My remaining five mysteries
By Helvi Oosterman
As you have all been waiting, with bated breath no doubt, for my remaining five mysterious things; no more suspense, here they are. To please dear Asty, I’ll start with something ‘sublime’ and leave the more mundane mysteries last:
6. Why are so many men cagey about shaking hands with females, whilst at the same time happy to pump their mates’ arms almost to a breaking point? Here I stand with my extended hand only to be conveniently ignored. Are we girls a lower caste, or are the men afraid to appear too intimate with us. After all the French men hug you and plant not one but four kisses on one’s cheeks without fear of retribution. Swearing when there are females present is another baffler. Don’t tell me the old story about ‘ladies’; we only have them in England, and they go together with the Lords…
7. I also like to know who ever came up with this unforgivable term, a ‘naughty’ or it’s brother ‘nookie’ when referring to making love. He wasn’t a Frenchman, that’s for sure.
8. We had lunch with some newish friends; the quiche was very good and the desert was divine. There was a salad to go with the main, but it wasn’t dressed, the vinaigrette was missing; what to do? Follow the hostess and sprinkle some oil from one bottle and a few drops of vinegar from another. But this is not the same as having a real vinaigrette made to proper quantities of oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, French mustard, pinch of sugar, some fresh herbs and even garlic if you so prefer. Is this two-bottle custom from middle ages?
9. While we are talking food I have to ask what is this calling some cheeses ‘tasty’? Are the other cheeses tasteless, perhaps? I have a husband who sometimes still buys those packets of pre-sliced processed ‘cheeses’, these slices are individually wrapped and at times very hard to get to. I suggest that he eat them with wrapping and all; they both taste the same more or less.
10. Now we are coming to the one mystery which I actually hate, really the only thing I hate, the flies. Why are there so many flies in the Australian bush? My dreams of picnics on the river were killed by millions of flies as soon as we took the tucker out. One Christmas I decked the table on the veranda with my best linen and tableware; as soon as the prawns arrived we all had to run inside as the flies swarmed from nowhere to attack the food. On my dad’s farm in Finland we did everything outside during summers, we had our coffee breaks, lunches and at times even dinners al fresco. We were not bothered by flies. I know the northern part of my fatherland is made inhabitable in summertime by mosquitoes , but that is a story for another time. I remember visting Bali when it was still pretty dirty and when the food scraps and other rubbish littered the place, and of course plenty of unclean water for flies to breed in, yet hardly any about…
I hope you can show some light into my little mysteries; be truthful or inventive, all explanations thankfully accepted!