Friday, June 30, 2006

Niece Update

We have safely returned niece to the only home she has ever lived in Langwarrin. My chat the other night must have had some impact. Soon after, she went to bed and sent an sms to her father apologising for her attitude to his new but now ex lady friend. She asked him not to show the sms to anyone, but of course what did he do tonight, show it to R and myself. As he fell down stairs the other night, no doubt very drunk, her threat to push him down the stairs if he told, was apt.

It was good to have her stay and I think she really enjoys staying. As always after visitors, it is nice to have our place back to ourselves.

I hope I educated her about a couple of things apart from the above. It is not the end of the world if there is not enough butter to make ginger nuts. You can use margarine as well. You can even pop it in later. This knife is for bread and butter, not for eating a meal with and likewise, this fork is for dessert or cake and not for twirling spaghetti with. The steak knife as a general cutting knife is not a bad choice, but there is a block of lovely sharp cutting knives in front of you. Then I hope we educated her a little about politics, naturally biased.

Not a one way street though. I learned that one needs to be a little more sensitive at times when dealing with a maturing teenage lass. They can easily see afront in an innocent remark. I thought she knew where the recyling room was, but it seemed she had forgotten. She had put all the papers down the rubbish chute and was about to put the bottles down, but then remembered. R, just awoken from his arvo nap, may have just put it a bit harshly, that papers go to the recyling room. He was more annoyed with me for not going with her. But she was worried that she had done the wrong thing. Ever polite, if she apologised once for bumping me when we out walking, she apologised a hundred times. I was well sick of that. I may be old from her perspective, but I am not glass.

Any pop star or movie person or band/group I had a query about, she could answer. That is, so long as they were under a certain age. She had no idea who Johnny Depp was, but when I asked her who was the guy on a greeting card, she told me he was Will Young.

After battling the traffic on the Monash Freeway, well not really a battle. You can't battle when you are moving like a snail, we returned her to her family. How can people drive every evening in traffic like that? Her mother had cooked us a meal. Quite a frank chat with her father.

Peace and quiet and only one person to compete with now for use of the pc.

Asian in Oz

Niece asked about our immediate neighbours. I told her that there was a mother with two teenage sons. There could be a husband. I saw him a long time ago. I don't really know. Niece must have picked up on the teenage sons.

As we were bashing off for a long walk through the park to the lcoal shops today, neighbour's door was open as a visitor was departing. Niece must have seen inside and seen the people.

Just five minutes into the walk, niece asked if our immediate neighbours were Asian. I replied, yes, rich people from Hong Kong, drive a Mercedes. That was the end of the conversation.

Two teenage bois next door obviously had her mind working. Once found out they were Asian, dismissed from head.

I expect she was annoyed with me for not pointing this out sooner, and the ever rascist me, did not, and put her to a test.

In a way, she passed the test, as these boys next door would be so alien to her as she would be to them. But is does trouble me that she so automatically rejected them.

Cleansing

A couple of nights ago, the body corp committee decided it was time to clear the basement of 'junk' and put it out for a pre-arranged hard rubbish collection. People put some quite good items in the recycling room, but there was also a lot of crap.

I can recall scoring a superior washing basket to the one we had, but I replaced it with our old one and that one was taken by someone else. There was an electronic keyboard. I took it and once established that it worked ok, put it away and never used it again. Yes, I can play a piano a bit. It will probably end back in the recycling room.

But most of it is junk, mattesses, four ok bicyles, furniture, failed electric appliances, doors, plastic chairs.........it is a long list.

Five of us carried it all out, for around and hour and a half, so there was quite a bit of stuff.

The basement is empty now. It is huge, the footprint of the building almost. It does not have proper lighting or proper ventialation and it is damp. Because of this, it can't really be used for anything. It contains only a couple of pumps which I reckon Workcare could easily have banned to service. There were tools and paint there too but they have been moved elsewhere.

The basement is empty and the new building manager will not have general access to it. Hopefully, we won't have to repeat the excercise.

Pound Bend


'I'm bored, what can we do?' whined yours truly. As usual, R was not forthcoming with a bright idea.

I thought about it while in the shower and decided that I had to see Pound Bend at Warrendyte. I might die tomorrow and I will be a troubled soul if I don't see it. How I have never seen it, I do not know, but I hadn't.

It is surprisingly not that far from town, maybe half an hours drive along what surely must be the best free road in Melbourne, the Eastern Freeway. Wide, free flowing and with room for adding more lanes, as well as a BLOODY RAILWAY LINE down the middle.

The town of Warryndyte is not dissimilar to where I was a few weeks earlier, Hurstbridge, but sans train. We went to a well known bakery and bought a disappointing pastie each. We walked along the river for a bit, very pleasant although the day was grey, cold and overcast. The ducks on the river did not mind.

We then drove to a quite desserted Pound Bend Park and walked to where the tunnel empties it's river water back into the Yarra. The river almost makes a complete circle and between two sides a tunnel was dug to reduce the waterflow and level in the river so that gold could be panned from the river. Evidently you can travel through the tunnel on a canoe, although I do recall someone being killed several years ago.

We did not investigate carefully but it seemed to us that you cannot get close to where the water enters the tunnel.

Three hours for the trip maybe, and it gave a structure to the day.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dame M tale #22

Dame M has two apartments above her that she rents out. One of the tenants locked himself out the other night. Instead of rousing Dame M for the spare key at four in the morning, the guy climbed up onto the roof and removed toilet window louvres and managed to get in. Dame M said she would have only been annoyed but not murderous to be woken for the spare key at four in the morning.

Dame M rolled her eyes and starting talking about the worst tenants that she has ever had. They were a couple, nicely dressed, very fresh and healthy looking and friendly. What she did not know when she accepted them, was that they had just left a drug detox centre in Queensland.

They were soon back using, he dealing from the flat and she bringing 'clients' home. After a night of disturbances above, Dame M went up to lecture them. She found them in a bad state and they were both suffering from severe diarohhe, diarohe, di.........the shits. The flat was covered in it, walls, carpets, kitchen. She made them leave and fruitlessly tried to get cleaners to come and clean up the mess. They all refused and as a last resort, she called one the couple's fathers and told him if he did not come around and clean up, all the belongings would be on his front lawn the next morning. He did attend and cleaned up the worst of it. I guess they formally left soon after.

Not so long ago, the male of the couple turned up at Dame M's door. He was now clean and had been for some time and just called into to say hello and offer a small apology for the past. Sadly his female partner had overdosed and died. Drugs are bad kiddies.

Never Before


Never in my life have I had anything like this hanging in my shower. See, even at my age there can be new experiences.

IR and TV


Underdressed for the cold, we hovered around Fed Square waiting for the march to begin. I had no intention of standing around listening to speeches. I just wanted to be counted as a number who participated in a protest against the new industrial relations laws being introduced by the government.

Interestingly, and I include myself, most of the marchers were workers who will be least affected in the short term by the new laws. Nearly all would be workers in heavily unionised jobs and will probably be the last to suffer.

I was also marching on behalf of those less than bright people who don't think that it is being worthwhile being in a union, your shop assistant, waiter, cleaner etc. They have started suffering already.

I reckoned too that it was a good opportunity to instill some social conscience and politics into the niece's head, presently full of thoughts of boys and music, and boys and clothes, and boys and appearance. Her father won't be impressed. Tough.

To be surrounded by so many people who think along similar lines as yourself is a wonderful thing. It gave me a good understanding of how political rallies can work.

So we marched and only reached Collins Street before it all came to a standstill. Loudspeakers lined the street and it reminded me of Vietnam with propaganda and patriotic music coming from speakers, all day, every day, I recall in Nah Trang.

Listened to speeches for a few minutes and then adjourned to a take away chicken shop for a feed.

Then back to Fed Square and went to a wonderful ACMI exhibition of 50 years of Australian television. I could have stayed all day watching old tv shows and looking at old tvs. We left after about an hour and half. Fortunately there was some more recent stuff in the exhibit along with some computer based exhibits, so even the niece found it entertaining. I highly recommend it.

Rehearsed and planned

This was the conversation, no lecture, that I had to have. I thought it would help, I am not sure if it did and I don't really know if was a good idea. Cliche coming. At the end of the day, I hoped she would be smarter about it all than I was.

Niece is staying.

'A, I have heard you are having a bit of trouble about your mum and dad seperating.'

She naturally asked from who. Ah, your dad or was it your mum, or nanna Fud, (my mum). Sorry, forget.

She, niece, had said that she wanted nothing to do with her father's new girlfriend. She declared she would never ever have anything to do with her. Lucky that it turned out to be a brief affair really, albeit very ego boosting for my brother.

You are fourteen. I was fourteen when my parents seperated. That is your Nanna Fud and the late Poppy Wal. I vowed and declared that I would have nothing to do with my father's new girlfriend.

Thirty years later, or about that, I am fond of the person who went on to become my stepmother and will drive next weekend for a couple of hours to see her in the northern part of our state.

The point that I hope I got across, is to not make instant judgements. They are both going through difficult times. Yes, your parents should know everything and behave pefectly, but they don't always. Your, dear niece, behaviour will not have a lot of impact. Just be clever, don't judge, they need to sort it out themsleves.

I have heard that she is behaving badly at school and at home and does not have a close friend.

Most cruelly, I think she knows it all full well, and any behaviour on her part is motivated by self interest.

Maybe.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Gay bar, gay bar, i wanna go to a gay bar

Met at Dame M's and sat, chatted, had a couple of chards and waited for her boarder to transform into Jasmine. Jasmine went all out and looked pretty hot, if that is your thing. It is not mine, but it can be amusing. It always amazes me how relatively shy and introspective people slip on a dress, well a bit more effort than that really, and then become the life of the party, full of clever comments, charm and wit. I have noticed this more than once.

By nine we were seated at a reserved table at Pink at the Newmarket Hotel in St Kilda. The St Kilda Council Depot used to be opposite and the workers used to drink there. The venue is small, dingy, smokey and vile. The performers were wonderful, charming and friendly. The staff were wonderful, charming and friendly. The charming latters more than cancelled out the former and we had a great night.

The show was based on The Sound of Music, with some Marlene Deitrich, Springtime for Hitler, Abba and Cabaret thrown in. All very entertaining.

It was my first visit to a gay bar since NYE before last. I was reminded what fun they can be, but also why I don't bother anymore.

Rooooosebud

It was going to be two nights away at the holiday house in Rosebud, (um, that reads like it might be ours, it is not, although we do feel a little posessive of it), but circumstances meant it was only one night, and that was long enough.

We arrived Sunday and then my mother, step father and brother arrived for a pre arranged afternoon tea. We had left enough time to shop at the local supermarket for said tea and to have something really greasy to make us feel better after the night before. Brownie, I took your cold cure advice to the enth degree and it worked, although I forewent the crisps.

The house was as cold at the proverbial witches. The wall furnace took a long time to heat the smallish house, but once heated, it was fine.

After getting rid of family fondly farewelling family, we napped, showered and adjourned to the local Rosebud Hotel for dinner. Very nice roast lamb. Last time we were there, we noticed a Maori transexual waiter. She was seemed well accepted and this time she had just gone off duty and it was her birthday and she was priming herself for a good night. Not really what you would expect in Rosebud.

Stupid rugby on sports tv at pub. Tried to make sense of it but failed. Warriors 36, South Sydney 0. How does that work then? Don't really want to know.

Back to the house for not a great night's sleep. By six thirty I was wide awake and went out to watch the lightening sky and listen to the magpies. I was frightened half to death when three doves took off from the almost in bloom wattle tree I was standing near to.

Back inside and over the course of the day, almost read a whole book. Peter and Richard Wherrett's biography. Good read.

Near eleven we set off to have a look at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne branch. I went an indirect route and took nearly an hour to get there. While I am a bit of a rose/elm/azalea/rhody type person, I was quite impressed by the display of native plants. It is very well done and I need to revisit in about five years to see how it has grown. Popular enough for a Monday. Nice sunshine no doubt helped. Also took a walk to a trig point, nice views.

Back to Rosebud, more direct route. We intended to stay two nights there, but I said to R, and he readily agreed, since we have to go to Langwarrin tonight, what is the point of coming back here to sleep and then packing up in the morning to go home. At Langwarrin, we are halfway home already.

My niece had her eighteenth birthday party on Saturday night. She invited 120 people, but alas, only eighty turned up. I don't think I know eighty people? The consolation for the old folk, such as us, was a meal out on Monday night. 300g rump steak, with pepper sauce and a nice enough salad and chips for $12.50 is a bargain not to be missed. The venue, Hub, at Karingal, is to be missed. What a souless modern place it was. If I wanted to eat in a barn, I would choose a nice one. Nice to catch up with family though.

Adjourned to sister in laws for cake and coffee and then home by 10.10. Feel like I have been away forever. It is a terrible thing to like where you live so much that you don't feel the need to venture far.

Um, and as it is school holidays, my younger niece seems to have invited herself to stay. Sister in law will drop her in late tomorrow when she takes eighteen year old niece to airport for a trip to Queensland. This is fine, coz we will drag her off to march against the government's work place relations legislation on Wednesday and mould her impressionable mind.

Sunday, June 25, 2006