Saturday, May 10, 2008

West Gate Bridge did fall down, did fall down, did fall down. My spooked lady.

It all started with an exploding boat. Who wants an exploding boat? Not me.

I put on a grave face, a la newsreader Ian Henderson as he reads a child abuse report, when I heard that the couple who were killed were from Toorak, while silently thinking wicked thoughts about the proletariat overthrowing the aristocracy by doing nothing and letting them destroy themselves with their own avarice, greed and conspicuous consumption.

They were refuelling their newly bought boat at Pier 35 on the Yarra River when the kaboom happened. Gotta be careful with petrol vapour. I think I knew that by about the age of ten.

Where is this Pier 35, I wondered. Online street directory did not explain.

A couple of weeks ago we had some very dirty rain to conclude our warm weather. The warm weather certainly has concluded. Heating is on every night and sometimes during the day. My car was reasonably clean until the dirty rain. Since then, the driver's window has gone up and down with a gritty sound. I could bear it no longer. I needed to wash the car.

What has an exploding boat owned by Toorak types got to do with my dirty car? Stay with me.

When looking for Pier 35 on the map, I spied some parkland on the western side of the river and almost under the West Gate Bridge. I want to see this parkland and my car needs washing and I like the car wash place in Kororoit Creek Road, and I could go to the Altona shopping centre to get a few things. I worked out my route, Kingsway, Westgate Bridge, Williamstown Road, Francis Street, Hawke Hyde St, Douglas Parade, North Road, Williamstown Road, Mason Street, Maddox Road, Kororoit Creek Road, Millers Road, Westgate Freeway and home.

It was a very interesting couple of hours. I have heard of Francis Street in Yarraville and the fools who move there and then complain about the truck traffic. Just like the people who move near an airport and then complain about the noise of the planes. Well, that is the theory, but until you actually experience Francis Street and the trucks, monster trucks and heaps of them, you have no idea. That such truck traffic can be allowed to travel along such a residential street is extraordinary. You won't hear a negative word from me about residents, new or old, who complain about trucks in Francis Street, Yarraville. It is just so so wrong.

Car wash successfully done, shopping done and quite a nice drive, but ah, yes, the park.

Well, it is obviously from the photo, the West Gate Bridge Memorial Park. I either vividly recall the front page picture in The Sun of the West Gate Bridge collapsing during its construction, or it is a since implanted memory. Regardless, it was a tragedy and some 35 workers died. Not your soft palmed Toorak types who have to wank for hours because they don't have any calluses and their foreskin was chopped, but mostly first generation Mediterranean immigrants who were just putting bread on the family table.

Some remedial work is being done on the bridge and so I think the memorial park is not what it ought to be. I could find no roll call or explanatory plaque. All to be seen was one of these sculptures for each dead person.

There were construction type workers hovering around, so it was also a bit intimidating to look very hard.

A bit further along a woman and her baby in a pram went by, just as I stepped out of the shadows and headed in the same direction. I could feel that she was aware of me behind her and no one else around. I could see her looking left and right casually, and trying to observe me and my intentions. I don't like being thought of as a man who by definition, is of course a potential rapist. I am not sure how our society has come to this, however, while I wasn't going to go out of my way and cross the road to nothingness to reassure her, I put on my reading glasses and pretended preoccupation with my phone and walked slower than normal so that she gained distance. Maybe I should have just said, Hi, how are you going, in a friendly manner and, I am just a nerd here taking photos of the park.......or maybe not.

Adjacent to the tiny West Gate Bridge Memorial Park is romantically named, Stony Creek Back Wash. It is an ever so natural square shaped lake with a nice walking bridge across it. Apart from the very static bird, it seemed totally devoid of any life. Maybe rumbling trucks on the bridge above, the petro chemical storage facilities and the dearth of native planting is not conducive to wildlife.

I am only guessing here, but the collapsed West Gate Bridge's concrete footings were left in situ as a memorial too.

Is this one of the footings of the bridge before it fell down?
The memorial sculptures, all 35 of them in a row.
The bird is not real. It did not move. It is just a sculpture.
The marvellous Scienceworks, aka the old Spotswood sewerage pumping station in the background.

An attempt at an arty photo.
Meaningless sculpture. I want labels.
City sky line, Port of Melbourne control tower and the ever so natural backwash.

Remedial work.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Calder Interchange

I used to hear about the awful bottleneck at the Calder Interchange on the Tullamarine Freeway. Radio traffic reports often mentioned it, probably daily. I even experienced it myself when we picked up some o/s visitors from the airport one weekday morning. It was a nasty bottleneck.

The RACV magazine published plans of the alterations to make the Calder interchange work better. I studied the plans carefully and they looked pretty good to me. I pinned the pages to my Melways street directory.

Many millions of dollars were spent and the project was completed and there was no more congestion at the Calder interchange. Good work Vicroads.

Except, just a couple of years later, what have I heard twice on the radio recently? Congestion at the Calder Interchange.

It is quite clear to me after watching thirty odd years of matters like this, build a road and the customers will come and then too many customers will come.

It is a pity that people who want to insert train lines all over our fair city don't seem to get the same say as those who want roads everywhere.

This was written a few days ago and I have since heard another mention of congestion at the Calder Interchange.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Too Clever?

These two, one of our owner's corporation managers and a fellow resident and owner's corporation committee member have often rubbed.......ah, horns, I suppose.....together. After so many errors being pointed out to the owner's corp manager and her responding, she finally came back with this. Marvellous.

I have made the correction on our soft copy, so that when it is printed for signing it is absolutely correct. I really appreciate your conscientious scrutiny of all the documentation.

Equally as good is one of R's sisters. Last time he went to the UK, his brother in law, who is a business owner in the motor car trade, got R a free car for the period of his visit. Well, we were just hoping this time..... Unfortunately he and R's sister are now separated. R sent her an email asking if we rented a Ford Festiva when in the UK, is it an ok car and is £13 a day an ok price? She is smart, this one. She had my measure good and proper when she came to Australia. She emailed back, yes, it is a good price, go for it.

Oh well, nice try.

Both remind me a friend of many years ago who wanted to buy a house. He hinted strongly to his mother about her coming up with the deposit. After several hints, she said to him, 'Have you ever thought of Tattslotto son?'. This phrase slipped into our vocabularies and whenever one of us complains about a lack of money, 'Have you ever thought of Tattslotto?'.

PS Yes, I know fonts, sizes and colours are all odd. You can still read it though.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Affirming Media Images

It is not often that I am pleased by whatever I may read or see in a newspaper. But after seeing this picture of Australian champion swimmer Grant Hackett at the Herald Sun online, I feel positively good about myself.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Ulimate Kindness

Regular readers will know who I am referring to.....ok, to whom I am referring. Irregular readers, it matters not.

I am not referring to any person, hospital or doctors and for anyone to assume any person, hospital or doctor is only guess work.

Yes, I am walking a fine line here, but after discussions with people involved and my own thoughts and previous knowledge of such matters to back up what I am saying, I feel it needs to be said.

Every so often the matter of euthanasia comes up in the media. I think it is a subject best left alone and the matter left the doctors and hospitals to deal with.

And they do. After a close friend recently died, I am now convinced of this.

The person was very sick. Terminally unwell even. But the person could still talk, joke and walk, albeit unsteadily. The person was delivered to hospital and treated and it was announced the next day that the person would be dead by the following day, and sure enough, the person was.

Left untreated and at home, I am sure the person would have lasted several weeks, if not months.

It was a good outcome for the person, who did not suffer needlessly, for the person's friends who were so terribly troubled, for the person's family who lived a long way away and had a limited time to visit, for the hospital who had to provide a bed, for the Australian taxpayers who were subsidising the care, and ultimately for the doctors who were treating someone without a chance of a good outcome.

The doctors administered lots of pain relief to the person who said that they weren't suffering from and had never complained of any pain.

Quick, clean, a good result for all. Except why is it never acknowledged? Perhaps I should just shut up and let sleeping dogs lie.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Pants on a Tram

Of course Pants is far too young to have travelled on a Sydney tram, but she did live in Drummoyne as a wee lass so here are a few details of the tram to Drummoyne. It is not the most interesting route. The trams to Balmain, to Watson's Bay, to McMahon's Point, to Bondi Beach, to Balmoral or even the tram to Lilyfield were standouts. Hmm, I don't seem to have done over the Watson's Bay line. How remiss. It is now on the list.

The tram to Drummoyne was only an interim destination until the tram was ultimately extended to Ryde. The folk at the marvellously named suburb of Field of Mars (if you are into flying saucers, google it), now Marsfield, never got their tram that they and their leaders agitated for so hard. I stopped in Ryde at Pope Street and Lane Cove Road. But there was another tram from there to Ryde Railway Station, now West Ryde Station it would seem.

Initially the tram to Drummoyne stopped at Gladesville Bridge and travelled from Circular Quay along George Street, via Railway (Central Station), along Broadway, Parramatta Road, into Derwent Street, Catherine Street, St John's Road, Minougue Crescent, known as the suburb Forest Lodge or Rozelle, The Crescent and past Harold Park race track and into Barnes Street (Victoria Road), Weston Road(Victoria Road) and Victoria Road.

It was a tram route that needed to cross four waterways to get to Ryde, but the only crossing for Drummoyne initially was the Iron Cove Bridge over an inlet of the Parramatta River. Although it is still named as such, the present structure would surely not be the same bridge.

Then a really clever dude thought that once the Glebe Island Bridge over Black Wattle Bay was finished, the trip could be much quicker by using the Pyrmont tram line and branching off Harris Street into Miller Street and Bank St and over the new Glebe Island Bridge into what was then Commercial Road. This must have chopped quite a bit of time off the trip.

After some time the line was extended over Gladesville Bridge at Five Dock and like the Glebe Island Bridge, it had a swing section, powered by tramway power, to let big boats to pass. I can see issues with tram schedules.

Not all trams went the full long distance route to Ryde. Some stopped at Five Dock and some at Pant's local shops for local people, Lyons Road in Drummoyne.

Power was supplied by the Ultimo Power House. Trams and staff were originally supplied from the Ultimo Depot off Mary Anne Street and later the Rozelle Depot next to Harold Park Raceway.

If you have read this and are in an inner to mid city Sydney suburb, speak up and I will do your area.

Diary update, heading south X 2

The banal first. Last Monday R and I went to DFO (Direct Factory Outlets) in Moorabbin after washing his car in Ormond and then having coffee at home with the ex NT politician/policeman in South Oakleigh. 'I'll get you there hon. No probs,' I said with great confidence as we headed down Golf Links Avenue. I know the area like the back of my hand. Bah, everything has changed. The roads are all different. I think I went down Clarinda Road (look R, Mum used to teach Sunday School there) and wove our way to where I could see modest airplanes in the sky.

I am not a great shopper. My low boredom threshold kicks in very quickly. I really have to be in the mood, and I did not think I was, but then we were there for more than three hours, so I did really well. It helped that I found three shirts to buy that were cheap and I think are nice shirts and suit me. R bought a few things too, including an extraordinary bargain suitcase for impending trip. I am cautions about bargain suitcases, especially those bought in Bangkok that have dodgy wheels, but this one seems good. I quite like the Moorabbin DFO, but it should be renamed DFS, Direct Factory Seconds, as that was clearly evident to me when buttons started popping off shirts after a first wash. NP, I can sew a button on, and mine never come off. The shirt may fall into the unfashionable zone and perhaps rot around the button, but the button stays on.

Today we were obliged to attend our sister in law's father's eightieth birthday at the Langwarrin Hotel.

There is not much to more to say than this old time ocker bloke who has been in and out of hospitals for sometimes extended periods over the last ten years and has nearly died many times, teared up as all sixty five guests sang happy birthday to him. Being the hard nosed bitch I am, I teared up slightly too. PS, if you want a lot of people of at your 80th birthday, have lots of child bearing daughters, who then have lots of child bearing daughters, and so forth. The cake said something like, 'The 80 yo Fossil made it'.

The worst part of the occasion was competition agin Little Jo. She was not the youngest and there were plenty of similar. I did observe her snooty looks towards the competition. I am sure I saw her look them up and down. I am now sure she will be a straight female. Only a straight woman or a gay male looks at a woman with such judgement.

It got a bit noisy at the pub, but it was quite a good venue with good food and a great outside deck overlooking the local open storm water drain creek.

R and I stuck to light food as the night before we had been out for a big meal to the Dick Whittington Tavern the night before with the brother friends before they bashed off on their twice yearly visit to Thailand. The Dick cheese platter is always very good.

Last night I suggested we should have a decent walk before we went out for lunch. I am sick of local walks. We have done them all in all directions. From the back of my head came something. On the way to Langwarrin, Edithvale wetlands or something, or marinas. It pushed to the fore and I wanted to look at Patterson Lakes and nasty posh houses with jetties.

Well, I was a bit gobsmacked. Forget Patterson Lakes, which we did not see much of. We parked the car and walked along the Patterson River to Carrum Beach. It was gorgeous. I had to switch from inner Melbourne person and reply when greeted with good morning from other walkers. Boats up and down the river. People walking and often with dogs. Fishers along the banks and at the sea. It was great. You used to be able to pick up a place in Carrum for $20,000. Maybe they have gone up a bit?

Pic is the mouth of the Patterson River where it enters Port Phillip Bay.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


'Tis Logie time. I don't think I have ever taken much notice of them and I am certainly not watching tonight. I will get the goss tomorrow from the press and bloggers. But what a hoot of a walk down memory lane to recall, recalling what I didn't see, the 1978 Logies. Mary Hardy mouthing off as usual.

Australia, the newest third world country

I can be as critical of Australia as anyone, but really, third world? Although, parts of Australia do look like third world, but then every country has areas like that.