Saturday, October 08, 2011

Because I can

'R, look, I've a Tube application on my phone. It has the Tube map you can drag around and all sorts of features. Isn't it great?'

'Are we going to London?'

'No.'

I would have thought R would know me better after all these years. I love my Tube app.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale

Hands up who has been to Sydney and not caught the ferry to Manly? There you go, not one of you.

It is a lovely ferry trip from the Quay to Manly. Nothing can beat the sparkling Sydney Harbour. You can see all the posh houses lining the harbour, city buildings, the Opera House, the Bridge, Kirribilli where our Julia sometimes resides and sunbakes nude on the lawn, Admiralty House and a whole lot more. There is normally a gentle breeze in your face and as you near the heads and the ferry does a little gentle rocking as she encounters waves entering the Harbour from the Pacific Ocean. It really is a wonderful trip and Sydney's ferries are to be envied as a method of relaxed transport.

But then there was one time when it was not all smooth sailing, in fact more than one. S'cuse I. I am feeling a little queasy.



Thursday, October 06, 2011

I'm not the only grumpy old poof


Old, grumpy, sarcastic, bitter, bitchy and extremely clever could all be used to describe Gore Vidal. I quite like him and his take no prisoners attitude. Have I read any of his books? No. I have only heard his pontificating on the state of 'things'.

The vicissitudes of life are stamped upon his face. He has lived a life well. Yet what a dish he was at the age of twenty one. In spite of his good looks, I cannot see innocence or naivety in his face. His expression while impassive is also all knowing.


I obliged to Stephen from Post Apocalyptic Bohemian for the photos.

Our Father, which art in heaven

I assume each new sitting our Federal Parliament is still opened with some silly old traditions, including a recitation of the Lords Prayer. Maybe our State Parliament does the same. I vaguely recall the Usher of the Rod still bangs on the door with a staff.

Australia is a christian country. No?

Christianity may well have been the dominant religion in years past but why is it embraced in our Federal Parliament?

In the eighteen hundreds Afghan muslims roamed central Australia with their camels. Muslim Turks mined in Broken Hill. In the eighteen hundreds there were many Chinese who were buddhist or taoist and dug in our gold fields. Our original Australians weren't christian. Maybe earlier still, but at least from the early twentieth century, Jewish people were in Australia.

I am not much of one for multiculturalism as it seems to defined in Australia. I don't like us being separate streams of culture. I would like us all to mix in and get on. You foreign born person, give me a bit of yours, I will give you a bit of mine, and the rest we have in common.

Christianity needs to be removed from our parliaments. After all, doesn't Australia, unlike our so called mother country England, practice the separation of church and state? So what is christianity doing in our political systems? Why do our parliaments pander to holy ghost hokus pokus?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Johnny

American and Australian celebs would probably be horrified at the thought of using public transport, but not so your London celeb. You can find them on the Tube anytime, anywhere. Here is some clever celeb spotting by Annie Mole of the London Underground Tube Diary. What a bonzer little tune from the imaginatively named Fine Young Cannibals.

The Junction

Melbourne has several locations called Junctions, but if you are to the south of the city, there really is only one junction, St Kilda Junction. Re-constructed in the 1960s, it is big and it is ugly. Five tram routes pass through it and eight roads meet. While some thought was given to pedestrians with dedicated tunnels and walkways, generally it is quite an unfriendly pedestrian area. You try getting from one corner to another and it can take forever.

Some beautification efforts had been made with plantings, but much of the plantings were native shrubs which are very inappropriate for such a location. They looked scrubby and poorly maintained. Someone at Vic Roads has finally decided to spruce things up a bit and I rather like what they have done. I snapped this from inside a tram.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Acland Street Shop Tops

Yeah, ho hum. I have posted photos of these decorations that adorn a couple of Acland Street shops before, but it is good to see they are still there. A while ago someone knocked off part of the one over the hairdresser. I am not sure if it was returned or replaced, but all looks good now. I am not sure if I believe that they are the most photographed objects in St Kilda, but I am sure they are snapped by many.


Monday, October 03, 2011

Random Matters Transport

Edinburgh is getting its trams back, well one route. It is a prime example of how not to build a new tram line. It is over engineered. It will be opened four years late and it is hundreds of millions of pounds over budget. They have tried to offload some of the trams they bought which they have found to be surplus to what they need, but there are no takers. It is a disgrace and sadly discouraging to other British cities who are considering a tram or light rail. In other parts of Britain, light rail is successfully expanding.

The Blackpool to Fleetwood tram system has been completely renovated, new tracks, electric wiring, new depot and a fleet of new trams with the famous old Blackpool trams to be kept for tourists and special occasions.

Europe, broke as she is, keeps expanding her rail network with high speed trains flying in all directions. The Eurostar, London to the Continent train, is making a healthy profit and a seat often has to be booked well in advance.

London has just scrapped its bus service at the long and short term airport carparks that service Heathrow's Terminal 5. Now you hop into a driverless pod and are quickly delivered to the terminal.

In Sydney Max Wilton, I remember him, Max the Axe, an influential bureaucrat in the office of ex PM Howard, has suggested that the Liberal state government should just get on and build a light rail system to the south east of Sydney and forget about the multi million dollar studies of viability. I am with him on that. Jesus, how hard is it? It is so obvious. When bus service get crowded to point that no more can fit on a continual line of buses, then you need rail transport.

I just came across these remarkable figures which clearly indicate our state wants more train services yesterday. V Line, that is country services including those that run to Melbourne, has had passenger numbers double in six years. The Bendigo line alone has seen an increase of 129% in just five years.

Meanwhile in our state, nothing much is happening, except for feasibility studies. But this time, we might be on a winner. Teddy needs to have some good electoral advantage at the next election. These studies may come up trumps and get partially delivered during his second term. He might be on a winner for a third term as the projects are completed and new ones are advanced.

Or maybe not.

Can't mention Blackpool trams without again posting my favourite Blackpool tram picture. For you delectation once again:

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Just another Saturday

We really did bite off more than we could chew yesterday. Individually, each experience was great, but combined into one day was just too much, but you can't choose when many things happen.

The normal Saturday food shopping was completed and put away by 11.30.

We then popped into the city to meet Victor and any blogmate of mine must be thoroughly delightful, as of course he was. Originally when I learnt Victor was coming to visit Melbourne, I thought how nice it would be to have coffee with him at Riverland, on the banks of the Yarra. Well, Melbourne really turned on some crook weather and imaginings of sitting in spring sunshine watching river ferries sailing past and of course none of us noticing any attractive men passing by went by the wayside.

I decided Cafe L'incontro might be ok. I am not sure why. I have never liked the place. I had bad service there one day and another time diners left some of the pasta and pigeons descended and cabonara flying in all directions was disgusting. The staff ignored it all. This time, as we sat down, the semi outside area heating was turned off. Hmm, are they hinting? I expect it was because the heating was near the loud speakers, which were under repair. We were blasted with static and other faulty audio noise. Then, now this is a new one on me, the waitress asked if we could pay the bill as she was going off shift. Thinking about it later, it was obviously about her getting her tip. Honey, you did nothing to earn any tip and we don't tip in cafes normally anyway. The food we had was ok, but the coffee very ordinary and neither a bargain. Sorry Victor, will do better next time.

We then took Victor to the naughty shop. He could not resist the wares. While we were only there to buy a house warming gift, someone's better half also self indulged in the naughty shop. We bid Victor adieu and came home to watch some of the footy final.

But if meeting one blogmate wasn't enough, another was also visiting Melbourne and staying a hotel almost across the road from us. I suppose after a second meeting, a blogmate must actually become a friend and so Pants is now considered a friend, although the afore mentioned Victor was probably one before even meeting him.

Over a bottle of wine we and Ms Pants sorted the world and installed old style Labor governments along with looking at the bigger environmental picture, rather that the petty plastic bags. The meeting was all too brief, but we had to go out and Ms Pants had a train to catch.

The Brighton Antique Dealer has sold her shop house and moved into nearby 'over 55' accommodation. It was a house warming drinks and nibbles and then dinner across the road from her new abode. Her new place is very nice. Although hers is one bedroom, it is spacious and her spending a lot on the decoration has paid off. There are many apartments in the complex and the public areas are unbelievable. Socialising in the public areas is strongly encouraged and every facility to do so provided. No matter what you could name as an activity, I am sure it will be there and provided for.

We walked and trammed to South Yarra Station and caught the train to North Brighton. The train was packed with football attendees going home, many the worse for wear.

Along with half a dozen people who were mutual friends, a couple of her new friends joined us for drinks and dinner. One was an older woman who moved in on the same day as BAD. The other fellow resident was Don Quixote, or like I imagine him. He was European, dressed in a black suit and a black hat, broken by a red scarf. He was charming and urbane to all just being short of sleazy. I said to R later, was he an invented character? We trooped across the road to the very nice restaurant and the food was good, and not expensive given we were in Brighton and the place was a very stylish old building with a practical mix of new features.

The night involved spending time with older wealthy people. Let me tell you, it is not a bad thing to be an older person and wealthy. I contrasted them to my own mother, lonely, insular, self obsessed and constantly stressed, and I know which I would rather be.

It was time to go home. While there is a bus passing BAD's abode that could get us home, it takes a long time and the times it was due did not suit us. We caught the train to South Yarra and were about to get off to walk home, then R said, we should stay on and go to Flinders Street and get a tram home. Yep, I agreed. As we sat down, I noticed the passenger information display, City Loop. Damn. The Sandy train never goes around the loop, or never used to. It would have been quicker to get the bus. Actually, we had planned to get a taxi home, but for some reason did not. A friend had offered us a lift, but I don't like accepting lifts when we have chosen to use public transport to get somewhere.

While we found a quietish area, public transport on a grand final night is probably best avoided. It was pretty manic in old Melbourne Town last night.

Once home, we remembered daylight saving was starting in a few hours, and I had to work early in the morning. Cheated of an hour, I managed five hours sleep, then off to work.

Making

Our coffee table normally has a mat and a bowl on it. But when it becomes Little Jo's 'making table' it gets busy, as does the floor. It would seem Little Jo is an artistic type, rather than a practical type. Myself, as a practical type, has learnt it is pointless tidying the making table until she has left the building. I would not want to crush creativity.