Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A disaster in the hills

How sad to hear yesterday morning the news that the quaint Ranges Hotel in Gembrook has pretty well been gutted by fire. We lunched there last year and not even two weeks ago on Wednesday, Tradie Brother took Mother there for lunch.

The fire will also affect the Puffing Billy Tourist Railway as people used to catch the train up to Gembrook, have lunch at the hotel and catch the next train back. There was a notice in the hotel for diners  to mention to staff that they were catching Puffing Billy after lunch to ensure they would fed well in time and not miss the train.

Photos from The Age and you can read my post back when we visited the hotel last year.



Monday, September 24, 2018

Goned Guthrie

Today without any proper kind of explanation, the board of the ABC sacked its managing director Michelle Guthrie. I never liked her and what she was about so far as I know, but that does not matter.

What matters is that the ABC is a taxpayer funded broadcaster and and supposedly independent of the government (haha), we as taxpayers are owed a a proper explanation as to why she was sacked.

Joy Melbourne, our local gay radio station, went through a management crisis in I think the early 2000s. Members were left uninformed of what it was about or the people involved. I did not renew my membership that year and have rarely tuned in since.

It is our money that pays the ABC Board and our money that pays the Managing Director of the ABC. We have a right to know, as we have right to know how our money is spent in many other areas of government, that are not released for the reason of  'commercial in confidence'.

I had a choice to to leave Joy, but I don't have a choice about being a taxpayer. It is our money and we have a right to know. The Minister for Communication should insist on a proper explanation from the Board of the ABC. But given he does not control the ABC, this is very unlikely. Only public and journalistic pressure will get an answer.

PS The post could have done with a polish, but it is just an off the cuff effort.

Musical Monday

Joining with no one for Musical Monday. I know this song so well, yet I haven't a clue who sang it and nor did R. She was the youngest person to ever have a number one hit in the world. It has become a flea in my ear and I hope to not make it one in yours.

Without further ado, I give you Peggy March. Watch and listen to whichever clip you like. You cynics who say she is a great lip syncer are probably right, but don't be such a spoil sport.

The original performance in black and white.


The song was used in the movie Sister Act. There are some connections in this clip.


The song went down a treat in Fernsehgarten, Germany.


Not only a lip syncer, I think she may have had some work done at some point. Nevertheless, at the age of the rerecording of the song for its fiftieth anniversary, she looks fabulous, and the clip features some of her history with the song. She was born in 1948 and it was recorded in 2013, so she was 65 at the time and is now 70.


What a great song. I had a moment of fear when I thought it was perhaps religious song and him who Peggy sang about was God or Jesus or some dude like that.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sister on holidays

Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo are visiting Japan and are flying to Japan today, this Sunday. I think they have a great holiday planned. 

Little Jo corrected my pronunciation of manga and amazingly knew that the tv show from the 70s? Kimba the White Lion was Japanese and I did not know that (more likely that I had forgotten). I knew Felix the Cat from the 60s was Japanese. I am amazed at how much Little Jo knows about popular young culture in Japan. I've forgotten the name now and she used the browser she is supposed to use on our computer that does not keep history for more than a day and has a family filter switched on. But there are whole shops for such things in Japan, and you have to book. She showed us a virtual tour of the shop, which took forever to watch. 

Dearest niece, sponge up information like there is no tomorrow, as you are doing. Soon enough your brain begins its decline as it starts to become subtractions from you brain, rather than additions. 

Our Friend in Japan has some convenient time off when the trio will be in the north of Japan. Well, I can't say they are going there to see her, I think they will like her friendly and familiar face and she will be kind to them. Actually, not sure why they are going to northern Japan. Perhaps it is because our Friend in Japan is there. They aren't seeing Mount Fuji, nor Kyoto. Thanks in advance Wombat for your kindness.

Bone Doctor was an exchange student in Japan and she plans to catch up with the family who hosted her, along with the Japanese exchange student who her own family hosted in Australia. BD is very clever and I expect she would know some basic Japanese language. 

Anyway, while I posted plenty of photos after we returned from our Japanese holiday, as per usual,  here are a few of my favourites from eight years ago. 

PS I am trying a larger font for your ageing eyes, or mine. It looks huge as I type but it looks ok in the preview. Your opinion is valued. 


It is hard to believe it was eight years ago. We arrived by train from Narita Airport to Ueno Station and we were promptly lost. Our hotel was nearby but we had no idea in what direction. I did not imagine Ueno Station was so large and had so many exits. We were supposed to arrive in daylight, but thanks to Jetstar we did not. It looked so simple on the map. Like lost children are told to do, we found a (smoking hot) policeman and sure enough, he directed us well. Next day we were back at the station to book train tickets north, and feeling much more relaxed. 



I don't remember taking this photo which must be at Ueno Station, but it is a nice thing to show, and saves me from inflicting a huge number of photos on you from the Transport Museum.


All over Japan are these attractive manhole infrastructure service covers.


Odd really, I was surprised at how beautifully Japanese maple trees grow in Japan. What?


Midsummer, we were thrilled and so excited to see Mount Fuji close up, the biscuit tin image from our childhoods.


Sulphur Mountain, where the sulphur turns eggs black.


Cruising on Lake whatever.




I think in Ueno Park.


Ok, just one photo from Japanese transport museum.


And another. I pretend drove a tram  that had working parts and we watched a turntable turn around a train. As we ate a metaphoric Devonshire Tea at the museum, a Shinkansen train shot past our window seats.


Our Shinkansen arrives to transport us to the north of Japan along the east coast. We had to change trains a couple of times to get to our destination in the north. Now it would only be a change from the Shink to a local train and it would be on a much newer and faster Shink.


I didn't mean to upload this photo, but this was the view from our Hirosaki hotel.


Hirosaki Castle gardens.


Hirosaki Castle (I think).


Orrisa Falls? Something like that on the way up the mountain.


Lake Towada. Very nice 'scenery'. One little boy has a very nice daddy.


Snuffling around was this prairie dog or as the Japanese call it Tanuki.


 A cultural parade in Hirosaki.


A temple outside Hirosaki. We had first visited a bakery and bought 'stuffs'.


Sculpture by the internationally known artist Yoshitmoto Nara.


Can't remember.

Mount Iwate dominates the skyline in Hirosaki. It is probably just as impressive as Mount Fuji. I think by the kindness of a friend of our Friend in Japan, we circumnavigated it.


I leave you with photos of some Hirosaki Park features, where we came across a lonely young European female traveller, so pleased to see some fair haired men and speak at ease in English. We loved our visit to Japan.



Friday, September 21, 2018

The Gramps

Last weekend siblings Fire Fighting Nephew and Hippie Niece went bushwalking in the Grampian Ranges here in Victoria. In Melbourne on the Saturday, the weather was atrocious. Seems it was even worse in Grampians, with snow. Such is our spring weather. Come Sunday, the weather must have been better. I wonder if they built a campfire, smoked a joint and heated up a couple of tins of baked beans.



I'd like to know the name of the lake, but Red Nomad no longer blogs, and I reckon she would know, or perhaps Ann Odyne who is familiar with the west of our state might?