the eye. He winked. What do you feel about the above Hydrangea? Isn’t it a beauty?.

 

What flower is that?

November 7, 2018

Image-1unknown flower

On many of our daily walks Helvi comes home with a piece of greenery plucked from the gardens that we pass. She dips it in hormone powder puts it in water, and most time it will sprout roots. Our garden is full of those borrowed off-shoots. This one shown above is a result of her gardening exploits. But, what is it?

Image-1milo sniffing out a possum

We don’t have such worries about our dog ‘Milo’, and what he is after. We are again in the midst of possum mating. Milo get furious about that.  He must know what they are up to. He was castrated but must still get twinges. However, he tries to even the score when it comes to possum mating. He spends the nights outside thwarting the grunting cavorting by possums for romance. In the above photo he is picking up the scent of a possum.  He is fully alert.  The teapot on the table is a wedding present. Sadly the lid broke. We now use it to water some plants. It is an Arabia piece of ceramic art from Finland.

Image-1White cockatoo.jpg

A white silver crested cockatoo is waiting for his feed of parrot mix. He knows and trusts us now. He likes the corn best but he doesn’t mind sunflower seed either. Milo has learnt to tolerate the birds but makes an exception to the black crows. He might think they are part motor-bikes. They are just as noisy. He is sometimes difficult to figure out.

Image-1kitchen view

This is the view from the kitchen sink. It is the first part of our house I walk to after getting out of bed. The washing up is never resented. It gives great joy.  Where is the kitchen sink? And now the kettle for a coffee. Just perfect.

 

Soccer between France and Australia.

June 17, 2018

 

Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe.

There is always a first time. Helvi scanned the TV programme for Saturday evening and as the pickings were a bit slim, surprised me by saying; ‘why don’t we watch the soccer?’ We never watch any sport. When sport comes on the TV, we slink away to clear the table or use the time to put the dishes in the sink, feed Milo, only to return when the weather forecast comes on. We are not against sport. There is just too much of it. At my social bowling-club I am often embarrassed when I am asked what I thought of the latest rugby or AFL match. I don’t understand the game or the scoring and so often read players being up for drug charges, glassing girlfriends, sexual misconduct, drunkenness etc. I always though that playing with an oblong ball must result in a warped personality and deviousness

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You can imagine my surprise when Helvi suggested to watch the world soccer match beamed live on the TV. I always felt that if sport was anywhere on her radar, it would be soccer. I agreed that to settle down to watch Australia play soccer against France it would be a first in our long term marriage or relationship. People are in relationships rather than marriages. Does it have a tinge of sophistication now?

The weather outside was atrocious. The wind was howling and the forecast was for snow down to 700 metres. We are at 500 metres above the sea on the cusp of snow or at least a bucketing of sleet. Helvi had already packed up the Kalanchoes who don’t like cold. The cyclamen were jubilant in eager anticipation of a nice cyclonic frost. The violets are more indifferent and like extremes of weather, cold or heat. Those brave little souls.

The TV was put on the right soccer channel, the shiraz uncorked. I threw all caution to the wind. The cheese, olives and other delicacies on the coffee table. I turned the thermostat to 25C.  I thought it so typical and lovely for Helvi so often to make the best of things, and in such a surprising and creative way. The thing with soccer is that the ball is round and generally goes towards its intended destination. The ball is also used to kick it instead of being (Illegally) carried around under the arm as in rugby. No-one in soccer will ever grapple with each other either. In a rugby scrum one could be forgiven in thinking that maybe it isn’t only the ball they are trying to grapple with. Who knows what goes on between all those legs, arms and bums?

We enjoyed the soccer immensely and so badly wanted Australia to win. As it turned out there were some dodgy calls and hints of video evidence being ignored favouring France. They finished up winning 2-1. Australia played very well, and even though they lost on a faulty technicality, can walk proud into the future.

Helvi and I had a great evening. Who could have thought that so late in life we watched soccer game?

It is never too late!