Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Bye bye

My hand is healing and I am no longer so worried about it. The doctor should never have said to me, your hand can amputated just as easily in England as it can be here. She sent me into panic. R eventually offered the wise advice, take off the sling and forget about it, and aside from still covering it over because it is so ugly, that is pretty well what I have done.

It is nearly midnight here. In a couple of hours we will catch a taxi to the airport and be on our way to the UK. It must be because we are older but never have we stressed so much about a holiday, for me today that I felt physically sick and could not eat my lunchtime roast pork sandwich. R is no better.

At six pm we were at a major hospital to see our newest family member. Little M and Little Em rushed to greet us and are so excited about their new brother. R held him for a while. I don't do babies. He has the second name of David, the name of his paternal grandfather and maternal grandfather's second name. His first name came through later that evening. We like it.

It was a late dinner and I fumed as I watched Four Corners, detailing the Murray Darling Basin Plan. I knew it was bad, but I did not know how bad it was.

Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo are probably just arriving home now after a week in Noosa, Noosha darling.

So, we are off too Old Blighty. I will be reading your posts but I don't tend to comment much and I don't post when on holidays.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019


slow healing, said the doctor. you have not kept your hand elevated enough. sling for another week and elevation at night. it was not well explained me. somewhat depressing.

at least it is not black but still could be, she said, putting fear into me. do you have travel insurance? yes, i replied and doesn't australia have reciprocal medical agreements with the uk. oh yes, your hand can be removed in the uk just like it can be here.  you should be ok to travel overseas next week.

so it is back to the sling with my hand higher and above my heart, including propping on pillows overnight and only left handed typing. it is too hard to post anything but i will see how i go with blog comments using my phone and tablet.

so sorry about the lack of communication and i dont blog when i am on holidays.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Sundays Past

What to do today Hon? It is a loaded question. R no longer likes challenging things such as long drives to the countryside. Last Sunday was just an easy drive along Port Phillip's beach road, without a particular destination in mind. We ended up in the ever so middle class area, Hampton Street, with not a smoker in sight but plenty of liquour outlets. Make of that what you will. We ate some bakery food, cheap, and then coffee at a trendy place. Our coffee cost $4 which is fast becoming the standard price.  The train station is right among the shops. This was the only photo I took. I like these personal memories.

Two sundays ago we went a little further in another direction along Port Phillip to Williamstown. Such a nice place on a sunny day. Coincidently it was the monthly market day. We bought nothing. We have everything we need, except a Samsung Galaxy 10 phone and a smarter tv than our present model, and are trying to get rid of what we don't want.

We didn't see any passing horses and bad luck if there were, as there was no water in the trough.

From the pier.

Looking towards town. The High Rise will be there somewhere.

You perhaps know by now I like nothing better than a good rotunda, frequently and often, and in this one was music and dancing. We had such nice lunch on The Strand with so many nice looking young daddies passing by with their toddlers and older. Is it every second Sunday that is father custody access day?

Monday, July 01, 2019

Logie Laugh

I don't think i have ever voted in TV show Logie awards. the gold logie is usually won by a popular commercial tv personality. this year it was won by our ABC, the national government broadcaster, comedian tom gleeson. he kind of set out his campaign to win to send up the awards, and he did so very successfully. i thought his campaign was such a hoot, i decided to go online and vote.

i think many others then did what i did and voted in all categories for ABC tv shows and presenters, resulting in ABC cleaning up many of the awards. mind they did deserve to win but would not normally.


Sunday, June 30, 2019

my non permanent disability

a week a is too short time to adjust to being unnaturally left handed. i am somewhat bored without the full use of my hands. i miss writing and reading and commenting on your blogs, although i have began to leave short comments. pain has stopped unless it comes as a warning to not do something. the bandaging and sling will come off tuesday and all should be well with another week to heal before we fly to england.

aside from typing there is little i can't do except everything takes so long, like typing this. i had to ask r to fold a tablecloth and ball up some socks. i had a shower yesterday with my arm in a plastic bag but otherwise just sponge baths. my bedding needs changing but it will have to wait. r would do it if i asked but i should have thought ahead myself. i wasn't actually warned about how incapacitated i would be.

yesterday, friday, was a work luncheon for a few people with 25 years service and two with 40 years service, one being me. another with 46 years service has just retired. i wasn't going to attend after the leave business stuff up, but i am pleased i did. with the excuse that i can't type or write, my speech was very brief.

for 25 years service staff receive an engraved silver tray, it quickly tarnishes, and i didn't know until a couple of weeks ago, 40 years is literally a gold watch. someone a year ago found out they retail for 1500 dollars. it is very flashy and heavy and i haven't worn a watch since the mid nineties when i bought my first phone, coinciding with my skin allergy to cheap metal, in that case watch buckles and backs. i did wear it for a time last night to get it wound but it annoyed me. we are having dinner out tonight with my gay workmate and i will wear it to show off. my thoughts of selling it have been stymied by it being personally engraved. joking really. i am a wee bit proud of the recognition. before we travel i will resign from work. easy to type but i am so unsure if i am making the right decision.

my left hand is now aching with its unusual effort. bye bye.

ps. lovely dinner with my gay workmate. i will miss him at work, but we will remain personal friends.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Capitol Theatre

Melbourne's Capitol Theatre in our Swanston spine Street was rather neglected. Photos of the old Capitol Theatre from a website about the architects walter and marion burley griffin. they designed buildings all over the world, including our our federal capitol, canberra.

it has undergone a wonderful makeover by its owners, the royal melbourne institute of technology. my photo of the exterior and then city of melbourne, i think.

it doesn't have to look garish. it can look restrained.

in the late 1970s i had a date with a lass from ferntree gully. we saw the movie lipstick starring margaux hemingway at the capitol, i think daughter of ernest. afterwards she asked if we could drive to a pretty place in the dandenongs ranges to see the city lightsthat is. after asking her about her protection, we did the biz in the car. it was ok. one of my three sexual experiences with women perhaps. so long ago.

partly written before my hand became unusable. sorry for not replying to comments and for not commenting on your writings.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

One of those weekends

Yes, very social. After finishing work at 7 and dashing home, on Saturday night we dined across the road at Cafe Roscoe with our gay Fijian Indian friend and our straight female Hairdresser Friend.

R had prepared nibbles of mild blue cheese and pate at home as we had a pre dinner drink.

More wine was drunk over dinner by three of the four of us, our gay friend having to drive home.

Back home we got stuck into the Scotch while our gay friend had a cup of tea. Our gay friend got his phone Grindr going and what a hoot it was. I showed them my latest love, a Brazilian slightly dark guy with a big.........personality. We had a grand old time, rather like the old days.

In a none too subtle manner, I said to our Hairdresser Friend, there is a 3A tram in ten minutes, if you care to catch it home.

It was a good call as the evening had come to a closure point. Nevertheless, we had drank a lot and woke Sunday morning, me at 6.30 and R at 10.00 looking less that our usual gorgeous selves.

We have to function. Little Jo is on the stage at 1pm and we have an hour's journey to see her. We need food at the Scottish Takeaway Restaurant in North Geelong, and we wanted to buy flowers for Little Jo. We failed on that score. We ran out of time.

Little Jo's singing and American accent (rich American fashionista) were brilliant. She worked that out herself from YT clips and her drawly accent was a surprise to her theatre teachers. It was her final performance for that theatre group. There are new irons in the fire. We went to the nearby trendy cafe for coffee and cake and a chat afterwards and then walked back to our car and as we will be overseas when it is Little Jo's twelfth birthday, we gave her a present and card early. She was delighted with the Harry Potter Lego, god knows why.

We missed Oldest Niece's birthday lunch, but Mother managed to attend and I have seen grand photos on FB.

Sister's wife Bone Doctor's parents lead quite separate lives. I asked about D and Bone Doctor said she had received an email from her mother with a photo of she and her female travelling companion on a hotel balcony watching the gay pride march in Rome. How cool is that.

Most of this was written that night. After today's skin cancer surgery, I may be a bit thin in the world of blog for I am not sure how long. I type with all fingers and thumbs and struggle to type one fingered with my left hand.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Just a Sunday

I've been too ranty of late.

We cleaned the car at a western suburbs car wash and went on to Altona Village for a nice lunch.

Where are the photos?  Just the one. A community festival, so nice. Note the summer experiment scrubbed out pedestrian crossing at a roundabout.

The Altona Loop train is mostly a single track train and it is a great way to get to Altona Village, but the train line is very problematic, with many cancellations  It is such an easy option for Metro Trains to cancel trains on the Altona Loop.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Ignoring Falou

Sorry about the banging on about this, but I was not always a bitter old queen. I was once a young gay teenager and I can imagine what Benji has suffered. This is Benji. His parents have withdrawn him from his government secondary school because of homophobic bullying and will home school him. You don't even have to be gay as a teenager to suffer homophobic bullying. You only have to not conform to the sports playing stereotype. Photo from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Benji's parents were told by the school that he was overly sensitive.........yeah, and??? (verification required for this) Does that mean overly sensitive children should be bullied. But I don't blame the school too much. Most schools try to do their best about bullying, but none should ever ignore it.

So this homophobic bullying comes from parental attitudes and general community attitudes.

You may well think best just to ignore cockhead homophobic footballer Israel Falou when he posts anti gay material on Twitter, but think again. As an admired top football player, Falou's behaviour influences the views of young people and while I am not accusing him of encouraging violence, that is what ends up happening when impressionable young people hear his views. If Falou was a brave man, he would take on the debate that gay comedian Joel Creasey has challenged him to but even better, sit down and talk with Benji and hear what he has to say. Bullies usually go to water when confronted by their victims. Photo of Joel from news.com.au

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Is this true?

I expect this was posted in some racist rant and I chopped off the offensive part of it, but isn't it rather disturbing, if true.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Go Fund Me

I was going to say that I am very time poor at the moment and don't have time to post, and I am actually. This will soon change, like next week. I will explain later. Seems I found time anway.

Homophobic prick Israel Folau has started a fundraising campaign for his legal challenge against his sacking by Rugby Australia because of his homophobic and other inappropriate comments on social media. Fools and their money are soon parted and within hours hundreds of thousands of dollars had been raised for his action at the Fair Work Commission. Never mind that he has earnt millions of dollars each year as rugby player. He is hardly poor, yet has brought rats out of the woodwork who are contributing to the attack on Rugby Australia and ipso facto, an attack on gay people. It is quite simple, he breached the Rugby Australia social media policy, he was warned, he repeated it, he was warned again. He was unrepentant and refused to take down the nasty Tweet and so was sacked. That is what social media policy at workplaces is about. This is not about his religious views or opinions. It is about social media and your workplace.

Meanwhile in Western Australia a young lass has cancer and a fundraising campaign has been set up for her treatment. Instinct kicks in and you think, she is far more deserving of crowdfunding than Folau's legal action. Well yes, but no. While judgements might be made about surgery for old people in Australia, not really based on money, but more on outcomes, there is no expense spared by our healthcare system for a child with cancer. While there can be some adventurous treatments available overseas, and some doctors here, like the controversial Dr Charlie Teo who will step outside of standard clinical practice and cost a bomb, and our health system is far from perfect, a child will receive the best care and treatment possible in hospitals in Australia, and generally much loving by staff.

We refused to donate to a good friend's nephew's fund raising campaign after he had a car accident when he was being irresponsible and we knew that he would be well looked after by his state car accident insurance system. This Go Fund Me money raising is rubbish in Australia and Go Fund Me should be there to save opera, old buildings, digitising historical records, protesting against poor government decisions.

 A new one popped up today on Twitter, to fund raise for an organisation to help young people determine what their pay should be and if they are being cheated by employers. It seems to be kind of like an advice line. Sounds good? Hello??? The government already funds one of those and I know someone who has used it with success. It was called Wage Line, but may have a different name now.

There are lots of places where your pounds, dollars and shekels could be donated but don't waste your money on people like the very rich religious bigoted arsehole Folau, or things that we taxpayers already pay for.

Maybe I should set up a fundraiser to write my most excellent blog posts? Except, it doesn't cost me anything and I enjoy doing it.  But you can pay me if you like.

Later edit: Courtesy of our Senator neighbour, Folau drives a Lamborghini with a purchase price of over $500,000.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Annoying partner habits

R says he does not read my blog as his memory of things does not match mine and his view of things is different. I wish I had never told him that I have one as I am not sure if he is being truthful, but I think he is.

Annoying partner habits... He coughs too loudly when in the car to to the point where it nearly deafens me. I did mention it once to him and it became quieter, but has now reverted to being too loud but I can cope as he doesn't cough too much.

In conversations with people he repeats himself, to make a point I suppose, and he cares little about accuracy or correct names etc. He is outgoing and gregarious and I am not. My contact with my family, aside from Sister because R barely tolerates her, is mostly via R.

What annoys me the most, and I think it comes from early internalised childhood homophobia, is that he is not a gentle person with things. He shuts doors loudly, he slings his seatbelt off and it crashes into the interior of the car. He forces our apartment door to close against the self closing mechanism. He may make a beautiful dish for a party, with his excellent intuitive cooking skills, and with exquisite presentation, yet he will fling it down on a table to the point where it could be spoilt. Just something I made, he will say. You can't be gay if you are so butch and rough with things.

I am used to all these things and no big deal. But what I am not used to is him half singing, la la la lah. Dah dah dah dah. A single line from a song, half sung  with some words wrong and repeated endlessly. It began recently and I don't know why. It's driving me mad. I know it will be hurtful (think WWIII) if I say to him can you stop doing that, and now as therapeutic to me is writing, I have come up with a solution that focuses on the positive, as R always tells me I should do. Come on hon. Don't half sing, belt it out. I would not mind that at all.

Of course it goes without saying that I am absolutely perfect and I have no annoying habits at all.

If your husband/partner does not read or know of your blog, do tell me what are their annoying habits.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Settling of Contents

That used to be a warning on cereal boxes, some settling of contents may occur, meaning your cereal box may not be full to the brim. I understood that, a shaking down.

No such warning that I saw came on the 3kg container of Vanish, formerly known as Napi-San, a product sold here by Reckitt Benckiser, perhaps formerly Reckitt Coleman, a world wide multinational giant.

I have helpfully put a mark on our new container of Vanish, where the level of detergent reaches in the container. Some considerable settling of contents has happened, like nearly half the container. Too much time on my hands? I did weigh it and it was over its advertised 3kg weight.

Nevertheless, I see it as false marketing and much more plastic is used than is required, and isn't plastic a huge problem in this 21st century. My 2018 pretty blue and strong South African water bottle is in the background. I haven't bought a bottle of water since. In Australia and New Zealand, I've just kept topping it up with tap water, as I will do in Britain. I just have to make sure it is empty when I go through Border Security in various countries.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

And the date is?

I recently came across a couple of interesting maps. The first I found on a Twitter thread by Michael Donohoe in which he says "Comprehensive map of countries which use the date format (in red) MM DD YYYY". Areas in white use DD MM YYYY or YYYY MM DD.

As you can see from the map, it is only one country that uses the MM DD YYYY and even then I believe the military use the DD MM YYYY (That could be dangerous with #45 in charge of the buttons). Does in matter? Oh yes, it certainly does. 09/10/2019 to most of the world is the ninth of October. To the US it is tenth of September.

More than once when booking holidays I have become alarmed when the date format was different and thought I had made a grave error.

If the US doesn't want to fall into step with the rest of the world it could at least use YYYY MM DD, which is used in some parts of the world. There is no confusion here because as soon as you see the year first, you known that is followed by the month and date.

One tweeter said it is map of countries using the right date format. A follow up tongue in cheek reply was, Can't believe how the world could be so wrong and so stubborn about it.

As another wit in the Twitter thread said, it also is comprehensive map of countries that put a man on the moon.

Another said it is a comprehensive map of countries that use zip codes, rather than postal codes.

I'll save the other pillory the US map for another day. You might guess what it is about though. Sorry you US people, I know you can't individually change what you are very used to.

Later: I have since learnt that it is terrible mess in Canada, with both formats being used. I am sure a Canadian will explain.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Monday Mural

It is nothing too wonderful and I have no idea now where it is. But painting on such a large scale amazes me. Hey, I posted something. So there.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

A Brunswick Street Stroll

This should perhaps be called a Brunswick Street Memoir.

Although I am very much a south of the river person, I quite like Brunswick Street, Fitzroy to the north of the river and we have visited the street many times but not so much lately. It is the natural home of the bearded hipster and the more 'interesting' people in our society. Even now as it has become an expensive area to reside, it still had the alternative feel.

In the early nineties I used to go there for lunch with a former workmate who was then a 'receptionist' in a brothel. I believe the gay equivalent is 'towel boy'. It was called The Angel and the dyke who owned and ran it was very nice to us. My friend for a couple of years pretended she was a dyke and knew how to flirt with dykes.

We had an absolutely wonderful lunch once with our Brother Friends at a place called Red Tongue?, our outdoor table surrounded by tables of minimally dressed hot European and Middle Eastern men. We didn't know where to look as we were overwhelmed with air redolent of straight male testosterone. It too has long gone.

We took Hippie Niece at about the age of 16 to Madame Sousatzkas for lunch and she was most impressed with the staff in in frilly short black dresses with lacy white aprons, and she also liked that the female staff wore them too. It has also gone.

I can't remember why but a couple of times we went there at night with friends, perhaps the early nineties, and parked at a place called the Bullring. I really can't remember what that was about.

Another time we were invited to a party by a gay couple we knew who lived in the parallel Fitzroy Street. It was nice old modernised two storey Victorian period house. We hung and chatted to the guys we knew in the kitchen but none us of missed that there was nude male spa bathing happening within our view. That was fine. Eventually we decided to look around the house and went upstairs and my goodness, what was happening in a very large dark room full of men even made my hair curl. We were at a gay orgy party. We descended the stairs with alacrity, not that we disapproved, but it was just so unexpected. We had no idea. The song, You'll Always Find Me in the Kitchen at Parties comes to mind, and we returned to the kitchen.

Now after a writing break I remember them. One was called David, an incomprehensible Scot who worked as a geologist for overseas companies and hence was away from home for extended periods.  The other was John, an Australian born person I think. They opened a bar called Jocks in I think Peel Street off Smith Street in Collingwood that went on to become Gay Trade Bar. It was a good venue. I know I've done this before but I forget. The same premises was once a posh restaurant and former  conservative politician Andrew Peacock and American actor Shirley MaClaine had something to do with it. Glo Glos?

After we moved to The Highrise in the early 2000s, we still went to Brunswick Street to have a cheap hair cuts at GI Joe's. There was a modern post office opposite and to my surprise when I went in to buy stamps, a gay former workmate was behind the counter. We exchanged phone numbers and neither of us called each other. He was also known to our friend who died last year. Both GI Joe's and the post office have gone.

Well, as R says, I live in the past. Not quite true, as I recently visited Brunswick Street and it struck me that there are so many.....things on roofs above shops.

It was before Easter and in spite of the advertising in the shop, I couldn't find an Easter egg for R. I Guggled and found my secret new Easter egg place in Church Street, Richmond, which is where I went on to after Brunswick Street.

Don't lie to to me. You know very well that with these radios you had to wait for the valves to warm up before the radio would come on. Yes, transistors were around in your youth, but valve radios were part of your childhood.

How cool.

A naked baby above a shop that has closed down. One can only imagine.

Shifty people can be very nice, as the steal from your pocket.

Is it a Friesian cow?

A tasteful more modern building among all the old Victorian period falling down buildings.

It looks a bit like a clock.

Polyester was an iconic place. Looks like it has gone now.

Has to be something to do with hairdressing.

The Brunswick Street streetscape hasn't been attacked too badly, with plenty of nice old buildings remaining.

I couldn't decide which of these photos to use.

Not all businesses come and go, with the excellent and popular cafe Black Cat surviving for over three decades.

I chose to have coffee at Marios, almost unchanged for over three decades.

Later edit: Two other businesses that have been in Brunswick Street for a long time, Fitzroy Nursery, a plant nursery and Lucrezia & De Sade. While I've looked in the window, I didn't quite realise what the shop stocked. Oh my!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Corkman Hotel

I thought I wrote about it at the time, but it seems not. Two developers, Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski , illegally demolished the historic 1856 Corkman Hotel on the edge of the city in the inner suburb of Carlton. They left asbestos exposed to be blown around by the wind, and then illegally dumped asbestos in an outer western area at two sites. The covering over of the remaining debris was perfunctory.

The community was outraged. Our State Government thundered that the two would be severely punished, would have to rebuild the pub and would not profit from the illegal demolition. The 'contrite' developers promised to rebuild the hotel.

The developers have been fined $1.3 million but planning laws will allow them to build an up to 12 storey new apartment building by about 2021 after an ok by our State Planning Minister. 12 storeys is not going to sit well in the low rise area. To developers $1.3 million is a minor expense in making millions by building a twelve storey apartment building. If you don't think these two pieces of scum didn't know what they were doing, think again. They knew there would be consequences and were prepared to wear them to make a killing with a property development in a prime location. 

Shame on our State Government Planning Minister Richard Wyne, shame, shame, shame.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Getting Lucky (no, I didn't)

I haven't put up any Red Army Choir covering Daft Punk songs of late. Here they are in a radio studio which took a little tracking down. It is French Station NRJ, Nouvelle Radio Jeune, and usually referred to as Energy. Nyet. It is in Moscow and I suspect a branch of the Paris station. It is curious to me that a US? rapper is the DJ.

Aren't they impossibly clean cut and I reckon one of the lead singers is particularly cute. I don't think you will have any problem working out each one.

Fun and happy music, nice.

Thursday, June 13, 2019


A conversation overheard on a tram between two about 13 year old private schoolboys in Melbourne's salubrious and tree lined eastern suburbs.

"Your dad is a doctor. Have you ever seen a bad doctor?"

"I think my dad is a really good doctor. No, I haven't seen a bad doctor. I see a friend of my dad's."

"I saw a bad one once. He was totally lacking in interpersonal and communication skills."

I don't think I could stop my eyes from rolling.

Here is a photo of a couple of private school boys on a tram.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Note to self

Not too many extra tours to take during our UK tour. Dublin music and dancing sounds like fun and I expect drinks will be involved. Beatles tour in Liverpool might be interesting.

I don't want to catch anything, so I will watch others kiss the Blarney Stone.

WTF is Giant's Causeway in Northern Island. I guess we will find out. During our NZ cruise, this was highly recommended to us.

It will take only about four minutes longer using the Piccadilly Line to get to our hotel in London rather than the Heathrow Express, and much cheaper. It would take much longer in a taxi or Uber. We have no idea what credit we have on our Oyster Cards, but I expect very little. We will need to top them up before travelling. (Must check out foreign transaction fees for Uber) Buses from Greenwich North Station to our hotel are confusing but there are lots of them.

Ah, whiskey tasting in Scotland. Just the one thanks. Ok, if you insist.......

Money worked out. We will use our bank's travel card and take some notes. We are four days in Ireland and will need Euro. We haven't worked that out yet.

Phone data card worked out, Vodafone. Will buy at Heathrow. I think 40gb for £30. But it won't work in Ireland. We will worry about that at the time. Maybe hunt for free wifi or perhaps there is cheap data card to buy there.

We are taking a day trip to Brighton and will probably come back as gays. Great kudos to you if you know what that reference is about. Half an hour to London Bridge from our hotel to catch the train to Brighton. We will allow an hour and maybe have time for coffee.

R wants to see the changing of the Palace Guard. I have worked on that. Get there early.  I want to see the dropped aitches at Soho Square, and perhaps go to a sleazy Soho gay bar. Again, well done if you know the reference about dropped aitches. Perhaps easier than coming back from Brighton as gays.

Called in sick to work today and I am seeing my doctor tomorrow. In spite of a change of medication my blood pressure is through the roof. Such a shame that I should be on long service leave but am not,  and all these medical issues would be dealt with within my leave. Instead I am constantly having to use work paid sick leave to address my medical issues.

I have another medical appointment next week, another day sick leave from work.

Later edit: Also recommended to us in Northern Ireland is the Titanic Museum. We may have some free time there to see that.

Later edit: Actor Liz Smith played Nana in The Royle Family and she knew someone who went to Brighton and 'came back a gay'. From  a song sung by the Henry Higgins character in My Fair Lady, 'see  them all in Soho Square, dropping aitches everywhere', in reference to how they speak.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019


Work is horrible. I should be on leave before I retire but I was forced back to work. My and two others 40 years of service are to be celebrated by a luncheon later this month. I was going to refuse to attend. But then one of the others with forty years service really asked me to attend, and he said, we are getting watches! I haven't worn one for years as I am allergic to metal on my skin and who needs one now when I can touch my phone screen and see the time, or even have it permanently displayed.

Of course some people like watches on their wrists to check their email.

It has been a stressful few weeks back at work, annoyingly so but not like the stress where you kill yourself.

It all came to a head on Saturday night when over a bottle of Scotch we shared, R and I sorted the world and then complicated it. We argued, we nitpicked and we went to bed drunk after a bang on argument about which neither of us I think can recall. We normally have such good self control. I can't speak for R, but I slept too late, was way behind on my social www connections and my thinking was below par. I wasn't game to check my blood pressure.

I cast my mind back to 2017 when we were travelling on the train weekly to Heidelberg to see Hippie Niece who was pregnant with the twins. Once she gets through this pregnancy and they are born healthy, all will be well. Little did we know.

Speaking of parenthood, you don't often hear it from a dad's perspective. I would rather like Adam's wife to write about how she felt and dealt with a new baby. Nevertheless, I think this read about being a new dad is really good. Of particular note is what he says about breastfeeding.

So, back in 2017 when going to see Hippie Niece in hospital, we stopped off at Victoria Park Station and bought new LED lamps from Beacon Lighting for our over counter lights in the kitchen. They came with a three year warranty. Two weeks ago one began to flicker and then Sunday morning the other on went out.

We pulled the first light out with no problem but had some difficulty with the second. Brain fail number one, R said part of the fitting was bent and he would straighten it with pliers. It snapped. At the back of my brain I knew it was cast aluminium and cannot be bent. So we now need new light fittings as well as new LEDs.

Off by tram to Beacon Lighting in St Kilda. We bought new fittings, and received spare LED lamps as warranty replacement for the failed lamps.

We went on to Acland Street for lunch at Cafe 95, I think it is called. Acland Street is a place to lunch where you put your phone down on the table because the passing parade is far more interesting than what might be on your phone screen. We both walked away from the cafe without the new lamps. Brain fail number 2. We didn't get far before I remembered them and retrieved the bag.

We went to the supermarket to buy some bread mix for the bread maker as it was one of the rare occasions I had cooked our evening meal, pea and ham soup, and I have down to two days rather than three. It was really good, accompanied by the home made bread, albeit from a packet mix. Our bread making machine is old, but it does a good job. We eschewed margarine and slapped lovely soft and salty butter on the still warm bread. It is rare for me to eat too much, but I ate too much soup and bread and felt bloated afterwards.

Once home we realised the new light fittings came with standard plugs, not bare wires to connect them. Oh, we need our electrician. Brain fail number 3. We will have a little rest lying on our beds and it came to R. We just need to buy female plugs and connect them for the new male plugs to fit into. Out in the motor car this time to the big green hardware shed and bought said plugs. We connected them up (that sounds so easy. It wasn't for a 62 and 70 year old up on a ladder) and we are so pleased with the new lamps, that come with a 5 year warranty. They look so modern, unlike the old units, which were new a few years ago.

I was looking forward to a relaxing day. It wasn't. Nevertheless, achievement. R called Ex Sis in Law, as her husband's mother is dying at around the age of 88. It was in her home when she was a young newish wife that the Philip Morris cigarette dispensing machine was installed, along with the pay tv to view and to pay off the tv.

Meanwhile Mother called. Can R come Wednesday instead of Thursday? The muscle man is only in my town on Thursday and I have an appointment with him. R reluctantly said yes, reluctant because he does not want her to manipulate him more than she does.

I could have gone with him, but I have a doctor's appointment that day to have a week of stress leave from work.

I only feel like I am going slightly mad.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Tune into 4 Corners

I expect Victoria Police's Special Operations Group is really going to get it in the neck tonight by ABC TV's 4 Corners for not stopping the murderer James Gargasoulas rampage that began with stabbing his brother nearly to death and this mowing down people in the city with a motor car. SOG refused to assist to arrest him.

Yet the SOG badly injured a gay guy who feared he was being attacked in his home by intruders, a case of mistaken identity.

In another case of mistaken identity, SOG broke the jaw of an innocent Indian student as they arrested him. He received an undisclosed amount of compensation.

At best, the very expensive organisation could be said to be incompetent.

Monday Mural

Sydney has its Harbour Bridge and Opera House and both make Sydney instantly recognisable.

Melbourne doesn't have anything like those grand structures. Although limited to the free tourist City Circle route, which is now more like a saucepan with a handle, we do still have our old W Class trams.

Anyone my age and even younger will have stories to tell about our old trams. For better or worse, they are the best symbol for Melbourne we have, and no, the Arts Centre Spire won't do at all.

I came across this rather wide mural in Gallaghers Place in the city. I really like it and hope you do too.

I couldn't see the artist's name. This is a bit like Melbourne Town Hall but only a little. Maybe it is a real building I don't know about. What is the artist trying to say as greenery seems to grow over these iconic symbols? We are all doomed as nature will destroy us and what we love to save itself? We humans are terrible at being proactive at looking after our environment, and as follows, ourselves, but we are rather good at solving problems. Have faith.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

The Freshwater

Sydney's First Fleet Ferries were under threat of replacement. Dating from the mid 1980s and built in their home state of New South Wales, they have been saved and will continue in operation.

Alexander is a First Fleet ferry and they are named after the ships that arrived in Australia as the first fleet of ships from Portsmouth to Sydney Cove. But tourists and Sydney day trippers don't care too much for the First Fleet Ferries. Not their business. Nevertheless, the state government has decided to upgrade them and the annual Australia Day race between the First Fleet ferries on Sydney Harbour will continue.

While government owned, Sydney Ferries is operated by the French giant Transdev. Transdev in Melbourne is on the nose with the public and certainly with the state government. It has not acquitted itself well as a private bus operator in Melbourne.

On I think Easter Monday, Sydney Ferries carried the most passengers it ever has. The weather was fine and warm and it was a public holiday. The busiest ferry would have been the ferry to Manly, an obligatory trip for us when we visit Sydney and for many. Even local people like to make the trip to Manly by ferry.

The Freshwater class of ferries makes the trip from Circular Quay to Manly and what  a great ferry they are. As a commuter and tourist ferry, it is a large beast, capable of carrying 1200 people and often doing so. It has air conditioning in the large interior seating area and various open decks at the side and fore and aft on a couple of decks. While once the staff could be a bit rough around the edges, they seem quite professional now. Harbour ferries are part of Sydney's public transport system, so it not expensive to use. They are fast, comfortable and being double ended, efficient. Summer days, the Manly Ferry can have figures of transporting 45,000 people a day.

It will be a sad day when Transdev retires them next year (really? Transdev is paying for the new ferries?) and they are replaced with a slightly faster but smaller modern ferry operating to a more frequent schedule. Don't you love how governments when contracting out operations can blame or lay responsibility to the private company, when in this case, I am sure the NSW taxpayers will be paying for the new ferries.

Meanwhile in a Scandinavian country, ferries are being upgraded to being powered by electric motors, with batteries charged while they are moored at ferry terminals.

Why not do that with the Freshwater Class of ferry?

For whatever reason and odd as it seems, the New South Wales' motoring organisation had set up a rival smaller but faster ferry service to Manly. Very strange indeed. But local Manly people like the faster service.

I've put this photo up before, and I like the photo, showing a smaller First Fleet ferry and the larger Manly Freshwater class. Save the Manly Freshwater class ferry, please. We like 'em big and we know their times. Speed is not everything and certainly not for tourists.

This post is a bit boring, so I will chuck in a few more Sydney ferry photos. The First Fleet ferry,  Scarborough. 

First Fleet ferry,  Friendship.

I remain puzzled as to why a motoring organisation club runs a ferry service in competition with Harbour City Ferries.