Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 185

08 | 09 || 2010 : Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec ||     Page : Previous | Next

The Martinshof Story - A Philosophy of Happiness - Life Awareness - Maps & other Text series

Most Recent - Next - Previous - Page 1 - Photos - Index - Topics - MP3s - Jazclass Links

Wednesday & Thursday, October 6 & 7 2010 (diary, Via de la Plata)

Having a rest with Brian, while helping to put the roof on the Mango farm house, 2007 The green mangos which fell off the trees last week during a short storm have turned soft and yellow and now stand out against the grass like billiard balls strewn all over a snooker table. The Mango geese have also spotted them and as I do my early morning walk around the farm I find a whole flock of them who hastily fly up when they see me.

Wednesday morning I wake up to considerable activity. Andrew (assisted by several volunteers) is putting a floating roof with extra insulation in the large shed next to my cabin where Margaret and Brian live. I stroll over and give them a hand and after work we have a few beers together. Late afternoon a heavy downpour of rain for half an hour makes everything outside look fresh and clean again.

Since returning from Europe I feel a deep sense of well being, contentment, of a job well done. Why on earth is that ?   Although the body may decline when we get older, we still have opportunities to grow emotionally and mentally, and I feel I have just done that again. I had a good time reconnecting with old friends and associates in Holland, and after that a great time in the Black Forest, where I, through my long walks, strongly connected emotionally with the earth and the environment.
But it is not just the immediate past which gives me contentment but also my plans for the future : my walk in Spain in 2012, something to really look forward to. It will be an opportunity for further growth and a period of movement, change, something my restless soul needs like a plant needs water.

But why, you might ask, am I so keen to walk a pilgrims route ? I am an outspoken atheist and consider all religions a self inflicted curse which is subjecting humanity to so much hatred, bloodshed and death.

Overlooking Mijas and the Costa del Sol, Spain, 2007 Like all other geology students from Leiden University at the time (1950s and 60s) I developed a strong emotional connection with Spain and its people during the five summers I did my field work there. I lived amongst the people there in small hamlets on the land.
But Spain has changed of course since it opened its frontiers. It is now flooded with tourists and semi-permanent residents from North European countries who spend their winters there. And when I visited there in 2007 (staying for 4 weeks in the lovely village of Mijas on the slopes behind the Costa del Sol) I sadly realised I had lost that connection.

The purpose of my walk therefore is to try to re-connect to the land and if possible to the people. You can not do this by sitting on the beach in places flooded with tourists and foreigners, but I believe it may be possible on a long walk through the country. The more I think about it, especially seen from this perspective, I start to believe that the Via de la Plata is the much better route for me.
In 2005 over 190,000 pilgrims walked the Camino Francés, undoubtedly most of them foreigners. In that same year only 9,000 pilgrims walked the Via de la Plata route. This means that you have far less contact with (foreign) fellow travelers and a much better chance to connect with local communities on the Plata route. And that of course, is exactly what I am after. Following the Via de la Plata I will also travel through a region of Spain I have never been before, an extra bonus.

Most Recent - Next - Previous - Top - Page 1 - Photos - Index - Topics - MP3s - Jazclass Links

Friday, October 8 2010 (diary)

Darwin - Tennant Creek - Alice Springs - Coober Pedy - Adelaide Well, that is enough about my pilgrims walk through Spain in 2012 for a while.
My more immediate plan for the future is for another 7 weeks here in Darwin. Then (on November 27, rather than driving my usual direct rout to the Sunshine Coast) I will make a detour via Adelaide to spend a week with my Bridge friends there.
This involves a 3,000km drive heading straight South through the center of Australia. I have gone South as far as Alice Springs in 2002 (when my son Jeroen lived there for a few years), but never have driven NS right across before.

On December 8 I will then complete my journey with another 2,200km drive from Adelaide (via the spas in Moree of course) to ThreePonds at the Sunshine Coast in Queensland (100km North of Brisbane), to stay with my daughter Babette and Doug over the summer holiday season.

The weather has been great here. Warm temperatures (36°C) but (quite unusual for the humid "build up" period this time of the year) lovely half hour long rain downpours on each of the past 3 days. This keeps the country fresh and cool. The Mango farm is now teaming with birds : hundreds of Mango geese, white galas, bright green lorikeets with red collars and yellow wings, a few lapwings and other birds, even the odd Heron. When I do my walk in the morning I am surrounded by a wall of bird whistles and lorikeets swirling excitedly all around me. It is quite spectacular.

Most Recent - Next - Previous - Top - Page 1 - Photos - Index - Topics - MP3s - Jazclass Links

Saturday & Sunday, October 9 & 10 2010 (diary)

The first reactions from my two children on my proposed Spanish pilgrims walk have come in.
My son Jeroen, a very caring person, worries about the weight of the backpack I will carry along. Don't worry Jeroen, I will carry no more than 10kg that's for sure. Before starting to walk I will post most of my luggage ahead to my final destination Santiago so that I can get by with the absolute minimum.
I have in fact already started looking for suitable backpacks and quite like the Australian made Black Wolf model called "Tempo" either in 40 or 50 litres size. It has a very light wire frame and mash sheet, keeping the pack away from the back so that cooling air can flow on my back. The larger rucksacks with frames are just too heavy for me to use.
I will also purchase one of these tiny light weight laptops with 10 inch screen, so that I can process, write and upload my Blog texts and photographs while on the road.

My daughter Babette feels like walking along with me for a week or so if she can possibly do it with her work commitments. Who knows, perhaps both my children will contemplate doing that.

Hunnebeds route in Drenthe I have also stirred up my students year club Pimpernel for a summer reunion day in 2012.
This year's reunion at the Weerribben was a great success.

For 2012 I have proposed a trip by car along half a dozen of the 54 hunnebedden located in the Dutch province of Drenthe (each of us to draw a sketch or write an impression of each one of them), with dinner and overnight stay at Hotel Koningsberg in the historic village of Anloo.

These 5000 year old (?) graves of the "trechterbekers volk" (funnel beakers people, named after the shape of their crockery) have always fascinated me.
When I was based in Assen for my National service (in 1964-54 see story), after a party with some of our neighbours we often would drive off in the middle of the night to one of these graves, and talk, sing, eat and drink on top of these mysterious stone relics.

Most Recent - Next - Previous - Top - Page 1 - Photos - Index - Topics - MP3s - Jazclass Links

Monday - Fridayday, October 11 - 15 2010 (diary)

With Yvonne, the present Manager of our former family business 'Martinshof' Most unusual weather this week with some rain almost every day, so that it is lovely fresh and cool every day. I have been busy with bridge, playing Monday and Tuesday night and two sessions on Thursday.
On Wednesday I worked on the photos I made during the reunion of old Martinshof personnel on 18 August in Apeldoorn. Together with the photos the present Manager Yvonne Hafkamp made I have put a nice series online.

Early on Friday morning Brian from the Mango farm drove me to the Darwin Public Hospital for my operation.
I must say I was most impressed by the pleasant and efficient service I received there. I was the main item on the agenda for the Plastic Surgeon that day, so the first to be dealt with in the morning.
Unfortunately there was a shortage of anesthetists on the day, so instead of a general anesthetic (as was planned) I was treated under local anesthetics only during the operation. But they did put me out for the first 5 minutes or so, so that I did not feel the needle for the local going in, as that apparently is quite painful.

I had BCCs removed from my right eyelid (right on the tear canal), underneath my left eye, one on my left upper arm, and a bigger one inside my left nostril which required a skin graft (taken from behind my left ear). So all rather fiddly little jobs which took a full 2 hours to complete.
Following the operation stitch by stitch so to speak allowed me to make the odd joke, like remarking that the colloquial saying of "someone getting up your nose" would from now on have a completely different meaning for me. The surgeon chuckled on hearing that one.

When I was finally carried to the Recovery Room I was hungry like hell, so absolute bliss when the nurse gave me a sandwich and a cup of coffee, the most enjoyable Sandwich I have ever consumed!!
All up I was out by 1PM when Sybil picked me up and drove me back home. For the rest of the day and night I stayed in bed, slept and watched a bit of TV. Everything seems to be healing OK. Check up next Tuesday morning.

Comments - Most Recent - Next Page - Previous - Top - Page 1 - Photos - Index - Topics - Jazclass Links

Copyright © 2010 Michael Furstner