Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Real heroes

This may become a regular post, or maybe not. A hero is not a great sportsperson, or someone who raises a huge amount of money for a charity. Nor is someone who survived some terrible situation, with or without injury. No, they may have been very brave but that is not heroism.

Let me tell you of a real hero, and history has many of them. I really like shows like Air Crash Investigations and Train Crash Investigations.

In the 1980s there was a terrible train crash in Paris, with 56 people killed. In the face of a runaway incoming train, train driver Andre Tanguy stayed in his train cabin facing the rapidly approaching train and making public announcements over the trains speaker system for passengers to flee the train. Many did and his action saved many lives. He remained at his position urging people to leave his train as the incoming train slammed into his facing driver's cabin and he was killed instantly.

So, the next time you hear of a hero, compare the person to Parisian train driver Andre Tanguy.

https://youtu.be/HCM2aJAh2Jw

Monday, December 10, 2018

Wedding

All being well we will have picked Step Mother up from the front of So Cross Station on Monday early afternoon. She has troubles with her ankles and so via Travelers Aid I have booked her a buggy ride from the platform she arrives on to the front of the station for us to pick her up (it was not as simple as it sounds). I realised that 3 hours on a coach/train and then 1.30 hours in the car might be a bit too much for her in one day and so invited her to come down the night before. We will have gone out for dinner (we didn't. I didn't realise I wouldn't get home until 7.35. R cooked), probably to The Dick Whittington Tavern and the next day we will check into our cottage in Queenscliff to attend Sister's and Bone Doctor's wedding.

Tradie Brother will take her home in his car and stay a couple of nights.

While Mother is 84, Step Mother is only 80. Step Mother said, don't worry about the time. I can find a seat and read my book until you are ready. The contrast between the two is great.

Sister is paying for Mother and ABI brother to stay in caravan park cabin, with sea views, right at the edge of the beach. 

Although Sister and Bone Doctor constantly bicker, they love each other dearly and are well suited. It will be five years to the day that they as same sex couple were allowed to and did marry in Canberra, legal for a week or so before the nasty then Prime Minister John Howard closed the loophole and annulled such marriages.

I am really excited about the wedding. Sister has insisted that Mother makes a brief speech and Mother will give away Sister, I hope without her walking frame. It is a church wedding, and while neither brides are religious, they are involved with the church as the minister is a really good bloke. He clearly has no problem with same sex marriage, supported the same sex marriage vote and flies the rainbow flag . He accepts pet animals into his church, so Tradie Brother's beloved dog Cobber can attend the wedding. Until you cross a certain road to a new housing estate built on drained wetlands, which were ugly to the human eye but good for animals and birds, Sister lives in a very civilised place.

Our cottage is within walking distance of the venue, maybe that will be staggering distance, and it's downhill back to the cottage.

This Monday night I sent a quite soppy text message to Sister. I became a bit teary. She probably won't answer and will only skim read it, but that is ok. She will understand.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Sunday Selections

It has been a while. This Sunday I am joining in with River and EC for Sunday Selections, which I now describe as photos not good enough to make it for a post of their own.

This figure must have been in a most horrible accident. No bulge between the legs, so as well as the horrendous injuries, he may have lost his genitalia too.


How pretentious, Upper West Side indeed. But it is kind of upper west in Melbourne City.


Melbourne Cup Day was celebrated in our building with drinkies and nibbles, but I am not sure which night. We did not attend.



Many trams pass The Highrise, and these pointer signs are great to direct people unfamiliar with the tram system.


The balloon was quite close by.


The developer of this historic building in the inner eastern suburb of Collingwood was considerably reigned in from the company's first proposal to demolish the lot. Not a bad outcome.


Playing a piano is not like riding a bicycle. I have lost any vague competence I may have had. I can still handle an organ pretty well. Smith Street, Collingwood.


The water starts up here at the National Gallery of Victoria. 


Flows down here.


To become a huge moat outside the quite brutalist design Gallery.


But peering into the water is not really a great thing to do. The thrown coins go to a charity, well, no, the Gallery itself, I think. Yes, people have become wet while trying to take the money, but the moat is well covered now by CCTV. A guard will be out to bop on the head such thieves very quickly.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

It's just too damn hot

Yesterday, Thursday as I write, was Mother Day. She is back at ABI Brother's as of a week and a half ago. I took her out last Thursday. This Thursday both R and myself went. This makes it awkward as her walker has to go on the back seat of the car, which makes it very cramped for the person who sits in the back, which was me.

She was a quaking, shaking quivering mess when we arrived and could barely walk. She does the theatrics really well. As the day went on she became better and better and after lunch and shopping, we called in at her house on the way back to ABI Brother's place. She needed some jewellery for Sister's wedding and wanted to check on things. For someone who could barely stay upright when we arrived in the morning, by the afternoon she spent 15 minutes in her garden in 35 degree heat, bending over and pulling out weeds, in spite of me urging her not to be so silly.

Hippie Niece called while we were having lunch and she was nearby and joined us and she was pretty good. Big highs and big lows for her. We are always hopeful.

I lost my sunglasses when leaving Mother's House. ABI Brother was there to take her back to his place. I reversed out of the driveway and Brother moved his car in the driveway. As I was about to zoom away, I saw my sunglasses sitting on the concrete driveway path. How they were not crushed by either car, I do now know.

Today, Friday, we bought summer pyjamas for Christmas for the twin babies who have a tall and solid Maori heritage father. They are 18 months old. I was doubtful enough about size four fitting them to buy size five, the size for a five year olds. They are very solid lasses, not fat, just solid. If the jim jams are too big this year, they will be fine next year.

It was 38° here today, about 100 in the old money. As I said, we went into the city today, and there were so many hot men exposing their flesh, I felt quite faint. The building has a core temperature, that any heating and cooling must fight against. Our cooling fought against the heat very nicely today and the core temperature of the building after two days of heat is not that high. Of course you keep the place closed up to the heat outside. Well, we do, but there are some tossers who don't and have their windows open in such heat. I do not understand their thought processes.

Two open looking upwards at the side. Good luck sleeping tonight.


A bit ajar in front of our balcony.


Nope, I do not understand why you would want to let air at a temperature of 38 degrees into your bedroom.

Friday, December 07, 2018

I'm Clean

It is with some pride and some luck that I have never been given a ticket by police. I have never been caught driving too fast. I have never been caught driving through a red light. I have never been caught tailgating. I have never been caught driving over the .05 alcohol limit. Note, each time I said I have never been caught. I expect I have done all of the above at times but pretty rarely. My two brothers and my sister have all lost their licences for driving over .05 and someone close to me lost his licence for travelling at 80km/h in a 40km/h zone. Smile at the portable roadside camera hon. I did keep telling him would be caught for speeding and would lose his licence.

But in my youthful years, I did receive some parking tickets. The first was at the Alfred Hospital where I had taken a friend for emergency treatment. She paid the fine. The second time was in the city. I would not now dream of driving into the city, but I did when I was young. Quiet laneway, I parked a too far forward when there wasn't really a space and I received a ticket.

The last time was at a bank in Balaclava and by this time I was 21 years old. I parked illegally because I was only going to be a minute, and I was about two minutes.

As is said perhaps in England, Fair cop Gov. I deserved to be caught.

No more Missy, and ever since, I have pretty well always parked legally.

But it struck me watching tv tonight that people in New South Wales call their parking officers something different.

Here police can book you for illegal parking, but they would never bother checking on overstayers. Normally it would be a parking officer, a council officer, parking inspector or bylaws officer who would book you. All the same person, just referred to with different names.

So what is the person who could book you for overstaying in a parking space in your part of the country or the world? If you have recently received a parking infringement ticket, you may be tempted to use a bad name for them, but I want the proper name.


Thursday, December 06, 2018

Dynamite Here.

I don't think this apartment block looks too bad and to me it looks to be well maintained.


Nevertheless, one owner of an apartment, backed up by at least one other owner, thinks the block is past its use by date and should be demolished and something new built on the block, thereby realising  a huge profit for owners of flats in the building. The flats would have been quite cheap to buy by today's standards.

Bang on the chap may do about selling the whole block, but some people are very content living there, and are not for selling. I forget the exact percentage now, but it is something like 80% of owners must agree to the sale of a whole block of strata title flats. 

This is of some interest to us, but we are old enough not to be affected. At some point our very plain but quite well maintained high rise block will have reached the end of of its life. I can well imagine being a really old owner person and not wanting bother and not agreeing to a sale and being one of the 20% plus who won't sell. 

I think in New South Wales the percentage of owners agreeing to demolition has been reduced to a lower percentage of votes. 

Meanwhile in Sydney a great story has emerged about outsiders parking in a building, where they own a car parking space. The owner parking in a posh apartment building is in Elizabeth Bay. The matter has been taken to the highest court and residents of said block have lost, and the non resident owners of the car parking spaces are free to use their car parking spaces as they wish.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Just a day

What to write about? I could write about the ABC journalist tart who was thrown out from the Federal Parliament Media Gallery gallery because she exposed her...........well, I am not sure what. This is how she was dressed in Press Gallery.


I think she exposed a little less than our former Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Senate Chamber. 



Poor straight blokes can't normally see the chests of women, but hey this gay bloke can see the chests of men, their pecs, their nipples. I like! Apparently this was acceptable in the Press Gallery at Parliament House.


So that was what I am not writing about. Instead today I used lots of public transport and it all worked really well. In the morning we caught the 72 tram to Prahran, had brunch and I filled my medicine scripts at Chemist Warehouse. We bought some fruit and Christmas frippery in Coles supermarket and caught the tram home. 

In the afternoon I caught the 67 tram to Caulfield for a medical appointment. I should report the driver for excessive gonging of the tram bell, I reckon about 300 times. It was painful. After my appointment concluded, I caught the 605 bus that travels through Melbourne's best suburbs using side streets to the corner of Alexandra Avenue and Chapel Street. How much wealth did I see in grand two storey housing. I then caught the 78 tram up Chapel/Church Street to Bridge Road and a 48 tram to my destination, the big blue office supply shop, that although promised to satisfy my want for a Christmas present for R, it did not supply. I have tried four of these big blue office supply places, to no avail. I have now ordered online at Kogan, and I think the product will come from Hong Kong. And they wonder why we we buy online from overseas. 

I then caught a 48 tram into the city and then a St Kilda Road tram home. I had minimal wait for any public transport, but then I was also using public transport apps to check details. 

Tomorrow R has an appointment at a big hospital in Richmond, so I will back there again. We will catch a tram to the city and then either the 48 or 75 tram to Richmond. R is stressed about not having a second car, as our primary car sits there unused. We will have brunch and the R will go to his appointment while I will go off wog hunting. Well, that was a deliberate slip, and it is not too often often that I make R laugh, but he did laugh at me going off wog hunting, when I will catch the 78 tram to Victoria Street and find a wok to buy as Mother's wedding present to to Sister and Bone Doctor.

As I am about to to go off to bed, I questioned R again, so what am I doing tomorrow? Wog hunting? No, he said, while I am sure you would rather be wog hunting, you need to get the wok thing sorted out for your mother. 'Night sweetie. Wok, not wog. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Applications, it's the name of the game

I didn't mention it a couple of weeks ago but our friend Victor was visiting Melbourne to see a performance and was staying overnight. He came to our place for a non drink and we then crossed the big wide road below to enjoy a very pleasant meal with him. I think it was about 9.30 when we parted after a great chat with him about all and nothing.

It is a tenacious link, but previously Victor had mentioned to me a couple of apps he has on his phone. Now, I am a shocker for apps. I download them, think how wonderful and cool they are, and then never use them again. Eventually I may uninstall them but it is always with reluctance. What if I need it one day?

One that Victor mentioned was Flight Radar. I had used the desktop version but the app is really cool. You can point your phone to a plane in the sky and find out what aircraft type it is, its flight number, origin and destination and heaps more. Since installing it and playing with it, I have used it once.

Many businesses urge us to download their apps. One that would probably be quite useful is my bank's app. But no. What if I lost my phone or it was stolen? Could someone clean out my modest savings? I bank online and pay bills online at the desktop. I can do the desktop style login to my bank on my phone if I really need to.

Some of my recent app downloads:

Toilet Finder. Very useful and I have used it and no doubt will again to find the nearest public toilet. This is a keeper.

Petrol Spy, informing me of petrol prices around Melbourne at various service stations. It is very dependant on being updated by users frequently and I haven't found it to be very accurate. I will probably get rid of it.

Sky View. Way cool. Point your phone to the heavens in the direction of your interest and find all about the stars you are looking at. Used when I installed it and not used since.

Uber was installed, uninstalled when I became cross with company, installed again when we were in South Africa, and uninstalled once back home. But as a one car family at the moment, twice R has needed the car and so when I have had to start too early to catch a tram to work, the first time I called a cab and all was good. I received to a text message to download the app for future bookings, which I ignored. The next time I needed transport to work, I downloaded the Uber app again and booked an Uber for 5.30. The next morning my Uber app said Mohamad would arrive between 5.20 and 5.35. No, I won't be ready by 5.20. I will be ready at 5.30, as I requested.

I chickened out of using Uber and cancelled my booking. I could have saved a whole $4! I downloaded the Silver Top Taxi app and booked a taxi with the app and once again, I had a good taxi experience. Using the taxi app, you can now rate your taxi driver.

Pedometer is one I check every so often. It does not do a daily check of your possible pedophilia inclinations, but checks the number of steps you take each day, of course only working if you are carrying your phone. My record is over 16,000 steps in one day. Working days it is less than 4,000. Non working days, usually over 6,000.

For some reason I have two apps for the London Tube and one for the New York Subway. I can't bring myself to uninstall them as that would be saying we shall never see either city again.

I thought, if there is an app for aircraft flights, is there a shipping app? Sure enough. Just today I downloaded Marine Radar. Oh, that ship is to load up with woodchips to take to China, woodchips made from trees in our forests. But never mind, using the app I will able to see when my ship comes in!

Monday, December 03, 2018

Monday Mural

Melbourne's inner eastern suburb of Richmond is passionate about its football, as are many others who don't live in Richmond. The football team is known as The Tigers, and boy how do the mighty Tigers roar at times.  This mural was painted by well known artist Mike Maka (Tron).


Saturday, December 01, 2018

Was it a cross or a tick or a number?

There was an election in our state of Victoria last weekend. The conservative Liberal Party was demolished in both the upper and lower houses of parliament. The progressive Labor(sic) Party won handsomely. It is unbelievable how close some very safe Liberal Party seats came to being lost, and there are still a couple on a knife edge. The party's brethren voted in droves against the party they would naturally support. Policies: High speed European standard trains to regional Victoria towns. We need much faster trains, but European standard high speed at 300 km/h is impractical. Build a new power station? What when and where? How will it be fuelled? Who will pay for it? Australia is now firmly on the path of renewable energy and it now becoming cheaper than generating electricity from dirty bruning damp brown coal. Climate change? School children went on strike this Friday and marched on our streets over our Federal (and State) government's lack of action on climate change. At the least the naive little buggers' hearts are in the right place.  We won't even go down the road of the Liberal Party and female representation. 


The state's  upper house voting is a curious beast as it is preferential to nth degree and brings about some weird results, such as the hire car drivers party winning two seats, the hunters and shooters party winning a couple, but The Greens being reduced to just one upper house seat from five although they had quite a high primary vote. Such is the nature of Victoria's Legislative Council and preference dealing. Professional preference dealers really came to light at this election. 

The sitting Labor Premier of our state, one Daniel Andrews, performed quite well in his term of office, and even managed to cast aside some election corruption from his person. He campaigned terribly well and while the conservative media got stuck into him, he managed to convince the electorate that borrowing $40 billion in the next 25 years to build things was a good thing. Given our state can borrow money at 2% interest rate on the international market,  he is probably right. I would have nothing now if I had not gone into serious debt earlier in my life. It wasn't easy, but you do what you have to do.


My own state seat of Prahran is still undecided between Labor and The Greens, with The Greens slightly ahead. There are a lot of poor people in my seat. There are a lot of rich people in my seat. There are a lot of gays in my seat (oh, perhaps I should rephrase that one). There are a lot of alternatives in my seat. No one was more surprised than me when The Greens won the seat at the last state election, and again I am surprised that The Greens are a little ahead in vote counting even now. We voted early, but not too often. I shook the hand of Sam Hibbins, the sitting Greens candidate who was in attendance at the polling booth, and the gay Labor candidate Neil Pharaoh, who is part Irish and part Maori. I quite like Sam. He comes across and warm and sincere and in his one term of office he did get things done.



So, if sitting governments lose office and allow an opposition party to win, this was not the time.

Which brings me to the Her Majesty's Leader of the Opposition, one Matthew Guy. I will condemn him straight off by damming him with faint praise. He is not bad looking, has good grooming and can talk well enough.


For me he was tainted meat long before he became Leader of the Opposition. He was a former Minister for Planning and approved some very inappropriate large buildings. 

He approved redevelopment of a huge swath of industrial land for highrise apartments in the Port Melbourne area, without putting in the appropriate infrastructure or controls. Developer mates made fortunes as land was rezoned. Fortunately the government has turned back what would have been a planning disaster.

Then the was Guy cracking lobster claws and drinking Penfolds Grange with an alleged mafia figure at The Lobster Cave (note, while we have eaten there twice, no Penfolds Grange was consumed and we had cheap meals using shopper dockets).

Is that enough to make him unelectable? There is more. He went down the law and order path during his election campaign, I think without actually mentioning black youth gang crime, but it was there, if not said. He planned to legislate that if someone broke bail conditions while awaiting trial, they would be straight back in gaol, which on the face of it sounds appealing, but how many more gaols would we need, never mind that it might not be the best course of action for some people, usually decided by a magistrate. While I might have a 'lock 'em all up' attitude, I know I am wrong and the more laws that are made to control what judges can do, the less well the system works. Judges are not unaware of public opinion about courts and sentencing.

But the clincher for me was even longer ago. Here are some snips from The Age. His behaviour in public office has been disgraceful and he should have never been near government, let alone be Leader of the Opposition. But this is not to say either that the Liberal Party doesn't have serious problems within its much diminished Federal and State ranks.

On September 8, 2011, Mr Guy stunned many in politics, planning and the law, when he used special ministerial powers to override the local Bass Coast council to rezone 24 hectares of farmland for housing at picturesque Ventnor on Phillip Island.

The intervention was against the advice of two expert planning panels, the minister’s own department and lawyers, and the unanimous position of the local council.



It sparked a storm of protest including from local residents, Mr Guy’s own Liberal colleagues and even US celebrity Miley Cyrus. (then girlfriend of Hollywood actor Liam Hemsworth, whose family also lives in Ventnor)
Days later, Mr Guy was forced into a humiliating backflip. He was later sued by the then purchaser of the property, Carley Nicholls. She had signed a sales contract on the basis of the rezoning, anticipating a windfall from the rise in land value.
At the time, Ms Nicholls' husband, Jim Hopkins, was a property developer, member of the Liberal Party on Phillip Island and family friend of Kennett government-era planning minister Rob Maclellan.
Key documents in a massive, 80,000-page dossier assembled by the Andrews government and tabled yesterday show that Mr Guy, as planning minister in the Baillieu-Napthine government in 2013, personally ordered a last-minute settlement be paid to the owner and purchaser of the Ventnor farmland on Phillip Island.
The settlement cost Victorian taxpayers $2.5 million plus costs, for a total of more than $3.5 million, the documents reveal. Senior lawyers had told the government that it should have paid a maximum of $250,000 plus legal costs.
The documents show Mr Guy ordered the multimillion-dollar payment despite repeated legal advice from a number of senior lawyers that the government had a strong case, and there was little or no grounds for a damages claim against it.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Changing the world, by one light tube at a time

Ok, this is not earth changing and probably will only save a tiny bit of the planet, but I am the grandchild of my my maternal grandparents who constantly nagged us, don't waste water and don't waste the electric.

The building next door has lighting on the roof top plant area. Someone turned them on a couple of years ago and the lighting has been on ever since. They are old style fluoro tubes. Wasteful, but they don't bother me too much.


But across the road while we were swanning about South Africa, someone turned the rooftop plant lighting on and these are not fluoro tubes, but more modern lighting. I don't know what. So they have been on for weeks and while they probably use less electricity than the building next door's lighting, they are very bright and somewhat spoiling our night time view. I had a brief look for the owners' corporation contact details, but came up with nothing. I think I must write a note and blue tack it up at the building's entrance. Look, not even dark and they are clearly visible.


Later edit: The lights at the building across the road are now off after the very day I wrote about them. I need to put my tin helmet on. I am being monitored.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

South Africa Bits

Two really good things about South Africa:

People rarely sound their car horns, which is a bit surprising if you remember the vuvuzela problem at the 2010 World Cup soccer.

The other is that I never saw anyone spit in public.

Photos:

By the end of the tour I was getting pretty ratty with some members of our group who kept hogging viewing places to take photos. There would be a ten minute photo stop somewhere, and they would have to take a group photo in front of the view, then another group photo including the person who took the first group photo, and then individual photos in front of the view.

In my view there is way too much of 'this is me in front of....' I think R and myself took two photos of each other in front of views when it was quiet. Our tour guide took a couple of us together in front of a view.

Initially I was considerate of people taking photos of themselves in front of a view with a selfie stick. I soon got tired of that all the time, and so just ignored how their precious selfie photo may be spoiled by an old man in the shot. Basic manners, courtesy and sharing.

The Tour Company: 

Good value for money. Things were well organised and our tour leader very friendly and competent. What a terrible responsibility for Gattina who uses the company and who I sought advice from. What if the holiday was awful? Well, I really wouldn't blame Gattina.

Tourism:

South Africa is very well set up for tourism. Everyone seemed well trained and the professional guides at attractions were the best I have come across in the world, and aside from our own tour guide and the Kruger Park guide, they were all black South Africans. It was like they had a tertiary degree in their field of work, and perhaps they did. They also had bright personalities and were often quite funny, especially our hunky ziplining guide Nigel. Our Monkeyland guide was telling us about the parents of one of the monkeys, for reasons I have forgotten, and she pointed out which monkey was the father. Someone asked, How do you know he is the father? With a naughty smirk on her face she said, we watched them.

Danger:

Copper Witch quite correctly stated that hippos (c'mon, I am not going to spell it in full) kill more people than any other animal. But why? Through the bush and scrubland are paths, often leading to water, that are used by animals, including hippos. The path might be hundreds of years old (my guess). Now what is a human to do if they want to walk somewhere? They will use the easy walking animal path and around the corner comes a very cross hippo. How do hippos kill people, I asked? With their mouths. They stun them and then just crush the human body and bones in their jaws. Our tour guide had a friend who was killed by hippo. Not the Kruger Park guide who had a young friend killed by a leopard. And they say Australia is dangerous.

African Time and Service:

We were very soon told that our tour did not operate on African time. We had to be where we were supposed to be at the correct time. It would seem African time is a bit more of a loose thing. We were queued for where we knew we would get good coffee in a supermarket. Thanks to the shenanigans of our fellow Canadian travellers, we were a little late back to the coach. Meanwhile, umpteen checkout staff stood at tills doing nothing. Could not one or two have been transferred to the coffee service area? Service in South African shops and supermarkets was slow and perfunctory. Polite? Yes. Friendly, sometimes, but lacking sincerity. But I do remind myself I am in prime tourist locations.

Public Safety:

I am Australian and I am used to being cosseted by all sorts of laws and regulations to protect me. Dorothy really learnt she was not in Kansas when in Portugal and I had to warn R not to push back his chair more than a millimetre more as he would tip over backwards down a serious drop. It was also thus in South Africa. The country has a long way to go to protect people against their own stupidity. Perhaps people are used to looking after their own wellbeing. What a novel idea. Its recycling of waste could be a lot better too.

Coach Fun and Games:

At times we were on the coach for long periods. Our guide spent a lot of time talking on the microphone. Twice I managed to flatten my phone battery with heavy usage. No USB on the coach for recharging. Twice crap movies were shown, which no one paid much attention to. There were singalongs, national anthems, one of group taking over as tour guide on the coach and explaining to us the significance of a rock we had just seen. Yes, it had to be one of the Irish. Music quiz games, all sorts of fun. One event was a mock auction for a bottle of wine. Yes, again, an Irish was the auctioneer. At the final bid call, up popped the hand of the New York Mama who wants to shoot Hillary Clinton. Her hand rose slowly. We called out encouragement, go H. There seemed to be some hesitation in her bid. Then her hand continued on up to adjust the overhead aircon vent. She brought the house down. I expect even Hitler may have played a prank once or twice in his life.

The Travel Group:

Perhaps I have said this already. I can't remember. But our travel group were generally very relaxed people. Our cruise on the Danube, our Rockies Mountain train/coach trip and our Mediterranean cruise had quite different people; more wealthy, more conservative. I never felt a great level of comfort with the people on those tours, but I certainly did feel quite relaxed on this trip. I can't believe how nice the Irish lasses were to us, and other people were too. I am more reserved than R and by the time we were getting towards the end of the trip, I was quite liking a number of people in our group. It takes me time, but others have said I am worth it in the long run.

My Favourite Moment:

Probably being in and seeing the swirling mists on Table Top Mountain in Cape Town, although staying and whale watching at the delightful seaside town of Hermanus was pretty good too, not to underate seeing all the animals.

Me Birthday:

It was the 14th of October, the second day we were in South Africa. Wow, I got away with that. Nobody knew. But on my birth certificate it is the 20th of October. My birth certificate is wrong but it lead to my passport date of birth being the 20th of October. I have to be careful when I travel to use my non birthday date as my birthday. (Have you all noted down the the 14th of October for next year when you can send me expensive gifts?) The tour leader picked up that the 20th was my birthday and so happy birthday had to be sang and I was presented with a soft toy who I quickly named Gerry. I took Gerry to breakfast next morning and on the last night at our final dinner for people to say goodbye to him.

Gerry at one of our hotel rooms in South Africa. Note the South Africa flag on his foot.


Gerry at home with us in Melbourne is wondering how tasty elm and plane tree leaves are.


So that is the holiday wrap. Thanks for all your comments and taking the time to read, even if you didn't comment.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Your wives and sisters are whoring themselves while you fight the good war

That was how some of the propaganda was presented in twentieth century wars.

You may have heard of all or none of the following propagandists who broadcast on radio in support of those who western countries were fighting against. I will leave it to the more educated among us to flesh any out, but here we go with a little about them. Radio broadcasting made quite an impact in earlier twentieth century wars, as TV did during Vietnam War.

The Irish American Lord Haw Haw who broadcast in mellifluous tones from Germany into England during WWII.


Tokyo Rose was Japanese and with her excellent English, she broadcast pro Japanese and anti American propaganda to the troops fighting against the Japanese in Pacific arena. She looks like a bit of a hard case.


Hanoi Hannah broadcast propaganda to American and other troops in perfect English during the Vietnam War. There may well have been more than one Hanoi Hannah.


But this woman is new to me, thanks to ABC History Listen podcasts. If you were a viewer of the tv show Mash, you may have heard of Seoul City Sue. I had not heard of her. Sue, actually spelt Suh as it was the name of her Korean husband, was an American born white woman from Arkansas. She broadcast propaganda for North Korea against the Americans and Australians and other fighting against the North Korea.

'Why are you, our black brothers, doing what you are, fighting for a country where you don't have proper citizen rights'.

'You Australian soldiers are drunks and louts, but your wharf workers are decent salt of the earth people, refusing to load ships to be sent to supply your war machine against the people of Korea'.

There are many theories about what happened to Seoul City Sue after the Korean War, one being that she was shot by North Koreans in 1969 because she was a double agent for South Korea. Who knows, but what a fascinating listen it was to hear about Seoul City Sue. Thanks Our ABC.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

South Africa Day 14

Our last day as a group. We descended the mountain and plateau to J'burg with some sightseeing stop offs along the way. We stayed at an airport hotel in J'burg that night and just after lunch time the next day, we were on our way home, having being away for two weeks. The hotel provided the airport transfer.

Lisbon Falls. No safety rails here.


Lumpy bits. What are they?


Show me your cliff face!


Ah, these are the things we are here to see. Most impressive.  They are called The Three Rondavels.



Yes, three of them.


Truly spectacular views.




We were told by our tour guide to not buy souveniers until this day, which was fine if you wanted to bargain over locally produced craft. R had to buy a key ring and fridge magnet for a client of his at his volunteer job, not local craft. We bought the appropriate items at the J'burg airport.


Now we are at Bourke's Luck Potholes. What made them? I forget and I am tired of googling. You do it.





And finally a stop at God's Window. I should have made a panorama photo with my camera, but I didn't. See my rant in the subsequent Africa Bits about photos.





Later update: Thanks to some advice from Marcus, here is panorama photo.


No airport train in Melbourne, but there is one in J'burg.