Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 63

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Sunday January 11, 2009 (diary, food)

It has been somewhat unsettled weather with intermittend rain the last few days, but today it is dry, warm and sunny again so straight away in the morning I do my washing. Babette and Doug are off visiting friends in the country 150 km SW of here, while I spend the morning preparing yesterday's Blog.
I arrive at the beach early afternoon and have a great swim. There are several good body surf waves which I manage to catch and I am pleased with myself.

Mooloolaba Surf Club I usually don't like to go to the Surf Club on Sunday afternoons as they then always have some live music on, which more often than not is of rather mediocre quality. But today is fine, there is a guitar, keyboard, sax trio playing which is not bad at all.
The kitchen is out off bruschetta bread, my usual lunch order, and I am disappointed. But after only 15 minutes the girl from the counter informs me that the bakery has just delivered fresh bruschetta bread so I have my (present) favourite lunch after all.

I absolutely love Sweet Chilli sauce, an Asian product which is available in all Australian supermarkets. They also have it amongst the sauces at the Surf Club's salad bar, and I always spread it liberally over the chopped tomatoes, onions and olive oil mix on top of the bruschettas, delicious. The Subway fast food outlets also have it amongst their sauces which makes me a regular customer there too. I also bought a fresh large bottle of Sweet Chilli sauce for in the ThreePonds kitchen and use it to jazz up my noodles and even some of my soups would you believe.

Bitterballen in Maastricht At around 6 PM Babette and Doug return from their country trip and we sit, as planned, on the front veranda drinking a bottle of Moët & Chandon - Nectar Impérial, a lovely French champagne I gave Babette for her birthday yesterday.
Babette suddenly remembers that she has 200 bitterballen (bought from the Dutch shop in Brisbane) in the ThreePonds freezer, so we decide to take 25 of them out, deep fry them and eat them while watching the latest episode of the Mad Men series on Pay TV. The end of a perfect food and drinks day.

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Monday & Tuesday January 12 & 13, 2009 (diary, bridge)

Mooloolaba surf Monday is again a nice and sunny day, the sea temperature is 23° C and there are great waves for body surfing. I have been doing this since arriving in Australia in 1966, in those days on the beaches in Newcastle.
Bas Hensen, a fellow geologist from Leiden University and his wife Jantine arrived in Newcastle (surprise surprise) just two weeks after us (Antien, 2 year old Babette and I) and the four of us were unseparable.
Sunday mornings we always played tennis, but the rest of the weekend was usually spent on the beach where Bas and I quickly learnt to body surf and always competed with one another for the best performance.

Body surfing is not a difficult skill, but you have to do it just right :

  1. You must position yourself at the lower end of the front slope of the wave,
  2. body straight like a board and slightly declined forward (parallel to the wave surface) with your feet higher than your head.
  3. Chin on your chest.
  4. Arms straight, either pressed against the body or stretched out forward (to protect your head from bumping into someone), unless you need to do a few quick strokes to position yourself better in the wave.

The critical thing really is to catch the right wave. Some are too steep, with the crest curling over and dropping down vertically, the "dumpers" which can cause much injury as I all too well know. Others are too flat to provide the momentum to push you forward. The ones in between are the right ones to pick, and you quickly get an eye for them.

Doug Whiteman standing on the left While shopping after lunch I bump into Rowley and Marie Cornell (friends from our days on Bougainville). They tell me that my brother Claus no longer hosts my old Bridge Club (I set up 15 years ago) and that they now play in a small Community Hall in Diddilliba a small hamlet in the hills North of Buderim.

So Tuesday morning I check it out and am delighted to meet up with my former students again enjoying a relaxed morning of bridge. Sadly I hear that Doug Whiteman has passed away since I saw him last, following his dear wife Peggy. But I am glad that I did catch up with him last year before he died.

Later on the beach the waves are quite big and all of them real dumpers, so I content myself to being tumbled about by their big walls of foaming white water rushing to the beach.

The report about Doug Whiteman is incorrect. He is still alive and kicking. So Ruth tells me on July 9, 2009. She spoke to him on the phone.

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Wednesday January 14, 2009 (diary, bridge)

Another lovely day. The previous two days have been very quiet in Mooloolaba, very unusual with two weeks of school holidays still to go through, undoubtedly a sign of the Financial Crisis. But today there are more people around, especially on the beach to enjoy the King tide surf. Very powerful waves, lots of foam and good fun. I even manage a few body surfs on some of the more modest waves.
The King tide is quite benign, with only a little bit of dune erosion at one 30 meters wide spot, but on TV the environmentalists are of course crying loud about doom and gloom, of "what is to come" with global warming. Reality, truth, actual historic facts are totally ignored by this lot.
Around 10 years ago we had significant dune erosion here, and way back in 1974 the entire Australian East coast was badly damamged by King tides, especially at the Gold Coast with many high rise buildings in danger. No mention of global warming then !!

James Bonnet Browsing through a bottle shop later this afternoon I suddenly notice a shelf with Henkell Sekt, Germany's answer to French champagne, and I am overcome with a feeling of nostalgic emotion. Why is this I wonder. I can't remember ever having drank Sekt, and if I have I can not remember a special occasion for it. My mother drank the occasional piccolo (small bottle) of it I believe. Perhaps I connect intimate events (like New Years Eve) with family and close friends with the image of "Sekt", I don't know.
Anyway I buy a bottle and back home we quickly find a reason to try it (we all three love it) : After some discussion between Babette, Doug and myself Babette decides to enroll in a week long story line and writing workshop in France with the well known American screenwriter and story making expert James Bonnet. Only 4 participants are admitted to the September workshop in his cottage in SE France.

Frau Nelius, Sabrina Licht and Sabine Nelius But that does not solve why I am so nostalgic about Sekt. Sometimes trivial things like this set me off on something much deeper. The Sekt reminds me of Germany, and in Germany is where my emotions are.
I suddenly realise that there are three distinctly different aspects to my character (or personality).

  1. In my mind I am and behave as a Dutchman : hugely self confident, abrasive and ,yes, sometimes even arrogant. I feel I communicate with Dutch people on an intelligent level.

  2. My emotions however are much softer and have a great affinity to the German people. I don't at all consider myself as being a German, but I feel I communicate with them on an emotional level.

  3. My body however feels most at home in Australia. And here I feel I communicate with people on a casual level.

The above is a different expression of what I felt so strongly last year after my trip to Europe. Also, most interestingly, communicating in the three different languages for each country strongly amplified my feelings and the way I communicated.   Anyway, tomorrow it will be my birthday, a most appropriate occasion to buy a couple more bottles of Henkell Sekt, don't you think so ?

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Thursday January 15, 2009 (diary)

Doug pouring me a Henkell It is my birthday today, I am 72 years old now, six dozen years. This number has somehow a well rounded, balanced feel about it, a distinct marker in time, and I like it. Will it turn out to become a creative, content year ? We shall see. Its two digits add up to 9, and curiously so do the digits of Babette's age as well as Doug when he reaches his birthday this year.

It is again a warm and sunny day, the sea temperature has reached 24° C, the King tide is still going and the surf is wonderful. After lunch I buy myself a small printer, but when I get home I can't manage to upload the software for it on my computer. After three failed attempts I phone Kinmat Computers in Woombye and arrange for them to sort it out.

My custard vanilla slice In the evening Doug and Babette return home from work with a huge load of fresh tuna, salmon, scallops and various Japanese condiments. We have a great sashimi, with plenty of Henkell Sekt and sake to go with it.
After the meal we sit back and watch a movie on TV while I eat my most favourite desert, a custard vanilla slice. (When just married Antien and I would eat a vanilla slice every Sunday morning in bed.) So end a good and very contented 72nd birthday. How many more are there to come ? Who knows, but looking back I feel myself fortunate, for life has treated me very well.

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