Friday, August 24, 2007

Rich Friends

We know a couple of guys who are seriously rich. I cannot say they are friends, but they are acquaintances who we see quite often at a common friend's. They own an apartment at Beacon Cove worth over a $1 mill and properties in Carlton and I expect they have lots of shares. They are incredibly tight over money when out for dinner. I thought I was bad enough, but I am getting better at it.

They have just a place built in Bali that cost them half a mill. The older one is an Mac Ewan hardware heir, deliberately misspelt, and is suffering from a terminal cancer. The other was a bank teller who took a redundancy package in the eighties. He sure fell on his feet when he met this older guy. They both set up the Melbourne W**nkers Group, which I believe is still successful, no lips below hips is the slogan (or dicks below the hips).

Our friend the ex NT pollie and policeman has holidayed with them in Bali in their stunningly gorgeous place. He doubts the older one will be ever going back there.

Our friend is now in KL, where he has met up again with his music producer friend, gay but married Chinese KL guy.

I had to laugh at this in an email. and as usual after I
walked out I was seduced by a guy I had been watching
inside but he was too shy to speak!

More likely our friend had pinned some innocent naive young man up against a wall, trapped until he gives over his phone number.

But it is a bit sad that this guy from Port Melbourne, Beacon Cove is going to die soon. His younger b/f is a binge drinker and has mental health issues. God knows how he will be without the stabilising influence of his partner, and especially so because he will have millions of dollars at his disposal.

Perhaps the luxury of his indulgences will disappear once he is on his own.....on his own up to a point if you don't count the Bali boyfriend.

Annual Ice Cream Day

The time must be approaching when I eat an ice cream. I only have one about once a year and it has been a long time since I had my last. Somebody's partner bought a small box of them and it is sitting in our freezer. But that is no fun. I need to go out and buy one, freshly served in a cone.

The weather needs to be fine and sunny and spring like and I will be right in the mood. Rum and raisin is my old favourite but I quite like pistachio too.

Of course ice cream never tastes as good as it did when you were a kid. Nothing like a Peter's brick of ice cream on top of fruit salad. I never liked the chocolate in the umm umm, not cosmopolitan, what was it called?

Used to eat an occasional pine lime Splice when I was in my thirties and Heaven when they appeared.

Cream in Between has a bit of different meaning now to me. Who on earth thought putting ice cream between two flat pieces of cone was a good idea? Eat that and not make a mess?

A Dixie cup was quite good and I used to like the little wooden paddle shaped thing that came with it.

A Drumstick was a bit dearer and more of a treat.

I just know you are waiting for it M'lord but it is not as you may expect. I never really liked a Golden Gaytime.

Sand in the ham sandwiches, sunburn, bright hot sun, cool water, flies, shells, half cold tea from a thermos which had probably leaked onto something, the smelly creek, was all out patiently played out until we received an ice cream from the kiosk at Mordialloc Beach. Then we would suddenly become tired and irritable. Can we go home now?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Energy Forum

We attended a sustainable high rise living forum on Tuesday night. The sandwiches were yummy. We walked into town and ran across an old workmate of mine, Gudgera? for the benefit of some. We chatted as we walked along St Kilda Road but by the time we reached the Arts Centre, I had had enough, said our goodbyes and I steered R down to the river. While he is an ok guy, we were running out of things to say. We were going to eat in town before the forum, but we then decided we would eat at South Gate food court. Not a bad quickie meal really.
The forum was organised by our body corporate managing company.
It was the usual bang on about light globes, water, air conditioning and SHOWER HEADS. I did learn a couple of things that I did not know, such as double glazing that receives direct sunlight acts as a radiator into a building. One speaker talked about some commercial buildings where they had done an energy audit and then implemented a plan to reduce energy use and the savings in dollar terms were around 60 to 80 per cent. Astonishing. For a highrise building like ours, they managed around thirty per cent just by using more efficient lighting, adding timers and sensors. We already have a lot of these things, so I doubt our building could save so much.

Our body corp head honcho person organized the forum and emceed it. She is French Canadian, not that that is relevant. She did quite a good job. I just wish her reading glasses would sit straight on her face.

One speaker was a university lecturer and he brought along some of his students. They were terribly busy writing and taking notes. One in particular grabbed my attention. He had red dreads wrapped in a scarf. The only time he stopped writing was to smile approvingly and clap or cheer his lecturer, who was short, maybe fifty and not too slim. I could see a very strong attachment by this guy to his lecturer. Interesting. Red dread looked like he lived in a shared student house in Carlton and would be in any public protest against authority. God knows what he really thought of us all of us high rise people using so much energy. Middle class wankers I suppose. He ought to try getting up for work at four in the morning, or not getting home from work until four in the morning......for nearly thirty years. Only then would I argue the point with him.

The forum was held in the Supper Room of Melbourne Town Hall. Given it was about the energy that large buildings like ours use, it was odd that the room was overheated. A woman started fanning herself. Eventually the emcee asked for the heating to be turned off, thank god. I was in a shirt and starting to perspire.

Melbourne Town Hall is a very old building and quite nice in a very serious manner. The light fittings in the room would be old. They are branch lights with five incadescant bulbs per branch, plus some wall lights. A total of 86 bulbs, plus a good few more where supper was served. Quite incongruous for an energy forum.

As we walked to the event and would catch the tram home, we scored three Sunday Saver tickets, plus a Renew magazine, and a four minute shower timer, egg style. Haven't seen sand through the hourglass for years. So are the days of our lives.

We came home full of vigour to reduce our lighting impact. As we went through it all, we realised that there was not much we could do. We hardly use overhead lighting, so there is no point replacing that.

What did surprise me was the amount of power some things use when plugged in but not actually being used. Of course tv, but phone charger? Microwave oven? Anything with an electronic display. Again, can't do much. All the power points for such things are where they are not seen and cannot be easily accessed.

It was an interesting and worthwhile forum though. People really are trying to reduce the energy impact, but so many things stand in their way.

St Caths St Kevs presents

I have no comment.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Express to Malvern, stopping all stations to Bentleigh

Eventually I replaced all our tap washers with hydro seal washers. Some of what are called the flanges, the bit around the tap spindle were put on so tightly, I had to use vice grips to remove them. I used my basin taps as the guinea pigs as they are the least seen should they be damaged and damaged they were, in spite of me wrapping rubber gloves around them.

While I know that you can get touch up enamel for damaged tapware and I expressed a view that as hardly anyone sees them it did not matter too much, R insisted since that he sees them when he cleans my bathroom and they need to be replaced.

I touched up the chips with liquid paper and that worked reasonably well, but not well enough for R.

A few weeks ago I went to Trade Link plumbing supplies who give honest hard workers like moi a discount. They did not have the flanges but were helpful enough to suggest a tap ware place in Bentleigh. A week or so later on a Monday I drove to Bentleigh, but the shop is not open on Mondays. I cussed as I hate driving my car on my days off and it was a wasted trip.

Today I needed to go into town to Big W for a bulk purchase of dishwashing powder and I thought I could combine that with a train trip to Bentleigh.

I walked to South Yarra Station and caught the 12.28 to Bentleigh. It travelled express to Malvern and then stopped all stations. The housing observed from the train was of a generally high standard. The streets were quiet and clean.

A dude at South Yarra station asked me for money. He asked me again when I was on the train. He asked the wrong person when he asked the guy adjacent to me, as he paid out on him good and proper, to the complete approval of every other person in the carriage I think. I might try this one day soon, but only if R is there to protect me.

I alighted at Bentleigh and walked westward to the tap shop. So many shops of all varieties. I have a strong connection to the area as many of my now dead rels has market gardens there. I noted very slow traffic and seem to recall the from the last time I was there the local council had done things to Centre Road to deliberately slow and congest traffic. Twenty years ago the traffic used to flow very freely along Centre Road.

What is this? A totally inappropriate development of a whole street block of apartments with shops below. Every other building is of two storeys and blends in with the street scape. This one clearly does not. An effing abortion of a place City of Glen Eira, or more likely VCAT. For my bad thoughts about the developer, I was rewarded with a shower of small stones from the works happening on top of the building. I should sue. If I was actually hurt rather than shocked and surprised, I very well may have.

Where is this tap shop? Have I made a mistake? Was it North Road rather than Centre Road? It looked to be about 300 metres on the map. I have walked almost a kilometre. It was the very last shop.

White is not white when you are talking about enamelled tap fittings. They yellow in time and the new fittings were very bright white against the old one. They actually stand out more than a slightly chipped flange did. Now R says, they were ok, not sure why you bothered. Wring his neck sometimes.

I had checked the timetable for the trip back and my timing was good. Fifteen minute service was better than I thought it would be. I had guessed twenty minutes. I noted the local Federal member who I think is despicable has his office two doors from a pawn shop. The pawn shop is closing down. I expect the local member will be re-elected. Give them cake comes to mind.

I got to the railway line just as the boom gates came down. Oh, I am too late for my train. It is coming and the booms are down and I cannot cross the railway line to catch the train. I will have to fill in time by having coffee in Bentleigh. If I can't see the train actually approaching, could I use the emergency gates to get to the platform? I could not see the time on my phone as I was too confused to get my specs out. The train must be very early. Then I saw that that I could cross to in between the tracks where there was the walkway to the train platforms. The booms were down for the train going the other way and only the pedestrians for the Frankston bound train were locked off.

While we used to use the train a lot when we lived in Balaclava, to travel to Prahran or the City, I am a very occasional user now. I left home at noon to walk to South Yarra to catch the 12.28 to Bentleigh. I caught the 1.06 from Bentleigh to Melbourne Central and arrived at around 1.35. The trains were clean and very comfortable. I don't have to travel to work on a peak hour trains and I know it would not be a good experience, but from my usage today, I would say that our train system is excellent. It worked well for me.

I caught a slow tram home from town which took as long as it did for me to travel from South Yarra to Bentleigh. Wished that I could catch the proposed underground railway.

Unfortunately I was off the train at Melbourne Central. How long has that station been there? I remember when it was built, opened and I visited it soon after. I have probably been there perhaps fifty times since. I walked up five sets of escalators and realised I had walked up one too many. The exit to Swanston Street and QV, which I like, was lower down. I hate Melbourne Central and I will never work it out. I love QV.

Laden with heavy dishwashing powder from Big W, cheap Helgas light rye bread from Safeway, tap fittings from Bentleigh, I gave myself up to a strong latte when I reached home. There are big water pipes works happening on our road, but fortunately all was quiet as I sat outside my local cafe to have coffee. I only have to put $2.50 on the counter and the owner lass brings my coffee out to me.

It was only four o'clock. More happened. Another post coming.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Frankston 1

Time to catch up with sis in law and mother on a Sunday. I am often at work Sunday, so when I am not it is a good chance to catch up.

Combine us catching up with my mother and step father, sis in law at Frankston Market and my desire to see the result of years of work at the Frankston Beach meant Frankston Beach was the place to catch up.

It was so so cold. Brother invited himself along unexpectedly, ex husband of sis in law. He called us from his car to find out where we were parked and we were directly behind him. He should have wound down his car window and called out my name.

But anything to do with my mother is interesting and amusing. She still spends a fortune from her pension on her hair, but she has discovered beanies for keeping her head warm. She was very nicely dressed, but with a beanie on her head. A fine opportunity to send her up mercilessly.

We walked on the new bridge over the waterway and then out onto the pier where many were fishing, mostly unsuccessfully.

Larger boats were unable to get across a sand bar to get to the boat ramp. Smaller ones were pushed over. I quite like watching boats get launched from a boat trailer or put back on. Something will always go wrong.

We could not quite see the highrise from Frankston Pier but still I said and pointed, 'Look R, you left a bedroom window open'. It always gets a laugh.

We ate our afternoon tea that we had taken and as we were nearly to the point of shivering, we packed up and headed home.

While out for a walk Sunday morning before we set off for Frankston, I came across this little sign on a rather large house in Domain Road. I was scoffing a chilli pie at Frankston market I turned around to see a diesel electric rail motor? on the railway track passing by and it was called Sir Harold Clapp. Co-incidence.

These bronze sculptures are excellent and made in collaboration with school children. The theme for most of them is things found on the beach.

Frankston 2

Monday, August 20, 2007

Trams in Annadale

As per request, a bit of info about trams in the Sydney suburb of Annadale. A tram turned off Parramatta Road into Ross Street and travelled along Ross Street, Minogue Crescent, the Crescent and then along Victoria Road and across the Iron Cove Bridge and onto Ryde I think.

There wasn't a Minogue Crescent then. There was a Crescent Street and it ended about about half way along Harold Park race track. The tram went through what was probably parkland or open land or bush and The Crescent started at Rose Street and Nelson Street but did not actually run along The Crescent, but just to the west of it. It joined The Crescent at View Street.

Clearly a road was built that followed the tram track, probably when the tram line closed. The tram line perhaps closed in 1953. It was never a dead halt. Bits were closed progressively.

A short line ran behind the Harold Park race track, north side to the Rozelle tram Depot, almost to Maxwell Road. By a current map, the depot looks to be in Forest Lodge.

The Lilyfield tram turned off Crescent Street at its end, now seemingly also called Minogue Crescent and travelled through open land and across a bridge over Johnston's Creek., now referred to as a stormwater channel. There seems to be a walking trail there now that follows the tram route and the footbridge across the creek may well be the original tram bridge.

The tram went down Taylor Street and turned right into Booth Street which changes to Moore Street. It then turned into Catherine Street and the Lilyfield terminus was at Lilyfield Road, back then called Abattoir Road.

A tram line continued along Moore Street and again slightly north and overland next to Moore Street West. The Leichhardt Bus Depot was the Leichhardt Tram Depot. The line ran along William Street to Norton Street and I expect this was only for working operations. A tram ran along Norton Street from Parramatta Road on its way to what seems to be a Balmain connection, via Perry Street, Balmain Road and Darling Street.

Trams came down Parramatta Road as far as Crystal Street and after turning into Crystal Street, they went on to terminate at Canterbury.

Getting a bit far away now from Annadale, but a tram also ran along Glebe Point Road to terminate at Cook Street.

Hmm, I quite enjoyed that. Hope it is of interest. All info is as I can see it, not necessarily correct.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Get a life or Sydney Trams

I thought it would be so easy. With my reference reprint of Sydney's Gregory street directory from 1934 and a Sydways 2006, I thought I would draw in on the Sydways with a highlighter pen where all the Sydney tram lines went.

If Melbourne had been silly enough to get rid of their trams and I did the same thing now for Melbourne, it would have taken about half an hour.

No one told me that Sydney's tram routes were like a spider's cobweb, but far less symmetric.

I have spent hours on it and not even touched the north shore yet or barely the city proper. It has turned into a project.

I recall my Sydney friend being quite fascinated to learn that a street he often drove along, Crystal Street, had trams running along it. He then understood why the centre of the road was different to the edges. Tram tracks had been covered over. I once sent him a picture of Railway Square when it had trams and he replied, ah, I know where that was taken. I drive past it every evening when I go to gym.

So if you live in Sydney in an area where trams used to run, pretty well any inner to middle area, I am a font of information and feel free to ask. You will impress your friends with your new found knowledge, just before they roll their eyes. "You know that walking track we walk along, it used to have a tram running along there". So Jo? Mercboi? Steph? Fire Horse? Anyone else. Get your history lesson from 1934.

Email me ripppon at and it will be no names, just the the suburb and the info.

Back to the the larger than life task. R lived in Coogee a long time ago and his work involved standing on street corners, and I am bit stumped there at the moment. Street names have been changed and things are not matching.

Picture is the front of the South Dowling St tram depot. Right where the Moore Park Supa Centa is now located.

He is Human

I just can't wait to see what the Governor General will write in his There Ain't No Sanity Clause blog.

It seems Federal Opposition leader and possible future Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd gets drunk and is a groper of lasses in strip clubs. New York can do that to you.

He has gone up in my estimation. He is a human after all.

The TV

Written a week ago mostly.

Even though it may make me seem like a sad loser, I like tv. If I actually sit down and watch it, my brain almost switches off and I focus on what I am watching and hearing. My brain needs a rest. It is far too active without some focus such as tv. I hasten to add, not active in a good way, just active. I shan't be solving any of the world's problems or even my own.

So what have I been watching. I watched an episode of Backyard Blitz last night and enjoyed it very much. Ok, yes seeing Jamie helped, but the show has changed. It had a much less stagy feel to it. I believe it was made last year and is only being shown to stymie Jamie on Channel 7 with his show about Australia's best gardens. Haha, Channel 7 pulled their Jamie show this week.

I mostly watch (and listen) to the ABC and my life would be much less without our ABC. I often bother the ABC with emails and letters. That is because I care and because I care, they have a responsibility to me.

Midsommer Murders has been rating well. I watch it, but only for the scenery, the houses and the English manners.

I sometimes see Channel 7's Deal or no Deal, and I think I have nearly worked out how the show works......almost.

Somewhat entranced by Antiques Roadshow.

Of course I watch The Bill.......still. It is an ingrained habit.

I did end up watching Ugly Betty. It really wasn't much of a show, but I stuck with it. I drifted off Grey's Anatomy. I stuck with Desperate Housewifes. Wonder if it is true that a gay couple will feature in the next series. Will the gay couple, rumoured, be Robbie Williams and David Beckham? Becks screaming out 'f me daddy, harder' works for me.

I guess they essentially soap operas, but by golly I enjoyed watching The Circuit on SBS, and still enjoying Kick. The Circuit was a fantabulous insight into modern Aboriginal culture and problems and presented in a very palatable form. Well done.

I am well over Silent Witness. Bring back Sam Ryan.

New Tricks got a repeat run. Good show and a bit different.

Robin Hood. Nothing like how I remember Robin Hood, but I enjoyed it muchly.

New series of Doctor Who, ok, not what it used to be. Sometimes shows should die a bit earlier.

I was excited by Torchwood, given what I had learned about Torchwood from Doctor Who. What a disappointment. Awful and unwatchable tripe.

I suppose I will watch the new series of Kath and Kim on commercial tv, perhaps only once. God, I have seen all previous episodes and remember them back on commercial tv many years ago. Ho hum and ho hum.

New cop show starting on commercial tv. Forgotten the name, but I will watch that as what a star cast.

Worst Jobs in History is rating well. After visiting Broken Hill and now knowing about young kiddies down mines and the deaths of so many workers, R and I have decided this show is not for us. The first series was enough.

Also depressing is Media Watch, but every secondary school student should be forced to watch Media Watch.

Denton I watch sometimes. I saw the Mount Isa episode tonight and it was good.

The endless repetition in shows like Border Security bore me senseless and I have given up trying to watch them.

Sea Patrol is good. I like it, except for the Lisa McClune character. Not sure if she is a good actor or not, and you never would know from her part in the show.

An old **** has been on the Einstein Factor and is in the finals. He used to be so pretty, so shy and self effacing, as only men with a gigantic **** could be.

The Cook and the Chef still get a big tick.

Tried to watch The Eagle on SBS, but I am always too distracted by pc or something to read to keep up with subtitles.

I am sure I have missed a show or two.

An Outing

Last Saturday we took our friends out for a grand night. Well, not that grand really. We took the brother friends and the ex NT politician/policeman and his Fijian Indian boyfriend and his boyfriend (don't ask) to the Palmerston Hotel in the nearby Kingsway. Ok meal. Good atmosphere. Best thing is it is walking distance for us.

All returned to our smart apartment on St Kilda Road for cups of tea and a lamington sponge. (I eschewed such nonsense and poured myself a decent drink)

I slipped my electric toothbrush into my pocket, after removing the head, and served said tea and sponge with something buzzing around my person. It took some time, but eventually someone said, 'Your vibrator is buzzing'. I am quite sure it has lost something in the retelling, but it was a good laugh at the time. Girls, don't you want to serve tea and cake while having something buzzing away. Make sure you pull a strange face every so often.