Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 83

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Tuesday April 21, 2009 (diary)

Bridge partner Mairead Last night again a most pleasant evening's bridge at the Arafura Bridge Club. The atmosphere in this Club is always good and they serve (as a long standing tradition) a small supper halfway the evening's proceedings.

My Monday evening's bridge partner Mairead Kelly put in once again a consistently solid and intelligent performance which is most pleasing.
My own performance however is far from satisfactory. On at least three separate occasions I follow a spur of the moment thought which after its execution clearly shows itself to be nothing less than an act of "creative stupidity". It annoys me no end and also worries me a little. Is this merely an aspect of my always restless and impatient nature ? Or is it the onset of some kind of age deterioration of my mind ? I hope not, but my memory definitely is nowhere near what it used to be.
I now play three times a week which hopefully will settle my play down to some level of consistency and restrain my spur of the moment follies.

Palmerston Library Today I treat myself to another Seafood Laksa from the Bahn Thai food stall in Palmerston and take some photos for my Blog.
I have finished reading Where Angels Fear to Tread and proceed to the Palmerston Library to borrow another book by E M Forster. I am not too impressed with this earliest work of his. It has some good thoughts but on the whole feels rather stiff, unnatural and immature in my opinion.
In the Library's "Top Shelf" section I suddenly spot Ernest Hemingway's last novel, True at First Light, edited by his son Patrick and published after Hemingway's death. I read a few pages and am interested at once, so I will read this first.

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Wednesday April 22, 2009 (diary, laksa)

Seafood Laksa I had my first ever taste of laksa in 1982. I was running the Martinshof family business in Holland after my father's sudden death and every 8 months I would fly back home to Adelaide to see my children and have a breather. There was always a lengthy stopover in Singapore's then brand new airport and it was there that I tried a laksa from a Singaporean eatery within the airport itself. I loved it and had the same dish at every stopover after that.

When I settled back in Adelaide permanently in August 1983 I soon discovered lots of laksa places in that delightful city. Adelaide was then the undisputed Laksa Capital of Australia and there were always heated discussions as to which eatery served the best laksa in town. Most of the contenders where located in and around Adelaide's Central Market.

Laksa with my Sunshine Coast Bridge students, 1993 When I moved to the Queensland Sunshine Coast virtually nobody had heard about laksa. When I conducted my first private Bridge course in my home at Nambour (in 1993) I kept talking about laksa, but non of my students had heard of it either. Rather surprising, as several of them had moved here from Melbourne. But they did take notice and on the very last lesson of the course Ruth Broderick (in blue top nearest the camera on the right), who had boned up on the recipe, surprised us with a home made laksa lunch. After that I was of course like putty in their hands and promised to start running our own little bridge club.

Soon after that I found an Asian food stall at the then Buderim Saturday markets (held within the former Buderim Ginger Factory, long since pulled down for a Woolworth Supermarket). I became friendly with the Singapore couple running it and they agreed to make laksa every 6 weeks or so provided I could find them the customers. This I did. Every 6 weeks I made a list of our bridge club members with their laksa orders, which I then phoned through to the stall owners. Come Saturday morning each of us would front up at the Market and collect our order. We did this for quite some time. The markets have long gone, but my bridge club, its founding members much nourished by laksa, still exist as the now Diddilliba Bridge Club.

The Bahn Thai take away Since those days a much wider range of eateries has opened up at the Sunshine Coast, but laksa is still not much recognised there today. However you need not despair, at Jimmy's Place (in Ball Street, Maroochydore) they do serve an excellent authentic laksa.

Cosmopolitan Darwin is of course teeming with laksa places. Virtually every weekly market, no matter how small (like in Coolalinga, near where I live) has food stalls serving laksa. At the Stokes Hill Wharf too you can get a good laksa. But for me the best laksa is served at the Bahn Thai Take Away in the Palmerston Shopping Centre's Food Court.

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Thursday April 23, 2009 (diary, movies)

Darwin Deckchair Cinema Yesterday (Wednesday) I indulged in a teriyaki chicken and sushi lunch at Casuarina's Bar Zushi, then went on to a swim in the Nightcliff pool. On my way out I pick up a program of Darwin's Deck chair Cinema which is just reopening for the dry season. Babette and Doug have been there and enjoyed it enormously, but I have not yet visited it once in all these years I have lived in Darwin.
Deck chair cinemas provide a unique outdoor movie experience. I have been to one in Kalgoorlie (1970) and more recently (2002) in Broome (both in Western Australia). So I decide I will go this year, but not yet.

Les Enfants du Paradis, 1945 One of the wonderful aspects of retirement age is the time you have to reflect on the past. A small thing can suddenly trigger off the most wonderful memories. As I watch TV, SBS announces it will screen the movie FanFan la Tulipe (version 2003) this Sunday evening.
At once memories flood back to the wonderful French movies I watched when growing up in Holland. My two most favourite movies during my student days (in the 1950s) were the black and white (1945) film Les enfants du Paradis and the swashbuckling FanFan la Tulipe (filmed in 1952 with a young Gina Lolobrigida).

Also the ABC is starting a new series on Saturday evenings of Foyle's War, a (for me) nostalgic detective series set in WW2 time England. So the Deck chair Cinema has to wait.
Today (Thursday) I have a succulent grilled prawns lunch at the Stokes Hill Wharf, followed by another swim in Nightcliff. In the evening it is bridge in Palmerston, playing with Freda in a Teams event in which we end up 3rd amongst eight teams.

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Friday April 24, 2009 (Martinshof)

Brooch, Chris Steenbegen Martinshof - 9 continues from April 12
There is yet one other person who has been involved with the Martinshof business from the very beginning : Annie. When my parents started their jewelry business in the Beukerstraat in Zutphen they employed, besides the goldsmith Eweg, two young ladies to help in the shop. One of them was Annie. Annie was very dedicated to both my parents and the business, despite her parents who strongly objected to her working for my pro German parents. Eventually this led to Annie leaving her parental home and finding a place on her own.
In 1944 she came to live with my grandmother on Martinshof (together with a Mrs. Eva Maas and our architect Guus Jansen and his family) while we were with my mother's parents in Wismar (Germany).

Brooch, Chris Steenbegen Annie stayed with us at Martinshof until after our return and left in 1947 together with the other temporary house guests. She was (I believe) never employed by Atelier Martinshof but held continuous contact wih my parents. She soon married the Amsterdam goldsmith Archibald Dumbar, while her sister Jenny married at about the same time the goldsmith Chris Steenbergen.
It was through Annie (now Annie Dumbar) that my father was introduced to these two young and upcoming modern artists. Both worked in their own studios in Amsterdam, but right from the early 1950s contributed to the Martinshof Collection during exhibitions throughout the Atelier Martinshof years. My father would also take their work around the country while visiting jewelry shops throughout Holland.

Much later in the 1970s Annie's youngest daughter Gwendoline Dumbar did work at Martinshof for a while, which I believe she much enjoyed. Roel Fischer too, married to Annie's oldest daughter, worked at Martinshof for a while.
I have posted online a series of drawings and photographs (sent to me by my sister Wivica) I believe to be all of Chris Steenbergen's work. However I am not entirely sure as Archibald Dumbar also had a modern and very similar style. Both goldsmith won the prestigious European Goldsmith of the Year Award (probably each several times).
Martinshof continues on April 28

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Saturday April 25, 2009 (diary)

Carport for my cabin Last night (Friday) a "friendly" teams competition at the Darwin Bridge Club with free champagne. I try the pink variety which I have not tasted in many many years. Quite OK. Good enough to boost my bridge partner Freda and myself into 2nd placing for the night.
Today it is ANZAC Day, when Australia remembers its soldiers who did not return from past wars. Dawn services are held throughout the country. Most businesses have closed for the day, but for the large supermarkets and "superstores" it is business as usual. Several of the food stalls in the Palmerston Shopping Centre are open and I have another seafood laksa and do some shopping.

Andrew, my host and owner of the Mango farm is a most energetic man. Sitting idle on Anzac day is absolutely impossible for him. So today's project he decides is to erect a shade cloth sail to provide shelter for my car and protection against the hot afternoon sun shining on the West facing window of my cabin. Assisted by two other male guest of the farm and with many scientific discussions as to how best this job is done they pass the day most pleasantly and with a most effective solution at the end. We are all happy.

Later that evening I watch Foyle's War on ABC TV. It is the very first episode of the first series. I believe I have seen it before but I don't mind at all. Why do I get tears in my eyes every time I hear its sweet haunting signature tune ? They express to me the very essence of our human existence (its futility, its tragedy, its beauty) and resonates strongly through the emotions of my own experiences, accrued over a lifetime.

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