Saturday, October 06, 2007

London Hotel Balmain

There was a rather good tv show on the other night about the Leahy family in Papua New Guinea. You can find out about it on the web. During the show there was a scene shot with a Leahy daughter featured on the balcony of a Sydney pub with the Harbour Bridge in the background.

The camera pulled out and I noticed it was called the London


Hotel. It looked like a great spot for a cold glass of ale. Of course loving Sydney as I do, I looked it up and found it was in Balmain.

I have written about my paternal grandmother before here. We used to refer to her as 'the bolter', since she made a bolt to Sydney Town and left her four young children in the care of their father. Amends were made later, up to a point. She lived in Donnelly Street, Balmain and looked out over wharves at White Bay and across to Rozelle. The London Hotel looks to be only about five hundred metres from where she lived, so I expect she would have had a drink or two there



Larger photo courtesy Gypsy Saskia at Flickr.





The Local Shops

I feel a bit sad about our local shops, Chapel Street. Local shops for local people. The chick, well close to my age, told me that her father's store, Retravision, was closing for renovations. She did not tell me they had sold and were leaving. Gosh, on and off, I have been buying there for twenty five years from the same people. They knew me and gave me a good price up front. Suddenly they have gone. I feel some distress. She did not even say goodbye.

Near the corner of Chapel Steet and Malvern Road there was a pet shop. I used to go in there and dream of a cute puppy or a sleek cat. I checked it almost weekly to see which critter had been sold and what new ones had arrived. The row of shops was renovated and the pet shop stayed open. But now the shop renos are finished, the pet shop has gone. I could not believe it, just a blank glass window.

We have spent a few bob in the art supply shop nearby both aforementioned, and it is having a closing down sale.

One thing for sure, Chapel Street never stands still.

Driving in circle


Lewis Hamilton is a racing car driver for the McLaren Team. He drives very fast, in fact he is a champion. I suppose he is straight. Shame. The face pic is a nice close up if you click.

I like!

Friday, October 05, 2007

An allegory

Well, I am not sure that allegory is the correct word and if I don't know by my age, I am not looking it up. I have written the same thing as below in the past but as the subject of race has reared its usual ugly head in our media and politicians are positioning themselves on the issue for political advantage, I will give it another run. It really is how I feel. Too many, too quickly and it is problematic.

My work place is large. There may be around three hundred people. They form themselves into groups during breaks. Older white people at this table. Sir Lankans here, Indians over there, Mauritians at another table, people with questionable sexuality at another. This was a bit in the past as it works a bit differently now. There are less people around during breaks.

I was seconded to another work area where it was equally racially diverse, but much smaller. It was quite some time ago, but it had such an impact on me that I have never forgotten it. Because it was a smaller workplace, different races did not have their own tables to sit at. They may have been the only person of their race in the canteen at the time. So, if they were of a sociable disposition, they were forced to mix with other people. I was so amazed at the mixing of races, older and younger, male and female, sexualities. It was like a big family.

I don't like our government and certainly not Howard or immigration Minister Andrews, but I think there is a case for not allowing into Australia too many from one area too quickly. There are deserving refugees in many countries. We need to mix them better and since we are choosing, why not start in our backyard. Burmese have integrated well into Australian society. They have been here a long time. You barely notice that they are around. I have a couple of work related but retired Burmese friends who are both around seventy now. They are great. I have another good work mate from Burma who is my age. He is very nice as he speaks perfect Australian. What higher recommendation could he have?

There are heaps of Burmese in refugee camps who have been there for eans. While I can't say our involvement in the Vietnam war has a direct cause to us to feel responsible as was the case with South East Asian immigration, our mother country certainly bolted with haste from Burma.

Stopping African immigration will play well with some peoples but surely it is all about the mix so that people are integrated into Australia.

Playing with my flickr

Flickr seems to be the most popular photo storage and viewing site. I like it but you do have a limit of two hundred photos unless you pay. Photobucket and Webshots are more generous.

But as I was looking for a photo of something, Flickr is usually the best place to look.

I came across this chappie who has an amazing collection of photos. They are not just from Melbourne but from country areas and interstate. Maybe it is a public site for other people to upload to. I don't know but if they are solely his photos, he sure gets around.

Well worth a look.

racka_roadrunner's photos

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dame M at 83

Dame M's sight has become very poor. On her kitchen table are an array of reading lamps. She has had an operation for cataracts and has been diagnosed with macular degeneration. As well as making it hard for her to read and see close up, she is terribly affected by bright light and glare.

As well as the glasses she had on, she had a pair next to her. There was a pair on her kitchen table and another on a bench. On her hall table there was a stack of eleven pairs. I'd reckon there were a few more pair around. She has clearly tried many many glasses.

Smoking is a significant factor causing macular degeneration. The disease has affected her confidence and her ability to go out on her own. She has decided to address her wanton ways. She has cut her smoking to a couple of cigarettes a day and has cut her drinking down a lot too.

When we first met her maybe ten years ago, she drank straight white wine from a cask. She is allergic to bottled wine, as I am a bit. One or two glasses are ok for me, but more than that and I get an allergic skin reaction. Dame M sneezes. It doesn't happen to me with wine from a cask. Who knows why?

Then Dame M started to put a decent dash of soda water in her wine. Now she has half and half.

And her hearing is going too. But is she feeling any better for her lifestyle changes? No. She coughed so badly last night and was not exactly the life of her party.

It is good that she addressing her health problems, but gee, she is not the same Dame M she used to be.

After a couple of drinks she could hold twenty people in thrall with her tales and her life. She is a bit flatter now. Some people are just meant to drink and entertain. But there comes a point where they have to slow down.

It is sad to watch someone decline. Fortunately I don't sit so high, so not too far to decline.

Real Estate Agent Tale #74

I really thought I had heard it all before. I have my own personal experiences with real estate agents both buying and selling and I have heard many other stories. In summary, don't believe them, not one word. You do the homework on what you property is worth and take no notice of what an agent tells you. Ditto if you are buying.

But this one really takes the cake. Friends are looking to change their house for another, perhaps a unit, albeit with four bedrooms. They viewed a property which they liked, but they are only looking, although if the right property was there for the right price, they would go for it.

I forget the figures now so I will just make them up. It doesn't matter.

Say a buying price was suggested by the agent of $630. They thought it was good value and would follow it up. They received a call by the agent who said there had been an offer of 680. Would they be interested in meeting that and perhaps just offering a couple of thousand more? They declined but they did follow it up. The property was sold for $585.

Our friend is almost a vexatious complainant so he called the agent asking for an explanation. Sorry she said. We made a mistake. The 680 offer was in Euros. We forgot to convert it.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Surrounded by the famous

Gee, sometimes I feel like I am surrounded by famous people while I stay minute and invisible. The Brighton Antique Dealer's toy boy has an on going gig at the Exchange hotel as the mechanic who drives the Pricilla bus after it failed to proceed. Fifty bucks, free drinks and the price is he pays is a four day beard growth for the one night a week show. He hates that.

The Brighton Antique Dealer was supposed to be at Dame M's eighty third birthday drinks night at her 1.5 mill dollar property tonight. Dame M's reverse mortgage for her property on St Kilda hill is getting sorted and she may have some money soon to plough into the pokie machines live on. But the Brighton Antique Dealer was a no show at Dame M's birthday drinks because she had hurt her back.

Perhaps the cause of her bad back was flinging her arm high in the air with castanets for a photo shoot that was in today's free Melbourne newspaper, MX. Some public transport related thing. No idea what it was about. She has a daughter who works for our train company and a Calcutta tram focused nephew Roberto who thinks of her as his eccentric aunt.

The photo was good. I am sure she was airbrushed or photo shopped.

The St Kilda Road Lushes




There are three high rise apartment building within our group. They are all of a similar size with a similar number of occupants. The glass/cans recycling bins are out for collection.

The picture at the bottom is our building's bins and the other two are the adjacent buildings. What does it say about the occupants of our building? That we are more conscious about recycling? Perhaps true. But it could just mean that we drink a whole lot more.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Str8 Highriser

Sometimes I look at a woman of around my age or maybe a year or two younger. What would it be like to be straight and married to a woman like her?

At my age I could have children who could be in their twenties late teens. I could have shared a life with such a woman, brought up children, have a large two story house in Upper Eastern Narre Warren North by Mountain and be driving a four wheel drive motor car.

I wonder if this woman would love me like I know love. Would I love her with respect and still with passion? Would I think she had been a good mother and brought up our children well? Would I have brought up our children well?

I cannot imagine how I would have dealt with children. I am reasonable and logical to the point of distraction. How would that sit with emotions of children? Perhaps they would view me as cold and remote.

I have had a decent bit of naughty fun in my life. Could I tell my children that they cannot do that? Do as I say and not as I did won't sit well with smart teenagers. What do you say? Do you talk honestly and just add 'but please be careful'. Perhaps you say, 'I did this but it was not a great idea and I suggest you don't'. Bit of a cop out.

I was around thirty before I ever touched any form of drug, alcohol excluded. Kids now try drugs in their teens.

And then of course there is sex. Would I be satisfied with my wife or would I want to experience new and different women. From my present perspective, they all look the same in some areas so why would you bother?

What if I found my wife was interested in other blokes? Would I feel inadequate or just cheated?

What if one of my children turned out to be gay? Would it be my fault because of suppressed desires? Could be really unlucky like my mother and two out of four turn out to be gay. (Don't bother having a go at me over the last sentence).

Back to the wife. I have female friends of my age. But I just cannot possibly imagine having an intimate relationship with any female near my age. I suppose I could have a one sided relationship with a much younger woman.

I guess these random and somewhat disconnected thoughts say a lot more about me than I meant to say.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Memo, Ch 2, 7, 9, 10

I don't care much for Aussie Rules football. It is hard to avoid in Melbourne though. Via osmosis, I have a bit of knowledge about the game. So I should. Aussie Rules is very Melbourne.

My sports teacher at secondary school must have come from NSW. He made me play rugby. I had already worked out that the wing position was the best place for me to be in Aussie Rules. I could avoid any contact with the ball and the other players from there.

But this rugby game. It was one in all in. I can't recall if it was union or league type rugby. There was a scrum if that makes a difference. I would probably quite enjoy that nowadays.

But I have no interest in rugby really. Nor does anyone I know.

I likes me men to have necks.

I think this constant ramming down Melbournian's throats with rugby by our tv stations is quite silly and such a waste of time on tv. You rugby people have pretty well tried everything and nothing has worked. Leave us alone to enjoy our Aussie Rules and Soccer and you keep your rugby. We just don't care and are not interested.

Miriam Margolyes

I don't think that I have laughed in such a sustained way for a long time. I laughed and laughed at Miriam Margolyes on the Andrew Denton show tonight. Short, fat, plain and Jewish. Her words, and she is the stuff great comedians are made from.

Anyone who has been told to 'be quiet' by the Queen has got to be funny and she was.

If you missed her, you can catch the interview at ABC online.

She now has Australian permanent residency. Welcome Miriam.

Did I mishear? Did she say her partner of thirty odd years? Did she refer to her partner as she?

Ipod machine

I am tech hip. I know what an Ipod is. You just pop a really small cd thingy into it and away it goes. My phone can cope with this tech stuff, except my phone does not have a pause button and so is of no use for what I want an Ipod for.

I need a pause button for when I do historical or current walks. I think there are el cheapo Ipod like machines available. I will get one tomorrow, so long as it has a pause button. Do I need to buy some blank little cd thingys for it?

Will Big W at QV have an el cheapo Ipod style machine? I dont' like white earpieces. I want black. Will that cost extra?

Perhaps I should get an MP3 player instead. Advice welcome even though I am clearly very tech hip.

New 'puter

No not me. Our brother friends have a new computer. I went with one of them today to sign them up for Telstra ADSL. I was hoping it would happen on the spot and we could carry the modem out the door. Nope.

I takes up to five working days for it to happen. The modem etc will be delivered hopefully this week and the service will be switched on.

Not a bad deal. I had warned them that it could cost up to $160 to connect and subsequently $60 per month for 12GB plan at . Connection cost was $130, fully rebated. First six months is half price, next three months as well if they pay the bill online and then 50 free telephone local phone calls per month.

I did help the brother friend to get their new pc going. Not that it was hard. He could have done it himself. Sorting out the tangle of wires was the hardest part.

The pc came with a new keyboard and mouse and I happened to note that it said to connect the mouse after the pc was on. Nonsense. It would not work and required a restart. Better to just plug it in.

Since the could not have ADSL straight away, I thought I would just connect the pc up to their old dial up. I forgot that their old pc, and hey it was our old pc, and it had an internal dial up modem. So I could not get them online at all. I suggested we could put the old pc back, but friend said not to worry. They can live without the net for a week. I doubt they will miss much pron an occasional email.

It is nice to help someone selflessly. I actually enjoyed seeing a contained shopping centre, Box Hill Centro. It was very busy for a Monday. A short hard looking muscular dude in cammo pants and a white singlet caught me looking and picked me straight away. He enjoyed the noticing. I enjoyed the looking.

I took a couple of pics in the brother friends' garden. One came out ok.


Thank you note, the modern version

I am not sure that this is really the right thing to do since R was a member of the sub committee who did the hard work towards the foyer reno, but what the heck. The committee gets little thanks for the hard work they do, so if it makes someone feel good, it is worth it.

Hi *****.
Just a quick note that you may wish to bring to the attention of members at the next ***** body corp committee meeting.
I would like to congratulate the committee on the renovation of the foyer. It has been modernised yet remains tasteful. All building occupants who I have spoken to approve wholeheartedly. I know a lot of effort was put into the renovation and the end result indicates that it was time well spent.
Well done to all involved.
Thanks,
Andrew *******
***** St Kilda Road
Melbourne 3004.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The footyball game

Maybe I had heard of the Bartel person who won the Brownlow Medal in our AFL football this year. Maybe I have heard his name, that is all. Now that I have seen him splashed left right and centre in the media, I have considered him. He is quite nice looking in a sweet way. Hard to imagine him giving an opponent an elbow in the face or a knee to the crotch behind play. Clearly your Brownlow Medal winner has to be a nice guy and a skilled football player. Best and fairest.

Wow, he could be gay. But after the disappointment of Koutafidis, I would never go out on such a limb.

But this Bartel person must be a very decent guy. He has made something like ninety community appearances over the year. He is a good friend to and always there for them, two teen brothers with multiple sclerosis who are wheelchair bound. He has not been in the media for drug use nor violence at a night club.

Some people may think he is gay. I don't care. He is nice looking but not to my taste.

Here is a text I wrote to send my sister last night. I saved it to send in the morning but I did not. My lust only lasts until it becomes hard work. It will be someone else tomorrow.

Hi sister. U Know about about footy stuffs. Brother was forced to watch big footyball match and has fallen in love with geelong player no 4. 1/2 hour searching on the net and still cannot confirm. Is he andrew mackie? Say hi to most beautiful baby in world.

The weekend that was

The start of some leave from work should be a joyous occasion, instead it has been rather mixed.

Friday work was a thorough screw up because of the AFL grand final parade in the city. My workplace could not organise a urination contest in a brewery at times. I was home very early, but oddly R was very late.

We decided to be slack Friday night and have take away pizza at home. R broke a tooth. R also wanted a good chat about his workplace problems, which are many at the moment.

Slept well and off to Clarendon Street for breakfast and shopping then home to do housework. Normal Saturday, but there was something troubling in the air. Half watch football final on tele. Fall in love with number 4 Geelong, Andrew Mackie I believe.

Go out to NT ex policeman's house for dinner. Barely out of the building and R feels there is a problem with my driving. I continue on. Ex NT was not there but the Fijian Indian boyfriend and his boyfriend entertained us well and there were many other interesting people there. But I did not feel great and wanted to be home. Home about 10.30. Stay up until 1am chatting and watching tv.

Wide awake at 5am and get up at 5.30. I need more that 4.30 hours sleep. R was awake too and watching tv in his bed. He arose soon after. This is so weird, to be up so early on a Sunday. What do we do? We just hung around I suppose you could say. I did at least call our friend in old Derri, Derrinallum and caught up on his news.

10.30am off to Beacon Cove for a beach walk and coffee. No sooner out of our car park and R started to criticise my driving. Stop car and change positions. R bumps and marks front his spoiler as he parks at Beacon Cove. He hands me the keys for the return journey.

At home I read an incident report R has written to be submitted at work. I can understand how he is very stressed at this time.

12.30 set off to Rivoli theatre at Camberwell. Meet brother friends at 1.30 but beforehand, be very bad and head to Hungry Jacks. 'Due to a maintenance problem, there is no beef'. I made do with chicken while Hindus rejoiced. I am sure the Indian staff at Hungry Jacks refused to kill another cow.

1.50 See Hairspray. I could not stop grinning after coming out of the movie theatre. It was such a happy and cheering movie.

Discuss the brother friends new computer and how I will help them. So hard.

Return home and R cooks a fat laden meal. It just suits our mood.

R sends coffee flying over lounge chair and carpet. Sunday evening spent on knees mopping up.

Please lord, just let me sleep well tonight and I will be totally refocused and fresh tomorrow.

History in front of you


Tramwalker recently took one of his many walks, this time along Dandenong Road. I don't blame him for preferring to walk along Wellington Street, St Kilda rather than Queens Way (St Kilda Junction underpass).

It is hard to believe, but once there was no Queens Way and all traffic went along Wellington Street, including trams. The two dominant houses on the left of the picture are still there.

While I can barely distinguish a modern Ford Falcon from a Holden Commodore, the cars from left are a baby Fiat, and HD or HR Holden ute, an AP5 or AP6 Valiant, half hidden by the tram and in the distance looks to be an FB Holden station wagon, an XK Falcon, an EJ or EH Holden and a VW Beetle that I would guess to be a very new model.

While the trams are long gone from Wellington Street, perhaps almost as many cars use it now as back then. There is an obvious sign that trams used to travel along the street. The steel tram overhead wire support poles are still there. These poles are still in many streets in Melbourne where tram used to travel.

If you are familiar with the inner western burbs, have a look at the poles that support electric wires in say Victoria Street Footscray, south of the station, Charles Street, Gamon Street and Somerville Road to Williamstown Road. Many of them are steel poles that used support tram wires.

Fighting against the inevitable

Oh look. There is a My Space button on someone's blog. The sensible me tries to talk sense to the bad me.

Don't do it Andrew. Do not click there. You will be here for hours.

I just want to have a quick look.

You already spend far too much time in front of the pc. You don't need another thing to get involved in.

But, but......

You know what will happen. You will want to set up your own page.

But it would just be a simple one.

You know what you are like.

What about Face Book then?

NO!

I have resisted until another day.