Friday, September 25, 2009


Discussed before. Someone even added a cute little rhyme to remember how to spell (hit Ctrl v) Woolloomooloo. Matters little, I forget, but I have the real thing here.

This one is much better and easy to remember. Sheep on the toilet. Cow on the toilet. Wool loo moo loo. How to spell Ctrl v Woolloomooloo, sheep and cow toilet. I won't forget that now. You won't either.

Family Photos

Mother and I spent some time yesterday looking at old photos. We both ended up with sore necks from leaning forward. She was too afraid to get up on steps and pull a dusty box down from the wardrobe. She did tell me that in a box the other side of the wardrobe is her will and other important papers.

It was good fun looking at old photos. She gave me some of my father's mother which I will scan a few and show later but here is a few she is keeping for the time being, so I just took some snaps.

Well, I have seen uglier babies. I wasn't that bad.

Dad the Nasho, having done his National Service at Puckapunyal Army Base. I just cannot imagine him submitting to authority. I expect this was the last time he ever did in his life.

My parents wedding. That would be the last time my father ever carried gloves or wore a double breasted suit. The bloke next to my mother I remember well. He was a trumpeter and gave me a bugle. Next to him was my mother's friend who only died last year. The woman next to my father married a Minister of Religion who ended up Archbishop of NT and QLD I think.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Place Rope Here

It is sad when people die, but I worry about those who are left behind who are grieving and missing the person. The dead person is dead, so nothing is happening with them. What does trouble me is when people commit suicide.

My Tradie Brother's neighbour's son did recently. Middle Eastern oil worker, so plenty of money. Caring parents. Girlfriend who he was about to marry. Nice new house just completed, all ready for them to move into. Never been any sign of any mental illness. Thirty years old, so many years ahead of him before he became a disillusioned grumpy old man, yet he hung himself by the neck until he was dead.

His father who worshiped him is inconsolable.

His life has been analysed in minute detail and no one can work out why. Some people seem to have lives full of troubles and tortures, yet this guy did not.

I just don't understand.

Talk proper Aussie English

Unlike my blog, which could be described as a mad woman's breakfast, some blogs are very tightly focused. I don't think we see in Australia an erroneous use of quotation marks but clearly wherever this blog is focused, there are plenty. The blog of Unnecessary Quotation Marks.

Our ABC has a Standing Committee on Spoken English, SCOSE. It publishes guidelines for ABC broadcasters about correct English, standards, foreign pronunciations etc. I assume this very useful little guide is published online by SCOSE. I am afraid I read every page, sad hey. But given most bloggers are quite literate, I think you may enjoy ABC Radio National Online Style Guide. The writer does not take him/herself to seriously. A snip follows.


a listener has kindly pointed out that 'foetus' is not the correct spelling according to the British Medical Association. That's good enough for us.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Masseur Required

Masseur required, no happy ending needed. The happy ending will be relief from aches and pains.

R was right. I should have removed everything from my bedroom. Instead I worked around it while painting and this made the painting ever so much harder. On the first day I did too much and so I was aching already this morning when I tackled some more. Now I will only do half a day's painting. I am not a teenager with boundless energy.

I stopped painting today at around two and set off for the station to go to Murrumbeena. I went early enough to scoff a coffee scroll from the bakery and to check out the newsagent's window where there are historical displays in its window. Jayne alerted me to the window display and it filled five minutes time. There was an interesting account of the construction of the now mostly removed Outer Circle Railway line. We now concern ourselves with over budget projects that run on far too long. Believe me, it is nothing like the sheer incompetence of the railway authorities back then. What an absolute farce. I may well mock present day engineers, but they were not too crash hot back then either.

We collected Little Jo while Sister set off on her bike to collect the Bone Doctor's truck from the garage. A brief sprinkle of rain made us hesitate but we pressed on and I was pleased we did as we met up with Jayne in the park, along with her pretty smart son. As a youngster, he used to frequent the same park and play on the same equipment as Little Jo now does. Anyway, Jayne turned out to not be a monster and not nearly as evil as she may sound......well perhaps just a bit.

Sister takes after her mother in the culinary area and she had cooked us a meal. Slices of tough corned beef, falling apart tuna patties, two asparagus stalks and silver beet. Still, it beats cooking at home. Little Jo et the corned beef and little else. She has suddenly become a fussy eater.

Oh bliss oh joy, tomorrow carting mother out after a small amount of painting in the morning. M1 motorway, how I love thee.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Childhood Photo

Maybe I have posted this photo before? I can't remember. I have brightened it slightly anyway. There seems to be a lot of Cape Weed in the grass. Maybe it was seasonal.

It is the dairy farm in Fumina South where I spent my years 4 to 13. The photo looks to have been taken late afternoon.

Our cattle were mostly Jersey with some Guernsey, plus Maggie the Fresian who did not understand fences and walked straight through them, electric fences included. High butter fat was in high demand and Jerseys supplied this. Guernseys did too but they were a bit harder to handle. Friesians supplied quantity not quality.

To the far right you can see a steep hill, one that my father said should never have been cleared as the soil was poor. The farm was 350 acres in size, large by the size of surrounding farms. Less than half of the land was cleared. Twice I think, during drought, cattle were turned out into the bush land as there was insufficient grass for them to eat.

The track at the base of the hill was a public road and there was another on right hand side of the hill. They were gated and no one ever used them except us and the very intrepid who had poured over maps and realised they were public rights of way. Most used to come to the door and ask first.

In the far distance was Mount Erica. It may be under cloud in the photo. Out of the photo to the left was Mount Baw Baw. We were so excited when the ski run and chairlift was built and lit at night. The views from the house to the mountains were wonderful.

The first valley where the trees change colour ran the perpetually freezing cold Tanjil River. One drought year we had to drive down the track to the river and bring back drinking water in large milk cans. Our water for washing and other purposes was supplied from a well with a pump but the well had to be filled by water pumped up from the dam. The dam was in a depression behind the three cows standing together.

In the bush there was evidence of gold mining. There was a timber trestle bridge, presumably for bullocks to haul loads of timber along a tramway. Yes, levelled paths where the timber tramways ran and water races following contours of hills, used for gold mining. There were vertical mine shafts, usually roughly covered over by sheets of rusty corrugated iron

My grandparents instilled in me a fear of wells and bulls. I would never go near bulls, not in the same paddock and although we sometimes peered down into the depths of the well, it gave me nightmares.

Before the pumps were installed, Mother had to pump water by hand from the well into buckets for clothes washing. That and using a wood fired stove were two of the many shocks my city bred mother faced when we moved there. The first day she lit it, she used petrol to get it going. The hotplate lids blew off the stove when she threw the match at the fire box. Later a slow combustion stove was installed. It burnt briquettes and supplied most of the hot water, supplemented by an electric storage unit. When we first moved there, there was only a wood chip heater to heat water for the bath. Laundry water was heated by an electric immersion heater.

Although I mentioned milk cans, these were redundant. The milk went into a large refrigerated vat and a tanker arrived to pump it out daily. There was an old milk separator still stored there. It separated milk and cream. While it wasn't used for the purpose, it was fun to get it spinning fast.

The milking machine was driven by an electric motor so a back up was needed if the power failed. The tractor would be reversed up to the side of the she where the vacuum milking machine was located and a belt would be attached to a spinning wheel on the side of the tractor driven by the tractor engine and at the belt the other end to the vacuum machine. The newer John Deere tractor did not have a dangerous spinning wheel at the side, so a connection was made to the power take off at the rear of the tractor. I can't recall how this worked. We were not allowed in the milking machine room while it was working, but of course we did sneak to see it operating at times. The room smelt of 'vacuum' oil, a very distinctive odour.

Running the electric motor for the vacuum machine for maybe four hours a day and chilling large quantities of milk delivered at body temperature used a lot of electricity.

If the power went off, the cups would all fall off the cows teats and then have to be cleaned before they could be put back on. They were cleaned by dipping them into a solution of water and 'hypo', and then rinsed.

Each set of milking cups had a glass above the cow stall and the glass had to watched for signs of off colour milk flowing through, indicating mastitis. Cows udders were washed and usually 'stripped' before the cups went on, that is hand milked for a few strokes to check that the milk was ok.

All cows had a metal chain with a hook to go around their ankle to stop them kicking. Most were passive but some did like to kick out. Mostly it was loosely applied but known kickers would have it applied and pulled very tight.

The cow storage yard was originally dirt, read mud. It was cemented and the cow milking are stayed much cleaner. Fresh cow dung was removed with a shovel and after milking the shed and yard would be hosed out with a high pressure hose. While the cow shed never looked particularly clean, the end milk product was. It was frequently tested. It matters less with pasteurisation but we drank the milk fresh without treatment. I would only drink it after it was chilled and the cream at least mixed through, preferably removed. One job for we children was to fetch the billy can full of milk from the dairy. I tried to get the milk from the vat after the agitator had not been working for a while and I took it from the tap at the base so there was less cream than dipping the billy into the milk at the top. I like cream, especially double cream, but not cream directly off the top of standing milk.

I learnt about centrifugal force by swinging the billy in a circle over my head. My younger brother did not learn about the need for speed so quickly and was once drenched in milk. No matter, plenty more milk in the vat.

The power was supplied by the State Electricity Commission and the lines ran alongside the road. At times a branch or tree falling would interrupt supply but the power would only be off for a few hours at the most. I do not understand why people lose power for days in suburbs, when in the middle of the bush any interruption was quickly rectified. Well, I do understand and it is wrong.

This is getting too long. Wonder if it will be of interest to anyone who did not have country dairy cow upbringing? I may write some more another day if people are interested.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Violence on our streets

I was going somewhere with this post I suppose. I never quite got there and I seem to have lost the point that I was going to make.

From the Herald Sun.

Crackdown on 'brats' needed

UPDATE 4.55pm: TOUGH penalties for the "brats" behind street violence are warranted as three cops were bashed, a top cop says.

QBH brawl ringleader locked up

A THUG involved in a string of attacks, including a vicious brawl at the QBH club, has been sentenced to 18 months in a Youth Justice Centre.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

8.30 Arise from slumber. That is a very decent sleep in for me. Too much to drink last night and too late before going to bed.

9.30 R arises.

11.00 Head off to Dali exhibition at National Gallery of Victoria. Wow was it busy. Queue for tickets then queue to get in. Really too crowded to see many of the works up close. This was my favourite, The First Days of Spring.

12.30 Exit Dali exhibition. R buys water and has words with grumpy vendor. Head to Lygon Street.

12.50 Have food and coffee at Thresherman's Bakery in Faraday Street.

1.15 After much searching by Readings book shop staff, a Motown compilation triple cd is located to send to R's bro in law in England for his 50th birthday. Some great greeting cards were bought too. Put away for future use.

1.30 Discover marvellous babywear and toyshop and all manner of things. What a range of tin toys and tin robots. I want some!!! R buys a gift for workmates new baby.

1.40 Discover another gorgeous shop with an array of confectionery from the US and UK in the window.

1.45 Have a refreshing Stella sitting outside at University Hotel.

2.00 To QV. Buy electronic photo frame and wrapping paper for R's sister in the UK forthcoming second wedding.

2.15 Buy goods from Safeway that we omitted to buy yesterday when doing weekly shopping then home.

3.00 Out to Windsor shop in the car.

4.15 Out again to Windsor shop in the car.

Absolutely whacked.

Oh yes, this was what we were buying at the Windsor shop, 460 dollars worth. Someone is gonna be busy. Thirty eight litres of paint and some equipment.

Gay Marriage and where did Apple get the apple?

This should have the subject line Recommended Reading, but that sounds so dry.

Catherine Deveny is against gay marriage too. Read here why. I just so agree with her. I just add that if this anachronistic institution is to continue, then why can't gays join in? But for mine, I am with Mrs Deveny.

English PM Brown has made an apology for government persecution of a gay man in the mid twentieth century. So the gov should. He sounds more like a hero. It was quite outrageous. He lives on though through Apple. Yep, the maker of your Ipod. Read the very impressive Doug Pollard on the matter here.