Battle with alcohol and yet a happy life

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I had a hectic and interesting week.


Like most weeks actually. Never can I say I am bored because not only am I slightly obsessed with painting, in my head or in real, I have these four other beings in my life that are pretty interesting.


First I must apologise for not writing on my web site for some time.

Frugivore Clemens walking to his 'green smoothy' garden
As you know by now I live with four beings. Two vegetarians and two meat eaters. Two human beings and two dogs. The dogs are the meat eaters of course. Strange if it were the other way around but nothing would surprise me. I believe some famous Indian guru had a vegetarian tiger sitting next to him.


They, my friends, are equally lovely and unique creatures but than so are all beings.


That is a fact. I think of myself as an unique creature and brilliant and lovely. Wish I could be better looking and twenty years younger but otherwise I am totally content and although not religious I am spiritual enough to know that after death I'll get a new body but hopefully, albeit forgotten, with the experience I developed in my last life and lives. I was once in the tomb of the pyramid of Giza in Egypt and felt very much a sense of recognition and at home. Not in the actual tomb but in the Egyptian atmosphere. I am a bit of an Anthroposophist, a very little bit but I have been to Dornach, the head quarters in Switzerland. Adolf Hitler threw them out of Germany which is a compliment because some radicals call us right winged puritans! And we are, or I should say: so they are because I am just an amateur believer in reincarnation and an amateur antroposophist.

Caricatures of Paul BakkerSelf portrait, aquarel on paper.Self portarit, paul at the party, aquarel on paper.










And a very amateur vegetarian. I am a vegetarian because I couldn't upset the delicate nostrils of my house mates with my delicious fried, in butter, onions and garlic lamb chops!

The interesting news is I received a mail from Holland requesting some information about a painting I did in 1976, 160x160 cm, and it had a few added numbers on it they thought were dates, 93 and 96. They needed the info as it was going under the hammer, sold at auction.

My secret writing

I wrote back to send me a photo so I could remember details but as I have written before on all my paintings I write what I am feeling at the time in my secret alphabet, something I 'designed' when I was a young boy, about ten I think. Anyway that was the fun news.


The more serious news is I was for 4 days in an day detox for alcohol and other drugs. But I was only for alcohol and only for 4 days because it wasn't completely out of hand!!! Normally it is for 10 days or more!!!!


But I was so impressed by the kindness and loving care one got. Only 4 people at a time with a staff of about 6!!! Shows you how rich Australia is.


But not ever a negative wagging of a finger at you. Just kindness and patience. And the best advice they can give you is that it is always up to you. I was told that several times. Rightly so!!!!


The 3 other guys were there for alcohol and one for more serious drugs. Heroin and speed, marijuana etc. Everything you can imagine and he looked about 20 but was in fact 26. The other fellow was for alcohol, seventh arrest and lost his driving license for the rest of his life unless he improved. The other, and older man only for alcohol too. I was the eldest, as usual.

Paul, Angelo and Vinci in front of the ATODS Day Detox service in Fearnley Street.

But the food was excellent and as much coffee, tea and soft drinks as you wanted plus of course the prescription drugs. Diazepam and Thiamine.


First day, (it was from 9 am till 4 pm), then home, and on arrival two whatever they call them, Valium, and a vitamin B1, at 12 o'clock 2 more. The next day it was lowered and the last, in my case 4th day, one Valium and one vitamin B1 and today, Friday, I went to get my weekend supply of Valium for 1 at 12 o'clock and 2 at 10 pm. And that is that. Then on-following help if you wanted it!!


I said jokingly it is a prison back to front. You can leave when you want but must press the bell to come in!!!


But sitting in a chair from 9 am till 4 pm can be boring but with the drugs it is all a little vague. I was constantly thinking about my next painting!!!


Photo above: Me with the two dogs, Angelo and da Vinci, in front of the Fernley Street ATODS Day Detox Centre where Clemens and the dogs have walked me every day. Just under an hours walk.


For years now Clemens, me and our two most beloved dogs, Leonardo da Vinci and Michael Angelo, Vinci and Angelo for short, go walking and I have collected not only the strangest funny toys from teddy bears to little strange figures but more importantly for me a whole collection of plastic bottle tops.


I have now maybe 500 red, mostly Coca-Cola tops, dark blue, light blue, black, white, green, purple and a few yellow and brown ones and am going to do something with them.

As a joke I did a portrait of QE2 out of the bottle tops. See the picture here below.

Queen Elizabeth all bottle topped up...

Addiction in any form is a heavy weight. Not just on yourself but most certainly on your friends. Clemens and son Casper don't drink a drop so it is much easier for me to stay clean!!! Nothing in the fridge that talks me into having a sip! In fact, Clemens makes every day for us what he calls his green smoothy. It is full of healthy vegetables. I'll ask Clemens to write what is actually in this thick green tasty drink.

Clemens: garlic, ginger, turmeric, chillie, coconut, grapes, apple, carrot, kale or moringa, broccoli, parsley, coriander, goji berries, kelp powder, triphala powder, spirulina and chlorella powder. Fresh and organic where possible.

Clemens making our green smoothies














But it is, as always, MY decisions and intentions to drink it. Not alcohol.


This alcohol shit has been a life long 'battle' for me so let's hope this time I have learnt my lesson!!!!

I can but hope... "Hail Mary, full of hope..."


The strangest and most spiritual experience I have is that when I feel bad Angelo sleeps next to me on the floor. Vinci hops on and gives me a quick lick and is off again but Angelo keeps the watch and at 7 am he literally pushes me out of bed!!!

What a lucky life I have and without Clemens that would be more or less impossible. In fact I think if I lived alone I'd drink myself into an institute. I must admit the few times I'v been in institutes or safe houses, Armidale for one, I loved it. Nice interesting people I'd never meet in my own social circles and I always ended up giving art assistance or lessons.


And for Clemens: “Bedankt jongeman, oude vriend (In Dutch: Thanks young man, old friend)”.


We have known each other since childhood. First in Indonesia, then in Holland, Iran and now in Australia. Our parents worked for Shell Oil Company. I am his eldest son Mark's Godfather and he has two other boys, Casper and Rick, twins. All lovely honourable boys but then they had/have honourable parents.

I was the best man at Clemens and Gerry's wedding who sadly passed away a few years ago after a battle with cancer.


So my life is simply a good one. I was saying only today to Clemens we are so lucky we missed all those horrible wars etc.

And live in Australia, not Uganda or for that matter Europe or America. Or Syria and Egypt.


Here a few more photo's.


Self portrait 'In a black mood'.Fear and Angst 2. Collage on paper.
















And today, 21st of October we went up the mountain as we do every Sunday. Lovely for the dogs as they can run loose and chase whatever they see or feel like. Sometimes we see a wallaby but always hear the kookaburras kookaburraing their unique song or should I say: sound.

But here a few photo's of what we found today and yesterday!!!


Halloween mask and fake gold bracelet.Helmet, penguin train and mythical horse as they crossed our path.Guitar playing Smurf. Press the button to hear him play...














And finally a photo of my bottle top collection in trays in my studio just so you can understand my obsession.


My bottle top collection. All found littered around on our daily walks.


I am glad you are home Paulo. I would be lying if I said I hadn't missed your musings, though I would be sadder if I had to miss you altogether.With love, your friend Tracy xxxxx