Friday, July 24, 2009


While it is all very well young people driving around with 150 decibel music pouring from their cars and bass beats vibrating everything within fifty metres, including my teeth, it just so wrong for someone over thirty to play music so deafeningly loud.

I have mentioned a sad bloke at work with his personalised number plate before. He used his surname on his numberplate except clearly the name was not available so he used a 5 instead of an S. I don't think much of peronalised plates, but much less of the sad ones who can't get what they want and settle for something close.

This chap is over fifty and has now bought himself a monster shiny black 4WD. I have never seen a spick of dirt on it, so I can't imagine it is for offroad travel.

Anyway, he pulled into the carpark at work last week with the music absolutely pumping out of his monster beast. Truly deafening, except guess what the music was? (break para for dramatic effect)

No less than Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round an Old Oak Tree. What more is there to say.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I see there are smart new Skodas now being sold in Australia. They look ok enough to attract the young market. But people of my age who remember the Skoda of old would run a mile from the idea of buying one.

I don't actually know if they were any good or not, but they were widely despised and associated with other Eastern Bloc car manufacturing such as the Trabant or a more recent import to Australia, the Lada.

Here is a photo of one much as I recall them, from

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Thwack of Willow

I need to know this stuff. ABI Brother is to soon visit UK and attend a couple of Ashes tests. It is an organised tour, hosted by a retired cricket player. Between tests they visit Turkey and see Gallipoli and also have a week's free time in England. He and his mate will visit Nephew in Glasgow and then on to Edinburgh and St Andrews for golf. ABI Brother is exhibiting signs of stress at the moment. I think it is about the holiday.

So, I am boning up on cricket in the UK.

Lords: Western side of Regent's Park in St John's Wood Road. Boring cricket, take a walk in the park.

Brit Oval (The Oval): Cross Vauxhall Bridge to the south bank. Can't miss it.

Edgbaston: Birmingham, in the middle, stop off at Coventry on the way and check out where my old Humber came from.

Headingley: Leeds, in the middle up top, but not too far up. One of the Mountain Women we know comes from nearby Huddersfield.

Trent Bridge: Nottingham, kinda a bit east around the middle bit. Look, there's Grantham where Thatcher grew up. Grocer shop indeed. Be on the look out for nasty sheriff. I'd deck 'im. Leave cute Robin alone.

Old Trafford: Manchester, a bit west, closest to Brian. You'll have a gay old time in Manchester. Can I find a wide canal in Canal Street?

Here is an old drawing of the lovely grandstands at Trent Bridge from

A barbie

What is this photo all about? Why do we need Barbie crap? No, we are not feminising Little Jo. All will be made clear next week.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Insidious homophobia

It is not the overt homophobia that worries me so much. There are laws and widespread public agreement that it is wrong.

It is the little things. While I am not blaming him, a blog mate from the past assumed that the Bone Doctor, Sister's partner, was a bloke. She isn't although when she is in full flight football umpiring, you could be forgiven for thinking she was. Her shape does give her away though, just. Skinny blokes don't have legs like hers. It was a fair enough assumption for someone who had not read too many posts from the past, Sister, the Bone Doctor and their baby.

To the point. Yesterday I changed insurance companies for our household contents. I plucked a figure from the air. I don't know. Some of what we have I would not want replaced. Anyway, while sorting this out over the telephone, I referred to my partner. A wee bit later, the guy at the end of the phone mentioned my partner, she. He, I returned.

They are always apologetic about their assumption, but there are appropriate non gender specific words and phrases to use. I am surprised it is not part of the training for large organisations.

Hmm, thinking. Yes, I will put it out there. Their media monitors will pick it up. Could do better RACV, but you aren't the only org to fail.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Twenty Questions

In celebration of..........whatever, I am opening myself up for any reader to ask me questions. They can be as personal as you like. They can be about my opinion on events or current affairs. Whatever you like.

Pretty well anything goes, except for work, and if I have to respond with a comment about other people, especially near and dear, I will be circumspect.

Log out of your blogging program and you can then ask anonymously or email to ripppon at yahoo dot com and I will copy the question and not identify you.

I expect I will end up red faced, not by the questions or answers, but by a lack of them. Oh well, worth a shot.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sis and the roo

Haha, Sister hit a kangaroo. Dented her car. That'll learn her for going to somewhere called Boort. No problem, the Bone Doctor will pay. She said in the text that skippy bounced off the car and was ok. I was alarmed for a moment as Little Jo is also called Skippy.

Late Step Father called her that and Mother is keeping it going. Get it? Little Jo, Joey, Skip, Skippy. For you foreign types, a baby kangaroo is known as a joey.

Off to Kinda

I saw a letter in the paper last week from a woman who was complaining that she could not get her child into the local kindergarten. I think it was in the People's Republic of Moreland.

I went to kindergarten, briefly, before we moved to country. It was a right. I don't believe that it cost anything my parents anything. I don't know if was council run or state government or what.

Back then, for all you can say about conservative governments such as those of Menzies, Bolte and a conservative local council, they did provide good schools and transport to them, along with kindergartens and minimal expense to parents.

How on earth are we overun with Labor state and federal governments and lefty councils and they can't provide the basics.

A local resident not able to get her child into a lefty area local kindergarten. What a crock.

Sydney Buses

Our first Sydney visit. Nifty Neville Wran was in power and I think the Eastern Suburbs Railway had not long opened and there were a whole heap of modern new buses and smart double deck trains too. It made Melbourne's public transport system look pretty sad.

Twenty plus years later, some of those buses still seem to be in service. However, most seem to be newer, some gas powered and some hybrid technology.

Like all modern public transport, you are not going to get a nicely padded and comfy seat. But otherwise, the Sydney buses are quite comfortable. I only have experience of one private bus company in Melbourne and although their newer buses are quiet enough, they seem quite rough riding compared to Sydney buses. Maybe Sydney roads are smoother. Actually, I think they are.

I certainly admire the Sydney bus drivers in the way they are reasonably tolerant of tourists who have no idea of where they are or are going, and the way the drivers get their buses around narrow streets and tight corners with a minimum of fuss. I noticed places where there had been alterations to make things easier for buses to navigate, but also places where things could be improved.

Motorists seem well adapted to interacting with buses with much letting in and out by both, unlike how Melbourne motorists see trams as an enemy and must be passed or their path blocked by any driving measure possible.

I was a bit mystified by the infrequent service on a couple of routes through the eastern suburbs, especially so as when the tram service operated, one was dispatched from Erskine Street Wharf and along King Street every thirty seconds in the evening peak heading off in the direction of Watsons Bay, not that they all went to Watsons Bay. Many stopped short somewhere.

Of course, now the Eastern Suburbs Railway carries many of the passengers that would have used the trams. There was an interim though, after the trams stopped and there were only buses and no trains. Methinks that might have pretty nightmarish period for eastern suburbs public transport users. It is impossible to imagine what it might be like now if not for the Eastern Suburbs train system.

The big thing while we were there was the expansion of pre pay buses. Only pre pay in the city area daytime weekdays and the number of prepay buses routes extended. After the dismal failure of T Card, I guess something had to be done to keep buses moving and not have drivers sitting stationary while selling tickets. I thought the information and the publicity about the changes was very good. Only the most idiotic would not have picked up about pre pay and tickets are widely available in shops.

On the whole, a decent tick for Sydney buses, with the qualifier of course that I did not have to use them to get to and from work.

Back to the Eastern Suburbs Railway. I used to think it was absurd that it did not go to Bondi Beach. I still do really. The argument that locals did not want it as it would bring even more people to Bondi Beach, while valid, does not hold up so well now, as the locals who use the train to Bondi and then the bus to Bondi Beach are badly affected by the overwhelming number of tourists who do the same. I could not believe the numbers of people on a summer Sunday a couple of years ago who caught the train to Bondi Junction and filled bus after bus to Bondi Beach.

I have the solution. Extend the train to Bondi Beach and then tunnel along the coast via Bronte and Clovelly to Coogee. City to Coogee via Bondi trains will have to be introduced to make it a frequent service. It would alleviate pressure on Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee buses, never mind Bondi Beach buses, and many people, such as us, would not get off at Bondi Beach but go on to one of the quieter areas.

I took these photos, so may well as add them.

Return Sydney Airport Gate Pass, valid for seven days.
Five day ticket covering all Sydney public transport, trains, buses and ferries and River Cat for a good distance out from the city. Does not cover Monorail or LRV. (tram) Used in conjunction with Airport Gate ticket for airport train service, but validation doesn't start until the next time used for normal public transport.

Tramway Museum of Sydney tram ticket. Existing tram travels on an old railway line.