Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Evil Morning Glory

Filthy mind for you who was attracted by the subject line.

Morning glory vine is to be found along many of our railway lines. It is a pest. If a house abutting a railway line is not maintained, then you can see what happens. In comes the morning glory vine.

This block was interesting. There was some old powered machinery at the back and what appears to be an ex taxi cab. Both are getting smothered by the morning glory vine.

Dear little Milric Cottage has seen better days. It may well disappear under a different kind of vine.

And where was I when I took these photos? Gay men may well recognise this iconic hotel although they may have only seen it in the dark.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Silent Witness

I have been a long time watcher of Silent Witness on our ABC. I still miss Sam Ryan cutting up the body of a well nourished male and for a while after she left, I did not find the show so interesting.

But last weeks episode was a ripper and the one this week is full of tension. If you used to be fan and left, give it a shot. It is very well made in the finest British tradition.

Cheap Blocks on the Ninety Mile Beach

Victoria's Ninety Mile Beach stretches from Port Albert in South Gippsland to Lakes Entrance in East Gippsland. As a teen I became familiar with the part from Port Albert to Sale. My father was rather fond of fishing and took us to Loch Sport a few times. My memories of Loch Sport was that it had no electricity, few fish and there were millions of mosquitoes.

But memories are very unreliable. The area I was going to write about has moved! No, it is my recollection is defective. I thought the road from Yarram to Sale followed the coast and it does not. A map tells me that what I remember is the road from Seaspray to Loch Sport, along a narrow strip of sand dunes with a lake one side and the open Bass Strait ocean on the other.

Regardless, the Ninety Mile Beach is a very long stretch of beautiful and mostly untouched coast line. Mile upon mile of pristine sand without a person in sight most of the time.

It may well not have remained that way had planning rules not been introduced. I recall driving along this narrow sand dune between Seaspray and Loch Sport and in the middle of nowhere gravel streets had been formed and street signs marked the streets. There was no sign of housing that I remember but the intent was certainly there.

Rosedale Shire was responsible for the area then and I would guess that they were complicit in what happened, if not responsible. For twenty five kilometres between Honeysuckles and Paradise Beach township was a subdivision of eleven and half thousand suburban sized blocks of land in a area where there were mobile sand dunes, very sensitive ecosystems and land that was prone to flooding.

And who might have bought these blocks of land and dream of a house of one's own near the beach? Your just fresh off the boat European migrants were the target market and I suspect many blocks were bought sight unseen. I can't imagine Europeans buying land where there wasn't soil, only sand. What kind of vegetables would grow there? I am certain no trees grow there, just tea tree like shrubbery and grasses.

I will pause here to see what happened to the blocks of land and if any houses were built.

The Age tells me in 2005, after a forty year planning vacuum the State Government decided to allow development and extensions along the coast at Honeysuckles Beach, Golden Beach and Paradise Beach. Back in 1970 the government decided the are was too fragile to allow development on such a scale to go ahead and told block owners to buy two more blocks of land to add to their existing holding. Some blocks were declared flood prone and building was banned.

Meanwhile, what happens if you own land? You pay council rates, and while owners were not allowed to build, they still had to pay their council rates, post council amalgamation in 1994, to Wellington Shire Council. Somewhere I read that the first blocks were sold in the 1950s and now belong to beneficiaries of estates.

Here is a mention from ABC News. In 2009 my absolute favourite Panning Minister Madden extended a ban on building on blocks for a further two years.

ABC Stateline in 2008 reported that Wellington Shire Council considered blocking all building permits because of projected rising sea levels, but they backed down when residents threatened a class action.

(lol, I keep coming across reports that Seaspray Life Saving clubhouse is going to fall into the sea)

Here are some snips from The Age in 2005 of some personal experiences.

A Mr Zammit bought his block for £168 in Malibu Road, Golden Beach in 1962. He was a factory worker and bought his block from a real estate agent who was selling door to door in the inner suburbs where migrants settled upon their arrival in Melbourne. He was shown a lavish drawing on thick parchment titled Golden Beach Club Estate. But there was to be no golf course, no swimming pool, no shops and no country club house.

To step back again, some blocks were built on until building was banned in 1973.

A Mr Guba bought his block in 1963 for £248 and paid it off over ten years. In the late 1970s he was told he could only build on his land if he bought three adjoining blocks. He could not afford to and neighbours would not sell anyway.

I guess you get the general drift of this absolute outrage that has gone on for over half a century. The State Government and Shire of Wellington should surely buy back these blocks of worthless land which are inappropriate to be build upon.

Map from a tourism promotion site and I can't find the site now.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Absolute tosh

I will side with the motorists and suggest that Toyota does have a problem with the electronics of some of their cars, not particularly in Aus that I know of.

My 1986 Mazda 626 had cruise control and it seems Mazda has not worked on them much over the years even until R bought his Mazda 3 barely a year ago. I was driving his car up a steep hill with cruise control on at 100 kmh. The car was struggling to get enough power to maintain the speed. The throttle was probably fully open (do cars still have throttles?) When I crested the hill, away she went, up to 120 kmh. Defective technology. There was no danger and so I took no action and soon enough the system picked up that the car was going to fast and backed off.

I don't doubt there is a problem BUT, please this testimony before the American parliament is absurd nonsense.

Smith was at the wheel of her new Lexus ES 350 and had just merged with traffic when her car suddenly and inexplicably surged from 70 to 160km/h.

Granted, alarming.

Despite Smith frantically slamming on the emergency brake and even putting the car in reverse, the vehicle continued to speed down the freeway.

Emergency brake? Does she mean handbrake/parking brake? That is what it is, a parking brake. It will retard you but not at full throttle. Putting an automatic into reverse is futile. Reverse is locked out, but neutral is not.

"I figured the car was going to go its maximum speed, and I was going to have to put the car into the upcoming guardrail in order to prevent killing anyone else and I prayed for God to help me," Smith said.

She must be one hell of a skillfull driver to imagine herself slowing her car by putting it into a guard rail.

"I called my husband on the Bluetooth phone system," Smith said, wiping away tears.

"I knew - I'm sorry. I knew he could not help me, but I wanted to hear his voice one more time."

Fair enough to want to talk to your husband when you think your life is in peril, but hey, it is an emergency situation and you can make a telephone call?

But at that moment, Smith said "God intervened" and the car came very slowly to a stop and her ordeal was over.

If god intervened and slowed your car, then it must have been the same god who made it speed up. Lawyers for Toyota's defence, I would be picking up on this one. Witnesses like her will see Toyota get off very lightly.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Organ Donation Week

This is organ donation week here in Aus. If you are dead, you just ain't gonna need any of your organs, so why not donate them. A close friend received an organ from a dead person and it saved her life. Formalise the process by registering and let your family and friends know. You're not going to be truly selfish and want to keep your organs even if you are dead surely?

Look, I can't make it simpler. Just click here.

Energy Audit

People on the telephone keep bothering me about energy auditing. I wish they would stop phoning. They start the spiel by mentioning the Federal Government. I don't allow them to get much further.

I don't need an energy audit. I know just what they will say.

  • Change shower heads: We have tried other shower heads and flow restrictors and we just don't like them.
  • Shorter showers: We are both usually quite quick in the shower. Occasionally I take the luxury of standing under the shower for an excessive time, but rarely.
  • Buy a front loading washing machine: Fine, when this one irreparably breaks down.
  • Use cold water for washing: It is fine line between water temperature and clean looking clothes. Tepid works ever so much better.
  • Only wash when you have a full load: Most of my loads are full! and if not I adjust the water level lower.
  • Change your incandescent light bulbs to energy saving bulbs: We have a few incandescent bulbs and they are in lights that get minimal usage, plus, I don't like the light from the energy efficient ones, plus I have a stockpile of the old.
  • Block off drafts: The only place any air gets in here is under the balcony door. I have been known to block it off with a towel during particularly bad wind events when I can feel a drafts but otherwise some fresh traffic fumes are good.
  • Put curtains on the windows: Nah. Not like. Not for here. We may tint the windows in the future.
  • Fully load dishwasher before use: Yeah, we do, frequently. Sometimes even more than once a day. Occasionally we stretch to two days.
  • Adjust air con temperature lower in winter and higher in summer: Why? What is the point of having air con if you can't have a comfortable temperature? Summer setting is 23/24, winter 17/18/19, depending how we feel and who is more convincing when they are pleading that they are hot/cold.
  • Fix dripping taps: We don't have any of those and our lavs don't run either.
  • Install dual flush: Oh, let me rip on this one. Yes, we have dual flush. I don't think my habits are so unusual, but three full flushes seem to now do the same job as one full one did pre dual flush. Same amount of water, if not more.
  • Turn off lights in rooms that are not being used: I am not a kid, I do turn lights off in rooms when I am not in them.
  • Turn off appliances at the wall: I do where I can. You try and get behind our tv cabinet and turn the tv off at the power point. Pay your own chiropractic bills.
  • Reuse shower water: Yuk. And where? On two indoor plants and two outdoor plants that get watered about once a fortnight?
  • Turn computers off: Why? I may miss that all important life changing email, hopefully from Tattersalls. I leave the pc on but the screen goes off after two minutes and the hard drive winds down.
Can you think of any more suggestions an energy audit might suggest that we could implement and I will tell you why we can't.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The break downs go on

Clothes dryer, fixed by me.

Dish washer, fixed by me.

Computer, fixed by me.

Television, not yet fixed after three weeks since the first call. Carting R's tv back and forth from his bedroom, no dvd or sound system plugged in, absolutely fed up. Should be repaired on March 01. I will write to Samsung demanding some recompense. Clearly a defective part and only a few months out of warranty.

Kitchen halogen light, kind of fixed. Insulation is on top of it and I need to cut the insulation away to stop them overheating. Very Garrett topical.

Surely must be the end of it.........nope. Wait, there is more.

Ignition button on hotplates broke off. Fixed by me, well I glued it back on. Not sure it will last.

Car park scrape by R. Fixed next week.

Pepper grinder failed to proceed. Dislodged battery. Wonder who might have slammed it down on the table?

And the latest? Cheap and nasty plastic rollers have broken up on the balcony sliding door. We are replacing with stainless steel. It was bouncing along as we slid it. Now it has failed completely and dropped.

I can cope, just. But there is much door slamming and yelling in the highrise.

I just is not liking 2010 very much so far.

A trip to the west

I had reason to go west. I went on number 59 tram and I then returned to the city from Glenbervie Railway Station to the city. I alighted from the tram at the corner of Mount Alexander Road and Leake Street in what is almost North Essendon.

Look what I found in behind what is now a real estate agent but was a hotel, possibly Victoria Hotel. Yes, it is a horse keeping place, a stable, complete with loft.

I walked eastwards along Glass Street looking at the houses and what else there was to see. Oh, what is this? A milk bar! And what period style might the decoration be? Don't click the pic, especially if you are inclined to fits, it only gets worse in close up.

Ah, cough cough, the real point, cough, of the trip, splutter, spit. The holy grail. A cigarette advertisement.

I had reason to stop off along the way home at Moonee Ponds. No other word for Moonee Ponds Station than gorgeous.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Car Park

If you paint your carpark black, then you may well need some remedial work such as painting fluorescent orange bands on the walls and pillars. Just a carpark in Kingsway we often walk past.


Compiled from the book mentioned below and Mother's memories. It may or may not be accurate. I do my best but this post will be the next day's fish and chip wrapper.

Clarinda Primary School was my mother's school. She attended the 100th anniversary reunion in 1999. I hope I took some interest when she told me about the reunion over ten years ago. I can't remember.

Mother recently gave me the anniversary booklet she received that day. It made for surprisingly interesting reading.

For the main focus of the Clarinda area would be at the Huntingdale Road, Clarinda Road and Centre Road junction. Clarinda Primary is a little to the east and Mother lived a little to the west where her parents had a market garden. After her parents sold the property it became a Phillips electronics factory, at some point Hoover and is now a Bunnings hardware store. Where their house was is Bunnings carpark. Where there is native shrubbery bordering the house fence at the eastern edge of the carpark stood a huge cedar tree, only cut down when Bunnings was built.

The area was originally called Bald Hills but because there were many places of the same name, it was changed to Bayview then later Clarinda.

There was a reference in the book to my grandfather's property, but it was wrong, indicating that it was on the northern side of Centre Road and abutted what is now Huntingdale Road, referred to as a sandy track called Talbot Road, wrong again. Talbolt Road was further to the east. Huntingdale Road was correctly only a sandy track, but it was called Victoria Avenue and my grandfather's property was on the southern side of Centre Road. While I don't know what Huntingdale Road was called in the sixties, and it wasn't Huntingdale Road, I remember that it was a sandy track with a swampy area along the way. You could drive along it in a car, but sensible people would use either Clayton Road to the east or Cameron Avenue/Golf Road to the west. Mother reinforced this when she said that if they walked the track, they would go into the golf course to bypass rather than get their shoes dirty in the swampy part.

A check of my 1956 street directory tells me Huntingdale Road was called Box Hill Road South and north of Dandenong Road just Box Hill Road.

Speaking of sand, the area was sand, sandy loam but only tenuously loam. It was very much sand. Mother used to play on the sand hills. I think the highest sand hill where she played was one where Bald Hill Park is now situated From the top of the sand hill there were bay views, hence Clarinda's previous name Bayview.

I have just looked at the park with Street View and it does not look very high to me, but Mother said she recalls the constant parade of trucks bumping along the sandy Centre Road carting sand from the area to wherever. I will guess that Bald Hill was somewhat reduced.

My grandparents moved to the house they built in North Road, South Oakleigh when I was very young but I seem to have a memory of their house in Centre Road. It could just be implanted memory from stories but the memories are quite vivid. But what is an accurate memory is the milk bar on the corner of Centre and Clarinda Roads. It was your typical sixties milk bar, quite wonderful. It is now a block of vacant land.

Mother has her memories of the milk bar too. It was more than a milk bar, it was a local shop for local people and stocked all sorts of goods as well as being a post office. The content of the next couple of paras are pretty horrible. Read on if you wish.

The milk bar I recall was only built in the 1940s and was preceded by an older building. The owner was almost blind and Mother recalls visiting the shop and seeing the owner sitting in his little alcove with leeches on his eyeballs, to drain fluid I suppose. Yuk.

Mother and her parents and an uncle went to Oakleigh for shopping one day and when the returned they found the milk bar ablaze. The uncle rushed in and grabbed the red hot till drawer with the cash in it and they attempted to quench the fire but could not. The blind owner sat on a chair on the side of the road quietly crying as his shop and house burnt to the ground. The fire brigade arrived, but too late.

There seems to be only one famous person who attended Clarinda Primary School, Greg Shackleton, the journalist who was murdered in East Timor by Indonesian armed forces.

The was a personal reminisce in the booklet by someone who's name rang a bell for me. Yes, I checked with Mother, same person, and surprisingly he is still alive, in his nineties and in a Mornington nursing home.

Interestingly there was a continuing battle with the Education Department for funds for expansion and facilities. Some things never change.

The area of Clarinda is barely recongnisable to when my mother grew up there, but the, now very multicultural I would imagine, school is still going strong.

Hmm, the centre of Clarinda seems to have moved south.

View Larger Map

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Vic Roads Coup

I was excited. I thought I would bring you breaking news about a coup by Vicroads over City of Stonnington. That is Vicroads installing clearway signs in High Street, a street they have control over, against City of Stonnington who want present restrictions to remain.

From my observations of travelling along High Street today, dominant Clearway signs have been erected and minor signs bagged or covered up or altered.

Yet, I was very confused about what b/f told me, more confused when I watched the eventing news and even more confused when friends confirmed that it was the work of City of Stonnington.

Maybe it is like this. Vicroads put up big clearway signs, I think. Then council came along and covered all the the other signs up?

I am just so not understanding. What is the point?

Don't park in clearways tomorrow in High Street, but otherwise it is a free for all. No time limit at all.

Signed, St Kilda Road confused.

South Yarra Arms

Well he bought his first dope outside the South Yarra Arms.
A whole matchbox full in his hot little palms.

Score ten points if you know the name of the song and the group, then ten points off because you must be 'of a certain age'. If you are not of a certain age and you know, then you have cheated and looked the lyrics up.

Let me try this word and get the the number of esses right, unprepossessing. Yes, the South Yarra Arms was that word (please, I can't do it again).

I went there once. I guess I was 18 or 19. A suave older man bought me a whisky and soda but if he was attempting to have his wicked way with me, then one whisky and soda and a non suggestive chat did not do work for me. No one offered me dope, neither inside or outside the venue. No one offered me a fun time. I have subsequently learnt that I should have gone to Maisies to find someone for a fun time. Bah! I think Masies was Her Majesties, but I can no longer recall which hotel it was. Not the one at the corner of Toorak and Punt. Was it the one that became a Greek restaurant where they smashed plates every evening, near the railway line. Was that later the Saloon Bar, where lasses went to pick up football players. Huh, great historian I make.

Is there a photo of the South Yarra Arms on the net? Let me look and see if it matches my memories. Nothing to be found at googlie or Picture Vic/Aus. I remember some un-nice brown brick and curved canvas sunshades over the windows. I don't think it was a very nice building.

The South Yarra Arms was demolished and is now this very attractive, not, building. I think it was purpose built for the present company.

He knows the antique dealers
And all those other stealers
I'll be glad when he goes overseas
My friends he don't do nothin'
He just ain't got no stuffin'
He's just another social disease.