Saturday, November 20, 2010

9d Fare to Watsons Bay

Gosh. I haven't posted anything about Sydney's trams for ages. Yesterday somebody! distracted me with YouTube vids of the old and long gone Victorian Railway trams in Melbourne's southern suburbs. Maybe I will write about them in the future. Well, I probably have before.

One of the highlights of our trip to Sydney last year was travelling to Watson's Bay by bus. We sure know how to live. While the bus did not follow the old tram route all the time, it did at times and it was a great bus trip. How much better would it have been on the Watson's Bay tram.

The earlier city tram terminus for the Watson's Bay tram was Erskine Street and the wharves on the western side of the city, quite close to where the Sydney Aquarium now is and the Pyrmont Bridge that the Monorail travels over, the tram travelled eastward along King Street. Motorists, police, organisations, shopkeepers and big business had long lobbied to get rid of the tram from King Street and eventually they were successful and the line was truncated to Queens Square on the eastern boundary of the city. This made the tram much less useful and naturally patronage dropped. One can't help suspect it was 'part of the plan'.

In 1949 the Watsons Bay line was cut back to Rose Bay but those affected lobbied furiously and had the tram reinstated. Authorities learnt their lesson and subsequently when tram lines were closed, the last tram was followed by a crew behind removing the overhead power wires. Sometimes the tracks were quickly concreted over. I recall reading of one case where the power was shut off prematurely for the removal of the overhead wires while a last tram was still in service and it had to be ignominiously towed for the remainder of its last journey on that line. I expect a 'much more efficient' Sydney double decker was already running over the route.

Here is a map showing the Watsons Bay tram route.


View Watsons Bay line in a larger map

But better still, if you have a highish boredom threshold, here is a YouTube vid of bits of the trip. Of course I watched the whole nine minutes of it, but I don't expect most of you will. Here are some salient bits from the trip to Watsons Bay.

It begins with some footage of trams at the Rushcutters Bay Depot.

At 2.00 minutes, a nice view of Rose Bay where the Catalina flying boats used to skid across the water.
2.14 Climbing the hill on the curvy road from Rose Bay.
2.26 A view of the Harbour Bridge in the background.
2.35 The Rose bay flying boat hanger.
3.02 The tram travelling along the cliff top.
3.30 The tram rounding curves to soften the steep decent to Watsons Bay.
5.25 On the return journey to the city a dog bravely crosses in front of the tram as the tram travels through a cutting.
6.28 A quite deep cutting.
6.34 With a nice backdrop of the harbour the tram climbs a very steep hill. If it was a steam train, it would be muttering, I think I can, I think I can.
7.00 Gawd, do hills in Sydney ever finish? Do views ever finish?
7.30 Approaching the South Head Signal Station.
8.18 A leftie into Darlinghurst Road and a right into William Street.
8.34 The good old days when there wasn't as much traffic and every motorist and pedestrian were well behaved and considerate of other road users. It seems rather that the tram would not stop for any obstacle.
9.24 I don't believe what I think is a P class Sydney tram operated on the Watsons Bay line when this was filmed and I don't think the Watsons Bay tram ever went to Circular Quay, but no matter, here is a coupled pair of perhaps P class trams descending the steep Young Street and down to the Quay.



July 1960 saw the last tram to Watsons Bay. What a bugger.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Funny Friday

I am sure you don't want a Fraught Friday post. This is not really that funny, but slightly amusing. Back when I first started using the net, you could almost imagine that this could happen. Now it is unimaginable.

I came across a webpage that said 'The End'. You have reached the end of the internet. You have seen everything. There are no more websites to look at and you have had chatted with everyone who has an internet connection. There are no more files to download and no more music to listen to. The End. Finis. Now go away and do something important.

As I said, unimaginable. What a monster has been created. Now it is rapidly approaching six o'clock on Friday and I shall take this advice. Pleased to see the button defaults to Yes.

Chocolate

I don't really have a sweet tooth. As I have aged, my desire for things like chocolate has waned. Two weeks ago I was passing the confectionery aisle in the supermarket and I for some reason I decided a wanted a bag of lollies. Seems I am not the only one fond of liquorice bullets. The bullets were ok, not high quality though. I had a few, maybe six and kind of forgot about them. A week later I remembered them. R must have put them in the fridge. I checked, nope.

'Do you you know what happened to my bullets Mr R?'
'They got eaten.'
My mind worked quickly. No one else could have eaten them. I pulled a face at R.
'I only had a few', I said in my most guilt laying plaintive wail.

Right, I am going to treat myself. Forget the bullets. I want chocolate covered aniseed rings from a proper chocolate shop. Darrell Lea will do nicely. I walked up Swanston Street, but the Darrell Lea shop has closed? I just saw one in the city the other day, but I couldn't remember where.

But then I came to Haighs. I know they make very nice sweets. Yay, chocolate covered aniseed rings. Not so yay was the price, $8 for 200g. I paid anyway. I et a few on the way home, gave R a couple and put them in my bedroom away from passing light fingers. I stretched them out to two days. Gosh they were expensive, but very very nice.

When I was at Fountain Gate with Mother earlier this week, she pointed out the Darrell Lea shop there and told me about a joke my late step father played on one of the friends they used to meet on Friday nights. As they were having dinner, Step Father casually mentioned to the female friend that the Darrell Lea shop was closing. This friend has a very sweet tooth and buys a lot of confectionery at Darrell Lea. She went into panic and rushed from their table into DL next door to check if it was true. It wasn't and she came out of the shop with murderous intent towards my step father.

Now had Mother not told me about this, I would not have noticed the DL shop, but while she went to the toilet, I popped in and bought some more chocolate covered aniseed rings at about half the price of Haigh ones. Ok, they were not quite as nice as the Haigh ones, but pretty good value I reckon.

I probably won't bother with chocolate now for a few months.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Revisting the Moreland Art Installation

Remember the plastic bag art installation near Moreland Station? Although it was only there for a brief time, it was captured by Nearmap.

http://www.nearmap.com/?ll=-37.75535,144.962055&z=21&t=k&nmd=20101020

A Collingwood Stroll

I only know one part of Collingwood well. Actually one street and anyone in the know would guess it is Peel Street.

I decided to educate myself a little with a walk along Johnston Street from Brunswick Street to Hoddle Street. I am not sure how far it is, maybe two to three kilometres. I knew there were buses to catch back. Flat and downhill is one thing. Uphill is another for my non Sydney trained legs.

I didn't take too many snaps. Ah, there is the famous or infamous Tote Hotel. It is not pretty so I did not take a snap. The further I went the more industrial it became. I can't say Johnston Street is pretty, but it is interesting.

But how gorgeous is the Bendigo Hotel!


A rooftop zombie with his pet water bird?



This, presumable a house, is unusual for Melbourne with its bluestone ground level and brick second storey.

Oh no, not the 'Gate'

I blame Daniel. It is some synchronicity or telepathy or something. I suggested to Mother that we go and buy her underwear and stockings at Myer Frankston and visit Savers and call in on Sis in Law, as Mother has requested in the past.

No, she said. I am sure its because Daniel hates me but Mother wanted to go to Fountain Gate........via the Pakenham bank.........via Heritage Springs.....lordy, don't ask, chemist warehouse or something.

Mother has a disabled pass thingie to put in the car, but there were all these buggery disabled people parked in the disabled places, leaving me to drop her off and go and find a normal car space. Between a car that just beat us to a disabled place and me parking the car in the distance, those who stole our disabled place got out of their car, all three of them on zimmer frames and ever so slowly made their way into the shopping centre. They got separated as two of them needed the lav as soon as they arrived and the other one was so slow.

Meanwhile Mother did not go into the nearest entrance but went around the corner to the entrance she knew and sat on a seat. I just waited for her at the entrance near where I dropped her off and eventually she realised that where she was, was not where I would enter. She dragged me around to the entrance she wanted to use, and I pointed out how much more we had unnecessarily walked. Oh yes, she said.

I am not sure why Mother wanted me to park there. Every shop she wanted to go to was at the other end of the shopping centre. We could have parked there. Back in Pakenham she had protested about a walk between the bank and supermarket, a one minute walk. No Mother, I am not driving 20 metres to find another car parking space.

We had lunch where Mother, the late Step Farther and their married couple friends used to meet for a Friday night meal. Mother pointed out where they used to sit and many details.

Mother managed to find a very cheap gift for ABI Brother's birthday, Sister for christmas, and a a nice dress for Little Jo, all at $2 type shops. Well, Little Jo's dress cost $25.

It must have been a mile back to the car, but Mother, who has been going to the shopping centre since it opened, managed to get us lost. Mother walks at the speed as you would when trying to shuffle through a thick crowd of people.

Mother hadn't finished yet. She wanted to go to Sam's Warehouse. We drove around, around and around and eventually found it. The very cheap catfood that she feeds the strays was not on special as she thought. Instead she bought potting mix. That was ok, because I bought two pair of reading glasses for $12.

The freeway between Fountain Gate and Pakenham is very very boring. I chose to drive back to Mother's place on the old highway. It was much more interesting.

Going to Mother's, there was a problem in the Citylink tunnel for no reason for what I could see except too many trucks. As the car climbed the hill to the Burnley exit at about 20 kmh, the air was so thick with truck fumes, it was nearly causing visibility problems. What? I am paying for this shite? I did have a dream run home though via Citylink. I don't mind paying then. It is rare that R is late home from work, but he had a meeting and came home via the Melba (Ringwood) tunnel and Eastern freeway. Haha, I had the Etag in my car. Not so haha, we both needed the Etag thing. That is going to cost extra.

As I was telling Mother how much I disliked Fountain Gate, she was telling me how much she liked it.

Flashing at the Opera House

Flash Mob again, this time on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. Just fantastic. It makes me want to go out clubbing and dancing. Well done Joyce Maynge and all.
Other Flash Mob vids, The Rocks, Queen Victoria Building and my absolute favourite, Bondi Beach, nothing to do with the bare flesh of course.

Kyles and Danni both tweeted their approval.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Containing the stuffs

Our containers for food stuffs like rice, pasta, icing sugar etc were looking old and shabby. I told R they would be ok if he washed them and stuck new printed labels on them. He wasn't convinced. They are the round ones in the photo. They seal well. We bought a new set for $25 but no matter how hard R tried, they would not fit properly into the available space., so we just bought some more that would, another $25. While the new wrong ones aren't going to waste, I wish I had the fortitude to convince R on the merits of washing the original ones and printing new labels.

South Wharf

It was our second visit to the DFO at South Wharf. I have decided it one of the least inviting areas of Melbourne. How can a river bank setting be ruined? Easily enough if you isolate your shopping centre from the river with odd entrances and long walks along empty and windswept walkways. Out on the southern side of the shopping complex is car parking.....lots of car parking and spaghetti bowl of roads that I have no idea about.

Although we arrived the same way as last time, that is tram along Flinders Street and cross the river by the pedestrian bridge that now has a name, Seafarers Bridge, we went a different way going home, which was better. We just walked along the river bank and caught the tram in Spencer Street into the city. The die has been cast at South Wharf, irredeemably in my opinion.

There were perhaps enough customers in the ground level part of the SW shopping centre, but the upper levels, mostly furniture was empty. At times we and idle staff were the only people to be seen.

Even my Oh My God when I saw this bed was in hushed tones. It is not for the Highrise.


A neighbour in our building looked at buying an apartment in this building, Flinders Wharf Apartments. I quite like it. It would be interesting to look out onto the river.


Just a bit east on the north bank is what is hoped to become a 'dining destination'. I don't expect it will be hosting McDonalds or Hungry Jacks. I think it is called Flinders Wharf. A lot has been spent on the river bank but I did not take the time to have a look on this visit.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On the horizon

After peering at our view over Melbourne's eastern suburbs for eight years plus, I still notice new things. Today it was a tower with satellite looking dishes on top of them and a large flat mound on the horizon before we can see the Dandenong Ranges. Some of you will have guessed already, as I did without checking. I will check now.

Could it be that kind of reservoiry thingie off Canterbury Road just before Elgar Road? There is a water tower too. I am not sure, because the tower thing with the dish like objects that I can see is on the south of the whatever and the water tower is on the north, and if the large flat elevated object is water storage, it seems to be empty.

Perhaps I am looking at Watsonia army stuff...nah, too far north for my view.

http://www.nearmap.com/?ll=-37.82837,145.110458&z=18&t=h&nmd=20101020

Which bus to Cockfosters?

For reasons only known to himself, Lord Mayor of London Boris Johnston decided to get rid of 'bendy buses'. I can't find any decent reason to get rid of them. I noticed how skilfully London bus drivers manoeuvred bendy buses along narrow streets and around tight corners.

Your traditional London double decker may well have been fun to ride on, but it was not a very practical vehicle for this century. But again, what was really wrong with the bendy buses? All I can find is that there may have been higher fare evasion on them.

So, what is to replace the bendy buses?

A new version of the old double decker Routemaster.

This is the old Routemaster.


This is the now being phased out bendy bus.


And here are some mock ups of London's newest bus. I think I'll catch the Tube.



Monday, November 15, 2010

Growing Remotes

Remember a couple of weeks ago when we replaced the glass hall table with a cupboard and blocked off easy access to the power point? The power point was where we switched four lamps off and on. We did not know how we were going to address the difficult access to the power point. Eventually we decided on a power board that would sit just in under the cupboard and it would have individual switches.

But look what we found for only twenty dollars more than the normal power board, one with a remote control. Each button switches on or off a outlet and there is a master button to switch them all off. Little Jo really enjoys the new toy. Well, maybe I do too.

I would like one for the other three lamps, but one is entirely separate, so that is not going to work.

A Modest Chimbley

In the quiet back streets of South Yarra, a tiny house has been demolished and I guess a tiny but two storey house will be built there. The blackened chimney remains really appealed to me. No, that is not Doctor Who's Tardis; more likely something Kenny is responsible for. Its on a nasty lean. Could be messy.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just another Sunday

I woke extremely hungover this morning as I drank too much last night. While it is no indicator of how much I drink, I can't recall the last time I felt badly hungover. I was stressed last night.

We looked after Little Jo while Sister and Bone Doctor went to a ball at Melbourne's Aquarium. Yes, sounds odd to me. The writing was on the wall when Little Jo stated she was going to stay up all night. R actually looks after her, I am on periphery, the servant in waiting if you like. If the worst happened last night, R would have to drive Little Jo to hospital as I ended up in no state to drive.

Little Jo rekindled some memories for me last night. She used every delaying tactic to not go to bed she could think of. I did exactly the same when I was a kid. There was a difference though. I used to exercise these delay skills at 8.30. She was still using them at midnight.

Eventually I snapped. LITTLE JO, YOU ARE BEING VERY NAUGHTY TONIGHT, NOW GET TO BED.

She rushed to R with tears.

Sister and Bone Doctor arrived home just after midnight. Without a word, Sister scooped up the still awake Little Jo and went straight to bed. We chatted to Bone Doctor for a bit, then we all retired.

Sister had a swimming class to teach at 9.30, so by 7.30 they were up. They did a scoop and run with Little Jo who was still sound asleep at 8.00. Hungover or not, I was up and bade them farewell.

We were to meet our dyke friend who has just returned from Singapore and Japan on work related stuff for brunch at Mojito. I should have believed tram tracker and not my last night drunken looking at the timetable. We missed the tram. I said we will get the next tram to the corner of Commercial Road and walk. R said we should wait for the bus. We walked and of course the bus passed by. I hate getting marked with a transport fail, but I failed. We were only ten minutes late and we had taken some good exercise. We had a nice brunch and a chat. We then went into town. T Hub, sorry, the area upstairs where you want to look at mobile phones is closed. We looked at phones at the adjacent phone shops. Then I remembered AR had said something about a new look Myer. Not too bad at all. The lifts looked gorgeous and the lighting wasn't too bad either. We crossed over to the Lonsdale Street part, and we realised just how bad the Myer store had become in comparison to the new part. There is even a counter to sip your coffee and look out onto the street, except it is the opposite side of the street. No sign of the iced coffee machine though.

There are only two floors operating on Myer Lonsdale Street now, ground and 4. They will soon go too. We went on to QV and again looked at the lounge suite we would like to buy if we didn't have huge pending tax bill to pay. The lass remembered us and said she could talk turkey on price and be very agreeable on price and conditions and payment options. Sorry darls, the tax man cometh.

More mobile phones, digital radios, Ipads, Iphones and Windows 7 we looked at. We need none of them, but hey, our lives are empty. We can fill our empty lives with gadgets.

While I caught up with what youse have all written, R had his Nanna Nap