Posts Tagged ‘Mother’

How was your Pulled Pork?

March 2, 2017

imagesTOR600JI

After our American friend arrived a couple of days ago we had lunch at a local pub. Our friend from California is having extensive additions and renovations done on his house. He needed to live elsewhere for the duration of this. He is renting a house in the never never of Sydney’s sprawled-out Western suburbs. In the past it would have been referred to as beyond the black stump. In the earlier days of colonisation, the black stump was a landmark used as a pointer to unmapped interior of Australia. This sunburnt never never country. The black stump, a burnt-out tree!

After arriving and perusal of menu, Helvi chose the Pizza with anchovies and my friend and I went for the brisket sandwich. My friend explained this is a traditional Jewish dish. A kind of pulled slow cooked beef. What is it about this pulling of meat lately? There is now a race on to have ‘pulled’ meat dishes on menus. Especially pulled pork. Not long ago it was the pink salt or Himalayan salt. Soon after the wooden platters or slate on which food was served. Remember the waiter going around with giant pepper grinders? That’s old hat now. We have ‘pulled’ pork or beef. Are cooks pulling on a piece of meat before cooking it?

It is all so confusing. Are people now socialising, talking about their latest ‘pulled pork platter’ at the Berlin Café? I can’t imagine asking a nice sophisticated lady during the interval at Beethoven’s ninth symphony at Sydney’s Opera house, ‘ How was your pulled pork today?’

Within about ten minutes or so, our dishes were ready. This pub gives you an electronic buzzer which always frightens me a bit when they go off. So much now is done electronically. This pub is very popular. It means those devices are going off almost continuously with people dancing around from table to table.  With my deafness I sometimes mistake this noise with a call on my mobile phone. I now don’t take my phone with me. Even so I react. It is so crazy out there. Life so much nervous reaction which I can do without.

The patrons then walk to the counter and pick up their dishes. With the introduction of wooden plates it is an art  to walk back without spilling pulled meat or anchovies onto other diners. This is especially so during Friday nights when people go around selling raffle tickets. Most pubs do that. The tickets are raised to fund charity for the poor home-less or football clubs. Lions clubs or Father Riley, The Smith family and so forth.

After we picked up our wooden platters of food, we got stuck into it. The juices from this pulled brisket sandwich soon flowed onto the wooden platter. Those wooden platters don’t have a rim like good ceramic plates have. I made a little dike with a paper napkin. This building of dikes comes naturally. Even so, it distracts and the brisket wasn’t all that well pulled. Enfin, we continued on. Our American friend commented that it was nothing like his mother’s brisket cooking.

Is anything ever like our mother’s?

 

Going to Pedro Almodóvar. Julieta

November 29, 2016

Pedro Almodóvar’s movies are always as good as taking a holiday. It revives the spirit. One leaves the cinema elated. What Hitchcock was for thrillers, Pedro is for passion and guilt. Julieta is again a film where familiar territory is sought by Pedro Almodóvar. The story is mainly filmed in glorious Madrid. A city for which the movie camera seemed to have been invented. It is not for nothing that even the New York City’s Woody Allen has filmed in Spain if not France as well. The lack of hoardings and ugly signage a bonus on its own.

From the very opening till the last I was taken. With padding the years on, I did not think I still had it ‘to be taken’ Cynicism seeks friendships in the old, and it can creep in. But, there you go. It is never too late. The poetry of images in this film doesn’t let up. The story of relationships, family and children and its insane pain and unavoidable losses along life’s wanderings is searing up front. But,it is the way the envelope of this film slowly opens its contents, that makes this film a work of art. Of course, the architecture of Madrid and all things Spanish, gives it the background. Without this it would just not work the same way.

The story involves a daughter deciding not to contact her mother again for many years. Grief stricken, the ageing mother comes to grips with this terrible loss. She seeks answers and as they begin to reveal themselves, she starts to understand the subtleties of where and how children grow up, move away. It is when the daughter too experiences a terrible loss, she seeks and understands the cruelty. Even loving people are capable of causing so much pain on each other. Why is that so?

A great movie.

We will meet you in the book-shop

September 27, 2016
Mother, daughter and sons on the way to Thai café.

Mother, daughter and sons on the way to Thai café.

I could hardly believe that it is has now come to this. People that bother reading my blog should know I do tend to exaggerate and with a fair bit of word-knitting, twisting and turning, manage to make events and experiences as truthful as possible. With school holidays our grandsons often use the time to visit us for getting and renewing their pancake hits. Their mother is often fed up and glad to be rid of them. We, on the other hand make them wash cars and give them money for the lollies-shop.

A major achievement has been a break-through in travel arrangements. They now come by train. It saves a lot of ‘I spy-I spy with my eye’ while in the car driving home all the way from Sydney. The older one lords it over the younger one, and driving while controlling a fight in the back seat brought this Grandma and Grandpa often close to strangulation or teenticide. (with a quick burial of both of them under a large gum tree.)

They have now gone home again. The eldest likes basket-ball and is now over six feet. The younger boy loves fiddling with his IPhone, almost doubled over it in concentration. He stays up and watches soccer being played late at night. I discovered a jar still full of black Kalamata olive liquid except, there were no olives. It’s useless asking, ‘who ate all the olives? They have reached the age of no return, and I have given up about making them feel rotten, let alone guilty. However, they did heed our constant nagging for getting to read words in books. Oh, we were relentless, and told them that words are the only way to make sense of the world and their future.

It’s not easy to get older and facing adulthood. There could well be a nagging suspicion there must be more to life than one day after the other, to be conquered and gotten through. Their belief in two headed monsters at the sea bottom and fairies in the forests are been given a severe dent, looked at with suspicion and some doubt. However, the repeat of experiences does also coincide with curiosity about sex and what might be possible with those stirrings down below.

I know when I discovered sex more than sixty years ago, I felt a huge load being lifted. This is what it is all about! Why did someone not tell me? How terrific! What a discovery in my early teens. I must tell my friends about this.

Of course, now I think is THIS what has driven me? How pathetic. All that heaving. What madness. Are you for real? Look at yourself. Look at peoples faces instead of their crotches. You should be ashamed of yourself, Gerard. My mother was right. Stop it! Go to confession.

On the second day, the boys wanted to explore a very large second-hand bookshop that opened up here in Bowral. It is called, not unreasonably ‘Reading’. So, we told them we would follow after a couple of hours and asked them where we will meet and have lunch. You know what they said?

“We will meet you at the bookshop.”

Now, wasn’t that something to lift the spirit. I reckon their Mum , Grandpa & Grandma must have done something right.

Is a sugar-tax cricket?

March 20, 2016
Still in The Hague. My parents

Still in The Hague. My parents

 

The last few weeks have been trying. Getting a book to fruition during a heat-wave is nothing more than self-flagellation. Readers might remember that it was suggested to change back the Father and Mother words to Dad and Mum. This was done via my newly advised and learned Word- processing trick, by instantly replacing all the words in the whole book instead of trawling through the whole manuscript, word by word. It even lets you know how many Mums and Dads were changed. There were new issues about ‘keeping Mum about a secret, ‘changed instantly into ‘keeping Mother….’

Of course, during changing from Father& Mother back to Mum and Dad (for the second time,) when writing about an episode of a budding artistic career involving hand painting Friesian Grand-Father clocks with windmills and sea-gulls in endless flight, it changed into Grand-Dad clocks. It still meant going again through it all. How does one remember having used words in a totally different context or co-joined? Just as well the Catechism wasn’t written. ‘It the name of the Dad, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

My good friend, Paul in Balmain offered to format the whole caboodle.  When it was mentioned more changes were likely to come, he stopped. The formatting formula whereby pages get numbered, photos with descriptions or titles underneath introduced, sub-headings appearing, the different fonts  and so much more, would all become hay wired when any changes are made. It does mean it finally has to come together as good as possible. And, all this, with not excluding serif or sans serif, is making an enormous demand on keeping sane.

It has now come about when opening a book the emphasis is on any mentioning and checking the fonts, both the size and look of the letters, spaces between paragraphs, the inclusion of ISBN number, catalogued with National libraries, the back page blurbs. Dedications and grateful murmurs to all sorts of helpful people. The issue of laying claim to copy-right. Issues of privacy and possible libel. Do people who get their manuscript published continue writing and reading?

Most publishers want the first few chapters and a bibliography. Others want the whole manuscripts ‘print-ready.’ Some want one to study the books they have published and write a synopsis of this or that book.

My goodness. One could have been a good surgeon, or prominent lawyer.

Rest assured that all is well. Just now I have made some cuts in potatoes, added chopped garlic and pepper and wrapped them in alfoil. Did the same with some carrots and shallots. For a few weeks all our cooking has been done outside. We sit in the shade with Milo chasing lizards. We chase some Shiraz instead and wait an hour or so when the spuds and carrots will be almost cooked. We put on the salmon cutlets with some red capsicums that have been sliced.

Voila, a perfect solution to book publishing fatigue. And…not a single spoonful of sugar is used. Poor old England, the sugar- tax bogey man is coming. People are starting to hoard sugar in their cellars. Soon, like smokers, sugar ingestion will be done on street corners behind newspapers or in dark alleys. People will try and stir in the sugar when no one is looking.  Husbands will be suspicious of wives coming from the larder. What is the world coming to…a sugar-tax!

Those going without ‘word-replacement’ features.

March 13, 2016

IMG_0829The Salvia

The angle of his head wasn’t the only sign of despair. The way his left hand was clenching and unclenching was classical of a well nourished depression. Even those slightly interested in body language would know that. However, this man seated on the park-bench was attended by his very alert beagle hound. The dog wanted to be let free to chase ducks.  I decided to pat this dog and try and engage this sad person in conversation.

Lately, by much encouragement from my wife I wanted to put words in action and engage more. I usually steer well clear of raucous or excessive boisterous people but make generous exceptions for those that appear serious or sunk in gloom. They are often more interesting. A psychologist would probably agree and might well say; “there is a lot there.”  You just don’t get serious without good reason!

My Father was always hovering very close to being a serious person. Readers might remember he went to bed for six solid weeks soon after our arrival in Australia in 1956/57. It was too much. “Far out,” might well have been an expression totally justified. I mean the three legged German shepherd dog chasing huge rats around the old house surrounded by cranes lifting stacks of timber. The old 1948 Chevy pick-up on three wheels. The mud and the early morning bucket pissing ritual behind the flimsy partition. And…the house, contrary of what they had told us, wasn’t even owned by our old Dutch friends. It was all too much.

To make it short. After the advice of my co-blogging friends I discovered- none  too late- that my computer too had a button that would instantly change words all over my manuscript. It is called ‘word replacement’ feature. I had laboriously been changing Mum and Dad into Mother and Father, word by word, hour after hour. It was pointed out this could have been done instantly by using the 2013  Micro-soft Word ‘word replacement.’

I changed first Mum which was replaced by Mother in this replacement feature numbering 64 times. But, wait for it…! After I did the same with Dad into Father it did replace it 87 times.  I am not saying that both my parents weren’t equally loving. And, I wasn’t aware that the attention in this memoire manuscript was weighed more towards my Father than to my Mother. On reflection, Father was from my point of view more deserving of getting mentioned out of sheer sympathy . He just wasn’t the pioneering migrant. Instead, a man of dreams, questions and ponderings. A lover of the stars, books and celestial things.

The brutality of the change from the safety and security of Holland to the untrammelled lust for materialism with own house. The world of the Sun-Beam appliances, the yawning car-sales yards and everything on deposits and ‘easy-terms’ wasn’t for him. The New Country just did not beckon the same for Father as it did for Mother.

Mother on the other hand was the achiever and doer. Never to stop and reflect too much. She would be about making the mountains of Tip-Top sandwiches for her six children. Shopping, knitting, crocheting, sewing and making things. She was the accountant. The looker after our beds, warmth, food and comfort. Equally loveable. She would make sure that all obstacles could and would be overcome. Not a person to mope about. On the other hand, my Father, who liked growing flowers and try out gardening was seen by mum more as a way of saving money, not having to buy flowers or vegetables. The practical over beauty. The romantic and the thinker over the pragmatic, the maker and doer.

The man and his dog turned out to be alright. He had struggled for years not knowing he could have used ‘word -replacements’ all along.

 

This life of camping out. ( Autobiography)

August 31, 2015

The moving about, even just in the mind can be unsettling. Ten days in Bali, ok, let’s move there. Two days at the Eco-village in Queensland, lets go! No wonder my Helvi is getting nervous. “You will still take your own with you. The black curmudgeon sits on your shoulder night and day”, she says.  “People know that,  they can see it,”  is added for extra impact.  The dream of living in like-wise communities is what plagued me since birth.  And that’s how it goes. The attraction of living somewhere were low impact on nature is shared within a community, does pull. That’s apart from the bonus of a ban on fences, especially colour-bond fences, and  electricity burning air conditioning.

It is true that the social skills of easy laughter and merrymaking in company of others is wanting. A demeanour of a seriously looking  man exudes around, and leaps in front like a warning, well before actually meeting.  It can’t be helped, even when wearing my partial dentures.  However, lately I do go around smiling more which helps, but only in combination when walking with our Jack Russell ‘Milo’. I got a smile back last Tuesday at Aldi’s tying up Milo at the trolley bay. I saw her again inside the shop as she was bending over the carrots next to the capsicums. My H is the opposite. She has a Mona Lisa smile. It comes naturally. She feels the smile. People often talk to her which I envy. She draws in people. I seem to repel but am working on it. It is never too late and I can still climb stairs two steps at a time. That has to be worth something.

With the autobiography or memoirs if you prefer, it seems to have stalled. The moving about has rippled into the consciousness of everyday living. The living in a town- house  of seven others in the compound is magnifying the stark differences between communal design and the exclusive or excluding design where privacy dominates.  People might peer from behind the blinds. Perhaps not even that! A garage door rolls up but the owner is already in the car. We can’t see him as he drives off.

In Eco-village last week we saw people moving about inside their houses. There was proof of life. Some were working in the garden. Children were running about. Kangaroos were lulling about sunning themselves on grass with the black water-hens picking morsels out of the compost bins. A man with binoculars was trying to spot birds. He had lost his wife some time back but he had not given up. He recorded all birds and had bought cameras to photograph whatever he felt like photographing. He was happy.

You know that at the age of over seventy five, the egg-timer is slowly running out of sand. One is not totally without optimism. My mother was 96 when she quit. A good omen. Dad smoked but enjoyed it till the end. At his funeral and going back afterwards, my mum cleaned for the last time his ashtray. He was still alive the day before and drove his car. He hated hospitals and going to the doctor.  No sooner when he was taken to a hospital, he died. He died at 78 but not because of smoking. So all up. If we split the difference, ( one has to be fair) it would allow another ten years before the egg-timer would run out of sand.

I would be happy with that. So much still to smile about.