Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 107

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Friday & Saturday, August 21 & 22 2009 (diary)

Poffertjes stand at the Palmerston market I have just had about a belly full of the Darwin Bridge Club. What could be (and perhaps on the surface looks like) a nice easy going bridge club is suffocating within an intricate web of petty, malicious, mean, jealousy driven intrigue, spun by just three or four (obviously very frustrated) women. Add to this a membership "compost" of predominantly teachers and long term public servants and the maliciousness springs happily into full bloom. Tonight (Friday night's "social evening", more like a wake really) is just a benign and rather harmless example.

In between bridge games I walk to the kitchen to refill my bridge partner Freda's and my own champagne glasses. A lady, also in the kitchen, tells me to my face : "I have a go at every man in this club". What does that mean ?? Frustrated housewife surely. I laughingly reply "Have been there and done that Judy. I am not interested and too old for that nonsense now."
Retaliation (rather pathetic) is swift. I have barely turned my back or she mentions to a girlfriend (partner in crime)
"I don't think people have paid their corkage fees for the bottles of wine they bring in." As I just earlier had woken up the entire wake congregation with the plop, uncorking my bottle, there was little doubt as to who she was talking about.   When later the girlfriend approaches me about this matter I reply "What corkage fees ? You are a bridge club, not a BYO restaurant, you have no alcohol licence, and it is therefore surely illegal to charge corkage fees here."
No doubt this will be heatedly debated at their next club committee meeting. I doubt very much that I will be much longer frequenting this club. I will keep playing with the Arafura and Palmerston Bridge Clubs, which are most generous to their members and a wonderful breath of fresh air.

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Sunday & Monday, August 23 & 24 2009 (diary)

My Mercdes Vito You are never too old to learn. I am not very interested in or knowledgeable about mechanical things. I get my car serviced when it is due, a wheel alignment once a year, new tyres fitted when they tell me to. I never check up on my car tyre pressure. But about 6 weeks ago I started doing just that, don't ask me why. In the process I discovered something most people probably know anyway : soft tyres have a significant impact on your fuel consumption. Even a drop of 10-15% makes a huge difference.

With my tyre pressure at around 35-36 psi (pounds per square inch) I get roundabout 11 km distance out of 1 litre of fuel. With my tyre pressure within the recommended range (40-48 psi depending on the load) at 42 psi fuel consumption has improved by almost 1.5 km to 12.5 km per litre of fuel. A huge difference.
Over the 7 year life of my Mercedes Vito I have traveled 190,000 km, With the fuel I used over that period I probably could have traveled 10,000 - 15,000 km farther had I kept my tyres on the correct pressure. Well, it is never too late to start, so from now on I check my tyres every 3 weeks, and just about every time I do that I need to bump up their pressure by a few psi.

There are quite a few ibises (black birds with white neck, tall legs, foot long curved narrow beak) walking around on our Mango farm, up to a dozen or so. A few mango geese are also starting to fly overhead occasionally, but the mangos are not ripe yet, a few fruits are beginning to blush slightly at the top.

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Tuesday, August 25 2009 (diary, Annie Proulx)

Annie Proulx I have just finished reading the multi award winning novel The Shipping News by the American writer Annie Proulx. Raced through it, just could not put it down.
Proulx published her first novel at age 56 in 1991. She shows, like John Steinbeck, a great affinity to unassuming innocent rough neck characters. She describes scenes, characters, environments, nature with bold, unconnected strokes, frequently using self invented imaginative words.
Proulx's writing style is absolutely unique and, although very different, in my view at a par with Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald. Throughout reading the book I kept thinking that I would like to be able to paint, the way Proulx writes.

Talking about painting, we are doing a still life in class, difficult and very boring I find. I am definitely not into details. I much prefer the space and vagueness of landscapes, that is where I feel most at home, both in painting and in real life.

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