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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

In the middle of Erewhon

 

The cottage guests have left - see here - and I can go back to my reading. I started on Samuel Butler's Erewhon which is a fictional country but based on Samuel Butler's own experiences in New Zealand. No wonder he thought he was in the middle of nowhere! ☺

Anyway, I'm off to Erewhon! If you want to follow me, click here.

 

Friday, September 26, 2014

O Canada!

 

My old Bougainville cobber, being the true patriot he is and having long ago returned to his home and native land of Canada, has had trouble figuring out what time it is in my part of the world.

Always happy to oblige, I mailed him a clock set to Australian time which now has pride of place in his workshop where "because I have to stand on my head every time I look at the clock I get a lot of good exercise :-)", he writes.

 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I'm a member of the Apostrophe Protection Society

 

An old friend whom I had emailed about hobbies - or rather, the lack thereof - sent me this reply:

"Pete, my hobby is checking out sheila's [sic] with big tits."

It seems that he hasn't been weaned off the misuse of the apostrophe either but, being an old mate from my New Guinea days, I haven't got the heart to dob him in with the Apostrophe Protection Society.

Anyway, when even the university town of Cambridge is doing away with the apostrophe, who am I to complain? Indeed, who am I? ☺

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A man, a car, a phone, a movie for our times

 

The film Locke consists entirely of scenes of construction foreman Ivan Locke talking on his mobile phone while driving down a motorway on the day before he must supervise a large concrete pour in Birmingham.

Having learned that Bethan, a co-worker with whom he had a one-night stand seven months previously, has gone into premature labour, he decides to drive to London to be with her during childbirth, despite his job responsibilities and although his wife and sons are eagerly awaiting his arrival at home to watch an important football match.

Over the course of the two-hour drive, he phones his boss and a colleague to ensure that the pour is successful, phones his wife Katrina to confess his infidelity, phones Bethan to reassure her during her labour, and is fired from his job, kicked out of his house by his wife, and asked by his older son to return home. He also coaches his assistant Donal through preparing the pour despite several major setbacks, and has imaginary conversations with his father, whom he envisions as a passenger in the back seat of his car. As he finally reaches the hospital, Locke learns of the successful birth of his daughter.

Welcome to the world of the mobile phone!

 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

There is so much that, if we learnt we might be dead by nightfall, we would remember to value

 

Padma's mum is critically ill which puts enormous pressure on her family back home, on Padma and on me. It is at times like these that we should pause to take stock of what has gone well and to be content with many things as they are.

It is our obligation to give meaning to life however difficult it may be.

 

Monday, September 15, 2014

I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

 

Tomorrow is my 69th birthday. Like the old monk who, having for years copied old texts from previous copies and finally wanting to check against the original, is found sobbing as he leans over the original book and tearfully mumbles, "The word is celebrate not celibate", I am more inclined to contemplate rather than celebrate this occasion.

There have been moments in my life when I thought I would never get this far. Now that I have, I wonder how much of it was simply fortuitous happenstance. As I wrote elsewhere, "Somehow I've got this far! Sometimes it seemed like driving a car at night. I could see only as far as the headlights, I couldn't see where I was going and very little of what I passed along the way, but somehow I managed to make the whole trip all the same."

Robert Frost's poem sums it all up rather well:

 

Click on image to enlarge

 

Friday, September 12, 2014

"ENCYCLOPEDIA FOR SALE BY OWNER:
No longer needed. Wife knows everything"

 

We drove the 51 clicks to "Oolladoolla" for our weekly swim, lunch and shopping spree. Our favourite op-shop no longer accepts donated encyclopedias. Have too many encyclopedia owners tied the knot?

 

 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The writing is on the wall

 

Before I left Australia in the dying days of 1969 for the wilds of New Guinea, I rented a mail box in a small suburban post office in Canberra, and for the next fifteen years my permanent mailing address became

P.O.Box 42, Duffy A.C.T. 2611

regardless of wherever I was in the world.

The "postmaster" of this small hole-in-the-wall post office, a likeable Pom by the name of Steve Dow, would every couple of weeks stuff my mail in a jiffy bag and send it to wherever I happened to be, which altogether totalled some fifty different addresses in well over a dozen different countries.

In turn, I sent Steve from all the places I had been to and worked in many colourful picture postcards which he pinned to the backwall of his tiny post office. They brightened up his work place for many years until an overzealous postal inspector told him he was running a post office and not a travel agency and would he take them down, please!

Well, I seem to have come full circle because I now have my own wall on which I pin the few cards I receive from the few friends who still remember me. As you can see, there's still plenty of room left, so you're welcome to send your own picture postcard to

Peter Goerman
"Riverbend"
Nelligen N.S.W. 2536
Australia

I promise to pin it to the wall and raise my glass to it in quiet contemplation whenever I sit in the "Clubhouse".

 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My travelling days are over

 

Riverbend has everything I want and I don't leave it often but today we shall make the 8-kilometre journey to Batemans Bay to watch the movie The Hundred-Foot Journey at the Bay City Cinemas followed by dinner at an Indian restaurant.

 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday morning at the club

 

After all the rain we've had, the pond is the size of Sydney Harbour (well, almost!) and it's a pleasure sitting in the "Clubhouse".

The "Clubhouse" is still a work in progress but everything should be fully operational in time for summer.

It's not easy being green!

 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Mimpi Manis

 

Another day in Ulladulla, another day browsing the op-shops, and I came away with this beautiful little volume of 'Bedtime Stories from Bali' which includes an excerpt from Miguel Covarrubias' famous book, published in 1937, Island of Bali.

Having previously watched the eponymous Hitchcock movie, I also picked up John Buchan's classic, The Thirty-Nine Steps, as well as Paul Davies' The Mind of God, a book which, according to its backcover blurb, "no inquisitive mind can do without".

And that's it for another week. With 'mimpi manis' being a literal translation by a European (with a predisposition to alliterations) which no Indonesian would ever use, I wish you a more appropriate 'mimpi indah' until next week.

 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Die Männer der Emden

Movie "Die Männer der Emden"

 

A friend who's cruising the Indonesian archipelago sent me this clip of the "Raja Laut" which reminded me of it being used in the making of the film "Die Männer der Emden".

SMS Emden was stationed at the German concession of Tsingtao in China (they still make a good German beer there by the same name) when World War I broke out. She was attacked by the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney in the Cocos Islands and run aground by her captain to prevent her from sinking.

Out of a crew of 376, 133 were killed in the battle. Most of the survivors were taken prisoner, though the landing party, consisting of another two officers, six non-commissioned officers, and thirty-eight sailors, and led by Hellmuth von Mücke, commandeered an old schooner (the "Raja Laut" in the film) and eventually make its way back to Germany.

All real Boys' Own stuff and well worth watching.

 

Sometimes I wake up grumpy ...

 

Having bought this little sign at an op-shop for a whole dollar, I am wondering how to change the "him" to a "her". Perhaps I should've bought this one:

It's so much easier to add an "s" to a "he".

 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Good Bay Bookshop

 

It's the first day of spring but our friendly Bay Bookshop, bought only a few years ago by its new owner, won't see another summer. The previous owners, Peter and Beth, anticipated the impact of the internet and got out in time and with a small profit.

How can any brick-and-mortar bookshop compete against the huge offerings on the internet where one can order just about any book from anywhere in the world, often at hugely discounted prices and posted free of charge? Add to this the competition from second-hand bookshops and op-shops selling sometimes almost brandnew books for just a couple of dollars and one wonders, "Why run a bookshop at all?" (more in this article).

Of course, there will always be the odd customer who needs help, like the little old lady who asked, "I read a book in the sixties. I don’t remember the author, or the title. But it was green, and it made me laugh. Do you know which one I mean?”, but they're outnumbered by the browsers who come into a bookshop, pen in hand, to scribble down ISBNs to purchase later, for less, online.

I always feel sad when I see yet another bookshop close down. However, I cannot single-handedly support them all nor can a resist the temptation to buy online or to trawl the local op-shops for some unexpected 'treasures'.

Click on the image for the story

As a parting gesture, I bought from the Bay Bookshop The Bookshop That Floated Away which, if they had read it, could have given the owner an idea of how to stave off the demise.