Saturday, March 10, 2007

Cast list

Dame M: Met her in a smokey pub in Richmond via a friend and became close. She is a rich widow who lives in a faded but glorious house on St Kilda hill. She drinks a lot, smokes a lot and gambles a lot, and is 82 and very witty and great fun. Age has slowed her a bit. She has a boarder and two tenants who live in flats above her home. Her muso great nephew is hot and stays in touch and puts up with us faggots so that he can get his inheritance. She does not tolerate fools, animals or children.

The brother friends: Two bothers who live together and we have been friends for nearly three decades. While we have issues with them at times, we know them well, and they know us well. They travel to Thailand twice a year to see the boyfriends. We see them almost weekly and it is such an effort for them to travel from Box Hill. We make less of an effort travel wise.

Two dyke friends: We don't see them so often as the above but we have known the heart transplant recipient for a long time and we are very fond of her. We stayed with her in Sydney just before her heart problem started. They live in East St Kilda.

Dyke friend in Japan: Also a long time friend met through R's work. She works and lives there and she had my respect for doing something a bit different and being a vego when I loves me meat.

Brighton Antique Dealer and her ToyBoy: She has an antique shop in Brighton and she lives at the shop, that is, it has accom. Her Toy Boy is younger, but not much. I expect he was gay in his past life. He is an great musician. BAD is great fun, she loves to kiss the boys and try to get them to have a joint with her. She has taken to using a wheelchair scooter thing to go out locally. She usually points it towards some road workers somewhere for a flirt.

O/S rels: R's three sisters, two of whom have visited us in Australia with their husbands and one adult child. The last one is pending. They all live in the very north of the UK.

Mum: Lives in Pakenham with her 'de facto'. They have been together for thirty five years. They put up with each other. While it is hard to imagine your parents having sex, these two having sex is just way off the graph.

Father: Died 2000. Stepmother met a new bloke, nice bloke. They live near Echuca and I am constantly filled with guilt that we don't keep more in touch with them. But then they could try too. Hourigan Road or something like that in Clayton is named after his family.

Ex NT politician and his Fijian Indian boyfriend: Long term friends. He is politically conservative person, so you can imagine our conversations can be interesting at times. They live in South Oakleigh.

The Mountain Women are older dykes, one from Huddersfield (I just love saying that word) UK and the other Germany.They live at the Dandenongs and we are going there for a barbecue on tomorrow.

Brain damaged brother also lives in Pakenham, in his own home, on his own. He works a full time job and participates in many sporting areas, mostly as an umpire now.

Youngest brother lives in a bungalow as he was told to get out of the family home where his wife, three children and parents in law live. He has a drinking problem, is sexist, homophobic etc etc. Just like his late father. He ought to get with the times. Essentially a good guy but he struggles with life. He is a very competent tradie.

Sister is a dyke and lives and teaches in Geelong. She is pregnant through a personal donor so we hope she, and her bone surgeon girlfriend will make great parents.

Older gay friend near Lismore has almost drank and smoked himself to death. It is a great idea to move to country when you get to the age of needing medical services, not. While his house falls down around him, he always does everything with style, just very slowly. He can cook a meal fit for a queen.

My Sydney friend: A hot guy, years younger than me. Mostly made of plastic, silicone and steroids and the insecurities that go with such alterations. Admire him, as he has never done a proper days work in his life and yet lives a grand life. Locked up in a HK jail once, investigated by ASIO once, nearly blown up in Tel Aviv and I have lost track of all the surnames he has used since I have known him. All that by the time he was 27, five years ago. Grew up in Hong Kong with his Danish parents and speaks fluent Canto.

Last but not least, R, my partner since I was twenty one years old. Through thick and thin, good and bad, not many are so lucky as me.

Later edit: Dame M's boarder's female hairdresser friend. She is same age as me and lives in a rented flat in St Kilda and has been there for years. She drives a convertible sporty car and has accumulated a couple of thousand dollars worth of parking fines and she doesn't pay them. She is a lovely person and good fun. I discuss with her our sexual fantasies with Dame M's great nephew. Niether of us will get him, but it is fun.

Another one bites the dust

And another one's down

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Beacon Cove




R thinks he would like to live at Beacon Cove. I don't, but I quite like it to visit. It is quite an easy bike ride for me. From home we see the Spirit of Tasmania sail in and sail out, sometimes lit, sometimes not, sometimes late, but mostly early. It is a lovely craft. A few NYE's ago we were on the rooftop of a friend's place at Beacon Cove and watched fireworks go off on the Beacon. The other pic is the last of the Yarra Bank, a forbidden area.

Thank you linesmen, thank you ballboys


And thank you Public Transport Users Association and the St Kilda Road resident(s).

PS I did not send the letter as I wrote it in my blog. It ended up being a bit more sensible and I received a prompt reply informing that there would soon be improvements.

I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills

Life is full of disappointments and no one more than myself could be more disappointed about the present state of East Timor. As a campaigner for independence for East Timor, on and off over many years, I foolishly had a vision of an independant free country that could be an example for the world. It would be peaceful, self sustaining, have an educated population and be in close co-operation with Australia.

It hasn't happened and it is not going to either is it kiddies? I expect for your average East Timorese, they were better off under Indonesian rule.

Ah well, better educated people than me have made similar mistakes. I would like to ask ex Prime Minister Malcolm Frazer about Zimbabwe. While I was not keen on him when he was in power, he was a far more honourable person than our present PM. What I did admire him for, and he was one of the leaders in the fight, was the pushing for majority rule in Rhodesia, that is black rule.

The leader of Rhodesia, Ian Smith, was a tyrant and fought very hard to sustain it as a colony style country. Eventually world pressure saw the independant country of Zimbabwe rise.

Well, what a thorough mess that has turned into. Again, I reckon the average citizen was better off under the colonial system.

I recall a conversation with a New Zealand taxi driver in Aukland many years ago. He owned a farm in Kenya and employed many local workers and by the way he spoke, he would have been a good boss. He had to flee the Mau Mau in the sixties and just left his farm and migrated to New Zealand. Now Kenya turned into a decent place, not!

We in Australia don't have look across the Indian Ocean to see failures. New Guniea, Fiji and I guess now we add East Timor to the list. It is especially sad to see for Australians, many of whom have invested their hearts and labours in an independant East Timor.

Belgrave Update

The old bluestone building pictured in the post on Belgrave was Doctor Jorgensen's residence and surgery in the fifties and sixties. He was one of the Jorgensens and the only doctor servicing a large area.

If you were sick, you would attend his practice and wait your turn, sometimes a long wait. You were charged according to your means. If the flow of patients entering his rooms from the waiting area stopped, it meant the doctor had disappeared out the back door for a break or to run an errand.

He drove a beat up old Holden car and it was often booked by new parking officers and police for parking in the 'doctor only' parking space in front of his practice, as no one believed a doctor would drive such a beat up car.

As he was a Jorgensen, it is quite possible that the building may not be as old as it seems.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Collector Thief


How dare Andy Muirhead, host of Collectors, buy and wear the same shirt as mine on Friday 2nd March. It looks better on me of course and, unlike me, I bet he paid full price for it.

My partner would run off with him at the drop of hat, so I have good reason to be vicious. Pox on you Andy and don't think you can copy my sartorial splendiness any more. (That isn't the shirt in the pic)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tourist in your town Belgrave






We decided to take a trip to Belgrave last Sunday. We caught a Comeng train from Flinders Street Station and slowly went through the burbs, the tiny single fronted houses of Richmond to the larger Camberwell houses to the substanial old Box Hill houses. There was a nasty gap of houses around Bayswater with its many factories but from then on it became more and more bushy.





































There were some stations I had forgotten, such as Chatam and Heatherdale. As the distance between stations increased, the train reached a cracking pace of about 80kmh. I love speed when there is a professional at the controls. I think it must be the steepest railway line in Melbourne. I was quite conscious of the steady climb. When returning, apart from a little power to move off from the station, the train rolled most of the way. It was a very pleasant and quiet trip up. R had warned me that smack heads might be on the train between Box Hill and Ringwood, but all was calm.

Belgrave is a nice enough town built on the side of a valley. It has a curved main street and lots of ups and downs and this makes it more interesting. Unfortunately is overwhelmed by motor cars and they really do detract from the ambiance.

We had a snack and coffee at a bakery and were bothered by European wasps. I have not seen these critters for years and assumed they had all disappeared.

This old bluestone building pictured surprised me. No idea of its purpose. There was a police station just a couple of hundred metres from the main street, but up the steepest hill you can imagine. Perhaps Belgrave's way of keeping its crime figures low. No one would walk up that hill to report a crime.

I saw a live music venue and noted some of the top notch bands scheduled to perform there. R already knew about the venue from workmates.

Belgrave's real claim to fame is that it is a terminus for the Puffing Billy steam train. I have been on the train before and have no intention of travelling on it again, but we were lucky enough to be at the station when it pulled in after its journey from Emerald Lake and watched the engine shunt from one end of the train to the other.

We did not stay in Belgrave for very long as there wasn't a lot to interest us. As we were leaving, R explained to a woman with two children the need to validate their tickets so that they will get out of the barriers at Flinders Street Station. We boarded the nearest carriage of the train as did they. I knew it wasn't going to be good when one of the kids jumped straight up onto a seat and stood there. The were absolutely dreadful brats and we moved to the other end of the carriage to get away from them where we both moaned on about how badly behaved many kids are when out in public, as your older person does.

We had to change to the Lilydale train at Ringwood Station and it was getting busy. At Blackburn we were invaded by many many Indians. Is there a good Hindi dvd shop in Blackburn? As a couple of them were obviously Sikhs, I correctly guessed, confirming later, that there was temple at Blackburn. But the b.o. pong from the one who sat opposite me was awful and there was no where to move to. Just had to put up with it all the way to Flinders Street.

We left the train at Flinders Street and headed for the first available tram to go home, but there was the woman with the two brats headed for the same tram. We looked at each other and the across to Transport Bar and decided we needed a drink. Halfway across, I thought it might be nicer to have a drink on the river bank at Riverside. I really like this predominantly outdoor bar. A couple of drinks and we were in a better frame of mind to go home. It was nanna nap time by then anyway.

Pics are the Belgrave main street, the old building from Safeway car park, Puffing Billy and Eureka tower from Riverside.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Home


At the bottom right is where I live. I think the architect tried to make it look a bit more interesting by stepping the top back. It does make it more identifiable from a distance. The orangy colour is from the terracotta tiles on terraces. Alas we don't have one of those. I still get a kick out of seeing the building from a distance. I noticed yesterday that it is very visible from the train around Richmond Station.

There also seems to be a tram breakdown as there are several lined up at the Toorak Road stop. The 'gog' across the road seems much smaller in the pic. Even though it is not that tall, it is very dominating. The green on the right is the Albert Park Cricket Ground and on the left, Wesley College playing fields.

In the section of St Kilda Road in the picture, there are six sets of traffic lights, but in the parallel road top right, there is one. Queens Road is much better for driving along in a car and the only problem is when there is a bank up of traffic from the Westgate Freeway.

To the right of Queens Road is Albert Park, a huge area and about to be used by lots of fast cars driving around in a circle. To the left of the buildings on the left of St Kilda Road is Fawkner Park, another large park.

Perhaps a third or more of the buildings along St Kilda Road now are residential and by the end of the year or early next year, there will be five more.

There are big plans for a makeover of St Kilda Road, and some of them will happen and some won't. It is all made more difficult by City of Melbourne having control of one side of St Kilda Road and City of Port Phillip having control of the other. VicRoads, the main roads authority is also a player as is the public transport authority who control the trams and the private operator who runs them. Others who want a say are Bicycle Victoria, the South Yarra Residents Action Group and narky individuals such as myself who care about their local street. Oh, and the roads minister has stuck his bib in now, as have the private motoring club.

One plan is to change the bike lanes on this major thoroughfare and make them much safer. Rob wrote a good descriptive piece and had a letter published in today's The Age.

With so many people having a vested interest in the street, perhaps nothing will happen at all, or maybe the street should be bulldozed and rebuilt from scratch.

Pic courtesy The Age

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Overheard Conversation #34

Two Indian born couples boarded the tram on which I was travelling. Both couples had babies with them.

Another women already on the tram in almost perfect Aussie but not quite, spoke to them. She looked a bit foreign but I could not pin down her looks or accent. I am only slightly paraphrasing.

What beautiful babies. Yours has such pale skin, she is so lovely. (turns to other couple) Ah, your baby is very dark. It doesn't really matter anymore. Don't worry. She will be lovely when she grows up.

I suppose both babies will both grow up in Australia and both talk like Aussies, but I think one may have a bit harder time in life.

If I have dealings with them, I hope I only hear the voice and I overlook whether one is darker or lighter.

Youth in Asia

While the youth in Asia can be quite attractive, I mean euthanasia, but I attracted your attention hey.

I think I am pro euthanasia for those who want it. If your body is in so much pain or if you don’t want to present to the world with your marbles lost, personal grooming totally lost, spittle down your chin and urine stains on your clothing, then you really ought to have the choice.

Well, that is what I thought until I started to consider who may have a vested interest in a person no longer living.

Always look at the family first, an ex policeman told me. Sure enough, it can be well imagined that an heir may want a person to depart this earth sooner rather than later. Even someone who is finding it difficult to cope with a slowly dying relative or perhaps a friend.

The government will get the person off their payroll. No more nursing care costs and pension.

The medical funds will rid themselves of this costly person.

I am now swinging back to the status quo. The patient is in pain and the dose of morphine is increased until the dosage level becomes fatal. It is done by doctors under the guise of pain relief with no guilt for the family. The person would die soon anyway.

Yes, some things are best left alone. Too many people have vested interests in seeing their loved ones off.

TV from my yoof #29

'The lad has form', so sayeth the Governor General when I made a double entendre comment on dear Copper Witches blog. This clip comes straight from William's Semaphore Junction blog. Thanks William, hope you don't mind.

It was Mollie Sugden who played Mrs Slocombe. Could anyone have done that little piece better? I think not. She is now 84 and I believe she had a cameo as herself in the tv show Little Britain.

From the English tv comedy show Are You Being Served.

Pearls

In Darwin nearly two years ago, we took a tour of a pearl and pearling exhibition. It was quite interesting but even after the tour, I still did not get pearls and the attraction they have for some.

The other night I looked at the Brighton Antique Dealer and the sun dawned. Around her neck was the most beautiful single string of pearls with matching earings. Maybe the lighting was just right, I don't know, but I now understand the beauty and lustre of pearls. She said she has three sets, one a double and Dame M gave her own away recently to her niece.

Dame M tale #21

"Have you sorted out your water problems Dame M?" I asked. Even if she was 41 and not 81, there still would have been laughter around the table. Aren't I so clever?

Two water bills ago her account went from a couple of hundred dollars to four hundred dollars and then the last bill was seven hundred dollars. I queried at the time that the apartments above her were separately metered and they are.

She replaced both of leaking toilet cisterns but the plumber said that the leaking cisterns could not possibly be responsible for such an increase.

Her boarder is of the more theatrical type and not very practical. It took some help from one of her tenants to find the cause. They took a meter reading one night and they sat having drinks and a few hours later took another reading. They had not used water but the meter showed quite a bit of water consumption. A leak underground was the guess.

It was simply the garden hose being left on at the tap although the trigger was off. When she had finsished watering at the time everyone else was watering, so far as she could see, the water was off. But as people stopped watering and it became late in the night, the water pressure built up and the trigger started releasing water. By the time she might be outside again, perhaps mid morning, the pressure had fallen again and the trigger had stopped leaking. She and the tenant took a tour of the garden and there were all these damp patches where the hose trigger had lain.

As I said to her, well, while everyone's houses around you crack because of the drought and the dry soil shrinking, yours has not. Your foundations are well watered (more sniggering).

I always used to turn our hose off at the tap and while we don't have a tap and hose now, I always make sure vacant power points are turned off. Don't want the electric leaking out do we.