Friday, October 20, 2017

GM Holden or Ford Falcon Pt 2

Much happened between our family owning the HR Holden and the next car. My parents officially separated and it was not a good time for the young Andrew. Less so for my younger siblings. Mother refused to clean the HR Holden, 'for that slut to ride around in'. Father was a friend and drinking mate of the owner of the local town tv and radio service and sales place. He at times would visit his mate in his shop. These visits became increasingly frequent as Father became interested in his mate's secretary. She was a couple of years younger than him, and god forbid, had the same name as Mother.

A relationship, nay love, happened. Love like I had never seen between Father and Mother. She went on to become our Step Mother. She was sharp of tongue at times but her bark was much worse than her bite. She was kind and cared for us all at different times when we visited Father. I lived with them for about three years, with her own children of an age similar to myself. I have a special connection with her. Tradie Brother sees her and her new partner often. Even Oldest Niece spent two nights with her in the north of Victoria, with her two younguns, while her husband to be went on to the Bathurst car race. Her daughter is a Face Book friend to me, although we don't interact. Her very smart son died at about the age of 50 from a brain hemorrhage.

Though Father and Step Mother used to squabble constantly, it was good natured and by what I heard at night, their love making was very successful. They were a great couple.

But I did not like my young teenage years disrupted by insecurity. Father used attend to the farm during the day at home, and then go in to his fancy woman at night and sleep with her. We had a lovely Guy Fawkes night at a neighbours and Father at least attended that. Once we were home, I quickly sabotaged both the HR Holden and the EJ Holden to stop him leaving home to spend the night with his woman. It was a token effort, just pulling off the distributor caps. I heard Father try to start one car, then the other. He was no fool and worked it out. Obviously I wasn't too serious about preventing him leaving, or I would have just mass cut wires. A cry for help? A cry for something? I don't know. I don't think I was smart enough to make it an illustration of what I found distressing, but perhaps that is what I did.

Mother and Step Mother will both attend Fire Fighting Nephew's wedding. They speak together now as old acquaintances. I had forgotten this, but Mother was reminding me she was a bit of a firebrand when she was younger. She got stuck into her father in law and his partner because they weren't married but lived together. She said it was one of the few times Father spoke up to her and made her apologise. Mother hadn't finished with them. There were often areas of friction, often because Father's two brothers lived with us. Those with a long memory will remember what went on between Mother and one of the brothers. One morning on the farm, Mother rose to find Nanna Tess passed out on our kitchen floor in an alcoholic stupor. I heard it with my own ears, get the drunken slut out of our home and tell her to take her two useless step sons with her and she can look after them for a change. Mother, had three adults, one a little brain damaged from a work place accident, and four children to cook, wash and clean for, and if that is not a full time job, I don't know what is.

It is funny that Grandpop Charlie, a house builder,  married above his station to a classical musical teacher, who bolted to Sydney with one of her music students,  leaving her four sons with their father. Nanna Dorothy was an artistic person. While my mother's family weren't artistic, they were a church going family with very high moral standards. Mother's parents paid for their daughters wedding, but quelle horreur, there was no alcohol. I doubt any of my father's family hung around for long after the wedding. Actually, as was done back then, they probably went out to the carpark to drink from their own supplies. History inappropriately repeats itself.

When Father met Step Mother, she used to drive a Morris Minor. I loved driving it, although I was underage and I can't remember the circumstances. It was such a fun car. Father had the HR Holden. Step Mother was by then working behind the bar of a hotel for better money than she used to earn as a secretary. My step brother got the old Morry and the HR was traded in on this! It's a Valiant VT Charger, made by Chrysler Australia. It was a three speed on the floor manual with a very heavy clutch. The huge doors were so heavy that they had to be often adjusted every so often to shut properly. Its rear was very light and had a tendency to spin out, but wow, it was much nicer than anything we had previously owned.

Remember the advertising? Hey Charger, with the victory/peace sign made with the fingers.



After the family farm was sold post divorce, Father went back to the building trade that he knew well and built speculation houses, that is built new houses and then sold them. It was profitable. The first car with an automatic gearbox was bought, a CL Chrysler Valiant. I drove the car often and it was very nice. When fishing once, Step Mother bogged the car in sand and the tide came in. It was rescued but had been flooded with seawater. Its interior was taken apart and sprayed with fish oil to prevent rust, but they never felt the same about the car after it was flooded.



The last car Father owned was a second hand VB? Statesman Caprice, going back to General Motors Holden. I drove it a couple of times and it was a lovely and luxurious car. After Father died, Step Mother bought a very basic Ford Falcon station wagon. She has changed her cars a couple of times since.



Maybe I should go to to tell you of my life in cars, and there haven't been many. Who said, oh no?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

One dead falcon chick

The two falcon chicks escaped their wooden box into the metal gutter where the box sits.  I took a screen grab on Tuesday and both chicks were far from the box. I later saw a video where someone had grabbed some footage and both chicks were being fed.


Wednesday morning when I checked, one seemed to be dead to me, but sometimes they just like sleeping. By Wednesday night I was convinced one chick had died and it has. It is odd that I haven't  seen any mention of this, especially on Twitter.

We had a couple of hot days, and in spite of me seeing a parent shading the chicks, perhaps one succumbed to the sudden heat. The other seems fine. I saw it gazing around skywards, looking for a parent returning with food and comfort.

The weather is cooler now, and the surviving chick is back in the wooden box.


Well, that is a bit sad. I doubt anyone will interfere and remove the dead chick. It is as nature happens. Falcons have been nesting in the same spot for many years, although I read somewhere that they didn't for a couple of years after a falcon fed illegally poisoned pigeon meat to the chicks. The surviving chick will get more food and probably thrive.



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

R's volunteer dummy spit

As a paid employee, I have to put with quite a lot of nonsense at work. Management say and do some really stupid things but one thing management does not do is speak to staff badly. If they did so, there would quickly be union involvement if it was serious.

R was a volunteer at his workplace. He would have described his work as 'driving the oldies around'. Medical appointments, social events and meetings, occasionally a bit out of town for an oldie's lunch and a play on the pokies. The people who are driven are supposed to pay a few dollars to the organisation, but some don't. No one is denied. The vehicles are supplied to do the job with some generosity by local car dealers. There is the occasional big green hardware shed sausage sizzle fundraiser. Some funds come from out local council and some from the federal government. It is great service for older people in our local council area.

Did you note that I said R would have described? Someone spoke to him badly at work last week. R is a terribly sensitive soul but the person was out of line. It was one of the few paid staff at the service, a person who did not really want the paid job and perhaps was in a bad mood. R stewed over the matter over the weekend. Monday he lunched with a friend who he used to work with in his last job. She advised him to leave, and truth be told, perhaps R was over his volunteer job there. While he enjoyed the contact with the people who he transported around, there have been a few issues over the three years with management. R had not slept well since that Friday and after the Monday lunch with the friend, he came home and straight away sent off a perfectly pleasant resignation email.

Oddly there was not a reply. I kept suggesting that something had gone amiss with the email, although it had clearly been sent and the eddress was correct. He became very cross that his three years of volunteer work and resignation was not been acknowledged. You may think he should of made a phone call too, but he did not want to have to go through why was leaving and cause upset. I was kind of guessing what had happened and sure enough, Thursday afternoon the phone call came to give him his Friday first pick up. To that he has to add time to get to his workplace, sign on and get a car and drive to the first pickup.

The bloke who called was the same one who offended R and so R did say how hurt and offended he was and then pointed out that he had sent an email with an effective immediate resignation. I counted down with my fingers. Yep, there goes the phone again. It was the manager of the service. The person to whom the email was sent was very busy with Seniors Week and had not checked email. The manager apologised, praised and fawned to R. R said his resignation stood but was very pleased to have received the call. Thirty minutes later, an email arrived from the person who R sent the resignation email to, thanking him for his wonderful service and apologising for not seeing the email.

I can tell you, R knows his stuff when dealing with old people and they adore him. I don't where my knowledge came from, but I suggested to R that that paid staff at volunteer organisations often see themselves as being a bit above the volunteers. I don't know if I am correct about that, but R agrees with me and so does his friend who he lunched with earlier in the week, and she is a volunteer in a different organisation and does good works at her local church.

R is now without a volunteer job. He will live. Maybe in time he will find another volunteer job, but he is not in a hurry.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

My happy day

The Sunday began with the Melbourne Marathon, with me participating viewing in my dressing gown from on high. However, Fire Fighting Nephew ran the half marathon, a last minute decision and without training. Sadly we didn't hear him, but he yelled out at the top of his voice as he passed down below, happy birthday Uncle Andrew.


My cake was a flourless chocolate cake, chosen because Hippy Niece is gluten intolerant, and we had picked it up the day before. It was more like a desert. It weighed a ton and we should have probably taken the car rather than bring it home on the tram.  At about 35cm square, say 14 inches, it was big but there wasn't too much left over.


We celebrated my birthday at the Dick Whittington Hotel and just so I can refer back one day, there was Mother, ABI Brother, Tradie Brother, Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo, Fire Fighting Nephew and his Betrothed, Oldest Niece who became engaged to her partner the day before after being together for ten years,  their two girls, 3 1/2 and 18 months, Hippy Niece and her Islander partner, and their twin 6 month old girls. Our oldest friend was visiting Perth, our Dyke Friend has moved to Launceston, one of the Brother Friends is in Thailand and the other in hospital. But we still had our Oldest Friend's Fijian Indian partner, our Hairdresser Friend and the Brighton Antique Dealer.

I am not good at public speaking but I did write a speech and read it out. I did not read it word for word, and managed to insert a couple of quips, and it helped that was at the end of the occasion and I had drunk three g&ts and was on to my second but final glass of wine. R said I did ok, so that means I did ok. The bill for 17 people plus a few babies was $760. Mother just expects someone else to pay and was none the wiser that we paid for everyone. The kiddies get their inheritance earlier or later. Mother would have thought, they should all pay for themselves and the more deserving me should I have my son's $700.

My birthday gift from our Friend in Japan was a bottle of Samurai whisky from Japan (well duty free at Narita Airport),  and once I read the assembling directions, it all came together. Pretty cool, hey. I wasn't going to open it until my birthday, but alas we I gave into temptation. R is a corrupting influence on me and I did have the week off work. Let me tell you, the evaporation rate for Japanese whisky is extremely high.

R gave me a new Kindle. My old one was buggered, with it losing its wifi, battery going flat in a couple of hours, not restarting after a being shut down for a few minutes. My new one is great, with a touch screen and no buttons other than the on/off.



Monday, October 16, 2017

Falcon Worry

I check a few times each day on the Falcon chicks on our high rise city building. I worry if I can't see both chicks, but they always end up on camera eventually.  At lunch time I saw one looking over the edge of the box in a very adventurous manner, and now they are both outside the nesting box. The father and mother co parent and feed, and there is always one parent there. One was shading them from the sun yesterday.

Baby birds often fall out of nests and die, but lets hope the two Falcon chicks don't. There is a high mortality rate of juvenile Falcon birds when they begin to fly. Power lines are a problem for them as they glide down on their prey at 300 km/h without a lot of experience.

http://www.367collinsfalcons.com.au/


Musical Monday

Indulge me. I am finishing this post on Saturday, 14th of October, the night of my 60th birthday and while I have been doing it for some time in preparation, I do love to wallow in nostalgia and at my age, why should I not. I've had a great and relaxing day, spent with R.

This piece of music was used to great repetitive effect in the tv show Inspector George Gently last week. In my opinion it was the best ever episode of Inspector George Gently and is called Gently with Class. All performances were first class but Geraldine Somerville shone.

Oh, you want to know more about the cast. I said, you want to know more about the cast, ok! This is Geraldine Somerville, character Alethea Blackstone. GS was just brilliant. Photo from Getty Images.


This is George Gently, played by Martin Shaw.


OMG, surely not........Martin Shaw.....wasn't he a US actor who I lusted after? No, I have that all wrong. I was thinking of Ray Doyle and somehow Charlie Sheen, a member of the Hollywood 8os Brat Pack.....oh, that was his character name. Before I become even more confused and before I write inaccurate information, this is Martin Shaw when he was younger, a cast member of the tv show The Professionals.



And I rather fancy John Bacchus, played by the rather hot Lee Ingleby.


All that titillation, sorry. Have a listen to the haunting Silver Dagger.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Salt and the St Kilda Seaside

R had an appointment and I was home. We both caught the route 16 tram to St Kilda from different directions and lunched and then went for a St Kilda stroll, always pleasurable. I ducked into the supermarket in Acland Street for something, totally forgetting that we needed a French stick, bread, for the evening's dinner. R had mentioned it earlier. It was to go with Kai Su Min, Chop Suey, whatever you like to call it. It was from the freezer, taken out by R in the morning to thaw.

There is another supermarket in St Kilda, so after our seaside walk, we caught the tram to the second one and bought a French Stick. Once home, R realised that we had agreed to catch up with friends that night for dinner. I don't know how he forgot. I don't know how I forgot. R has a lot on his mind at the moment.

The Kai Su Min is fine in the fridge for tomorrow night. Not sure about the French Stick. A good French Stick will not have preservative and may not be so good tomorrow.

So do you know Kai Su Min? I don't cook and I don't know how to make it, but I know the essential ingredients are mince meat, cabbage and a packet or two of chicken noodle soup. Mother used to make something similar once, ever so long ago. She called it Chow Mein, the most exotic food we ever ate in my youthful years.

I always know after having the Kai Su Min, probably from the chicken noodle soup, I become incredibly thirsty. It has a very high salt content. I love the taste of salt in food, but I never feel the need to add it to food. I like the taste of proper butter because it has a lot of salt. I like crisps, potato chips with their high level of salt.

I do get very thirsty after having anything salty. I never add salt to a meal, R does not cook with salt, yet if some food comes with salt, I like it. Anyway salt is not good for my blood pressure.

This is a boing post. Let me show  you some photos I took when R and myself met up in St Kilda.

The Vineyard is  a very popular venue, day and night. It has very tight crowd control in the evenings.


Sometimes it pay to look down, rather than up and if you do you will see shapes of sea creatures embedded in the concrete pavers.


I like this. The outer rim reads; Living near the seas stops old wounds hurting. It revives the spirit. It quickens the passions of mind and body yet lends tranquility to the soul.


A glimpse of Luna Park.


The side of The Vineyard.


Acland Street is a more pleasant place to be since traffic was almost stopped by a mall at the far end. Cars have to turn in to a side street before the tram terminus and mall.


I've never seen this  before. Very useful.


A newish mural.


The wonderful Palais Theatre external renovation appears to be be complete.


The Luna Park entrance.


The vertical glass panels are lit from behind at night and it looks wonderful.


The Stokehouse burnt down and eventually the new Stokehouse was built. I like the way it sits on pylons above the ground level. It makes it seem to have a less heavy impact on the site.


The beautiful medium rise old Mandalay Apartments on The Esplanade with some not so beautiful buildings to its side.


I really should have made more of an effort to get rid of cars from the photos.


The beach side of Stokehouse. It was partly open to the sea on this mild day. It appears to white tablecloth dining upstairs and less formal downstairs.


Lots of timber used at the beach. Its angles makes me think the construction might help break up large waves.


People enjoying the sunshine.


The entrance to Republica at the old Sea Baths.



Very cute.


St Kilda Pier, with its famous kiosk at the end of the pier.


As pleasant as The Esplanade is, down below is the traffic sewer of Jacka Boulevard, named after Albert Jacka, the first Australian soldier to receive a Victoria Cross medal during WWI. The tower clock now works after some maintenance work was carried out. Work was delayed until the rat infestation was cleared. The tower is a monument to the designer of reclamation of the beach, Carlo Catani, who was chief engineer for the Department of Public Works. In the distance is the block of apartments called Edgewater Towers, which I wrote about after an Open House visit a couple of years ago.


The Esplanade Hotel, or as it known locally, The Espy. I believe the older part is closed for renovations.


I don't know anything about Marli Place. The external stairs look like they were added later, maybe as fire escapes. I don't like them. It seems Marli Place is only the centre part so far as I can make out from this piece. It was built as a single house, then converted into two flats and now is back as one house.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Lancaster Gate Station

When we were last in London our nearest station was Lancaster Gate on the Central Line. It's a nice area with expensive and well kept houses. Marie describes the area here.

The station was closed for a few months this year while the lifts were replaced. The lifts were massive, holding somewhere around 70 people each, I seem to recall. The station does not have escalators so what about using the stairs? This photo by Stuart Axe demonstrates why the station had to be closed.


Peelin' the spuds

I simply must have one of these. R won't last forever and if I have to cook for myself and peel a potato, I will reduce its size to half. I don't think I have peeled a potato for about three decades. The presenter is rather amusing. Can the machine peel a pineapple, or my grape?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A step backwards in Kiwiland and a rant

New Zealand's capital city, Wellington, has electric trolley buses. This photo is from Wikipedia. By User:Vardion - Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5509015 I think I've messed that up.



The quite new trolley buses with overhead electric wires renewed a couple of years ago and being replaced by buses this October 31st. While other cities are racing to put in electrically powered public transport cities, it seems Wellington is taking a reverse step.

Some very passionate public transport folk are not happy, and gee, I wish I could rant like this. For context, Wellington has a conservative/tory/republican city council. Stasi was the secret service police in East Germany.

Funny word isn’t it - “conservative”. It implies a desire to give some stewardship over or protection for things that are worthy of it. Instead it’s a cover for massive pillage and environmental degradation, corporate kleptocracy transferring wealth to the top of the pyramid, obsequious toadyism to imperial power, and using hate, fear, lies, xenophobia, bigotry, chauvinistic jingoism and superstitious ignorance to divide and confound those with common interests against sociopathic power junkies, oligarchs and plutocrats.
That and the enormous surveillance police state they have contrived to keep an eye on the troublemakers who refuse to OBEY.
As I have said, how those old Stasi agents must be laughing into their schnapps.

Tarneit and Toorak by public transport

It's been ages since I have been on a train. Last week I had a day to myself and R was elsewhere. What should I do? I will visit the newish Tarneit Railway Station. Its service is provided by VLine, our country and regional service operator. So, it will be a nice VLocity train. Diesel electric, I think. I also think that means the motors power electric generators to move the train. They are really comfortable trains, made here in Victoria. As a rare user, the only criticism could be that there is some decent motor noise intrusion. But I quite like hearing the roar of the motors.

Tarneit is a newish and fastly growing suburb to the west of Melbourne city. The station has won awards and I must say, it is a good station, but situated far from shops on the barren windswept western plains. When I say it is a good station, it is very functional, but attractive? Not in my opinion. As well, it is surrounded by formal carparks and informal carparks. There were hundreds of parked cars, along with what looked to be a well set up bus interchange.

A wide leg spreader sat next to me on the return journey, with his leg touching mine. He was a rather attractive young Sikh gentleman, so I just left my leg touching his for at least half the 20 minute journey before my back told me to move position.

I had not finished with public transport nerdiness yet. From town I caught the 605 bus. It used to travel from the city along the river and then south to Gardenvale. When the route 8 tram was rerouted and became route 58, the route of the 605 was altered to give a direct service to the Botanic Gardens and for posh private boys' and girls' schools. The 605 runs through our most expensive suburb, Toorak, and it was interesting to see that some businessmen and ladies who lunch use the service. I left the bus in Toorak Village and caught the tram home.

Branson's Virgin has gyms? I must visit a gym one day, just for a look.


The former administration building of Victorian Railways, now a hotel and smart apartments.


North Melbourne Station, a very busy interchange. Err, yes, well, no one to be seen on the platforms. That means it is efficient and people don't wait very long.


The train stopped on the North Melbourne flyover, where it goes over the top of suburban train lines. The two rusty inner rails are something to do with preventing a tragedy on a bridge if the train derails. One day I will look up how that works. At the bottom of the photo are two rails, side by side. That is because with infinite wisdom, different states of Australia before we became a whole nation used different railway gauges. New South Wales went for standard gauge, Victoria broad gauge and South Australia, a mix of both. It wasn't until the 1960s that you did not have to change trains or the trains change undercarriages if you travelled from Melbourne to Sydney. It has been sorted out in a piecemeal fashion over the years, but Sydney's suburban system still uses standard gauge and Adelaide and Melbourne, broad gauge.


Flat, windy and inhospitable at Tarneit Station.






Melbourne's big wheel from the train on the way home. It gives great views of railway shunting yards and some port container handling facilties but not much else.


From the 605 bus; trams used to run along Domain Road, but no more and it is unlikely they ever will again. A rather odd temporary traffic island has been installed, to what purpose, I have no idea. If the traffic was any calmer there, it would be stationary.