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Towards the End of July 2015

28 Jul

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Last weekend was educational for me with plenty of opportunity to reflect on different life styles and how people behave according to their station in life. It was also another lesson on how to cope with the inflictions of old age.

Peter and I have been members of the Good Government organisation for a number of years. Once every year, usually in July, the Good Government people organise a conference.   This time the conference was in the Hunter Valley. We had not been going to the last few conferences. We decided to go to the conference this year and at the same time maybe get to know a bit more about the Hunter Valley. We felt that at our advanced age it was a bit of a challenge for us. Nonetheless, there was no valid reason why we should not be able to make it, if only we put our mind to it.

The theme of the conference was:

The Crime of Poverty.

There were six speakers:

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Henry George delivered an address in the Burlington Opera House, Iowa, on 1st April, 1885. The theme of the address was:

THE CRIME OF POVERTY

Last Saturday all the talks at the conference were centered on the above speech by Henry George.

You can look it up here:

http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/georgecripov.html

Before and after the Fall of the Wall (Memories)

23 Jul

 

Sunday, the 16th of September, 2012.

On that day we were travelling by public transport to Borgsdorf visiting Ingrid and Erhard at their summer place. Ingrid is related to Peter’s family. Over the years we were always happy to visit Ingrid and Erhard whenever we happened to be in Berlin. On the phone Ingrid wanted to make sure we would come on Sunday. When I mentioned I still had a bit of a cold she said, not to worry, it was going to be a lovely, sunny day. I could just sit outside in the sun and this would do me good. I didn’t have to do anything. She was going to cook lunch for us, she said.

She did serve us a wonderful lunch. She loves to cook with healthy ingredients and lots of herbs and vegetables from her garden. I really felt all right sitting in the autumn sun for hours and hours, being served a lovely meal and later on coffee and cakes. Before the coffee break we all went for a walk to the close by river. Borgsdorf is a very secluded little village. In people’s gardens we could see fruit trees with hundreds of red apples on them.

This is an extract from a blog I wrote after our visit to Berlin in 2012:

http://auntyuta.com/2013/01/28/visiting-peoples-gardens-on-the-fringes-of-berlin/

 

My brother Peter Uwe had dropped us off at Berlin Tegel Airport. It was already afternoon, so he wanted to drive back straight away to his place in Mecklenburg/Vorpommern, where we had stayed with him and Astrid for the last few days of our holiday.

We checked in and then had plenty of time to have a drink with the six family members  who had come to see us off:
Peter’s cousin Ingrid, Peter’s nephew Daniel, Peter’s sister Ilse, and all their partners, all had come to farewell us.

It turned out, the flight to Amsterdam was delayed. Because of this,  we got into trouble with our connecting flight in Amsterdam. We had in Amsterdam actually less than one hour to get to our connecting flight. When I pointed this out to a cabin crew member he inquired about my age and whether I could walk all right. I told him I couldn’t walk as fast as younger people. Voila, a drive on a buggy was arranged for Peter and me.

Being driven through the immense airport with passengers roaming about and making way for the buggy, we felt like in a movie. It was a long, long drive to the departure point for our connecting flight. I doubt I could have made it in time by walking. We were extremely grateful for the lift and were able to board on time on the long stretch to Kuala Lumpur.

At Kuala Lumpur Airport we had a seven hour rest. From there we took off  on a seven hour flight to Sydney.  The longest non-stop stretch was from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, namely eleven hours! During this long flight Peter got sick. After that he had hardly anything to eat anymore.

I got distracted again. Searching for some pictures of Ingrid and Erhard,  I finally found the departure pictures that Peter took at Berlin Tegel Airport. You can look at them here:

http://auntyuta.com/2012/11/21/resting-at-kuala-lumpur-airport/

 

All the above happened in 2012. The wall had come down already in 1989. We were still thinking about it and all the changes it had brought. Berlin was an undivided city again, East- and West-Germany were one country. But we could still remember what it was like before the Fall of the Wall.

BACK IN AUSTRALIA

I wrote the following on the 19th of November 2012:

Peter and I  landed safely back in Australia. Yesterday morning our daughter Caroline picked us up from Sydney airport and drove us to our home (100 km south of Sydney). So we’ve been back home now for nearly thirty hours and are gradually getting rid of our jet legs. Everything is fine at our place. Our lovely daughter is going to stay with us till tomorrow (Tuesday).

Six people had come to Berlin Tegel airport on Friday to see us off. We found the perfect place to have a drink with them. This was very relaxing for us. We knew already that our plane to Amsterdam was going to leave somewhat later than originally planned. My brother had driven us to the airport from his place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. He had only dropped us off,  for he wanted to  be  back home before it got too dark.

In Amsterdam we had scarce time to catch the connecting flight to Kuala Lumpur. We made sure we’d get some help by the airport people. Just as well! It turned out we had to go  right to the other end of the airport. This would have meant a tremendous walk for us. We were very grateful for being driven to our departure point. I doubt that we could have made it on time by walking.

In Kuala Lumpur we had close to seven hours to catch our Malaysian connecting flight to Sydney. This meant we had no problem with being on time for boarding at the departure gate. It also gave us the opportunity to stretch our legs a bit and then take a break in a beautifully furnished cafe with French songs playing in the background. The toilet facilities were also very welcome. We couldn’t take a walk through the airport’s beautiful open air jungle walk since it was closed for renovations. What a pity!

Near our departure gate we found some stretch-out chairs.  To be able to stretch out on these chairs we welcomed very much.

Some pictures of these stretch out chairs you can actually find in this blog:

http://auntyuta.com/2012/11/21/resting-at-kuala-lumpur-airport/

I wrote in this blog further on:

We were grateful for the long break at Kuala Lumpur Airport. It gave us ample time to recover a bit from the previous eleven hour non-stop flight. In Kuala Lumpur Peter even enjoyed the coffee and cake we had at one of the airport’s coffee-shops. At some other establishment we had a large glass of iced Chi tea. This tasted very good and was very refreshing. On the next seven hour stretch  to Sydney Peter refused food again. However he had lots of drinks all the time: Mainly water, but also some juice and coffee. He just didn’t feel like eating.

 

My main purpose of looking up all these posts was actually that I wanted to be reminded what experiences we had on previous visits to Berlin when the city was divided by that Wall. There was a lot of confusion going on about currencies in East and West, lifestyle changes dividing East and West, crippling shortages in the East. a lot of spying going on in the East, West-Berliners making nasty remarks about the “poor” East-Berliners and so on.

And after the Fall of the Wall? To this day these parts of Germany that had previously been GDR territory are still a bit less prosperous than their cousins in the other parts of Germany. Yes, it is one country again, but you do find differences. People in the East seem to be somewhat different from people in the West. The unemployment rate is much higher in the eastern parts of Germany. West-German companies seem to prefer to go to a neighbouring Eastern country where they can pay lower wages.

For some time low cost housing was available in East-Germany. In areas where there is work or tourism, housing prices are on the up. In some remote areas, where there is no work, low cost housing is of no use to the people. It is unbelievable, but people who cannot afford any more to pay for housing and live on the streets for most of the year, these people are on the increase, while other people gentrify their places, and they invest in places they can let for more and more rent. How about this attitude that “the Market” regulates all?

 

 

 

 

 

Our Day at Taronga Park Zoo

20 Jul
 This is where we met to catch the Ferry to the Zoo.


This is where we met to catch the Ferry to the Zoo.

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Lucas with his uncle Troy on the boat

Lucas with his uncle Troy on the Ferry

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The trip to Tarango Park Zoo did not take long.

The trip on the Ferry did not take long.

IMG_0974Chairlifts took us up to the entrance of the Zoo.

Peter took this picture on the way back to Circular Quay.

Peter took this picture on the way to the zoo.

Here is another picture that Peter took.

Here is another picture that Peter took.

All the following pictures are Peter’s pictures too. I could not take any more pictures as we entered the Zoo. The reason? It turned out there were already too many pictures on my card! That meant my camera would not work for me anymore. Today Peter changed the card in my camera for a much larger card. So next time there will be no limit to how many pictures I can take, or at least not for a long while.

Here now are some more pictures that Peter took:

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People have a great view from the top of Taronga Park Zoo.

People have a great view from the top of Taronga Park Zoo.

The giraffes share the great view.

The giraffes share the great view.

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From Uta’s July 2015 Diary

18 Jul

 

Last Thursday I went to my gentle exercise class. Ayleen, who usually comes along with me, could not make it: She had hurt her back. It was a very cold day. But I decided to put my very warm winter coat on and slowly walk to the community centre. A walk that in the past would have taken me not much more than ten minutes, took me a bit more than twenty minutes. When I arrived there was a nice hot cup of tea and a biscuit with cheese waiting for me.  Because it was such a cold day, the class was not very well attended. Marta, our instructor, had some sad news for us: Towards the end of the year she has to leave us for a few months for she has to go to South America to look after her ailing 98 year old mum for a while to give her sisters a break. She said she is looking out for a relief instructor for us for the time that she is going to be away. I told Marta that it was very good of her that she wants to do this for her mum and her sisters.

I had asked Peter to meet me at the library after my class. I was very keen to look for some books at the library. It has been too long since I had last visited the library. The library is in the same building as our exercise class. So it was easy for me to get there. As soon as I entered the library I became aware that I had forgotten my glasses. What a bummer. Half blind, I tapped around for some books. Despite my limited vision it turned out I ended up with a couple of excellent books: One book is Colleen McxCullough’s 526 page novel BITTERSWEET. The other book is OPPOSED POSITIONS by Gwendoline Riley.

I  already started reading  OPPOSED POSITIONS. I find it is a very interesting read. This writing style and what she writes about appeals to me very much. I found out from that article in The Guardian that this novel is referring a lot to Riley’s own experiences. How to write about your own experiences in a novel, well, this is really something I could learn from, I think.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/may/18/gwendoline-riley-interview-opposed-positions

 

Novelist Gwendoline Riley talks about her obsessive need to write, and why she’ll never have children
gwendoline riley novelist

‘Extraordinary talent': novelist Gwendoline Riley. Photograph: Sophia Evans for the Observer Sophia Evans/Observer

Peter picked me up from the library. He also looked around a bit in the library. He was interested in some videos that he could take out on loan for four weeks. He ended up getting four DVDs out. They may come in handy for us to watch over the coming weeks. Often there is absolutely nothing interesting for us on TV.

 

Uta’s July 2015 Diary (continued)

18 Jul
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Just a few days ago I took these pictures on one of my morning walks. I remember it was a very cold but beautiful sunny morning. I wore one of my warmest winter jackets. The other week, during the winter school holidays, I saw one morning a lot of movement around this little playground. A father arrived with two children;  some other children belonged to some women standing around close by. I sat for a while on on of the seats near the playground. The women were busy talking to each other. I was just observing, not talking to anyone. I kind of blended into the landscape, nobody taking any notice of me. I would have loved to take some more pictures, but I did not dare to.

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Little Lucas is three today. We are going to see him and the family tomorrow at Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney. Alternatively we might all go to the Powerhouse Museum if the weather turns out to be too bad. It could be very windy and wet. But we hope it is going to be all right tomorrow. Yesterday there was widespread snow all over New South Wales,  even a bit into Queensland! However very close to the coast, where we are, there was no snow.

On the fifteenth of this month it was three years since Gaby died. Peter wrote some beautiful commemoration again into Facebook.

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I love to spice my food with Madras Simmer Sauce. The green pieces in the picture are Kale!

 

 

We saw already the whole six-part TV series Glitch on iView after having started watching it on ABC TV. It is a fact that we soon got hooked. So we continued watching it online. Last night we watched the last part of the series.

I googled some information about it. Here is one of the write-ups:

http://thenewdaily.com.au/entertainment/2015/07/08/abcs-glitch-australias-attempt-blockbuster-tv/

“The national broadcaster is staking its claim in the high-concept, big cast, epic drama scene with Glitch, its new six-part series available in full on its iView service from July 9.

The first episode hits the ground running as small town police officer James Hayes (Patrick Brammell) is called to a graveyard to investigate a “disturbance . . . .  “

Uta’s Diary, July 2015

12 Jul

The other day we moved some furniture around. We decided that we could have both our computers in our little computer room. That way we would be close to each other while sitting at our computer tables. This little room is easy to heat. So we save up on heating expenses. For sure this is another bonus, especially now that we suffer such an arctic cold spell!

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I love to add little slices of ginger to my ginger tea. It makes for a very good tasting, healthy and warm drink. I only need to cut off tiny, tiny bits of my lovely piece of ginger to make a wonderful drink! :-)

Our camellia flowers seem to thrive in the cold weather:

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Bulli Beach Cafe, July 2015

11 Jul

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As we were waiting for the food buzzer to ring, we observed a few sparrows flying in and out of the restaurant space. Peter tried to catch them with the camera, however they always flew away too quickly to take a proper photo.

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I was sneaky and took a picture of Peter as he entered the Cafe.

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The special offer on one of the blackboards looked quite enticing. But the offer was for the evening. We had come just for a simple lunch. This was yesterday, Friday the 10th. Peter just tells me, “coldest weather is on its way”. I wonder, how much colder it can get. Isn’t it cold enough by now?

We took some seats inside and studied the menu. Breakfast was only till 11 am, and it was already well past 11. Then we discovered a section “breakfast all day”. Under this section we found some special offers.

I had chosen fresh fruit salad with yoghurt.

I had chosen fresh fruit salad with yoghurt.

Peter had gone to pick up my salad and had to wait for the buzzer to ring to go and get what he had ordered. It did not take long and his huge 10 Dollar burger was ready to be picked up. We had asked for an extra: small

We thought the servings were very generous.

We thought the servings were very generous.

Later on I had a pot of Earl Grey tea and Peter had some coffee. We were very happy with our lunch. Earlier on we had already gone for a walk. We thought it was not too cold since there was absolutely no wind. Unfortunately there was no sun either. At least it did not rain.
We really enjoyed our little walk even though we both felt a little pain in our knees.

I took quite a few pictures. Here are some of them:

On arrival I took this picture before I got out of the car.

On arrival I took this picture before I got out of the car.

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