Saturday, May 02, 2009

I want some time to get bored.

One for a few hours is enough. How do people manage with more than one?

What a gorgeous day. The sun shone warmly, the breeze blew gently and all was well with the world.

By 9.30 we were eating breakfast at Mojito's in the Prahran Market courtyard, by 11 we had ticked off shopping at Coles, Woolworths, Priceline, Dan Murphys, the Prahran Market flower stall and the fruit and vegetable shop. By 12 we were home and groceries unpacked and sums calculated as to who owed whom what.

Sister's footy team, Hawthorn, was playing at the MCG, so the St Kilda Road babystitters stepped up to the ball bounce. Hurricane Sister and Little Jo arrived at 12.30. By 12.35 the highrise was looking distinctly untidy.

We et a chicken sandwhich, played with toys and then played online with BBC for Kids. We went off to Albert Park Lake to feed the ducks, swans and assorted birds. Little Jo is a bit fearful of critters. Feeding the birds a tiny bit of bread was not so exciting. But look Little Jo, over there, some play equipment. That occupied her for 20 minutes.

Here we go. Sister won't approve, but how about an ice cream Little Jo? Off to the Jolly Roger kiosk. Sailing boats were going into the water and coming out. Kids and teens and adults everwhere. Very busy.

Back to the highrise via another go on the play equipment. A nappy change required. Pooh 'tink. R does the necesarry while I hold the suddenly very interested swans at bay. I didn't know they hissed. They certainly aren't shy and were very inclined to hold their ground. I was so brave. Instead of taking the path through the park and it taking five minutes to cross Queens Road and Kingsway, we walked up Albert Road. Little Jo conceded to get into the pram.

Some tuna pasta casserole for Little Jo and some drawing with texta pens. Error. Get metho bottle out to clean off her hands and legs of texta.

Down to the pool for a swim. The swim did not last long as Little Jo wanted bubbles. Into the spa and someone had added something to the water so as well as the water turbulance, we had a good bit of froth and foam as well. The jets and bubbles stopped, so Little Jo was quickly out to press the buttons to switch them back on.

Upstairs and R gave Little Jo a bath while I showered. I knew what was coming. I will have to entertain her while R has a shower. Must be time for a dvd. Some dinasour called Dorothy was the afternoon viewing. Dottie the dino came from the library and needed a good clean. Dottie failed to proceed after quarter of an hour. Go for the sure thing, The Wiggles.

Meanwhile indulged in the kid in myself and had some fun making microwave popcorn. The bad Uncles fed Little Jo popcorn, strike two. Quick R, give her some grapes, that will make up for it.

I am not the least bit interested in football, that is Aussie Rules, but I then retired to my en suite to listen to the end of a very exciting football game, the one that Sister was at. Thankfully her team won and she was happy when she returned.

Sister moves to the country to be with the Bone Doctor on Monday. We won't see Little Jo for a while. R is going to miss her terribly.....I might a little bit too.

Walking past MacRob girls school, a Government school for really clever lasses. University High is the male equivalent. I am sure someone will correct any errors. The trees on the perimeter of Albert Park golf course looked great. When we first moved here, they were so small. I think they are rubber trees. Correct me there too.
Somewhere among all the tall buildings is the highrise. I don't understand why all these boats don't crash into each other.
Little Jo had made a friend, the daughter of the woman in the kiosk. I only found out after the girl left that she was daughter of staff. Pity we did not meet her earlier, we might have gotten cheaper icecreams. The girl was older than Little Jo and tried to talk to her with sentences. Little Jo only does words, not sentences. The girl's top was filthy and her face smeared with tomato sauce. It went through my head that she was underpriveleged, silly given where we were, but should we buy her an ice cream too? Then the girl moved around the table and leant on my leg and continued to talk to Little Jo. I was waiting for someone to scream out, get your hands off her, you digusting pedo. No one did. A very attractive young man was about to wheel his boat on a trailer right over the top of Little Jo, he stopped and said to Little Jo, hello young lady, can I pass? Your very middle class young men may piss on walls in a side street occasionally, throw up on a tram, get terribly drunk, but they are always so nice and polite.
Across the lake to more tall buildings, roughly from where the play area is.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Cough, Splutter, Sniff

This flu from Mexico is a bit of a worry..........isn't it?

The media and government are running hard with, no doubt to sell media and distract poplulations from less important matters, such as scrutinizing governments.

We are alert and alarmed, fearful for ourselves and our loved ones. Maybe hundreds will die? Wow!

I find it hard to take too seriously when authoritative sources tell me that 25,000 children died yesterday and the same number will die today and again tomorrow.

In 2007 just in the US alone, nigh on fifteen thousand people died from AIDS.

Last year in our State of Victoria over three hundred people were killed on our roads.

Think I take my chances with the flu.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Pratt is dead and buried

What a generous man was Richard Pratt. He gave so much to charities and the arts. Well, I am not so sure how much he gave to the really poor in our society, the ones who fall through all safety nets, but no matter, his intentions were good. He could afford to give money since he had so much of it. I can't recall seeing him serving in a soup kitchen caravan.

He gave generously to the areas the middle and upper classes are interested in. Even a working class boi like me has been a beneficiary of his largess to the arts by way of subsidised theatre. (Andrew waves to Jeanie across the theatre seats)

Society seems to think that through cartel behaviour, a cent here or a cent there does not matter for the individual consumer who bought goods with an inflated packaging component, and it probably didn't, individually. Collectively it added up to a very large sum of money. But we shan't pillory him for ripping each of us off for a few cents will we.

Pratt was a bit of a reverse Robin Hood really, take from the poor and give to the rich, or at least the comfortable.

I am reminded of the very old biblical saying which I will reconstruct to suit my purpose.

It is easier for for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.

Dick, you may have to do a bit of clawing to get in.

Gird your loins girls

Gird you loins girls and get out to learn some self defence, especially against evil men that seem to be everywhere.

A GOLD Coast nurse with a black belt in martial arts turned the tables on her assailant breaking his arm when he tried to steal her car.

Nurse Beth Gascoine, 28, has been praised by police after fending off the violent knife attack in an empty Mermaid Beach car park yesterday.

The nurse went on to suggest that all women should learn martial arts to protect themselves against such assaults.

No Ms tough Nursie, women should not learn martial arts to protect themselves. I should not learn martial arts to protect myself. No one should learn martial arts to protect themselves. We should be living in a society where we don't need to learn self defence, carry knives and guns or other defensive weapons to protect ourselves.

The more defensive we become, the more high walls put up and locked gates erected, the more suspicious of others we become, then the more the need for self defence will arise.

With an efficient and well resourced police force and a bit of trust in our fellow humans, we shouldn't need to be thinking of self defence.

Now Ms Nursie, was you car worth putting your life at risk?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Forthcoming Holiday

Last year I said to R, we must repaint the apartment next year when we are on holidays. He agreed. This year, neither of us seem so inclined when we are both on holidays in June.

We have to use up the Qantas compensation voucher for $300. We can't afford to do anything too expensive. There is a recession hey, and I am always recessed. Most Aussie capital cities you need a car, but not Sydney or Melbourne.

We shall go to Sydney then. R agreed, but only if we could do somethings a bit different to the past, especially when we were with his rels and had to show them the sights, three times.

So, no Bondi Beach, no ferry to Manly, no Darling Harbour, no Monorail, no Chinese Garden, no ferry to Parramatta, no Oxford Street, no Queen Victoria building, no Blue Mountains, no Opera House, no Bridge, no Rocks.

Had a thought to go to Taronga Zoo, but at $40 pp, I am not so sure.

We have seen Sydney aquarium but in the early nineties, so that is on the list.

Lunch at Watson's Bay Hotel is on the list.

A tram ride to Lilyfield.

Sydney Museum.

Powerhouse Museum.

Tram museum at Mount Loftus, including a tram ride on an old Sydney tram.

A visit to the house where my paternal grandmother lived in Balmain. We did see it once by car in the early eighties, but like to see it again. That will be a ferry or bus trip. I recall writing a post about a nice pub in Balmain with views.

I have already posted elsewhere for suggestions for a nice train trip with views. North Shore line has been suggested, and a trip to Hornsby.

A visit to Observatory Park.

See Balmoral Beach.

Never walked through China Town, so probably will do that.

Ok, I am up for suggestions you Sydneysiders, or those with knowledge.

Post Card from Little Jo

Hi, Auntie Andrew and Uncle R (very funny Sister)

This is me at the hot springs in Hanmer. It's night time and we are swimming. Having a great holiday - especially playing in Autumn leaves. We've been hiking and to lots of parks. Mummy went quad biking. I slept in my own big bed, not a baby cot.



Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Obama's new trains

There you go Dina. You could be quickly in New Orleans for a romantic or fun filled weekend if Obama's high speed train plan comes to fruition. Looks like you could get to New York City quickly. Sorry Daisy, there doesn't seem to be much in it for you.

I can't really comment on the plans without doing some research and I am not for bothering, except this.

I read elsewhere about the construction costs, and they are extremely high . There is no high speed rail culture in the US, unlike Europe where they are very experienced at high speed rail and do it quite cheaply. The French know how to do it well. Rather than reinvent the wheel, just get French engineers to come over to the US and get busy. I think it would cost less and you can be assured, it will work.

It is criminal that there is not a high speed train between Sydney and Melbourne. I have heard that it is the busiest flight corridor in the world. I have also heard it is the fifth busiest air corridor in the world. Take you pick, but regardless, how good would be a high speed train from Southern Cross Station to Sydney Central, via Canberra I suppose for the pollies.

As I said, I am not so familiar with the US, but surely for the cost of all this bits of proposed lines, a high speed train could be built to link New York to California, alternate the trains between 'Frisco and LA perhaps. New York Central to the west coast in comfort and much less time than the drive to the airport in heavy traffic at each end, no bother with parking and check in and security. Just a very fast trip on tracks from the east to the west of the US, and vice versa.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday Before

I am only really writing this because I want it recorded in my diary. While we visited St Kilda for a purpose, the movie, Sunday past, the Sunday before we caught the newish route 3A tram to St Kilda and walked the length of the Sunday Market on the Upper Esplanade. It was a bit minimal, having seemed to contract its length, but nice enough. We then walked both sides of Acland Street after watching a performing busker for a while.

Took a late lunch with a glass of red vino at Greasy Joes, outside, in the sunshine with a cooling breeze. The trams trundled past, the St Kilda people side show performed, the visitors from Forest Hills and Upper Kombuctor West noted, the tanned backpackers went about their errands and the screams from the Big Dipper at Luna Park permeated.

We were just on our own and it was lovely. The week before we had a lunch with friends at Middle Park Beach.

Not working on Sunday is not great for covering living expenses, but it is nice to do stuffs.

The Blossoms

Once again I bring you the cherry blossoms from the blooming trees in northern Japan where in forty years time you will a crazy crazy old white woman hobbling the streets, possibly with the equivalent of a present day SLR digital camera in her hand that is not holding the walking stick. Mentioning Andrew and R to her will probably produce a derisory snort.

If you want to take a look at the beauty, the blossoms stupid, not our friend in northern Japan. Click on this link and select Java.

Bit different this year. Here is a night shot of Hirosake Castle with the blossoms in the foreground.

Get my hands off it, and TMI

I couldn't leave it alone could I. I could feel a tiny lump on my face. Feels like a pimple. I will see what I can do. Bit of a squeeze and nothing. Must be deep. A harder squeeze, nothing.

Next morning a bit of a swelling. Could I leave it alone and let it do its stuff on its own. No, worry it a bit more. Nothing.

Following morning, a full on infection, caused entirely by me. Side of lower jaw swollen. Face looks unbalanced.

A week and a half later, stab it with sharp sterilized implement to drain it.

Getting on for two weeks later, it is finally starting to disappear. I managed to not touch it for three days after the stabbing. But, I couldn't help myself today. Hope I haven't set its healing back.

In a Qantas office today, I sat so the attending lass could only see the good side of my face. Handsome devil, she was probably thinking. She could not see the one metre square pimple on the other side and that from another angle, I was more hideous than Elephant Man.

But still, it is kinda nice to get all anxty about a pimple, just like a teenager. Well, not so sure about a pimple. I don't know what a carbuncle is, but I am sure it is more that, or perhaps a cyst. Hideous!

Now any volunteers to squeeze the blackheads on my back?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Radio Caroline

I started this post in early February, prompted by listening to a radio interview on ABC Radio with Ernie Sigley being the guest. Sigley had just retired from radio 3AW. I tried to listen to Ernie on the radio one afternoon and found he was a terrible radio broadcaster. Between his manner and ads for funeral parlours and retirement villages, I quickly switched off. I thought he was not so bad when he was on tv.

But during the interview on ABC Melbourne, I heard him talking about when he worked for one of the pirate radio stations broadcasting into England in the nineteen sixties. I was surprised to hear this and tuned in with more interest.

Now when R was growing up in England, he was an avid listener to pirate radio, always with his tranny in bed with him. (C'mon, you get bored with me if I did not give you such good lines) (Kiddies, it was called a transistor radio, transistor for short, or tranny for even shorter. Taking your valve radio to bed was impractical and possibly dangerous to your private parts because the valves glowed red hot) Anyway, I thought it might make an interesting post, pirate radio, Sigley and a bit of the personal thrown in.

I knew little about pirate radio except the name Radio Luxembourg and that was the title of this blog post when I started to write it. I did a bit of research for the post but got thoroughly confused by it all and that is why I left it alone for a while.

Then in a total co-incidence, out came the movie The Boat That Rocked, a movie about English pirate radio.

This morning after a leisurely breakfast at home of pancakes, mine, half lemon and sugar, the other half maple syrup, we headed off to drop a dozen bottles of mail order clean skin wine into our dyke friends and after coffee and cheese with them, on to the George Cinema in St Kilda. As we left the car park, down came the rain and along came the bitingly cold wind. Although it was twenty to one, and the movie started at one, the cinema wasn't open, so we went into a second hand bookshop. Of course in St Kilda, even second hand books are expensive but I bought a copy of Doris Lessing's The Grass is Singing for $7, to add to the pile of unread books. I would have liked to have bought the book on the Boyd family and another on John and Sunday Reed and their respective families, but at $30 each, nah. I am sure they will be in the public libraries. Dina, a post on both families, if you please. They are both interesting. You Aussies out there will learn a lot about Australia by reading Dina's blog, coming from an American in Houston, Texas in the mighty US of A.

By this time we were frozen and the thought of the warm movie theatre dragged us back to its front door and it had just opened. It wasn't warm, but as it just opened, I thought maybe the heating has just being switched on. No, we froze through the whole movie. I am still aching from from hugging myself tightly for a couple of hours to stay warm. Bad form The George.

The movie was ok, acting excellent, scripts a bit wanting. In case you are totally unfamiliar with pirate radio, the sole radio station operator was the BBC and they broadcast very little popular music such as rock and roll, and so the pirate radio stations came into being, broadcasting into England from international waters.

As we were driving home afterwards, R started to poke some holes in the movie. We concluded it was a story, not a documentary. He did pre-empt one of my comments by saying the Minister was just as they were back in those days and the protrayal was realistic. I was going to say the protrayal was a bit over the top and absurd.

But why has R never mentioned before to me that it was Radio Caroline he used to listen to, the biggest offshore pirate radio station and probably the one with the super powerful transmitters. He just blurted it out as we were driving home.

In the movie, the boat sank. I wondered if it was based on a true story. Me google mate helped me with this. There may well have been a pirate radio ship that went down, but it wasn't Radio Caroline Ah, better add in here that I haven't finished reading the history. The last bit I got to was that it was in Dutch waters and the Dutch had impounded it for non payment of the tenders that serviced it.

Amazingly, Radio Caroline still broadcasts, and over the net. When I tuned in, it was about Sunday 05.30 UK time and there was a quirky religious program on. Radio Caroline and its comprehensive history tab can be found here at I am going to take a better read of its history.

While Lord Hughes may not be quite old enough to have experienced pirate radio, might his parents, the first Lord and Lady Hughes have tuned in? Might the PYE valve radio in Hughes Castle have been tuned to Radio Caroline?