Posts Tagged ‘Vegetables’

Bowling and toilet breaks.

August 28, 2017


The Sunday event of playing bowls with another club went smoothly. Most clubs don’t open before 10 am. This is probably linked to those strict license laws.  We can drink ourselves into a stupor but not before a certain time. We were told to arrive at 9.30am in Goulburn and naturally found the door closed. We walked around and found another door slightly ajar which allowed us to sneak in. It might well have been the door that the cleaners and staff used to prepare for the day.

No-one was at the desk and this will probably be our last and only time we entered a club without having to show proof of identity. Prince Frederick of Denmark; please note! After entering the bowling room upstairs, we noticed many of the Goulburn’s bowling members being present with most of our own club’s members. I was given a light green t-shirt with our club’s name  ‘The Berrima Social Bowling Club.’ emblazoned on it. It had a dark blue collar. The Goulburn club all wore a dark-blue outfit which included pants. All had name tags which was a great relief. I just hope the ladies did not think I was perving when staring at their chests trying to get to their names!

After a while we were all split into different teams. I was supposed to be a ‘lead’ in my team. I was unprepared for that role. I asked what this meant and was informed it meant my side would start the first bowl by tossing a coin.

‘Ok, I said,’ and dug out a coin, flipped it into the air and gravity did the rest. It fell onto the ground. ‘You have to call it,’ an opposing team-member said.  It turned out you have to say ‘heads or tails,.’ before flipping it. How does one know those things? I am a fast learner though, and  successfully flipped it the second time. I said ‘heads.’ It happened to land with the queen’s head showing. I bowled first. A giant leap forwards.

It turned out the two different teams were all playing together with each other and not against each other. Isn’t that a giant step forwards? This is social sport at its best. For me, a dream come true. I propose that when  Germany plays England next in soccer, that each team have a fifty- fifty mix of each others players. This will do away with all forms of violence and unnecessary competition. We play for the joy of the sport.

As I had put our own club’s t-shirt over my long sleeved shirt I was told that a T-shirt is not normally worn on top of a normal shirt. Panic struck. I wasn’t going to strip down to my singlet. The sight would have been so undignifying, some might have fainted. I have long passed the age of once perhaps being seen as the Prince of Passion, polar necked golden chained, God of the pounding surf. ( I never was.) A man over seventy should never be seen in his singlet, not even in the dark.

There were two games before lunch and one after. The lunch was ordered before hand and at 12.30 we all filed into a special dining room. Most of us went for the ‘Roast Pork with Vegetables. I had earlier inquired if this would include ‘Crackling.’ The answer was in the positive. Boundless enthusiasm followed after that bit of news. I am sure it improved my bowling.

After lunch we all filed back and took our positions behind the greens again. Of course with most of us full of the Roast Pork and apple sauce now queuing up in our intestines for digestion, it should not come a surprise that some sneaked in a hurried trip to the toilet. This happened to one of our own players. ‘I have to go to the loo’, John said. Fair enough, everyone understood and when it became his turn to bowl we all patiently waited his return. We looked to the floor and engaged in some chit-chat. However, it took a bit more time and after about ten minutes of waiting we were just about to suggest a rescue operation when, much to our relief, John re-appeared and took his turn bowling. His bowling was superb.

We had a great day.


‘Winter in America,’ Children’s Library and Vegie co-op (Auto-biography)

July 26, 2015
Balmain Watch-house.

Balmain Watch-house.

The way things are going in this auto- biography it will run into a literary cinemascope  version of  Days of our Lives with the Hammond organ belting out a circular and never ending tune.  The cheek of thinking that my life is any better or more important or interesting than that of any living being or Jo Blow!  I shall just continue because I enjoy this very much.  And if there is a blow out of too many words, well…just skip a few pages… or start at the end and work towards the middle. Even if it relieves insomnia for just a single night for just a single person, I’ll be a happy man.

Apart from the baby-sitting club, another community enterprise was the vegie co-op which also started to sprout up in the various communities of inner Sydney suburbs. I am not sure anymore if this came about during our stay at Gertrude’s cottage between 1969-1973 or after our stay in Holland and subsequent return in 1976. In any case a group of people decided to fork out $10.- each week towards a kitty to buy fruit and vegetables at the Flemington wholesale fruit and vegie markets at Homebush.  It was a huge market covering a very large area where all the fruit and vegie shops would get their produce at wholesale prices. It also had several cafeteria where the buyers could get sustenance and a coffee. Many fruit and vegie shops were run by Italians and Greeks, so food and coffees were as necessary as the apples, kale and celery which they filled their trucks up with, especially when the buying started at 5am.  You can imagine how early the growers had to get up and prepare their stalls? Farming is tough! It was a hectic few hours and the men, and many women too, would be ravenous by seven am. The market as all markets do, also had great atmosphere and laughter was everywhere.

Of some interest was my market shopping partner Jimmy Stewart. He was  Irish. He loved a good yarn and food. He looked somewhat like a juvenile Oscar Wilde. He had dark hair hanging over his face and a large stomach. After our shopping of many boxes of fruit and vegies, we would visit the cafeteria, enjoy bacon and eggs, coffee and a cigarette. He loved women and they generously reciprocated, yet he was never good marriage material. His income sporadic and swallowed up by international phone calls to entrepreneurial music and record companies. He generally managed to get me to buy cigarettes and pay for the bacon and eggs. But, he was terrific company, always whistling and singing. A cheerful soul. A great friend.

He was a writer of music, popular music and would let nothing stand in the way of doing that. Sadly, it did not bring in a regular income, yet women were attracted to him often in order to find out that a future including a cosy and secure family-life would be hazardous at best and reckless at worst.  That’s how so often and so sadly, love gets lost. The combination of income with a mutual everlasting and reasonable attraction is so desired and yet so rarely achieved. Money so often the banana skin on the doorstep of many relationships. Indeed, even with plenty of money things can get perilous.

While we drove to the markets and back he used to hum a song that really hit the world at that time. It was ‘Winter in America’.  It had a line that included the ‘Frangipani’. “The harbour’s misty in the morning, love, oh how I miss December / The frangipani opens up to kiss the salty air” – Ashdown’s lament to “leave love enough alone” has become one of the great Australian standards.

It was Jimmy Stewart’s creation and he would often sing it while driving to Flemington markets..

Here it is;

At the same time of the weekly boxes of fruit and vegies, another group also brought to fruition a Children’s library. Another community effort. The retired chief Commonwealth librarian named Larry Lake was the main person behind this idea. The National Trust had given the use of the Balmain Lock-up to a group that called themselves “The Balmain Association’. The ‘Lock-up’ or Watch house’ was busy during the heydays of Balmain still working as a Stevedoring and Waterfront suburb. There were lots of maritime associated industries and that is what attracted many to the area when that ceded to exist. During earlier times and at night the local constable would have been busy locking up inebriated sailors or others that liked to frequent so many pubs it was difficult to find normal houses in between. I believe Balmain had over 60 pubs at one stage. The air used to be thick with coarse oaths and rank vomit renting along the blue-stone cobbled noisy streets. It frightened the horses at times.

A group including myself spent many evenings getting this library working. There were fundraisings and book covering, cataloguing and getting shelving to fit into one of the Lock-up cells. It had a heavy steel door and sliding locking mechanism. Those poor drunks! The children that used to visit the cell library afterwards, just loved it.

Those were the days. It did include occasional bra removals, but also baby-sitting, vegie co-ops, music and books for children.

Food,Sex, and smoked Eels.

December 17, 2012


Food, Sex, and smoked Eels.

It is curious how we are drawn to food especially on how it looks. Was it always like that? I can’t remember my mum having cook books or reading about food. She simply cooked nourishing food within her means. Within her means was very difficult during and even after the war. Food, costs generally speaking, money, except for those that grow their own. However, as their income grew, so did the intake of more expensive food and from hardly ever eating meat, it came to eating it perhaps twice a week and the boring brown beans turned into witlof, leeks and carrots..

Has anyone ever succeeded in growing their own not being a farmer? We tried on our farm to grow our own but were beaten back by the near impossibility of it. The exceptions were rocket and silver-beet and the first year lots of strawberries. We had rain then.

In Holland during school years most students would at some stage be given a small bit of communal ground on which, for just one season, we would grow edibles, either green or even pinky red coloured. I remember riding my bicycle home with a bag of potatoes strapped on the back. My mother was ecstatic. Apart from spuds, I grew lettuces, carrots and some kind of green stuff looking like grass. It was spicy and on sandwiches delicious, especially with some sugar sprinkled on it. One could keep snipping it and it would be harvestable again the next week. It was a kind of cress but was not grown in water. Perhaps it was rocket except it looked more like grass.

When arriving here, growing anything was challenging. I can still see Dad, all red faced and perspiring hacking away at the unforgiving hard soil in suburban Sydney’s Revesby with Dutch coarse oaths renting the still air. It was so hard and I’ll never forget his efforts in trying to grow something to supplement my mum’s cooking. I doubt the growing of food was ever a success. If it wasn’t for the hard soil, it would be drought, insects or birds eating all. He bought all sorts of poisons and sprays, even scaffolding for the fruit trees carefully inspecting all the apples for worms etc. At one stage he prepared scaffolding decked out with planks around one fruit tree which he would climb into and peer inside the thousands of flowers to look for fruit flies. He was that determined. He spent ours perched on top of that scaffolding. Poor dad, he did really try so hard.

We have achieved quite a good herb garden here in Bowral but have done this through containing all the herbaceous plants within the borders of two timber boxed.  We pre-filled the boxes with good friable top soil and copious cow manure. This is so much easier to control and water. Milo, our Jack Russell, of course keeps the birds away.

Now-a-days, food and cooking are very different and elevated to an art form. Brown beans have disappeared.  Whole libraries are devoted to cookery books. As some wit stated, anyone who eats three times a day understands perfectly well why cookery books sell three times more than sex books.

For some eating has replaced sex as their favorite pastime. You can’t pick a fight with your boeuf tartar nor is it likely that this dish would take your home and kids in a bitter and protracted divorce fight.

I can’t remember ever seeing people in the past eating while moving about. Now the fact of putting food in a mouth seems to encourage the body into a forward locomotion onto the streets and even crossing traffic lights, but as yet have not seen any doing it in reverse.  I have even seen driving and eating. One hand is stuffing the mouth which is masticating wildly from side to side, the other on the wheel with similar sideway movements. Women don’t generally eat while driving but do stroke their hair or eyelashes.

However, it wasn’t totally unknown for people to also eat while having sex. That apparently has been the norm for centuries. I have seen with my own eyes in Pompeii a fresco with a reclining gladiator on a sword holiday wearing a Roman toga fornicating languidly and casually while calmly eating bunches of grapes at the same time.

A good friend of mine told me his wife loved taking small bunches of smoked eels to bed which she would devour in between their entanglements. The husband preferred smoking a cigar. The only place where cooked food is more dangerous than sex is in Britain whose greatest contribution to its cuisine has been the chip.  I was told that if you believe mussels increase your libido with an enduring and endlessly lasting tumescence, to always make sure you don’t put them on too soon.

With women, always a bit tricky at the best of times, it is often romance that is more important than food. Nothing is more romantic than having a pair of new shoes as well as breakfast in bed. With men shopping is often a bit like sex, after five minutes of it they get tired and walk out of the shop.

In the meantime we all plod along the best we can. The choice is as always, make the best of this round world that spins around trying to shake you off. We cling and hold on, grasping at anything that we might find nourishing, gives us a bit of security. And that happens to includes food. Keep hanging on in there folks!

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