Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

A great line from one of the English period dramas that are so often seen here on tv, was 'I am often forced to depend on the kindness of strangers', meaning she would trade sex for money, or whatever.

The kindness of strangers is a wonderous thing. Actually, although I haven't met them, I do consider these people friends, not strangers. They certainly are at the very least blog mates.

The witty, interesting, cutting and marvellous Ann O'Dyne has been very busy with some genealogical (read that word carefully) research. It seems we have a common ancestor on my mother's side of the family and we are back to eighteenth century in Oxfordshire and other places. Oh god, that must mean I am also related to Lord Sedgwick of Strathmore. My great grandmother's maiden name was Chochrane, hence Chochranes Road in Moorabbin, the area where the Chocranes lived. All sorts of bits and pieces are turning up and isn't it kind of Ann to put in so much work. It has excited me to really get stuck into family research.

This is a pretty good site online to make a start on a family tree. geni.com

Victor is only a tiny bit older than me, is gay and lives in Sydney. I can forgive him for the Sydney bit. Gay men of our age have many things in common, just because we grew up around the same time and we are now older gay men and have lived through the times of gays being invisible and boi on boi mounting illegal to almost acceptance. I also seem to have quite a bit on common personally with Victor. He recently visited an exhibition at the Sydney Museum and thoughtfully bought this pictured fridge magnet with old Sydney tram destinations on it and sent it to me. Pretty kewl hey. It can be broken up, but I like it intact. Isn't that a nice thing to do? Thanks Victor.

The 5.09 tram to Lilyfield is now departing Railway Square. Stand clear. And a bit of trivia. Sydney trams never used route numbers but symbols, some of which are displayed on the magnet.

The Good

Do I whinge and moan? Of course I do. But not always. How much joy has Little Jo brought into our life?

Sister and the Bone Doctor are off to New Zealand tomorrow for a holiday and then Sister is moving to the country to be with the Bone Doctor for a couple of months. After seeing Little Jo pretty well weekly and becoming quite proprietorial about seeing her, it is going to be some time before we see her again.

What happened to Sister's baby? I can't believe how quickly it has happened. Little Jo is now a toddler. She can't quite string sentences together yet, but gets her message across.

R took her to the park for play on Wednesday afternoon and then looked after her Thursday night while Sister went for a meal in Lygon Street with friends. I was at work and missed out, so this morning I went for coffee with Sister, just really to see Little Jo.

I had printed out a photo of a Kiwi, a special ground bird in NZ, where they are going to holiday. I got Little Jo saying kiwi when I showed her the photo. I showed her photos of herself on my phone and she knew they were of her, well the recent ones. She decided she wanted to ring Constantinople and I said no. Mistake. You must divert their attention. You can't say no. Sister diverted her attention as I protested that it goes agin my grain. Doesn't anyone ever say no to kids? While I am going along with this divert attention thing, kids really need to learn the word no.

Trying to be objective, there is no doubt Little Jo is smart, in spite of her school teacher mother coaching. This coaching worries me a bit. Kids less that two years old should not be able to count up to six. At the park last week, I noticed she is quite tall for her age too. She is as tall as older kiddies who were well advanced on her.

But then without coaching, she became a cafe brought up kid. Unbidden, one day she picked up a note pad and started to go around the room taking orders. Chino? Milk? Chiz? (cheeze)

It is the first time I have seen it, but Little Jo can amuse herself on her own with her toys etc. She talked away to herself. Magic. I only stayed for a short time. Sister said, are you going already? Yeah, I have eaten your apple scrolls, drunk you crappy coffee and I amid a much exciting geanology experience. More on that later. Besides, it is vacumming day. If I don't vacumm, R won't do the house cleaning tonight and the Universe will explode and shatter. When I am dragged kicking and screaming to the shops tomorrow, if the house work is not done, R will be very grumpy.

Here is where I get serious, just for once. Dealing with Step Father's death wasn't easy. Dealing with my Tradie Brother's separation from his wife and the kids involved is not easy and nor is his new girlfriend against my sister law, who we love dearly. Obviously dealing with Mother is not easy. I am really not sure how we all would have coped if it wasn't faith in the future, Little Jo. It is a big load to put on a kiddie less than two years old, but she is our future and given us all a very strong connection.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Highrise, the good and the bad

The good are fairly obvious, I guess, and I will be brief. Everything is done for you. A tree encroaching on a neighbour or a tree encroaching on your property is not your business. Fence falling down, not your problem. Leaking roof tile or sheet of tin, not your problem. Holidays, shut your door and forget. Hot water stops, not your problem. Emergency system will kick in and it will only be off briefly. Rubbish bins, nah, chuck it down the chute. Problem with neighbours, call the building manager. Like in a house or a private flat, your home is still your castle. You can lock yourself away from the world.

The cost, about AU$3500 per year. This price maintains a sauna, pool, gym, tennis court, public barbecue and sitting area, gardens, cleaning, inaccessible window cleaning, building staff from 07.00 to 19.00, a shared guard three nights a week and a good cctv system and operation of public door locks monitoring. If anti social types are in the building and they aren't caught or stopped red handed, they can be tracked.

The price also includes, as is now legislated for, a substantial contribution to a sinking fund which is there for improvements and large maintenance matters, such as repainting the building.

The bad.

You do get to know those who live in your building, usually in bouts of seconds up to about 20 in our case, which is the time the lift takes to reach lower levels from our floor. Sometimes you really really want to chat to someone for longer, but unless you know them, it seems inappropriate to step out of the lift if it is not where you want to go. A bit like Twitter I suppose. You try to fit a lot into a tight space.

However, large residential buildings like ours can be very isolating. You really do have to make an effort. Getting onto the Owner's Corporation committee is a very helpful way to get to know people. Taking an interest in the local area and lobbying council for improvements is good and connects you with other people. Chatting to tradesmen within the building is a good way to find out some behind the scenes knowledge.

Also in the lift, there are those who make you feel, not uncomfortable, but holding your gaze on the floor level lights. They clearly do not want to speak. There is the odd one who will stand in the corner of the lift and stare into it. Not speaking is fine, but I am not keen on people who get into the lift and don't even look at another person in the lift, especially if it is only you and them.

All tradesmen who work on common areas within the building charge mega dollars. Get as many quotes as you like, doesn't matter. The price will be very high. The work is organised by the Owner's Corporation management company and there are many theories about kick backs etc. I doubt there would be an OC who has fought harder against overcharging than ours, but with very limited success.

We have never suffered from any neighbour's noise, except for one year when the tenants above us had a young family and a polished timber floor and the kids uses to run around, as kids do, and make some noise.

Car parking is a problem in any area where parking is limited. You own your car parking space and feel very proprietorial about it. While no one has for a couple of years, woe betide anyone who parks in our spaces. I become a very nasty person. Considering the number of people in the building, perhaps three hundred, it is rare for anyone to have a problem. Most car park breach notices go out to occupants for oil stains in their spaces.

With some inside knowledge

Ha, co-incidentally as I am writing this, the fire alarm has just gone off and three fire trucks have arrived. No one is standing around in front of the building. Residents are pretty well ignoring it. I investigated to make sure it was a false alarm. I was pretty sure anyway as half an hour earlier, I could feel the vibrations from the fire pump while it was being tested. The testers have mucked up again. Now, it is important to establish who caused the false alarm because the fire brigade will try to charge the building $3000 for attending. Usually upon appeal the charge is waived, but we have had to pay once at least.

With some inside knowledge what frustrates me the most is the time it takes to get anything done.

Here is an example. A pool light went out more than six months ago. It's wires needed replacing. Then another suffered the same fault. The remaining one broke free from it's mooring and was floating. At one monthly committee meeting, it was indicated the pool water level needed dropping to replace them with better and newer items. At the next meeting, the morals of wasting water were water were discussed and the need for an exemption to be obtained from the water authority. Quotes were obtained. Finally it was decided to proceed with the work, but it has been on work order for over a month and nothing has happened.

You want another? Perhaps not, but tough. Did I mention about the lamb chop being thrown up onto a light shelf fitting in the lift. After a few days the inevitable happened. The lift stank. I took some time for the chop to be located, but it eventually was. Meanwhile, the guard thought he could cure the lift problem and doused the carpet with some overpowering scent, perhaps Nil Odour. The cure was worse than the disease. The guard is confident in his ability to cure lift smell problems. Over easter, someone threw up in the lift. The guard cleaned it up, not his job, and again doused the lift with some sickly overpowering scent that is only just disappearing now, one week later. No one seems prepared to tell him, cease and desist.

Here is another. I am on a roll. There is a high canopy at the front of the building, higher than two metres, so the building manager cannot replace the failed lights. It must be done by an electrician. Our usual electician is often in the building, but never replaces these lights. It will be a separate call out when someone notices that half the lights aren't working.

We had this Earth Hour thing in Australia, where you are supposed to sit in darkness for an hour to prove you care about the enviroment. Some of our public lighting was switched off for the occasion, including the lighting on the bollards in front of the building. No one has thought to turn them back on, some weeks later.

Spent enough time on this. I could go on. Publish.

Weird Aussie Place Names

I guess all countries have some weird place names. Australia has a combination of English names and Aboriginal names. Then there is the absurd, like Sydney's Woolloomooloo, perhaps also an Aboriginal name, but I bet they did not spell it like that. You may read the name Woolloomooloo many times, but how long does it take for the spelling to sink in. It never has for me. The 'Loo is a lot easier.

Another odd place name in Sydney is Wisemans Ferry. No connection but I liken it to the US Marthas Vineyard. How about Field of Mars, also in Sydney? I did look this one up once, but I forget why it is called such.

Let us look at the small Aussie island state, Tasmania. Perhaps I am ignorant, but I have no possible idea where the name of Bicheno came from, a town on the east coast of Tasmania. The emphasis goes on the first syllable. Bicheno is a beautiful spot. Check out a daily picture here. But Tassie also has a place called Jericho, along with a Bagdad and a Tiberias.

I could look them up I suppose and find out why they are called such, but I won't. I am happy in my ignorance.

Any place names that make you stop and think for a second?

Recommended Reading #97

There is some really important stuff happening in the world, among wars, violence, love, pain and the whole damn thing. There is the right way in this world and the wrong way.

I urge you to contribute your comment to this most important blog post by long time blogger Daniel, who has probably been blogging from when monitors only showed green and black, and you better agree with my comment, or don't bother commenting.

http://www.danielbowen.com/2009/04/06/which-way/

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mothercide

I am sure Jahteh is taking an increasing delight in our Mother troubles.

It is slowly dawning on Mother that she may have to downsize. At this point she is thinking of a grannie flat in ABI Brother's backyard. We just sow seeds of thought and she lies awake at night worrying about her circumstances. Her house and furniture are deteriorating and she has no money for repairs.

Quite a few years ago a nearby pizza shop burnt down. The pizza man used to feed a couple of cats. Ohhhhh, poor cats, no one to feed them. So Step Father and Mother started to feed them. Cats did as cats do and the numbers increased. There has been one clean out at a neighbour's insistence via the council but a few could not be caught. The number is back up to fourteen. She knows they will have to go at some time. They are all quite wild. They get a mix of dry food and expensive canned food, twice a day, plus special cat milk.

Ok, we are up to two problems, housing and the cats.

How about medical to make three. Wildly fluctuating blood pressure, obstructed carotid artery, goiter, arthritis, allergies, weight loss. I am sure there are more and if you met my Mother, you would hear about them all, over several hours if she could. She has always been somewhat prone to discussing her medical problems, but she is now much worse. Step Father's teenage grand daughter rang to wish Mother a happy easter, and she received a long recitation of Mother's illnesses. I doubt she will call again. It is fine for us. We are used to it. But you can't inflict that on teenage kids.

Mother talking endlessly about her medical problems is making her a person to socially avoid.

One matter I have decided, in consultation with my brothers and sister, is to pay private health insurance for her. Top hospital cover will be $24 a week, not much split four ways. About the same amount of money she spends a week feeding the cats. My comment about such to her did not go down well.

You want another? Mother used to have a couple of garage sales each year. She stopped about four years ago, but the collecting of items for a sale did not. There is a shed, a garage and bedroom overflowing with items for a sale. Both she and my Step Father were hoarders. We will have to organise and run it soon.

Mother has a few friends and they have been very kind by making sure she gets out, taking her to medical appointments, fixing minor matters around the house when none of us children are available. But Mother using them like a taxi service cannot last. I printed the forms out to get a subsidised taxi fare, but she has lost the forms the doctor has to sign.

But the biggest problem is her introspection. Every thing in the world is about her. While never very interested in public affairs, she seldom watches any tv news, barely reads a newspaper, has no interests other than herself and to a lesser degree her friends a family. She has never had any hobbies except for gardening and she still does this at least, but without the enthusiasm that she used to have.

She can't go out before twelve noon, as she has her jobs to do. What jobs? She is a widow living alone? How much can there be to do? She won't be flexible to fit in with other people who are doing her favours.

That brings me to the latest problem, water. Our government wants us to use no more than 155 litres per person to conserve our water supply. R and I come in under this, but then we don't have a garden.

Sister was at Mother's when her water bill arrived. She has averaged 724 litres of water per day. I can't imagine how she can use so much. Clearly quite a lot goes on the garden, but she has to hand water within restricted times. Sister also says Mother is inclined to wash very few items of clothes per washing machine load, but then I know she can adjust the water level on her washing machine. (I have since learnt from R when he took Little Jo to the park today, that she uses full load setting regardless of what is in the machine).

Then there is the ashes, my Step Fathers. Mother's friend picked them up from the funeral parlour. I am not sure how this is allowed, but the friend said to Mother one day when driving her home, I have L in the boot. Mother was highly amused but refused to have the ashes in the house. The friend took the ashes to her home and they are now sitting on her husband's filing cabinet. At some point we are going to scatter them at Rose Avenue, Cowes, Phillip Island, a quiet beach both Mother and Step Father loved. Actually, I kind of agree with Mother on this. Ashes around the home would be a bit creepy for me.

While her life as she knew it came to an end with the death of my Step Father, Mother used to be fun to be with and at times interesting, but she has becoming a tedious self obsessed bore. Are you allowed to say that about a mother who you love and consider has been a good mother? We'll get there. It will just take some time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Commercial Road

I don't know when Ian left Melbourne for the bright lights of NYC, but I thought he might like to see some photos of Commercial Road in Prahran/South Yarra.

The orange clothed building is the one where the scaffolding fell down. It is so out of proportion to rest of the street. What is painted green is the old Club Evolution and various shops along the way. Club Evolution for straights across the street from the very gay Market was problematic. Only Pabs Furniture on the corner of Porter Street is not painted green. Oh, and yes, that place in Porter Street is still there. No doubt what replaces the green buildings will be similar to the one shrouded in orange.
While it is a nice building, I blame the evil VCAT for allowing it to be built, as it is totally out of scale with the buildings next to it.

Cafe 151 closed down and briefly re-opened as Rae's Cafe. No, not you Rae, or at least I don't think so. Cafe 151 was fantastic in its heyday, but we all moved on. Next door is Pricillas's, formerly known as Diva. I think it does quite well.

Tattslotto Specific Projects

Mostly funding for large projects in our state come from taxpayers, and with the Federal Goods and Services Tax, everyone is a taxpayer, regardless how poor you are. Would Sydney's Opera House ever be built if it came from government monies? I doubt it. It had its own lottery which presumably funded most of it.

There is a foreign company known as Intralot now involved in gambling in our state. They don't seem to be doing terribly well. For all the evils and secrecy of Tattersalls, they have been around for so long and people trust the name. My grandfather probably bought a Tatts ticket when he was young. A lot of these gambling companies' earnings go to the government in the way of taxes which funds many things, but I am not sure I am really comfortable with the poor losing money in poker machines to fund projects I will appreciate.

As you would guess comrade, a good communist like myself has issues with public private partnerships. In days of old, people used to buy government bonds in public utilities to fund large projects. It was a safe investment, government gauranteed was the mantra, and paid an average return. Not high, but not too low and safe!

If our public transport was still run by the government, I think the explosion in numbers using it would indicate it was a very safe investment if the model was slightly altered from fixed interest. Think of it. We need to invest in public transport to make it first class. When we have, you will make a nice return.

Ah, I hear you saying something. Shares in Connex. I don't think so, although for all their troubles, with the gov subsidies, they still return a good profit..........until they sacked for poor performance.

I would like to a lot more people being able to directly invest money in something they feel confident about, and lotteries for specific projects.

It might be pie in the sky, but it used to work on both counts.

Easter Sunday and Monday

Poor Mother, home alone for easter when she was used to going off to late step father's family in Colac and delivering umpteen easter eggs to step father's children, grand children and great grand children. It fell to me, or us, to take Mother out on Sunday. She wanted to go to Lysterfield Lake, so that is where we shall go. She wanted to meet late, so that is what we shall do. Since we were meeting late, I thought we should have a nice meal in a pub afterwards.

It was a disastrous day.

We fed Sister's cat along the way, got there way too early and they were late. We just missed the last vacant table. R was very naff with the whole thing and how it was going. We sat on rugs, or tried to sit comfortably while Mother moaned on and on about her medical and personal problems. After a couple of hours of this torture, a table became free and we finally had somewhere to sit. Lysterfield Lake was overun by Indian families. Their voices were loud and unrelenting. Horror of horrors, I saw someone there from my workplace (FOC SD for those in the know). What a contrast to the peace of Emerald Lake barely two weeks ago.

We left and went back to Mother's with some take away chicken. We gulped it down and bolted. It really was a horrid day and of course I must take the blame. We arrived home at about 8pm and R went straight to his bedroom.

Today, Monday, started off better. I cleaned the oven while R caught up on ironing. Then for lunch with the brother friends and the NT ex politician and his Fijian Indian b/f to Sand Bar on the Middle Park beach. Very busy. We wanted to sit outside, but the only free table for six was inside. Nice enough meal but not what you would call cheap. We then took a walk along the beach.

Rid of everyone, we relaxed for a bit and then R decided his car needed cleaning. We set off for the new St Kilda car wash place but there were four cars queued. I could see a bay free at the back but it would require me to drive through the automatic wash, which I wasn't sure about or pull out and enter at the back (oh dear). I went to back just as a car pulled in. So we had lost our place in the queue and missed the free bay. I was ordered Home! Now! Not my fault. Once home, R decided to go himself and wash his car. And this Tuesday morning, are we happy chappies? No we aren't.
Lysterfield Lake
Middle Park Beach

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dame M's vultures

Dame M had gofer, known as Bloody Stanley. He used to call in to her place every morning and ask what she wanted at the shops. Cigarettes and a cask of wine were her usual requests, but sometimes some food. She would hand him fifty dollars and I suppose he gave her the change. Bloody Stanley would return with a bargain he had picked up for Dame M, something she did not want. I can recall Dame M saying Bloody Stanley turned up with a tin of ham. Who eats tinned ham nowadays? Bloody Stanley also looked after a youngish unmarried lass with kiddies in his apartment block. After a few days of not hearing from him, the unmarried lass called the police and Bloody Stanley was found dead in his bathroom this week. Same age as Dame M and he died a year and one month later than Dame M did. As much as she moaned about him, I think Dame M was quite fond of him. He always had advice for her, which she always ignored.

There must have been some time line thing. It wasn't probate as a friend who works in a law office looked it up and probate was decided soon after Dame M's death. But there was a date in March slightly more than a year after she died that was important. Her step sons are saying that Dame M had no right to sell the house in Coventry Street. I can't understand how Dame M couldn't sell a house that did not have her name on the title. Anyway, they are claiming 5% of Dame M's estate.

We all thought trouble would come from Dame M's nieces but not so. They called to apologize to Dame M's boarder for their mother's contesting of the will, his 25%. And then they gave him notice to get out within thirty days. The boarder is too much of a softie. He has bent over backwards to please Dame M's nieces, far beyond the call. Now Dame M's sister, who she hated, is contesting his share. She doesn't need the money. It is clearly to leave to her daughters, the nieces.

What is troubling is that Dame M loved her boarder very much. She cared about him and worried about him. They got on famously and had known each other for thirty years and lived together for fifteen years. He hated smoking and drinking and gambling, all the things Dame M loved. Yet, they cared about each and lived in each others pockets for fifteen years. It might have been a 30 year age gap, but they should have married and it would be so much simpler now.

PS I just learned today that Dame M had asked her boarder a few years ago if they should get married to save complications.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Destination

We feel guilty for not going to visit our old friend in Derrinallum. I used to work with him and we kept in touch after he retired and moved to country where he could afford a cheap house. A cheap house was what he bought. As he has aged, so have his surroundings. Wallpaper is falling off the walls, the corner of the house has dropped away, greasy cobwebs decorate the stained walls, his expensive old furniture has deteriorated, his much loved designer fabric from the eighties that covers his lounge furniture is covered in animal hair and is faded. Yet with his glass of cask wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other, he seems ever so content.

Although born in Australia, he lived most of his life in London where he worked and Amsterdam. When I first met him, he lived in a rented flat in South Yarra and then later moved on to similar in Armadale.

He moved to this country town and for a time had a motor car and a small business. The grand plans in his mind failed to succeed and age and the drink started to take its toll. We occasionally sent him some money when he was in severe financial distress but eventually he managed to pretty well match his expenditure to his income. He became an accepted member of the community and did get involved with the local fire station and some other community groups.

I strongly advise you not to move to a country town when you get old. You will not get the services that you get in the city and doctors and specialists are quite thin on the ground and usually involve some sort of travel that someone else must organise. It was fairly slow, but gradually the local shire services found him and are supporting him, as do his friends and strangers in the town. He can get the weekly shopping bus to Camperdown, and his electric chair can go too. Specialist care in Ballarat, it is a day trip, but his electric chair with its fold down handle can go in the luggage compartment of the coach. He has had a few trips of a long distance in an ambulance.

He took on one of our dogs some time before we moved here and when she died, he took on a deserted dachshound who has just recently died, but then he took on another of the same, who he still has. He still has his cat who was with him in Armadale.

The local vet visits once a week to set up his practice for the town in what was a bakery at the rear of our friend's house.

Everyone feels sad and bad for him, except himself. When his doctor told him that he was thinking he had asthma, our friend quickly corrected the doctor and said, 'don't talk nonsense, it is emphasyma'. He is realistic, accepting and yet not yet out for the count.

We used to go and stay overnight, but the last time we went, perhaps three years ago, we vowed not to again. It was just so boring and so uncomfortable and to be frank, a bit distressing. Although it is hard work driving for so long, this time we decided to make it a day trip and invite ourselves for lunch.

A couple of other people he knows thought the same and there ended up being four guests for lunch.

We know our friend's habits well and did not expect lunch to be over in an hour. We arrived at 11.30 and by 2 we had the first course, small fish pasties. (I need to add here that R will not eat meat on easter Friday, not for religious reasons, but traditional. Our friend knows this.) He had made them himself, but they were delayed by him turning on the wrong hotplate on the stove to heat the freshly made avocada and pesto sauce to go with them. Don't laugh. The sauce worked.

An hour later came the kedgeree, rice and salad. Then lastly, a home made pavlova, home made including the case. Light as air, unlike the supermarket ones you can buy, and covered in delicious strawberries. I am not sure where he gets it, but the meal was rounded off by Quist's coffee, made in a plunger. He might be old, he might be an alcoholic, he might be frail, but he can still cook very well. He had a glass of wine in his hand when we arrived and he shared his cask with his guests, all of whom were being cautious with their consumpution, but not our friend. His glass was topped up regularly and he continued to function well. Very interesting to observe. I would have passed out.

The fellow guests. Well, I will say we were nervous about meeting them. We knew they were arty types and we are not. Chasm already. Our friend has mentioned them many times. Have I mentioned our friend is gay? Well he is, and one of the guests was his boyfriend of some forty years ago, the other person being a female friend of our friend's old boyfriend. We knew they were friends, but did not really know about their relationship.

The friends have three cars between them. A Rover 75(?), a Truimph Stag and a Golf Polo. Our friend suggested they bring the Rover to impress us and they did, on both counts. If by chance Mutant that you are still reading, the burble from a V8 3.5l Rover surely is the sweetest sound in the world. As you can see from the pictures the car is immaculate and the pong of leather emanates from the open window.

We still don't know what the two friend's relationship is. They have separate houses, one near Ballarat and the other in East Malvern, but they seem to live together. They had two dogs with them, which they seem to own jointly. One was very very old, deaf, staggering sideways, falling down occasionally but still very excited by food. This excitement for food tends to be the present measure of judging when the time has come for a final trip to the vet.

So it was a lovely lunch with good conversation. Women who can talk about cars and rallying (she explained what D1 and D2 were on the car transmission. Her friend wasn't sure), stencilling, art exhibitions, hot guys, movies and Tuscany where she has free access to a villa must be interesting. I perhaps make her sound pretentious, but she isn't.

Praise to the person who got the Geelong ring road off the ground. It knocked forty minutes of travel off our trip.

It used to be a beautiful garden but a little of it still remains.
Another shot into the direct sunlight through a weeping willow.
The motor. Gorgeous. You should here the wonderful sound it makes, but it is a bitch to start.
The main street of Derrinallum. Our friend there suspects the elms won't last another dry year.
Lord Sedgwick says that he is confirmed public transport user, yet he seems to have knowledge of motor cars. Ah, I didn't realise our friend had the St Kilda Road book by Judith Buckrich until I was posting this photo here.