Friday, January 18, 2019

Are Melbourne's bridges safe?

Those of us who live in Victoria, and perhaps much of Australia and are of a certain age will remember the tragedy of West Gate Bridge falling down as it was being built, with so many killed and injured.

I am often given to wonder about the strength of Princes Bridge, when umpteen trams and cars are sitting on the bridge. It is of arch construction, and probably very strong and checked for soundness often. Now concrete blocks are to be added to the edge of the paths for more security against those who would damage people with their cars.

But what about other bridges, especially bridges where trams cross railway lines. I saw one speed restriction sign, then another. I investigated further and went out and took photos.

I came across some other tram speed restriction signs too.

I know St Kilda Junction was strengthened just a few years ago, when new tram track was laid. It is now in such a perilous state that trams can only crawl at 15 km/h, say 10mph. Seems like it it is, as per photo. It was only built in the mid 1960s.

This bridge over the railway line in Glenferrie Road, Malvern. Is it safe? It is at least 100 years old.

This one in in Wattletree Road, Armadale is probably the same age.

With a very similar style of construction, I expect this bridge in Malvern Road, Toorak is the same age too.

I have since noticed a further old bridge over Gardiners Creek,  Glenferrie Road, Kooyong. It looks quite old too and has a 15 km/h limit for trams.

Are they safe? It seems Yarra Trams does not think so. Is it the private tram company acting on its own knowledge that these bridges are unsafe for trams or has this come from Public Transport Victoria or from VicRoads? What do they know that we are not being told? Will tram passengers end up in a creek or on a railway line in front of an express train when a bridge collapses?

Never mind that we are told we already have one of the slowest tram systems in the world, and it has just become a whole lot slower.

I wonder if the media might be interested in this? Either the bridges are safe or they are not. I did note aside from St Kilda Junction that not one tram at any of the other bridges slowed to 15 km/h. To me that smacks of managers having a tram driver to blame should the worst case happen. Keep the pressure on for on time performance, or the company gets fined, yet slow trams to impractical speeds, if it is the case that these bridges are safe. How can we know?

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Stupid old man #563

After yesterday's huge post, something light and easy for today.

Little Jo is back from the scout jamboree, tired but she enjoyed herself very much. Sister bought theatre tickets for R and Little Jo to see the musical School of Rock while her mothers' attended the Australian Open tennis.  They both loved the show. I was at work. R cooked us all a very nice dinner, well, the day before and it just had to be browned in the oven and the vegetables cooked. Little Jo made patty cakes for us all for desert.

Before R and Little Jo left to have lunch and then go to the theatre, I was home for lunch and I said, hang on, I will look on the net at your seats to see how good they are. I was studying the seating plan of the theatre intently and it wasn't making much sense to me. Where the eff are their seats?

"Auntie Andrew", said Little Jo with a rather annoyingly superior tone to her voice, "You are looking at the seating plan for Her Majesty's Theatre in London".

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Comparing Canadian Health Care

I am not sure this is as good as I want it to be, but publish and be damned.

I won't say any more about American health care aside from it being deplorable but a little improved by Obama when he was President. It did mean that some middle class people had to pay more for private health insurance and more less well off people received better care, if they could take out health insurance.

But let us compare Canada to Australia for medical care. Both are very confusing and complicated but they generally work well enough most of the time. Here is an edited  of what Jackie in Toronto sent me when I asked her about Canadian health care.

Americans don't know a lot about our healthcare and yet they say they don't want it. I don't understand this. (Me either)

Jim Carrey, a Canadian, explains this perfectly.
Here is a video featuring him and another Canadian explaining our system.

It's quite long but a few minutes will give you the idea. It helps that the presenter is a good speaker and rather attractive. No, not the bloke with Jim Carrey. 

Canada's provincially based Medicare systems (I am alert and alarmed at multiple Medicare systems. We have one federal one) are cost-effective because of their administrative simplicity. In each province, each doctor handles the insurance claim against the provincial insurer. There is no need for the person who accesses healthcare to be involved in billing and reclaim at all. (So, it does not cost to go to the doctor in Canada) The Canada Health Act does not cover prescription drugs, home care or long-term care or dental care (same here), which means most Canadians rely on private insurance from their employers or the government to pay for those costs (private health insurance paid by employers has happened here but it is a matter of history). Provinces provide partial coverage for children, those living in poverty and seniors.
Under the Canada Health Act, prescription drugs administered in Canadian hospitals are provided at no cost to the patient. (the same in Australia. If our medication is on the Public Benefit Subscription list, it will cost health care card holders, that is pensioners, unemployed etc about $5. It will cost wage earning people like me up to a maximum of about $35).
A health card is issued by the Provincial Ministry of Health to each individual who enrolls for the program in the province and everyone receives the same level of care. There is no need for a variety of plans because virtually all essential basic care is covered, including maternity but excluding mental health and home care. (Of course maternity is covered here. Mental health, technically yes, practically, not very well. Home care is an absolute mess, but in theory paid for from taxes with a co-contribution).

Canadians don’t pay coinsurance of 30 percent or 50 percent if they have an outpatient procedure or go to an urgent care clinic, charges that are becoming increasingly common in the States. They don’t worry about paying a gigantic bill if they happen to use an out-of-network doctor or hospital. The publicly funded system north of the border bases patients’ access to medical services on need, not on the ability to pay. (This is good, and much as it is here).
We have two walk-in clinics within a block of our place, simply walk-in, swipe your card and you are seen. No money involved. Need a tetanus shot, no problem. Need a shingles shot, there is a free shot over the age of 50, or you could opt to pay for a newer, more effective shot that will cost you about $200, but we are covered with our insurance plans. (While we do have private health insurance here, so far as I know nothing will cover you for the superior shingles shot. You do get the basic shingles shot after a certain age, perhaps 65.)

I, personally have never paid for any medical services. I've had a couple of operations as has John. I've had two hospital stays, John has had more, appendix, gall bladder, toe, kidney stones, no cost to us.
We have two walk in clinics (As Mother uses and sees the same doctor each time. It is a bulk billing clinic. The cost is paid by the federal government. I have my own doctor, who charges me about $75 and I am reimbursed about $37 by the government.)

Because it’s publicly funded, Canadian health care is more equitable. There’s no such thing as buying a platinum plan and getting first-rate coverage or a cheapo bronze policy and paying 60 percent of the bill yourself. We have American friends and they talk about how glad they are that they have these “platinum” plans. (Of course the health care coverage for the rich and the middle class in the US is ok. That is why there is not a rebellion)
Prescription drug coverage is a different thing. Drug benefits are quite unequal in Canada, and the lack of them is a pretty big hole for about 10 percent of the population. There is no universal drug benefit, although two provinces have mandatory drug insurance you can get it from an employer or buy it from a public plan. About 40 percent of the population gets coverage from their employers.(I am thinking our prescription medicine system is better, but perhaps not by much)
John and I are extremely lucky to have medical and dental insurance plans from our employers that continue even after we retired. (No such thing as dental in Australia. While there is public dental care, you can wait years)
Not all Canadians are that lucky. If you can’t afford the premium, there are subsidies. (Subsidised private health insurance? As far as I know everyone who has private health insurance in Australia receives a subsidy)
You qualify for the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program when you turn 65 years old. (Same here, I think)
Jackie added a little more.
When it comes to a family doctor you can find one you like if she/he is still taking patients. I have my own ophthalmologist and GP. GPs are easy to get an appointment with and dates/times can be worked out. They will refer you to specialists and it make take a month or two to get an appointment with the specialist but it is manageable. (Very much as here.)
I mentioned walk in clinics close to us and they are easy to find anywhere around the city, every few blocks in fact. Bulk billing clinics here, walk in and wait and no cost to you.

Hospital emergency rooms are crowded and waits are long. But then some people are stupid and go there for the littlest thing instead of using a walk-in. (Same here, and trivial problems cause much delay. As happens here, in Canada you would be triaged by a qualified person. If you stubbed your toe and are seeking treatment, expect just about everyone else to be be seen first. Accident victims with serious injuries, heart attack victims, etc will all be dealt with before you with your sore toe.)

Thanks for the info Jackie. I conclude neither your system nor ours compare as well to what is the system generally in Europe or dare I say it, even Britain, but are vastly superior to the US system. In both Canada and Australia, if you have a serious medical problem, you will be treated for free. Less serious problems, you may have to wait for a while.

We have had some experience of our system over the last year. We have top hospital cover private health insurance, and so used it. We are about $4000 out of pocket. This is so wrong.

We have learnt a lesson. Our twin friend who died from cancer had the best of care at little cost to him for over four years in the public hospital system. We should have used the public hospital system and saved $4000. There may have been a wait. We wouldn't be able to choose our appointment time, we wouldn't be able to choose who did the surgery, but what we would get would be the best of care by a very efficient public hospital and also a top surgeon or a junior supervised by a top surgeon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


A dated graphic.

But why is my state of Victoria along with Tasmania, so far behind the eight ball?

As a youngun I remember taking Marchants Lemonade bottles back to shops to receive five cents for the return. Why did it stop and why don't we do it now? A chap used to turn up at the farm every so often to remove beer bottles and pay us for them.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Let it Begin

Have you made your cucumber sandwiches? Have you poured yourself a Pimms? The strawberries are hulled for later? Sit down and stay cool/warm enjoy the Australian Open coming to you from Melbourne. Err, if Rupert allows you.

I may even watch a little myself.

Monday Mural

This mural is on the side of a nightclub. I was wrong. It was the next laneway. It was once a gay club called Virgin Marys and the Catholic Church protested loudly. The name was eventually contracted to VMs. That was many years ago and it is now a straight nightclub.

Some words come to mind as I look at the photo. Jazz, speakeasy, prohibition, black American rights, bars cloudy with smoke, police corruption. There can be an awful lot to read into what seems a simple mural.

Unfortunately it has been tagged and I could not find the name of the artist. I really like it. It is a a narrow lane and I only had my phone camera to use.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

A Friday Day Orf Pt 2

We were in town by 11, had some nice brunch, mine being poached eggs on lime flavoured smashed avocado on toast, only $8.50, not the politicians' $22 smashed avocado,  and I had my hair cut. We shopped for a birthday card and then R went off to buy a pair of loafers, or boat shoes. He hates me calling them those names. I don't know the right name for them. They are blue runners, or sandshoes. I left him to it to buy his shoes, which he didn't, and I returned home briefly.

It was quite hot today, so I was looking out for air con trams and succeeded pretty well. I caught a 67 tram to St Kilda Junction, took photos. Then a non air con 3 tram to Beacon Lighting in St Kilda Road, St Kilda to return a $12 light bulb that did not fit our lamp.

Then a 16 tram to Malvern Station for a photo stop, and then walk in the heat to the Wattletree Road train bridge, and then a decent walk to a 605 bus stop at Union Street and Kooyong Roads. Everyone knows a diagonal is quicker to walk than a right angle. Why can't you walk behind Malvern Central shopping centre on a path from Glenferrie Road to Wattletree Road? You could, if you were prepared to gamble with traffic and ignore the 'no pedestrians' warning signs. I did not rebel and walked in the hot sun, fortunately shaded by my new and very wide brimmed hat from historic City Hatters.

I took photos at Wattletree Road and then walked on diagonally this time along the railway line, with the street only interrupted by a nice little kiddies park, where I sat on a bench in the shade for a few minutes.

I have reached Kooyong Road now and I am waiting for the bus. I take my photos and have a brief chat to the customer service person at the bus stop. She is there to organise passengers for the bus replacement of the train line while works are done.

The 605 bus arrives to take me to the corner of Orrong and Malvern Roads where I take more photos. I have to wait twelve minutes for the 72 tram to Prahran. Once in Prahran I dash down Chapel Street to get a couple of things and I am back in the time for the next 72 tram home twelve minutes later. I dashed because the next tram had air con. I was getting very hot and bothered.

Does that all sound hard? Maybe. I used three different public transport apps and I knew exactly when, where and which bus/tram would arrive. I also had a bit of time to read a book and gaze around public transport vehicles at attractive young men and stylish older women, as well as just looking out the windows at the streets. While I and matters tech have been long time companions, I really don't understand why young people are so needy about using public transport and don't or won't use phone apps.

Here are some of the photos from today. There are photos I took of some things that seriously concern me, but I can't confirm the concern until after the train works have finished, so I won't show them yet.

Infrastructure, we have new infrastructure. Badly needed and very overdue.

Does this mean the express train can go faster? Especially when the new Metro Tunnel service begins?

As I said, it was a hot day and the workers must have been feeling the heat. I am on the city side of  Malvern Station.

A bit of Art Deco. So far as I can remember, this clock has never worked. A friend used to own the restaurant next door, now Sugo. When my friend had the Thai restaurant, Melbourne foodie identity Matt Preston gave it a lukewarm review and wondered how it made money. I emailed Preston and told him how the quite large restaurant made money, because it could cater for huge groups, the food was of a high standard (a bit expensive) did a roaring trade in take away and both my friend and his wife were hands on people who didn't mind doing the dirty work, as well as front of house. Preston sent me a polite reply, thanking me for the information.

I don't know how well it will show, but the new copper overhead cables were glistening in the sunlight. I too was glistening, with sweat.

Wires, staunchions, supports, signals, all new.

What is this thing glimpsed through the trees called, love? 

I have absolutely no idea. It just before Armadale Station, citybound. Marcus? Is it to knock train surfers off the top of trains?

Looking north west to Armadale Station.

On the city side of Toorak Station.

The much slicker and stylish blogger Daniel Bowen has some photos of the works happening near South Yarra Station.

PS. If you are a reader of Cro's blog, who lives in France, you will know that his much loved dog Bok died suddenly. We will let Cro mourn his loss in peace but hope he will be back in blogland soon. I kinda miss him, quite a bit.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

A Friday Day Orf Pt 1

Our digital radio that sits atop our fridge stopped working. It used to sit on our bench but so many tall buildings have risen around us, it started to lose reception. With a digital radio, the signal either works or it doesn't. I called Our ABC tech people and they told me we were a marginal area for digital reception anyway, a mere three kilometres from the city centre and with line of site of television towers on Mount Dandenong. We found it works fine atop the fridge. I have wiggled the power wire at the back of it in the past to get it to work, but R was quite correct. It was where it was plugged into, a power board that was the problem. We kind of knew we would have to do this. We use the power board because it has flat wall plug and so our fridge doesn't stick out more than it has to. As well as the radio, the fridge and microwave are plugged into the power board.

We hauled the fridge out, cleaned the floor and skirting boards, added an extension lead to connect the microwave and the power board and instead of hanging beside the fridge and after being visible beside the fridge, now sits atop the fridge, hidden behind the radio and other things.

Not a bad achievement in our dressing gowns before 9.30. We were both wearing underwear, so nothing hanging about.

Aside from dust, there wasn't much to be found under the fridge, two pieces of broken crockery, a blue flower arranging bead and a couple of very dried up formerly frozen peas.

Friday, January 11, 2019


A wall separates R and myself when we sleep, a less than soundproof wall. At least if he is snoring, he is alive. It's when I don't hear him snoring I worry.

There is the very old Great Wall of China, and the more recent Hadrians Wall in England. There was a wall in Berlin, dividing the city between East and West Germany. Walls are to divide things, or to keep people in or out.

Australia doesn't have border walls. We are an island and our borders fiercely protected by our conservative government against refugee boat people. While I am quite open to discussing our refugee intake, I do believe that our island border needs to be secure. We know it is not. Drugs, people, all sorts of things come into Australia via our insecure ocean border. We need to control who and what comes into Australia.

The absolutely appalling President of the US who I hope I see in gaol one day, does have a point about his wall though. It is not unreasonable for the United States to have a secure border at its southern boundary. In fact the effort that is put into policing its northern border with Canada seems like a absolute joke. No cheap workers flooding in from Canada, I suppose, just........what? I don't think those seeking a better life.

Bush Mechanic Ingenuity

What a hoot. I have never seen Bush Mechanics before and it really is a great laugh along with showing very impressive 'repair it on the road' skills. I cracked up at the use of the doll's head. It looks like the lads will make it home and the local copper will probably turn a blind eye if they stay off the main roads and out of towns. This was first broadcast in around 2000 and I am not sure how I missed it at the time.

Note the way they just discard things that are not wanted. But look at what they do with things previously discarded.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Holidays are on

While I really wanted to see Cornwall and St Ives, R really wanted to visit Ireland and wanted me to see Scotland. R wanted to see Stonehenge. Some old rocks, ho hum for me. Bath, oh yes for both of us. We have booked a tour in the English summer to see some of England, Scotland and Ireland, the very same one as Gattina took a couple of years ago. The price is very reasonable.

The only way for me to sleep on plane without taking drugs is to have a couple of drinks. Ok, maybe three. Even then, it is not proper sleep, just a heavy doze. Nevertheless, we bought really cheap flights to London with Royal Brunei Airlines, and while the airline of the very conservative Muslim Asian country doesn't serve alcohol on its flights, they do cater for people who bring their own, with mixers, ice and glasses. Just the glass thanks my lovely.

We will catch up with Marie in London, where we will stay for a few days before the tour. I've already asked her to drag us about London or even to Brighton for a day, and she readily agreed. What a wonderful thing blogging has been for me. She showed us some of Greenwich during our last visit, and this year we will be staying there and look forward to exploring the area further.

After the tour, we will have a few days in the north of England, staying with R's closest sister and then back to London for the flight home.

I will be on extended work leave, beginning in February. Gosh, it is a long time until our holiday in July, but.......

a bargain price deal popped up, for a 14 day Autumn cruise from Australia to New Zealand and back. The cruise leaves from Melbourne, so it is just a short cab trip to Station Pier from home. Brighton Antique Dealer has taken this cruise, as has R's former workmate who he had lunch with today, as I write. We are well advised by both parties.

So, we have two holidays booked, and may well have some brief holidays of a couple of nights here or there. We have to do them while we can and we are fortunate that we have enough money, for cheap holidays at least.

Meanwhile, Little Jo is at a very large scout camp in South Australia, while Sister and Mrs Sister swan around South Australia. So good to hear after the collapse of a pylon supporting the causeway to Granite Island at Victor Harbour, that the horse drawn tram is back up and running along the causeway.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Propaganda TV

Bad reflections, sorry, but it is a pretty cool graphic, with the stylised panda bear representing China, and our own kangaroo and a small Australian marsupial of some kind. Maybe I can see a Chinese bear in there too. I really hope China has stopped the disgraceful bile milking of bears.

But what is CGTN? It stands for the satellite delivered free China Global Television Network. It broadcasts all over the world, tailored for different countries, and naturally with such a grandiose name, it is owned by the Chinese Government. It has a massive variety of programmes but one thing I am quite certain about, in its news and current affairs you won't be hearing it being critical of China, both domestically and abroad.

Harmless? Mostly, but potentially could be used for subtle propaganda or if relations between the US and China go pear shaped, then CGTN could become China's Lord Haw Haw, Hanoi Hannah, Tokyo Rose and Seoul City Sue

Monday, January 07, 2019

Old stuffs live on

You know how it is when you see things, but you don't see them. I hope I am not normally too guilty of that, but in this case I was. I never wondered what these brass inlays in the paving outside Melbourne Town Hall were about and why they are there.

Cute yes, but what are they about? Well, they come from the Coat of Arms of the City of Melbourne, but they have been made a bit nicer for the tastes of the 21st century. Our wealth is coming from sheep; wool and meat, cattle for meat, fishing (originally whaling), and trade, as the ship shows.

I have no idea what the Latin means. How selfish of my father to die when he could have told me if he was alive. Yes yes, I know Google Translate will tell me, but that is no fun. Picture from a world Heraldry site, I forget which one.

But where is the representation of our wealth from gold mining that made our city as grand as it is? What is the dark object at the top of the cross? You can also see the Cross of St George on the shield, along with the crown to represent royalty. The kangaroo, while reflecting on the past cannot go backwards as it is impossible feat for the animal.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Sunday Selections

Joining with EC and perhaps River, this week's choices could be called Bits and Pieces, and perhaps Sunday Selections, as if we have selected something precious, should be changed to Bits and Pieces. Of course it goes without saying that other people's photos are precious, just not my own, and this Sunday, some aren't even my own.

Clouds are never boring.

Let's leave philanthropy for the arts and similar. Go Clement.

Kangaroo paw at the Frankston Civic Centre.

ABI Brother gave R a zucchini and some mint when R took Mother out on Mother Day. We know a zucchini this size will be inedible and the bag of mint was crawling with ants. I've only seen a zucchini this size used for one good purpose. Straight down the rubbish chute with both.

I say there, you can't be spoiling the face of the building with poking out greenery.

I think cartoonist Jeff Hook died only last year, or the year before. There was always a little fish hook in his cartoons, so as well making great cartoons, many used to search the cartoon for the hook. I can't spot it and from memory, it won't be where all the graffiti is. I love the smoke coming from the heavily graffitied tram as everyone is fumeur.

Marie, take the car. We need you.

No comment required, so I shouldn't even say anything, but I have made the comment that there was no need to make a comment. This could go on.

Yep police sharpshooters, take out their major signage at supermarkets with a few bullets as punishment. Not your work is it Grace or Sami?

Oh how I wish. I bet Maribeth has had some really classy plane flights with a husband who was once a pilot. We have organised two holidays for this year. I'll tell you about them soon. We need to get our travelling done before we drop dead, or more truthfully, before it all gets too hard. I can see a reverse mortgage coming up. Sorry kiddies.

While there were reasons he was driving it and it is not his, it's hard to argue that we are not paid enough for the job we do when a fellow employee rocks up to work in this. At least he parked it at a discrete distance away. Me jealous? Oh yes! Our modest Mazda sits among grand SUVs, Mercedes and Audis in the workplace car park. I have never gotten the feel good thing about owning an expensive car, unless of course it is a Roller. In my experience, drivers' of Rolls Royce cars drive in a manner that would never incite road rage of any kind.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Saturday Supplement

AKA, what amused or intrigued me this week.

White Power Australia held a meeting at our St Kilda Beach today, a location set to incite a violent reaction. There were so many police there, that no one behaved too badly. Ostensibly, they are are anti immigration, but in practice they are anti foreign types. After they succeed, they will then come after gays, old people, disabled fact anyone who is not like their own kind.

Does that ring a bell at all?

Speaking of which, in 1934 the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board received a letter from a German company suggesting that their tram destination product was very superior to what was produced locally and offered its product. The letter concluded with the sign off, Heil Hitler! (sic) I don't think too many Australians would have understood what was to come and it perhaps seemed innocuous at the time.

Meanwhile in the US a newly elected member of parliament has used naughty words in public. C'mon woman, while I love you for it, it is not the American way. You haven't caught up with the news? She said about Trumpet, We will impeach the motherf........ Yes, rather coarse and common, but sometimes you just have to be.

There are huge works affecting a number of train lines in Melbourne at moment, and buses are replacing trains. It seems we have imported a large number of surplus to requirements buses from Brisbane and Perth to cope with the demand.

Tosser Neighbour

We had a lovely family next door in the apartment on our floor. They were from Hong Kong and lived here since the building opened. The father was often absent, in Hong Kong I suppose, the son was about 12 when we moved here and we saw him grow up. The mother was very sweet and used to do ballroom dancing. She loved Latin dancing. At times there was another young male person but they changed every so often, so I guess student boarders.

Little did we know that the rented. They built a house in an outer suburb and were gone. Now we have a succession of Asian, probably mainland Chinese students, who keep changing.

It is not our fault that our barbeque is just one metre away from one of the bedroom windows. You could call it bad building design. If I thought no Asian student was in the room while we were barbecuing and the window was open, I might have reached out and closed the window.

But there has been a battle between us and one of the Asian students. We love sitting out on balcony and watching the world go by. I will call him Window Wanker. As soon as he hears our balcony door open, he closes his window. We were getting quite paranoid about this, not going outside when we wanted to.

Then there was my clarity of thought. We own the property we live in. We have lived here for nearly 18 years. We are older men. I am simply not going to be afraid to go out onto our own balcony because of a foreign Window Wanker student.

And then I was a bit naughty. I started opening the balcony door loudly and then closing it again at random. He quickly picked up that he was being played.

Last night I thought it was game on again, but no, after the first visit to the balcony and the window closed, then the blind went down.

Friday, January 04, 2019

An insignificant puddle

What will happen to this remaining little puddle sitting atop bluestone blocks, or large cobblestones if you like? Pitchers, even.

Some of the water will evaporate but mostly it will soak into the ground. In this case the ground was already waterlogged when I took the photo, so it will be a race to see whether more will evaporate than soak in. Soaking in. This is a good thing. Moisture soaking into the soil, sustaining all sorts of things and giving a large surface area for moisture to rise into the atmosphere and return as rain.

But, we are sealing so much of what used to be areas where rain soaked in. From the city, where smooth concrete paving is now preferred, against the above bluestone, to the inner suburbs where medium and highrise buildings are aplenty taking up whole blocks, to middle suburbs where large blocks of land with vast soak in areas are being replaced with medium rise buildings, covering the land completely, to the outer suburbs where new developments have houses built almost covering the whole are area of land.

We are already seeing the result of this, but it would be stretching it to say it has led to less rainfall but what we are seeing is greater flooding, meaning our streets, roads, train lines and tram routes become impassable after heavy but brief rain. There is just so much water to run off now, rather than soaking into the ground.

The authorities have made a terrible mistake and there is no going back. A lot of money will now have to be spent on drainage, and of course the taxpayer will pay, not the profit driven property developers.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

The famous are in Melbourne

Yes, well, the tennis players are here for the Australian Open. Go Raffie. I've never saved photos of Andy Murray, or I don't think any other tennis player. I wonder how old Rafael was in this photo. He has aged have all the other male players. Why aren't there top young players like there used to be? While I don't love watching the tennis, I look forward to the atmosphere in Melbourne every year when the Australian Open is played.

But I came across this photo of a world famous gay porn star pulling a silly face and strutting his stuff along Southbank. I really don't suggest you do any searching about him (name deleted), but how cool that Melbourne attracts so many different people. Axel then did the Great Ocean Road drive and he and his three mates could not find anywhere to stay as everything was booked out. I expect the kindness of strangers prevailed.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

The west end

The west end of the city is a place I don't visit too often for mostly good reasons. There is little there for me. Flagstaff Gardens is great and Southern Cross Station is an interesting and useful place. The west end is becoming very residential, with huge and tall apartment towers being built on what was at times industrial sites.

The area I was in where I took these photos was once very sleazy.

MICM was once the Owners' Corporation managers of our building. We have changed managers just last year. It is a subsidiary of the development company Central Equity, responsible for the forest of residential towers at Southbank, and to no one's surprise, a big donor to the conservative local councillors of the City of Melbourne. If it quacks like a duck........

By the look of this straight male entertainment place, and the state of the sign, I thought it might have closed but it seems not. It has a bright and glittery website. I think ABI Brother has been there, from what accidentally popped up on his computer when I was fixing something for him. Not a bad old building.

And just when you can't get enough sleaze, you can pop into this place, Men's Gallery. I take no moral stance on these places. Elbow to the face the person who said, just as well. I wonder if there is a neo gothic theme inside and what happens inside the building.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

I read it on the internet, so it must be true

Happy 2019 to you all.

What a terrible thing it was for a couple in England to be falsely accused and named as the culprits who flew drones over Gatwick Airport. How did the police get it so wrong? If they were not the culprits, they deserve a lot of monetary compensation. A police spokesperson said they could not shoot the drones down because of the risk of stray bullets. Duh, sharp shooters can't shoot straight?

Meanwhile here in Australia firefighting aircraft had to be called off at a bushfire on Tasmania's Bruny Island because of drone intrusion.

Airports and emergency services just need to look at this video. I have put up a video once before of an eagle taking our a drone, but this video is quite professional. How much would it cost to keep an eagle and an eagle keeper on standby? Absolutely nothing compared to the cost of the chaos at Gatwick Airport. Five minutes of suspension of landings and take offs while the eagle took out the drone, and Bob's your Uncle. Night time? That could be some work for an owl.