Posts Tagged ‘Oosterman’

The Author is going indoor bowling.

July 24, 2017
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Our kitchen of ‘give and take’

While sitting in front of the computer dispensing words of comfort if not wisdom, can be very fulfilling, there needs to be interaction with people in the flesh as well. We are not all islands on one’s own although with age, one gets the sneaking impression it might not be all that bad. Just reading this morning that my car is fitted with faulty airbags. In America a man was found dead in his car with his face so badly lacerated, police thought he had been shot at close range. It was a faulty airbag!

Of all the things that death might come to visit me one day, to have had life finished by a faulty airbag is about as futile and ineffectual as it can get. One can just imagine the grandchildren going through the Oosterman’s heritage finding out Grandpa died by an exploding airbag. A cunning one could well add, ‘he always was.’

It was with the insightfulness of not having enough real-life people around that I felt something should be done to meet more people.  H. said on a few occasions ‘You are cranky lately, and not easy to live with’, followed by  ‘you used to make me laugh.’ This last one bit me. I knew it was serious.

Some time ago I joined the local Labor Party, but it was held in one of those musty Halls of Women’s Christian Fellowship. The moment one stepped in, the wafting of aged doilies and stale biscuits, forlorn plastic bouquets fading in forgotten corners, Christian dust to dust photos and so much more would greet one inconsolably.  On top of it all are my hearing impairments, making the whispered minutes of the last meeting inaudible. I went twice and with all the support of keeping the refugees locked up by Labor as well, I quit and joined the Greens. It still did not really result in more people contact. It was too sporadic.

Of course, the daily walk with Milo often brought bystanders to stop and ask if they could pat him. Only last week, a man stopped who was wearing very thick gloves. I noticed them and thought it a good opportunity to talk about gloves; where are they from, what are they made off, where did you buy them? I wrought the conversation out as long as possible and went home wiser about gloves. I even bought a pair.

It was in the afterthought of H’s remark of getting about more, that I took the decision to join something of a more physical nature. In my foolish youth, so many decades ago, I was always amused to walk past the East-Balmain outdoor bowling club. The ridiculously white uniformed Bowlers, all bending over to bowl, showing bulging bums and possible medical devices compensating amputations or irritating bowel syndromes.

The sport seemed to attract the retirees who on a Sunday could combine all this bending over sport with a couple of beers with ham and cheese wedged-sandwiches ( no crusts). Later on, those sandwiches as a result of Slavic incursions could well contain garlic and gherkins. I even remember stalking past seeing platters of olives doing the rounds.  I swore never ever to reach an impasse in my life that involved becoming a member of this white uniformed bending over bowling fraternity.

And yet, it has come about, dear readers. I joined the Mittagong RSL and this Wednesday join the Moss-Vale RSL ( Returned Soldiers League)indoor bowling club. I have reached the age of Bending Down (or over) to Bowl. I loved my first bowling day yesterday and even took to the cubed sandwiches. Ham and cheese. It was all a rather casual affair. Vaughan, a wiry haired gentleman, explained to me the basics of the game. It included that the balls that one bowls with are weight-biased. Anything biased takes my attention. I took to it like a duck to water. I love how the game includes the bending over and how this bias can be used to advantage in order to get to the aimed destination. It is surprisingly skilful AND both sexes play together. Banter is the norm. No uniforms or protocols. Being mainly elderly players, there is no fuss.  Nice people.

I have reached the age of Bowling.

 

 

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And now for the good News

February 24, 2017

 

Almost ThereThe last few posts have been the work of the curmudgeon supreme. Jerimiah seems to have  reached a new level in delight and joy, highlighting the never ending stream of all that is going wrong. Sorry for the bleakness, but somebody had to do it. I don’t know why I watch the news. Relentless Trump and Turnbull. Neck on neck trying to outdo each other in a race to the bottoms-up, dehumanising their patch. Surely, there is something more cheerful to write about. Those grim purple faced bishops fronting the Royal Commission. Footage of one eminent church leader dipping a large feathered brush in Holy water sprinkling the congregation. Oh, such folly of voodoo and chicken feathers dressed with mitres and in flowing robes. Are there Technical tafe courses in becoming agnostic?  I am sure many are now queuing up.We need many more doubting Thomas’s.

 

The good news came from our National Library of Australia in Canberra.  ” Dear Gerard Oosterman.” “We would be DELIGHTED to receive a print copy of your book  ‘Almost there.’ Our records showed that this title is now published.”

Can you believe it? All this apart from both my books also having been entered in two of the State Library literary competitions. I am so happy that, after I posted the book at the Post office, I promptly shouted myself a nice  micro-wave heated up sausage roll. The word ‘delighted’ really did it. It was about time somebody got delighted.

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I walked with my fat sausage roll to a park bench in Corbett Gardens, Bowral. The same park where the three elderly sisters were hit by  lightning  last week.  I sat down with Milo. He looked keenly at my poly-styrene package holding the sausage roll. It was a mini celebration. I would like you all to share in my joy.

I gave Milo about half my treat.

It was so lovely and good.

Post Christmas Blues. You are a swine Mr Dutton!

December 27, 2016

With more than seventy Christmases behind us, we of ‘Oosterman Treats’ are enormously qualified to speak and deal with Post Christmas stress, or PCS in medical or psychiatric parlance. It comes from huge unreal expectations. You can just imagine those poor sods having lined up outside the department shops for hours hoping to buy yet again another unwanted and unneeded item. Boxing day ‘specials’ with discounts so big, many items are almost free. Did you see those contorted shoppers’ faces on TV being interviewed? One girl proudly stated that shopping is her only aim in life.

Of course, the Christmas revellers stomachs are just as churned up. Huge loads of sugars and fats having to be regurgitated with cuds re-chewed and worked through. It generally hits most people about a day after Boxing day. The money is gone and the new hand-bag or T-shirt are just that, a bag and T-shirt. The pavlova has melted and made a mess at the bottom of the fridge. The ham is souring and so are the kids. ‘We are bored’, is now a common refrain uttered by thousands of kids and echoing above waves and sand throughout the country. Spare a thought for mums having to cope with that! Dads can go back to work after nursing a head-ache from too much Pinot Gris.

Pardon this serious reflection but believe me, it will pass. The answer is to do nothing. Life goes back to normal and the passing of this Christmas will be seen by many as a relief . Normality is to be preferred after all. We have to gather strength to do the vacuum, chuck out the wrapping paper, scrape the plates clean and heroically face the next few days. New-Year’s Eve is still to be wrestled with, but that is just a few hours and doesn’t generally include anywhere near the pandemonium that Christmas holds. At least we won’t have to hear those supermarkets jingles over and over again.

What took the gloss of this Christmas was the death of yet another refugee on Manus island. The poor man had begged to be treated for months. It was ignored and the medical nurse told him to stop faking. He can’t fake now. He died. He spent over three years on Manus and had his refugee status approved.The Government will not commend on his death and his family wasn’t even notified. How could we have a Christmas with that happening?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/12/24/27-year-old-sudanese-refugee-held-on-manus-island-has-died/

I tell you now, if we ever move again, it will be away from Australia. This government has reached the bottom for compassion and humanity. They punish and kill refugees for not having drowned in the first place.

You are a swine Mr Minister Dutton for killing refugees, and so is your boss, our PM Turnbull.

The birds understand.

November 15, 2016
Birds always understand

Birds always understand

The cabin that we escaped to was even better than expectations. It was tucked between ocean and bush with a mostly deserted beach in between. It had a very large and wide veranda decked by timber slats and covered overhead by a high cathedral shaped corrugated roof. The ideal retreat from US political turmoil and the night-mare of a Trump-led future. The image of him swaggering around the US, lunging at genitalia, building walls, exporting millions of Mexicans and Muslims became unbearable. We had to go away.

We had just unpacked the car and put milk and the lamb-curry in the fridge, when the first of the birds arrived. You could tell they expected something from us. They looked at us and insisted on making beady-eyed contact. Bird’s eyes are often beady and rather penetrating. When still living in Holland’s The Hague, I kept many pigeons on the veranda two stories up. I started communion with birds rather early.

It is always a good move to try and befriend birds by offerings of food. I broke open a packet of Aldi’s almond meal and marzipan little boat shaped cakes. It is one reason we made a last minute shop to Aldi. It is about the only sweet we sometimes allow to arrive inside our home. Both of us are not fond of sweets. I am much more of a herring man and H.is very keen on any food related to anchovies. We had rented cabins before and then as now, we had taken this marzipan-almond little tarts as a special treat. An Oosterman treat really.

The two coloured birds were getting excited. This is true, but only as far as it is possible to detect excitement in birds. They now moved their eyes to the almond cakes. I broke some off and put it on the railing just a metre or so from the chair. Well, it hit the right note. They immediately gave notice through the tangled jungle. ( in their own language) and all of a sudden all their mates arrived. They share, you see. No building walls, and birds don’t spread discontent or fear.

Just now I remember feeding seagulls in The Hague. A lake opposite, and around the Royal  Palace  was keenly visited by seagulls. All you had to do was to hold a piece of bread, and a friendly seagull in full flight would swoop by and take it from your hand.

A great memory.

Senior moments of Australia steeped in political morass.

July 5, 2016

photoThe eight weeks of electioneering in Australia had finally come to an end. The voting had finished at 6pm on the second of July. The counting had started right on cue at all the scrutineering posts. Helvi and I had settled down on the claret coloured settee. Milo had been fed. The wine decanted and breathing heavily. It was all-ready-set-and-go. The TV was switched on soon followed by the sound bar. It is one of those electrifying evenings that one might still talk about for years to come. Forget about Dr Who or God of Thrones. Election night hasn’t been missed for at least thirty years.

The Government funded advertisement free TV station, the ABC, has always been our favoured channel to watch. As the early figures started to come in we were heartened by a swing towards the left. We are left of the centre but not so left as to drop into the stormwater drain of rioting unions or brick throwing bakers. That might be so because of our age. Our brick throwing days are over. If anything could still be thrown it would be a marsh-mellow. We do believe that the rich get smoked salmon and the poor mainly Salvation Army soup. The gap is increasing and the people getting restless.

As the evening wore on and with the wine taking its effect, the two person party in our household was swinging. All caution to the wind. The power of our multi millionaire Prime Minister was drooping. Seat by seat Labor was winning at the expense of the Liberal & Nationals. At the same time it also became clear that the Duopoly of both major parties was being curtailed. Both parties were losing out on the primary vote which went to a bewildering number of smaller parties. Pauline Hanson’s ‘One Nation Party’ did a Lazarus after almost twenty years in the never never wilderness. She sucked in the anti-immigration, anti Muslim, and anti halal certification vote. She made sure that at the election barbeques around her area, all her admiring xenophobes were provided with non-halal sausages. Her prime attraction for voters was to pass a law that would insist on CCTV cameras be installed in all mosques.

At the end of the evening ( and it was now 1.30am) the experts on elections announced the most likely scenario would be another ‘hung government.’ This election was supposed to be to strengthen the Government of the LNP PM’s Malcolm Turnbull grip on the future of Australia. It might take days if not weeks to get a final result. It is likely, another election will be held before Christmas. The reflections by Mr and Mrs Oosterman are, that our PM just did not follow up on the image that we had of an innovative progressive leader. He did not pass legislation on the SSM that the nation overwhelmingly wanted, and instead went for a $150 million plebiscite at the end of this year. The other promise of lowering taxation for businesses at the expense of health and education was also seen as a hand out to the ‘big-end’ of town.

Australia is now faced with uncertainty, yet life goes on. We had a terrific evening. The sun came up, darkness lifted. At least, the LNP are now in a downward spiral. Exciting times ahead. I do hope that the prospects for the refugees on Nauru and Manus Islands will get resolved soon.