Saturday, December 30, 2017

A new chore

We kind of panicked when we returned from our European holiday in about June to discover our air con steam off water tray element was buggered. After enquiring about the price of replacing and learning it would be whole new tray, for around $1000 fitted, we sat back to think.

There was not a useful suggestion from any of you, aside from one about using a big car washing sponge to absorb the water and then wring the sponge out. I bought such as sponge but as it was new, it wasn't terribly absorbent. In the winter, I didn't have to remove water very often with the soft plastic water bottle, by squeezing the bottle, putting the opening in the water to suck it up and then emptying it into a bucket.

Once the electric bill arrived, I realised that the element to steam off the water was using a lot of electricity, maybe near $100 for three months, about a dollar a day. At times it would come on if the just the air was humid.

What to do? Then I thought, this squeezable water bottle won't last forever, what will I do then?

In a $2 like shop, R bought a plastic bottle but because it had a large neck, it lost a lot of water in the transition from tray to bucket. Then he suggested a plastic sauce bottle, and that actually works, although it does lose more water than what I am using. At least I have a replacement.

Come summer the air con is producing a lot more water and I wondered, can I go on like this?

My hours at work are long, as is my travelling time. However, I don't have children to look after, a dog to walk, a cat to cuddle, a bird to whistle to or a fish to stare at. While I take responsibility for my own breakfast and lunch, R cooks me an evening meal most nights, and since he has retired, he does the dishes too.

R does the housework, the ironing, although very little of that is mine, the shopping on his own when I am working on Saturday, and takes the recycling down to the rubbish room. I do the washing and drying and folding of clothes, and extra things like maintain range hood and air con filters, etc. along with all things tech and phone. But I am spoilt and we live very self indulgent lives.

So to save the replacement cost of the tray and element of $1000, plus saving perhaps $400 a year on electric bills, I have decided that I have a new job, that is keeping the water level in the tray down. In ten minutes I can extract five litres of water, say a gallon for you foreign folk. That is not much time and it doesn't have to be done every day.

One problem though, I sit on a chair to do it and the bending over the tray from a chair does not do good things for my delicate back. While I have planned this post in my head for a while, it just came to me tonight. One of the exercises suggested by my chiropractor is squatting, holding on to something for support. I have found after a while that I don't need the support by holding on to things, so I will squat to empty the water in the tray to a bucket. I think that will work well. Me and my plastic bottle and mop bucket are very well acquainted.

Friday, December 29, 2017

The sweet spot

Commercial station Channel 7 reporter Cath Turner was reporting on some nonsense to do with those born to rule royals in Britain. Oh, was it don't invite the Obamas to the wedding next year because then we will have to invite Trumpet. I have noted that Betty Battenberg has learnt her lesson after Diana and now embraces the new housewives to the royal family, from blackish to really old and in between.

Sandringham was mentioned, as that is where the Royals were. It should be an easy place to pronounce, but in Australia it is not. We go between posh, which almost omits the final 'a' vowel to broad Australian where it is flat, nasally and stretched out. I noted Cath Turner's diction was excellent and she hit the sweet spot by pronouncing Sandringham neither in broad Aussie or posh Aussie, but right in the middle.

Let's take an interlude with a picture of the newest Royal housewife. Ah, she is quite attractive without being stunning. Just as well she is only tinted and not too black for The Royals.

So who is this Cath Turner and why is her diction so good and her pronunciation of Sandringham so perfect for Australian ears? Anglo names can be very deceiving. She was an adopted Vietnamese baby who grew up in country New South Wales. I don't think she went to a posh school and to me it all remains a puzzle. Whatever, I class her as a good reporter with excellent diction and pronunciation. Our ABC should snap her up.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas that was

Apart from plans for the evening of Christmas Eve, we had nothing else planned. We went for a wander in a area close to where we shop in Prahran, but at the Windsor end of Chapel Street, where we rarely venture. I think this is on top of a tertiary education building, which itself is being transformed.

An old sign I'd not noticed before, maybe recently exposed. Five seconds of research tells me H Metcher was about to open a shop in Glenferrie Road, Malvern, in 1909. The shop would offer house decorating, picture framing and supply wallpapers and artists' materials. I would assume he also had this shop in Chapel Street with similar offerings.

Rosenbergs Shoes has been here for as long as I can remember. I always thought it was called Dr Rosenberg's but it seems it is D Rosenberg's.

Strange frontage of Holy Grail. It must be new, although it doesn't look it.

I'll pass on the squid, thanks.

Looks like a place to get very messy in a Russian kind of way.

The upstairs here was once part of a nightclub, but it may no longer be there. Behind the little shutter was an aquarium and at night the shutter was raised to reveal the blue lit aquarium and the swimming fish to passersby below.

We eventually chose a trendy little cafe for brunch, which was hard as the area now abounds with trendy little cafes. We were spoilt for choice but chose well and had some good food and superb single blend coffee at School of Seven Bells. I've no idea what the name means. The coffee was seriously excellent.

Maples Corner Store no longer and hasn't been for many years. I am pleased it was saved and reinvented.

So tiring going out for two hours and having brunch, so home for a rest, then into town for dinner and to see the Christmas light displays. We went later than we normally would, so the gap between dinner and darkness at 9pm wouldn't be too great. There was a Christmas Eve queue to get into St Pauls.

We decided to dine in the very ancient and historically important Princes' Bridge Hotel, aka, Young and Jackson's. The downstairs part has a great pressed tin ceiling (most likely Wunderlich).

The view out the window towards St Pauls and Federation Square. The window seats were not popular and I wasn't sure why, until we sat there and the air con outlets blow cold air on your legs. It was ok for us with jeans on, but not for women and men in dresses and shorts.

R was just inside at the third window along. Flinders Street Station in the background. Young and Jackson's is the home of the large female nude painting, Chloe, but she is in an upstairs dining area. Young and Jackson's has a rooftop cider bar, which is rather fun, but it is an effort to climb so many stairs.

Another recently revealed sign after a building was demolished.

People adore the Manchester Unity building, and so do I.

We needed strawberries for Christmas Day champagne sparkling wine, and they were found and bought. There were light projections on the State Library, Town Hall and Fed Square. We were underwhelmed by the Library projections and decided we'd had enough of town and caught a tram back home.

Christmas morning arrived and we travelled for an 1 hour 15 (normally 50 minutes) to Tradie Brother's where Sister and Bone Doctor had prepared Christmas dinner. We just had time to open the block of chocolate gift from our Friend in Japan before we left. It is made in her town and now sits in a prominent place. We keep looking at it, but can't bring ourselves to open it. Do Japanese write bad English as attention seeking behaviour. You know I would happily proof read labels for a small Japanese company like this one for free. "RAW" CHOCOLATE HAVE A SPECIAL AND PURE ENERGY. WILL BE A NEW STANDARD IN CHOCOLATE

Tradie Brother writes signs and spreads them around.

Great niece Little M could not understand the concept of harmony, so she changed it to sunshine. Tradie Brother makes the actions with his hands as he tells his grandchildren the sayings.

Tradie Brother has seen out two dogs, Aussie and Buster, but his attachment and love for his Cobber knows no bounds. The chook, Thelma, made some appearances from nearby under the ferns, but because of her toilet habits, she was not encouraged.  

His neighbour Joyce died early this year. There was an opening on fence fitted with a venetian blind. TB has now removed the opening as the house has been sold. Ring the bell, Joyce would call out through the hole, and she then visited for a drink or a cuppa. She was lovely.

Gift wise, it did not work so well. For the past two years we have done Kris Kringle after a draw from a hat. Oldest Niece said this year, let's drop that and just buy for the kids. We agreed. When I spoke to Sister before Christmas and she and Little Jo had great fun out buying presents for everyone. But, but........well, we haven't. Just for the kids. I take no responsibility for not buying for anyone other than the children. We did slip Mother $100 in an envelope. Mother looked lovely on Christmas Day. Come Boxing Day, no stockings and just wearing socks, hence showing her bad legs to garner sympathy. Though I must say, she did well, attending both days and not moaning on to all and sundry about her medical problems. ABI Brother took her home early from the Boxing Day Christmas celebrations.

Ah, I haven't mentioned Boxing Day. Another Christmas lunch, this time at Ex Sis in Laws. She promised this is the last one she is doing too. Heaps more gift giving. All the family was there, plus some of Ex Sis in Law's husband's children. Just Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo missing, oh yes, and Fire Fighting Nephew and his wife, as he was on fire call. Children really do make Christmas special, and there are some very spoilt children gift wise in our family. I did get the names of the baby twins right but only when I could see them together. I studied their differences hard yesterday. Their Mother, Hippy Niece, is back on keel and enjoying her offspring and the twin's father was quite sociable and friendly to our quite large family.

It was a great couple of days of Christmas celebration but very tiring. Let Tradie Brother's Betty have the last word.

Peace tomorrow (Wednesday), with nothing to do but late Boxing Day sales in town for a set of towels. Thursday, Little Jo will be here while Sister and Bone Doctor sees the third day of the cricket test. While I am very much sports ignorant, did I note that the captain of the English team is called Rooter. I wonder how fast and how hard.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Clearing the rubbish from the beach who leave the rubbish

Late post today, and a big one to come tomorrow, if I finish it.

The St Kilda foreshore was in a sad and sorry state this Boxing Day morning. It was trashed by around 5,000 people, mostly backpackers, who gathered together Christmas afternoon and into the evening. At 8pm the City of Port Phillip alcohol ban in public spaces kicked in and was just ignored. By 8pm it was too late to enforce the ban. Many by then would have already been 'well oiled'. Of course the ban should have applied earlier, but I expect it didn't to allow Christmas picnickers to have a drink. Because they are backpackers, they don't have families here to visit with on Christmas Day and it is natural that they would gather together on a very pleasant day at the beach. Photos from The Age.

The worst thing was the broken glass that has been embedded into the grass. The price of the clean up will be about $15,000, paid for by the City of Port Phillip ratepayers, two of which are us!

But really, there is no point in making new laws when it is simply a matter of enforcing existing laws. Admitted the number were smaller, but the police cleared a Sydney beach of drinking party goes.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Musical Monday; original or cover?

Ok, it is Tuesday. Damn Christmas.

Read the book before you see the movie. Normally the movie won't be as good as the book. Not always the case though. A couple of books and tv series immediately come to mind where the screen version was better, Flame Trees of Thika and Fortunes of War. I am sure there are many examples of tv shows and movies that could be argued, book or movie/tv series.

But let us have a look at songs. With no objectivity at all, this is an ongoing series, for three weeks at least, where I reckon cover versions are superior to the original recordings by the artists who wrote and performed the original. My three examples cover at least three generations.

We will start and end with Aussie performers. This week it is The Beatles versus the Australian band ZOOT performing Eleanor Rigby.



Sunday, December 24, 2017

Out and about at Christmas

A few photos snapped here and there in the lead up to Christmas. A park in Malvern Road, Prahran has this modest tree, but it is ok.

An unusual creation at my work.

Because of the closure of the City Square due to the construction of Metro Rail, this year Federation Square is hosting the festivities and I think management and or City of Melbourne have done a fine job.

Tourists and locals alike were loving this arbour. It is of course Melbourne's arbour, not Sydney arbour. (Yes, I can hear you groan)

I don't really ever remember liking any of our former major Christmas trees in the City of Melbourne but I love this years effort. There are a few photos ahead. The balls catch the sunlight and sparkle really well.

Close up. We plan to go into town for dinner and see the Christmas lights this evening.

What would Christmas be without Santa.

I will upset Little Jo by calling this a naivety scene, rather than nativity scene.  She will say, no Andrew, it is not naivety but nativity, and then she will know that I do actually know the correct word. We once walked from the semi underground carpark at Woolworths in St Kilda via a graffiti covered and grungy lane to Acland Street and she asked me if I actually knew where I was going! I believe she will visit us on the third day of the test cricket. I try not to tease her too much, but she does bite back hard when Uncle Andrew plays too smart for his own good.

Block Arcade; not too much decoration there but it is always a treasure to look at.

Melbourne Town Hall.

Mother was lamenting that she was too late getting her red and white petunias in to be ready for Christmas. Not so the City of Melbourne.

Household Management made some mince pies, and very nice they were too, although as he says, a bit too much icing sugar. Think of all the money you saved by making them, said I. No, said he, they are cheaper to buy. 

Our tree, which may or may not be like last years. I cannot remember. Season's Greetings to you all.

Star gazing

There isn't a lot I am not interested in learning about but I am not the least interested in astronomy. Stars (and astrology) leave me cold. Human endeavour can be interesting though.

Our local Victorian automobile magazine had a feature on star gazing. There can only be tenuous connection between cars and stars. Perhaps after a car crash involving a bump on the head you see stars, or you are lying imobile on the ground with terrible injuries and staring up at stars.

No matter, I just thought I would take a look at the recommended website for star gazers, . It took me a while, but I eventually worked out how to set my location. We can only see really bright stars here. The city lights kill all but the brightest. Ah, it is suggested that on 21st of December at 9.44pm, in the direction of east south east at an angle of 10 degrees to 60 degrees above the horizon, the International Space Station will be able to be seen crossing the sky.

As I thought to write this post tonight for Sunday morning, I realise how bad my memory is, because I thought it was 22nd of December and about 10.30pm and at 100 degrees. The 100 degrees did not make sense as it meant would not really able to see it. I wrote myself a note with the correct details to remind me, but it remained unnoticed by me on the 21st. I am writing the correct details from the note now.

Just before bed on the 22nd, I went out onto the balcony, thinking I may see the International Space Station fly past overhead, way up in the night sky. I had the wrong night and I was an hour late, but I did not know that at the time. Stupid me. Stupid uninteresting Space Station. Stupid skies.

And then......quick R, come and have a look at this. It is the International Space Station in the sky. Twenty, maybe thirty seconds it took to travel across our visible sky. It was quite exciting.

For nigh on two decades I have heard so much about black holes in outer space, and I know no more than what I knew before first hearing about them. Today I learnt that Professor Stephen Hawking has recorded noise in black holes. It sounded like outback AM country radio reception on a bad weather day to me. Ditto, Bitcoin. A few years ago I posted a photo on my blog where a now defunct cafe in Prahran accepted Bitcoin. Before then, and certainly since then, I have heard a lot about Bitcoin, but I really don't understand the concept at all, let alone the point of it, other than for moving of money gained by crime, that may, or very well may not ever be realised as cash.

I once asked my dad, how can space go on forever. What happens when you get to the end? There must be an end. What is after that? It was about when I was of the age when I also asked if a cat had to face being eaten by a crocodile or swim across a river to safety, what would it choose? I did not know then that cats can actually swim.

So rest assured, my lack of interest in the skies above will continue, aside from the moon of course. It is a bit interesting, and so are its effects on the Earth's population, as I well know. So many times at work I have thought, is it a full moon? Checking later, it has turned out to be so.