Posts Tagged ‘Tulips’

A mask wearing man punch-up and Tulip time

September 12, 2021

We know that tempers get frayed when the Covid restriction are pushing people to the limit. We all have our breaking points. Each morning I get woken up by my new friend, Bentley. He taps the matrass till I open my eyes after which he prances about clearly signaling he won’t stop till I get out of bed. Almost stern nurse-like; ‘time to get up and do your bathroom routines Mr Oosterman’! After dressing he continues his fanatic pushing which culminates in a swirling dervish type performance only relieved when I fasten the lead and go for our walk.

IMG_2298 bentley

Bentley on guard.

This morning like most mornings I walk past a busy Bread shop, the Chelsea Baker proudly displayed on a hanging sign dangling from the overhead awning. I usually take a rest on a wooden bench on the side of the footpath and combine it with texting a message to my girlfriend in Sydney as well as giving Bentley a rest at the same time. Out of the blue I heard someone saying ‘mask’ and noticed a man putting on a mask before entering the shop’. Apparently, this upset another man entering and out of nothing he pinned another customer against the wall with his arm against the mask wearing man’s neck. ‘ How dare you’, he shouted. The threat of violence was real. However, that was about all that happened. The attacker left and I surmise he had some experience in manhandling the man by pinning him against the wall and having his arm across his throat, all within a split second. It looked like something out of a Coen Brothers movie.

The easy going tolerant Aussi is becoming frayed and it doesn’t take much for tempers to boil over. I also suppose that the handling of all this Covid restrictions has been a bit too strict and dogmatic, no leeway at all and the involvement of soldiers in army uniforms was brutally insensitive. Why not have the army helping out but in normal civilian clothes? What do you think ethnic groups having escaped from brutal oppressive regimes, would think being approached by uniformed soldiers? And the Government actually encouraging people to dob each other in. Geez, that did not sit well with me.

Anyway, tulips as always make all the difference and my Dutch ethnicity plays no minor role in the yearly display of tens of thousands of tulips all over the Highlands but especially in Bowral.

In the Bowral tulip park also lives a really gigantic Himalayan Cedar tree. I took a photo which doesn’t give it much credit, but it will have to do. I am very pleased with my iPhone doubling as camera. It can even take videos. The latest series of electronic gadgets leave me dumbfounded. There are now Iphones that have two screens and which can be split and used hands-free. Why would you have something that leaves you hand free. Would it not be just as good to leave the split iPhone at home or in in the handbag if you need to do something with your hands? I don’t get it.

The mind boggles.

Himalayan Cedar tree

Reffos and Tulips.

October 2, 2018

IMG_0126 Tulips.JPG

A carpet of Tulips in Bowral.

The film ‘The Ladies in Black’, left enough of an impression for me to urge people to see it. The film deals in some parts about the influx of reffos into Australia during the fifties. That’s the period this Australian film is set in. The ‘reffo’ was a shortened term for refugees. Our family came to Australia in 1956. We were not reffos in the strictest term. Europe in Australia during the fifties was seen as a war-ravaged stain on a map. Geographical and political differences between Hungary or Holland were beyond interest or hardly known. The issues in this magnificent movie really hit home. The differences (and similarities) in cultures are what this film, in a kind and humorous way, points out. The poignancy for H and I was overwhelming. One is always pleased when things we experienced about the past, agrees and coincides with others. When pointed out in a major film, it is double pleasing.

The ambiguity of migrating to another part of the world will probably stay with me till the very end. Was the pain of leaving own country and friends worth it?  The mental dehydration suffered in foreign and strange suburbs! Those differences experienced between the locals and the Reffos during the fifties, the lack of herrings, garlic ,olives, and real coffee. The blight of the determined curmudgeon.

Australia in the fifties was a kinder and more tolerant place though. The governments of that period did not foment xenophobia nor detained refugees on hellish islands for years on end.

The present Prime Minister is a fervent Pentecostal believer. Yet on his desk he proudly shows a sign ‘We stopped the boats,’ referring callously to the detained refugees on those islands. Their punishment is used to warn and prevent refugees from trying to come to Australia. They are saying ‘if you try, and come here by boat we will lock you up on those islands for the rest of your life.’ In the fifties Australia did not try and demonise a single African group doing 1 % of crime and yet close their eyes to the other 99% of crime perpetrated by local born.

The tulips belong to a different class. Nothing scary here, dear readers. You can tell they are just there to give us pleaure.  This photo was taken this morning. There must be thousands of tulip photos being e-mailed around the world. The Tulip show in Bowral was magnificent.

It always brings me back to the time in Holland. I used to cycle to the tulip fields. Can you imagine seeing tulip fields as far as the eye can see? In different colours too. The tulips in Bowral are in cahoots with sun and clouds. I am sure they talk to each other.It dazzles and so many people taking selfies. In years to come grandchildren might find the tulip photos in drawers and wonder about the lives at earlier times.

Try and see ‘the Ladies in Black’, and the Tulips.



The Tulip-Festival Parade.

September 19, 2015


We just stumbled upon it. It was one of those grey overcast days again. The sun obstinately refused to come out. One of the disadvantages of life high in the clouds. It isn’t called ‘Highlands’ for nothing. As we drove somewhat listlessly to town, with Mr JRT Milo in an effort to cheer us up, perched between us on the console, we noticed the main street being blocked off. We remembered suddenly it would be because of the ‘big tulip parade’. It is the yearly event that draws many tourists from all over the place. Even as far away as from the country of tea and oranges, China!

The crowds were everywhere and finding a place to park the car would be difficult. “There is a place, but be quick, my Helvi commanded!”  It had been raining. The parking spot was underneath at the shopping mall and next to stairs with water cascading down the overhanging slab of concrete. Still, it was better than nothing. “Are you coming too, I asked.”  “No, she said, with strong emphasis on NO.”  The morning had a somewhat curt start. We have spent so many years together and every nuance in words is picked up by our  marital antennas forever poking up and on the alert. Sometimes, as was the case this morning, on high alert. I think it was wrong for me to have stated after the first coffee,  “it is overcast again.” The ‘again’ was the banana skin for possible simmering discontent. I should have avoided the ‘again’ and I knew it.

Ever since my enthusiasm for the Currumbin Eco Village things have been a bit tense.  You know how it is, the fear of uprooting, packing endless boxes and all those knives & forks and the books, the books! How to get the second settee out of the bedroom?  No matter how the reassurance was stated that both of us would want to move and that Milo would never be abandoned,  (no pets at the Eco Village), I had to tread carefully. Both in our seventies, moving would be traumatic. Still, people in their eighties jump out of aeroplanes or go snorkelling in shark-infested waters.

The word ‘again’ uttered earlier on was probably the reason for My H to chose to stay in the car with Milo. Another reason might well have been the cascading waterfall next to the car. I do tend to take rejections personally. Later in the afternoon when things were back to normal, my wife of over fifty years stated; ‘do we always have to walk together?’ The walk together would have been to the bank. I wanted to check if I had paid a bill twice on credit card. It had indeed turned out, I had paid twice. One reason I never or very rarely use credit card to pay bills. We always draw out cash, walk (together) to the post office and pay the bills. I was annoyed I now had to contact the supplier and arrange a credit back into the Credit card. This tulip festival parade would have to reverse the negative. The day threatening to grow very sombre indeed.

When going back to the car and avoiding the waterfall, H was doing a cross word.  “I feel like a nice Barbequed sausage, I said, wilfully adding, “I am sure they are doing them right now”. This was adding fuel to the fire. We both generally avoid sugery or fatty foods but I do have an occasional penchant for a lonely sausage.  “Oh no; you and your fucking sausage, is that why you wanted to come here, is that all you ever think off”?

I quickly retreated. We, ever so gingerly left the car and with Milo proceeded towards the crowds now lining the main street. A man on a scaffolding belted out the Parade’s coming procedures through huge speakers. He represented the local radio-station and made sure, his comments were peppered by referring to that. It was still another twenty minutes or so when it all stared to come along.  The crowds, including many Chinese tourists were at fever pitch. Many were holding pink balloons. The pink balloons were sold to raise money for breast cancer. The marching girls came first, followed by  WW 1 Horses and their soldier riders wearing slouched hats, blowing the bugle. Milo was nervous. It was all a bit much for him, especially the brown-grey dusty WW1 horses and bugle.

Milo in deep contemplation

Milo in deep contemplation

Next came a parade of dogs from the Council’s pound looking for a loving home. Rural parades are always on the look-out for things to include in a parade,  help fill it out as it were. This Tulip related parade was no exception. There were old Buicks, Fords, Massey Ferguson tractors, fire engines and hospice nurses perched on a rooftop of a double decker bus. All of a sudden another parade of dogs on leashes. They were run past us and the Chinese tourists. They were from a local ‘dog’s obedience school. ‘Milo’s ears pricked up. Suddenly a huge German Shepard broke ranks with his brothers and sisters and went for Milo. Now, if there is one thing Milo is good at, it is showing absolute fearlessness of snarling huge dogs. Boy, did he teach this German a lesson. The owner did not have to pull his dog in line or into obedience, tail between his legs, he followed his mob of dogs ever so sweetly.

Now Milo, there is a good boy

We shall see, but a win with the Body- Strata.

September 15, 2015

Bowral’s tulip festival is in full swing. The locals have free entry, yet foreigners from outside the Shire have to pay an entre fee of $10.-. It seems odd, seeing the venue of the tulips is in a local public park. However, having gone through a legal tussle with our Body Corporate’s management and Strata, I am loath to pick up another fight.


Inside this little park, one can, apart from admiring the swaying of the tulips, also go and have a tasty sausage roll, a coffee, and if the sun gets too much, buy a hat or a nice leather belt in case of sagging trousers. Which reminds me, that at Australian airports , belts don’t have to be taken off trousers anymore, together with a more lenient attitude to having to take off shoes. So, all you intending air travellers, relax and enjoy the trip! Our Border Protection Patrols have declared the terrorists are in retreat and Syria is being bombed into safety.

Yesterday Vivaldi’s Spring was being rotated around on the public mike. They used to have a Peruvian group playing rather mournful music on pan flutes. The Shire must have thought Vivaldi was more in tune with tulips. One just never know what is behind the decisions that aldermen make. I suppose they have meetings and discuss how to make the tulip festival even better.  The aldermen made huge mistake some many years ago planting cherry trees throughout the Shire. They are beautiful but also spread out so wide that pedestrian are forced to give up walking on the foot-path or nature strip and actually now share the roads with cars. Counsel now are asking for input by the locals on how to re-claim the footpath once more. I suggested the lanky birch-tree and for next year Sibelius music at the tulip festival.

The Strata has come to a good rest. All has to be done through an EGM as yet to be dated, and any shortfall in costs to be raised by a special levy. All owners to be give the opportunity to reflect on the issue and allowed to vote on the issue, at the AGM following the EGM.

So, all in all, a worthwhile effort rewarded by common sense.  Thank you Mr NSW, Department of Fair Trading.

A perfect place, Amsterdam?

January 29, 2015



Is there a place that is perfect? A place that meets all one’s wishes, expectations and needs? A community of men and friendly beast, that lifts spirit and soul, offers shelter and fulfils the most. A Mecca of sun and sated dreams! A final garden seat in which to rest, repose, restore, revitalise life’s joys, offer an escape from the hovels of hurts. Rivulet of small stones and flowing waters, frogs a croaking and barking dogs with vision of fleeting ducks. Is there such a place and can it be found?

We lived for very long periods in few places, countable on the fingers of one hand. Our main departure from having permanently lived in Australia, were the three years spent in Holland. It was between 1973 and 1976. We have very fond memories of that period. A lovely very old farm-house, a thatched roof and giant oak beams spanning the walls of a very large living room. We had a couple of sheep, an obstinate Shetland Pony and brown chickens all on about two and a half acres. In many ways it was idyllic. But, we did go back!

The obstinate Shetlander and foal

The obstinate Shetlander and foal

On the farm in Holland

On the farm in Holland

Now in final years still left to live, we again dream on for possible places to explore. The kids have gone and grandkids getting ready to tackle life. We love and wish them all the best. Retirement was meant for us. The time is ours and we can afford to be somewhat selfish. May the devil take the hindmost is an expression that seems to occur with greater frequency. A final plunge in unknown pools, a journey to ‘the perfect place’. Of course, deep down we know that it does not exists but in dreams alone. The frangipani flowers but only in warm enough climes where tulips and daffodils will not.

Yesterday I took the luxury of dreaming what it would be like to once again pack up and try a dip into the unknown. The unknown being explored in real estate of Amsterdam, specifically its beautiful centre. You know, something around the Westertoren or indeed in the Jordaan.
This is what I found.

Or this one;

Dream on! Alas, it often involves climbing many stairs and at our age? But just imagine.