Saturday, January 28, 2006

Fire is topical

If you have been listening to ABC radio Melbourne/Victoria, the state is alight. Not quite as bad as that. Serious yes, but it has been in the past too but did not get such coverage.
The coverage has been a wee bit melodramatic.

After writing the post about Dame M and her fire experience, I remembered some of my own. Just vaguely. I spent some of my formative years in the country, a bit north of Warragul (note spelling D) and a bit south of Mount Baw Baw. It was in the sixties and the fire was approaching. We did not have a 'fire plan' to save the house. But we did have a fire plan to save us. My father told us that we must go to the dam with hessian sacks. Wet the sacks, put them over oursleves and stay in the dam until the fire passed.

In restrospect, we could have easily saved the house. Hydreangers don't burn easily and nor does a privet hedge. It would have been a matter of putting out embers.

Yes, you do need to be prepared to protect your property from fire, but it is not hard to do, as long as you are at home.

My other fire experience was a trip from Gippsland to Ararat. We drove along a road in an FB Holden and there was fire burning on either side. Even though it was hot, we could feel the heat of the fires in the car. Maybe it was the Lara fires.

We got through, and on that hideously hot day, Fa took pity on us and stopped off at the swimming pool in Ballarat. Never have I enjoyed a swim so much.

We arrived at Ararat, and a storm, perhaps a cool change arrived. The power went off. Birds fell off the electric wires, electocuted.

Friday, January 27, 2006


Condy's Crystals Rice says Americans will have nothing to do with Hmas in Palestine. That is, they will not support the new government until they renounce violence against Israel. Well, they ought not have supported the IRA in Ireland then surely. But there were many Irish Catholic votes to be had, as are there are many Jewish votes to have. Don't forget the anti communist Cuban vote. Why does the US do all this pretend stuff that is patently clear to everyone?

Where's my gong?

I do my job fairly well. Why don't I get a gong? Lots of other people get a gong for doing their paid employment. Why not me?

What a farce this honours business is. Meanwhile, people like the couple who were featured on last night's 7.30 Report who help newly arrived immigrants and have since the early eighties go un- awarded. As does Gloria who used to live in our street in Balavlava. She collects signatures for petitions to various places over animal rights and has has done this for decades. Obviously neither know the right people to correctly phrase a nomination.

As well it really lowers the value of those recipients who do deserve and get an award.

Whole thing is a crock of the proverbial. May as well bring back knighthoods.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Dame M nearly burned

"So Dame M. Have you ever seen a bushfire?" said I.

Surely she won't have a story about a fire.

"Well, yes, I was nearly burnt in one", she replied.

As a young lady, Dame M was sometimes taken to the country for holidays. One such holiday was to a family friend's farm at Launching Place, which I think is in the Yarra Valley or nearby. The year 1939, the day probably Black Friday, although she is unsure. She would have been fourteen years old by my calculations.

Dame M's mother was frantically trying to get to the farm to get Dame M and her sisters but the police would not allow her to pass. Instead a police officer said he would go and get them. The police officer arrived at the farm and they willingly went with him as they were afraid. The owner of the farm refused to leave and was subsequently boiled alive in his water tank where he sought refuge from the inferno. Dame M said that as he was pulled from the tank, the flesh just fell off him in strips. I doubt she saw that. She probably just remembers the telling of it.

"I was vain back then you know Andrew. With this inferno around us, I was more concerned with how I looked with my hair wrapped up in an old rag", she remembered. Even now she still has a fantasic head of rich golden coloured big big hair.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


I have been very good lately and managed to keep my desires well in control. I am talking about three years here. But I think it was a reactive thing to having the o/s visitors in our home that as soon as they left, I felt driven. Unbelievably strongly driven. Newspapers online, did not look at them, blog, only when R was home and we were watching tv, can't be bothered with anyone, can barely do house work. Otherwise in chat lines endlessly, promises promises, disappointments, disappointments. Restictions frustrating. I can't focus on anything. I can't read. I can't concentrate. I can't function at all. I just have to have the right experience with the right person. Self relief does not help at all.

Yesterday it happened. The right experience with the right guy. The bonus was he was a knockout looking guy. HOT AS. Tall, slim, smooth and muscular, hung, charming, stylish, great clothes. Now I feel calm and relaxed and can get back to my normal life. The old sourpuss cat does get the cream sometimes. Hopefully it will keep me going until I am old and have to pay for such pleasure.

Sydney Traffic

This is probably my last post about our trip to Sydney and how I saw the city.

While allowing for it being a quiet time on city roads all over Australia, Sydney never seems to have the traffic congestion that is so common in Melbourne. Perhaps it is because of the sheer number of streets. While Melbourne's roads are quite straight and stretch out in front of you, Sydney's rarely are and there are often alternatives. Even the dreaded William Street was not as bad as I thought it would be. It was pretty hideous for pedestrians though, as was Oxford Street.

I was asking a taxi driver about the Cross City Tunnel as we were approaching it and he quickly asked if we wanted to go through it. I said yes and it probably added a couple of dollars to our fare, and really there was nothing to see, except for as is usual in Sydney tunnels, there are traffic lanes and that is all. No lane for emergency vehicles nor for broken down cars.

We hired a car to go to the Blue Mountains and I thought that if I could get onto the tunnel approach, it would be quicker and easier than driving through city. I studied maps and observed and I got it right. It was very easy to use.

Returning home did not go so well. I turned off the main road just before the big bridge (Anzac?) when I should not have. To go straight ahead did not look right and I had to make a snap decision. I turned into a quiet side street and turned around and found my way back. There was a bit of a lack of signage. Into the tunnel no problem but we existed almost at Rushcutter's Bay. I saw a sign to Paddington, not the direction I wanted to go, although that may have been the best was to get back to the Cross. Instead I turned towards the water where a lot of boats were moored and made a 'u' turn. I then missed the exit road to the Cross and ended up back in William St. I made an 'in retrospect' illegal 'u' turn at Bourke St and found my way back up to the Cross. I should have just turned left near the car hire places and gone around the block.

But during the whole day of driving, I never once felt under pressure from fellow motorists and I can't even recall one horn being blasted at anyone over the time we were there. I have noticed this lack of aggression by motorists before in Sydney. Not sure why it is so, but it does seem to be the case. Why are we so different in Melbourne?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sydney Weather

I suppose Sydney gets very hot. It was NYE that it reached 43 I believe, as it almost did in Melbourne too. But most of the time it seems closer to 30 degrees, but with high humidity. Ever so high humidity. Of course if you are near the harbour, there is nearly always a cool breeze to stand in and try to dry your skin.

When we took the o/s rels to Manly on the ferry, it never occured to us that the harbour would not be sparkling blue. Instead it was grey, with a strong cool wind blowing. We did not expect it to softly rain while we were in Manly, but it did.

It also never occured to us that in the middle of summer, the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains would be shrouded in mist and invisible. It did give the rain forest an authentic feel though. It never occured to us that mist would be all you could see from some of the wonderful lookouts in the Blue Mountains.

While Melbourne's weather is extreme and changeable, it is not quite as weird as Sydney's weather.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


It's a hot, hot day. However, we not want to stay at home in the cool all day. It is rare that we actually have to think of something to do, but today we did have to. We decided to visit the new Hoyts movie theatre at Melbourne Central. I have read Memoirs of a Geisha, so I thought it would not be a bad movie to see.

Ten minute queue for tickets. Everyone else had the same idea of somewhere cool and being entertained. Five minute queue for an overpriced ice cream.

Sit down at commencement time, 12.30. 12.45 still just muzak, apology announcement from staff and it would start in a couple of minutes. No explanation why. 1.00, still no movie. 1.10, we walked out and got our money back.

Stroll through Harvey Norman at QV, have a nice coffee at The Angle, I think it is called, then home. Managed to get B class air con trams both ways. Very good.

Should have hired some dvds and stayed home.