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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Tuesday May 30, 2017 (diary)
Salty Plum Cafe, Darwin

Now that I live a number of weeks in Darwin I do my regular walks along the coast of Fannie Bay in the East Point Reserve.
Halfway down the walking/cycling track is the Salty Plum Cafe (Thursdays to Sunday from 7am to 2pm) where one can buy coffee and various breakfast sandwiches.
It is a very popular spot with great views over the bay, a safe and excellent beach for swimming (at high tide), or lazing on the many bean bags and stools provided by the Cafe. I usually have my breakfast toasty there.

In the evenings I often have a beer at Stokes Hill Wharf. It faces to the East, so rather than watching the sunset there (as for example at the Trailer Boat Club), I here see the gradually darkening of the sky, similar in nature what I will see when in Mijas in SE Spain overlooking the Mediterranean see.
I quite like it. It is a more mellow and soft experience, very different in tone and nature from the usually quite spectacular sunsets.

I always sit on a table a few rows back from the waterfront and observe those in front of me having their meals and/or a drink.
I can not help noticing that virtually all the other customers consume their beers and spirit drinks straight from the bottle (when purchasing wine they are provided with a plastic glass).

I have always found this a disgusting and uncivilized habit, widespread throughout Australia.
Besides the appearance of a total lack of style, does nobody realize that it tastes so much better from a glass ? Or don't they just not care ?
Has this habit taken on in other countries too I wonder.
The thought occurs to me that I wish to move to a place where people still drink from a glass, not from the bottle !   Will this be in Spain ? I am not quite sure, but keep my fingers crossed.

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Sunday July 16, 2017 (diary)
Anne-Marie's property in Humpty Doo

After a brief visit to my daughter at the Sunshine Coast in early June, I moved to Humpty Doo, 40 km south of Darwin. I am house-sitting on a wonderful property there, while the owner, Anne-Marie, is exploring a possible life in Fremantle (Western Australia) for a couple of months.

There are lots of the wonderful tropical trees on the property, and, having lived in a forest during the early years of my life, I feel really at home here.
The weather too (now in the dry season) is good. The air, I immediately notice when I wake up, is as crystal clear as spring water. Spain, even Mijas, will be a hard act to follow this.

Thinking about nature, my mind casts back to a few months ago when I was driving through the NT outback. An acquaintance, sitting next to me and driving the car, mentioned that he always likes to have the side window open, so that he can feel in touch with the nature (he is driving through) outside.
What an excellent example of the thinking of the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius.

We must not close our mind to the world outside of us, but remain open to it to enrich ourselves. At other times we must be prepared to confront it, deal with it in order to become a stronger human being. No wonder that Confucius teaching is against meditation, where (it appears to me) exactly the opposite is being achieved.

Years ago I went through a meditation course and practiced it for a short period thereafter. But I found it provided no benefit for me whatsoever. Perhaps my limited knowledge of it does not qualify me to judge, but it appears to me a reaction of fear or weakness. A refusal to cope or deal with the environment or conditions that confront us in the outside world, hiding away from it within the safety of ourselves.

Although a strong introvert I do need to place myself regularly within a human occupied environment. For this purpose I go every day for lunch in a shopping centre or one of the clubs in Darwin. I may speak the odd word of hello or welcome, but specifically need to feel the presence of other people around me, without the need to talk or directly interact with them.

I prefer my conversations with others to be on a one-to-one basis, usually for some specific purpose, so that our interaction has a meaningful basis. At present this is even more the case than usual, as I am in the process of teaching others to learn the various skills involved in running a bridge club (such as directing a session, scoring the results, etc.).

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Tuesday August 1, 2017 (diary)
Climate Hustle

Like most experienced geologists I have always been very skeptical (to say the least) about the impact of man made global warming.
About 10 years ago I wrote an article about this, and for a few years followed this up with the odd comment in my Blog.

Now a new documentary, Climate Hustle, is revealing all the frauds, evidence manipulations and suppressions, etc. that have sustained the idea of global warming to the world at large. It is doing this in a lighthearted and humorous way.

The Australian broadcasters ABC and SBS have bared the documentary, as being "dangerous", so the Australian public, at least many of them, will be kept in the dark for a bit longer.
What a pathetic effort, as it is all over the Internet, and taking the USA by storm.

For many years now parties of Western democracies have focused on pulling in as many ignorant or deceived voters as possible.
(For as history has shown again and again that will always constitute "the majority".)
Global warming and anti fracking have been two terrific baits in Australia. And at the increasing expense of all! But for how much longer ?

By walking away from the Paris agreement Donald Trump is starting to look rather good now, with most other politicians with egg on their face.

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