Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 45

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Wednesday & Thursday October 1 & 2, 2008 (diary, restless, books)

I Googled Vincent Hamel (referred to on September 29) and found that he is still painting and apparently doing well. Could not find a website for him, but he is currently having an exhibition in a Gallery in New York.
I appreciate people who do more or less the same work for their entire life, like artists, professionals such as doctors, lawyers, scientists, trades people etc. It gives them the opportunity to get down to the nitty gritty, the real essence and fundamentals of their chosen field and advance it to the better of this world. But I could never have done that myself. In fact I have not done so.

Awareness 20 continues from September 11
Have I been too restless or not dedicated enough to one specific field of enquiry ? There is perhaps some truth in that, but mainly I believe it is something else. In retrospect it is quite clear that I have strongly followed through on, and reflected, the main four emotional and mental phases (as discussed on April 13) of my life.
The 4 Phases of one's Life
This is undoubtedly why I have been able to recognise them so clearly in the first place. Others, with a more stable life pattern, may have experienced these phases in a much less pronounced fashion, perhaps with gradual transitions rather than sharp boundaries separating them.
During my Materialistic Phase I was a Geologist, while during my Creative Phase I became a musician and music educator. Now in my Reflective Phase my former passion for music has receded to a pleasant pastime, while I focus on wider (and sometimes deeper) issues concerning life and the world (to a large degree catalysed and crystallised through my thinking and writing for this Blog).

This restlessness, constant need to change, to move forward, is stabilised, and separated into segments, by sustained periods of physical (but not mental) laziness (thank goodness for that). I also see now very clearly that this recurring pattern is present at all time levels of my existence.
At the time frame of my life as a whole, the pattern (as shown above) is clear for all to see.
At the time span of a single year, like next year for example, my physical movements, give or take a couple of weeks, will probably be something like :

Sunshine Coast (4 months) - Darwin (3 months) - Europe (2 months) - Darwin (3 months)

Within each period of rest I don't move about much, but I establish certain routines in order to create a bond with the environment I am in.
Here on the Mango farm near Darwin I experience at present a wonderful period of the utmost peace and tranquility. But deep inside I can slowly feel the adrenalin building up in anticipation of the 4-5 days drive through inland Australia on my way to the Sunshine Coast (in SE Queensland).

When in Europe this pattern is repeated, but at shorter time spans. I may for example be in :

Sankt Peter (7 days) - Bernkastel (7 days) - Boppard (2 days) - Altenahr (5 days) - etc.

In each of these locations I develop set bonding routines, like a daily walk, contemplation on a bench, visit and talk to people at an Imbiss, pub, restaurant, hotel. I rarely do any "touristy things" wherever I am. It does not reflect real life at the place and its community.

Doug and I at the Thai Parnit Restaurant, Nambour In Australia too within each single otherwise quiet day there is a point, often around lunch time, when I must get out to satisfy my restless nature.
My son in law Doug (who too has done many different things in his life) is a man who pocesses great tranquility. He can quietly remain at home at ThreePonds for days on end, only going out when he absolutely has to for buying food or for an other errant.
I can not do that, I must get out, even if it is for only half an hour or so. Once I have done that I am fine for the rest of the day.

'Night' by Karasso Even when it comes to the very small time frame of my nightly reading, my restless need for change has a hand in proceedings.
On my bedside table is always a pile of half a dozen books or so. Depending on my mood I may select first one, then (more often than not) after reading a bit switch over to another book. Perhaps other people do this too, I don't know, but it is quite typical for my reading habits.
Awareness continues on October 6

Having recently finished a few I have just added two new books to the pile. One is "Tender is the Night" by F.Scott Fitzgerald I found in one of the boxes in my van. I started on this book before, but unlike "The Great Gatsby" which I absolutely loved, I only got halfway through this one.
But as Ernest Hemingway observed (as printed on the back cover) :
"A strange thing is that in retrospect "Tender is the Night" is getting better and better." That is certainly what I find this time around, but it is important to be in the right patient and observant frame of mind to read this book. Something which was certainly not the case with me the first time I started it.

The other new addition is a copy of Richard Dawkins' book "A Devil's Chaplain" (purchased at Dymocks after my usual Wednesday Sushi lunch in Casuarina). It consists of a selection of Dawkins' essays on a wide range of topics. I am quite interested (and in fact pleased) to see he is having at least in one of his essays a crack at what he calls the pseudo philosophers (on the definition of "truth" for example). I have observed too that so called philosophy can (and sometimes does) easily degenerate into absolute trifling trivial bollocks. Good on him.

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Friday October 3, 2008 (diary, Leiden, Dutch food)

The Hague and Leiden 3 October, like 1 April is a Dutch day of Celebration dating back to the 80 Year Spanish War of almost 500 years ago.
In 1574 the city of Leiden was under an extended siege by the Roman Catholic Spanish Army. But in the early hours of October 3, 1574, the army quietly sneaked away in fear of being trapped by the approaching Army (the Water Geuzen in their flat bottom boats) of Prince William of Orange.

Legend has it that a young boy in the early morning climbed across the city wall, found the Spanish army camp deserted, but still a boiling bowl of hutspot on one of the camp fires, which he readily consumed.
Therefore each year on 3 October everybody in Leiden has a dinner of hutspot met klapstuk. In the morning the festivities start with a grand procession through the main street Breestraat, where the Lord Mayor gives out free bread and herring to everybody.

Cruising through Leiden When William of Orange entered the city on October 3, 1574, he immediately kicked the Catholic nuns out off their convent on the Rapenburg Canal and in a celebratory gesture gave the building to the city as the first University in Holland. This building is still used by the University to this day, and I had there the graduation ceremonies for both my Candidaats (in 1959) and Doctorandus degrees (in 1963).

By far the best truly Dutch dinner dishes I find are the various mashed combinations. There are :

  • my favourite Birthday dish, boerenkool met worst
    mashed green cabbage with potatoes, sprinkled with vinegar, and a smoked sausage on the side

  • hutspot met klapstuk, the traditional dish for 3 October
    mashed carrots, unions and potatoes with a piece of fat rimmed meat on the side

  • and andijvie stamppot met spek
    mashed andijvie cabbage (?), unions and potatoes with small fried bacon pieces mixed in

These dishes are mostly served during the colder months of the year, but while in Holland this summer Ank prepared one day the most delicious andijvie stamppot met spek while I was there.

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Saturday October 4, 2008 (diary)

My cabin at the Mango farm Gordon (with one of is friends who flew in a few days ago) has left for home at Ballarat this morning. Margaret and David too are off on a few months trip to Queensland tomorrow, and Steve flies out on Monday morning for a week's work in the bush, near the WA border. So I will be on my own here, apart from the owners Kim and Andrew and their 3 children.

Before leaving Gordon gave me the daily schedule for the watering system on the Mango farm. There are six separate systems all on a set timer program, but each system has to be switched on manually by means of a series of large master valves at various times through the day. I will do this job until I leave on October 31.

As I have said before, I am enjoying my stay in the cabin here, but I do not have a monopoly on it of course. It is a matter of first come, first serve, and I may not be the first one to arrive here next year. However I can always go into my tent again. My left arm which I badly hurt earlier in March has much improved, and I will be able to put up a tent again without much trouble. I also will save a fair amount of money on my accommodation that way, as well as keeping fit.

Returning home after my Saturday lunch at Bar Zushi I resume working on updating my Blog Index. Late afternoon it becomes overcast and we have a lovely sustained period of good rain. The sharp pointy under ends of the growing mangos are rounding out and their blush is becoming stronger. Not much longer to wait, the mango geese, present in ever larger numbers now, know it too.

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Sunday October 5, 2008 (diary)

Terriyaki chicken and sushi bento Brian and Margaret leave in the morning with their caravan heading for Townsville. I watch politics and sports on the ABC Sunday morning TV, then indulge myself in another Sushi lunch. The USA financial rescue package has been approved, but with no positive reaction of the US stock market.
In the afternoon the Grand Final match of he NRL (National Rugby League) is on, Melbourne against Manly. There is always great rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney. Today Sydney is the clear winner as Manly takes Melbourne literally apart, winning 40-0.

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