Posts Tagged ‘Social Security’

Going to Kathmandu.

November 30, 2015

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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!

 

 

Business and National Service in Holland.

June 3, 2015
Amsterdam

Amsterdam

With the first sex and my curiosity about it somewhat satisfied and the Maltese woman and gun in wardrobe fading into Oosterman history, I concentrated with renewed vigour into saving and planning to go back to Holland. Readers (if there are any) might remember I had a little metal box into which I saved as much as I could. Of course while living at home I gave all earnings to mother with the getting of own block of land and own house. This too had been achieved within a few years. The garage was now being used to rent out to other migrants which was handy to top up mum’s income running a very busy household. Who would have thought the take up in the new country had made such rapid progress in such a short time. There was mum now collecting rent, the Merchant of Prosperity and now a Rent Lord.

With Frank now coming and going, from the nightmare of what was Callan Park, at his whim, the atmosphere was often tense. The first sight of Frank we would all just scatter to friends. The impasse between what we thought Frank would and ought to finally get in care, and the rough reality, went on without resolutions. We either had to sign up for his permanent incarceration at a lunatic asylum or put up with Frank basically doing what he liked at the hospital, coming and going whenever and in whatever condition he might find himself in. It was absolutely dreadful and  remained an unimaginable horror, not only to Frank but to the rest of the family. Friends urged my parents to send him back to Holland. Things were supposed to be so much better and more advanced in The Netherlands.

This wasn’t easy done with a mentally ill person. He would have to have nursing staff to accompany him as well as my parents and how would Frank feel being left in Holland without anyone? A conundrum if ever there was. This would finally resolve itself when both Frank and my parents went back for good to Holland in 1974. They had enough. On hindsight that was always the best thing to have done. Pensions and healthcare had improved well above the level in Australia. The pension here was ‘means and asset’ tested. This was achieved in an office of the Social Securities. On top of everything my parents were asked to empty all in pockets and handbags on the table in front of the person dealing with my parents pension. My mother never felt so humiliated in her entire life. In Holland everybody works towards a pension, rich or poor get the basic pension. Not means test. Even today, a pension in Australia is regarded as ‘welfare’ or ‘hand-out’ as is unemployment relief, and single mother’s income etc.  and not as  entitlements that  civil societies work towards.

It might all have contributed to the fomenting and nurturing of my rich curmudgeon psyche but I really wanted to go back and try regain what I had left. This was a mistake. But really, making mistakes is a  good way of spending years in preparation for adulthood. I always felt that. Never regret a mistake is my motto. I don’t know how but I had saved up for a trip to Holland within a few years. It was still the old monetary English system of complicated pounds and shillings, pennies. The single boat fare to Genoa and then the train to Amsterdam was 110 pounds in 1962/63. The boat trip over was fantastic. Can you imagine; the orchestra playing jaunty music, games of tombola, the daily sweepstake and lots of young people on their first trip overseas?  I do remember the orchestra’s players being so bored playing the same music, day in day out, week after week, month after month. It was a job so much like everybody had to make a job. Is the chopping of steaks or the soling of shoes any better ( year in year out)?

I also wanted to work in an office and wear a suit and attache case. In Australia, especially during the first few years doing piece work on machinery and clocking up lots of overtime, I was wondering how it would be to go to work with something like having some importance. I don’t know why I thought this would be better suited in Holland. The arrival by train in Holland was without fanfare. There was no one greeting me at Central Station. I could not have expected it. Even so, I almost thought; can’t people see I am a returned migrant from Australia? An absurdity of thought. I moved into a distant uncle place who had a bed that folded into a wall but who was also dying with cancer and an ex chess master. He was forever berating his ex wife and expected me to cheer him on. I used to mix great lumps of mince meat mixed with hot spices. He loved it and even felt the spices to cure his cancer. He wasn’t used to chilli but red in the face he would eat lots of the spiced minced steak to the exclusion of everything else. It might well have hastened his final demise.

My old school friends I revisited and within ten minutes they were watching TV. It had all moved on and they weren’t interested in re-visiting that which had gone by. One of my friends had married and with two children gave me the sage advice and unhappily said ; ‘never get married.’ As is known today, I did and it was the best thing I ever! So, there is so much uncertainty about life. It is all such a risk and bobbing about on tides that can sweep you out as well as sweep you ashore. We do our best.

I haven’t yet even come to ‘business and Dutch National service. That will come next time.