Friday, October 12, 2007

For my birthday

It is nearly my birthday I want something from you blog readers, especially those who have known a long time.

Included are prolific posters or those I feel I know pretty well because their blog is quite personal. (Does that cover everyone who I may offend by not including). My previous pleas for a satellite navigation unit fell on deaf ears with only $10 promised, thanks Jo and Robyn. This gift will cost you nothing but a bit of your time. Make it a post on your blog or perhaps better in the comments here so that I have something to reflect on in my senior years. In your own time and a one liner is fine but get it done by Sunday night. I hate late birthday cards.

the time you had such a bad experience on public transport that you rang the minister or one of his minions, or similar.

the time you were really, really nice to an old person, excepting one who you may inherit from.

the time you thought being single is not such a bad thing.

the last nice thing you said to your ex husband.

Jo and Robyn,
the time you two got majorly drunk together or chatted online when you were both p***ed.

the recent time when your parents embarrassed you in public

the time you thought Australia was pretty ugly.

Daisy Jo,
your first or major disagreement with the Freshman or how you felt when you first signed to buy your house.

the time you could have murdered one of your kids...or a patient.

please just repeat the story of when you sneezed in the middle of a crucial moment. It was you wasn't it?

Overheard Conversation #21

I was in our lift with two lads.

Person 1: The lift is still not working. I don't know why be pay our f***ing body corporate fees.
Person 2: Always problems with the lift.
1: I don't know what they do. The lift is always breaking down. Did you see what they did to the f***ing foyer. They put in a new couch.
2: They gutted it (the foyer) didn't they?
1: Nothing wrong with the old couch. F***ing useless c*****. And what about that new treadmill in the gym? How much did that f***ing well cost?
2: Yeah.

I said nothing. I did not press the door close button on the lift so I could see which apartment they went to. But I am not a quick verbal thinker on my feet. Here is what I should have said.

I am not a committee member but I know how many hours they put in for the benefit of this building, and it is a lot. There are good reasons why apartments in this building sell for $100,000 more than they do in the blocks next door, and the dedicated and active committee is a major reason. Your asset is being protected. And for your information, none of the committee people are lift technicians and cannot fix the lift. The part is coming from Canada to repair the lift, after attempts to source it more cheaply in Sydney failed. That is nothing to do with the committee anyway. The treadmill was a bargain at $3000 when a new one would cost around $13,000. It is commercial quality and there was a strong demand for it.

It hurts you know. I can't help but think the big mouth knew I had a connection to the committee and was making a point. He was clearly a nasty piece of work and I shouldn't take any notice. If he is who I think he is, he doesn't pay the body corp fees anyway. His mother does.

PI 5

People used to get killed at The Nobbies. They would be down on the rocks often fishing and a big wave would roar in and off they would go out to sea or be smashed upon the rocks. We kids used to play on the rocks and tide permitting, walk out to the second rock. The rock in the distance is Seal Rock, named for the many fur seals who use it.

Where we went on our rock rambles was reasonably safe, but you can never be fully safe when a rogue wave arrives. Access down to the rocks is prohibited and I understand that it is dangerous and the area badly needed revegetating. But I do feel sad that kids can't ramble across the rocks like we did. I suppose they can elsewhere.

The cliff face has been revegetated and seagulls who used to nest further along, have now decided the less steep part of the cliffs is a good place to raise chicks. They don't like the more sheltered side but prefer to be in the full blast of the wind blowing in from Bass Strait. God they make a mess though. I got hit on the forehead and R's car got splattered.

A bus load of school children arrived and they managed to drown out the gulls. We took off to a boardwalk before the kids finished their packed lunches.

One gull was attacking an almost dead chick. Nature can be cruel. At almost the end of one of the board walks we watched the blowhole for a time. Large waves push into the shallow cave and compress the air and spray is forced back out. When I was a kid I thought the water would shoot up out of hole in a rock somewhere. It was always a disappointment to me.

We returned to the now excellent cafe/education centre/gift shop and had a bite to eat and coffee. The exhibits are good and interactive. Sadly the Seal Rock webcams were not working. Also very interesting were newspaper clippings about The Nobbies from over many years. The picture of the old kiosk shown here, which I thought was ok when I was a kid, clearly wasn't. One newspaper clipping showed a fisherman holding up his catch with a huge wave coming up behind him. His friend well to his rear was swept away seconds after the photo was taken.

There were clippings about the original new Nobbies centre before its roof was blown off a few years ago. Some about the protests when the public were denied access to rocks below. Pictures of the early days of the Penguin Parade. My mother remembers sitting on the sandy beach watching the penguins arrive. I have seen them many times and I had no intention of making an evening trip to sit in the cold. It is incredibly controlled nowadays and bus loads of tourists arrive from Melbourne to see the cute little birds.

There were also protests about any change that has ever happened at the Nobbies and the Penguin Parade. Some mention was also made of the topical compulsory house acquisitions now being made. The houses are in an area that has been declared a coastal park but there are only a few remaining.

We drove along the coastal track to above the Penguin Parade where I stopped to take a photo from the hill above. From there we went past the motor cycle grand prix track, the event happening this coming weekend, to Smith's Beach and Woolamai Beach then back to the park to regroup.

Lighting my life

Ok, ok. The public pressure is forcing us to do it, even thought it makes no economic nor environmental sense. I can only resist the public pressure for so long. Today we went out and bought two energy efficient light bulbs. Yesterday we went to our local large hardware supplier in Altona for my coat hangers, an energy efficient light bulb and to wash R's car at a place in Koroit Creek Road. We needed a few other things and called into Altona Gate shopping centre and had something to eat as well. R commented how different the people were in Altona. I noticed the many older 'wasp' Australians were at the shopping centre.

So, one energy efficient light for the main toilet which is left on a lot to keep the three room exhaust fan operating to ventilate the apartment, that is drag in air from outside. This one makes sense but it replaces a energy efficient light that is a few years old but is so slow to start working, it has become impractical.

We need decent lighting in our bathrooms at our age. Our sight is not that great and without glasses on, the tiniest slip with the eyeliner can have tragic results.

Along with the halogen light over the mirror in R's bathroom, the other big light was a 100w reflector light. While I am cynical about energy efficient lights, R does not like the vertical tubes or circular tubes of energy efficient lights. So he wanted an energy efficient light bulb that looked liked a normal bulb. The strength needed to be 20w, equivalent to a 100w incandescent. There were plenty of the exposed types that R does not like, but none of the bulb conventional type. We have checked Coles, Big W, Safeway/Woolworths, Bunnings and the hardware shop at Prahran Market. Not to be found.

We travelled on a tram today to our local computer shop to discuss a reno of our computer and then to Beacon Lighting nearby. We then took a very slow tram trip up Chapel Street to our local shops.

Even Beacon Lighting did not have an enclosed energy efficient light bulb of 20w. They can order. We settled on buying two reflector energy efficient light bulbs, one for R's bathroom and one for a standard lamp. Cost $13 per 15w globe. The economics of energy efficient lights just does not work for me.

R has been suggesting I should have an energy efficient light bulb for my bathroom, but since I have replaced my normal bulb with his old reflector globe, I don't think so, and I have a spare normal globe back up. If the light is not used very much, then it seems to me that there is no point in replacing an ok conventional bulb with an energy efficient model.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hang it all

Out with the old and in with the new. The clothes really hang so much better in my wardrobe on these new hangers. $20 for sixty hangers is money well spent.

PI 4

My mother had a very close friend who owned a pretty average house at the far eastern end of Cowes. Sadly my mother's friend died at the young age mid forties from a brain aneurism just after being successfully treated for breast cancer. She was my mother's closest friend and a great person with a good sense of humour.

Mum would have rented the holiday house at least eight times for a modest rental. I have stayed there for the whole time of holiday or visited for overnight stays and I have fond memories of the house in Rose Avenue and the local beach, which was only a couple of minutes away. Being lulled to sleep by the pig like noises of mating koalas sounds implausible but they certainly never kept me awake.

R and I visited the old house and what was vacant land next to the house has been built on. The house looked sad and lonely without the laughter and squabbling of children.

From there we went on via Ventnor to The Nobbies. We stopped briefly to view the Isle of Wight Hotel. Some redevelopment next door is happening and it might mean the end of the well known pub. My grandparents had stayed there when they were younger.

I had never heard of Swan Lake but I saw a sign and followed it. It was a walk along a track from the car park and then a boardwalk to the lake. There were a couple of bird hides there to watch the wildlife. Very nicely done with information signs at regular intervals. I was puzzled by the freshly dug holes in the ground and thought they were perhaps wombat burrows but no, they were too small and all too fresh. The sign explained it. They were burrow renovating. What a long way shearwaters, or colloquially mutton birds, travel just for some warmer weather. Alaska to Australia.

As we were walking back I spied our slithery friend in front of us. R was beside me and I flung my arm out to stop him and elbowed him in the stomach, almost winding him. We stamped our feet and jumped up and down on the boardwalk and after some time, the snake slithered off the boardwalk. I ran past. R just walked. I grew up with snakes and he did not.

Onto The Nobbies.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

PI Weirdness

When we arrived at the caravan park and checked in, the receptionist told us to drive to the roundabout and go around and come back towards the office and park in front of the cabin.

She drew in the pink line so I knew exactly where to go. The cabin was about twenty metres from the office along a road just wide enough for two cars.

I did it once, but subsequently realised it was just a load of stupid nonsense and I then just drove along the road and turned right, the green line.

PI 3

We stayed at Cowes Caravan Park, which is one of many but it is probably the original local council owned park. A two bedroom cabin was around $110 plus $20 for linen. Niece and friend were only visiting, not staying. We had some time to investigate and organise then mother and step father, oldest younger brother, sis and Little Jo arrived for afternoon tea. They all stayed too long but it was a fun afternoon.

We had booked for two nights and had a lot to see.

As we drove down the Bass Highway I felt a sense of excitement as I did when we were kids and going on our semi regular pilgrimage to the Island. My mother used to rent a house on the Island every year. It was often the same house but not always. She has stayed at Cowes, Woolamai Beach, Red Rocks and San Remo, but there was a special place in Cowes. More on that later.

We arrived at the roundabout turn off from the Bass Highway to Phillip Island. Just like happened as a child, I thought we were just a minute away. No, it is still a bit of a drive. Fortunately the niece suggested game of eye spy had finished and things were quiet. My fond memories of eye spy had crashed. It is so boring. Bass Highway is mostly a divided road so you can't even play games about oncoming cars.

Ohhh, Dutchies Cafe just over the bridge in Newhaven has closed. It had been there as long as I can recall. Later Mum told me that it has been closed for five years and that he had opened a restaurant further long the main road. The cafe used to be constantly packed full of customers. I guess he became tired of the long hours and pressure. He still owns the site and lives next door.

The old chicory kiln is still in its place. I could not believe how developed the island has become. I would not say overdeveloped but the authorities need to be careful.

We travelled straight to the caravan park with only a brief delay at my niece's request for a photo shoot on a surf board. The afternoon was spent chatting, tea, coffee and cake and a walk on the beach. Little Jo remained wide awake. Her eye colour has changed to a strong blue. I wonder if they will stay that colour.

The Cowes Caravan Park is very beautiful with the park edge right on the beach. I am pretty sure the cabin pictured on their website is the one we stayed in. After the family had left, we drove to the main street and settled on take away fish and chips for dinner. Strangely at only 7pm, the place was closing and the deep fryer and griller were off, but there was some already cooked fish available. We bought some but I didn't think it would be very good but it was.

Oh Cazzie, look what popped up in Google. You can see on Cazzie's map where Phillip Island is in relation to rest of the state of Victoria, Australia.

PI 2

This is the bridge across to Phillip Island from San Remo on one side to Newhaven on the Island but before this bridge was built there was a very old timber bridge.

My grandparents used to take us kids to the island before the present bridge was built. It was in a very poor state and my grandmother was always worried that it would collapse. My grandfather's solution to her concern was to wind up the Zephyr and get a good high speed run at the bridge. His logic was to spend the minimal amount of time on the bridge by getting to the other side as quickly as possible. There was much clattering of boards and bouncing around of the car and perhaps just a little more wear to the bridge than necessary.

Our brother friends also remember the old bridge. They were always excited about a trip to the Island but terrified when travelling over the bridge.

The old bridge was built in 1940 and the new one in 1969. Before the old suspension bridge, a ferry used to carry passengers across to the island. Tourist buses used to unload their passengers and make them walk across the old bridge and then travel across and pick them up on the other side.

My mother rented a holiday house in San Remo at least once. I think I stayed there for a weekend.

On our way home we stopped to watch pelicans being fed fish heads from the fishing co-op.

Old bridge picture courtesy San Remo Fisherman's C0-op. No fisherwomen employed there.

To get back to Red's Islands and some other great Aussie islands, click here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

PI 1

You hardly blinked and I have been overseas. Not far really and the only water crossed was Western Port Bay to Phillip Island.

We went via Frankston Market to see sis-in-law. Youngest brother was there too and youngest niece. We spent some time eating curry pies and slurping coffee and said our farewells to all except niece and her friend who we took with us to Phillip Island.

I suggested this wee holiday of two nights away. R agreed readily. For me, it was to be a trip down memory lane to a place where I have such wonderful memories. If I really want to do something, R indulges me. I really don't know if he enjoyed it as things were a bit tense between us. But he has a strong connection to Phillip Island with his ex too and myself and R have been with mother a couple of times when we used to do Sunday drives with her. It was a long time ago.