Posts Tagged ‘Uncategorized’

A peculiar Country and the holy water.

January 15, 2019

Image result for holy water stoups with flaming hearts

The hope of getting some good news in the New Year is diminishing as the days roll by. Just now, a newsflash that the skyscraper in Sydney named ‘Opal Tower’ needs significant structural repairs done. One can’t imagine the trouble this causes to those people who are renting or bought an apartment affected by the ‘cracking’. The usual noises are made about how Australia has stringent building regulations with strict compliance to proven engineering methods at ever level of construction.  Yet those that give the compliance certificates are private contractors themselves working to maximise profits. Which construction company will seek compliance approvals from those that are strict and known for refusing to give those certificates to building works that don’t comply?

Next on the list is that children in detention were threatened by troops all dressed in combatant gear pointing assault weapons at unarmed children. Yet those that are charged with running this detention centre are fully supportive of this blatent abuse of force and totally behind it. What sort of behaviour is that? And we point the finger at North Korea or some crackpot regime in Africa.

Have a look at this video; https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-14/don-dale-youth-detention-cctv-police-weapons-detainees-nt/10712664

We are having a bad heatwave but the good news on TV this morning was that everyone should try, and look after those that are vulnerable to heat exhaustion, especially the elderly. Neighbours ought to inquire about each other on how they are feeling. Many escape to air-con shopping malls or at least stay indoors. I get the shivers when I see all those thousands on a scourging hot sun baked beach. And then they lie in the sun!

Image result for Heatwave beach conditions

The vacuuming was done this morning in our household. I wondered why it wasn’t working as it should. I decided to investigate and discovered the foot or the suction end of our lithium powered vacuum cleaner ( Hoover-Freedom) was blocked by bits of paper and cherry stalks.  I must say that the stone fruit this year has been excellent. Those white peaches…mmm! Yesterday my brother and I spent half a day assembling a new barbeque. The old one just did not give enough heat for fast grilling a nice piece of meat or chargrill a rib of pork.

We plan to carry the old one to the street as a freebee. It has a regulator and a lid and very clean. People often put usable items on the ‘nature strip’, and this gives new meaning to re-cycling. The charity shops are now complaining that too much is being donated, and it is claimed that donating to charity is often used as getting rid of total rubbish. I suppose, consuming too much is the real reason.

This reminds me of when we were young, and a still devoutly catholic family living in Holland. From my youngest memory we had at the entrance to our bedroom a holy water stoup decorated by a sacred flaming heart screwed to the door-frame. We were supposed to dip a finger in it, cross ourselves and then go to bed with a clear conscience. I remember being a bit suspicious of it, and whether some benign Beneficiary spirit would forever guide us for a good life, provided we would dip our fingers. My earliest memories of bombed out buildings and screaming hunger did not make for nurturing a strong belief in a good and just deity that would reward the ‘true’ believers.

It was after we moved from Rotterdam to The Hague that some deviousness crept stealthely but assuredly in my being. Again, dad screwed on the holy water stoups with the flaming sacred hearts. I was really starting to question that this water was somehow different from tap water, and decided to test it. I drained the holy water and filled it up with just tap water. I was awake all night fearing punishment but nothing happened. I knew my mother had a special container of holy water which she kept under the sink. This was specially blessed holy water sanctified by the priest of our local church. I think it was a yearly event when this blessing took place inside the church to which our parents took us. I still then tried to look a bit religious but from what I had done to the holy water recently, it might now well be seen as acting very sanctimoniously.

I had started to lose my belief in a deity that would reward the unquestioning pious. I think today the science might well be behind this.

In the meantime the heat is merciless as well.

Moving from Rotterdam to The Hague

April 14, 2010

Moving House.

 The trip and move to The Hague was arranged by a removalist. My parents and baby Herman in lap sat at the front with the driver and the kids inside the covered truck but at the front of the interior which had a window overlooking the top of the cabin. Frank, John and I had already reached the stage of collecting cigar bands and marbles. The marbles were won by knocking opponents out and collecting those marbles that were in the ‘pot’.  Standing up in the truck and keen to spent time with mischief, I started rolling a couple of marbles over the cabin at the front and subsequently over the front driver’s window. The truck soon came to a sudden halt and a very angry removalist got out climbed in and without a word gave me a hard smack, took the bag of those dearly won marbles and climbed back inside his cabin.  I am not sure why my parents did not deal with the problem, perhaps used to  much mischief twenty four hours a day, with marbles rolling over driver’s windows being a mere bagatelle.

The arrival of the removalist and truck with goods and inhabitants has got lost in my memories accept that the driver was big enough to give back those marbles. During the evening most of the furniture must have found a place somewhere on the floor and would have included the children’s large bed. Our bed was a wooden affair with planks across the width of a double timber bed frame.

 The mattresses were in three parts and made of kapok which my mother used to air outside at least once a week. I suppose some of us were not totally nonstop toilet savvy and the war would not have had the most soothing effect on the nerves of children that grew up in that period. As the first evening grew more and more hysterical amongst the three of us, at least in my father’s eyes, and we were suffering from loud laughter and endless farting under the blankets, dad felt the need for discipline and letting off his steam as well. It had been a hard day and his tobacco might have run out at a most inopportune moment as well. He grabbed a little stick and started to flay us kids who were already experienced enough to dive with split second precision under the blankets. When we got out from under the fart laden blankets we noticed the little stick had broken. However, the break was not clean and resulted the end bit hanging onto the main part which was now flipping and flopping about whilst my poor dad was wildly trying to bring us under control. It had enough of an impression for memories to have etched so firmly in my conscience as if only yesterday

Penelope Blows You Away

April 7, 2010

By Helvi Oosterman

January 26, 2010

By Helvi Oosterman

Whilst you were all waving your flags and having your barbeques, I was running into the Norton Street Cinema in Leichhardt. It was a humid Sydney day, but I did not care: it was my second last chance to see Almovodar’s Broken Embraces; it was going to start at twelve midday, and I was not going to miss it, I was going to run for it.

Most movie lovers were blown away by Pedro’s previous master piece: Hable con ella, ‘Talk to her’, and after seeing something so sublime, I was worried about his latest offering. David Stratton on Movie Show gave him four stars for this one, and explained that even lesser films by Almovodar are heads above the rest.

I wasn’t disappointed. Almovodar is something else, he’s creative, he’s funny and, he’s over-the –top, but it all works. His talent brings to mind another eccentric and brilliant movie maker who also was gay, the German Rainer Fassbinder. Fassbinder had, as his  muse, the beautiful Hanna Schygalla; Almovodar’s is the equally stunning Penelope Cruz. Under his guidance Penelope shines; to watch her walk up the stairs in her red peep toe high heeled shoes and wearing a red suit is a scene to remember.

Google the critics if you want to know more about the film, but please go and see it, it’s definitely worth it.

The Case for more Tax

April 4, 2010

The case for more tax!   

 

This latest from the ABC story and interview with Swan on the 22nd of Jan. 2010 http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2010/s2798566.htm

Quote; And rather than focusing on tax cuts, Mr Henry is warning that tax revenues will need to grow “strongly” if the Government is to cover the costs of Australia’s ageing population. Unquote. 

Good on you Ken Henry. This has to be music to the ears of many of us who have been complaining about the state of our Health, Education, Public Transport and many other social infrastructures that through the years have become crippled by lack of money.  There are finally some encouraging signs that will stop the rot in Governments on both sides forever seeking popularity in massaging and nourishing our deep seated hatred for paying tax by promising reduced taxation for the workers each time there are elections.

Of course we all know that we still are one the lowest taxpaying country of all the OECD, indeed Australian Government’s own study indicates our low tax regime and well worth a look at;

http://comparativetaxation.treasury.gov.au/content/report/html/02_Executive_Summary.asp

It is no wonder that we are struggling to keep up with the rest of the world and that rumblings of the dissatisfied are finally coming to be heard. We get what we pay for! It is so true and never before are we so poignantly reminded of our shortcomings than the arguments that have been raging here on the ‘Unleashed’ especially about our shortcoming in Education. There are now all sorts of conjuring tricks being implemented.  At the last election,’ Computers for all students’ was shouted from rooftops all over the country.  Boy oh boy, have seen acres of video footage of Rudd and Gillard smiling in front of those promised school computer roll-outs. We must have School ratings and Comparisons and publish the Data, shame the lot of them, and the latest from the bag of trickery; Schools to receive public disadvantage rating.

 At no stage do we ever hear that good teachers need to have higher qualifications and therefore a considerable increase in wages. You can’t teach kids by a mixture of people that have only just scraped by themselves in education.  That there are many good teachers is without question, but I bet you in those countries where education is better, teachers are also better qualified and better paid. In Finland, which continues to be on the top of the Education ladder, a minimum requirement is a Master’s degree.

All this cost money: and where is it coming from?

It is very much the same story with our hospitals, and again, the paddle pop stick taped together ad hoc financially starved system staggers on. People are dying from the lack of the simplest procedures. Waiting times in Casualty wards are staggering, people bleeding to death and stories aplenty of people turned away or shunted to other hospitals. They have become charnel houses and blame for this goes backwards and forwards between States and Federal Government as regularly as a dripping tap. The Government is threatening to take over the hospitals. This is just another voodoo exercise. It is the lack of money, stupid!

As with education, so it is with health. Those that can afford it go for a private option and make those that can’t, somehow feel they have failed. How an egalitarian society ever came to believe and develop a two tiered system in such basics as Health and Education is beyond my understanding, but that is how it is at present.  It would have to add to a huge waste and duplication. Not surprising is that those that have succeeded in making the money for private health and education probably enjoyed some very handy tax breaks or even dodges, n’est ce pas?

So, where is the money coming from for first class, world beating health system?

We have done so well though. But, has this doing ‘well ‘been on the back of filling up Bulk Carriers with the  scrapings of the top 50 metres or so of our country, especially in the North and West. This has been a nice little earner for Australia, all those minerals and all that red dirt. It’s been so easy too. Huge trucks and trains to ports and then shovel it all onto boats and then wait for the money to roll in.  How lovely for the Government, what a win-win. Will this go on forever?

In any case, it has not provided us with best standard public Education, Health, Public transport and it never will. It just puts money into shareholders who in turn will go for the private goodies and live in big ugly houses.

As for pensioners, they will  have to feast on that extra $30. – added onto their fortnightly pension. Many will just have to continue living just above the poverty line and make do with the no-frills toilet paper.

Good on ye, Ken Henry,

We need to pay far more tax.

Cupcakes no More, just Celery Sticks

April 2, 2010

Cup cakes no more.

Has anyone noticed the campaign to reduce the risk of getting sun cancer? There they are, plastered all over fashionable shopping emporiums. Large multicoloured posters showing in gruesome detail stitches and staples on bodies where the melanomas have been cut out during the patient’s history of outdoor activities. First melanoma excised as a result of outdoor tennis, the 2nd four years later, from surfing, 3d from sunbaking, solariums etc. The message is clear. Stay out of the sun and cover up.

The beauty of the campaign is that staying out of the sun can’t be costly or interfere with market forces too much. Ok, perhaps the coconut oil sprayers or ice cream vendors might take home a bit less. Perhaps even swimsuit sellers could suffer. On the other hand, more cover-up items could be sold balancing the loss in swimwear. All in all, a win win for the melanoma fighters and the government is seen to do something for the health of the nation.

I am not sure how the health cost of saving on melanomas compare with saving on the cost of obesity but I reckon that obesity probably outdoes costs of lying in the sun! Has anyone yet seen any posters fighting obesity festooning any of the Shopping Malls columns? I can understand the previous Government poltroonery on obesity or any health concern with Tony Abbott at the helm of health.  Hell, anyone can climb on a bike or frolic in the surf as he shows consistently.

Market forces are always king under Liberal Leadership and not even mass hospitalisation or dying of obesity would stir them in tackling it. After all, in a world economic down-turn we have to be careful not to be seen as obstructing anything to do with money making. Do we?  Nothing must stir up the dust in the face of profit and free choice, must it?

We know that obesity is going to cost enormously and not just in lives. So, why the deafening silence coming from the present Government? Do the commercial advantages still outweigh the human cost in trying to do something about obesity?  I would have thought that the labour Government would have started rigorous campaigns promoting health and good nutrition. We know that leaving it to parents to foster dietary habits in our kids doesn’t work. To break the cycle, we need education of the young first.

The adults that are indifferent to their weight and ignore the warnings are likely to cark it well before their time. We also know that Ambulances, Airlines and even Funeral Parlours are coping with bodies that are becoming bigger and bulkier. Special hoists in Ambulances, Airlines toying with air travel prices per kilo. Funerals having to cope with bigger caskets, taking 6 to 8 pall bearers instead of just 4. Graves are dug deeper, wider and Sydney’s cemeteries running out of space, contemplating burying bodies under footpaths and roadways.  In short, a total calamity.

We have the honour of being the biggest in the world. Go around shopping centres and just take a seat and watch shoppers go by. Forget about the adults, just look at the kids. Some at eight or ten years, already with their lower legs splayed apart and thighs rubbing together, hardly able to walk, tummies hanging out and over, but invariably licking or sucking on something. 

Some claim it has as much to do with genetics as with bad diets but where were those genes fifty or sixty years ago? Are there a new set of obesity genes suddenly sprouting up? I don’t think so.

In the US, a voluntary set of nutritional standards on food was put into place together with information for shoppers to help make up their minds. It looked good but did not work. Which stressed mother has the time to read about kilo-joules or carbon hydrates on every item? Of course, when the setting of standards was left to those that profit from killer food items, it did not take long when Frooty Loops were found to be on the list of ‘high nutritional value’. It all came to nothing.

If signage with” SMOKING KILLS” are featured everywhere now, why not also have large signs with pointing out unhealthy food and dietary habits. “TRANS FAT KILLS” posters will have to be followed with diet experts at cash registers. Graphic posters with huge bodies being hoisted out of multi story buildings. TV footage of sobbing parents who are visiting their diabetic type 2 children in hospitals, waiting for organ transplants.  Australia did extremely well with anti-smoking and the ’cover-up’ campaign, even the anti-litter was until recently doing very well. Should we follow some European countries and provide at least one decent meal to all school children?

We now come to one of the most difficult parts of good nutrition for children and that is the behaviour at ‘tuck shops’. Those mothers running school and sporting tuck shops are a force to reckon with, but those purveyors of sausage rolls and sugary slushies will have to be tackled if the Government is going to get serious about our health. Fancy giving a sign of approval to schools and for sporting events with tuck shops selling bad food?

In October 2009, a group was put together by the federal Government including, wait for it, “Woolworth” and “The Australian Food and Grocery Council”. The aim was to try and increase the intake of fruits, vegetables and wholegrain foods and decrease or reduce consumption of harmful fats.

I have yet to see baskets of fruit and vegetables at the cash registers replacing the hugely profitable but pernicious Violent Crunchie Bar and Flossy Tossy Syrup packets. Instead, despite all the attention on obesity, nothing must stand in the way of allowing consumers their grazing of glistening Trans Fats, sugars and salts during their polystyrene shopping expeditions.

Or so it seems!

Quo Vadis,with a full Woman and Dancing

March 28, 2010

Previously:

(I had moved up the social ladder somewhat with dating a girl who I had taken out to one of Sydney’s most prestigious restaurants In Sydney at Martin Place, called Quo Vadis.)

We majestically sauntered downstairs at our pre-booked table to be met by a smarmy waiter moving chairs and cutlery. He opened the napkins, waving them around as if expecting a standing ovation. (Or a huge tip.) My meal was a ’steak a la Moliere ‘and it tasted as much. I think she had a chicken in the basket with lovely buttered spuds.  We enjoyed a Flaubert a la Francaise, a mentholated spirits infused flambé desert afterwards. It was a curious dinner. She kept looking sideways and answered in monosyllables.

  I tried to lighten the situation by showing some photos that were taken with a  camera and long distance lens a  few weeks earlier at the Anzac Day of returned soldiers. One photo was of a very stern looking ex soldier with one arm and a vintage hat leaning against a column of the GPO building at Martin Place. I had developed the pictures, and to go with the subject, printed that shot on sepia glossy paper. I was very proud of that picture and I still have it. Perhaps, anything with wars and Anzac would stir her into a patriotic fervour and it would put me at some advantage for future developments?

 

She was totally disinterested and continued looking past,  but at least kept saying ‘ oh, how nice’. 

 Nola Dekyvere, with her ever-present social tuned hawk eye scanning the patrons for a solid donation in return for a picture on the social page of the Sunday Telegraph, totally ignored us; a loss to the ‘Black and White Committee and hence the Parramatta Girls Home’. The meal cost me 2 weeks wages. I got a peck on the cheek and ‘thank you’, ‘it was really lovely’,’ thank you so much’,’ very nice’. She quickly strode back to the safety of her parents front door. Perhaps the ride back to her home at Ashfield in the cold night air, tucked inside a Triumph side car wasn’t as glorious as she might have expected or imagined. What had she imagined; a hired Rolls Royce?

I walked past the Phyllis Bates dancing Studio next to the Lyceum Theatre in Pitt Street a couple of times hoping to catch girls on their way in, in order to weigh up the general clientele of aspiring dancers from the opposite sex, but did notice instead a few Latin looking blokes going in but not many girls. Of course in the days of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, The Mount Isa mines and the desperate need for short but hefty Cane Cutters in Queensland, Australia by and large was inundated with male migrants. In fact someone had written on an overhead rail bridge in Glebe, “Australia, country of men and no women”. It was an ominous and sad bit of public writing and found support amongst some of my friends who were also faced, not only with the cultural and language differences but also with the shortage of available girls to date. The bridge sign writer at least gave vent to his frustration and it received some publicity in the Newspapers. The general opinion was that those swarthy dagos should speak English and jettison their odiferous garlic habits together with pulling knives out of their socks.   Anyway, at least I had blond hair not looking dago, a huge advantage at that time. I was not to be put off and after a while booked dancing lessons.

 The way to book the dancing lessons was rather adventurous but also cunning from a commercial point of view. The more one booked, the cheaper the dancing lessons. I bought a half year supply of dancing tickets, an hour lesson per week. The girl doing the bookings showed me around and the dance floor was superb. A highly polished wooden floor. I noticed loud speakers on the wall and a gramophone turn table on a small table with a stack of records next to it. I also watched a string of men waiting perched on chairs against one wall for some lessons and a couple of female teachers swirling around following black painted footsteps on the floor but did not see any females waiting for their lessons. Did girls know how to dance instinctively? Were they born with dancing gifts as well as a need for malt in milkshakes? If they suffered from raging nerves as so many magazine advertisements were implying how come they could dance with, apparently, enough confidence and without taking lessons? Was the Glebe bridge sign writer correct and that the male migrant was doomed to compete in a world of males only and not enough opposites?

 Where were the loving caring females for the males with guttural accents? I remained positive and bought a nice pair of leather shoes. The Lambretta Scooter club had fulfilled an important role in the art of wooing the female in Australia. The spoonful of malt in the milkshake wasn’t the only trick of capturing hearts and minds of the opposite sex. During a few socials we did a dance of some sorts at the Parramatta Ambulance hall after meetings but with most members being males, it was a bit tricky and the dance did not really amount to much body contact. To be honest I just craved to have an armful of a full woman and the more formal way of dancing was the way to go. The lessons were to be Saturday mornings between 11am and midday.

 I duly turned up wearing a freshly starched shirt and a black pair of trousers also nicely ironed with a cuff at the bottom just touching the top of my new shoes without being too long or creeping up into any kind of ugly fold. The trousers were from my spare suit, the free suit that came from Reuben Scarf’s,’ buy one suit and get the second free’, remember? I took the trip by train and was careful not to cross my knees and spoil the crease in the trousers. 

The entrance upstairs into the dance hall was with much trepidation and a well practised kind of nonchalance hiding  behind a smile and a copious well brilliantined head of hair.  A nice but short woman approached me and called out my name. I thought it a good start that she knew my name and even better was when she took my hand and said, ‘ shall we start with doing the beginning steps of the Fox Trot’? I had heard of this Fox Trot and seen Fred Astaire sweeping lovely women around the floor in magnificent variation of many dances including the Fox Trot. She explained to try and follow the painted black footsteps on the floor. The music was a version of ‘Rock around the Clock’ on a piano and I had to try and let my body do the pre-painted steps on the floor in tune with the music. “Just try it by yourself for the time being” and “I’ll see you in about ten minutes’ to see how you are progressing”, she said with a kind smile. It was a rather fast “Fox Trot’ ,and for about 15 minutes I was doing the steps backwards and forwards, trying to put as much swing and swagger into my  movements as my lanky and somewhat gangly body would be capable of. It occurred to me that ‘trying it by yourself’ had been the story of my life so far. I quickly banned that thought to mind’s sandbox and  with renewed vigour kept on fox trotting away, backwards and forwards, on the  worn out painted dance steps.

Belly Dancing and other related Activities

March 19, 2010

 

By Helvi Oosterman

Our little cottage, or maybe I should call it a shack, is usually let to the nicest possible people. They rent it because they like the idea of staying  in somewhere old and charming; somewhat sloping floors, aged newspaper/wallpaper  still visible here and there and of course the slow combustion fire place and stacks of books and CD’s on the shelves …

Now all the lettings are done through internet, via e-mails rather than telephone.  At times those calls made it very hard to stay civil and to agree that the customer is always right. There was this loud and opiniated American woman who demanded to know how old the bed linen was. I patiently explained that we had only been in operation about two weeks, so sheets and towels were only fourteen days old. Next she wanted to find out the standard of the general cleanliness in the cottage. I don’t know what she expected me to say; maybe she was eager to know what time I had vacuumed the place, and what cleaning products I used in the bathroom.

“Your question is rather ambiguous as my standards of cleanliness might be a lot higher than yours”, I replied and quickly added that I didn’t like her style of questioning and that I was not going send any requested pamphlets to her either.  Huh, I got out that in one piece, thank god; she most likely would have sued us if she found a dog hair on the veranda cushions!

Another interesting call came from a young mum of twins; she enquired after possible horse riding places nearby.  At time the insurance costs for that kind of activity had sky-rocketed; many horse owners had also stopped the practice. I passed the news to her and she seemed most disappointed and that made me ask her how old her twins were.  “They will be two next month.” I did not say anything after that.

Still, horse riding is something that people like to do in the country; it was just the age of the boys that threw me. I can relate to this eagerness to get the kids into activities as it is what these modern mums do. I was flabbergasted when another lady asked me what was there to do for her husband who was supposedly easily bored. I felt like saying; “Join the club; I have one of those as well. I usually do a spot of belly dancing at nine after the kids have gone to bed.” 

Instead I sweetly rattled on about cycling, hill climbing, and swimming, boule playing or maybe just reading in front of the fire…

Then there was this nice Chinese girl who wanted to know what kind of animals we had on the farm.  I proudly listed the alpacas and their cute off spring, the chickens, ducks, peacocks and what the kids seem to like best:  our three toddler friendly dogs. “What about sheep”, she asked. “Next door neighbour has thousands of them, just behind the nearest fence”, was my curt reply. 

She rang at least two more times, still asking about the sheep. Finally I couldn’t help it any longer and I had to ask:”Lee, what is it that you want do with those sheep, practice some shearing or what? “

She couldn’t stop laughing and when she came with her kids, all they wanted to do was to play with our lovely dogs…

Triumphing over adversity.

March 17, 2010

 The trip back on the Lambretta was slowed down considerably by the engine’s electronic contact points closing up so that the timing combination of points and spark plug became out of synchronisation, not right. This affected the power and each hill I did in second gear. I kept resetting the points but after a while they would be closing up again. I had a spare set of points so I managed to replace but the same problem kept occurring.  Anyway, I stuck to the Hume Highway and limped past the border where everyone had to stop for fruit fly inspection. Then idled past that bloody Gundagai Dog, but wherever I could order large T-bones in cafes along the way to ease the troubles of heart and Lambretta. It helped!  The problem with the points was now so acute and the going so slow that often I saw the same landscape and same farmhouse twice.

  In those days the traffic was not bad, and while riding the Lambretta I finally thought out the problem of the closing gap of the contact points. It was just before that big hill near Camden that I figured it was not the points at fault but that bit of six cornered bauxite or Bakelite that was wearing so quickly. Each corner of this Bakelite item made the points open up at every rotation, which in turn would give the spark to the plug. I tested it by putting a tiny speck of grease on it. Like magic, the rest of the trip was without any closing of the contact points. As I triumphantly entered the Revesby neighbourhood I passed my dear mother who, as so often, was walking home with her shopping trolley loaded up with the family’s food. It was nice to sleep in my own bed.

There now came a period of serious consolidation and reflection. Those Melbournian girls in need of Dutchmen were put on the bottom shelf and my search for relief from Ma paw and her five daughters in preference to some one’s real daughter would now be pursued much more seriously but also locally. The time for inward looking and coming to grips with reality was of the essence. No more far away pipe dreams, regurgitating past events. My sunburnt scarred nose needed careful rehabilitation and I traded my Lambretta in for an ex-police motor bike with side-car. It was a genuine police blue coloured Triumph 650 CC with a lovely sound. This was a serious bike and cars in front of me would notably slow down. I was drunk with power and imagined being a real policeman, fining any motorists seen smiling with happy girl friends.

Annemarie’s Consummation with a Night on sad stretcher.

March 16, 2010

Doing a novena with candles

“We’ll do the novena after the dinner”; “we’re all starving”, she said.  “No, not the novena to-night again” a chorus of children protested. “Ja, natuurlijk”, “of course we will”, her dad said sternly in guttural Dutch. All Dutch fathers are stern and ramrod morally straight. A novena par for course it would be, with those large and fatally catholic families. No interruptus of any coitus there. Let the little ones come, and mother will do the endless scrubbing, stove sweating, cooking, shopping and kiddie feedings!  Gutturally challenged fathers are often in easy chairs and smoking Graven A’s.

The novena was popular with large catholic families. It involved something religious with the number nine and praying.  Nothing voodoo though!  In Annemarie’s family it soon became clear just after dinner when instead of the usual thanks-giving prayer; the whole lot sank onto their knees on the floor with crossed hands on the dining chairs in front of them. They were doing this for nine weeks and were now in the second week. I dutifully followed kneeling just behind and beside Annemarie. They were all fingering the rosary beads while praying for a good future, including for ‘own home on own block and own solid Torrens Title’. 

 Of course, with the mashed potatoes, carrots and onions and some minced cows, the bedding down of the food while kneeling in pious prayer was not easy and soon a few light-hearted farts were wafting around.  Nothing too serious and parents smiled benevolently and lovingly at their happy off-spring, gathered on knees.  Apparently, the farting was the acceptable price negotiated in return for everyone agreeing to do this nine week family Novena, ‘for a better future in Australia, for our children.’ I suspected the farting would be on regardless of any novenas. Good Dutch families that fart together stay together.

In all that what was going on I was focussed on showing due piety in my posture, eyes turned at a slant and heavenly upwards. But, and as usual, it was in direct contrast to those infernal and intruding carnal thoughts. So close and yet so far. How ironic.  There she was the dreams of my youth. So lovingly on her knees, dress hiked up somewhat, lovely roseate thighs with rosary slipping through agile fingers. Oh, the irony of it all, the temptation so close and yet so far and under such dire and difficult circumstances.

With the novena having come to its last bead, we all got up and I offered to do the washing up, hoping a reciprocate move from my beloved. “No, it’s Elizabeth turn”, she quickly retorted. Roderick is waiting!   So much for love reciprocating.  Mother stepped in though, “no, you do it tonight”, she said sharply. With this latest set-back I decided that Mr ‘normal nose Roderick’ was more on her mind.  No doubt waiting for her around the corner, practising his ramrod straight morals as I was bloody well helping her do the washing up, even dried the dishes allowing the towel at times to stray against her leg. That’s the best my thousand kilometre scooter trip was capable of achieving.  Bitter rewards and pathos at its best that I would now be sleeping in her bed; perhaps with her scent on pillow case, providing her mother hadn’t changed the sheets or pillow case. Was it any better than sleeping in my lonely tent?    Is this what I had been so good for?

The kids were around the table playing Monopoly, squabbling over who had the most money and who was cheating, the novena wearing thin already and materialism rearing its head.  “Don’t be late”, her mother said. I could smell a kind of cinnamon odour and a rush of Annemarie’s frock bolting to the door. Insult to injury. I certainly know when to beat a retreat and after a ‘good night’ I crept to her bedroom but at least in her bed.  Beggars can’t be chosers!  No doubt, her dad would follow soon.

 He did, “Hey Gerard, would you mind sleeping on the stretcher”, “I have a sore back and you are so much younger?”

I said goodbye next morning never to see lovely Annemarie again.

Sex, Annemarie and a sad stretcher.

March 5, 2010

 

the lovely Annemarie

Story so far: Having survived a near goring by ferocious cows on my way to Annemarie through the ‘Snowy’, I have arrived at the front door.

Annemarie, here I come! 

  After a soft knock at Annemarie’s parents address, the door  opened. It was her mother who was beaming invitingly. “Ah, Gerard, come in, come in. Gee, you look red. The whole family came to the door. They had eight children and most of them girls. Dutch families of that time were huge. Indeed, a family with 21 children had arrived in 1955 and were featured, all in a row, on most newspapers front pages. I think they were The Stalenberghs and settled in ‘own home’ near Blacktown. The redness was mainly on my nose which also had developed nasty sun- blisters, not looking too appetizing. A four day trip in January on a motor scooter had left my face too exposed.  I was so hot and my suit was dark.

 

I entered with my suitcase but sans the object of my trip anywhere in sight. “Where is Annemarie, I mustered bravely but also casually”? “Oh, she’ll be here soon, she is just with a friend”. “She‘ll be helping me cook dinner soon”, her mother added rather quickly. “Why don’t you take a douche, here is a towel”? “You’ll be sleeping in Annemarie’s room and she’ll sleep with me.” With Annemarie not being there at my arrival and out with a friend, it did not sound too promising. Still, sleeping in her room was at least something. Percolating in a suit carrying a carton suitcase with bulbous and blistered nose, beggars can’t be choosers. Her absence was ominous though. Sleeping in her room was also not as it first seemed. I knew, that she would not be anywhere in bed with me. Of course not. Who do you take the Dutch for, a libidinous race of herring eating fornicators? “My husband will sleep on the stretcher bed next to Annemarie’s bed.” The ever thoughtful wife added.

My head started spinning and I needed to take up the offer of a refreshing shower. The sleeping arrangements needed some clarity which I could not achieve while still wearing and steaming in my Reuben’s S. suit. I undressed in the shower and tried not to complicate things with having Annemarie’s bed in mind. My proboscis was throbbing, nothing else. With a clean body and, considering the circumstances, a clean mind as well, I got dressed. I carefully packed my suit back in its carton environs together with dirty clothes and spark plug and spanner. My ‘suit wearing’ for impressing Annemarie had been a fiasco, she wasn’t even there!

I put on a Pelaco shirt and shorts; thongs on feet, clearly refreshed and ready for whatever would eventuate, including hopefully, a good old fashioned Dutch fare that Annemarie and mum would cook up. It smelt delicious, and not seeming too keen on getting a glimpse if Annemarie had arrived back yet and was lending a hand in the kitchen, I engaged with the other daughters and single son. They all were remarkably uninterested and preferred to talk to each other. Father of Annemarie had just come home and was in his special chair, smoking Graven A as well. What a coincidence!  At least we had that in common as well as sharing the same room for to-night. Suddenly, I heard the lovely pitched voice with a timbre that I recognized from that time on board with her special table tennis skills. ” Oh Annemarie”, I shouted from the lounge room. “Oh, hello Gerard”. “Hoe gaat het?” How are you going?   It did not sound as enthusiastic as I had imagined or fantasised. During that episode in the Snowy Mountains with those ferocious cows, I had prepared myself to gild the (Annemarie’s) Lilly somewhat with a heroic survival tale that I had practised during the last 2 nights in my single person tent.

love on a stretcher

I walked into the kitchen and immediately understood the reason for her rather cool welcoming engagement from the kitchen. There was a bloke there. Can you believe it? Cool as Fanta and with a normal nose. “This is Roderick, Roderick this is Gerard from the boat”, “he has a Lambretta”, she cooed. What a blow, all those cows ready to gore me, my burnt facial features and rotten nights wrestling to keep pure for Annemarie and now all hope collapsing. Roderick kept staring at my nose.  What I had left now was a night with her father and her bed. Small solace!  No wonder the mother was cooking up a big meal. She knew full well what was going on and I consoled myself with the idea that she preferred me for her daughter. An apprentice spectacle maker was a bit better than a mere factory labourer which ‘he’ turned out to be. “He has no future”, she confided, after he, the ‘Fanta boyfriend’ had left just before dinner. I did not have it in me to enlighten her to the fact that I had been a factory labourer until recently! Why not thrive a bit on someone’s better opinion?

The dinner was almost prepared and I watched as Annemarie was bashing the spuds with the potato masher, wriggling her lithe torso so knowingly and so maddingly delightful. Those table tennis tournaments sure had paid off, made her a fast mover. She wore a dress that was sweeping and rotating around her legs in sympathy to the spuds being pulverised.

ps: Will be continued with a consummation.