Saturday, April 03, 2010

Sitting on a Hydrant

The group Walking Melbourne has been having a discussion about old fire hydrants with some members posting photos of various hydrants. This model in the picture is not so old, but it was around when I was a kid (slap to anyone saying how very old the hydrant looks). Hydrants are all slowly going underground now. No more geysers in the sky when they are mown down by a wildly careering motorcar.

As a youngun, I thought these hydrant covers were seats. Maybe I thought the council provided them. They looked to be very tall, too tall for me and quite uncomfortable.

I did reach an age where I could use them as a seat, and as I thought, they were not comfortable. I am not quite sure when I realised they were not a seat for tired passer-bys.

The one I took this snap of looks a bit wonky and perhaps it is unlocked, but its right under a police station security camera, so probably quite safe.

Friday, April 02, 2010


Since my Tradie Brother and Sis in Law separated, we have made an effort to keep in touch with Sis in Law. Toady, Good Friday, we arranged a picnic at the Royal Botanic Gardens for whoever in the family who could attend. There was myself and R, Mother, ABI Brother, Sis in Law and Dreaded Nephew. Parking is always hard at RBG on weekends, but we managed to find spaces. Mother can't walk too far, so we planned to picnic at the ornamental lake near Domain Road. It was a good choice.

After lunch we left Mother alone and walked down to the large lake and tea rooms and then up up up to the just renovated Volcano.

From afar I think we spied three generations from Our Great Southern Land. Small world.

The weather was mild, the sun disappearing and reappearing and a gentle breeze. The gardens were packed with people, doing what people do in the RBG. On a downer, it is hard to imagine that this is the same city where there is violence on the streets and angry youth rioting and stabbing each other and kicking victims on the ground. Mother initiated an interesting chat with Dreaded Nephew about violence in Glasgow where he spent a year or so. I follow Glasgow Daily Photo and Glasgow is a very attractive place, but it has and always has had a big problem with violence.

Anyway, it was a lovely afternoon at the Gardens. We picnicked above this ornamental pond.

I like the glimpses of Melbourne's tallest building, Eureka, often to be seen when out and about. Sis in Law asked about the old house peering down. Government House, where Governor de Kretser lives. The flag is flying, so he is home. He normally says yes, but he can so no on the Queen's behalf to any law enacted by the democratically elected government of Victoria.

We spotted a couple of eels in the big lake. There used to be a seething mass of them. The water level is still quite low, barely covering the bottom in places.

Dreaded Nephew is planning to give Mother, Nanna Fud, an almighty fright. She grabbed for her hat with one hand and her heart with the other.

The rest of the photos are of the renovated and just opened Guilfoyle's Volcano. Nice views from the apartment block.

Queensland bottle trees, I believe.

Floating islands in the waters of the volcano.

Later edit: As I suspected, Jayne and her lad and her dad were there. Check out her post here.

April Fool Shrine

There is not a car park cut into the side of the hill at the Shrine, as I said on the 1st of April. Some significant earthworks were underway for the installation of water storage tanks. I must have taken the photo last winter as the poplar tree in the photo is bare. The area has now been returned to normal and new grass is sprouting.

The lemon scented gum replacement of the poplar trees is true though. Just as water restrictions are eased and they can possibly be watered again.

Matters of the politic

I hasn't all washed up yet, but the Labor South Australian government has been re-elected with a much reduced margin. A new tram line extension has been opened in Adelaide and there are plans for more, along with electrification of Adelaide's suburban trains. We are to believe that this will happen under a returned South Australian Labor Government. While only anecdotally, it seems the Liberal Party opposition was against both. I am very much for public transport improvement, so I am happy with the result.

The jury is still out on the Tasmanian election. Ten Labor, ten Liberal and it looks like five Greens. What a great result. Tasmania had turned around from being one of our most backward states to one of our most socially progressive. Tassie does have a unique electoral system, one that gives good representation of how people vote, but by golly it is complicated. If you can understand it, you are a better man than I Gunga Din.

There are many adjectives I could use for the Tasmanian Labor government, but I am not up for being sued. I shan't repeat what others say about it being so corrupt. In case you did not hear, the Labor party generated an auto phone message to dial people's home phones and state that the Greens wanted to legalise heroin for your teenagers.

The Greens and Labor absolutely hate each other and can you believe, they are much more distant from each other than the Liberal and Labor parties? What I initially thought was such a good result for the Greens, and it is really, but the tweedle dee and tweedle dum Labor and Liberal parties will gang up on the Greens, leaving them impotent.

Never mind, I still like Tassie. While Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, has grown to 4 million (too big Missy) , there are only half a million in the whole State of Tassie. I must apply for my visa soon.


Did some mention political correctness? Oh yeah, I did.

It is sad that Nacy Cato was dismissed from Chapel off Chapel theatre a few years ago. However, Chapel off Chapel does very well and is popular. We used to see quite a few things there. C off C is under the control of City of Stonnington and I am quite sure they do not want to offend any of their constituents, especially the Jewish, although I hardly think City of Stonnington is responsible for what is shown or performed at C off C.

Still, I was a bit surprised to see this,The Zionist Story - The Land speaks Arabic, about the expulsion of Palestinians by Zionists and then to ice the cake, an art exhibition called Painting blue skies in Gaza, showing works by imprisoned muslim and christians in Gaza.

Is Chapel off Chapel becoming a good old lefty theatre in the very non lefty City of Stonnington?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Terrace Houses

Below is the last remaining terrace house in Albert Road, Melbourne. It is a bit shabby but would scrub up nicely.

This one is in Kingsway, South Melbourne. Surely that metal roof can't be original. It just ruins the building. Any ideas what the roof should look like?

For lots more pictures of terrace houses from all over Australia, see the blog Australian Terrace Houses.

Madden at it again?

This is one that slipped past me. It wasn't until I saw the earthworks and made enquiries that I knew anything about. The photo is of a machine levelling an area into the hill on the St Kilda Road side of the hill upon which the Shrine of Remembrance sits. The levelled area has had asphalt applied and some lines marked on it and it will be ready for this year's Anzac Day as a parking area for diggers who are too frail to walk up the hill to the Shrine. Dignitaries cars will also allowed to use the parking facility on Anzac Day and at other times when they are visiting in an official capacity. Access will be along a slightly widened gravel driveway leading up from Domain Road.

While it can barely be seen from St Kilda Road, and I really feel for the diggers who struggle to walk up the hill, it looks awful when you are at the Shrine looking down on it. The Shrine is surrounded by beautiful green parkland but now with this horrible levelled car parking area. I did enquire at City of Melbourne, but they have no jurisdiction over the Shrine and its parklands. The Shrine can really do what it likes. One of the Shrine's committee of management even suggested that one tour bus at a time could be allowed to park there when ceremonies weren't in progress. I am not sure if that was put up as an official motion or not. I will get back to the Shrine soon and get some snaps of the finished product. It really troubles me that while I have bothering about Lonsdale House and The Windsor, that an asphalted car park for tour buses has been cut into the hill at the Shrine.

Other news from the Shrine, and you can just see one in the photo of the earthworks for the Shrine capark, the poplars are to be removed and replaced by lemon scented gums. I am not sure what a lemon scented gum looks like as a specimen tree, but I doubt it could compare to a Lombardy Poplar. Such is a result of lack of water for the trees, read a lack of planning for droughts.

More details of both projects at the Shrine website.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pulling back from the politically correct

I run a mile when I hear someone say 'political correctness gone made'. It is usually a cover for some outrageous opinion. Goes with, I am not racist/sexist/homophobic but...

However, I have made a decision tonight that revokes a previous one. At some point perhaps twenty years or so ago, I read that it was silly to use gender specific terms when referring to someone's profession. I agreed with the sentiment.

So, I stopped using the words conductress, actress and waitress. They became a conductor, an actor and a waiter. If the gender of the person was important to what I was saying, I would add female. Male was assumed already by the listener if the above profession titles were used.

Forgive me, but I have been reading celeb gossip again. I said to R last nnight when Curtis Stone, who I know well enough from when he and a colleague, male, had a cooking show on ABC tv. Ah, break sentence and start anew.

I said, 'Curtis has a new girlfriend, a somewhat famous actor'. Did that momentarily confuse you? Did you for a millisecond think that maybe Curtis has a new boyfriend?

It is odd that some profession titles can identify a person's gender and others not. Regardless, I have decided to now use job titles that sound natural to my ears. So therefore, actress, waitress and no need to worry to about conductress. We don't have any of those any more, nor conductors. Ok, maybe on trains and heritage rail transport we do.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

La Vida Loca?

IN a revelation sure to shock fans the world over, Latino smoothie Ricky Martin - who dodged questions about his sexuality for years - has admitted he is gay.

Really? People are shocked that Ricky Martin is gay? I reckon his boyfriend knew.

Lake Wendouree

Lake Wendouree is in the beautiful regional city of Ballarat and is still empty. The lake is surrounded by lovely parks, conservatories, a walk of sculpted busts of all of Australia's Prime Ministers and an operational remnant of Ballarat's tram system. Seems I can't embed a map of the routes of the Bendigo tram system, but here is a link.

As I said, the lake is now pretty well empty and has been for a few years. It is a sea of grass with some muddy puddles. You can see some photos here from 2008.

Here is a quote from the City of Ballarat website: "... and with the continuation of existing climate patterns, the Lake would not be expected to fill to capacity again."

Right, so we have had a prolonged drought and it is not the first time the lake has been empty. This year we have had quite reasonable rain fall. Why isn't the lake filling?

Fear not, it will fill. Authorities have gotten some dollars together and and with a combination of its normal direct rainfall collection and storm water run off, Class A recycled water is being added to slowly bring it back to being full. Apparently too much Class A water too quickly would be detrimental to the health of the lake. You can read of the details here.

It is suggested that evaporation of water at the lake is why it is empty. Nonsense, why would more water evaporate from Lake Wendouree than a similar body of water, such as our nearby Albert Park Lake? APL is dependant on rain and storm water run off without added water. It is brimming, or was until the Grand Prix organisation started to pump water out of it for their selfish use.

I ask you to revisit this post I wrote back in 2008. City of Ballarat states that the sponge like sediment has to be filled first before the lake will fill. I suggest that the reason the lake is dry is that so much water is being taken from the underground by water bores. Before the lake will fill, the area below, the sponge like sediment, and adjacent areas have to be saturated. That takes quite some time as the level of the water table needs to rise considerably. I have no proof of my theory, but so many lakes still empty after decent rain and some flooding rain surely this indicates the water is going somewhere, other than just filling lakes. It is replenishing depleted underground water, pumped out by all and sundry who can afford to sink a bore.

Who knows how much water is being taken from underground while our state government watches on.

Try this snip that came up as soon as I typed bore water Ballarat into googlie. I don't blame the caravan park. I blame our government for allowing it and not ensuring such a large city has a proper and sustainable water supply.

'Although we are in a drought BIG4 Ballarat Windmill Holiday Park and Caravan Park uses bore water to keep the gardens green and our pool topped up! '

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mother's Birthday

R told me that I should have taken control and celebrated Mother's birthday here. Yeah, right, no parking spaces and horrendous noise from the Grand Pricks.

Sister decided she would host a barbecue for Mother's birthday, except Mother lives way out east and Sister lives way out west. There is a ferry though. ABI Brother collected Mother and drove to Tradie Brother's place. Tradie Brother picked up Teen Niece and the four headed to Sorrento and caught the ferry. They just missed one ferry, Mother's fault of course and so they caught the noon ferry.

R and I drove down to the Bellarine Peninsula but Little Jo had just started her nap when we arrived, so we left to check on a house for sale in the area and also drove to Ocean Grove to check out a house owned by a neighbour in our building. I am not so keen on Ocean Grove.

Back to Sister's and I went on my own to Queenscliff to collect all from the ferry. It was a shocking trip for Mother, even though the sea was like glass. She had worked herself up into a state over the previous week about the ferry trip, it all became self fulfilling.

It did not affect her appetite at all as we all hoed into the lunch barbecue. Then down to the beach at Point Lonsdale. Let me see, who went in the water. R, Sister, Bone Doctor, Teen Niece and Little Jo. I just paddled and then with a bucket and spade, I created a dam and drainage system in the sand. It was on the outgoing tide and would have remained for hours, except Little Jo made some brutal alterations with her feet. She also found some others her age to play with. There was a boy and a girl and neither had any bathers on. Little Jo decided she should remove her top but oddly left the bottom of her costume on. Maybe Sister forbade her from removing that. The day was overcast and just nicely warm, so it was very pleasant on the beach.

We rushed back home for birthday cake and coffee and then managed to get them all back on the 5pm ferry. I am afraid to ring Mother this morning and hear about how bad the trip home was.

R and I headed home shortly after via the Portarlington Road. We came across a terrible car crash, with a car wrapped around a tree.

It was a good day, but a little too much driving.

Who is letting the water out?

The Spirit of Tasmania has just come through Port Phillip Heads. It beat us home.

Nothing to do with the outing. This morning, rain, rain, glorious rain.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Not so old celebs

I have been moaning on a bit of late. I try not to moan and whinge in real life. One complainer per highrise apartment is enough. So here is something a bit lighter. It might surprise you that such an intellectually superior being such as moi likes to hear news of celebs, but I do. Isn't Hamilton Lewis due a good spanking for being so naughty. Over my knee boi.

Here are a several photos a friend sent to me. Marvellous.

Note Betty Battenburg's eyelids lowered, indicating she is looking down. What, when you have Marilyn Monroe in front of you, would cause you to lower your eyes to below the face?

Just a cuddle between friends. What's the big deal?

My Sydney friend, Mr Plastic Surgery, called Maddona a skanky whore. Ok, she is a bit skanky but isn't it she who does the paying.

Girls and guys adore Mr George Clooney. I just don't get it.

Hanoi Jane with a hand of Vietnamese Polit Bureau playing cards in a Russian Chaika.

Not only is Ms Bardot an animal rights activist, she also has a thing for camels.

I should know who Jane Seymour is, but it just won't come to the fore of my brain. Freddie Mercury admitted to being the queen in Queen. A hairy Iranian London East Ender made good. What talent. What a waste.

Clint Eastwood and Sean Connery never did anything for me, but maybe they do for you. Mrs Eastwood does wear a nicely cut slack.

Cher, what can one say except to ask if she is dead yet? An American singing about Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves? Odd! Dylan was obviously more sociable than he is nowadays.

Marlene, how I loved thou. A true enigmatic who just went on a wee bit too long.

I like to remember Elvis around this age. Purty as a pitcher.

I suppose there are gay men out there around my age or older who don't think Judy and Liza are wonderful. I am not among them.

Before the term six pack was invented, Bruce Lee had one. Would I slurp up a fruit flavoured vodka from his navel? You betcha.