Saturday, February 01, 2020

Nothing to do with climate change

The weather. It is nothing to do with climate change is it, as records are continually being broken. Yesterday 43 degrees with under 20% humidity. Today our high of about 28 at around 9am. By 11am we were in town and this what my phone app showed. We reached our maximum very early.


Records are continually being broken. I don't know the statistics but since I have had this Bureau of Meteorology app, I have never seen such a difference between the real temperature and what the temperature feels like. Nor have I seen 97% humidity. 43 yesterday and dry heat, today 28 and humid. By the time we arrived home, humidity was at 100%. 8pm yesterday mid 30s, tonight 8pm just under 20. Forecast temperature for Monday is 18. I like Melbourne's variable climate, but wow, this is really extreme. 18 degrees for a max in February! Extraordinary.

Changes at Our ABC

Around two years ago ABC Melbourne radio host, the about 70 year old Red Symons was effectively sacked. Symons audience loved him, he rated well, and I liked him on air. I expect the thinking behind the removal of Symons was to radio presenters more relevant to today's society. Symons was certainly an interesting person with an interesting past.


I kind of get that need to be relevant to younger audiences. His breakfast slot was taken over by the entertaining Pakistan born comedian Sami Shah and a very competent younger Jacinta Parsons. They were a bit bit dodgy to begin with, but I didn't mind them, however their ratings never became close to Symons. Parsons now has a late afternoon slot and Shah is still on the payroll it seems. 


A new host was needed and comedian and satirist Sammy J has slipped so nicely into the role. I think it will take a while for usual listeners to get used to his sense of humour, but I hope they do. R is usually in bed when he broadcasts but he was up early last Monday and heard Sammy on air and liked him. Sammy is deliciously skinny and during a walk around the Botanic Gardens Tan Track, he met a couple of listeners to his show. We saw this couple at Midsumma Carnival. They were quite noticeable with their very large........dog. You may remember Sammy's satirical tv performance after a terrible mass shooting in the US. This one.


ABC News Breakfast TV host Virginia Trioli slipped beautifully into her replacement role as ABC Melbourne radio breakfast host. I cannot think of any better replacement for venerated broadcaster Jon Faine than Trioli. She is she so quick witted, so fast, so clever at getting politicians almost to the point of saying what they don't want to say. She is quick with a take down of weasel words, stonewalling government ministers and corporate speak. I just adore her.


As I guessed, she would be on air an hour less than Faine, and if that means she can remain fresh and motivated, it is a good thing. As I didn't guess, we are not getting a Sydney feed of Richard Fidler's Conversation hour, but have our own roaming around duo reporting on local matters.

As a learned source told me, ABC Melbourne Radio is very different to ABC Sydney Radio, with Sydney having shock jock commercial radio hosts and ABC Sydney has a much lighter feel to it. I am not sure that this is the right thing to do. I think ABC Sydney should be hard hitting and is obliged to do hard reporting on the state of NSW and our Federal Government, regardless of what the shock jocks do.

Just to make another media note, Rupert Murdoch's The Australian has published some disgraceful reporting about Our ABC which has pumped huge resources into live reporting on our bushfires, with lots of very local broadcasting. Of course the also Murdoch owned very tabloid Melbourne Herald Sun and Sydney Daily Telegraph haven't been much better.

I was going to write about a huge change at ABC TV, but I think I have already written it. It will come.

Friday, January 31, 2020

A photo found

So after yesterday's outing to Port Melbourne once home I did more 'death cleaning'. That is sorting out and disposing of things that some people do in their later years. The term comes from the book, "The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning", as James O'Brien posted about not so long ago. R did a bit of death cleaning himself, by getting rid of a multitude of photo negatives. He found an undeveloped roll of film of R's niece's terrific 21st birthday party that was held here in Australia at the home of the late Dame M. Now I will have to find out how to get a film developed.

I am so pleased I am checking all the DVDs carefully before throwing them out. Today's effort required extreme concentration as I am down to two of the last four remaining DVDs and they contained folders called Zip Disks 1 to 6 and Zip Disks 7 to 12. Does anyone remember zip disks? 100mb? They held far more than a floppy disk of something like 3.4mb. Over the past year I must have dealt with and gotten rid of about 100 CDs and DVDs. Everything is going to cloud storage, the backed up desktop hard drive, USB sticks and memory cards. Many 'movies' have gone from VHS to DVD and now to the cloud, some shared on public sites and surprisingly given the poor quality, they are appreciated.

One folder I came across on a DVD was of photos from our late friend's 60th birthday in as I calculate 2003 or 2004, which is say 17 years ago. It was not among my other stored photos.

Coincidently a month or so ago I messaged an FB friend who knew our late friend with something like, 'Would you like to exchange some messages with sexy and frank talk?' He cautiously replied, maybe, and it happened, and we amuse each other on an almost daily basis. While he is the same age as myself, he has aged better than I have. I have been with R for forty years, he with he white male partner for 32 years but he has openly had South East Asian 'friends' along the way. He still travels overseas to run marathons in various countries, and locally. His dress sense is questionable, even worse now. Not that mine was so good that evening but mine has improved and his has deteriorated. Of course everyone likes a little flattery and I pointed out to him how much better he was ageing than I am. Yes, he replied. You bitch, I replied with a sad and frowning emoticon. I have put up older photos of myself over the life of my blog, and this is as I said 17 years ago. What a great treasure to find this photo of we two at our late friend's 60th birthday. It is not a great photo of him, but not a bad one of me.


PS I have absolutely no memory of the tee shirt I was wearing but given there were a few people of Indian heritage there, it probably went down ok.

PPS While I went through a long curly haired period, a tied back pony tailed period, a punk mohawk period, my hair is now exactly the same as it was 17 years ago.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Girl Tram Drivers

Yes, not quite finished with this rash of public transport posts. When clearing away some papers I came across the piece about Melbourne's first female tram driver, which occurred way back in 1975. The acceptance of women as drivers was welcomed by some male drivers, some tram depots, and I think the union had realised that it must go ahead. Some were quite hostile to the thought and I believe that the depot she worked at was hostile to the idea. Now, of Yarra Trams roughly 1200 drivers, I estimate about one third to be women. As the first female tram driver stated, "I don't need a penis to drive a tram", and she turned out to be quite correct.


So what did we do today without trams to get about? We drove to Bay Street, Port Melbourne to get a a couple things at the supermarket and have brunch at always busy local bakery. We usually succeed in keeping our brunch with coffee under $10 each and we did today. However, it was a naughty food day, with R having a pastie and me a large sausage roll. It didn't feel so hot when we went out but it did by the time we returned home, an hour or so later. Temperature outside is now 39 degrees, 102F. But it is a dry heat and doesn't feel as bad as it sounds. That will change tomorrow with a forecast 43 and becoming humid, a bit unusual for Victoria. I find humidity exhausting. 

While in Bay Street, we noticed a large number of people waiting at the bus stop, where there might normally be one or two people. I know a free tourist bus, working on tips, uses the stop, so I thought it might have been due. R worked it out. They are there because the 109 tram isn't running, which is about ten minutes walk away. After checking a phone app, even though the bus was supposed to have left the terminus a few minutes before, it was eight minutes late, and the following one was late too, no doubt due to the extra number of passengers.

Dear Yarra Trams

Dear Yarra Trams. I am becoming a little annoyed by these tram worker stop work meetings. We depend on trams to get about the inner city and suburbs and twice this week at a time we would normally use the trams they have not been running. This also reflects badly on Melbourne and no doubt inconveniences visitors to our city to attend the Australian Open tennis. Not a great look. Normally stopworks have been on a Thursday, the day we take my mother out in the car, so it hasn't been a problem, but this week Tuesday, and we are not taking my mother out Thursday, so we are stuck.

Did I hear that you have been in dispute with your drivers for ten months over a three year wage and conditions contract?

In my opinion a well run company does not have such ongoing industrial disputation. What are you doing that is making your workers feel the need to take industrial action? It must be quite serious and I suspect you want to seriously screw over your workers.

Whatever, you are supposed to provide a reliable tram service and you are not. That is a sign of a poorly managed company. Any chance of a return cab voucher to town and back tomorrow?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

I is confused

Well, is it running or not? In spite of the text, it looks like it was cancelled. Really helpful, Metro Trains.


Australia Day Pt 1

On Australia Day I wanted to see the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria sponsored old Australian car display in the Kings Domain. We inadvertently happened across the last of the Australia Day parade with its strong multicultural theme. The weather was warm, a little too warm for me, and we had to walk quite a distance for R from where the truncated tram service terminated. It amazes me how we can't get close to public events using trams as the trams are truncated when such events happen. There was really no reason why trams couldn't have at least travelled along St Kilda Road to the Arts Centre and terminated there. Such things can make all the difference to people getting out and about. I doubt R will go next year, knowing what a walk he will have, and his dollars won't be spent on food as they were.

There is something about my camera that I am not understanding. While the old car photos turned out really well, photos of the parade generally did not. It is all about focusing. My phone would have done a better job.

Nevertheless, great fun and a good atmosphere.



Maybe I am understanding. I did not have a clear view and the camera focused on what was nearest.









Such pretty 'ladies'.





Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Australia Day Holiday

This 27th? day of January was a strange day. It's a public holiday after Australia Day because Australia Day fell on a weekend. As a poor, rich, just ok self funded retiree, there are times when I would like to work and a public holiday is a good time to work where I was employed. It was either the day off with base pay if you weren't required to work, an extra day's pay if it was your normal day off and if you worked, double time plus one half. The workplace was quiet and it was easy money if you worked. I didn't really like this public holiday. Nothing was normal.

But perhaps this was not helped by being up at 6, not far from the time I normally rise, but R was out of bed by 6.30 instead of 9 to 9.30. Jo has been curious about sea cruising so Sister and Jo took a sampler cruise, departing our Station Pier at 4pm Friday and returning this Monday morning at 7am. We were up and prepared to collect them by car, have coffee and then drive them to Spencer Street Station to catch a train to Geelong, where Bone Doctor would pick them up.

Just before we showered Sister called and said that their book off time from the ship was 9.30 and they just wanted to get home and not to bother collecting them as they could get the tram to the station. After niceties, I said to her that we out of bed early for no reason. Yeah, ok Sister, here are the tram directions.

I must have made her feel guilty as she called back a bit later, indicating it would be great if we could collect her and Jo. The ETA dropped from 9.30 to 9.00.

R was fuming at being so manipulated. I said to him, well, do we have anything better to do?

R always likes to be early and so we were, hanging around from about 8.30 to 9.00 waiting for them to disembark. R was in a foul mood. I left him sitting in the hot sun while I stood in the shade. It was a really nice morning weather wise.

I called Sister and told her to indulge in civil disobedience and just walk of the ship, and she did. Both Sister and Jo enjoyed the cruise but said cruising was not really for them in the future, as it is not for me.

We were at the pier for coffee and a walk the day they left and a Norwegian cruise ship was in.


We had coffee with Sister and Jo at the bakery in Port Melbourne and we dropped them at the station to catch the 9.50 train to Geelong. Not so many trains to Geelong on a public holiday. Of course Sister had forgotten Jo's public transport card and had to buy a new one.

Back home by 10, and wondering what do we do now?  This is about the time we are showering and dressing to go out.

R was content to stay at home having a nap and battle with tv technology.

The Pakenham/Cranbourne/Frankston train lines have been shut down for a month but they reopened today. I thought I would take a little ride to see what I could see. I did see a little of interest after catching the tram to South Yarra Station and the express train to Caulfield and back. Thirteen train drivers were stood down this morning for refusing to drive trains over the new tracks as they thought they had insufficient training. Normally I would be supportive of comrades but I think they are wrong on this count. They saw a twelve minute instructional video and the driver of the train I travelled on drove very slowly on the new tracks between South Yarra and Hawksburn. The return journey was a bit faster. The bonus of driving slowly from South Yarra to Hawksburn was that the train was then late and time needed to be caught up. We zoomed along as an express train to Caulfield and my phone app recorded a top speed of 82 km/h, 81 on the return journey. If bright new copper wire is your thing, here is a photo. The work that has been done along the line has been amazing. 


Tram to South Yarra, express train to Caulfield, express train back and tram back home. I think I was out for about an hour. 

Yeah, kinda of a strange day.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Australia Day

Mucked that up didn't I. I thought Monday was Australia Day, not today, so two posts today and probably nothing tomorrow.

Our Aboriginal citizens who know Australia as Invasion Day have my sympathy. I have no strong feelings about the date, so if it would appease them, then let it be another day. Celebrating what was the establishment of a penal colony doesn't do much for me either.

Happy Australia Day to the rest of us with us having a not so bad country, even though we seem in crisis at the moment.

Happy Republic Day to India.


Happy Chinese New Year, the year of the rat. Photos are of department store David Jones window display.  I thought it was Year of the Rat myself, rather than rodent.



This is the Australian flag. Let's pull it apart, although not literally. Desecration of our flag is verboten. Top left we have the flag of Great Britain, the Union Jack, reflecting white Australia's early origins and heritage. The red vertical and horizontal cross represents the patron saint of England, St George. The diagonal red cross represents the cross of St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. The diagonal white cross represents the cross of St Andrew, patron saint of Scotland and the patron saint of Wales St David is represented by.....well, he isn't. Later edit: Marie, aka Fun60, of London corrects me in a comment below. 

The helpful information below the Australian flag explain what the stars are about. I think the seventh point to represent the territories was a later addition. 

Sunday Selections

Joining with Elephant's Child and others, this week's Sunday Selections are photos I have come across on the net.

Not too many Melburnians would know that the route 67 tram once went from Carnegie to St Kilda Beach via Dandenong Road, St Kilda Junction and Fitzroy Street. Photo by David Featherstone.


A little artwork from a Frenchman's blog, who writes in French, which of course it easy enough to translate, but I don't bother. Nevertheless, among the challenging things he at times posts, there are some gems.




Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is an artist's drawing and it was never actually built, and thank goodness that Pittsburgh did not end up with a people moving crate.


How lucious is this early 20th century photo (glass print whatever that means) of Sydney's Circular Quay. Behind the tall building at the rear would have been the castle like Fort Macquarie tram depot, demolished to build the Sydney Opera House on the same site.

A formal ceremonial march in the same era, also at the Quay.


Trams lined up to clear the crowds from Sydney's Randwick Racecourse. Fantastic crowd clearing video at this post of mine, the last video, of trams at a Randwick Racecourse meeting.


Along with our photos online when we visited Sea Life aquarium, oddly this pair of visitors were included. Mine is not bad but yours has a bit of weight on.


On this day I read on Twitter that Melbourne's oldest brick building is on the north east corner of Elizabeth and Collins Street. I had to locate myself and think about which direction is north east, but there you have it. I took a photo of the building a couple of weeks ago, just because I liked it.