Saturday, October 28, 2017

Failing memory

Sophie Monk is topical in Australia as a participant (I rely on R here for advice), The Bachelorette. I have heard a bit a about her. I remember her from a tv show some years ago. She was a brilliant actor in a tv show. What was the tv show? Internet Movie Data Base is usually a reliable source, but I am not seeing the show I can recall. It was about local council shenanigans in Sydney. It was well before shows like The Office, or our own ABC The Games or Utopia.This is a photo of Sophie Monk.

It is not gelling for me. She seems too young.

After much Googling, finally the the name of the tv showed up, Grass Roots. It was a terrific tv show and what a cast list!

Note number 5 cast list down, Sophie Heathcote, not Sophie Monk. Blame an old man's defective memory. Sadly, and I do have a recollection now, Sophie Heathcote died from a brain aneurysm at the age of 34.

 So, I know nothing about Sophie Monk. Perhaps not a bad thing really. I will remain happy in my ignorance.

Celebrating the day

Aside from the big lunch for my birthday, the actual day of my birthday, Saturday, was quite low key, with shopping in the morning, pottering about in the afternoon and an early meal out. I guess I must have been feeling relaxed as at the end of my week off, I brought a jigsaw up from the recycling charity bin.

It is a 3D jigsaw, you know, the picture changes depending on the angle you are looking from. R made a good start.

I finished off the border, and then it got hard and we became sick of it taking up space, so back in the box it went and back to the recycle bin, along with another we had.

How did I forget that a card from R always includes some glittering things. Dame M began the habit and she just used fine glitter powder.

We had an open mind about dinner, but before hand we visited the House of Mirrors. Every which way were mirrors, it seemed. I can't say it was fun, because we couldn't find our way out and I know R can become claustrophobic. At one point this stupid old bloke right in front of me would not get out of my way. Why do they let in stupid old men like him? Ahh, that is my reflection.

Eventually we found the exit door, but no, it was a reflection. I could see three exit doors. Even once we found the real one, we were another room full of glass panels. R just pushed on a likely glass panel, and to our relief, we were out.

We dined at Riverland, with me having a nice burger, while we watched the lowering sun. I played a bit with camera settings.

It was the Indian Diwali festival at Federation Square above Federation Wharf and the noticeably fair haired old men wandered around for a bit. Some government person in Australia who represents India was making a speech. Apparently back in India, Diwali is not a public celebration, but a home based one, where you might travel from one home to another. It was barely 8pm, but we caught the tram home and that was the end of my birthday day.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Funny Friday

While it is one of my favourite music tracks. I am not sure about this video. I found it worth watching. Maybe I have it wrong and it is not the least bit funny and you don't like it. Clever enough performance though, I suppose.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Old man Opal update

My Senior's Card arrived in the post yesterday. It is too late to do anything by mail or internet to get my Sydney public transport Opal card converted to a Senior's Opal. I phoned the call centre and after ever so much button pushing, a very nice slightly Indian accented  lass was smart enough to get straight to the matter and not waffle on. The only thing I can do is go to Central Station when I am in Sydney and that office will change you card over to a Senior's and transfer you balance of money from your old Opal card. The fare on the airport train as a full fare payer and a concession holder is not so dramatically different as I thought.

I did ask how come my Senior's card will expire in 60 days and my partner's old card does not. That is because your wife is a pensioner and you are only as Senior. I've challenged over the wife assumption in the past, but I just did not have the energy today. When I picked up the car today from the panel shop, I was just a friend of R. It is so tiring to have to out yourself all day, every day.


Station Pier

Only once have we weakened and sat inside our usual cafe at Station Pier because of the cold. We tend not to go there if there is a cold wind blowing, but otherwise we really like going there, seeing a bit of water, seeing ferry and cruise liner passengers, locals wandering and dog walking.

While it had a different name which I have forgotten, we once enjoyed a nice meal here several years ago. It is right next to the entrance to the pier.

The old Port Melbourne Railway Station, now occupied by different businesses. The seldom used train was replaced by a light rail tram in the 1980s, but who would have forecast the growth in the area? Well, the government who approves the development of such areas should have. That is its job. The tram struggles to cope with the number of passengers and when a cruise ship is in port, a bus service assists with a different route, terminating at the Arts Centre.

The Port Melbourne train line was the first railway line in Victoria and built to carry goods from the port to the city. The line was running by 1854.

This is where we usually have coffee. Its existence has been under threat by property developers for some time. There is an attached supermarket and liquor shop.

The tram uses its own platform as the train station platform is too high.

I stepped inside a tram as it arrived and took a photo of this brand new display which will probably rolled out through this model of tram. I think it is a bit more informative and colourful than it appears while the tram is at the terminus.

I gazing around and wondered what this thing is? Something to tie something to? I checked it out. It is simply a bicycle pump. I gave it a couple of pumps and it was lovely and smooth and I think only a couple of pumps would be needed to inflate a tyre. On the far side of the pump on the flat surface is an air pressure gauge.

Some information about a local walk. I know all the places. The sign was placed there by our local council, City of Port Phillip. There is a little controversy in the text. I quote, "The magnificent Victorian Centenary Bridge (designed to overpass the pier railway line) with its art deco detailing was needlessly demolished here in 1991". I was happy to see the bridge demolished. It may have had nice detail but it was ugly and monstrous flyover.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Clearing the deck

I am trying to clear some photos. After this week's Sunday Selections we will be away for a week or so and maybe plenty of photos to post when I return. So, the humdrum of life.

If you look closely, in the top corner is a a small crack, enough to allow hot fat to drip from the barbeque on to the top of the air con unit where the barbeque sits. I solved the problem by lining the tray with a double layer of foil, but the foil eventually fails and it was my job to replace the foil before it failed but I forgot. Once again fat poured out over the barbeque. Let me Google. Ok, a place in Thomastown has stainless steel replacement trays. That's good. Mail order? You have to set up an account at their website. Drive and buy and pay for? WTF is a Thomastown? I think it is somewhere out in one of the crimeland suburbs.

I Googled some more. Ah, The Good Guys have liner foil trays, 10 for $13. That will be fine with us. We went and bought and they work. They will last for several barbeques.

So simple and so cheap.

The car scrapes to be repaired. This one we have to pay excess for, about $650.

The insurance company judged this nearby dent as a separate accident, and so it was. Not sure why the panel beating company indicated it would be covered under the same claim as above. It wasn't and we would have to pay another insurance excess fee, so we are not going to fix it.

Bit hard to see, but the vandalism scratches on the bonnet are the worst thing. It seems we will only pay one excess fee for the mudguard damage and the bonnet scratch will be polished out for $88 cash in hand. Extraordinary. The car was supposed to be ready by Wednesday evening and R got as far as Flinders Street Station on the tram to collect the car, but then received a call to say they weren't happy with the finish and the car would not be ready until Thursday lunchtime. R takes Mother out on Thursday, so he will have to take the 'old bomb'. It will do it good to have a freeway run. It is my day off for the week, so I will collect the car from the panel beaters. R is very stressed by the experience with this panel beating company. That should not be so when you are with the RACV. If a customer experience form is not sent to fill in, then there will be feedback.

Use all doors please

Cities around the world have changed to all door boarding on buses. With the use of smart cards and phones to validate your travel, it is fairly pointless for a driver to be monitoring whether passengers are paying or not. Far better that the driver worries about driving in our increasingly congested cities and the passengers' tickets policed by ticket checkers with arrest powers, both uniformed and undercover. Undoubtedly there is wasted time by the driver, especially when a dispute arises with a passenger over fare payment.

Aside from a brief and disastrous hiatus with Melbourne trams in the 1990s where the  driver sold tickets, generally  Melbourne and Sydney trams have always been all door boarding. Stubbornly, Sydney buses seem to cling to the old ways, board, file past the driver, leave by the rear door.  Do you wonder how much difference all door boarding and alighting makes? This video demonstrates the point dramatically.

BostonBRT All Door Boarding Demonstration from ITDP on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Sydney defined

This is an absolute hoot if you live in Sydney or have good knowledge of Sydney. I must make one for Melbourne.

O dear O bike

The Singaporean based company oBike has brought their product to Australia, the product being hire bicycles without docking stations. They are unlocked with an app on your phone and you are traced by GPS in your phone from when you take one to when you lock up the bike with the app when you have finished with it. I believe the price is quite cheap. The onus is on the rider to leave the bike responsibly, in a safe place, tidily and not blocking footpaths etc.

As you can see from this photo I took from a tram in Toorak Road, the bikes don't always end up responsibly parked, with one up a tree and one on the tram shelter roof. Many have been fished out of the Yarra River, the sea and one even turned up on top of a mountain ski resort, obviously taken up there in a car. At least it would be an easy downhill ride back to Melbourne. One even turned up on Gunn Island in the middle of Albert Park Lake. They have spread out to at least about ten kilometres from the city centre, perhaps further.

There were two parked opposite The Highrise on Saturday, we see a lot around here, lying on the footpath actually. Along came the oBike straightener upper upperer lad and placed them neatly and vertically and took photos and wandered off in search of more untidily placed bikes. By Sunday morning one was already back on the ground pushed over by someone, I suppose.

I very much doubt it is the users of oBikes who do this, more likely lads who think it is funny at the time. It is a pity because it could spoil what is probably a good idea. Local councils are on the warpath about them being untidy on the street, and they certainly can be.

Ormond Road, Elwood. They also seem to be a useful place to hang your brassiere.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Everyone does it

So far as I know, everyone does do it, that is apply for a seniors card when they turn 60 years old. There was a stipulation that you had to work less than 35 hours per week, but everyone I know told a fib. The authorities woke up to this and introduced a new Seniors Card, that gave all the same benefits except for the public transport concession.

That's a good idea, I think. But, while I officially work only just over 35 hours a week, I went for the original and told a fib on the form, that is I work less than 35 hours a week.  I don't need nor want the public transport concession in Victoria, but I really hate the usurious charge in Sydney to catch the airport train, something like $22 one way (I should check the price, but why spoil a rant with accuracy). I will get the concession price if my card comes through in time and I can work out how to change an Adult Opal Card to a Concession Opal card.

It's interesting that the airport is on an existing train line, a rather profitable one I think, yet there is this airport gate charge for arriving by train. Sydney is not the only big city that does this. Toronto's airport train has separate and higher pricing. My own city has a reasonably efficient airport bus service, which also has quite high pricing. It costs a bomb to get from Heathrow to London by train, unless you take the very slow Tube.

Why are airports so different as public transport destinations? Is it that if you are rich enough to fly, you can pay a lot more? In a world of very cheap airfares, I am not sure that is right.

We are going to the airport in a week or so to take off for a short holiday. Normally we would take the old car and leave it exposed to the elements in the long term carpark, but lugging suitcases on and off the bus from the car park........over it. And it all takes so much time.

I said we will get a cab, and R agreed. It is about $70 each way, $35 each. But for more than twelve months the Uber app has sat around on my phone, never touched by me. I filled in the details today and if we use Uber, it might cost us $55 to $60. I am prepared to give Uber a shot. 

A spoilt Saturday

Thanks Mother.

Some time ago she asked if R could pick her from hospital after a gastroscopy and colonoscopy on Saturday 21st of October. ABI Brother would take her in the day the afternoon before but he was cricket umpiring until 6pm on the Saturday and could not collect her. It was supposed to be at Berwick but then Mother said it couldn't be there and had to be in Dandenong. While it six of a dozen to us, she could have had the tests done on Monday morning. She had already pleaded her case successfully that she needed to be in hospital overnight while she drank the stuff that cleans you out. Perhaps it is just as well, as even after all the drinking of the liquid, she had to have two enemas. I only mention this because her system was slow to react, she was nearly last to have the tests for the day, which meant we had to go out very late to collect her from the hospital and stop off to collect takeaway food on the way home.

We don't have a Red Rooster outlet anywhere near us, but that is what I desired and there is one near Mother's place. I have fond memories of their Hawaiian Pack, with its chicken and chips and  deep fried pineapple and banana. It is now call the Tropicana Meal, with two slices of deep fried pineapple but no banana. We ate our take away at Mother's and I told her to stop talking about her bowel problems and how things had come on so suddenly, and she managed to soil the hospital bathroom and much of her bedwear, while we were eating. Then there was the nasty male night nurse tale to go through because she had sprinkled talcum powder everywhere, the diligence of the cleaners, the noise of the hospital at night when she tried to sleep and so many other stories to be told. Her overnight bag for her hospital stay was a bulging suitcase, plus a cosmetics bag, plus a medication bag, plus her handbag.

All the test results were clear. Her diverticulitis has gone, along with any problem with her thyroid. She has all tests over the last year or so. Kidneys, liver, lungs, ECG for heart, now bowel, stomach and oesophagus . The only negative was an inflamed stomach from gastritis. She is more hale and hearty than I am.

Her aunt died only a couple of years ago at the age of 96, suffering from arthritis, to which she like Mother to relieve the symptoms became addicted to codeine, and very late onset dementia. Bone Doctor said about Mother, codeine addiction at her age is not a problem. Better that she gives up smoking and puts on some weight to give her some resilience to what may happen in the future. We have gently encouraged Mother in both areas, especially putting on weight.

What a terrible day. My day off is meant to be a glass of wine at between 5 and 6pm, and then another and perhaps a third before eating a nice meal cooked by R. Instead at 6.00pm I was eating takeaway chicken and drinking a can of Coca Cola at Mother's.

As R said on the long drive home, and R is quite good at old English sayings, such as it's like nailing jelly to the wall, his quote for the day was, Your mother will be putting flowers on my grave. R may well be correct.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sunday Selections

Joining in with River and others with some random photos for Sunday Selections. The first three photos are not mine, but from FB.

Some ugly stuff happens when children and teens play games. Just last week locally there was an assault on a teenage umpire, presumably because a parent did not like a decision he made. There should be no tolerance for this kind of bad behaviour whatsoever.

Even worse now that route 8 has joined with route 55 to become route 58. It's a can of sardines, if you aren't sure.

A little innocent humour, well innocent on the writer's part.

Ideally yes, but it is not always practical or safe to do.

Our pond with its gentle rippling fountain was turned off about 2004 because of water restrictions and it was leaking badly. It was filled with soil and turned into a garden bed full of, as R would describe them, strappy things. Many years later a promise that it would revert to being a pond once the drought was over has come true. The plants and soil have been cleared. It is actually completed now but I keep forgetting to take photos. It is much more modern than this older and dated pond.

Remember the milk jug we bough that would not fit in the fridge? It was fair enough that they would not take it back for what we paid, so I chose the three bowls on the left as a replacement for the jug. I took this photo to check with R as to whether he liked them.

I am sure there is some meaning to these colours inserted into the grill of a BMW, but I don't know what.

I would have loved to have seen this event. It must have been such a laugh, but alas I was at work.

While we dined inside a restaurant (yes, the same one Pants, except downstairs) a couple of weeks ago, lads outside waited for a tram. Lads doing what lads do.

Not a clue what this plant is. Answer please in a comment if you know.

We had the car serviced a month ago. I really like annual fixed price servicing. The company left a complimentary bottle of water and a packet of mints in the car. Someone in The Highrise ate the mints before I could take a photo. The car received a tiny car park dent just a week after we took delivery, recently another car park scrape as someone has pulled in or out too wide from the car park and the bumper bar scraped very low on the rear panel. The last straw was some vandalism, directed at us, or just general nastiness, where someone has rubbed the bonnet with something abrasive. All are so minor, but they sour the taste when you think of the car, so to the panel shop she goes this week for repair. Insurance will pay some, but we will be between $600 and $1200 out of pocket.