Monday, May 28, 2012

The Doust Files - Albany Advertiser 22/5/2012

Dad used to buy a lump of rubbery, so called cheddar cheese. He would slice it up and put it neatly on our plates, right next to the lettuce leaf with sugar coating, one or two slices of carrot, half a tomato and a slice of polony.

Later on, in another country, I graduated to cottage cheese, then ricotta and, finally, back to a cheddar. But not that cheddar, this time the cheddar of the Dutch, the Swiss, fine cheddars, in particular, mature cheddars.
That began a lifelong search for a perfect cheese.

Many months ago after I had harangued the good people at Ringwould Dairy once too often about my current favourite, the goat’s cheese Rosa, the cheese maker fronted me and said: Why don’t you make your own.

When my son and I arrived, Toni, the cheese maker, gave us our instructions: It’s not glamorous. It’s not easy. Here are your boots, capes and gloves.

I laughed: Who are we, Batman and Robin? No, she replied, you’re the cleaners.

And that’s what we did most of the day, watched, learnt and cleaned.

It’s not easy making Rosa. For a start, Toni had her hands and arms in a vat large enough to hold her and one other, swirling and mixing, for what seemed like hours.

When she got out of the vat, she put me in. And once that was done, there were other things to be done and after each thing got done, things had to be cleaned. And that’s what took up most of the day.

Last Saturday, when the delectable Rosa sat on my home table, it didn’t last anywhere near as long as the day we spent making it, or cleaning up after it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Doust Files - Albany Advertiser 8/5/2012

As we now know because people have been studying such things for a couple of decades, in any large office we can expect to find a number of disturbed humans per one hundred of the species.

Among the one hundred we might find at least one serious narcissist, a psychopath, a sociopath, a pathological liar, an incurable bully and a demented comedian.

Regular readers will no doubt pick the slot I might fill. Some types are hard to discover and I don’t have the space here to offer you full definitions.

I once worked in a large office in the middle of the Big Swirl, Perth, where the bully was the easiest to find and I baited him at every opportunity, but this was not enough, as he continued to intimidate friends of mine, mainly women.

One day, with my pulse racing, I confronted him as he sat behind his desk. When I say confront, I mean with pumped body and steel-tight mouth, and let him know in very clear and certain terms, that I would no longer tolerate his behaviour in my presence.

I never saw him again. He avoided me like the plague.

Hard to imagine, I know, but such folk as those on the above list still exist in large workplaces today and they often flourish because companies, corporations, institutions and departments encourage them, believing them to be crucial to their success.

This is dysfunctional thinking and always ends in tears.

Such behaviour should be confronted whenever it occurs and, as we know with all good bush fire control, sometimes you just have to lop the upper story or the fire spreads very quickly through the rest of the forest.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Doust Files - Albany Advertiser 24/4/2012

I have a confession, but let me be clear that I had no idea I was offending anyone. Here’s what happened.
Someone rang and offered me a job, for a lot of money and I took it.

Harmless enough, but now I know the only reason I got the job was because I am Australian, a man, and considered mildly humorous when standing out front in a room full of complete strangers.

That money could have gone to someone more deserving, someone with less cash than me, someone who had their cat put down last week and got a helluva shock when the vet’s invoice arrived.

Sure, I mock, but there has been much fuss in the eastern media over the past few weeks because a friend of mine, Anita Heiss, an Aboriginal woman who has been accused of being Aboriginal all her life, accepted a writers’ fellowship in recognition of the impressive body of work she has produced and on the understanding she would produce even more.

Imagine her shock and the shock of others like her to be criticised for taking advantage of their positions.
The farmers who take fuel subsidies, just because they are farmers and Australian citizens; anyone who exports and avails themselves of the services of Austrade, Australian trade missions, consular services, Ministerial agreements, free trade deals.

And shame on gold miners, taking advantage of their inability to mine any other mineral and thus avoiding paying the vast tax sums other miners fork out and, guess what, they won’t be paying a super profits tax when it kicks in.

But biggest shame on the banks, those monoliths that have a system designed for them, seemingly by them, and they make hay with it each and every day.


And what about you? Oh yes, take a good look at yourself, making the most of your subsidised lifestyle in the deep south and every so often I bet you book a show in the AEC, a building paid for by taxpayers. Shameful.