Monday, January 18, 2021

On line public nonsense

I make mistakes when I am writing. Quell horreur! But I am a averagely educated working class person. I am not a large multi million dollar private company nor a government health department. People are paid well enough to get these things right and I become very annoyed when they don't. 

How about this COVID instruction on our state health website? We've had around nine days without community transmission after a small outbreak. I know which rule I would choose from below. To save you the bother of checking, the places, the dates and the times of possible infection sites are all the same. Just the advice above about how to react is different. 

New train timetables begin at the end of the month. I've been looking at the extensive changes. I bumped the live timetable forward to the 31st of January and look at the nonsense on the PTV website. If you are familiar with the Sandringham train line, I despair. I gave up looking at this point. Ok, briefly explained, trains start at Flinders Street Station and terminate at Sandringham. They do not start at Richmond Station.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Returning Jo Home

Last Sunday we took Jo into the city and had lunch at Riverland, a bar on the edge of the Yarra River and it was a very pleasant day. We then thought to take her to ACMI, The Australian Centre for Moving Images, but it was closed. Ok, lets go listen to the Federation Bells, upside down bells on a hill in a park. Well, maybe later. We'll take Jo into the most important Protestant church, St Paul's Cathedral, in Melbourne. No, closed. Myer Christmas windows? Removed. Buskers in the Mall? None. Still want to visit the bells R? No, tired now and hot, so we came home, R and Jo had a swim in the pool and then Jo created some artwork.

It was Sister's suggestion that on Monday we catch the relatively new ferry service to Portarlington on he Bellarine Peninsula near to where she lives and she would meet us there and take us for lunch. We caught a couple of trams to get to the ferry departure point at Docklands. Unfortunately the temperature was forecast to be 37, nearly 100F. But the trams we caught had air con and the ferry was very well air conditioned. Generally I took photos through glass. I wasn't standing on the decks in the heat.

Portarlington is bottom left of screen.

This is perhaps the only old wharf left now, with the rest demolished to create Docklands. Unfortunately it has been declared unsafe and businesses had to close and move out. I told Jo we used to go to dance parties in the shed up until the late 90s, along with several thousand other gays, lesbians and those in between. 

The ferry departed right on 10.40 as scheduled. It was quite impressive and the $30 return fare for oldies with Port Phillip Ferries was quite reasonable. Unfortunately the speed limit in the river is very low but once out of the river into the bay, the catamaran flew along. The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel has great views of the occasional movement in the docks area, along with the occasional shunting freight train in the railway yards.

Where have I seen a building like this before? 

Wattle was once a tug boat.

Under the Bolte Bridge.

Thingies to remove containers from ships.

Approaching the Westgate Bridge. It is very high to allow container ships sail under.

Now out in the bay with the city skyline in view.

Approaching Portarlington. On a clear day it is just visible as a mound on the horizon from  home. The trip takes seventy minutes.

I've never seen so many people on this beach. It was even busier when we departed at 4.30.

We lunched in a area called Wallington at the Flying Brick Cider Company.

The meal was good. I am not a cider drinker so I had wine. R had a paddle of four different ciders. His favourite was the chilli cider. Only a few brave people in the heat outside, no doubt proclaiming how glorious the heat was. That did not include us in the cool but moaning about the heat.

We went back to Sister's place for coffee, a chat and in R's case a nap. Sister, Jo and I watched a couple of episodes of Derry Girls. The trip back was uneventful and we were home by about 6.30, exhausted but it had been a good day.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Trams (and a bus) for tourists in Melbourne

I have written about this before and I know it was helpful to at least one person. 

Ah, no international tourists at the moment, but life will return to normal. Maybe we will allow New South Wales tourists back soon.

Route 96 from Bourke Street in the city to St Kilda, the light rail. Guaranteed to have 'interesting' characters on board and a good way to get to a popular destination. Catch the 12 back to town from Park and Fitzroy Streets via a quiet and very local tram for local people. 

Catch the route 16 tram from Swanston Street to to its end. Such a variety to see along the one and half hour trip. You travel through St Kilda, the bagel belt of Balaclava and Caulfield, the lauded shopping strips of Malvern and admire the large and very expensive houses between there and Hawthorn with its large cosmopolitan population of students. From the route 16 terminus in Kew, catch a 109 tram back to the city via Richmond with its large Asian population and certainly more interesting characters along the way. If you need a 'fix', stop off in Richmond and you will readily find a dealer.

The route 58 tram along William Street takes you to the north of the city. Aside from Melbourne Zoo, there is not a lot to see, aside from a nice tram trip through Royal Park. If you go further and you can see out the tram front window, there are some ok views of the city as you return.

Route 58 to Toorak also from William Street is not bad either if you want to travel through posh areas of shops and towards the end houses and apartments. 

But here is a great and unknown bus trip for anyone, the 605 bus from Queen Street in the City or if you like, the Casino tram stop in Queensbridge Street.

You will travel along the premier boulevard of St Kilda Road after passing the Arts Centre. You then head to the eastern side of the beautiful Shrine of Remembrance with great parks in both directions and the running walking and the track The Tan where the beautiful people and celebs run and walk and circumnavigating The Royal Botanic Gardens. COVID never killed the cafĂ© latte corner of Park Street and Domain Road. The 605 makes  just a swing to the left and the left again for a braked descent down the Anderson Street hill and pick up the lasses at Melbourne Girls Grammar, except thankfully they weren't at school when I travelled the route.

We turn onto Alexandra Avenue and travel along the southern bank of Yarra River, and we follow its curving path until we turn up Williams Road, along a Toorak back street to Toorak Road and then down Orrong Road. There I left the bus to catch the train from Toorak Station back home. By all means stay on the bus as it weaves its way through residential streets of Armadale, eventually travelling along Kooyong Road. I haven't done that part of the bus trip yet.

A lot of very valuable land surrounded the sporting oval Orrong Park and it was sold off to developers and guess what? They built developments and with the five or so minutes I had to wait for the train, I had a look outside the stations' western entrance. Not too bad at all.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Visiting Mum's House

The house is rapidly disappearing behind the growth of bushes. I kind of like the out of control luxuriant growth. Pre climate change, the garden would be almost dead at this time of year without being watered. Settlement for her house will be in a little over a month and there is much to be done and Mother in hospital and frail is hardly capable. The latest rumour is that she will leave the hospital on Saturday and return to ABI Brother's place who is her government paid carer. Extra professional visiting care will kick off in February.

R says she should be in a nursing home but our government tries to keep people at home with services and the time is not right yet for her to move into care. It will one day be a case of hospital to a nursing home, but not quite yet.

R and I with two trips took about 14 full sized garbage bags of her clothing, drapes, curtains, window lace, cushions and so much bedding to charity bins.

Ex Sis in Law and Oldest Niece had been there the day before and were covered in cobwebs, so we missed them. They took a few bits and pieces to their liking. We took Mother's very kind neighbours across the road to the house today and she took a couple of bits of crystal ware. 

Mother's extended family is really coming together to sort the house out before settlement on the 18th of February. She will then have around half a million dollars at her disposal and she is just too fucking frail and old to enjoy the largess. But knowing my mother, and her having gone through two substantial amounts of money, she will have a good go.

The canna lilies? along the back fence look beautiful. The neighbour said under the mound of grass could be your late Step Father's aluminium dinghy. I believe him as he was not here when Step Father had dinghy. Learnt knowledge that we have forgotten about.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

What's your energy like?

Personally, pretty lousy and thanks for asking...oh, you didn't.

But I am talking about how your electricity is generated. Australia has a mix of generation and fortunately we have never had a Chernobyl, Three Mine Island or Fukushima as we don't generate electricity by nuclear reactors. Long has our general population been against nuclear, in spite of such being pushed by vested interests. The Nuclear Disarmament Party was very active in Australia and took no prisoners of either the Labor Party or the Liberal (conservative) Party.

Our electricity is predominately generated by black coal, while my state of Victoria's electricity is mostly generated by burning dirty damp and polluting brown coal. But we do have hydro electricity in two eastern states and the island state, Tasmania. Tasmania's electricity is dominantly by hydro, but some environment was destroyed in the process to build retaining dams. 

Generally our power generating assets were sold by governments to overseas investors who are not there to provide a service but to make profits. Who knows who owns the poles and wires. Who knows who your wholesale power company is which is different to your retail power company. But the system is actually quite strictly controlled by authorities, especially the NEM and in my opinion it works reasonably well. 

The problem for these overseas investors with our coal power plants is their age and their polluting factor. Our conservative Federal government, wanting to protect investors in the dinosaur generation business, is encouraging them to invest in new 'clean and green' coal and gas power plants. They don't pollute too much, just a bit.

But our pro capitalist conservative government has been overtaken by capitalism. 

Solar panels on rooves, wind farms, solar generation are all generating so much power they are making our power system unstable. Capitalism again kicks into action, starting with Elon Musk's big battery in South Australia to store renewable power. There are plans for storage batteries in every state. 

Our dinosaur Liberal Party needs to get into step. Coal and gas power generation will soon be history. There won't be anymore wilderness areas flooded to make hydro dams. In the longer term oil powered cars will be history, so a wise investor would steer clear of oil. 

You can add to this that our home appliances and no doubt industry machines have become much more energy efficient. All those LED lamps replacing incandescent, fluoro and 250 halogen bulbs per two storey McMansion must make a difference.

My generation may have screwed up many things but we have at least left this still up in the air but very foreseeable environmental result of renewable power at a very cheap price.