Friday, December 15, 2017

Flinders Street Station

It hasn't been finished yet, but what do you think of the paint job at our major Flinders Street Station? The old and the new, not finished yet. I think it is a better colour. I think I remember seeing it repainted in the 1980s and washed down for the Commonwealth Games in 2006.

Not so much progress at the Elizabeth Street end of the station. The clock mechanism is undergoing a renovation too.

"Meet you under the clocks", was a very Melbourne saying. Not so much said now in times when everyone has a phone. It is rather odd, but behind the letters that say Flinders Street Station are horizontal green neon tubes. At night it looks rather retro. Above the clocks that indicate the departure time of the next train on all the various lines are panels of stained glass. The clocks used to be manually adjusted by a man, always a man, with a long stick. Now they are connected to the electric train departure system. Public protests ensured they remained and were not replaced as was planned by digital displays.

Grace once asked me to take photos of the interior of the station. Most of it is of little merit. But the smallish ticket hall is quite nice. Internally it is not a patch on most of Australia's capital city railway stations.

The stained glass from the inside.

What is happening here? Is platform 11 going to be reinstated?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

I'll pay with a card, thanks

In his youth R worked in retail in the north of England. At times a customer would present a Scottish pound to pay for goods, which staff saw as being a nuisance but they reluctantly accepted the money. However, it was not 1 Scottish Pound for 1 English Pound.   I never really learnt how to write pounds in the correct way, so I can only express it like this; the Scottish pound was only worth 19 shillings and 6 pence. The customers trying to use Scottish pounds would get very cross about being shortchanged. I believe now both are of equal sterling value, but still many shops in England are reluctant to take them as they see so few, they don't know what they are supposed to look like and could be forgeries.

Man, this is crazy. Just to make it more confusing, three different Scottish banks issue different notes of the same denomination and are now all polymer. (Please do not use these pictures to forge Scottish bank notes, as I may have one, two or all three Scottish banks after me, if not the Bank of England)

Clydesdale Bank.

Royal Bank of Scotland.

Bank of Scotland.

Fans of Harry Potter will recognise this picture on this Bank of Scotland £10 note.

There was some recent bother on the budget airline easyJet (sic) when a man tried to pay for food and drinks with Scottish pound notes and the flight attendant refused to accept the notes. The aggrieved customer wrote to easyJet with his complaint and was told the attendant was correct in refusing to take the Scottish pounds. I like this man's persistence and it paid off and he eventually was told that Scottish notes were acceptable by easyJet and he received an apology (and hopefully some payola).

What else did I come across while researching this riveting topic? England has a new pound coin. Here is the new and the old. I like the new one. We have a few old pound coins which now can only be exchanged at banks and can't be spent in shops.

Bit different to here how quickly England declares that the old coin could no longer be used as payment, only exchanged at a bank. I think here the two are left in circulation for many years, pretty well until they naturally fall out of use as they wear out. A new $5 note was released in 2016 and there are still plenty of the old $5 notes around. A few months ago a new $10 was released and a few have passed through my wallet and money always passes fleetingly through my wallet.

Household Management has decided he is not going to use cash anymore and and only carry a little for emergencies. What convinced him was seeing someone pay with a card a for some roll your own cigarette filters priced at $1.60.

I mix and match it between cash and cards. I tend to use cash for things less than $20 and a card for things more than $20, but if there is a credit card fee, I will always try to pay by cash. It is getting to the stage where it costs the retailer more to deal with cash than a card and the credit card charge is usury .

I will show you our new and old notes soon when some stick in my wallet for long enough.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Mincing Milo Madness

More outrageous than the gross but rather attractive Milo, is that the organiser of his tour is to be charged $50,000 for all the extra police deployed to separate Milo supporters and those who protested against Milo's performance, and that is what it was, a performance. It pleases me that no one in Australia with any brains takes the vile and foul mouthed extreme right winger Milo, a master at publicity,  too seriously.

Look at the man love between Milo and Alan Jones. If the camera shot was bigger, you would see a wet patch on the execrable Jones' trousers as he dribbled with excitement. Yuk!

Milo's promoter is taking the $50,000 bill seriously, having effectively said he will not pay and see you in court. And so should the promoter say. I am pleased that I am not the only one troubled by this as former blogger Jackie of Working Through It, tweeted her similar concerns. It is the job of the police to keep peace and order, not something to be paid for. Tossers like Milo have a right to have a say. People have a right to listen to him. If there are protests, it is for the police to keep the public peace, without a charge.

This brings me to a bigger subject. I want to send an email to Victoria Police about motorists on Saturday mornings disobeying the no turns signs at the corner of Chapel Street and  Commercial Road. I remember days when this was policed. Not now, not for years.

Should I send such an email, VicPol will reply with something like this. We deploy resources on a needs basis, focused on community safety and the prevention of crime.

I remember the old days when motorists were booked for not stopping at a stop sign. Who now stops at a stop sign unless they have to because a vehicle is coming? My father was once booked for having his elbow outside the car, resting on the open car window ledge.

So I would argue that as VicPol is not policing the more minor driving matters, they are turning us into a minor lawless society. If your basic law abiding and good citizens are ignoring basic road rules, a culture of non obeying of laws is being created. Young people pick up on this so easily and so the non obeying increases and becomes culturally ingrained. I am not arguing for over zealous policing, just that the police create an awareness that it is important to observe some basic laws. Often just being pulled over and given a warning is sufficient.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Crap driving

I noticed when we went to the wedding way out in the west country of Victoria, how much better the standard of driving is than around Melbourne. Melbourne drivers are appalling. Arrogant, ignorant, stupid, hesitant..........just thoroughly incompetent.

Sunday before last, we went to Geelong to see Little Jo perform in her theatre group and again, once away from Melbourne, the standard of driving improved.

We stopped off at the take away Scottish restaurant, and noted how high the water in the drain creek had risen during our recent rains. We always used to stop there when journeying west to see our old friend at the foot of Mount Elephant and later to see Sister in Highton, a Geelong suburb, for a break and food for us, and a break for our dogs. Naughty Toby once plunged into the creek, which later made the car rather messy.

I think you can see how high the water was is creek/drain in my camera photo.

We just had to time to check that the Geelong Christmas tree was up and ready to perform.

Little Jo has been rehearsing, for singing carols at the lighting of the local Christmas tree, that can be seen many kilometres out into Bass Strait. The tree lighting was rained out and the performances were held in the local school. She has been rehearsing for this performance of Snow White this day, and rehearsing for her role as a boy in a amateur theatre production of Peter Pan. Frankly dear reader, June past, she was pretty ordinary on stage. This December she has learnt how to project her voice, move on stage and so much more. We were very pleased with her in the show, and it was mercifully short.

Afterwards we had dinner with Little Jo's Mothers and her bio father and his wife and grown up daughter at ok pizza place. It was all very nice, but just all so very exhausting, hence me being unwell the next day and not going to work.

Little Jo on the far left, playing Snow White's mirror. She looked good and performed well.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Mother Amusement

From one of those $2 type shops, Mother bought some rolls of Christmas wrapping paper, as you do. Two of the rolls had pictures of Santa on them and a little writing that she assumed said something like Merry Christmas or Season's Greetings. Once home she examined the paper a little more carefully and realised to her horror that the words sprinkled all over one roll was "You fat bastard, Santa". Another roll said, "Santa, you s**t me".

She was putting them in the recycling bin as she had no intention of using them when a neighbour popped over. "Mrs C, why are you throwing out that wrapping paper?" The neighbour was in hysterics when she saw what was on the paper. We all laughed as Mother told us and I rather wish she had the wrong glasses on and used the paper to wrap presents.

Interestingly, she actually said the s**t word. As a young teen she once slapped my face for saying that word, and I've never heard her say it before.

It will happen to you and me

There have been the deaths of a couple of people this week past who I feel are worth noting. One was Rosemary Margan, our commercial tv Channel 9 weather presenter back in the 70s and 80s...... or maybe that was the 60s and 70s. She wrote on a glass or perspex screen in front of her the temperatures around Australia from behind the screen, so writing numbers backwards. Or so I thought. It turns out the magic of television just flipped the image.

I last remember Rosemary advertising products in the ads before movies. She was classy and likeable. (PS Tarn off does actually work as Rosemary described, but who knows what it does to your fine silver?)

If she did not bring down Harold MacMillan's Tory government, the ever so glamorous Christine Keeler came pretty close to doing so in the 1960s. She was, how should I say it, a hostess, and a comforter to foreign diplomats. It seems it did not bring her wealth or long term glamour. She should have been the blackmailer and had a Derek to do her shopping.

Bye bye Rosemary and Christine.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The 1930s

It was quite a while ago when we visited an exhibition at The Ian Potter Gallery at Federation Square. We enjoyed the thirty or so minutes we spent looking at an eclectic collection.

This is classic Sydney photo taken at Kings Cross, from memory by the brilliant Max Dupain, at the corner of Darlinghurst Road and William Street.

R and myself looked at each other and snap. Dame M, our late friend. Glamorous, bored, jaded and always with a drink. The only thing missing is the cigarette.

I don't know why, but I really liked this painting.

Classic old radios, taken in darkness, so not great photos. If you want to see a gorgeous radio, have a look at one of the ones we saw at MOMA in New York.

I love old travel posters.

The trouble with posting photos long after you have taken them is that you forget what they are about. I don't have a clue about this one.

This looks like....maybe.....

Not so long ago I showed you reflections from windows at Federation Square. See here and here. These are the windows looking out.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Please Mr President

The ever so brilliant English tv show Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister had an episode where the biggest threat to a politician's career was to appointed Minister for Northern Ireland. 'Please Prime Minister, not Minister for Northern Ireland. Give me the Ministry for Health or Transport, but not Northern Ireland'.  It was something like that.

I wonder if diplomats in Israel are feeling a bit like being appointed Minister for Northern Ireland. The American embassy in Israel is in the very civilised, open and embracing seaside city of Tel Aviv. For some reason beyond my understanding, Trumpet wants the American embassy to relocate to Jerusalem. It seems like he may have his way. Are American diplomats in Israel pleading, 'Please Mr President, not Jerusalem. Anywhere but there'. From my understanding, I should think so.

So why does Trumpet want the embassy in Jerusalem and not Tel Aviv? As I suspected, he doesn't really give a toss, but here is the reason. I don't vouch for the accuracy of this, but you can bet it is payback for some benefit Trumpet has received. Israel needs to be careful which dog is sleeps with and what sort of fleas it may pick up. If Trumpet has been consistent in anything, it has been his inconsistency. From one media source, which I forgot to note down

Trump has long championed the causes of those on the hard-right of Israeli politics.
Not least because they have supported him. Take Las Vegas casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson - a passionate supporter of radical Jewish settler groups in Jerusalem.

Friday, December 08, 2017

The end of the world

Someone named Tess made a comment on an old post and  provided a link to a short clip from the 1959 movie, On the Beach, starring Ava Gardner and Gregory Peck.

It was set in Australia and most of the filming took place in Melbourne and the very outer suburbs of Frankston and Berwick, and on Phillip Island. I haven't seen the film and I was delighted to watch the short clip Tess referred me to. Gardner and Peck stroll down Swanston Street, and getting in the way of everyone. There is Mother's favourite place to dine in the city, the Classic Restaurant, which I thought was Classic Cafe. She took we children there many times after shopping for afternoon tea before catching a train home.

Ava dashes across Flinders Street to the station, which hasn't changed a huge deal on the outside. Its new paint job is currently being slowly revealed. The ever so modern blue Harris train (filled with asbestos) is in the station but I did not think the sound of the whistle (horn?) was correct and after some hunting online, it was not the sound such a train used to make. Some people may remember the other shops seen in Swanston Street, but given it was 1959, maybe not many. The clip is 2:32.

On the Beach was a nuclear fallout movie, quite challenging for its time. I think the world was dying from nuclear fallout. Ava was quoted as saying Melbourne was a good city to make a film about the end of the world, but that is quite untrue. I remember Neil Jillett as a columnist at The Age and an arts reviewer. Wikipedia tells me he submitted the quote in inverted commas and a sub editor dropped the inverted commas. Of course Sydneysiders do like to perpetuate the lie that it was a direct quote from Ava.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

The cut of the cloth

Twice in England we visited the cheap store Primark, and I noticed something. The clothing seemed to be of a similar price to what we pay in Australia, but it was of higher quality. The fabrics were thicker, the sewing better, the buttons more firmly attached. I was quite impressed by Primark, perhaps equivalent to our Big W or Target. Primark's clothes seemed to mostly come from Bangladesh, whereas most of ours comes from China.

Australia's cheap clothing seems more like what is available in the US, except it is even cheaper in the US. I bought a shirt in Macy's department store in New York. It was a nice shirt but the fabric was so thin and already the buttons were loose. By the time the discounted shirt received a coupon discount as well, not that we had a coupon, and the discount that staff could give, I was almost paid to take the shirt. I rather liked Macys.

Department store clothing retail is difficult in Australia. The UK origin Topshop Australia is in receivership. I think world wide Oroton has ceased trading. Ladies, save your Glomesh purses. They may be worth something one day. UK Spanish owned Zara is surviving, as is the Swedish giant H&M.

And we have a new entrant in Melbourne, one remembered well by R when he was but a lad, Debenhams. We called in for a look see, and we were so impressed with the clothing we saw. It was like nothing we had seen in Melbourne before, and not terribly expensive. I saw a shirt I really wanted (several actually), but we were going to see a movie and I did not want to have to carry the shirt, so I did not buy it, and I am trying to resist going back there again.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The Single Dad

Single father parenting is not something I have given any thought to. Probably all of you know someone who is a single mother, be it by separation, death, illness, choice.....there are many reasons why someone may be a single parent. Single mothers do seem to have a voice in public. Single fathers, not really.

I received an email from a single father, who I assume is in the US but may not be, who has set up a website with information for single fathers. It is not really relevant where Daniel is, as I expect the issues single fathers may face are the same the western world over.

He asked if I could give his website some publicity, and while I am not sure I am the right person for that, after having a look at his website, I am happy to lend some support. His website is here This is his website introduction.

About Me
Hi there! I’m Daniel. I’ve been a single dad to my daughter (9) and son (6) for three years now. I’ll admit I don’t always know what the heck I’m doing, but every day is definitely an adventure and a blessing. And for that, I’m truly grateful. I noticed that there aren’t a lot of resources out there for us single dads so I thought I’d share some of what’s worked for me.

Daniel submitted this piece to me for you to have a read and who knows what Google will pick up and people will find. I can certainly agree with his point about being organised. Children thrive on organisation (and boundaries). I expect Daniel would really appreciate your comments.

Ways to Manage Being a Single Dad

Life as a single father is challenging but rewarding. It’s not easy going it alone. You’re responsible for the cooking, cleaning, discipline and everything else that goes along with being a parent. At times, it can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not accustomed to being a single dad. There are many reasons you may end up facing single fatherhood. Divorce, death, partner abandonment or other personal circumstances may occur unexpectedly. If you’re raising children on your own, read these tips to help you meet any challenges thrown your way.

Take Care of Your Physical and Emotional Health

Being a single dad requires you to take on a huge responsibility. As the main caretaker, you nurse the kids back to health when they’re sick, get them ready for school in the morning, help them with homework, change diapers, give baths and everything in between. This can take a toll on your emotional and physical health. Do your best to eat healthily, fit in some exercise and get regular checkups with your primary care physician. You can’t take care of your children if you don’t take care of yourself. As some experts note, “The way we eat, drink, love, and cope with stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness all play a big role in the state our mental health is in. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing for you, and not the easiest thing.”

Finding a Support Network

Parenting is tough, even if you have a partner to help you with the daily responsibilities. But when you don’t have a partner to assist you, parenting is even tougher. Find a support network of family and friends to provide advice. Family members and close friends can help you perfect your cooking skills or teach you how to do your three-year-old daughter’s hair. Your support network can help you with babysitting too. If you don’t have family members to help out, find a support group of other single dads. You can learn from other fathers who are in the same boat and who can provide practical advice.

Get Organized

As a single parent, it’s important that you get organized. Since you’re the only parent in the home, you should find efficient ways to take care of home chores, the laundry, grocery shopping, getting the kids off to school and a million other things a single parent has to do. Being as organized as possible will help you juggle all of your varied responsibilities in the best way possible.

Work Schedule

Work and life balance is key to raising a successful, happy family. Your kids need to spend time with you, even if it’s just going to the park to play baseball. When you’re the only adult living at home, you need to sit down with your boss and have an honest discussion about your situation. If possible, ask to have more flexible hours or the ability to do some of your work from home. Some businesses are open to their employees telecommuting from home or working flexible hours as long as the work gets done. And when it’s time to ask for vacation time, try to schedule it during the same time as your kids’ school vacations.

Single fatherhood isn’t always planned. And if it happens to you, it can be a scary experience. After all, even two parents living in the same home find parenting to be a challenge. But if you use some of these tips, you’ll find that being a single dad is an exciting, rewarding experience where you watch your children gradually blossom into responsible, successful adults.

Photo via Pixabay

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Tram Works 3 End

Part 1 here

Part 2 here

The lighting was rather good; the trees with four lights with a generator. At times some light generators did not start up at dusk and many of the 'light bulbs' failed.

Tram platforms are appearing.

New LED street lighting was installed.

Tram stop shelters.

This is exciting, the first tram through.

The first tram on the new Toorak route 58 track.

Trams everywhere very early this morning.

I think you will have to click on this photo to see detail, but it pretty much how things ended up. I have delayed posting these many photos until down below is complete, but it is still not. The good is less walking for us to the inbound tram stop, but we have lost out bus stop down below, and lost so much on street parking. I would guess the loss of something like 60 spaces. It makes it hard for any visitors to The Highrise, but then no one really comes here anyway now. Life has changed and moved on.