Posts Tagged ‘Scheveningen’

Postage.

May 27, 2016
wives waiting for their fishermen husbands at Scheveningen

wives waiting for their fishermen husbands at Scheveningen

Can someone explain why internal and overseas postage is so exorbitantly expensive in Australia?

I get charged between US$4.60 and US$3.20 per book sent by Air from the US to here in Australia, depending on numbers. Yet, to post a book within our own State of NSW cost A$7.40! But, it gets worse, a single book sent to Holland from Australia cost me A$33.40!

What’s up with Australian Post? No wonder local retailers are complaining that on-line shopping by people from overseas is too expensive due to the charges by Aus. post.

There is nothing more purgative than a good whinge. I just came back from the local post office with our Jack Russell ‘Milo’ sitting in his usual spot on the console with his cadaver smell just inches away from my nostrils. I looked at him crankily. He just returned the look by nuzzling my ear. A calmative action he knows will work. Now that he is getting older we suspect he likes the drive much more than the walk. We prefer the walk as many stop to pat and say sweet words to Milo.

Of late, it provides most of our social intercourse. It is amazing how many people know about the Jack Russell. It seems a never-ending subject for discussions. With some clever manoeuvring however; mainly by Helvi, the conversation can go off at a tangent and we get into the more interesting aspects of a pavement discourse. Last week the subject of the writer Albert Camus came up. I think (but am not sure) the man mentioned France, and how the terriers are used to catch rats there. This was a propos his own Jack Russell having caught a rat around his shed here in Bowral. I followed this up by mentioning a type of terrier used to kill rats in the Spanish wine cellars. He returned by mentioning that rats caused the big plague in bygone centuries. I then threw in my bit about a book being titled ‘The Plague.’.He seemed to remember having read the book also. His wife helped him out by mentioning Albert Camus.

We are now at 2pm and the temperature in my car sits steadily at 10C. It is a bitter wind that comes straight from the snowy mountains, where the first of the skiers will soon be arriving. On a Friday afternoon one notices the cars with skis strapped on the rooftop. Of course, now-a-days most hire the skis and all that goes with it, on arrival at the resort. For many the carting of skis and boots is a thing of the past. In any case, with the climate warming up, the skiing has not been all that crass hot and snow is now made by huge machines that try and fill up with snow where nature has been scant. They make snow and spew it on the side of the mountains. I have skied in the past but not lately, or to be more precise, not over the last fifty years. I am not sure I would enjoy it on man-made snow. A bit like looking at artificial flowers. No matter how realistic they are now. It just doesn’t cut the butter.

The tuna dish.

September 24, 2015
wives waiting for their men at Scheveningen

wives waiting for their men at Scheveningen

We all know that fish is good. As we get older and start to stumble with memories and forget the name of a previous world champion runner or a failed Prime minister, it is time to call in the fishing fleet. As a child I used to watch this fleet coming in with the first herring which would be rushed and presented to the Dutch queen. Those first herrings used to cost a fortune. Our family would wait for the price to fall before able to buy them. The fishermen’s wives were waiting anxiously  at the peers for the boats to come in.

I was at the tail end of the herring fleet still being under sails. I might have been nine years or so. It wasn’t always that the boats would come back. It was a risky business and storms on the North Sea were frequent and dangerous. Many a husband would be lost. In those days the women waiting at the peer still wore traditional clothing, dark brown billowing skirts down to the ankle, and white head- gear. Perhaps they also wore a lacy scarf around their shoulders. It was all so long ago.

Now-a-days, fishing vessels are so large and so sophisticated they graze the ocean floor like never before. The whole area would be covered in miles of netting more or less depleting everything that swam. I remember two years ago a huge Dutch factory boat tried to enter Australian waters to fish. The local protesting fishermen were successful in fighting for their own rights to fish. The Dutch ship retreated and lost their case. Why has everything become so unromantic? I know losing your life while fishing isn’t romantic but so much of the past made and held memories. What memories will our grandchildren nurture in their old age? Perhaps in the future the Alzheimer will be cured by simply living along life’s path without anything remarkable to imprint on our memory’s storage. Memories will simply not be there anymore to lose!

Here is a dish to remember though. It is simple, cheap, healthy and guaranteed to refresh memories of failed Prime ministers and long time champions including Zátopek.

Its ingredients are potatoes, a good leek, onions, garlic, milk, herbs, a bit of butter, a bunch of bok-choy, tinned tuna in oil and little salt, pepper and chili. Also, young grated cheese.

Bok-choy

Bok-choy

Simply slice thinly a few potatoes and in layers interspersed with all the above sliced ingredient, place in a oven-proof ceramic dish. Soak the whole lot in milk level with the top of the dish and bake for an hour or so at 150C temperature. Make sure you are generous with the grated cheese on top to make sure this is brown and crusty. You then eat it with your spouse without saying a single word, except at times, just say mmm and again mmm.

I do hope my grandkids will remember my pancakes made with buttermilk.

We will all be lucky to get out alive.