Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 314

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Monday January 1, 2017 (diary)

Mijas, Costa del Sol in SE Spain

I wish you a Healthy and Prosperous 2017


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Saturday January 14, 2017 (diary) U-Bend of Happiness

Tomorrow will be my 80th birthday.
A bridge friend asked me this week which had been the happiest period of my life.

Much to his surprise (but in agreement with Arthur Stone's extensive research on the subject shown in adjacent graph) I answered : "the past 10 years !"
This has been a period of great emotional tranquility, supported by a strong sense of purpose in building our Social Bridge Club.

But tranquility in one's life usually does not last forever. The next 10 years are going to be different, and deliberately so, because I will start this new period of my life by living in Spain for a year, perhaps even longer.

Some 56 years ago (in the summer of 1961) I was invited for dinner by a Spanish solicitor at his home in Carballo. I was 25 years old at the time, he probably twice my age.
North European visitors were very rare in Spain in those days, and perhaps partly the reason for his interest in me.
We sat opposite each other at the dining table with no other household members (wife or children) taking part. The room was dimly lit, and we sat in agreeable semi darkness while talking animatedly.   One thing he said I will never forget :

"Most Spanish households have two books in their home : The Holy Bible and Cervante's ancient novel 'Don Quijote'. (correct Spanish spelling)   "Which one" he asked me "do you think they consider to be the most important ?"
Don Quijote in San Sebastian In Spain Don Quijote is the ultimate hero, because he sees extra-ordinary things where others can discover nothing out off the ordinary.
In a country where most inhabitants were poor (especially during Franko's regime), he showed people how to dream.
Dreaming the Spaniards did (and I believe still do) to escape from their daily often very modest lives. I used to be a willing participant in the dream building process during conversations in pubs and on cafe terraces. An incurable romantic this scenario appealed to me greatly.

I also looked the part : tall, skinny, with a crooked nose, dressed in army coat and trousers wearing an old Stetson hat (discarded by my Dad), I roamed the countryside all day on my own (collecting data for my geological studies). I looked like Don Quijote and soon was given that nickname. I still am very proud of that.

But my connection to Don Quijote is deeper and more significant than that.
Throughout my life I have been a supreme analist. I have the creative gift that enables me to easily see connections, correlations, associations between facts or events or observations, that other people just do not see at all.
These insights range from genuine scientific discoveries to creative visions that places a new perspective on the component parts.   In this sense I too am a sort of Don Quijote.
Outback near Kynuna In Auatralia the emotional environment is of a relaxed, easy going attitude to life. And when traveling through the outback you get an enormous sense of awarenes of the universe, infinity and tranquility. This is absolutely wonderful and most inspiring.

Europe has none of this. When visiting I always perceive it as being enclosed within a box of Western culture from which there is no escape.
However in Spain there always was (and I believe still is) this sense of dreaming inspired by Cervante's Don Quijote. In contrast to the layed back attitude in Australia, in Spain you also find the passion, perhaps in much greater quatities than anywhere else in the Western world.

So that is what I hope to tap into in Spain : dreaming and passion. With luck it will inspire me through my 80s, and propel me to the start of my 90s !!!

This past forthnight I also wrote : What's Love got to do with it ?


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Sunday January 29, 21, 2017 (diary) Michael's Birthday party, January 15, 2017 So I had my 80th birthday on Sunday January 15. Our Social Bridge Club organised a "surprise" party on that afternoon, with many members attending. Some 6 or 7 birthday cakes were baked by various club members and the champagne flowed freely. All much appreciated.

But what does it really mean to me ?
I am in reasonably good shape, and most judge me to be no more than 60 odd years old.
I should therefore be grateful, but grateful to whom ? (I do not believe in a God !)
It are the DNAs from my ancestors (coming together with my father and mother) who provide me with the opportunity to hopefully live (in the present modern medical environment) a long life.

It is therefor my firm belief that I should not waste the next 20 odd years or so available of me, but to use them creatively and, if possible, constructively. This (I feel) I owe to them, and I will do my best to oblige.

Ivor Stravinsky's quote comes to mind : To continue in the same direction is to go backwards !"

Therefor from now on my objectives will be :
1. to find a loving partner to share the rest of my life with in "perfect intimacy".
This could be a wonderful final chapter of my life.   (It is now the only item on my "bucket list"),
        or failing that
2. to start a challenging, creative life in a new environment (Spain ?), to the benefit of those around me.
What will it be ?   Time will tell !
But either of these two options would provide me with a new perspective on life, an opportunity to grow, to bring out more of the potential that lies dormant within me.

Spain In September I will fly to Europe and after 3 weeks in Southern Germany arrive in Mijas (6 on the map) on September 27. What will I do there ?
I very much enjoy teaching to adult students.
But apart from the members of my Social Bridge Club (which have been wonderful students), Darwin has been a great disappointment to me.
People appear to be just not interested at all in broadening their knowledge or skill horizons. I tried boating, music and bridge and on the whole responses have been miserable.

In Spain, I believe, the situation will be markedly different.
There are lots of English speaking Northern Europeans living on the Costa del Sol and I have plans to attempt to teach there both Jazz and Blues improvisation and Bridge. I much look forward to that. Also of course, I hope to resurrect my Spanish language skills.


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Tuesday February 21, 2017 (diary)

Bridge Club Valentines Day, 2017 As you can see we had a great time with our Social Bridge Club on Valentines day.
All the ladies received a red rose, a glass of champagne and as many chocolates as they allowed themselves to eat.
Never mind those two right behind me : all pure mischief, as soon as I turned my head they knew nothing about it !

The bridge club is a pure joy to me. I am guiding them to some of the outer reaches of bridge communication, and they can't get enough of it. That is fantastic.
But there comes a time when enough is enough.
Unknowingly I have followed all my life some of the teaching of the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius : I continuously need change in my personal life to challenge myself and to grow.

As I have stated before, that time has arrived again. Apart from being with my bridge club, I find my life in Australia increasingly boring.
I have lived in all Australian mainland states except Victoria (too cold).
In each state I have enjoyed its individual attraction very much. But having been there and done that I now find the country's general attitude to life (easy going, but also indifferent and ignorant) very suffocating !
The politics, commentary on TV and in the papers are just beyond belief. All triviality, never even scratching the surface.   (The whole world is in such state right now, thanks to the shallow social media.)

So I feel like a fish out off water, sucking for air but not finding it.
About 6 months to go. Will I find fresh air in Spain ? I honestly don't know, but my hope is that it can't be any worse than here right now !


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Tuesday April 18, 2017 (diary) Easter Monday on Stokes Hill Wharf, 2017

The days go by quickly now. The Mango farm at which I stayed for the past 10 years was sold and I moved out off my cabin. The end of an era.
I now stay with bridge friends or house sit until I leave for Europe in about 4 months time.

The bridge club is going well. We had two social events, one about a month ago in the old gold mining town of Pine Creek (200km south of Darwin) which was attended by 30 players. We had a great weekend there and everyone enjoyed it.
Yesterday we celebrated Easter Monday on Stokes Hill Wharf on Darwin's harbour waterfront.

Knowing I am going to live in Mijas (southern Spain) some members expressed the wish to visit me there next year. This has now grown to a major bridge week in Mijas with some 20+ players likely to show up in October 2018.
If that is not enough 16 of us are going to walk the Camino de Santiago, with the same company (Walks in Spain) I did the walk with 5 years ago.
The maximum nuber of participants for this tour is 16, so we have the week all to ourselves. We will do the walk in the last week of September (2018) and then go to Mijas for our week of bridge in the first week of October.

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© 2017 Michael Furstner