Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dragon Fly

Little Jo is asleep now after exhausting us. Busy weekend, so here is a post for tomorrow. The very day that LiD posted a tale of when she most cruelly killed a butterfly and seeing some iridescent blue dragonflies, I came across this little chappie sitting on an old door that had not been opened for years. For a moment I thought it was a stick insect but I could see wings, so it must be a dragonfly. 'Tis only a phone pic but could anything in life be as good as watching dragonflies darting and hovering over a still pond?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Nephew Update

After Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Helsinki and London, the 'dreaded' one has settled into a nice and large apartment in Paisley, just out of Glasgow. He cycles or catches the train into his new job at the grandly named Carling Academy, a live music venue of some note. He is earning the sum of £6 an hour, crap money in anyone's language, even more so if translated to Aussie dollars, and and don't even mention Euros. Most of his communications mentions the word, cold. I don't think he will be cycling to work for much longer.

He must take a bit after my mother, his grandmother, as he wrote her and my step father a seven page letter full of news. He will be sorry. She is replying and she is up to page twelve with no end in sight. We communicate with him via R's Facebook site. Not my preferred method of coummication but you have to indulge the young a bit.

He plans to travel to the Continent as soon as he has enough money. I think the Uncles may send him a bob or two for christmas. Of course we will fight about it. R, generous to a fault, will say a high figure, yours truly with Scottish blood will say a low figure, and we will meet somewhere in the middle.

His girlfriend here of a couple of years will travel to see him next year and may transfer her employment to the London office of her employer for a bit.

And yes, he is adoring Glasgow. I knew he would. (Waves to Jackie)

I am now off to tidy our place in preparation for a a visit this evening by Little Jo. Pointless really as she will have stuff everywhere in five minutes. Sister and the Bone Doctor are going to see John Cougar. Is that the Mellencamp chappie?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Directions for Foreigners

Given I am out and about on public transport quite a bit, if I am in a particularly good mood, I might very occasionally try and assist someone, usually a tourist, who needs directions. Of course I am thinking, well why didn't you check first? You know, street directory, map, internet, timetables etc etc. But that is obviously not in some people's make up. Ok, some of these are mine, the others I have heard from a friend who knows about such matters.

Having now been to England, I know it is equally important there to accurately describe your destination when asking for help. Maybe it isn't in the Sub Continent, Asia, Europe and the US of A. I think one street in the north of England had five name changes for its length, surely beating anything in Melbourne.

Get a bit local here, sorry. So when you ask for Fitzroy, it is fair call that you mean the suburb, but if you say Fitzroy when you are in St Kilda, you will probably mean Fitzroy Street. They are miles apart. Best to add 'street' coz there is a a tram in St Kilda that goes to the suburb of Fitzroy.

'The Junction', is not accurate. Kew Junction? Camberwell? St Kilda? South Caulfield? Moonee Ponds? Balaclava?

I don't know how many Park Streets there are in Melbourne, but I can walk to two different ones in five minutes from home. Best to be specific.

Yep, this tram does go down St Kilda Road. Every tram in Swanston Street goes down St Kilda Road. You really need to state where you want to go in St Kilda Road, as some trams turn off St Kilda Road at the beginning of it and some at the end and some in between.

Likewise, every tram in Swanston Street, bar one, crosses Chapel Street, a street perhaps eight kilometres long. Enjoy the walk. But none go down Chapel Street from the City.

Mr Smarty Dick, lest I take the name of Pants in vain again, never once had to ask for directions when in the UK or on the Continent. I just love maps. Nor was there an sms from Jo when she visited Melbourne asking for directions when I had already offered to help. She is smart. She did sms that she was having a good time at some Paddy pub.

But clearly, everyone's brain works differently. I read something recently about how at a major railway station, there needs to be an information booth for people already know the correct information but they want some verbal reassurance.

Ok, we all like that. When our flight to Singapore per the net looked to be 11 hours late, I wanted some verbal assurance that this was correct. Sadly the net and the verbal was true.

But really, if you need directions to somewhere, phrase your question specifically and carefully.

Trash or Treasure

When we at the Docklands Market a week or so ago, we came across this stall selling the usual bits and pieces. I have to go back this Sunday as I have decided to buy something for my bedroom to replace something I have never been keen on. Said object can be seen in my profile pic. I saw the replacement item at the market but we did not have the car and it was too awkward to carry, plus, I wasn't 100% sure. I am now.

This tin tram looks to be modelled on Melbourne's old W trams. The maker seemed to be having a bob each way with a pole but with kind of a skid on top. I think it was about $40 and from what I have heard, this could be fairly cheap price.
I am not sure if I had one or someone else did and I played with it, but it is a working typewriter for kids. It was very slow to type with as you had to turn the dial to what character you wanted then press the lever to move the golf ball thingy to make an inked print. Fun for kids though.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Update on 'istorical investigation

Jayne cut through the crap with a simple telephone call and Ian guessed. The initialled blocks are about a metre below the level of the sand. There are more of them and some more accessible, but being the shallow queen I am, I am over it.


What a terrible tragedy. If you are in Australia, you have probably heard about the drowning, but if not, check the tale out here. To lose a child or partner must be devastating. To lose two children and your partner simultaneously is unimaginable. When I first heard the story, I was all ready to sheet some blame to the father, but apart from him taking them there instead of wrapping them in cotton wool, there is no blame to put on anyone. It is just one of those things.

Of course it is not unknown. Essendon airport plane crash and Port Arthur shooting immediately come to mind.

Once again the Highrise is pondering the death of someone close and the complications that ensue. But daily I live in terror of anything happening to Little Jo. I see sense in having lots of children, lest something happen to one or more of them.

I/we were a bit sceptical when Sister announced she was going to have a baby. God, what sort of mother will she make? But she and the Bone Doctor are marvellous mothers with a child so spoilt by love, I feel sad for any child who does not even have half as much. Don't worry though, her life will not always be so great with two mummies and no daddy.

But it is not all about me for a change. How that poor woman in NSW can go on, I cannot possibly imagine. My heart goes out to her.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mum being sensible

In spite of her pretence at being vague, vacant, superficial and hopeless at doing anything out of ordinary, except she does claim expertise in the gardening area, remember the quote I mentioned in the past, something along the lines of, I am gardener, not a sewer or cook. (ok, it is an hanging sentence) She is certainly neither of the latter two.

Just very occasionally, she will let her mind drift to something that is not about her. In Pakenham on a Sunday to take her to the hospital to see Step Father, she pointed out the bus. They have just recently started running on Sundays, she said. Not many people using them but I think it is a good idea and in time people will use the bus. Perhaps it still is all about her, thinking of bus services when step father can't drive. Today I rang the Taxi Directorate to request forms to apply for half price taxi fares for Mother and Step Father.

When we were going to the Eye and Ear hospital in the cab, she pointed to a building in Flinders Street. Andrew, was that the State Theatre? Yes Mother, later some nutter religious group was using it, but I don't know for what. To my shame, I added Jehovahs or something like that, just in case the taxi driver thought it might have Hindi temple and I called his religion a nutter one. Mother had done such a good job of charming him, I did not want a silly religious problem to undo her work.

Must say, the old State Theatre, now known as The Forum, and has been for a long time, is looking very shabby. I don't mind it like that. I had no idea what it is presently being used for, but the in the way of the internet and blogging, Kiki provided the answer.

Mind you, nothing could be as beautiful as Sydney's State Theatre, well, as it was in the early eighties.

An 'istorical investigation of crime, gaols, and the seaside

I have been exercising some of my archaeological investigative skills acquired by reading the Fylde and Wyre Antiquarian. From a mention in one of Jayne's daily posts, I learnt of a bluestone beach wall in St Kilda constructed by bluestone from Pentridge Prison Old Melbourne Gaol after some demolition work. The bluestone blocks were removed from Old Melbourne Gaol in late 1920s and using depression time Sustenance Workers in the early thirties, Sussos, the bluestone was used to construct these seaside walls.

When someone was sentenced to hang after being convicted of a terrible crime, they were often also sentenced to be buried within the prison and their initials and the date of their hanging was carved into the bluestone walls above where they were buried. So guess where some of these bluestone blocks ended up? Yep, in one of the sea walls.

Now, I was going to St Kilda for some shopping and thought I might just have a look to see if I could find any. Jayne had found a little more information, such as they are where people sit on grass and lean against a wall. I searched fruitlessly but it was a pleasant walk.

Yesterday Jayne came across a couple of pictures at Picture Victoria of two of the actual bluestone blocks, including the info that they were at the end of Wellington Street where it meets the beach. I should have read a bit more closely what was written (a terrible fault of mine, skim reading) at Picture Victoria. I could not think of a Wellington Street in St Kilda that ran to the beach. Turn to the online street directory and no other Wellington Street apart from the one I already knew which is nowhere near the beach. Taking a stab in the dark, I entered Wellington Street with just the street name and no suburb. Of course there were many, but one in Brighton sounded like a possibility and sure enough, and later confirmed by this at Picture Victoria. (OK, timelines are getting confused, you have my apology but no explanation, coz I am confused)

Speaking of confusion, St Kilda covered a much larger area in the olden days, extending down to what is now know as Brighton, hence the St Kilda slash Brighton confusion.

So, we have at the foot of Wellington Street, Brighton, some bluestone blocks in the sea wall that originally came from Old Melbourne Gaol with initials and dates carved into them.

While I am not saying they are not there, yesterday I slowly walked a couple of hundred metres in either direction of the foot of Wellington Street, thrice, as there are three different walls, and I could not find them. I suppose I looked a bit odd as I looked down at the walls as I walked when everyone else was looking up at the wonderful views.

Have the stones been removed? I think they may well have and a call to the Brighton Historical Society might be in order.

In a direct line to Wellington Street, I came across these newer blocks, the colour is different, the mortar more recent and there is possibly some machine marks on them.

In case you think this is just as nerdy as using a gold detector, thank you MD, it probably is, but it was combined with photo taking of an old sign for the project (just as nerdy, I know), washing the car at a new car wash (more on that later), filling the car with petrol and a visit to the sanity retention office, Dan Murphy of Brighton.

Thanks to Jayne for her help with this. Pity it came to nothing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Where am I?

So where am I when I took this photo? No one will guess what I was doing there. What Jayne? You guessed? How clever you are. Explanation in a subsequent post.

Random Matters

I have too many matters swirling in my head, so instead of making multiple posts, I will combine them all into one. I am doing you a favour, as you will spend much less time reading.

Hilton Hotel opening at Melbourne's Docklands! First I have heard of it.

We complain about our train system in Melbourne and we have our share of public transport announcements that never come to fruition but Sydney takes first prize in this area. Take a look at New York Ian's post about NSW public transport initiatives that have never happened.

Sad to hear that author Ivan Southhall died. I loved his books when I was a teen. Jayne posted about him here and in an email to Jayne I mentioned one of the books, Hill End, which is also the name of a town near where I used to live. The book is of course called Hills End. Others I recall reading were Ash Wednesday and Finn's Folly.

A State Government Opposition Party member coined a new phrase this week when discussing the Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill. All but two Government members, and they had Middle Eastern names, voted for the bill, and one opposition member from the Liberal Party voted for it. What a disgrace! My niece surely is entitled to full recognition as having two parents, that is Sister and the Bone Doctor. Ok, I understand politics and that is the be all and end all of your existence and that is all about votes, but Liberal Party, this is my niece you are talking about. Are you really so bad that would deny her her parents? Anyway, what was the point of having a conscience vote when the vote pretty well went along party lines? Liberal MP Inga Peulic came up with a stupid phrase to match her stupid self, 'the socially infertile'.

Sis in law is missing her father greatly and is somewhat tearful. She misses him saying, Cuppa tea Fat Bum?, when she arrived home from work.

All doom and gloom, so how about something nice to end on? A Queensland woman saved a horse from a knackery just because she liked the look of it. She paid $600 for it and after doing some exhaustive research, it turned out to be a half sister to Melbourne Cup winner Viewed. It has foaled and the foal is worth about $100,000. A good deed rewarded.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

St Kilda Today

Well, some smarty pants has a nice camera and knows how to use it. Makes my photos of St Kilda look like they were taken with a Box Brownie with or without a dirty lens. Should I give oxygen to an enemy? Of course I should when he is so good.

St Kilda Today has fantastic photos taken around St Kilda. I bet he doesn't know St Kilda history as well as I do.