Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy 2008

In this weird blogging world, that at times feel so real and the connections with people strong, we get to know each other quite well by our writings, well as much as we allow ourselves to give away.

I think I will be a bit busy for the next couple of days, so I bid all of my readers my best wishes for 2008 and I hope you all keep right on blogging and/or reading.

Kill them

Oh, I should say cull as I should say pass on or pass over but I never do.

Dear PM Rudd. Foreign critters have and are infesting our land and damaging it and our native critter population. I know there are many demands on our country's finances but I think it would be an excellent idea to spend money to once and for all rid our land of these pests. If you can get rid of ex PM Howard, then these pests shouldn't be too hard. Priority should be given to cane toads and and animals with hoofs.

Wild pigs
Cane toads
Wild dogs
Wild horses
Wild buffalo
Foreign bees
Wild camels
Fire ants
European wasps
Trout. I am not sure about trout. Do they do damage?

Any more?

Public Art 2


This is not real folks. Do not try this at home. This mural had disappeared behind trees and ivy and I had forgotten it was there. The demolishing of Kings Cross Plaza has revealed it once more. I am guessing that I haven't seen it for ten years or more. It won't last long now with the weather on it.

Public Art 1



I like public art. I judge the success of public art work by the number of people it stops. By my criteria these pieces of public art work extremely well. Cameras were snapping away everywhere, along with much head scratching about what the bees were about. You could feel the buzz of excitement in the air. A roaringly successful art installation on Eureka Tower at Southbank. Well done!




















NYE

The NYE approaches. I used to so look forward to it. We always had something big planned, usually a dance party or a special night at a bar. This year it was suggested we have a barbecue in down town South Oakleigh. I was not happy about this, and when I heard that it was going to 41 degrees, I needed to put the kabosh on this. Even more so because the gap between eating and midnight is too long. But I had to come up with a better alternative that pleased everyone.

As I won't be home from work until after seven NYE and have to work NY Day, it has to work for me. It will be killer hot both days and I hate the heat. My choice would be to stay home in the air con and watch tele, but that won't do at all.

We have never held a barbe since we left our house. We don't have an outdoor area but there really is no reason why we can't. The only difference is that it will be inside eating.

So, here is the plan, barbe for friends, arrive seven, dine seven thirty, depart for early 9.15 family fireworks at Yarra Bank at 8.30. Home in air con by 10.00. Watch Priscilla on DVD that a friend has just bought. Watch fireworks at Albert Park at midnight. Do lots of air kissing as we are all old and don't kiss older friends. Bed by 1.00. Work at 10.00.

You would not believe how much stress to get this arranged has caused. I stupidly changed my work shift so that I could participate with friends on NYE. I wish I hadn't now and could have used the excuse that I needed to be in bed by 10.00 as I had to get up at 5.00.

Ah well, finally R had taken control and has planned a great barbecue and I hope to avoid a heat headache.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Crash


I think it is fairly clear what happened here. Can you see the yellow line on the road. The tram stays one side and the cars ought to stay on the other side. The tram did not swerve and hit the car. This model tram weighs 34 tonnes plus more with passengers.

The best braking in the world would not stop 34 tonnes of tram quickly and even if it could stop on a dime, imagine the damage to those people inside the tram. I can't imagine this will end in a court case, but I have heard from reliable sources that even what seems so clear cut, can end up with the motorist bringing the tram company to court and often getting a sympathetic hearing. Outrageous, in my opinion.

Photo by Ian Green.

Ring Ring

Once upon a time I searched long and hard for a British telephone ring for my phone. It is also the old Australian ring, two rings and a pause, two rings and a pause. I eventually found it but it was a horrible tape recording of a British telephone ring. My phone rang one day when I was chatting to our ex building manager and she said, 'What the f*** is that'.

I ditched it and my phone ring is.........I can't recall. Sort of American ring. Just one long ring I think. People seldom ring me and if they do, even more seldom do I answer the call. I let it go to the message service.

I heard a ring on the tele tonight. I have heard it before. To use the correct musical terms, it is a downward key change from major/minor/seventh/major/minor/diminished. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing hey musical Rice Boy. The ring tone is quite good.

I heard another recently that quite impressed me.

We all know the basic Nokia ring. It has been around for ever so long. This phone went off and it sounded like a quality rendition of the Nokia ring tone, but then it went to some really dud notes. There was a music piece around it the eighties that I liked called Song out of Tune. That was what came from this phone almost. High marks to the out of tune Nokia ring for originality.

The worst ring tone I have ever had was 'I'm a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world'. Someone should have shot me when my phone rang. But I recall setting up a quiz at my stepmothers when my nieces and nephew were there and that was one question. What is my ring tone? Nephew got it quickly. He is a worry at times.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Family Biffo

Our family never really argues. Maybe we don't care enough? Or maybe we care too much and hold our tongues. I guess it was the way we were brought up.

Brother the youngest had saved an article from the august newspaper, the Herald Sun. He produced it from his work van and offered to me to have a read on christmas day. I actually recall reading it online. It was an Andrew Bolt opinion piece that was very anti Green and anti Bob Brown. I don't think much of Bolt's writing or his opinions and seldom bother with him. I answered with a considered comment about tank water, without actually being too challenging.

Oops, her comes the Green sister. Sister refused to read it as she has no respect at all for Andrew Bolt's writing. Sister must have been in a bit of a grump on christmas day. She let forth with a tirade of facts and figures, articles etc etc of when Bolt has been wrong. Just read it, asked my brother. Sleep deprived sister with non sleeping baby refused again. I think very much along her lines, but I do not confront like she does.

Before 'Fertilise the forest, (bull) doze in a greenie' step father came out and a serious Green versus working class tory battle ensued, I changed the subject.

I said did you notice Fud (Mum) left the price tag on my present again. Sister said, if it is an expensive present, she always leaves the price tag on, after she removes the discounted price label. I don't know. My mother leaving the price tag on gifts does happen often, but I have never thought she would be so calculating. While my sister worships my mother, she clearly doesn't do so with her eyes shut.

There was something my mother said a while ago and I did realise that she plays the incompetent and confused card when it suits her.

I must remain naive and ignorant to such behaviour, otherwise I would have to confront. But I may just slip in a comment somewhere during a chat one day. Oh, and the present? Yarra. A diverting history of Melbourne's murky river. Price $32 and a good choice as a gift for me.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas cooking tips #12

Years ago I heard this and I was surprised that someone who was a very experienced cook did not know how to keep ham for a while in a good state.

Wrap your leftover ham in a damp tea towel. If the tea towel dries out, wet it again. Your ham will keep for yonks. I could say weeks, but I don't want to be responsible for food poisoning. In the fridge of course.

Tip two is bit late, but remember next year. The pudding must be piping hot but don't pour brandy over it and then light it. Light the brandy first and then pour it over the pudding. Be conscious of your personal safety while doing so.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Thank someone it has finished

The 25th of December has passed and it was an enjoyable day for highriser. So hectic but at least we beat City Link while travelling this year by buying a day pass, and so it cost $11 instead of over $20 with the Etag. Only four stop start traffic jam points on our travels. I believe we have an extra day next year before christmas arrives again. That can't be a bad thing.

There will come the day when my mother is no longer with us on christmas day and it will be a very sad christmas day. But I think we will take the opportunity to review how we do christmas day. This hot stove slaving for someone on the day, and then chaotic serving of the meal and an often rushed giving out of gifts is not good. There must be a better way. I like the idea of a simpler meal, some kangaroos and some water wading like Cazzie's christmas.

Virtual Gift


Poor Copperwitch only received one gift on christams day, so she says. So, in a new spirit of generosity, once the Copperwitch emails me her address, I will send him around to her abode to do some gardening or housework or clearing cobwebs, whatever.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Day

As a heathen, I don't celebrate christmas, but I do join in. Have a great christmas day everyone and I'll give a thought to those who are alone and would prefer not to be. Much as I moan about christmas, it is a special family time and I am very fortunate.

The cake is made. It was only when uploading this picture that I noticed that the cake fringe was upside down. For goodness sake Andrew, put your glasses on. Plenty of brandy went in and a layer of marzipan topped with white icing. The decs are kitsch and not wonderfully placed. I should leave the arty stuff to R.We have done a bit more with lighting our balcony this year. Next year will be even better. Sorry about the dodgy pics. I haven't mastered night time photography yet and it is not in the spirit of the day for you to say I haven't mastered daytime either.

Our building's christmas tree. Let us hope no drunk interferes with it at five in the morning like they did last year. He was caught on camera and profusely apologized.
The tree effort for our place is somewhat more modest. Every year R threatens to chuck the tree away as it is so old. Oh dear, I hope they are not porn mags on the shelf under the tree. Perhaps best to not click on this pic and enlarge it.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Friend of a friend

Our Brother friends both have Thai boyfriends in Thailand. They see them twice a year. The boyfriends are not money boys as they are now too old now to be money boys. Instead they are faithful partners to our brother friends.

This amused me a great deal:

Friend, Hi my sweetheart

Thai, Hello my darling

Friend, How is bar going (that he paid for to be set up, a local bar for local people)

Thai, Close three day, election

Andrew to friend, why close for elections?

Friend, it is a matter of security I think.

Andrew, lucky they don't celebrate christmas.

Friend, they do. Bar is christmas decorated.

Thai politics are very complicated. I am lucky that I have a Thai workmate who gives me explanations that cut through the bull dust.

Social 2





This weekend our dyke friends held their annual christmas party. Well, their second at the same time of the year. We had a fabulous time. Dykes can be very talented and not just at driving bulldozers.

R received a panicked phone call a few hours before the event. Did we have an electric frypan? There was no way they could barbecue in the shocking weather. No, we don't but another friend did and R gave him a call. But then R suggested, they must have been a real state to not think of this, why not barbecue in your garage? And that was what happened.

Thirty of us were crowded inside mostly as it was too cold outside. The food was great and it was all so well organised.

We played a couple of games, the second one being pass the many time wrapped parcel around. The first game was one I have never heard of until last night, but R tells me they have played it at his work. You can do the searching although I am sure most of you know Pinata or Pinyata.

When we arrived at the party, I thought it was a little macabre to have Santa suspended my his neck by wire. This version was a suspended Santa Claus and the poor creature received a good whacking from a golf club by about fifteen people before his body fell away from his head. It was an absolute hoot. However, if you take pride in your dwelling's floor coverings, do not fill the Santa with sherbet bombs.

After I had a whack at it and then returned to my official photographer position, someone called out that there was a lolly poking out Santa's arse. I rushed back to claim my sweet.

Given there was no one under thirty there, playing children's games went down very well.

Oh, Bella did not really eat yours truly's foot and Dame M's boarder Jasmine made a late appearance.

Social 1



You'll be relieved that I forgot to take my camera to last weekend's birthday dinner for a friend who reached a zero year. This year must be the year of birthday zeros as so many people I know, including myself, are having birthdays ending in zero. Logic tells me that this must have happened ten years ago too, but I don't recall.

I may have forgotten my camera, but suffer. I had my phone camera. birthday friend had been very busy decorating their house exterior with christmas lighting. It looked marvellous. There was much piggy backing of power points and extension leads everywhere. I did like the Indian exterior power connection protection method. All you need is a cereal packet.

Only a couple of pics are worth publishing. It was a pleasant evening with great food.

Ship Ahoy



A friend is going on a Canadian cruise next year, as half the world seems to do. This is the ship they will travel on in the icy cold Canadian waters. It visited Melbourne today, so I alerted him of its arrival with an emailed picture at 8.20 this morning. He somehow wrangled a boarding pass and will go down to Station Pier later today and check our where their room will be.

R and I were in the area a bit later, so we went and took a look at the Statendam owned by the Holland America line. Nice dinghy.

I was in town last week and there was a long procession of lads and ladesses with silly motar boards and gowns disrupting our public transport. They had graduated from RMIT, I think.

Great photo ops for the families of the graduates who seemed to all be of Asian heritage, and great publicity for RMIT. (mother showing photo to her sister in KL, this is my son when he graduated from RMIT in Melbourne (feel like adding, big deal. It is not Monash or Melbourne Uni, but I suppose it could be worse, Latrobe).

But like my view of parking fines, traffic fines, pokies, the same goes for overseas students.........more money to trickle down to me.

Seriously, Melbourne City would be a pretty dull place without them and some of them are hot!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bars



Over the next few months R and I plan to check out some of Melbourne's rooftop bars. I particularly like the sound of Cho Gao and Rooftop Bar, both in Swanston Street. We need to keep in touch with modern trends and what young people do.

Of course we will go at very quiet times and possibly not see any hip young people or suffer loud music, but no matter.



This bar is not roof top but just a bit of vacant land off a lane, but I like Section 8 a lot. It does 'go off' at times but we won't be there then.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

U Turn

There is much that can be done to speed up Melbourne's trams but I can never work out a solution to severely congested shopping areas such as Sydney Road, Camberwell Junction, Chapel Street, Glenferrie Road in both Malvern and Hawthorn, Hawksburn, High Street Armadale, Commercial Road South Yarra and Prahran and increasingly Balaclava.

A newspaper reported that police had blitzed Glenhuntly Road in Elsternwick. Among the many offences detected, one prominent one was motorists flouting the no U turn rule.

It may be pie in the sky to wish that no U turn can be made across tram tracks at all, ever, but certainly banning U turns in all shopping areas would speed up both cars and trams.

Motorists are becoming increasingly forceful when attempting to make U turns. They quite happily attempt their U turn but then find out that they can't complete it and so it has to be a three point turn. They have no qualms about forcing cars, vans and even trams to stop while they finish their turn. It is starting to become the norm. You just make your turn and force everyone to stop. Of course it would be very rare for police to be in these areas and even if they are, they ignore such behaviour.

So, no U turns in shopping centres, and able to be enforced by both police and council bylaw officers.

Fire and Flood

Bit wet today hey fellow Melburnians. It is not the first time I have seen the road below flood. Last time some teens tried swimming, but too much traffic today.

I had never heard of these devices before we moved here. They are known as spitters and a cheap way of doing plumbing. They could not handle the volume of water and so water just poured everywhere. In case you think someone could get very wet if standing below the spitters, by the time the water reaches the ground, it has broken up into large droplets. However, a gust of wind nearly blew the stream in our open balcony door.
No sooner had the rain stopped and something caught fire. I am guessing it is somewhere in Windsor.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

That shrill Deveny woman again

I bet she googles herself, in fact I think I heard her say she does so. At times I think she is deliberately provocative. I don't like and I never do that.

I always read her newspaper columns and mentioned one of them back here.

She was on the wireless for a couple of weeks and I enjoyed listening to this self described citizen of the the Peoples' Republic of Moreland.

Loud, forthright and colourful.

She is good at oral but just as good at written and this is an excellent opinion piece by her in The Age.

Religious Conversion

I asked a workmate if he was a religious person. He has been very helpful to me over many years in getting an understanding of the 'American' war in South East Asia from a Cambodian perspective. It is to be expected, and he is fiercely anti communist, so I refrain from calling him Comrade. I am sensitive at times. I never ask a Cambodian about their parents and where are they after the first time I did. Oh no!

I assumed he was a Buddhist and a bit religious in the ever so tolerant way of Buddhists.

No, he is a Catholic as is his wife. (in times past I may have added here that being a Catholic is almost worse than being a Muslim, but in my new phase of acceptance and tolerance, I shan't say that. In fact I don't even think it and I will not recite childhood insults about religions, maggots and frogs, no matter how much it is ingrained into me)

Why are you Catholic? His reply was that he and his wife converted from being a Buddhist so that their children could go to a local Catholic school where discipline was of a high order.

This conversation happened perhaps twenty years ago but even so I was surprised to hear that the school girl's dresses were still checked for length by them kneeling on the ground and a measurement taken with a ruler.

We spoke again of his daughter some years later and she was then an on call doctor and if she was called out from home in the middle of the night, he always drove her himself and waited if she was not going to be too long.

Now she is a surgeon with her own family and precious little time for dear old Dad who moved heaven and earth to come to Australia for his children's sake, who denied his own religion for his children, who worked a humble job to bring up his children when he was meant for better things, who went without sleep to ensure his grown child's safety on the road. This came from a close third party who knows the family.

When he was younger, my workmate had a good sense of humour and I could always have a laugh with him. Now he is a tired and sad old man. We still exchange greetings when we see each other but it is clear that he is not interested in much conversation. I cannot recall the last time I saw him smile or laugh.

Love your children, do lots for them, but don't go overboard and don't expect a lot of gratitude, or you may be disappointed.

Matters of Morality

Doing the right thing.

One of R's workmates gave out christmas cards at work. R and one of his workmates, K, have had issues with this person over the past year. But the christmas card giver was kind enough to give them a card, except, while everyone else's had their name on their card, neither R's nor K's did. I suppose it is showing displeasure without being too challenging.

A friend is having a party soon. She has put a strict limit on the number of guests. I am not sure how she prioritized the guest list as a couple of people we know quite well and who have given her hospitality over the last year are not invited.

But I iz not without blame, maybe. I was in the supermarket and I was paying for a substantial number of groceries when the woman behind me asked if I had a Flybuy Card and if not could she use her card to collect my unwanted points. I was taken a bit aback and looked to the checkout chap for guidance as I was sure that it would not be allowed by the supermarket, but he looked away. If in doubt say no is my motto, so I did say no.

While I think it is an incredibly cheeky thing for her to do, do you think I was being mean by not allowing her to collect my points since I did not want them?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Residents' get together

Post effort 5/10

Last week one evening the residents of our apartment building met for a christmas drink and nibbles on the podium level. I became extremely unwell and left after an hour. But otherwise it was a successful evening. There was an over representation of older white people and an under representation of Asian residents. This was predicable but it was good that some came along at least.

There were two other gay residents in attendance, so that was good too. Two others that I know of did not attend.

Last year nothing was held because the get together the year before when the body corp paid for the food, and then one prick who has since left the building, complained.

This time people brought along food and it was all very good with plenty to eat.

Most hilarious person who attended was the woman who owns the opal tourist shops in the city. I assumed she was Jewish, because she behaves in such an old rich Jewish woman way, but she mentioned that she thinks she will go home to The Lebanon. I am a bit confused about her now, plus she drive a Mercedes and not a Volvo.

The body corp continues to try to build a sense of community. But it like pushing the proverbial uphill. But I think it is a lot more than what happens in most highrise apartment buildings.

Famous bearded media person, famous non bearded media person and yet to be famous young female Neighbours type actors did not attend, although I did find out that famous bearded media person is not agin socialising with fellow residents.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Letter from a friend #33

Post effort 8/10

My Sydney friend, aka Mr Plastic/Silicon/Steroid/Muscles embarrasses me now with his quick writing. So I apologize for him. He was well ejacated at a private international school in Hong Kong and so he does know how to write correct.

I spent an hour or so with books and the net to give him an answer to his question. Do you think I gave him too much information? My love of the late Sydney tram system goes on, so after such a question, I could not help myself and sent him a couple of pictures asking him to identify the location. (I changed the file names)

got a question.
there is a tram that runs from roselle, glebe, to the key and i'm wondering it runs on this old track.
is it possible that they put the tram on an old train track or is the size of rail different so trams can't use train tracks?

That's interesting. I didn't know that.

What I do know is that the Lilyfield tram doesn't go near the Quay (yet!). It sort of ends at Central Station in a loop, using the old Pitt Street and Castlereagh Street tram reservations in Belmore Park.

In Melbourne, trams were of a different wheel gauge to the trains, that is the gap across between the wheels, or tracks if you like. Let me see, are you old enough to remember the train to St Kilda and Port Melbourne? For safety's sake, best I say no. Anyway when they were converted to light rail, they had to move one track. Not sure if it was closer or further apart.

But in Sydney they were the same and so Sydney trams could and did use the railway lines. They used to use a steam tram, the original Sydney trams, and tow the newer electric trams via a long way around on a railway line to get them to the north shore before the bridge was built. At one point they used to also have a barge to carry the trams across the harbour. When the tram line to Ryde was completed, the tram line was joined to the railway line at Ryde Station and so it was a much shorter journey to get a tram onto the railway line to go wherever.

That much I knew.

But what I didn't know was that the Lilyfield tram does travel on an old railway line. It was only a goods line (Balmain Goods Line?) and joined the Liverpool train line at Hurlstone Park (Hurlstone Park may only be a station now, not a suburb, so Dulwich Hill will do)

At the other end, the tram only seems to depart the old railway line when it turns and runs past Paddy's Market. The old railway line continued on to the southern end of Central Station. A bit of the train line looks to be still there and runs into Powerhouse Museum.

As for Lilyfield, from what I can see, the tram line still joins the railway line at the Lilyfield terminus and so with something to tow it, a tram could still run on the railway line. This assumes that the present tram is still of the same gauge as the railway lines and the tracks did not have to be shifted, but from what I recall, they didn't.
Was interesting to work all that out.

(And I attached a couple of pics I found on the net, thanks Ben, of the Lilyfield tram emerging from what was a railway tunnel and the Lilyfield tram travelling on the train viaduct.)

i think u are right.
i think the tram line doens't go all the way to the quay i thought it did, i've never taken it. i'll check it out though.
baby boomer generation is to blame for that, wankers removing trams and replacing them with slow, ugly, polluting buses which nobody wants to get and doesn't.
clover is fighting to bring trams back.

Where is this? Hint, eastern suburbs.

could be near edgecliff there heading toward what is now edgecliff station?
the northern end of paddington thru darlo past st vinnies hospital perhaps?
it's the only area i can think of that's raised.

Later

correction..
friend of mine is just here and looked at this pic.
he was saying it's a road not what i thought that is now the train line.
it's the back road that goes from darlinghurst near the wall past st vincents hospital up to paddington.
it's now a crappy rough old bridge that's awful on you tyres as u drive over it sort of concretey.

The 'friend' would be his seventy year old sugar daddy who would know full well where the tram viaduct was and probably rode on a tram across it.





Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Dogbox




Our Balaclava house was in the street on the far side of this most attractive development. Friends christened this pictured place the Dogbox when we were looking to buy nearby our house and considered this place, well one of us did.

We looked at one apartment and it was awful and so terribly hot inside, maybe the top one. The balcony with a view up Chapel Street was nice, but then I did not really know what a good view was until we moved here.

The site used to an SEC electric substation with a house on the site, presumably lived in by the keeper of the lights.

Would you agree that it is a downright butt ugly building and a cheap looking construction? A retiring Port Phillip mayor, perhaps Dick Gross, admitted that the decision to approve its construction was not the council's finest moment. It is just way to big and bulky for the location. Somehow I think our old house may still be standing after this building has been demolished.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Blog Stats

I can't be bothered looking at what search terms bring up my blog are any more. I can't be bothered seeing where people come from who read my blog. I can't be bothered looking at repeat readers. I don't 'drill down'.

But I have over one hundred readers a day. This is astonishing to me. I know most of my linked bloggers probably read my blog, plus a few extras, but over 100?

I put a lot of effort in some posts, usually the ones with pictures. Mostly I don't, and rattle off what has come to mind during the day, although if I am getting short of posts, I note some ideas down. I must always have a backlog of unpublished posts.

This blogging thing still puzzles me. I would like to know what I should write that would be interesting to readers, but somehow I think that would not work for me. I can't recall Lad Litters words exactly, but he said something like that I write about very diverse subjects. I might describe it as 'all over the place like a mad woman's breakfast'. (Do read the latest post by Lad. It is a ripper)

So, given I seem to be a successful blog writer, I can tell you the secrets. Write often (perhaps not as often as me) and be in there for the long haul. Keep on writing and the readers will come. If no one comments, don't worry, just keep on writing. I looked back recently at some of my old blog posts and post after post went without comment. I did not stop.

PS If you are young person and have lots of friends and you tell them about it, you will have lots of readers, especially if they pass things on to friends. For someone my age, I remain surprised and delighted by how many people read my words of wis......old person's stuff. I must try to write something for young peoples.

Just popping down to the carpark now to take a photo. There is a car with a handwritten sign inside the windscreen saying Rosanna. That has got to be worth a post.

Edit: This was written a few days ago. Not Lad's latest post, but the one before.

Selling the message

Did my ears deceive me? Did I hear a Liberal Party politician, when asked why he thought the Liberals were soundly defeated in our recent Federal election, reply "We did not sell our message well enough. People did not understand our policies."

Oh, I understood the Liberal Party policies very well and I think many did.

They just don't get it do they? While they continue to think that selling their message properly is the solution to their electoral woes, then they may well be in opposition for a very long time.

The Mitford Lasses

They may all be dead bar one, but still they get in the news. Back read my blog here and here.

Now they are alleging Unity gave birth to Hitler's child. You folk in the UK, keep a lookout for a male, around 60 plus and with a toothbrush moustache. From The Age. The original article is here at the New Statesman.

December 14, 2007 - 11:26AM

The British media is awash with speculation that Adolf Hitler's love child may have been born in the UK in 1940 and he could still be living there.

Martin Bright, writing in the New Statesman magazine, said that in 2002 he received a phone call from a woman named Val Hann who had read an article he had written about Unity Mitford, a British high-society fascist who was reportedly Hitler's lover.

Unity Mitford, who was born in London in 1914, was reportedly conceived in the town of Swastika, in Ontario, Canada, a coincidence that did much to impress the circle of Nazi leaders she subsequently ingratiated herself with during her stay in 1930s Germany.

Mitford, who was also a cousin of Winston Churchill, lived in Nazi Germany until the outbreak of World War II, returning to Britain after a failed suicide attempt - she shot herself with a pistol allegedly given to her by Hitler - in Munich in 1939, after the UK declared war on Germany. She died in 1948.

Hann "explained that her aunt Betty Norton had run a maternity home to the gentry in Oxfordshire during the war and that Unity Mitford had been one of her clients", Bright writes in New Statesman.

After Bright had inquired as to the identity of the father, Hann said, after a small pause, "Well, she always said it was Hitler's".

Hann, who received no money for her story from magazine, said she had been led to believe that the child was a boy, and that he had been subsequently given up for adoption.

MCT

Friday, December 14, 2007

City drive on City Link

Our dyke friend had a minor eye operation this week. Her g/f has started a new job and so was unable to collect her from the surgery in Victoria Street near the Eye and Ear Hospital.

She asked me and I could not as I would be at work, but then work changed and I could pick her up.

I needed to drive from Malvern to the clinic in Victoria Street at the top of the City.

I had thought about the way to go in advance and originally thought Kingsway then Victoria Street. I thought further. In the morning before I left for work, I snapped R's Etag off his car. I left work at 10.30 and by using City Link, I was at the corner of Exhibition and Victoria Street by 10.45. So quick. I was amazed. I had assumed, will I ever learn to check, that the clinic was on the same side of Victoria Street as the Eye and Ear Hospital. Nope, the other side. It took me another ten minutes to travel to a laneway where there was the clinic car parking

I called on an intercom and the chain barring the car park dropped to the ground. I drove over it and parked. By this time I had a bad case of the trembles. I had been trying to remember so many things and then the hideous traffic in Victoria Street nearly did my head in. My friend had been ready to collect at the very early time of 9am and I hated the thought of her being bored and waiting. I had lost my reading glasses. After a frantic search, I found them closed in between pages of the street directory. Deep breaths.

While I confidently walked up the bluestone laneway and in then in the front door of the clinic and then to lift, I was like jelly inside. Slow down I was telling myself, check that everything is right, look around, look at signs. The other self was telling me that I knew exactly what I was doing and confidently go forth. The other self was right and I got it all right. But whoa, how much damage did it do.

I signed a form and inanely said to the nurse, 'So she is in my custody now?'. The nurse laughed tolerantly. I am sure she had heard it before.

Victoria Parade, Hoddle Street and Punt Road traffic was not too bad and the roads a bit more familiar to me. I got her back to her house in East St Kilda safely, good deed done.

Half the problem was that I had worked both days at the weekend and had social engagements and I was way behind at home. (How those blogs to read mount up quickly at times, as do emails and other necessary reading) I hate my mid day break time being stolen.

People drive in the City all the time, but aside from King Street and Spencer Street, I just hate it. The reason god invented trams and buses was so you don't have to drive in the city.

Just to conclude, that Batman Avenue private road to the City is a marvellous thing. Lucky you have to pay or everyone would use it all the time.

Unpublished blog posts

Sometimes I have great ideas for blog posts, then I forget them. I used to write them down but of late I have be writing the title of the post and then saving it to remind me later. Clearly I need to put a bit of detail in, because I am not sure where I was going with these titles. Well, vaguely the Commodore 64 one and I know why I wrote the poet one but not sure what I was going to write. I just cannot recall the answering machine one.

Commodore 64

As there is a poet on board, RH

Answer Machine

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Aunt Ursula





My stepmother was raised in a bark humpy on the banks of the Murray River, the river that divides Victoria and New South Wales for you o/s folk. It was a humble beginning. Her best childhood friend was a black original Aussie lass. Stepmother has done ok and is now comfortable as an old age pensioner. She knows her Murray Cod from her Yella Bellies.

Somewhere along the way, her family must have divided. She had an Aunt Ursula who lived in a large old house in Brighton, a posh, very old and expensive Melbourne suburb.

The call must have come from either my stepmother's father or mother to go and help Aunt Ursula with her garden.

My father, stepmother and myself arrived at Aunt Ursula's and her house had almost disappeared behind vegetation. Trees, shrubs, climbers and creepers had covered the garden and a good bit of the house.

Aunt Ursula made us tea and served it with biscuits, all served in fine china and we sat on fine but shabby Victorian furniture. Aunt Ursula made herself another gin and tonic and smoked her Albany Trims incessantly. "I am cutting down my dears, they are shorter, and no young man, please do not open the (heavy velvet) drapes". (Shades of Dame M here)

I can vaguely recall her kitchen which looked like it had not seen a reno since 1930. The lavatory was a high cistern with a chain to pull.

We attacked the garden with gusto, saws, clippers, hatchets, axes and anything sharp we had thought to bring. It looked incredibly ugly be the time we had finished. Lots of bare trunks and branches. But at least the house could be seen and accessed.

I was reminded of Aunt Ursula by three houses in Glenferrie Road, Malvern. I think only one is occupied but all three are so overgrown. The single storey one disappeared behind vegetation and then a council order to clean up must have been enforced.

One developer has already tried and failed, but I am sure the three blocks will eventually be turned into apartments for the aged wealthy. While the small house is of a modest size, the other two are very large and would have been quite grand houses.

As a kid, I loved spooky old overgrown houses. I find them pretty interesting now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Never the snooze button

Yesterday I woke before the alarm went off and realised I had not set the alarm. Lucky I woke up. It is years since I have been late for work.

Today I woke before the alarm went off and realised I had not set the alarm........yet again. I almost got out of bed and then sank back into the bed with the luxurious knowledge that it is my day off.

Oh bliss. I want a three day working week.

Iconic Women

I am trying to think of some Melbourne iconic men and none immediately come to mind. But a few iconic Melbourne women do. Add some more or dis me for my choices. Got to be living ones though.

Mirka Mora. One of the last of our bohemians surely. She is a treasure and a naughty one at that. She represents so much that I love about Melbourne.
Joan Kirner. She has worked tirelessly for good causes and I like her political perspectives. It is not fair to judge her in her role as Premier of this state when she was handed such a poisoned chalice.
Jean McLean. A still surviving red ragger and a woman who did as much as anyone did to stop the Vietnam War and a mover in 'Save Our Sons'. How many times did she get locked up?
Rachel Berger. Loud, Jewish, funny, and in there raising funds for, and awareness of HIV. A real friend to the gays of Melbourne.
Dame Elisabeth Murdoch. I don't like what she stands for and I don't like philanthropy, except for non essential matters, but she surely deserves the status of iconic.
Elizabeth Chong. East meets west very easily when it is about food. As an umpteen generation Australian with an Aussie accent, she bridges any perceived gap.
Stephanie Alexander. Speaking of food, she ought to be Melbourne's food ambassador. Not sure if I like her, but I certainly respect her.
There is one in the very back of my mind, but I cannot recall who she is. Tell me.

Later Edit:
Now I recall and this was the person who inspired the post. Rose Chong. Most of you won't know who she is, but every half decent drag queen, person of the theatre and serious fancy dresser in Melbourne knows who she is. Definitely iconic.
Much later edit:

Does anyone in Melbourne not know who Magda Subanski is? Comedian, actor, activist and a lot of fun.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What is going on here?

Am I missing something in my view of the legal matters?

A city cafe owner was warned twice about his dirty premises and then finally charged after he took no action. Before the courts, he was fined and no conviction recorded.

Some lads have their wicked ways with a ten year old lass and are not sent to gaol. Aside from rights or wrongs of the sentence, no convictions recorded.

I am sure there are some minor matters where it is perhaps appropriate to not record a conviction, but the above two examples are very serious matters.

Keep your eyes peeled for the phrase, no conviction recorded.

Platform 13



While I feel like a second class citizen when I am forced to use Platform 13 at Flinders Street Station, it is quite a nice view from there. The second class citizen feeling is further reinforced by the fact that your train does not travel through the underground rail loop, but then it can be an advantage at times and people who know the system well can make a rail dash to Richmond on the Sandringham train and catch another train at Richmond that they would have otherwise missed.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dream On

I only recall two of my dreams. One was only a year or two ago and I think I wrote about it at the time. It was way weird. I must have got a good dose of MSG at dinner or something. Miss Diarist has been writing about her dreams and so it put me on this thought path. Search Daniel's blog with the word dream and you will find some pretty weird ones, especially the railway platform one. Gross.

The other dream I remember struck such terror into me as a kid, I recall it to today. I was attacked by a unicorn. I am not sure how and anyone who is thinking filthy thoughts about what the one horned creature may have done, leave now. I was only a kid and knew nothing of such matters.

The unicorn picked me up and threw me into our fernery, an open timber construction with lots of plants inside. He was roaring at me. He had not finished. He was still coming for me. I think I woke up at that point, shaking and sweating and I think my subsequent behaviour over the next few days was a bit weird.

Jimmy Watsons

As mentioned last Friday, R attended Jimmy Watsons for his work christmas party. It was so bad he is refusing to go to future work christmas parties.

Arrive 7.30 and in an upstairs room.
Food order taken at after 9.
Everyone quite drunk by this time, including R who became very entertaining.
A bit more drunk by the time meals arrived near 10.
Entree $20 and lousy and second choice after first choice was not longer available.
Main $30 and lousy also.
Complimentary bottles of champers arrive as compensation. All get even more drunk.
A nominated driver dropped R home. R sick all day Saturday.

And I had a mental image of Jimmy Watsons as being a classy little wine bar.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Slog 'em more

Ben drew my attention to something I was not knowing about. I had seen them. I had noticed them. But I had not absorbed them or even thought about them. I am talking of the wanky new Euro car registration number plates, the ones that go like this

Perhaps everyone knows about them except me. No matter, I will press on.

Ben's comment caused me to look at VicRoads number plate web site. There is no end to the combinations of plate styles, sizes, colours, themes including your Aussie Rules team, and even fonts. The Euro model is but one variety.

So, as I love people who infringe parking restrictions in the City of Port Phillip, and those who incur traffic fines on our roads, I love you people who pay for the special number plates, between $100 and $4000. Buy more of these number plates and that is more money for our government to spend, hopefully on a something to benefit me.

Now, could I have one of these Euro number plates for my Japanese made(sic) Mazda?

V MZ 626 would look fine on the Mazda.

Fa La La bloody Fa

I had not heard a carol until this Saturday just past. Suddenly they are everywhere. I was in a tram and I could hear carols. I looked around and saw nothing, but the tram was busy. Is it coming from the street? No? It is crystal clear and does not vary as the tram trundles along. Is it coming over the tram P.A.? No, there is not static that normally accompanies P.A. use.

It was beautiful singing and then it ended and I hear applause. There were carol singers at the opposite end of the tram. They were so good.

And as we have in years past (see below), we attended the annual Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Chorus of carols at Prahran Market Courtyard. The Brighton Antique Dealer's daughter is a chorister? Well, in the group anyway, and there are a couple of other people I know. It was a good night but we left early. Even so, after working today, I am very tired. The Pearl Fishers Duet by two opera singers was divine.

There were only six of us, a bit different to the earlier days. There are always so many dykes at this event. They come in so many shapes and sizes. I found one particularly attractive. Weird huh. Of course she was slim and had short hair. R would not take my bet as to whether a particularly large lass would eat a whole large pizza on her own. She did.

We had three vacant seats at our table and some forward young men came up and asked if they could sit at our table. We allowed them, actually we had no right to stop them. One was particularly nice in a dark and pretty manner. He sat with his back to me, as any young gay would, and I had nice old time observing how smooth the skin on the back of his neck and the top of his back was. He had on a very low cut tee.

It was a fab night, it always is and I can highly recommend it. Bring your kiddies too.
2004
2005
2006

Friday, December 07, 2007

Work christmas parties and a vale

I am a widow/er home alone tonight. It is R's work christmas bash at Jimmy Watsons in Carlton. I said that it sounded very staid and boring. He thought that it is a young person's venue. I eagerly await the report.

I forget when my work bash is. I don't go anymore. It is in a church hall and the food will be wonderful. Light beer and even cheaper wine than I drink will be served. I have enough Indian friends at work to chum up and share their supply of whiskey outside, but I have to work the next day, so can't do that.

I went to R's work bash one year and I was bored stiff with all the shop talk. He came to mine one year and was just as bored with my shop talk. I am such a shallow butterfly anyway. I flit from one to another because I get bored easily and then realise I have chatted to everyone and retire to a corner. I am a lousy party person unless I know people well.

Ah, the work parties of old, when there was a pianist and drums or a band. Sexual tensions brewing over the past year were quickly resolved. Ah, the clarity of memory there. Straight guys can be so good after they have had a drink or five.

There were always at least two fights. One year was extra good when not one but two different gay guys knocked out two different straight guys. I retreated and observed from a corner and busily filed my nails. The bruises and cuts on various people became evident at work over the next few days.

Another old work ex mate died today. He was only early fifties. He was Indian and very nice looking and tall and with a nice build. I had not seen him since he was about forty, but I remember him fondly. He was such a nice guy, one of those really genuinely nice people . He died of Motor Neuron disease. So sad. Vale Nanda.

Green Groceries

I have never liked buying green groceries from a supermarket. I know they are expensive and I would not say they are any better, in fact I think often worse. I will admit that supermarket fruit and vegetables look good.

R does most of the food shopping and after we moved here from Balaclava, he reverted to buying f&v in the supermarket. I have on the odd occasion too. There is quite a good Asian run f&v shop in Chapel Street, cheap and mostly good quality but oh so crowded. Makes it really hard work, so we stopped going there.

Then a new one opened that has an entrance off the Prahran Coles/Safeway car park. It too is Asian run and we went there the second day after it opened and it was pretty chaotic. We were also overcharged for two items. I suggested they were teething troubles, but R went back to the supermarket.

He is now a convert to this newish shop. He gave it another go and could not believe how cheap it was, how tasty the tomatoes were, how the produce sometimes did not look so great, but was otherwise excellent.

And how to judge a good fruit and vegetable shop? If there are plenty of ethnic Europeans and ethnic Asians shopping there, you are pretty well guaranteed it will be good.

Still have to watch them with the tills like a hawk though, but it is the same in the supermarket. Peanuts scanned as cashews indeed.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

'Erald

And so was the cry in the evenings in the city as lads called out the name of the evening newspaper.

When checking out Barwon Grange recently, I came across a newspaper called The Melbourne Morning Herald. I had never heard of it, but I made an immediate association with The Sydney Morning Herald. Must check it out, I thought. It would seem there is no connection.

Slipped my mind until now. I looked online via a search engine and nothing. I went to the State Library website, and it is listed and they have copies and it is very rare.

Courtesy my $150 reference book, I find that in 1855 it became The Melbourne Herald and then later just The Herald, as some us who are old enough, remember well. Then it was merged into The Sun News Pictorial which became the Herald Sun.

My paternal grandfather gave me ten cents once to go to the shops and buy a copy of The Herald and buy and icecream with the change. I was only used to The Sun newspaper which was all in one piece. The Herald had separate sections. I thought there were papers mixed up together so I took one part, the front and left the rest at the shop. My grandfather was not impressed to get a paper without the sports section. Sometimes I get things really really wrong, even though I am trying hard, just was when I was a kid.

Blog comments

Sorry folks but the blogger has issues I think. Comments are not being emailed to me and so I have to check manually. Sorry if I miss something.

Roo Burger


I like urns and gargoyles etc on the tops of old buildings but I am not sure about a kangaroo. I wonder if it is original?

Oh, and 'roo or not, they do a fine hamburger.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Grandma Singing

Up till perhaps the age of ten, if we were staying at my grandmother's house, I or my brother would often sleep in the bed with our grandmother.

She used to sing to us sometimes when we were snuggled into bed.

K K K Katie, beautiful Katie, you're the only g g g girl that I adore. When the moon shines over the cowshed, I'll be waiting at your k k k kitchen door.

What a nonsense song, but I will never forget it.

She did better with the Road to Gundagai.

There's a track winding back to an old fashioned house along the road to Fumina South. Where the gum trees are growing, the Tanjil River's flowing, beneath the Baw Baw skies.

There was more, but sadly I have forgotten it.

I don't know she was a smart woman or not. She rarely gave an opinion and it was rare for her to talk about anything else but family, friends and day to day stuff. Even then she was not much of a talker. She would walk away from a raised voice and never showed any emotion. She worked hard as a housewife and never complained. She was reasonably comfortable financially in her old age, but hated spending money. She never quite grasped that one pound equalled two dollars. Two dollars in her mind was double one pound and so whatever was very expensive.

I suppose she was satisfied with her life. From an outsiders perspective, it did not seem much, but then it was different times.

That she loved us grandchildren was a given. We knew it, and that was all that mattered.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Wong way the right way

I may very well be disappointed, as I usual am by politicians, but the signs are good, the stars are aligned, sheng fui feels right and I feel it in my waters.

Rice Boy made mention of her today, but I was going to anyway. I think our out lesbian Asian born Minister for Climate Change is going places. While it could be an offensive phrase to some, I really hope Penny Wong busts some balls and gets some stuffs done.

Sadly, men have been very disappointing leaders, right around the world and for a very long time. The women leaders, mostly of conservative parties, have been also. But I think given their head and real power, the world may well be a much better place if it was governed by women.

Aren't women kinder and nicer? Don't we want a kinder and nicer society and world?

If Penny has to lift her knee hard to get some climate change results, then I hope she doesn't hold back.

Of course no one is perfect. She is from Adelaide.

Number Plates

In our work carpark there are some odd number plates.

I think this one is quite clever AIMN4U, although I think it may very well attract the unwanted attention of the constabulary.

This one is typical of sad ass losers who can only get second best. If you can't get the proper one, don't bother. You are only embarrassing yourself.

GIB5ON The 5 actually looks a bit more like an S on the plate, but not close enough. And yes, their name is Gibson.

I see quite a few of these loser plates on the road, but I always forget them.

Prices

Public transport fares up again in the New Year. It is always the same story. We are told it is an average of 2.1%. Now that would make a rise of seven cents for a $3.30 two hour zone 1 ticket. Ok, round it up to ten cents and you have $3.40, but no, it will be $3.50. Happens every time.

Electricity increase up to 17.6%. The price of water is going up a lot. Gas, rising up to 7.5%. Ok, I do see the connection between drought and electric and water price increases, but gas? Since when does gas production depend heavily on water?

Meat, vegetable and bread and egg prices are rising fast, due to the drought we are told. My vague memory of economics from school recalls something about supply and demand. So that makes sense. There is a shortage of water to grow primary produce and so a shortage of the produce, so the price rises.

Farmer Dave must be rubbing his hands together. Although he doesn't have the quantity to sell, he is getting a high price for his produce. Nope, Farmer Dave is getting low prices, very low prices. I wonder who is making all the money then? You whistle and I will point.

Excuse me while I call my stockbroker and buy some Coles and Woolworths shares.

Mystery Quiz Solution

Well done to Tony for guessing what was behind the roll up shutter at the nightclub. It was of course a fish tank, lit with blue light, it looks wonderful at night. I wish I had a photo, but I am not going out in the evening to take a picture. Go yourself.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Life is good on a Sunday

After a serious/minor argument four days ago, R has finally deigned to speak to me again today and cook me a meal. I was in serious danger of losing weight. Fritatta and salad tasted so good. Talking was even better. Dinner last night with the brother friends at The Palmerston after their return from Thailand was good, and cake and coffee back home very nice.

We did over half the christmas present shopping, we did the christmas cards (R did the writing, I did the labels), I started the two day christmas cake making, I finally finished up putting the travel diary onto the pc, I almost finished reading the book from our friend in Japan. Ironing is done. Kitchen is neat. Air con is keeping us comfortable. Clothes washing for tomorrow is planned in my head. Caught up reading newspapers. Not too many books on hold and bookmarked.

I have learned over the years to put aside the brandy in a sealed jar for the christmas cake and so no need to buy another bottle to finish the cake tomorrow.

I am getting quite excited by the o/s trip to old Blighty next year. I will just add it to the debt that the nieces/nephews will inherit. What a surprise to them. They think they will get a smart apartment on St Kilda Road, then they find out it is mortgaged to the hilt. Marvellous. (I thought Uncle Andrew was rich? Kind of, but he had bills.)

I am thinking of leaving money to an elephant orphanage in Nairobi, but not sure. They better have a good website.

A new leaf

I have decided something.

I have tried to do it in the past but gave up. All my emails will now have a greeting and end with my name. The only exceptions will be when an email becomes an immediate reply and is almost like a conversation.

Harder, but I will try, sms will also be like the above.

Not much easier, but with comments on others blogs, if I don't know them well via mutual blogging, I will also write salutations.

And the hardest, if you don't know me well personally or by email or via an ongoing mutual blog connection, and you write abrupt comments, I will ignore you. If I feel offended by your comment, I will not respond. It gives you wide reign as I have never been offended by comments by Andy, RH, Copperwitch, Steph, Jo or Lord Sedgwick and they can be thorough bitches. The difference is I know them well.

We could all do well to take a leaf from this chickie babe's blog and the way she deals with comments.

Politics

Please also note that people who vote below the line are allowed to make up to six mistakes and still have their vote counted, as long as they don't put two number 1s. Many AEC staff don't know this, and many of these votes (e.g. ones with the Liberal Party boxes left blank) are votes for the Greens.

You live and learn. I did not know this.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Mystery Quiz


This second level in this building at the corner of High and Chapel Streets used to be where Greek men played cards. It is now a nightclub where people queue to get in at six in the morning.

What do you think is behind the wind up shutter? It is only opened at nighttime.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bigger, wider roads

I noticed from Glenferrie Road that preparatory work is happening at the foot of the Monash Freeway. I understand it is to be widened. It seems such a short time ago that it was last widened. It has to be less than ten years.

The widening is necessary to free up traffic flow on the freeway. That was what was said last time it was widened. Call me a bit thick if you like, but this strategy just does not seem to work. The stationary traffic surely proves the point.

Perhaps if they widened it and put a train line there instead of extra road space, a longer term benefit may be gained.

I wonder if I will see the Monash Freeway widened again in another ten years. The Hobart option is looking more and more attractive.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Betty Battenberg

This post by Copperwitch (a stupid old woman who has yet to learn how to make the best of herself, the person in the post, not Copperwitch)and this one by Deajohnize and the Turnbull chappie who was our prospective federal opposition leader, a pro Australia republican, has had me thinking a bit about our boss Liz. Make no mistake about it. She could control us down to the last detail if she wanted. She is a monarch, a boss, a ruler.

She has pretty well conducted herself faultlessly in the the public eye since her reign began.

US comedian Joan Rivers used to make great fun at Maggie Thatcher's expense when Mags was in power. That is until the real Maggie made a surprise visit to River's show and Rivers went to water with much bowing and scraping.

I reckon I would do the same if I happened across Lillibet, and I think many people, even with the most anti monarchist feelings, would too. Is she our own Dalai Lama?

But I do think she has done us a bit of a disservice as our monarch and a respected world figure. I really wish at times she had been a little more political and a little more outspoken. We heard that she and Thatcher did not really get along and that she disliked some of Thatcher's policies. From downunder, some of the policies and the results seemed appalling. Perhaps just a subtle word or two in public may have brought bitch Maggie to heel a bit.

She was happy to dine with Idi Amin and Robert Mugabe at State Dinners. Perhaps just dropping them from the invitation list might have worked wonders.

Perhaps a bit of honesty about Diana might have made her seem human. Even if the things were bad, the air would be cleared. Ok, you are not great friends. Mother in law and daughter in law often don't get along. We understand that.

Because of her age, the opportunity is now lost. I doubt she would be up to challenging anyone. All too hard now.

I am so pleased to be born when I was born and I have seen and experienced some marvellous advances in science, medicine and technology. I also feel privileged to have lived in the time of the last respected English monarch, who has ruled over us with minimal interference.

I did but see her passing by yet I shall love her until I.... well until something else interests me for the moment.

Street Lamps



I wonder how many of these old street lamp brackets are left around Melbourne? I have come across a couple of them.




The first pictures are of the old Malvern Fire Station, now and art gallery. Clearly fire engines were not the size they are now. Today's models would not come close to fitting through the doors. I do remember when this fire station was operational. It is a fine utility building. I doubt that the location of the lighting bracket is original.
















This other lamp pictured is in the laneway next to Safeway in Balaclava. I can well imagine that it is an original location.

If you know of any others, I would be interested to hear.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Put your right arm in, put your right arm out

But in North America, it would be your left arm.

It seems to be becoming more prevalent for young men to drive around with their car window down and the arm hanging out. They should talk to trauma surgeons at a major hospital about it and ask for some statistics.

People generally divide into two categories when driving in warmer weather. There are those who have windows open on all but the hottest days and often have bits of the bodies hanging out the car window. They clearly like the warmth in their car and the warm to hot breeze.

Then there is the likes of me who so rarely opens the car windows, that the motors struggle to get them down. It is a bit of a bother at pay car park booms, but so far I can get the driver's window down enough. I do open the rear windows a bit when the car needs hot air blasting out of it.

Windows up people like to be insulated from the exterior life. We like our temperature on the cool side. We don't want to hear the musical taste of a car driver next to us. We don't want to hear people yelling on the street. We don't want to give any indication that we wish to interact with any other motorist. We don't want critters flying in, or leaves or pollen or dust. We tell ourselves wrongly, that if we cocoon ourselves like this, we are safer.

I will never change but your windows open people need to keep their limbs inside at least.

PS My father was pulled up for having his elbow outside the car in the late 1960s. He was talking the policeman out of giving him a ticket when my mother muttered mongrel copper. Ticket immediately issued.

PPS An Australian woman in the US was killed recently. She looked the wrong way on a busy road and stepped straight into the path of large vehicle. Aussies take care where they drive on the wrong side of the road.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Solar Hot Water


It is a large house but not attractive to me. But I think they must have a super supply of free hot water though. The roof faces north and so will get sun in the winter too. I bet that cost.

Just as I was positioning myself to take the photo, the owner returned home with his large dog.

Terrible tram crash





Gee, tram passengers dying in a crash. That must be very rare. Trams are an ever such a safe way to travel. But in the early days of the twentieth century, some did die. McMahons Point is a salubrious part of Sydney, and so it received a tram service in the early years of the twentieth century.

It must have been a busy enough route as there were two trams coupled together. One of the trams became defective and so the driver and conductor worked out a plan, no doubt following company policy, for the driver to power the tram and the conductor to brake. They were at opposite ends of the two trams. It was a foggy, damp and wet day.

They soon lost control of the tram. It gained a speed of 80kph, or 50mph on the steep slope down to McMahons Point. Some people had jumped off, as you would but well before it reached a speed of 80 I should think. It derailed on a curve, went over an embankment and ploughed into a house, and then the rear car telescoped into the front car.

There were many injuries and two deaths and probably a very surprised home owner. I don't know the actual site or topography, but I would guess at the corner of Blues Point Road and Henry Lawson Avenue.

And I take the chance to repost a couple of my favourite Sydney tram pictures.