Posts Tagged ‘Renault’

Persistant Migrant Memories

August 29, 2012

Persistant Migrant Memories


Our arrival in Sydney was drunk-less and a great relief for all of us. We walked to Hyde Park and mum distributed all the ready- made IXL jam sandwiches, but not with as much jam as we would have liked. Old habits die hard, they say.

On the way back to Scheyville we met up with the Van Dijks at Granville rail station, this is a railway station of some significance and would feature into the next eight months of our lives. It was arranged we would live with the Van Dijks and our departure from the Camp was now imminent. My mother went with Beb Van Dijk shopping at some stage because after we all moved from Scheyville to the Van Dijks we all had brand new, gleaming, chrome plated steel framed double bunk beds. The arrival of all of us at the Van Dijks was not without big surprises. You can imagine my keenness to finally discover this magic car that would convert to truck and back to sedan. As it turned out, it was a 1939 Chevrolet utility with three wheels, the forth one was missing and the car was compensated for that loss by a pile of bricks. It was rusty and nothing like what I had imagined. What a blow, if not deceit. I never saw it being driven.

Disappointed, but I got over it, at least they did have a car, a tiny 1951 Renault that was more like a jacket than a car, something that one put on for a rain shower and it was small. None the less, the whole family would pile into it on the way to church and back. This is when the cake eating came into its own. The house itself was in Guildford, not far from that Granville Station, on a busy road and was very old and in disrepair. Apart from that it was situated in the middle of large stacks of timber and cast iron baths. The baths must have looked promising to our mother. The raison d’être for her coming to Australia was in sight! The car was not the only item on three legs. The pet dog, a large German Sheppard at least ran around on three legs. A friendly dog but why three legs? 20

Anyway, that first evening after our arrival we all had coffee and cakes and good times would surely be arriving. Perhaps a bit hesitantly, but step by step our determination and sense of Dutch pioneering would triumph?


So, it was after we moved in from the Migrant Camp of Scheyville with the Van Dijks and our discovery that it is ‘not all gold that glitters’ and that their reporting about their good fortunes in Australia looked a bit pale, that we had to put shoulders under the tasks ahead. Mother was the chief of staff that sat out this mammoth job. Dad, crumbled not only from the disappointment of now living in the middle of a timber yard with huge rats being chased by a three legged dog, nor the ‘magic’ car on three wheels, nor that the extension that we would live in but not built. The only thing that was true was the Van Dijks cake eating every Sunday, after hobbling down-hill in the Renault coat jacket.

Dad just collapsed and refused to come out of bed, deeply depressed and knee deep in gloom. The promised Government job was not available to non British subjects, and he, who was totally spoon fed on life-long permanent Government security, was crushed. The temporary ideology of a culture that thrived on temporary accommodation and temporary jobs, temporary living quarters, people moving to another address at the drop of a hat, was something totally alien to us, especially Dad. He stayed in bed for six weeks. It is difficult to describe those first few months after arrival without coming to some conclusion that the picture of a new country as portrayed by the Australian Immigration Office in The Netherlands and the letters from the Van Dijks had not met the reality of our situation and life then.

The unbearable being of a Brussel Sprout.

July 26, 2012

Not all that long ago there were still people who thought the world was flat. They formed the Flat Earth society. Its members were always careful to stay away from the horizon, scared they might topple off its edge.

While most of us are happy with a round world, it seems flatness is making a comeback. I am very worried about the curve of roundness disappearing. While not against frugality of size and the narrowing of the essentials in smaller and smaller products, I feel that this mania to reduce and downsize is concentrated too much on the flatness of things.  Today, of all places, at Aldi, one can buy an entire dining set of large table with four dining chairs, all in a flat pack. The week before, a huge turbo gas driven four burner stainless steel barbeque, all came in a neat square sturdy carton flat pack. Our ugly curved lampshade looming over the settee; in a flat pack. We bought some time ago 4 lovely Cotswold garden chairs after seeing them at a show room. We noticed a trolley going to the back of the store and soon after it reappeared with 4 flat packs.

Designers now must be considering first of all on how to fit the object into a flat pack before actually designing the products. If it can’t be put into a flat pack it won’t get to production. I believe Renault is working on designing cars that fit into a flat pack with a major requirement being all can be assembled by the use of a single giant Allen key.

It might all be related to storage. It is a known fact that flat stores better than spherical. Notice though that even small objects are all in flat shapes. TV’s used to be large and have curved screens. Now, the large TV makers are vying for making them as flat as possible. Soon we will watch TV on flats sheets of plastic or paper. Soccer balls used to be round but know come also in a flat package to be blown round later on after it has been bought. Meat products now come mainly in vacuum sealed and flattened out shapes. I would not be surprised there is a conspiracy between the giants of the supermarkets that will entice people to put more into shopping trolleys when all the foodstuffs come in flat packs. Have you noticed that Brussel sprout are becoming flatter and squarer? Soon through genetically modifying and capturing the flat nano particle, food engineers will produce flat cauliflowers and potatoes. Another requirement seems to be that once the flat pack has been opened, the challenge of un-wrapping the plastic surrounding the object has to be tackled. Not an easy task with the plastic obstinately refusing to give way to almost any object used to penetrate it. I have used my teeth to try and break through.

Years ago, being called square wasn’t a term of endearment but one wonders with the exploding world population, people will revert to being square again. It would enable us to take up less space. We already live in square rooms, sleep in square beds and fill space with flat and square objects. It would make perfect sense to all and everything becoming flat and square and…..boring.