Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Grumpy old man

I am normally of a cheerful disposition but Monday was not a good day for me.

My doctor is never more than five minutes late but Monday he was half an hour late. I didn't complain as I was squeezed in at the last minute. Then I had to wait half an hour for the pathologist, normally less than ten minutes. I wasn't a happy bunny.

The day went worse.

Normally it is almost turn up and go at Flinders Street Station for a train to Footscray but I waited a while. So many people unmasked on the train when mask wearing is compulsory. The hottest looking tradie sat opposite me at Southern Cross Station wearing brief shorts and he made me feel faint, but he was unmasked and I hated him. I am not a great hater. I don't hate taxi drivers, tram drivers or bus drivers. I don't even hate the most stupid car drivers. 

But who I do hate is armoured van drivers. They think they are above any law and park illegally and block roads or whatever at their will. I was sitting having coffee on the street when one parked beside where I was sitting. They left their diesel vehicle idling away with the engine noise and fumes belching out right next to me, like one metre away. Pricks. I quickly finished my coffee and walked back to towards the station and the Armaguard Australia persons seemed be wandering aimlessly in the street mall. Why leave the vehicle idling, wasting fuel, polluting the air and annoying me?

Jesus. Normally again it is usually a few minutes wait for a train from Footscray, but I waited a while. The front carriage of a train from Footscray nicely matches the lift at the concourse at Flinders Street Station. Three of us entered the empty carriage and one bloke thought it was appropriate to play really loud rap music from a non visible sound system. I stood up and glared at him. He did not turn it down or better, off.

The culmination of the day's events by now had me in a foul mood. I changed to the second carriage and he opened the door for me and he knew very well why I was changing carriages. I said to him as I went through the door, 'I don't want to hear your effing crap music'. I waited for a knife to slip between my ribs, but it didn't happen. 

The second carriage was busier but I found a good seat and only had to put up with some young lass holding her phone at right angles to her face and using the phone speaker. I will never understand about that. You hold a phone to your ear, surely or use your earbuds.

Today was better. R had a medical test and was clear. We will be babysitting our 9 month old great niece for two hours in a couple of weeks. We are catching up with our Hairdresser Friend for her birthday on Saturday night. I have my first COVID vax today and I have mixed feeling about that. I am a little afraid of how I may react. 

But what really cheered me last night was watching the quite lovely Old People's Home for 4 Year Olds.  

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

They are four years old

The café latte coloured twins, our great nieces turned four years old and we had a family celebration. Mother can't be anywhere before noon, so she was not there at 10.30 and turned up at 1.00 after everyone had left. She went on to the after party at Ex Sis in Law's. We were home by then, tired after social interaction. 

We were so well sheltered from a shower of rain that never happened. Hippie Niece's partner's family did the food catering and it was fantastic. There was much left over and R helped an unknown person carry it back her car while he was asked twenty questions. I've told him how to answer and cut short questions. "My (male) partner is E's brother, and we are the great uncles of the twins". No further curiosity needed. It can be so tiresome to explain this year in, year out, decade after decade. Or it could be phrased as, 'We are fucking gay, poofter, faggots. I've tried for fifty year to get pregnant from men but I've failed. I am sterile." What you do say and at times what you feel like saying. I wonder what it is like for childless straight couples? 

The gathering was held in a a not long finished and terrific park in a development so new, our sat nav just showed a blank grey screen. I would hope that as the developer did not place a train station there, at least the company had to pay for the park. 

While I was always the driver, my arthritis has stopped that and R who was so critical of my driving skills has discovered day to day driving is not so easy when you do it all the time. Should I return to driving, I have so much ammunition up my sleeve about his driving. Point scoring? Yes, because he is very unreasonable about my driving. Forty two years together and we still go on with such petty stuff.....well he does. I am pretty close to perfect, as you know well.

There was so much to amuse children in the park, including a water system whereby you wound a handle to pump water that fell onto to rocks and then a rough channel and then joined by another water flow device operated by just pushing an electric button. Between the the water sources there was a damming gate, and then another after the second water source and this one dammed more water. Then you could open the second sluice gate and let go the dammed water down to flood a rock bed and eventually run into channels in the sand and soak into sand. Adults kept kicking kiddies away as the water feature seemed to be for adults. 

The reed filled lake was a delight. I eventually saw the ducks I heard quacking away in a clear area of water.

Here are a few photos. I will delete personal photos in one day's time. 

Great Niece Little Em posing.

One Café Latte Twin undergoing torture by a face painter.

Looking out over the lake.

Looking back to the play area, with the big slide tower feature. The party was under the blue tents to your left.

This was brilliant and adults found it so interesting. So far as my musically uneducated ear could tell, it was in progressive tune.

Cakes, with savoury out of shot to the left. What a feast.

Ex Sis in Law's husband with his future son in law. R made the lad put on the flower head dress.

Little M pops out of the tower slide tube.

Little L has a spider face painting. 

Corellas annoyingly swooped and squawked around for a while before settling down to graze, or eat roots or whatever they do.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Train Oddity

I was in Balaclava sipping coffee and I then intended to catch the train to South Yarra and the tram home. I was close to the station and a train went towards South Yarra at 3.14. The weekday train service drops from 15 minutes to 20 minutes at weekends. Just to be sure I checked the appropriate app on my phone and it said there was a train in six minutes. I caught it, but what was that train about? The time table is what is known as clock face, that is predictable times.

1.14, 1.34, 1.54

2.14, 2.34, 2.54

3.14, 3.22, 3.34, 3.54

4.14, 4.34, 4.54

It is not hard to spot the anomaly and I wonder why it is there? A football extra train? No, most unlikely on the Sandringham line. What I was hoping was that it was one of our new trains running an extra service which is happening at times and while it may be not be included in the online timetable, the live information will show one if it is carrying passengers. It seems unlikely to move a train into position for the next day's service. 


Sunday, April 18, 2021

Highrise frustration

Not so much me because of my experience on the body corporate, but then R has experience too, but he seems to have forgotten how ponderous and complicated it is to get things done in our building.

Every so often R becomes so annoyed that he says this is worse than living in a government owned public highrise tower.  It isn't but I understand his frustration.

There is a floor lamp hanging over couches in the ground level foyer. It stopped working. Someone we know in the building jammed something into the lamp to screw out the broken fluorescent bulb and put in an old unused one of his own. That didn't last long and for months the lamp didn't work. We have an old no longer required light bulb and I often thought I should replace the bulb in the lamp, but then why should I? It is not my job. Suddenly the light is working after months of not working. 

There was a terrific renovation of all floors, with repainting, recarpeting, electric opening doors, lighting changed from halogen to LED. There are two sets of canopy lighting at the front of the building. We rarely go out at night but this Saturday night we did and it was dark when we arrived home. One set had been changed to LED, with one of them not working.

On the outer canopy, they are still halogen, half aren't working and the others very dim. They look awful. Plus the bollard lights weren't on either for some reason. Adjusting lighting for changing times of the years has always been a problem here. Such a basic thing in a building manager's job description, I would have thought.

The pool area had a nice paved bluestone surface. For some reason it was painted with a non slip paint. Then it was painted a second time. The second coat lifted and peeled back. The pool was to be closed for four days while the surface was repaired, then extended three more days, then extended for two more weeks. Of course no one knows why because that is not communicated.

To unlock doors and get around the building we have fobs with a button to press. The system has been changed to a much better contact fob and we were supposed to be issued with the new fobs in March 2020. 'You know what' intervened and it was delayed. Fair enough but in April 2021, we still don't have the new touch fobs, although some selected and privileged people seem to have the new fobs.

For 122 apartments, our building has two lifts and all being well two are adequate. I am stepping outside of Body Corporate matters now. Buildings like ours should have three lifts. A body corporate manger always argued to developers that a building our size should have three lifts and was ignored. So often one is isolated for a move in or out. But there was a fire in one lift motor and since before Easter we have one lift to use, and it will be repaired or upgraded within six to seven weeks. Jesus, that is not good. We can wait at times for such a long time for the single lift. A week after the lift broke, information was slipped under the door about the lift problem. ThyssenKrupp who have the lift maintenance contract must be laughing all the way to the bank.

Not quite public housing government for the poor but at time it feels very close.

Nevertheless, I love living here.

Raw and unchecked checked for grammar, spelling and typos. 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Melbourne's Oldest House

Within the city boundaries is perhaps the correct qualification for the oldest house in Melbourne. Former actor Lola Russell is 98 years old and now in care but she lived in the house since she was one month old until not so long ago she moved into care. Her husband George Dixon died some years ago.

The house was in the Lola's family since since 1899. Lola inherited the house in 1970 and set up a café called Russell's Old Corner Shop on the ground floor and lived upstairs with her husband and children until they, or maybe just he, left home.

A few years ago with great concern about the house's structural integrity, City of Melbourne unusually assisted pensioner Lola with props at the side of the house which can be seen in behind the scaffolding. With no one living in the house after Lola  it became a haven for squatters. I believe in some countries squatters can have rights but I am fairly sure here they are just trespassers.

Lola's family has decided the house will be sold. Although before you know what, City of Melbourne was in discussion to buy the house but it seems now with a reduced income, it is not proceeding. I think it will be repaired and made into something nice, but I fear it will be enveloped by a large highrise building or worse, just the façade kept.  

It isn't particularly attractive but it was built in pre gold rush days, so it is very historically and culturally important. 

Lola was quite a looker.

With her husband George in the café.

Keeping it vertical at the side.

While it literally Victorian, unlike late the Victorian period it has little ornamentation. Maybe it is more Georgian. Hels? The side street is Latrobe Street and the house faces the very busy traffic sewer King Street.