Posts Tagged ‘Peugeot’

Carmen at Gosford

May 19, 2017

It’s been a long time since we watched an opera. A good friend suggested we join up and see Carmen. Of course Carmen was the one we used to tap our feet with many years ago. I could never get enough of ‘Oh Toreador’ which is one of its main operatic attractions. Off we went a couple of days ago in our Peugeot. The car our daughter returned when her stolen car was finally able to get re-registered in her own name again. There is an opera waiting to be written just about that saga alone.

The last time we watched a real-life opera was Wagner’s ‘The dance of the Valkyries’ whose whole opera, the ambitious Ring Cycle takes a complete week-end to watch. I think that takes a lot of operatic keenness which I am still working towards. Some people find Wagner a bit moody and heavy but we loved the dance of the Valkyries. Perhaps sunny Australia isn’t the place for moodiness in music. I am sure Bizet’s Carmen would fall on better and more eager ears.

The Carmen production was held at a small 400 seat theatre in Gosford’s Laycock theatre.  Gosford used to be a small sleepy village in the fifties when I used to drive my parents there in my first car. This first car was a light blue Ford V8. A single spinner. It had brown leather seats. The front seat had a build-in ashtray and held three adults. People would buy a block of land around Gosford and work towards building a nice week-end retreat. Retirees would flock from Sydney to Gosford. It had a milk bar and its own railway station. On a quiet day you could hear sheep bleat.

Gosford isn’t a sleepy village anymore. It is huge. There are more traffic round-a-bouts than people or New York City.  The theatre itself is surrounded by so much traffic chaos we felt like giving up. Helvi even suggested we might have to go home. No bleating sheep anymore in Gosford. It wasn’t just the traffic and round-a-bouts. The visual assault with so much signage, a blur of gaping car sales yards. Big McDonalds. How can people even think of eating ?  It was next to a white severe looking building which had ‘Endoscopy’ written on it. Do people have a Big Mack and then go for a colonoscopy next door? What an amazing world we live in!

The theatre remained a distant prospect. We could see it as we drove around and around. Screaming tyres. Huge exhausts belching out smoke from road trains gone berserk. My hand gripping the steering wheel of the Peugeot as if  at any moment I would be dragged to the hangman’s scaffolding. I needed a good Carmen. We finally hurled ourselves from the round-about and parked next to the Endoscopy building. It felt safe.

The theatre itself an oasis of calm and serenity. Peaceful retirees. Lots of grey hair and muffled sounds. It was packed and the performance ready to start. An electronic buzzing indicating we should take our pre-booked seats. The theatre was fully booked. Amazing when you think this was Wednesday at 11 am. The Carmen production was just brilliant. A huge cast with the orchestra well hidden below the stage. Rousing responses from the audience after each song or performance. We enjoyed it thoroughly and it was well worth the drive and manic traffic and chaos. Isn’t it wonderful that despite the spiritual barrenness of the surroundings with all that blatant exposure of crass commercialism one also get those jewels of art and creativity?

The world isn’t as bad as we might sometimes believe.

Thank you Bizet.

The stolen Car and other strange procedures for the Aged

August 11, 2016

41yjSAQeq1L__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ oosterman treats

It has been some four months since the daughter phoned us up to say her car had been stolen from inside her remote controlled garage. Even though the car was recovered within a couple of days, the police impounded it because it had to be used as proof in a court case. The sales yard where the car was recovered from had bought the stolen vehicle from the thieves and claimed innocence. A police Court case ensued. Our daughter was told she would have to go without the car for a while. She thought though she would get the car back soon.

It is a complicated story but she finally got it back yesterday. No apology or explanation from the police. They expressed surprise the car wasn’t returned immediately! We gave her our car to use in the meantime. As time went by, we too had to get around and after driving past a car on the highway with a “For Sale’ sign, we ended up buying the car. It looked nice and had no obvious signs of being previously crashed. It was a car built by Bayerische Motoren Werke. What made us decide was that the owner told us you can drive this marvel of German Technology with all four tyres flat. Now, there is car which gives a new meaning for driving flat out.

However, now that our daughter finally got her car back, we took the train yesterday to Sydney to retrieve our car, the Peugeot (with foot-rest). However, we don’t need two cars. The BMW is smaller with endless electronic gadgetry for which one needs to take a couple of weeks to plough through the manual. A baffling mix of so many options on heating, steering, lights, the seat tilting up, down, sideways or forward. Locking of doors and bonnet alone takes a PHD to comprehend. However, as we again became embroiled in the Strata Body of our housing complex, and a heated dispute about parking problems, Helvi thought it best to keep both cars in order to give the neighbours something to worry and speculate about.

Just as things had calmed down and peace returned, the painting by the Iranian born Father and Son contractor and conflicting claims of priorities to some owners resulted in the percolating up of dormant problems. Some owners claimed their patch of front garden had been trampled on. One owner reckoned her Rosemary bush had been snipped. The colour of paint was wrong, or not enough coats of paint. Some demanded their town-house be painted first. It just kept on bubbling away. The usual fights of periodontal suffering pensioners, all keyed up and nowhere to go. So little available irony despite all the attempts for seniors to do fitness classes.

In any case. We will keep both cars for the time being. The rego is free for one car but not for both. There is a limit to our Government’s generosity towards pensioners. We would like to claim our spot of visitors parking which is next to our garage. The neighbours opposite us have three cars. One for each daughter and one for husband and wife. We get on well with them. They also are considerate enough to have lots of potted plants in front of the house which gives us a glowy feeling. Kindred souls so to speak. They were nice to the painters.

Spring is on its way. Millions of daffodils are nodding in parks and nature strips. All is well and the daughter has her car back.

https://www.amazon.com.au/Oosterman-Treats-Gerard-ebook/dp/B01IRQZY7C/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1470877728&sr=1-1&keywords=oosterman+Treats

Going to Kathmandu.

November 30, 2015

IMG_0743

My daughter was hit by a $105.- bill for being two days late paying a parking fine. As if life is not tough enough. She had paid the fine but not the extra $105.- for being 2 days late. She  received a letter her license was cancelled. Why is the punishment so severe? She works part time for Docs. (Department of Community Services). We paid the fine for her, direct into the consolidated revenue account in order to get her license reinstated promptly. You would think that the Government would do things in time. No; she will have to wait till she gets notified by official letter by snail mail. Her job is very trying. She looks after pre-teen children that have been removed from families through all sorts of combinations, but mainly abuse. She sometimes has a 24 hr shift whereby she sleeps over at the place that she works at. Often the work involves the police when children escape or other traumatic events are happening. A very stressful job!

We thought of getting a break ourselves. Helvi had noticed a flyer that seemed to have floated around our letter-box even though we araldited a sign on our letter-box; NO JUNK MAIL.  Some other owners have added PLEASE after the ‘no junk mail’. We did not go that far which might explain why we still get flyers. Even though real adventures are the domain of the knickerbockers wearing youths including stout wenches, both with huge backpacks clambering to mountain tops, our adventures are taken somewhat calmer.

The flyer advertised all sorts of items relating to the outdoors. The shop was called ‘Kathmandu’.  Kathmandu we can do, even at this stage. We both strapped ourselves into the Peugeot with a somewhat reckless demeanour. I gave our neighbours of The Body Corporate a brave shout of deviance, before heading off to Kathmandu. There ain’t nothing we can’t do! The day was going to be hot with predictions of over 30C. No matter, we put the temperature inside on 19C and pressed the ‘automatic’ button on the Peugeot’s air-con. No sea too rough, etc.

It took us 40 minutes to get to a huge shopping mall at Campbelltown. It has been extended and is now so big it has it’s own climate. When we arrived there was a small thunderstorm with some hail near the David Jones outlet. Just perfect for us as we had prepared ourselves for any eventuality wearing RMW boots and trousers with leather belts. Both of us also wore sturdy hats, sunglasses and reinforced wallets. The Kathmandu shop was next to a shop named ‘Bras N Things’. I am curious what the N Things are.

We soon found the advertised item. They were trousers with an insect repellent ‘infused’ into the material the trousers were made off. Can you imagine? No more mozzies or ticks snooping around the legs or conjugal departments!  And…

good for over 70 washings! Reduced from $179 to just $79! I tried one medium pair, after urgings from Helvi. I hate trying on clothes. The taking off shoes and then getting the obstinate toes hooked onto the trousers, both with taking the old ones off and trying the new ones on, is just too much of an adventure at my age. The medium pair were too short and  too much of a Dr Livingstone look. A larger size was perfect. They have enormous multi storey pockets in which to keep passports, wallets and even a tablet for selfie taking. I can zip the legs off as well, making them into long shorts.

What an adventure the day turned out to be. We also bought two huge fillets of Barramundi. We wolfed one down after arriving back home. Tonight we will have the other one

Kathmandu here we come!

 

 

Juicy thighs with crushed Italian tomatoes.

February 4, 2015

photothighs and toms

The time has arrived to once again take to food writing. It was yesterday when we combined a visit to the Campbeltown quack on the way to grandsonal watching duties in Sydney. Grandson watching used to be combined with cooking a meal at home and taking it in an esky to Sydney and re-heating the lot for the starving grandsons.

Both grandsons now go to high school. The youngest for the first time. Again, memories came flooding back that I thought had gone and deeply buried or al least permanently dormant. It seems, no matter how deep things get buried sooner or later someone will dig it out. Those Dutchmen long gone on those forlorn West Australian Islands murdered and buried hundreds of years ago are being exposed now and will be remembered forever by those that write history.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-03/unearthed-grave-sheds-light-on-batavia-shipwreck-mass-murder/6068008
Can you imagine the horrors of those years?

But a more relevant memory, at least more relevant to this piece is the issue of ‘school uniforms’. How my mother rallied against them. I can still see her in full flight off to school defending her stance on education = allowing, nay encouraging individuality, which was the crux of her argument. All to no avail. She finally had to cave in. The subject was not open for reason or logic. She so gutturally pleaded as a last line of defence, ‘why not have at least all uniforms the same, no matter what school students go to?’ Her Dutch practical mind did not easily give up? She badly underestimated the might of Anglo-Saxon traditions and their much beloved credo; ‘if it isn’t broke don’t change’.

And now, go forward sixty years, I am off to school with grandson Max in tow hoping to at least get a couple of bargains from the second hand uniform shop at school’s office. He needed long pants, grey of course. Shoes,black of course. Blazer ($350.- new) with school motto (of course). This old man has mellowed and I did not argue at all, just smiled but remembered. Forgive me mum, it is all so much water under the bridge now. Some things never change, least of all school uniforms.

Max with school uniform apparel in a black plastic back and I drove home in the Peugeot with foot rest (of course). I then started on a lovely meal of chicken thighs and pan fried potatoes all drizzled with fine olive oil and a can of Italian crushed tomatoes with lots of sage and thyme.

Lovely it was and the boys loved it.

The Foot-rest Car deal.

September 16, 2013

untitledI never knew this, but cars have wells. A foot-well; and it is where your feet are when driving. (Another definition is an example of sentences with their pronunciation, according to Mr Oxford dictionary). Let’s stick with the car foot-well for the sake of this piece of writing.

This is going to be a boys’ piece, so be warned ladies!

For a couple of years we have been driving a car without a foot rest. Unbelievably as it sound and just at the age where many have gout stools, we have a car without a foot rest at the bottom of the foot well. It means your left foot is kind of hanging at half-mast with the toe part pointing upwards. After a couple of hours driving it feels as if your foot has given up the will to go on any further.

This was one reason we thought of getting another car with a foot rest. Without compromise on foot comfort we went straight to a dealer of cars and looked for a model with foot-rests. I know that many people would have car priorities in different areas of requirements but believe me, we wanted just a good foot-rest. If the car had four wheels and an engine as well, so much the better.

”Could you show us a car with foot rests, please’’, we asked the salesman who already observed us from the moment we stepped into the Peugeot/ Volvo/Skoda dealership yard. ’All cars have foot-rests’, he smiled. ‘’Not our Holden Cruze,’ we answered with expert car nous. (We didn’t want to come across as elderly car ignoramuses.) ‘’ Ah, well, you are talking just Holden,’’ he quipped but still friendly. ‘’Perhaps you are after European comfort with a smooth overall superior technical suspension,’’ it sounded as if out of a Peugeot prayer book delivered from the pulpit of the Notre Dame.

‘’Yes, but also with good foot rests, can you show us some,’’ we demanded firmly. ‘’We have several with similar outputs as your Cruze but with far more comfort and good stabilizer controls.’’ The French know a thing or two about comfort and style,’’ he added while looking at Helvi, smelling a sale. He went even further; ‘’you know how good the French are in designing good comfortable yet stylish shoes?’’ ‘’Oh, yes, so much better than here,’’ she answered him. The salesman was on the home run now having observed Helvi’s very Paris looking shoes and fashionable colourful silk scarf. ‘’You are wearing lovely matching ear-rings,’’ he smoothed on.

‘’Just show me the Peugeot with the footrests, please,’’ I curtly stated, not to be left out totally and hoping to gain back the upper foot and my authority in the coming deal. He obliged by opening a few car doors here and there. My foot honed in on the foot-rests on the left of the foot-well. The Peugeot had by far the widest and most comfortable foot rest.
After a ‘free’ coffee, compliments of the yard dealer across the road in an antiques cum old wares cum books cum coffee shop we mulled over the trade-in of our foot-rest-less Cruze and agreed to get the Peugeot 407, 2009 model with low kilometres and great foot-rest.

We are picking it up today.

Our feet deserved it.

Weaning us away from Mother’s SUV nipple

January 31, 2012

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There is no doubt that we love our car. Each Saturday we scan the newspaper for the latest models or look up Mycar.com. on the internet.  There is nothing more inviting than strolling past car-sales yards with gleaming vehicles and their yawning bonnets. Flags are fluttering festively and the canny salesman has already spotted a possible customer/client. For those that are into acronyms SUV is ‘sport utility vehicle. Of course, there is also the AWD and other acronymic variations we have bestowed on our much loved, but basically, metal box on round rotating wheels.

It is the car that, originally, made it possible to move away from normal, close-knit communal  high density living and gave us freedom to move about and away to the wide open plains of a freshly minted suburb with lovely kerb & guttering. What we also, at first enjoyed hugely, was the luxury of those slow lazy Sunday drives with mum and kids to the Blue Mountains’ Three Lovely Sisters or even Palm Beach . There weren’t as many then as there was awhile ago, the song goes. As the numbers of Sunday drivers increased it became in direct proportion of a decrease in our enjoyment of the drive. Soon, the ‘Sunday Driver’ became a diminutive term for a slack-arsed slow inexperienced driver. It was the beginning of the end for the joy of driving cars.

As the cars and their owners grew in numbers, so did the size of cars. Go to any school during drop-off and pick-ups and huge growling double storey monsters of cars (often painted an AFP like sinister black) will sidle up as close as possible to those institutional gates of little Jane or Jimmy’s school. It’s all part of a well thought out plan by the captains of industry to keep rolling over an economy. This ‘economy’ and our slavish adherence to it seems to increasingly look a bit dodgy, we now have a quality of life which is less than it used to be before the advent of the metal box. Sure, we assuage ourselves that we never had it so good. Why then, does it take an ever increasing number of us to visit the quack and chemist and end up swallowing pills, keeping raw nerves and tempers at bay? What about our ever increasing dependence on alcohol, gambling?

Have any of you ever watched mothers with children and babies getting in and out of cars, loading up the shopping or picking kids up from school? The nightmare of strapping in kids, the folding up of an obstinately arched struggling screaming baby in its car cradle- basket, the packing of saxophone or cello, those huge monstrous Mount Everest school bags. Where is your school hat-drink bottle-school bag-lunch money? Where oh where did I put my daily Mogadon?

Suave salesmen sold us the block out somewhere West and we built our brick veneer with an imposing Juliet balcony held up by presidential looking but fake columns. By car it was only one hour from work and who wouldn’t change the horror of the Redfern semi to a lovely vista of rolling hills and a blue country haze. It seemed the right thing to do.  The rolling hills are now rolling suburbs, the blue haze black smog; the hours’ drive a two hour nightmare. More and more incidents of road rage. You run the risk of getting knifed or clubbed to death by driving in the wrong lane or even just looking at another driver who might well be sky high on meth, or diazepam.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-30/experts-debate-how-to-address-housing-shortage/3801284

There is an answer to all this, and again it is the suave salesman who is leading the way out. The fringe dweller is selling out and opting for the cozy and intimate apartment with balcony and roof-top garden. A ‘back to Redfern’ movement has started in earnest. The SUV is losing out to the more frugal little Citroen, Peugeot or the very competitive diesel Holden Cruze our national flag-bearing iconic treasure. Best of all, transport on two feet or bicycle, the bus and train.

It seems the height of irresponsible planning to keep on nibbling at the outer edges of our endlessly suburbanized cities, isolating people even further and further from infrastructures and above all, each other. All those forlorn suburbs with all the concreted driveways, the double or triple garages will just be become parking places for giant SUV’s with their owners driving& parking and driving& parking, God knows where to. Probably, some de-hydrated Shopping mall and those infernally addictive food courts with the entire population of suburban fringe dwellers, and with each mouthful, growing fatter and thus a need for even larger SUV’s cars.

It’s just a hopeless way of living.