Posts Tagged ‘Solutions.’

This matter of right choices. (Auto-biography)

August 22, 2015

In summing up the choice to return to Australia from Holland was made spontaneously. Helvi was happy to stay but also happy to return. She has much less trouble with the perceived pros and cons of this country or that country. To ‘just get on’ is much more in her domain than mine. I mull and procrastinate and still make rash decisions. It seems an oxymoron.

The reasons given can be seen as both wise and unwise. Both countries have good and not so good qualities depending on personal likes or dislikes. To shine further light on what happened back in 1976 seems an exercise that might be futile and runs the risk of boring  the reader who could already be somewhat stretched in accepting this chain of indecisive events.

I do remember missing the good times with my extended family of brothers and sister with their spouses and their children in Australia. Another item not to be ignored was the lure of the bush. It is rather comforting to know you can just walk into the Australian bush  for days, never need meet another soul.  This makes for great therapy, but also great murder scenarios. Skeletons are sometimes discovered of people gone missing years before. Australia is even big enough for that! Some call it “Lebensraum”.

The sea of life is what we make of it and mulling over past events is what this exercise is all about. I write down what happened in the past, hopefully without invoking even more guilt or judgement. This is a luxury that I give to the readers. There is no greater naval gazing than writing memoires. The dressing up of calling it an Autobiography seems a bit haughty if not pretentious. It is not as if this writer is an Obama or the latest Pope! Even so, it is the best I can come up with in doing something useful. Apart from all that, it keeps me off the streets.

If I remember right we arrived back in Australia in the beginning of June 1976 and moved into our house around the beginning of August, coinciding with arrival of all our belongings. Those belongings were packed in Holland in two large wooden crates measuring together a bit over 17 cubic metres. I received a letter from Customs that the goods had arrived and that,  after inspection by custom officers, I could arrange to get them picked up and delivered to our house in Balmain.  The Custom letter also gave the sage advice to take a jemmy-bar to prise open the lids of the wooden crates.

After arrival at the depot it took about half-a-day to find the crates amongst thousands of other crates. It had Oosterman written on it and that was of some comfort. However, to open the lids proved difficult. Even to get on top of the crates was going to be very difficult, (sorry ‘challenging’). It was years later when the word ‘difficult’ was banned and changed into ‘challenge.’  The psychologists have a lot to answer for by making us believe that changing words around, somehow can make life easier. Later on  the word ‘challenge’ was primed up even further and has morphed into ‘solutions’.  We all know that after paying to get ourselves psycho-analysed we end up accepting there is nothing to life’s problems that can’t be overcome by using and finding ‘solutions’.  I wrote before about our local butcher selling ‘meat solutions.’  Huge trucks and road trains thunder along our highways with ‘logistics’ written on their tarpaulins, bringing ‘solutions’ all around our country.

A friendly truck-driver gave me a leg-up onto the top of the crate. How to open the lids allowing for Custom Officer inspection when standing on top of it? The logistics were challenging. The Custom Officer arrived and with help of the friendly truck driver managed to open the lids. He poked around a bit and wasn’t all that enthusiastic in looking for wood-worm or other possible infestations of bugs that Australia was very weary off. Most people that have ever flown into Australia might remember the Customs carnival going through the plane cross armed, after arrival in Australia, holding two spray cans above their heads and spraying the perplexed passengers still sweetly restrained sitting in their seats! All in an effort to safeguard Australia from nasty Foreign Overseas born flies  and insects. Of course, no country in the world suffers more from flies than Australia!

The dreaded Gasman’s Knock

November 20, 2013

imagesThe neighbourhood has been unsettled this week. The Gasman is around. All letterboxes have received notices that gas connections need updating. The ‘next-generation’ of newer and better gas deliveries will be installed, the brochure lauded. It all started some years ago with ‘logistics’, followed hot on the heels with ‘solutions’. All problems are now solved with ‘next-generation’ technologies. The elderly, already on tenderhooks when the butcher started selling ‘meat solutions’ instead of good old honest sausages and mince are now further pushed into nervous anticipation of ‘next generational’ improvements. They suspect their lives will just become more complicated with higher bills, no matter how much the gas delivery improves. I mean, gas is gas isn’t it?

“Your gas will be disconnected between 6am and 7pm this Tuesday,” a curt little notice in our letterbox heralded. I went to bed intending to get up before our gas would be cut off. The morning coffee would go through no matter what sacrifice would be asked for. I slept restlessly as is my wont when unexpected interruption to routine are foisted upon us and outside my control. Retirement was always seen as a steady flow of unquestioned and calm supply of essential commodities including gas. The turmoil of earlier adventures during life’s proclivities were always supposed to come to rest in the calm waters of ‘retirement’. The very word implies a retraction or retreating from previous action. Even so, the anticipated knock of the Gasman on our door was hardly reason for my nervousness. I have searched my fickle conscience where this stems from. I can only come up with this feeble excuse. Ever since our upheaval from Holland, and before that, the bombing of Rotterdam, I have been subject to feelings of imminent dread. What next; the reading of the riot act while gas is turned off, a street curfew?

Nothing has ever been improved on, as a small boy of seven or eight, my watching the re-building of Rotterdam. I have been fascinated by giant holes in city scapes ever since. Giant cranes would lift a weight of several tonnes only to release it onto wooden beams driven by this pile driver into the muddy ground necessary for the foundations to be built. The noise was thunderous but not quite like the V1 rockets that used to come down earlier during the war.

Give me a building site, preferably with large cranes and giant holes and I’ll happily neglect everything. What a Louis Vuitton David Jones shopping front with skinny mannequins might be for women, a building site is for men. Next time you walk past a building site, you will hardly ever see a woman peering through the gaps of the fence. Men, on the other hand can be transfixed by the noise and commotion on building sites for days. It’s back to the meccano set for them.

Our street was uprooted during the next gas generational logistical supply solution. The whole street was blocked off with traffic diverted by bearded men holding signs with ‘stop’ and ‘go’. Huge mountains of sand piling up and lots of men with mobile phones in hand while wearing yellow helmets and iridescent jackets shouting to bulldozers. Enormous coils of yellow pipes were being fed underground to apartments, houses and domestic abodes including ours. It was worth a morning off from the usual duties. Our Jack Russell ‘Milo’ was on special alert, listening in to all those exotic noises. Jackhammers and a petrol driven compactors, the smell of Diesel, the shouting.

It was a good day, terrific really.
Can it get any better?
Yes, it can;

The Sofa

September 11, 2013


The Sofa
For many years we have sat on a sofa and matching armchair. We bought it second hand from a road-side farm selling old wares and semi-antiques. We had it upholstered into a nice warm dusty pink- mauve velvet material.

Its level of comfort is such that I sit in it more than is desirable. I often think I should get up and do something but the lure of its softness and comfort is hard to resist. Anyway, you can never sit enough, I reckon. The world hurries by in so many cars on highways, what’s that all about?

Large trucks have Logistics and Solutions written on them in large lettering. Surely that is tautology? The frantic nightmares of most people on the move I can only help by reflection, introspection and writing. What better way than to sit on a comfortable sofa. I have done my part in manically moving about for many years. Time for sitting has arrived.

Actually, I probably sit behind my type writer more than on the sofa and in between both, do a lot of walking around with H and Milo, the incorrigible JRT. Another reason why we find leaving the sofa hard to leave lately is that the springs have gone. When seated we are almost level with the ground. Our knees stick up like flag poles. For some months now we are debating almost daily what to do about it. Of course being seated so low and sunk in comfort we generally keep on talking about it but rarely actually get up and do something. A bit like Sydney’s second airport! Year after year it gets talked about but nothing happens.

Anyway; at our age getting up from such low posture we often remain sunk in or on the sofa. If we want to avoid a pre-mature demise by expiring on the sofa, it now has become almost a medical emergency to do something urgently. We are still managing to get up from the sofa by moving forward onto all fours with knees on the floor and then drag each other up somehow. It is exhausting work and defeats the long stays on the sofa. But, what can you do?

Have we left it all too late now?
Not really,