Friday, May 06, 2016

We've been SMEGed

The nice man in our Myer department store gave us $40 off because we bought both the toaster and kettle, plus a $20 gift card, valid for a month but only on selected items, mostly women's clothing but Vue household ware was included so we bought some badly needed tea towels. Naturally we had to add to the voucher, but not much. We had not intention of buying them this day, but we found ourselves on the 5th floor and so close to small appliances. We had some heavy things to carry home on the tram but in spite of my urging, R would not leave the small appliances area, so we did not buy the heavy bulk fabric softener or window cleaner.

The toaster went to where the old toaster sat, next the hotplates where the black coffee canister is and the kettle in the corner, as the old one. While I was happy with the products. something wasn't quite right. R fixed it when he did the housework and moved them and now things seem much more balanced, and guess what? The kettle boils water just the like the old one and the toaster toasts just like the old one. We have made our kitchen minimalist with benches cleared of rubbish and everything removed from the fridge door. The tea canister, biscuit jar and the food processor are away.


Thursday, May 05, 2016

Perth Day 5

Nasty man Sir Charles Court, former Premier of Western Australia. While he was not as bad as Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, he was was quite despotic enough.


Where had our shared platter tow nights ago in the upmarket The Terrace in St Georges Terrace.


Another building with castellations.


The first Bishop of Perth. As I said on FB at the time when I used the photo there, he is having a rather ta-dah moment. Note the height of his hand, a little less than hip height. The next time we passed the good Bishop, a lad and lass were acting a little secretively at the statue. Straight away we realised what they were up to. He had his crutch positioned over the hand as his girlfriend took a photo.


On to the doctor's surgery at the Perth Station building. More anti-biotics and I was soon feeling much better. Boy was the doctor expensive though. To see my own doctor I pay $73 and Medicare gives me back $37. This doctor charged $95 and still only $37 back. Had I have had more time, I would have looked for a bulk billing clinic where the patient pays nothing.


Well, here we are at Perth Station. We did not buy an electronic stored value card as we normally do when travelling but just paper tickets. Fremantle is in Zone 2, cost $4.50. $1.80 for R. With the exception of a new line, Perth's suburban system does not run out too far and the simple map above the window was uncomplicated and easy to read. There were audible and visible next station announcements. I was puzzled by all of the trains displaying, stopping all stations including Showgrounds.


It never quite struck me that the sea we saw yesterday is the Indian Ocean. Marvellous. I hope this is not a bridge to get to a train station. It is a long walk.


The train crossed the bridge over Swan River adjacent to the Queen Victoria Street bridge for motor cars. Further upstream is the main Stirling Highway Bridge. It quite a slow trip to Fremantle as the train stopped at every station and the stations are quite close.


Perth's port town of Fremantle is certainly a working port. There are regular complaints in the media about the truck traffic generated by the port and there is a very long term plan to alleviate the matter.


You could snap away all day at old buildings in Fremantle and still not capture them all. This is the Post Office, which amazingly still contains a post office, a rare situation these days. I expect Fremantle with its old buildings survived by neglect rather than intent.


R had been to Fremantle several years ago and seemed more knowledgeable about the town than myself, so I did not do any checking before we arrived aside from the transport. I asked him if the market he wanted to visit was in an old railway shed. He said yes and we headed for the old railway shed and he proclaimed that E Shed Market was not the one he had in mind. Some googling and I found where he meant. It was quite warm as we wandered up Market Street and then South Terrace. We stopped at a bakery near the market for lunch. R did know all about the Cappuccino strip.

Now, being Saturday, Fremantle was very busy. At home I would not recommend a visit to the Melbourne tourist drawcard seaside city of St Kilda and if I was a Perth local, I would probably avoid Fremantle at weekends. The crowds became a little annoying but not nearly as much as the roar of motorbikes. It was hardly a relaxing and peaceful experience and I really wished I had a gun and could take them out one by one. This is probably a re-puposed old hotel. Very nice indeed.


Fremantle Technical School, now Technical and Further Education, TAFE.


The entrance to market is at the side from Henderson Street, which may be a normal street at times but for the weekend, a mall. A busker was setting up. The market was terrific and reminded me of Adelaide's market. It was not too big and everything could be easily seen seen including the quite interesting food area. There was a man selling some plastic hand thrown flying things, one of which he threw out into the crowd and invariably with repeated throws it returned to him. Many white former South Africans live in Perth, and maybe one or two from Zimbabwe, so it was no surprise to see some food they may have eaten in the countries of their birth, and I did not note down the name but as best as I can recall it was something like Drowears. Anyone know?


The busker had a big crowd and we watched for a while, along with several thousand other people.


I'll get to buses later but Fremantle has a free bus service around the city with two routes. There was a bus stop outside the market, so we hopped on the bus and made a circuit of the inner area. I think the nearby High Street coffee strip was where locals might go for their coffee and brunch. I would not blame them for avoiding the very busy South Terrace. Terrific old buildings, one after another after another.


We left the bus at the station and bought tickets for the return journey. R chatted to an English tourist and her daughter who were sitting next to him.


I was poised to take photos of some interesting murals I had seen from the train on the way down, but I missed them. The train, while lovely and cool and clean, only had sideways seats which I really don't like.


I did catch this old sign. Does anyone have a memory of Dingo Flour? A dingo is an Australian native dog like like creature.


We arrived back at the station and I had installed a map of Perth's free CAT bus routes on my phone when back in Melbourne, City Area Transit or something like that. There are four routes and I found the one that would take us near to our apartment. We still had to cross the freeway on the pedestrian bridge though. We walked past these metal sculptures many times before we just missed the traffic lights and I had time to take a photo.


This is the bridge across the freeway, leading to the very steep Mount Street, rising to Kings Park at the top. Our apartment was just along on the right.


It is a lovely street and imagine it in early summer with the jacarandas in full bloom. Note the retro street lamps. They seemed in good repair to us, but along came a crew of two and painted them all, along with rubbish bins and other street furniture.


A Melbourne person had told us we simply must visit the casino at Burswood, the only place in Perth that has pokie machines. I am not sure why. It is like any other Australian casino. Boring and a little depressing. We caught a taxi there and back, $23 each way, and had a fairly ordinary meal, albeit cheap. There was no reason to hang around and so we were soon back to our apartment.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Horrible and Nasty

I am a little upset tonight while remembering an incident in Bourke Street Mall in town today. I don't give beggars money but they are human beings and if not harassing people,  then let them ply their silent begging trade and respect them as not fitting terribly well into society and our generally materialistic society.

I did not see his face but I saw that he was wearing a suit. As he passed by a sleeping, presumably homeless person, who had his dog cuddled up to him, he flung a twenty cent piece at the sleeping bloke's face and the guy woke up, as did his dog in alarm. The sleeper called out bastard at the suit who was by then well past.

Australia has a reasonable social security system that is almost ok, but can be wanting in some areas. It is arguable that no one needs to live on the streets, but many do. We can ignore people sleeping on the streets with a fairly clear conscience.

But what that bloke did today was plainly cruel and nasty. Why are people like that? Maybe there had been an incident I don't know about? If there wasn't, it was just so nasty.

Perth Day 4

I think we had to at the rendezvous point at 7.30 for our trip to Margaret River. For so many years R has banged on about seeing Margaret River and I could not let him down. We booked a coach tour with the dominant tour company in Perth. We did not arrive back to our digs until 10pm, tired, but pleased we made the trip. Our accommodation on the edge of the city was across this freeway from the city. How many times did we walk across this pedestrain/cycle bridge, I would hate to count.


Our rendezvous point was at the Rendezvous Studio Hotel. A dog owner arrived to pick up his daily paper. We were picked up by a mini bus and transferred to the rear of the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre where we boarded a proper coach for our trip. I can't imagine why we were only two of eight on the coach. No matter where we went, anyone who dealt with us told us how lucky we were to not being two among forty people, forty being the norm. The last time I heard this stated I think I smelt a rat. Still, at around $200 per head, 200 x 8 = $1600, I am sure the tour company covered costs. If the norm is 40 people, that is $8,000, but as I said, I am sceptical about this. Nevertheless, the tour was very good. The coach had usb ports for charging things, which should be standard and perhaps is. Our driver, Peter, was terrific with his commentary and his driving skills.


In the middle of the freeway ran the train to Mandurah. There were many trains and our coach driver told us that it is 6 minute train service inbound for the morning peak. We paced an outbound train for a time, with our coach travelling at 110 km/hr and the train was getting away from us until it had to slow down for as station. By Japanese and Euro standards, no big deal, but not bad for Australia. No Melburnian who has a reasonable knowledge of public transport can understand how the Mandurah train line could have built so cheaply, when it costs so much more here to build a rail line. For most of its journey, it runs down the middle of a freeway. If we must build freeways to the gods, the motor car, then always a rail line should be built in the middle.


Western Australia had a terrible bush fire late last year that devastated the small township of Yarloop. The town has gone and it is unlikely to be rebuilt. For some kilometres we passed by burnt trees and landscapes.


We arrived at Busselton, famous for once having the longest timber pier in the southern hemisphere. Alas, it is now concrete but still very long at 2 km, 1.2 miles.



I did not expect the beachside to be quite so beautiful. It really was a delight.




The jetty stretches out so far because the water is very shallow.


A slow train runs out onto the jetty and it was very full.


I don't know what this spinning thing is. Decorative?



Nicely decorated rubbish bins with scenes of the old timber pier.


We had time for coffee and the back onto the coach for our lunch at Bootleg Brewery. There was quite a bit of fuel reduction burning in the forests. This is what my niece and nephew do over summer months into autumn. The smoke became quite thick at times and permeated the coach, leading one person to have a coughing fit.


A little humour at the entrance to Bootleg Brewery.



Here I will go with the former motor mechanic nerdy persona. Most buses and coaches now have automatic gears that seem to work like an automatic car. This Volvo bus had automatic gears, but unlike anything I have experienced. I can best describe it as the gears were changed by an invisible person. You could feel the clutch depressed, the gear changed, and then the clutch let in and the bus then took up power. Yet, it was all done automatically. It was quite weird. It was very obvious when the bus was turning a corner and the gears changed, not a gear change a driver would make half way around a corner.


It was a pretty location for lunch.



Pointless looking at all the brewing equipment as I would not know what did what.


We stopped for some wine tasting at Sandalford Winery and then journeyed on to Mammoth Caves. Many bones from the post dinosaur period (giant fauna?) were found inside the cave, victims of an opening in the roof of the cave.





A pinkish hue to these eucalyptus tree trunks.


I think I kept referring to it as Point, but it is Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse at the most south westerly point of Australia.




Lads fishing. We stopped for a break at the town of Margaret River for a very expensive cup of tea in a super trendy cafe. Margaret River itself was little more than a dry watercourse for much of its length.



I wasn't feeling too well, but still managed to enjoy my dinner back in Busselton. After we journeyed on we had to divert from the freeway because of a car accident. Using my phone map apps, I gave the driver with some navigation help as he did not know where alternative roads were. That added 15 minutes to the journey home and one of our fellow passengers was staying in Perth's Northbridge (nightlife) area and we became firmly stuck in Friday night traffic there and in the city. I was still not feeling well and did some googling to find a doctor who was working on Saturday morning. I found one and booked an appointment using the online system. Finally we were back and decided take things a little easier on Saturday.