Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Tassie Day 9/10

We left our such nice unit in Hobart to travel to Devonport to catch the day ferry the next day, Sunday. We were becoming very nervous about being away from home as the COVID-19 threat increased.

We stopped once or twice to stretch our legs and then at the Elizabeth Town Bakery where we had stopped before to stretch our legs but this time for lunch and very good it was too.

Neither of us liked Devonport much. Our cabin near the sea at the Abel Tasman Caravan Park was expensive and very old and shabby, although clean with adequate equipment. It was quite a downer from our accommodation in Hobart. Reception lady was very nice. A rough and noisy family were in the cabin next to us. Reception staff told us how to use the keys we were given to get to the beach but the beach wasn't much and neither was the river inlet.

The best thing about Devonport was its take away Charcoal Chicken which we bought for dinner. By this time people were starting to stand apart. Very nice food.

The next morning the queue system for the ferry seemed so unfair. We were there before the prescribed time of 8.45 for a 9.30 sailing. It became clear that the Spirit of Tasmania would not sail at 9.30. It is hard to imagine why it left so late.

The return trip was quieter than the journey over, with more sensitisation in place and maybe 2/3rd of the number than when as we travelled to Tasmania. The ferry was supposed to dock at 7pm. It arrived late and then we just sat and sat and sat waiting to get to our car to leave. It was about 9.30pm when we drove off the ferry. We were cross. Very late going to Tasmania and even later was our return journey. We will never catch The Spirit of Tasmania again. We were stupid in that we should have done the night sailing, paid for a cabin instead of paying for the rubbish cabin in Devonport.

We stopped at a Port Melbourne supermarket as there was little left at home, but there was little on the supermarket shelves.

Our last Tasmanian day and trip home have not marred our great holiday memories, just tainted them a little. Maybe I am judging Devonport unfairly. I did manage to take three photos.

The uninteresting beach.

Galahs feeding.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Viking Orion

I am not sure if you guys and gals on the Viking Orion will pick this up as you are stranded in the middle of our bay, but if you do, leave a comment with your contact details and we can have a chat or maybe I can help you communicate with your family.

Tassie Day 8

We drove the short distance to the MONA, the Museum of New Art. It is built into rock and is a private museum funded initially by David Walsh, a professional gambler and art collector.

This water spray display was great. Even back then there was a COVID-19 message in the words. No matter how often I snapped, I couldn't catch the display in full flight.

R did not like the museum at all.

The famous poo machines, fed at 11am and craps at 2pm, or something like that.

While I liked many of the exhibits, I didn't like the confusing layout of the building.

We did see a good bit of the museum. Sadly it was a bit wet outside. Social isolation had not come into play yet. We had a drink and a bite to eat at one of the areas.

Nice views of the Derwent River from where we had something to eat and drink. We could see where were staying.

Ferries from the Hobart wharf direct to MONA were available and were busy enough. They are all in different camouflage colours. Not particularly cheap from what I saw.

Cheap or not ferries, MONA has been very successful with drawing hundreds of thousands of people like us to the museum, who are were spending money in Tasmania and its capital city Hobart. As an island state it has been easy for Tasmania to lock down its borders, and it has.

An interesting static exhibit. I read somewhere that if a work of art receives too many likes, it is removed. MONA wants to exhibit challenging works, not popular works.

A relaxing afternoon back at the Riverfront, where I went out and took the photos for the previous Tasmanian post. We had a really nice dinner at our accommodation, and we sat in the area where there were white table cloths, but aside from the table cloths, nothing else was different. I guess book early and you get a tablecloth. 

R doesn't have too much energy and we had done enough for the day. It would have been nice to visit Hobart city and there was a good bus service to get us there, but we have seen Hobart before and explored it over a few days.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Birds in Gilded Cages

A few of you are working, some at a workplace and some from home. Most of us are retired and aren't some of us, ok me, suffering by the sensible restrictions to our lives. I want to get out. I want to roam my huge city of 5 million people. I want to catch trains, trams and buses. Actually, it is probably safe at the moment to catch public transport with extra sanitising and no need to touch anything generally and few people using public transport.

Last Sunday we walked down St Kilda Road and back through Fawkner Park at around midday. I saw an empty route 16 tram going to St Kilda without a passenger. St Kilda is normally a great destination for all and trams at that time will be packed. I then saw an empty route 3A tram come from St Kilda, also empty. I felt so sad. There are so few people on public transport, the present full service is not sustainable. Have a read of Daniel's post. We have now become car drivers, not our normal public transport user selves. We go everywhere by car, sanitising our hands our hands after we open the doors but before we enter the car in case someone has coughed or sneezed on the door as they have passed.

It was interesting to be up early last Tuesday and see the traffic below so busy. It is dead at the peak office worker times a couple of hours later. When we drove to Altona, the West Gate Bridge and freeway were busy but mostly trucks and vans. People who get up early and go to work, I thank you and anyone else working at a coal face.

While probably too severe, our building has introduced a policy of only two people in a lift at one time, or a family, or people from one apartment. It has not been a problem as the lifts seem to be unused as people have isolated.

Cro tells a story.

As does Sami.

And Diane.

Grace is not lost in melancholy but is clearly being troubled by not getting out and about..

I received an email from a fellow resident of our building, enquiring about our well being. So nice and we have exchanged back and forth a few times. R told me to be not be so wordy in my replies to her. I told him to mind his business and I will email as I do.

I knew it was coming. R finally cracked last night to stress. He was ok this morning, Sunday. It began with me, but I hadn't done anything wrong. So my b***** Sister became his target You would not want to hear what he said. In spite of what he said, she is still his FB friend. I told him unfriending people shows you care. Ignoring them shows you don't.

Just for something to do and get out, this Sunday we drove to Footscray Coles supermarket to buy a couple of things. It was actually interesting to drive there rather than catching public transport. R showed me where Fire Fighting Nephew and his now wife lived. I had never been there.

Friday evening at about 4pm I walked a kilometre to the small IGA supermarket to buy a litre of milk and walked back again. Traffic should have been jammed up. Trams should be crowded and many people on the street. It was like a super hot Sunday afternoon where everyone stays indoors with their aircon.

With our wide footpaths, walkers stuck to the edges of paths and for some reason everyone has learnt to walk on the left, as we should do normally in busy areas or if you are walking directly towards someone.

As I type at 6.56pm this Sunday and keeping in mind that greater Melbourne is a city of five million people, the stats are for my state are 1135 infections, 911 in Melbourne, 20 new cases today, which with a which I guess is about a week's lead in time and we are on a downward curve. 47 are hospitalised and 11 in intensive care. A paste from our state health department.

The Department of Health and Human Services follows up and monitors all close contacts of confirmed cases and provides them with information and support. All close contacts must self-isolate for 14 days.
There are only four reasons for Victorians to leave their home: food and supplies, medical care and care giving, exercise, and work or education.
All people arriving from any international destination must also self-isolate for 14 days as per Commonwealth Government direction. All travelers (what? travellers, Australian English spelling please) returning from overseas to Victoria will be placed in enforced quarantine for the self-isolation period of 14 days.
Police have strong powers to enforce these directions and can issue on the spot fines, including up to $1652 for individuals and up to $9913 for businesses. 
Under the State of Emergency people who don’t comply could also be taken to court and receive a fine of up to $20,000. Companies face fines of up to $100,000.
Yes, most of us are birds in gilded cages but, whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. I want my normal life back. Here is something to cheer you up perhaps. As R has been sacked from his volunteer job, I insisted he drove to keep up his driving skills. We are allowed to drive around, yes? So I was the passenger and I could take a phone snap from the car of this sculpture. I don't know what it is about, but we were in the historic area of Port Melbourne.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Tassie Day 7 Pt 1

We arrived at our accommodation in Hobart at about 5pm. Oh wow. It wasn't expensive and it was a great two bedroom unit, like a place spacious and well enough equipped to live in permanently. We stayed two nights, so it is just as well. You can put up with lesser accommodation for one night. Here is a link. The double row of units doesn't show in the drone footage.

I am always a little dubious about eating in the restaurant where we stay. I suppose we may have done so before, but I can't remember. While I thought we booked, there must have been a misunderstanding and we weren't booked. I think reception forgot. However, in spite of it being busy, a place was found for us just after seven when a lot of people had put in their orders, so it was quite a wait. The food was good and the price ok and the service good enough.

There was a white table clothed area. What is the difference? We will find out tomorrow night as we booked for dinner the next night.

The next morning we went to the local shopping centre in Glenorchy and bought some provisions. I took a photo of a church which has mysteriously disappeared. Ok, operator error. Just a day later some photos were posted in a group of not the church in particular but a tram sitting at the Glenorchy tram terminus from the 1950s with the same church in the background. As I stood next to a rubbish bin to take the photo, who would have thought.What a coincidence!

Here are few photos of where we stayed. It really was so nice. This is our front side.

This is our backside.

Looking over the Derwent River.

A very old sign from where it was just a motel. Misty Mount Wellington in the background.

Barbeques were down below.

A wonderful weeping willow, which is a pest tree in my state.

Half a dozen of these vegetable beds.

Lap pool being used on the day we arrived but not the next day.

There was no delineation of boundaries so I am not sure if this new building was part of where we we stayed.

Nor this older building.

Friday, April 03, 2020

From the mouth of babes

Little M's visit was successful. We fed some birds at the lake. Did craft. Wrote a little in her diary. Watched ABC for Kids and some movie children movie trailers and Youtube vids on tv. We delivered her home late morning to Oldest Niece who seemed to be obsessively washing her hands. She made us coffee and served us some bought lamingtons.

As I may have said, she is a clever child, but clever in a different way to what Little Jo was at her age. She is much more talkative and questioning and a more people person.  Little Jo from a young age was clearly going to be a performer and very academically smart.

Here are a few things that amused or interested me during her visit.

Little M asks a question but is never satisfied with an answer and there are always follow up questions. Her sister Little Em also asks questions but is usually satisfied with an answer.

I asked her what time she normally goes to bed. She said sometimes seven or sometimes eight. Can I stay up until nine Uncle Andrew? Of course you can. Sleep in, in the morning. She didn't and at seven woke R and climbed into bed with him to watch tv.

Uncle Andrew, do you have Netflix for Kids? No. Why not? We don't have kids. For once there were no further questions. She had to make do with ABC for Kids. I saw a couple of really good shows, and an English one where a perhaps a ten year old girl seemed to have two (gay?) fathers. It was so subtle even I wasn't sure.

Little M, do you have a bath or a shower at night and before dinner or after dinner? Depends, sometimes before and sometimes after. Can I have a shower? Of course. Uncle Andrew, it is too cool. I adjusted the temperature. Uncle Andrew, where is the bath plug? I thought you wanted a shower? I did, but now I want a bath. R threw a bath bomb in and the water turned a bright shade of green. She was in so long eventually I said to her, the water must be getting cold. She said it is, and she finally got out.

Do you sleep well Little M? Yes, mostly, but sometimes Mummy and Daddy don't sleep well at night and make a noise and wake me up. Oh dear, Too Much Information.

You may quite rightly question the wisdom of such a visit in our very locked down lives. Her parents were happy with the risk, as were we. R is at most risk. He said her visit de-stressed him and he stopped thinking about the virus for a time.

Aside from still visiting Mother each Thursday, which we did this Thursday, that is it as far as meeting with other family goes now. The For Sale board has gone up at her house, but who knows when and for what price it will sell. ABI Brother was quite blase about the risk, but now he has become very cautious and umpteen visits to the shops each day have stopped.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

The Waters dude

I see him there, I hear him there, well now only hearing him in voice overs. John Waters was a handsome man. While I am not really watching the tv shows, I keep hearing his voice in commercials and tv programme promotions.

A former blogger once slept with him in a flat in Sydney, but she said they did not do anything. Just slept in the same bed. What a missed opportunity or a total lie. You can be sure if I was in bed with him he would have complied or jumped out of bed.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Investment opportunity

I have a plan but I need investors. I trust you will all get on board, pun not intended, and we will all make a fortune converting passenger cruise ships to freighters and container ships. Too soon?

Seriously, cruise ships are a recipe for disaster, especially with the buffet meals where 2000 people may eat, in spite of pre COVID world hand sanitising and hand washing. I really doubt huge cruise ships will ever sail again. There may be smaller cruise ships eventually.

Our government was about to get our federal budget into the black for the first time for years. Clearly that won't happen now. All levels of governments are spending huge amounts of money, and they need to. The full detail of what is available to people is hard to absorb and we can only hope it is well directed and not exploited. We must be looking at billions of dollars of taxpayers money. However, governments like ours can borrow money from world bankers for almost 0%. We have no overseas tourist income and much reduced overseas student income. Yet there is no lessening of our exports with perhaps an increase in some. Some of which we had ceased manufacturing here, we are now doing so again. Money is still circulating in the economy. What we aren't spending now assuming our incomes are ok, we will spend in the future.

In Melbourne at least, supermarkets are almost back to normal, yet both of our major chains are employing so many more people now. This puzzles me a little. Are we still buying more than normal? We might buy two whereas we bought one before, but really we don't have more than we normally would. The media beat up on a run on liquour outlets seems to have mostly just been that, a beat up.

But post COVID, these extra workers will be put off and as people work through their huge stocks in their homes, I expect more workers will be put off. Manufacturing and importing will slow too as excesses are worked through.

A few statistics I read today about COVID; The only infected children in Australia, about five of them, have caught it from their parents who had travelled overseas. The highest two age groups infected in Australia are those in the twenties who continued to gather socially after being advised not to or returned from overseas travel. They can now be fined gathering. The other, the older cruise ship passengers and those related to them, with the Ruby Princess docking in Sydney and freely letting passengers off the ship, incredibly 10% of our total cases. How the eff did that happen? The buck is being passed everywhere and apparently no one is to blame.

Australia numbers today are about four and half thousand positive test results with over two thousand of those in New South Wales. There have been 19 deaths, all over 80 years old bar one. The wealthiest areas of Melbourne and Sydney have been the most affected. So there you go. It is not great here and will become worse, but I think we can hope for a quick decline as measures take effect.

We were up early this morning to pick up Little M at 8.30 after a one hour drive. We've had a good day. She rarely stops talking unless she is mesmerised by tv or devices. We bought ourselves take away coffee and drove to Albert Park Lake and fed the coots, moorhens and ducks some bread. Little M was rather too generous with the two slices of bread we took, so it quickly ran out. Where were the swans? We did see one grazing as we left.

Craft was done. Cup cakes made. Pizza for dinner made. I asked what time she goes to bed, normally between 7 and 8. I said she can stay up until 9 but I doubt she will last that long. Bath time will be after dinner.

I think a purple swamp hen.

I call these coots, but I am not really sure. They are funny to watch as they scoot across the top of the water when on a mission for a crumb of bread.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Town Hall Tuesday

I took the photos but this post was much delayed by our Tasmanian holiday and subsequent events.

As I teased, there was something really unusual about South Melbourne Town Hall. I had not noticed before really how grand the town hall is, now under the amalgamated auspices of City of Port Phillip.

No point in delaying further. The town hall clock has blue clock faces. They don't show up terribly well in the photos but you can see they are blue. Blue clock faces are found all over England, but I have never seen them in Australia before.

The town hall was designed by well known at the time Melbourne architect Charles Webb and opened in 1880. I am sure you are as impressed by the building as I was when I looked at it properly.

The building is now used as a community centre and I think the Australian National Academy of Music are peppercorn rental tenants. 2004 saw a restoration but internal ceilings collapsed in 2018, now repaired.

I seem to remember going to a library there, but it is not there now.

A glimpse of the old and the new.

What do you think? Impressive?

Bugger. I chopped the top off.

Across the road was a library of sorts, with a focus on local history and genealogy. I found us on the electoral rolls in 1999 before we moved here. Harold Alexander was a highly respected Town Clerk between 1935 and 1964. Town Clerks were effectively Chief Executive Officers of local government and they were very powerful positions to hold.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Covid lock up

For better or worse, Little M is still coming tomorrow. She lives in an almost country town and is unlikely to be  a risk to R. We will take all care with her of course.

Today we drove twenty minutes to Altona Village, a much less riskier place than out local posh suburbs but we don't really go to those anyway, but there is a cross over in Prahran and we have been there numerous times.

We found a couple of boxes of tissues, at last. We were getting short in spite of my extreme conservation of paper products. I was becoming really worried about hand sanitiser as we are getting low and couldn't seem to get any. Aside from that, the Altona Village supermarket seemed pretty normal.

Today a wall mounted sanitiser dispenser appeared in our foyer. Coincidentally many of our doors around building have been converted to self opening, so less door handles to touch. Cleaning staff are doing extra sensitisation. Then the secretary of the Owners' Corporation knocked at out door and gave us a half litre pump pack of sanitiser.  Yay.

In Altona we bought a packaged supermarket sandwich and a take away cup of coffee and sat in a park at the beach and we agreed it was a risk worth taking. We walked along the beach footpath for a bit. A lad in a ghoul mask and hoodie zoomed past us umpteen times on his electric scooter, once saying hi to which we acknowledged. R asked me why all the idiots wearing stupid masks rather than standard masks are foreign types. I replied, how do you know he is foreign? The colour of his exposed arms! I hadn't noticed but he was right. I thought he was a fun show off guy, doing no harm. R took a different view.

For his own good R was suspended from his volunteer job today as he is of a certain age. He paints it differently, I was sacked! There is a fellow volunteer who he gets on really well with and she will have been suspended too. I asked if he had her phone number and he does. Give her a call and have a chat was my suggestion. They will understand each other's positions and she will be more help to R than I can be.

There is risk to us when we are outside our apartment but after our outing with a sandwich and coffee and our sanity somewhat restored, I had clarity of thought. What I and R and you are mostly suffering from are First World Problems and shock. There are millions of people worse off in the world than us. That doesn't mean I won't stop whining about the impact of this on our lives, but keep what I say in perspective and think of those who are suffering very badly.

Monday Mural

Today, Sunday, was my worst day. Our only outing was a walk in Fawkner Park. Instead of a cheap brunch out as we normally have, and now take away coffee, we had scrambled eggs at home for brunch. I think we both realised why we like to go out for brunch. For about half an hour I sat on the balcony looking at nothing, staring into space, lost in preoccupation.

We did work on a little more Swedish Death Cleaning over the past week. I cleaned out my bedroom drawer of bits and pieces. All zip lock bags of foreign currency went into a flat biscuit tin with a  Bendigo tram on the lid. The foil covered chocolate a once friend and drag performer threw into the audience and I caught went, along with the red envelope Dame M's nearby mine host gave us when we dined there Chinese New Year in the early 2000s. I kept the match books from a restaurant in Budapest, Bodyline Sauna in Sydney, 3 Faces and the long defunct huge gay Precinct 3182.

I kept one rubber rainbow wrist band and threw two out. Wearing one makes you gay, wearing two is questionable and wearing three means you are a total faggot.

All sorts of bits and pieces were found and much discarded.

Anyway, onto the mural in Elizabeth Street, South Yarra. I am not sure if it is still there. I took the photos some time ago, on different days. No idea what it is about. Brightens a blank wall, hey.

Camera phone.

Proper camera, but the sunny skies may have helped.