Posts Tagged ‘Valkyries’

Going Danish in Queensland.

August 24, 2017


When I tried to make an attempt to increase my social life by joining an indoor carpet bowling club, I never expected friendship to grow so quickly. From a mere first timer, the progress of bowling, rapidly went to competition bowling. It still is social and not at all serious. We drive around now to other venues whereby we meet new groups just as keen on the game. Most are elderly and so am I. We might well all have reached the age where social intercourse is better.

Before the idea grew of getting about between more people, I considered taking up ballroom dancing. You know how it is. You see those elderly couples keenly trying to keep their marbles about them, (and so am I.) The music’s urging gliding along the parquetry floor taking slowly tango’s rapid littles steps, turning their heads this way or that way, taking care their interlocking legs and noses don’t collide inappropriately. It was the fear of collisions that I feared most.

In a way, the game of bowling does or can appear to resemble dancing as well. The experts seem to almost force the bowl to go to its intended journey by slow body movements alone.  A keen observer might well notice a form of ballet in action. Of course, with  ageing the ballet becomes less agile. Even so, by squinting eyes, some of us could easily have been performing Swanlake if not the dance of the Valkyries.

The friendship was further enhanced today by a lunch invitation held at the Scottish Arms Hotel. We arrived spot on at 12. I ordered my favourite salt and pepper calamari. Helvi had the flat-head fish. The price included a schooner of beer or a glass of wine. We both had a schooner of beer. The group consisted of about twenty five all seated around a long table. I think the women outnumbered the males.  Half the males were bald, but most of the women generously bouffant.

I am still battling to remember names. I suspect that I have reached a stage whereby names seem to get stuck into a colander without going through. A Kevin becomes an Eric and Jill became Joan. I am going to suggest people should wear name tags. It is funny but at clubs one needs proof of identity but not in pubs. Both serve drinks and food,  people play games, especially poker-machines. Yet, the clubs insist on proof of identity. It is something to do with liquor- license laws. I suspect there is a lot of money involved in all that.

It all came to a head when the Danish Crown-Prince Frederik tried to enter a club in Brisbane and was stopped because he could not produce proof of identity even though the  accompanying security police vouched for his identity.

You can just imagine how this piece of news went viral around the world. It is true though. There are some things that seem impossible to change and that includes outdated and archaic license laws.

The prince was let through, but…there were ramification. It appeared the club had made an erroneous exception for the Prince. The police ended up apologizing for not insisting that Prince showed proof of identity. He just did not have it on him.

Australia at times can appear very quaint. The High Court at some distant date will have to decide if Australia is being governed by rogue foreigners. Row after row of parliamentarians are queuing up having discovered they have another nationality, which according to the present constitution is strictly outlawed.

What with bowling and all this, how could life not be fascinating? I can’t wait to get up early and welcome the day.

Carmen at Gosford

May 19, 2017

It’s been a long time since we watched an opera. A good friend suggested we join up and see Carmen. Of course Carmen was the one we used to tap our feet with many years ago. I could never get enough of ‘Oh Toreador’ which is one of its main operatic attractions. Off we went a couple of days ago in our Peugeot. The car our daughter returned when her stolen car was finally able to get re-registered in her own name again. There is an opera waiting to be written just about that saga alone.

The last time we watched a real-life opera was Wagner’s ‘The dance of the Valkyries’ whose whole opera, the ambitious Ring Cycle takes a complete week-end to watch. I think that takes a lot of operatic keenness which I am still working towards. Some people find Wagner a bit moody and heavy but we loved the dance of the Valkyries. Perhaps sunny Australia isn’t the place for moodiness in music. I am sure Bizet’s Carmen would fall on better and more eager ears.

The Carmen production was held at a small 400 seat theatre in Gosford’s Laycock theatre.  Gosford used to be a small sleepy village in the fifties when I used to drive my parents there in my first car. This first car was a light blue Ford V8. A single spinner. It had brown leather seats. The front seat had a build-in ashtray and held three adults. People would buy a block of land around Gosford and work towards building a nice week-end retreat. Retirees would flock from Sydney to Gosford. It had a milk bar and its own railway station. On a quiet day you could hear sheep bleat.

Gosford isn’t a sleepy village anymore. It is huge. There are more traffic round-a-bouts than people or New York City.  The theatre itself is surrounded by so much traffic chaos we felt like giving up. Helvi even suggested we might have to go home. No bleating sheep anymore in Gosford. It wasn’t just the traffic and round-a-bouts. The visual assault with so much signage, a blur of gaping car sales yards. Big McDonalds. How can people even think of eating ?  It was next to a white severe looking building which had ‘Endoscopy’ written on it. Do people have a Big Mack and then go for a colonoscopy next door? What an amazing world we live in!

The theatre remained a distant prospect. We could see it as we drove around and around. Screaming tyres. Huge exhausts belching out smoke from road trains gone berserk. My hand gripping the steering wheel of the Peugeot as if  at any moment I would be dragged to the hangman’s scaffolding. I needed a good Carmen. We finally hurled ourselves from the round-about and parked next to the Endoscopy building. It felt safe.

The theatre itself an oasis of calm and serenity. Peaceful retirees. Lots of grey hair and muffled sounds. It was packed and the performance ready to start. An electronic buzzing indicating we should take our pre-booked seats. The theatre was fully booked. Amazing when you think this was Wednesday at 11 am. The Carmen production was just brilliant. A huge cast with the orchestra well hidden below the stage. Rousing responses from the audience after each song or performance. We enjoyed it thoroughly and it was well worth the drive and manic traffic and chaos. Isn’t it wonderful that despite the spiritual barrenness of the surroundings with all that blatant exposure of crass commercialism one also get those jewels of art and creativity?

The world isn’t as bad as we might sometimes believe.

Thank you Bizet.

The Hypo or Hyper-Thyroiditis? That’s the question.

February 18, 2016
The Newspaper-seller.

The Newspaper-seller.

It does no harm to sometimes give in and go see the good doctor. I don’t really have an ‘own’ doctor, but visit a community health centre. It is surely a sign of good health not having a regular doctor. However, yesterday I received a letter to get my TFT test done. (Thyroid Function Test.)

Readers of this blog might remember the good days when living on the farm while driving back from shopping and arriving home, with Helvi opening the farm gate, she used to find me sound asleep by the time she got back into the car. This caused her alarm but not to me. It is very difficult to be alarmed when in a state of total non-alarm…

Some years before I was found to be asleep up-right at a lively party. People were jigging about with Carly Simon singing away. Some were also talking in great excitement. One party person,  caught me to listen attentively about how well his retirement fund was performing. He spoke about the benefits of compound interest, and how in twenty six years he would be able to retire on $674.50 a week. His superannuation fund was as flushed as he looked, really super.  He then tugged Helvi. ‘Your husband is not well, he is asleep,’ he said. ‘ ‘It happened while I was talking to him too.’ ‘ Can you believe it?’  ‘Oh yes,’ Helvi said. ‘He is not really suited for parties.’  ‘Don’t worry, it is not you, he falls asleep willy dilly at any time.’ The friend needed lots of reassuring. He wasn’t the most confident nor the best jigger. Perhaps, that was the attraction.

Farm gates or retirement funds do not by themselves induce sleep. However, it was felt I should get this investigated. I had my blood examined. The doctor noticed that every time the tests came back they showed up differently. ‘You have a dysfunctional thyroid,’ he enthused, finally getting rewarded for his persistence.  Since then I am taking a tablet that is suppose to balance my  thyroid and avoid sleeping upright or at farm gates.

Reading up about the Thyroid gland I wonder how much we control of what and who we are.  I am beginning to believe that we are more subject to our inherited genes than generally believed. I know that modern psychological trends are very much on the ‘unique’ individual and hammer home those terrific choices of who and what we want to be, and steer us into endless avenues of selections, opportunities and changes, and eventually becoming the real person of our choice. Book shops are chock-a-block and full of titles and promises of becoming whatever we want. The world is our oyster. Just buy the book and add some lemon with insight.

I am not too sure. Yes, we can chose to stay in bed or get up, eat a boiled four minute egg or a fried one, but what about those matters of joy or gloom? The tendencies for laughter, good cheer, bonhomie or their counterpart; the moroseness, heaviness and despair? Where do they come from and is it really a matter of pure choice.

To take the simple thyroid gland with hypo-thyroiditis and its effects, just cop this! “Patients are likely to have symptoms of lethargy, low energy levels, low heartbeat, anxiety.” The opposite of those with hyper-thyroiditis. “They tend to be more excitable, over-energetic, rapid heartbeat,  suffer nervousness and have trouble sleeping.”

I can still fall asleep no matter how exciting the event. I fell asleep during Wagner’s ‘The dance of the Valkyries!’ I have enjoyed that ability since my early teen years. I don’t know how often I went past my railway station after work or be jolted awake after my head came to rest on a passenger’s shoulder. I like it and feel on top of the world afterwards.

Next time I really should write about what it is that makes me wide awake and excited beyond endurance.