Friday, February 22, 2008

The sister

Sister and the Bone Doctor and Little Jo have moved to their new abode in Murrumbeena. Murrumbeena means in aboriginal language 'a hard slap on the ass'. (Yet to be verified)

Their place is very small compared to their two storey dwelling in Geelong, but their courtyard is as large as their flat. No matter. Mon night swim at Half Moon Bay. Tue night, swim at local pool. Wed night, sis and friend to MSO concert at Music Bowl while Bone Doctor and Little Jo entertained us.

R bathed Little Jo for too long until she almost turned into a prune. Ah well, they were both having fun with plastic cups and floating ducks.

It is not the first time I have noticed that doctors' conferences seem to coincide with Mardi Gras in Sydney. The Bone Doctor has found a good one with free accom at Darling Harbour. No conference on Saturday night though. Little Jo's first Mardi Gras.

The Building

I have neglected writing about the high rise of late so here are a few unrelated matters.

Someone broke a bottle in the pool area and a significant amount of glass was noticed in the pool and spa water. It had to be closed until the cleaning company could vacuum the glass out. Someone was observed on security footage carrying glass bottles into the area, but they deny that they broke one. No one else could be seen with glass bottles. There are good reasons why glass and water recreation areas don't mix.

City of Port Phillip sent a person to evaluate our building for an energy saving plan or maybe even a grant. There was the usual of course, replace lights with energy efficient models. More timers, more light sensors. They repeated our already considered plan to retain some runoff water in a tank. The fire testing company prolifigate use of water to test the system is under consideration. One suggestion I am pleased about is solar pre heating of water on the roof. Our two hot water boilers can supply 10,000 litres of hot water an hour. Pre heating this water would result in a big saving of both gas and dollars. As it is, the water is not overheated and you can almost hold your hand under it. However, even if average hot water use per hour is only 30,000 litres, I am not sure that solar panels will help much. Someone needs to do some sums.

The local media seem to have heard about our recycling room and I expect we are going to get a splash in the local paper.

A quote had been received for recarpeting every landing for around $70,000. It is thought to be quite reasonable in the rip off large building scheme of things.

White strips of tape mark the step edges at the front of our building. Even so, people still fall down at times. The tape has to be replaced every so often. Something more tactile and classy is under consideration.

The plan for storage cages and more bicycle racks in the basement was abandoned because of cost and doubt about the financial return. A new plan has been hatched for more badly needed bicycle storage. While I am sure the good intentions are there, we need lots of bicycle storage for bicycles that are never ridden.

Finally, as of 1st January this year in the state of Victoria, Body Corporates, or should that be Bodies Corporate, no longer exist. We are now part of an Owner's Corporation. The whole parliamentary act has been updated and already there are some problems with the new legislation, but I expect they will be sorted out in time. Maintenance sinking funds are now compulsory, not before time, and our contribution to ours will increase substantially over the next few years. A balance of $230,000 is chicken feed for a building this size.

In case you think these sums are large, we personally never have to worry about new spouting, outside of house needs a coat of paint, a fence rotting and falling down, an overhanging tree, pipes being blocked by tree roots etc etc. So long as we can pay the maintenance bill.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Amcor Track

Sounds like an American Railway Company doesn't it.

I think I have driven in this part of Melbourne twice in the last five years. That is, Chandler Highway and past the Amcor Paper Packaging place. Even then, not exactly Chandler Hwy past Amcor. It has been announced that Amcor will close its business there.

I have no idea if this nice bit of history is still in the location, but quite a few years ago, there was a bridge across what I guess was the Yarra River. Right in the middle of the road, or crossing it, was a railway line. I guessed it was just one of those spur lines that service large factories.

Not exactly. That is what is was recently used for, to transport goods to and from Amcor , or as we used to know it, Australian Paper Manufacturers, APM. The line branched from the Hurstbridge train line near Fairfield Station. (I wonder if that APM factory stank as much as the one did at Maryvale in Gippsland?)

The train track is a remaining section of the long gone Outer Circle Railway, which ran from Fairfield to Murrumbeena . The present train to Alamein uses part of the track and onward from Alamein is the cutting where the train continued. Most of the rest of the line has gone, but many linear parks can be found along the old route. The full length of the line was barely ever used.

What was originally the Outer Circle railway bridge was made into the Chandler Highway Bridge with just this little bit of history remaining in place until at least 2004. As I said earlier, I am not sure if it is still there, but no doubt someone will tell me.

The Outer Circle line on the map is a bit confusing. Don't quote me, but I think Golf Links Station became Willison, Hartwell Hill became Hartwell, Hartwell became Burwood and out on a limb here, Norwood became Ashburton.

Only vague remnants remain between Fairfield and East Camberwell.

The line went under the Box Hill line, now Lilydale/Belgrave lines and over what is now the Glen Waverley but connected with the Dandenong, now Pakenham line.

I should probably check Jayne's blog and see what she has on 'lost railways', but I have had enough for the moment. Post effort 8/10 and that is before copyright problems arise.
Later Edit:

Map courtesy Public Records Office of Victoria.
Original rail bridge picture courtesy State Library of Victoria.
Rail picture courtesy Malcolm Miles.

A new Queen

The weather has cooled again and I am pleased. I was able to sleep with my blinds up and window open last night after a few days and nights of air con. The bottle-oh came illegally at 5.50am and woke me earlier than I had to wake with his multiple glass crashing business, but not by much. He isn't supposed to arrive before 6am. But no rush to jump out of bed.

I looked out the window and there was a big ship that looked unfamiliar. I saw a cruise ship in port yesterday and checked what it was as it looked to be a nice boat. It was nice and I hadn't seen the Mercury before.

So it must be leaving now. Hang on, they leave in the evening, not in the morning. No, with lights blazing, it was Cunard's newest ship the Queen Victoria. I believe it was being escorted by an old Sydney Harbour ferry, the Lady Cutler. (Sadly another old Sydney ferry, the Lady Chelmsford sank at Victoria Harbour a couple of days ago) Gee the QV looked to be a fine boat. While it is not the largest of Cunard's cruise ships, it is probably the finest. It will be off to Sydney tonight to cause some road traffic mayhem in that fair city.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ill manners

Regardless of what you may think of me by my blog, I am actually quite a nice and polite person. Manners were ingrained into us as kids and it is hard to go against them. Miss Diary likes well mannered guys, as she writes in her How to impress this girl post.

We have a friend, no names at all, who can be quite rude to service staff, to the point sometimes where it is embarrassing to us. I can be provoked to rudeness but it does not come naturally. I am surprised that he has never learnt that complaining to minor staff seldom has a result except for perhaps upsetting them (or them spitting in your meal before serving it). Not that he doesn't complain to senior staff either. Here he does quite well with results and compensation when he complains later via the telephone or letter.

When he complains or is abrupt to staff, we tend to roll our eyes now and he has caught us doing it. We also try to give the staff member an apologetic smile. Once I even said to him that is was 'not her fault that there was none of his favourite soft drink'.

I was thought he might mellow as he became older but it would seem not. He can even be abrupt to us, his friends at times, but we ignore it. Do you know people like that?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Booking a hotel

We were told by someone with good inside knowledge to try this. You can sometimes get it even cheaper and only pay a deposit rather than the full amount. It did not work.


Via we are able to book a room at Bayview Singapore for SGD$181 per night. The booking would be check in this date and check out this date for 2 people twin share. If possible, and the price is the same for the same standard of room, we would prefer to book directly with you.

We await to hear back from you.

Thank you.

Mr Highriser.

To: Mr Highriser, thank you for your enquiry, regret, the cost of our Superior Room is $235.40nett (Include breakfast and taxes) If the website could offer you that rate, you can book directly with them. Regards Steve Chua Email;

Monday, February 18, 2008

Prahran Pt 3

I quite like this building although it looks a little odd having nothing beside of a similar height. I believe the old sign on one side says Reckitts Blue. One of you old ducks can perhaps explain what that is.

Opposite that is another another old advertising sign which I can't really make out except for 'soap'.

Tony will add the advertising signs to his brilliant little piece of work. I wish I had thought of doing what he has done first.

I might add, it is damn hard to take decent photos with such limited space and electric and tram wires running everywhere.

A good bit more information and colour has been added to Prahran Pts 1 and 2 via comments. Thanks all.

Newphew 21 and the stepmother

R collected step mother from the train, two minutes early even. If you need to collect someone from the train and you need more than the five minute drop off outside Southern Cross Station, the commercial parking opposite the end of Lonsdale Street is $4 for half an hour. It can save a lot of angst.

We bussed it to Margot's at the Crown Entertainment Complex Casino and had a nice meal at Margot's, a bit cheaper because of the discount card I have acquired. I can recommend Margot's; it is value for money. Quite good.

A brief gamble, a viewing of the fire show and tram home via Spencer St, Collins St and St Kilda Rd. There were the usual interesting characters on the tram, so my idea of using PT was good. Step mother commented about the odd people on the trams. From what she said later, she enjoyed it.

Breakfast at Mojitos in Commercial Road Saturday morning, then a bit of shopping and home.

Afternoon, drive to Langwarrin, one of the last bastions of white anglo saxons in Melbourne, via City Link and Monash Freeway. Traffic jam on a Saturday afternoon. Extraordinary. The road works go on and on.

Surprised to see some very non Anglo Saxon types at my nephew's party. He is better than I thought. He has some exotic looking friends.

It was catered finger food and very nice, although a bit more would have been good. The booze was laid on too. I developed a heat headache and retired to the enclosed front yard deck chair in the shade in a breeze down the side of the house for a Nana nap.

I was astonished at how young people can drink and show no obvious signs.
I was astonished at how young people can listen to such appalling music and so loudly.
I was astonished at how young people can devour food, even down the the lettuce and carrots.
I was astonished at how young people can be so so loud.
I was astonished at how young people can be so kind and thoughtful.
I was astonished at how young people can be such nice people.

I fell in love with a couple of nephew's mates. One in particular picked up what I was about and quite openly paid me attention. It does an old man's heart good. I wish I could show you my photo of him. He was hot as. Of course at my age, I would only want him as a handbag and for interesting young person's conversation.

We left after the tired and emotional speeches, far later than we intended to. Six hours is a long time at a party for someone who doesn't like parties.

Some Chinese takeaway, an early night and delivered step mother to the 9.35 to Moama, all Ctrain, at Southern Cross Station this morning (Sunday).

Dropped off on the way home to South Melbourne Market but failed to spy Tony among the crowd. He was there the day before apparently.

Peace and bliss at home for the rest of the day with no social engagements. Caught up on some taped tv, and then roast pork for dinner. Life can be tiring but sometimes very good.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Prahran Pt 2

Commercial Road in the early eighties was a barren windswept stretch with only the Prahran Market holding it together. Shops were empty and it was desolate. Then something happened. A gay bookshop called The Beat, which was in nearby Greville Street closed and reopened in Commercial Road. Then The Exchange Hotel was renovated and reopened as a gay hotel.

By the the late eighties Commercial Road had become the premium gay area and while Oxford Street in Sydney was referred to as the Gay Mile, our Commercial Rd, somewhat cruelly, was dubbed the Gay Metre. Along with gay bars, bookshops, cafes and restaurants, it was a place with atmosphere. Too much atmosphere at times.

As is often the case, gays started it and straight businesses pick it up. Rents rose, as they did in Oxford Street too, and straight nightclubs opened in the area, again as they did in Oxford Street. Slowly gay businesses closed or moved locations and while there is still a significant gay feel to Commercial Road, it is not what it was.

For us now, it is just our local shops for local people. It is where we get off the tram or bus to go shopping. We never really go to any of the remaining gay cafes. A Greek/Australian cafe in Pran Central or Mojitos are our brunch places of choice.

Prahran Pt 1

This building is known as Pran Central. Prahran, the suburb name, is of Aboriginal origin, originally spelt by white settlers as Pur-ra-ran, meaning surrounded by water. Many would remember it as Moore's Corner Store. In the eighties it underwent a massive renovation and in the nineties apartments were added within the building. Inside on the ground floor are a few shops and many eating places of the type you would find in any outer suburban shopping centre. Above the ground floor is a Medicare office, a women's only gym and a few other small businesses.

My great grandmother used to harness her horses to her sulky and visit Chapel St, and more specifically Moore's, from their market garden where Monash University is now located in Clayton. Chapel Street was a premium shopping centre then with many department stores. It became quite run down in nineteen seventies and eighties but by the nineties it had once again become the place to be seen, especially the area where I seldom go, north of Commercial Road, or the Wankers Mile as I call it.

In the second picture down, it has another name and I had never heard of this, but it would seem it was called Read's Stores. Anyone know anything about that? In the third picture down there seems to be the letters C, R and M. Perhaps Moore's CoRner. In the fourth picture down there is some beautiful ironwork at the bottom of the picture. In the fifth picture, we can see the domes on top from our apartment. The tall buildings are the South Yarra public housing high rise towers.