Saturday, March 22, 2008

Separation then and now

It certainly would not have happened in my young days. Miss Diarist wrote an interesting post about separating from who would seem to be her boyfriend. He is going overseas, but it is perhaps more complicated than that.

My 21 year old nephew has lived with his girlfriend for at least eighteen months. She is very nice and our family like her. He is going to Glasgow for an unknown time mid this year. He will leave her and they are unsure if they will get back together. He said to her, 'Well, you will probably meet someone........' The marvellousness of young people and their flexibility and tolerance.

I now switch to my 'old person' mode. Come on. Commit or don't. You cannot always have your cake and eat it too. Surely if you decide to live with someone and all that entails, you need to love them or feel very strongly for them. Why would you want to leave them to go off and have fun on your own?

While I expect Miss Diarist is feeling a little bruised, I think it is good that her beau clearly indicated that he did not consider her life long partner material. My nephew is not the brightest pea in the pod and he has looked forward to this Scottish sojourn for longer than he has known his g/f, but still. All very odd. I will give his mother a good cross questioning when I see her on Monday.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Artistic Eye

Could anyone with an artistic eye cast it over my new blog look and assure me that the colours are vaguely right? Actually, anyone is free to comment. Specifically, I am unsure about the colour of Highriser on the photo header and and the border green around the Flickr thingy. There is not a lot of choice of suitable colours there.

Could be waiting a while Brian.

I have been semi following a discussion in a group about the building of new trams around the world. We used to build our own in Australia even up to the 1990s. Although the basic design was from overseas I think, it was adapted for Australia and the trams built here. We even built and exported trams to Hong Kong. Even earlier, tram building in Australia was a big industry and employed many people. Now, sadly, we just buy them from Europe.

It would seem from the discussion group, that tram building expertise has been lost in the US and they too look to Europe for design and manufacture.

But wait, England is not Europe. What are they up to with electric street vehicles? How are they going with design and manufacture? Not too well by this picture. Pic is from the BBC and you can read about it there.

Dame M's funeral

I suppose you have been eagerly waiting a report of Dame M's funeral. You haven't? Ah, I shall write anyway. At one point I ended up a sobbing mess in the arms of T, our dyke friend. One of you should have warned me that a funeral of someone very dear, that lasted from 1pm to 9pm, that involved lots of clinking of glasses, would end up being very tired and emotional.

It was a very good funeral. The overpainted lady celebrant did a good job. She had the dulcet tones correct, the smiles and laughs in the right place. I could also recommend White Lady Funerals. The family did a good job too. The Boarder is going through an extremely emotional time. I am not judging the family on his say so.

It was all very well done and it is the second funeral I have been to at Le Pines in Carlisle Street.

After the the funeral ceremony, while some went onto to the cemetery, we went back to our dyke friends for cheese, biscuits and wine.

Later, we friends of Dame M, her family, and hangers on met up at Janes Place for a proper celebration. Shanghai restaurant even got a mention in a funeral speech, aka, Janes. It is near St Kilda Junction near where Dame M lived and Dame M was a customer after Jane's second day. Dame M became Jane's friend. Dame M had already employed one of Jane's relatives as a sewing machine worker. Even later, we ended up back at Dame M's. That was a mistake. She wasn't behind the bar or sitting in her chair.

I did meet the family from Queensland and they seemed ok. They may be insensitive to The Boarder's grief, but I don't think there will be any problems with the will. I also met Dame M's stepsons. They seemed pretty ok too. I learnt plenty about Dame M that I did not know. Her Qld brother in law had known Dame M since the age of thirteen, which would be 1938. Her neighbour, who was not at the funeral, had known her since the age of sixteen He used to do her shopping when we knew her. Every morning he would call on Dame M and ask what she wanted at the shops. He would find a bargain and then she would moan about the cheap products he bought. I expect 'Bloody Stanley', as he was affectionately known, loved her and he always lived close by wherever she lived.

I am not sure how many times the word elegant was mentioned during the ceremony. Her fashion friends did not attend. No sign of Prue Acton or those of similar ilk. I believe Wendy Harmer will be in Melbourne next week. I may contact her and tell of Dame M's death. Many of Dame M's friends are dead anyway. Dame M was quite upset when her friend Vali Myers died.

None of the Ya Ya Girls attended the funeral, well one is dead anyway. Dame M used to meet the Jewish ladies for lunch every Thursday and always complain that they were so boring and such miseries, they depressed her. I did at least learn who one of them was. She was Dame M's late husband's business partner's wife and exceedingly rich at Dame M's expense. Had Dame M's husband survived another ten days, Dame M would have been part owner of huge amounts of land stretching from Werribee to Point Cook.

Dame M had lung cancer which had spread to other parts of her body. She correctly self diagnosed and decided to spend the rest of her days at home. She did not tell The Boarder what she was suffering from, but she did tell him that she would not go to hospital and that he should not take her nor insist. The hospital indicated that it would not have prolonged her life much anyway. In some ways I curse her for putting us all through so much uncertainty, but gosh she really did do it her way. Pretty brave to do what she did entirely on her own.

This picture and twee poem is not how I will remember Dame M.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Shaggin' Waggin, slightly R rated.

This is GM Holden panel van. It is called a Sandman. This may or may not be the original decoration and writing. Chrysler Valiant also made a similar one, but I can't recall the name. I don't believe Ford made one.

I have not seen one for years, so I snapped this with my phone while I was waiting for a bus.

Panel vans were terribly popular with virile young men in the country where I grew up. Some had some very 'tasteful' curtains on the side and rear windows and many had mattresses in the back. The mattress in the back was not for their children to sleep on when on a picnic or other such outings. Most van owners were childless single men.

A respectable mother would never allow her daughter to go out with a boy who owned a panel van. The vans were often adorned with slogans such as, 'Don't come a knockin' if the van is rockin'. Panel van sounds so utilitarian, so the name Shaggin' Waggin came into vogue. I believe you UK folk would know the word, but for my US readers, well one, shagging means doing the business.

In my almost straight teen days, I had a friend mate who owned one. He was quite nice looking, very charming, quite well endowed and his touch of aboriginality gave him a slightly exoctic appearance. He had no problem 'pulling a bird' to have a nap with in the back of his shagging wagon. I know he was well endowed as it seemed back then that straight males liked to take other straight males' clothing off and give their gonads a good hard squeeze. So you could say I have been intimate with him. While I thought this clothe stripping and squeezing of a chap's gonads was a very odd thing, I enjoyed watching and participating in it immensely and recalled it every night for some weeks afterwards. Interesting how the victims usually 'barred up'.

His mother was an exotic divorcee Cabaret worker, in the Cabaret kitchen washing dishes. Every night after work she would sit at her kitchen table and hold court and have a few drinks. Invariably after a few drinks, we would smell hair burning as her cigarette made contact with her very frizzy hair. If she had a particularly bad night, and henceforth more drinks than usual, we would pick her live butts up from the laminex table. One table can only so many burns take.

I saw this guy about ten years ago at Fountain Gates shopping centre McDonalds on the Princes Highway. He would have been a good few years older than me, but he was holding his looks well and still looked sexy. Alas he did not see me, and I did not see him, as we do. There would be nothing to say, except hi, this is my mate R and we root each other. This would clearly be going much further than holding a bloke's gonads.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Almost the last Dame M Post

Don't we all need a bit of humour in a time of grief? I tried and failed to find on youtube the clip of Maggie Bear from Mother and Son spilling oranges from her net bag into the grave hole. Oh, how they bounced on the coffin. Instead, I give you a clip of Patsy and Edina attending a funeral. I am sure that all will be very tasteful for Dame M tomorrow.

Must say, I am a bit overwhelmed by my blog reader's comments. I suppose I knew you were a pretty nice lot, or you wouldn't be on my blog list. Sorry if I have not addressed your comment individually. Things are just so busy.

Blimey, where's me trousers

I found my funeral/party/wedding/anything trousers right at the very back of everything. I only wear jeans normally and the last time I wore trousers was for my great aunt's funeral a few years ago.

Both pair are black but the pair I prefer were, shall I say, a little snug around the middle. In fact after such an effort to get them done up, as soon as I breathed out, the button flew off and the zipper parted. Is the lord trying to tell me something?

The other pair are quite nicely cut and while they were a little big some years ago, they fit well now. However, I will look the height of fashion with narrow cuffs on the bottoms of the legs and a high waistband. Just call me Harry Highpants. But I am not going to invest money in clothing that is worn once every couple of years unless I have to. Sheesh, some people even wear jeans to funerals.

The Boarder v The Family

Dame M said that when she goes, it will be a mess. It is not going to be easy for any of you.

As per usual, she was correct. I don't know how many emails I have sent, text messages and you may recall my dislike of the telephone. Well I have made so many calls. R has done the same.

The real problem is The Boarder. The family who arrived from Queensland has multiplied. There must be five of them now going over the pickings. Where are her rings? Given away as birthday presents, haha. There should be more jewellery, also given away, haha. Why is the house key kept under a pot plant? Because she had kept it there for twenty years. She didn't trust herself with a key when out. What is the code for the house alarm system? Don't know. She only put it on once when I was away and she went to the opening of the Casino and did not come home for three days. (the Casino paid for her accommodation) She could never remember the code after that.

The family have taken over and The Boarder does not even feel able to watch tv in the house he has lived in for thirty years. R has had long conversations with him, with him often in tears. R is much better on the telephone than me.

Notices in newspapers are now worded and placed, flowers organised, the funeral organised by the family with some input from her friends.

Actually, I would go so far as to say it has all turned into a nightmare. We are only snipping about the edges with no real power. Her family who cared little about have all the power. But I think she will have a good send off.

When Dame M's husband died, the house was left half to her and half to her step sons. She contested the will and won. No one is informing the step sons that she has died but I expect they will learn of it. What's the bet that they will be sniffing around for more than just the shares that they are receive automatically.

Of course I have heard of avaricious inheritors when some one dies, but it is not pleasant to observe it first hand. Our task is to make sure The Boarder is properly represented at the funeral, as his standing in Dame M's life dictates.

The unposed picture was the last time Dame M went out, October last year, for her and my joint birthday celebration.

Btw, does she look anything like any of you imagined?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Ignore, just for the record

16th March 16, 2008

St Kilda Road

Melbourne 3004

Hi Mum and L,

Some sad news, Dame M died this morning, Sunday at about 10am. T finally managed to convince her to go to hospital last week. Thursday was my day off, so I, along with The Boarder took her to Cabrini. She was very weak but still quite lucid and even the odd joke. We had to support her to the car and we put her into a wheel chair once we arrived at the hospital. She tried to give me $50 for petrol money but of course I would not take it.

They took all her details and did some preliminary tests. If the staff knew at that point what was wrong with, they weren’t saying.

The next day she seemed considerably brighter, however her heart was very weak along with damaged lungs and liver. The staff asked her if she wished to be revived if her heart stopped and she said yes.

On Saturday night, just as Sister, The Bone Doctor and Joanna arrived, who we were babysitting, The Boarder called to say that the staff had told him that she would not last the night. I had to start work at 5.20am and so I went to bed once Little Jo left and R went to the hospital until about 1.30am. Brother friends, dyke partner of T, NT Politician and Brighton Antique Dealer were there too. She survived the night, but died, as I mentioned about 10am.

Dame M’s nieces arrived from Queensland on the Saturday evening and they spent the night next to her bed. But R said they weren’t particularly nice people and were giving The Boarder a hard time. Of course he has done everything for Dame M and has been pleading with her to go to hospital for months. He left the hospital about 7am this morning and slept for an hour and was showering and getting changed to go back, but it was too late.

Brighton Antique Dealer was in a taxi almost at the hospital when Dame M died.

Dame M’s sister (who Dame M could not stand) and brother in law from Queensland arrived this morning after she died and then T turned up having flown back early from her own mother’s memorial golf day in Tassie.

All just learnt today that Dame M had cancer of the left lung, which had spread to the heart and the liver and a blood problem as well. The doctors said it would not have made much difference even if she had been in hospital for months. They countered the ‘revive’ request because they were giving her morphine and evidently, they cannot revive when someone is receiving morphine.

The friends all met up at Dame M’s this morning, without the family initially. The subject of the will came up and The Boarder went and found it among her papers. Wicked Brighton Antique Dealer steamed it open. The two nieces get 75% and The Boarder 25%. Her shares go automatically go to her step children. The Boarder probably should have gotten more, but at least there won’t be grounds for the will to be contested since it is not that much, as a percentage of course. His 25% should be a few hundred thousand. He has lived with her for thirty years and deserves it. Dame M had also written him a cheque to buy a new car last week, but foolishly he did not cash it. I don’t know if he still can. Anyway, his share should be enough for him to buy somewhere to live at least. Oddly, Dame M told me roughly what was in her will about a year ago, and it would seem I was the only one who knew.

So, it is an end of era for many of us. The funeral should be before Easter. Her family name is M if you want to check the newspapers for notices. She will be buried in the family crypt at Kew Cemetery.

Sorry this is a bit disjointed, but I want to get it into this evening’s post.

Hope things aren’t too bad with you and you are staying cool in the horrible weather. Bloody Grand Prix has nearly finished, but then there is the Kiss concert which will probably be quite loud too.

Hopefully see you Easter Monday.

Lots of love,

Highriser and R.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Last Dame M Update

As she died this morning, this will probably be the last Dame M update, although I expect I won't be able to help myself and will write some more. I have been back reading my blog and there was so much I had written about her. For nearly ten years she played a big part in our life and some of her many friends became our friends. She made us smarter and more educated in the ways of the world. She gave us a perspective.

Thanks to you lasses who offered advice and thoughts via my blog, and thanks to AM who offered practical help. It was all appreciated.

If you click the Dame M tag on this post, almost all I have written about her is there, plus a couple of posts that perhaps shouldn't, but there are also some that are not tagged where she was mention in passing. Here are a few of my selections. She was incredibly clever.

Am I good, or what?

Clearly I know talent when I see it. I had never heard of him before I wrote this. Lewis Hamilton, winner of the Formula One Australian Grand Prix.