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On the Farm
November 14, 2013


One measure of getting older is that one sees a bit less of grandchildren. Two of them are in their early teens. The other one is still friendly, is not scowling and is still only ten. The two thirteen year olds are like bean shoots. Each time we see them, I feel like asking for their names. They have changed into modes of extreme vacillating personas. One minute they are on their bikes and next they are skyping in secrecy with the bedroom door closed. When they sit on a chair, if you can call half way between the chair and on the floor ‘sitting’, their knees look like rhubarb sticks.

How are things, I’ll ask, trying to be as nonchalant as they would so desperately like to be? FinejustfineIamdoingOK, they answer in the rapid speech that has gained enormous world-wide popularity. I have noticed that the cadence or the lilt at the end of each sentence is now becoming a bit jaded. Not before time. I could hardly believe that even newsreaders had fallen for increasing the last few words of each sentence into a slide going upwards. “Thirty thousand people have died in battles between rival forces in Syria.” The “forces in Syria” would move from middle C into F minor higher up the scale. Or, “A man was stabbed by a reveller at a party in Ashfield”, again a celebratory kind of upward singing end in “paaaarty in Aaashhhhfffield!”

It must be difficult now to face a world so fast and restless. I remember Tolstoy with his war and peace. Things were slow and one would relish the words while slowly eating mother’s ladling out of mashed potatoes and rookworst cut in equal pieces so the children would not knife each other over an imagined favour to a rival brother with a piece of sausage one millimetre bigger. 😉 At least we talked without machinegun rapidity or a nauseating lilt at the end.


The first picture is two of the boys in our farm’s lounge-room, playing chess. I am not sure they still play that game. At least they know the moves and might pick it up when they get bored with skyping.

The next picture was taken by the Agent selling the farm in 2010. The room was magic. Such lovely proportions and the open fire used to be on almost day and night during the 5 months or so of winter. I know it would go through a barrow full of fire wood a day. I was quite manic swinging the axe around. Later on I used a hydraulic wood splitter, petrol driven, with a force of 22ton. Now, that was really manic.

Tags: Grandchildren, Skyping, Woodfire
Posted in Gerard Oosterman |