Saturday, June 19, 2010


I would guess the suburb of Windsor is older than Prahran or South Yarra, three closely associated areas. It had a train before the other two suburbs, which if you know the area seems odd. The train went to St Kilda, then reversed through the edge of Albert Park, crossed St Kilda Road on a bridge near Union Street, and ran in an arc to Windsor Railway Station and then on to Brighton. You can still see some of where the train ran by the small parks through parts of Windsor. I recall one of them is now a skate park.

So, yes, Windsor is very old. I never knew where the old Windsor Post Office was until I walked past it a few days ago.

I was on the way to Windsor when the tram system failed and I had to change trams and then walk. (the 5 tram turned down High Street and the 64 down Carlisle St) I can't blame the tram system though as someone being targeted by Darwin's law had ridden in front of a moving tram with his mp3 played plugged into his ears. Darwin's survival of the fittest almost came to fruition.

But the bonus from my walk, a photo of the pink pigs atop the Windsor Castle. They have have been atop the pub for a long time, but now they are illuminated at night and can easily be seen as you drive along Queens Way.

I walked to Chapel Street along a different street to the one I intended to and came across what was the Windsor Post Office I am surprised it is so intact. Why wasn't I told!

Now apartments but previously the site of the Empire Theatre, Hoyts Windsor movie theatre , Hoyts head office, a video library, then the Empire night club where the tv show Live and Sweaty was recorded and oddly when it was no longer of use, it burnt down.

The Windsor train station is a fine building and back when it was staffed, it had very nice flower beds, growing annuals among other plantings. It has undergone a good restoration with much of the brickwork being repointed.

One day this garish and rotting shop is going to topple backwards down on the railway line below.

While waiting for the approaching tram, how could I resist this charming two storey shop.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Visiting Mother

Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo stayed as usual on Wednesday night. Little Jo missed her daytime sleep and arrived almost fast asleep and barely woke up. Sister put her to bed and she slept soundly till 2am, and then slept again by 3am. R missed his play time with Little Jo and feeding her his spagly, spag bol, never mind giving her a bath. When he arose at six, she was sound asleep again.

Little Jo and I composed an sms to R at work. Sorry I missed you R. I was very sleepy.

Little Jo was well pissed orf that she had missed spagly and wanted it for breakfast. I told after she had eaten cereal and toast, she could have some. Of course she forgot about it.

The night Sister and Bone Doctor were driving up was forecast to be very windy, so they drove up in the truck, BD's 4wd machine.

All her grandchildren call Mother, Nanny Fud, and I went with Sister to visit Nanny Fud. On the way we stopped off for coffee at a friend of Mother's for coffee and she showed us around her rather nice house, based on a Doveton housing commission house. He husband was supervising a concrete pour of his carport. Little Jo enjoyed watching the concrete flow out from the concrete mixer and into barrows.

We ducked off just as the rain started and did it rain and did the wind blow. Sister is a good driver but she follows too closely behind other cars, attempting to get them out of her way with a big black bull bar showing in their rear vision mirror. Always my foot is perched on the imaginary brake pedal.

But I must say, as the rain poured down and the wind swept across the freeway, it was quite nice being in big tough 4wd, spattered with red mud over the rainbow stickers.

We picked up pies for lunch and Mother had managed to open a tin of soup and heat it up. Lordy, she even had the oven on to make cup cakes for Little Jo to ice, and made the icing. Mother apologised for the stodgy cakes, as she confused metric with imperial.

Sis in Law's mother is in respite care near Mother's, and lo and behold, Sis in Law and Chain Saw Teen Niece turned up. Her male friend turned up to sweep up the lilli pilly berries. I had already done it, and the lawn mower man turned up. It was a good day. ABI brother called long after we left, asking why we weren't there for afternoon tea. Bros, it was lunch, not arvo tea.

Sister and Bone Doctor felt some guilt about R not seeing an awake Little Jo, and so we came back to our place once he was home from work and BD caught the tram to here from her conference. They went on for a dinner with friends in Geelong and they would not have been too late really.

Oh Dear

When I use the the title Oh Dear, don't you just know it is going to be a sex ridden scandal?

I feel a bit rejected. Not only did my paedophile scout master not molest me but molested others, now I find out my piano teacher is a pedo. Well, when he taught me piano in about 1984, I was in my twenties and of the wrong sex, so I should not take that to heart.

Piano teacher had me prick up my ears. It took me a while for me to remember that the first name was right. I can't recall his family name, except it was something a bit odd, like this guy's name and after I saw his pictures a few times on tv tonight, yes, I can match the face to someone twenty six years ago. I though he might have been a latent homosexual. Never ask me to pick who is a latent.

Creepy, but I found him creepy at the time.

As for the piano lessons, I was doing ok and could badly bash out a tune, my favourite being, because I liked to sing along with it, I have often walked down this street before, but the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before (My Fair Lady?) ............but piano playing is not like riding a bike.

Oh, I am on holidays. I can be self indulgent. The version I like the best, my shower singing song, has talking before the song, so Eddie Fisher's is the closest to how I like to remember the song.

A volcano eruption. Quell surprise!

An organisation's ability to provide a satisfactory service rather depends how well it does when things go wrong. When trains are all running on time and this leaves managers twiddling their thumbs, they have no reason to be satisfied. On time running is a standard benchmark. When things go wrong and how management and staff respond is what sorts a good service provider from a poor one.

One thing I do know about trains and trams, is that when something does go wrong, many many people are working behind the scenes to make things right again. 'Why don't they just....' can often be heard by the suffering public, but there are usually very good reasons why something can't be done. Often the complaint is 'Why don't they get buses?', in the case of a major delay. Generally transport operators do not have buses sitting around idle and nor do they have staff sitting around idle. A lot needs to happen to get a bus to the scene of a tram or train delay. Peak travel times I think is nearly impossible. You could well argue that idle buses and staff should sit around waiting for train or tram delays. Perhaps you would be right, but it will cost of course and these are private companies, operating to make a profit.

Recently a new and expensive hotel suffered a full power failure during a special event. How well was the power failure handled? While I don't know, it is a situation that should have been planned for and dealt with competently.

Which brings us to what we are now learning about the disastrous Icelandic volcano eruption that stopped planes from flying all over Europe and the UK. In fact screwed up world plane travel. How well did the authorities and companies handle the situation that inconvenienced perhaps millions of people? Middling, it would seem. Ryan Air at least has breached Euro regulations by not paying proper compensation.

But what we have really learnt is that it was totally un-necessary to shut down so much air space. The plans to deal with a volcanic eruption of that scale were woefully inadequate, leaving no option but to shut the European air space down.

So right at the very top of the pile, you have an/some organisations that failed dismally, cost people, airline and other businesses large amounts of money, spoilt travel plans and inconvenienced so many people.

Later addition: Just to round this post off, I came across this audio file which is radio traffic about a recent tram incident. It is slightly more interesting than watching paint dry and gives you an idea of what happens behind the scenes.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

To South American Heaven

I was absolutely shocked last night. If the news had not come from an authoritative person and source, I would not have believed it. Long time, almost since its inception, broadcaster at Joy Melbourne and a person very involved with community broadcasting all over Australia, Addam Stobbs died suddenly at his home last two nights ago. He was found next to his bed by his partner.

Jayne has posted about Addam and cited some of his talents. I only met him once, at a trivia night, but in years past we exchanged quite a number of emails and used to chat on ICQ. He was an incredibly talented media performer and communicator and amusing to boot. He could certainly bitch with the best of them. I always found it amusing when he would inform the audience that he lived in upper class Balwyn, while his very long time friend and co-broadcaster Peter only lived in the slums of Albert Park.

To his partner Yoda, to Peter and to those close to him, I feel very sad for you all.

The reference to South America, Addam recently holidayed in South America and fell in love with the place and the people.

Sad day indeed.

Copy of media release from Joy.

It is with much sadness JOY 94.9 announces the passing of long time presenter, board member and life member Addam Stobbs.

Addam has been a leader and mentor at JOY since the station’s early test transmissions.

His passion for the community radio sector saw him become a member of 70 community broadcasting organisations, work with Melbourne Ethnic Community Broadcaster 3ZZZ and led to him being elected to the board of the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia. He was a trainer for JOY’s Taste of Radio Course in the areas of media law, presentation and production and presented sessions at the CBAA National Conferences.

JOY 94.9 listeners will know Addam as the presenter of the Allegro Non Troppo, JOY’s longest running show, which was first broadcast over 15 years ago on April 30th, 1995. The programme is significant in community broadcasting, as it underscores the viability and support for Gay and Lesbian broadcasting across the community sector and the programme is broadcast nationally on the Community Radio Network.

Addam’s enthusiasm for the station is highlighted with his recent statement, “It is notable that the commercial and public sectors have not been able to present any sustainable programmes for our community. JOY 94.9 is one of the most valuable resources for the Australian G&L community.”

Addam was a teacher, music lover, travel writer and community advocate for GLBTI and human rights. After the 2009 Victorian bushfire disaster, he presented an emergency broadcasting submission to the Bushfire Royal Commission.

He was a strong and vital community voice and will be missed.

The JOY 94.9 Board, Staff and Volunteers express their deepest sympathy and condolences to Yoda and all of Addam’s family and friends.

For more information please contact:

Stephen Duns, JOY 94.9 President

Phone: 1300 JOY 949

Mobile: 0448 892 553


Danae Gibson, JOY 94.9 Station Manager

Phone: 1300 JOY 949

Mobile: 0488 445 949


The important things in life

Well, has our Kylie finished with that Spanish bloke or not? I worry for her. She does like a taste of the Spanish/Latin types it would seem. They don't seem very reliable. How untypically male. Does Madge Ciccone still have her Jesus in tow? Now he is hot!, but perhaps she has worn him out already.

I better take a look at Koily's bit of stuff. See if I approve of her choice. Oh dear, some nude modelling in his early days. Oh, how we live to regret. You can see the explicit photos of her b/f on my High Riser Celebs page. Not half bad. Be quick, page 2 for the nude ones. They will get pulled very soon by those who monitor us make sure we don't see a still picture of a naked man, but would allow us to see him slowly slicing a knife through someone's neck. Violence is fine, so long as clothes are kept on.

Andres Velensosco Segura is nice looking for sure. I love the looks of Spanish/Latin men. But I prefer a smoother body than most of them have and that dark hair gets absolutely everywhere. You just know at some point you are going to pulling something out from between your teeth. What you say straight guys? Occupational hazard for you you too? Hmm, never thought about that.

But don't we worry about our Kylie not being in a stable relationship?

St Kilda Walk 3/3

Previous posts 1 and 2 here and here.

Stop 11. Opposite number 8A, St Leonards Avenue. House built in 1870 for the manager of the Bank of Victoria. A classic Queen Ann style house. The mentioned stylised tulip fence work surely must be a replacement. These properties are built on the grounds of another demolished mansion, St Leonards.

Walk back along St Leonards Avenue towards Acland Street. Here is the mentioned vicarage, built before 1855.

Stop 12. Stop outside the vicarage opposite number four Opposite at number 6 is a block of flats called Del Marie. Very nice looking Art Deco flats of a nautical style and very well soundproofed inside.

Stop 13. Classic Californian Bungalow style at Number 4.

Walk back to Acland Street to number 43.

Stop 14. Aston Court. Mediterranean architecture. Within the building is an original single storey Indian bungalow called Raj Putana?

Walk along Acland Street past number 45, Acland Hill, a stark block of flats and an early example of international style architecture. Amazingly it was built in 1939! Walk on to number 26, Linden.

Stop 15. Linden is a council owned art gallery. Internally intact and most of it is open to the public.

Move on to the corner of Robe Street. On the opposite side of the street from Linden is Halcyon.

Stop 16. Halcyon is boom style Victorian and only 16 years younger than the much more restrained Linden.

Well, that is the end of the tour. Remember this is really for people who can't get to take the St Kilda walk and to be used in conjunction with the audio tour to show the mentioned properties. You will see a lot more and get a better feel by taking the walk.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I am not liking

Strong winds are forecast. A notice has been put in notice cases in the building to secure all items on balconies. Nothing too unusual there.

What I don't like are the way birds are behaving. Ravens, cockatoos and seagulls all seem to be flying around in a very confused manner. They seem to know something that we do not as yet.

Japan Bound

By this time next week we will, all being well, in Tokyo. Sister and Little Jo will stay while we are away. I have been working my way through the list of preparations and wishing I was a bit more like Victor.

Today I bought 75,000 yen and picked up our Japan Rail Pass vouchers, which was a relief to have removed from the list.

Remaining on my list is some personal grooming, as I must look my best when I am at an onsen. I will take more care with wax than somebody did.

Check how to get to the transport museum in Tokyo by train.

Put Tattslotto on for two weeks rather than one.

Set tv recording for while we are away.

Buy a lead for the laptop to plug into the hotel sockets. DSE had them for $30 for 3 metres. The $2 type shop has them for $7 for 5 metres. So long as it works, why pay $30? It took me time to establish that an ethernet cable and a lan cable are the same thing. Well, I hope they are.

Lastly write a goodbye note to a neighbour who is moving to Sydney while we are away. He was full of his business when he visited to announce his departure, we did not get a chance to say there was no chance of farewell drinks.

I am a two minute noodle virgin. I have never eaten them before today. I bought some Thai tom yum noodles a week or so ago. I like tom yum. As we were leaving a social gathering yesterday, someone called out, I hope you like sushi. Neither of us do. He then said, just ask for terriyaki. Yeah, I know all about terriyaki and other food options, but I expect we be eating quite a lot of noodles, so, today I tried the two minute noodles.

The dishwasher was already on, so I did not want to dirty a pot, so the microwave method it was. The flavour was good and the noodles were ok. They are bad for you, R proclaimed when I told him later. I expect they have a lot of salt and perhaps msg. Never mind. I thoroughly enjoy two minute noodles. Next time I will drain the liquid into a bowl, throw the noodles away and have the liquid.

Oh yes. I am not good at teary farewells, so when you don't hear from me, I will be gone. I doubt I will post from Japan. As I usually do, I will wait until I get home to tell you about the land of the rising sun.

In the meantime, I have some old and unfinished posts to clear and the final St Kilda walk post to write. I did ditch the US health care one, as it just seems so out of date now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

St Kilda Walk 2/3

See details at the first post.

Stop 6. Continue along Victoria Street and right into the The Esplanade. Stop outside The Esplanade Hotel, The Espy. The apartments in the tower behind were the result of a 17 year planning battle. Go back along The Esplanade to Alfred Square and cross onto the grass and walk up to the corner.

Note the plaque at the corner of Alfred Square, the site of the first building in St Kilda.

Stop 7. Stop opposite the single storey houses, numbers 1 & 2, Alfred Square. These are the only remaining free standing houses of many in Alfred Square. The oldest houses the walk passes by, from the 1850s. Walk up Wimmera Place to numbers 7 and 11.

Stop 8. Number 7, a fifties cream brick veneer house that stands out like the proverbials. If the house is not enough, the block is filled with rainbow lorikeets. At the time this house was built, most respectable families had left the area.

Wimmera at no 11 is an arts and crafts style block of flats built in 1917.

Walk to the corner of Acland Street. Apparently this wall at the corner is rendered to look like stone. It looks like render to me. Cross the road to the corner of Eildon Road.

Stop 9. The church was completed in 1857. Church Square in front of the church, a centre for social and religious gatherings. Walk along Eildon Road. Many of the blocks of flats that line Eildon Road were built on the site of the mansion Inverleith. The house had 35 rooms and architect William Pitt designed a ballroom which was a later addition. Stop at the far corner of Inverleith Crt. Opposite are houses and flats built on the grounds of the mansion Eildon, still standing in Grey Street. Further along the street on the opposite side are that were the grounds of the mansion Mittagong. Continue along the street until you are opposite number 28.

Stop 10. The house at number 28 is Granada, a Spanish Mission style house.

Walk back along Eildon Road and turn left into Church Square, behind the church. Cross the grassed area at the end of the street and turn left into St Leonards Avenue and stop opposite number 8A.

Monday, June 14, 2010

NSW Public Transport

I am often ferreting around the web about matters of public transport in Sydney. So how come this is the first time I have come across the organisation Action for Public Transport?

I really dislike being critical of volunteer organisations that work for the betterment of the world, but I must say, the author of the forum post below may well have some valid points. We are fortunate to have in Victoria the Public Transport Users Association which I have judged to be a very professional organisation with committed, articulate and media savvy spokesmen (spokesperson is ugly and I have never heard a female speaker from the PTUA). While I may not always agree with their views, that matters little.

Ah yes, Action for Public Transport:

You are pathetic; a shadow of a public transport lobby group. You produce virtually nothing in the way of publications; no-one knows who you are; your website is lousy and out of date. I can't believe NSW has such a crappy advocate for public transport. Where's your fire? I can only assume you are operating with a NSW government subsidy.

Food at home

A friend made and gave to us some orange, lemon and lime marmalade, and a fine brew it is.

I did not hook up with R so many years ago just because he is a good cook. He has other talents too. While I do sit at the head of the table, I did not even have to carve.

Just Another Sunday

In a moment of confusion, I thought we were invited to take tea with Copperwitch. I immediately think of her when we head south from the highrise. Of course in the future, I will be thinking of Fen too.

R's car was desperate to be washed. A bird doing what birds do was the final straw. It may well have been due to last night's visitor, a Mr Ballantyne from the isles of Scotland, that caused some reluctance to hand wash the motor car. We thought we would try the automatic car wash system in St Kilda. By putting in your own labour with their equipment, the cost is usually around five dollars, but the automatic system cost $15, which would be fine if it worked, but it did not.

We pulled the car over outside the St Kilda Town Hall and finished off the wet car with cloths that were intended to be used to clean the windows. It is a lesson learnt. And for five dollars more, you can watch an attractive Indian overseas student wash your car by hand. Just stretch that wee bit more laddie and let your shirt ride up.

Our ultimate destination was the DFO store at Moorabbin. DFO is Direct Factory Outlets for the uninitiated. We have done the lot and the Moorabbin complex is by far the best. I bought a jacket and a backpack. R bought a jacket and a jumper and something else. We bought a couple of face cloths for Little Jo as we only have one and she is a messy kid.

Put our indulgences in the boot, I told R. This was for security purposes as I wanted coffee along the way home and many years ago I learnt the need to not display your purchases on the back seat of your car. We drove where? Just checking. Centre Dandenong Road, Park Street, Reserve Road, Bay Road and then along the beach front to home. There were many things along the way to see. I heard Victoria Golf Course mentioned the other day on the radio, and lo, we passed by it. Was it the old Kingston course? Speaking of Kingston, I think Kingston council would deny permission to a developer to build the equivalent of a seven storey building at the location where they have built their offices. Surrounded by single storey and two storey building, their offices sit like a blot on the landscape, Kingston Municipal Offices. I don't care how good their local history is on their website, they should be sacked for approving such a monstrosity for themselves. Can I find a picture online to show you. Let me look. Err, no, not instantly anyway.

We also passed by the very attractive Cheltenham Park. Note, Melways has the golf club listed as Victoria and next to it Cheltenham, so I guess Kingston golf course is elsewhere.

Oh dear, a circus with a sad looking elephant standing under a cover. Really, in this day and age......The surrounds of the circus were mud. How is that going to work then?

There is a cafe in Kerford Road, Albert Park where I had a thought to have coffee, but I wasn't sure if it was open Sundays (it was). Maybe Sandbar or Portabella, both of which I like, the latter which may or may not have a gay owner who may just employ young ah beng type Asian guys. Oh look, a newie on the beachfront. The marvellous Sean Fishlock took this photo and mine of its renewal is below. The lightfittings are beautiful, the open fire warming. It is a very comfortable place to eat or refresh. I predict come summer, it will just go off. It was a bit cool on the outside decking, but it was nice gazing on the bay. Mine are only phone pics.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


In 2001/2 R's sister and his bro in law visited Australia. They did not stay with us as our house was small and we had no spare room. R had already been pushing me to look at some highrise apartments, but what I had seen did not excite me. We were travelling in the number 96 tram/light rail and as we were travelling through Southbank and staring up at the highrise apartments, R's sister said to me, Andrew, you will be living up their soon. I don't think so Maria (pronounced marry) Just a few months later we bought the highrise. It is very different to the Southbank highrise buildings. (ok, yes, I might have written that all before)

At some point I was watching football with R's bro in law while he was here. Hehe, I commented, that bloke barely touched the other bloke and he fell down injured and was carted off the field. I like the builds of soccer players as opposed to our no neck rugby players or the lumps of chunk Aussie Rule players, but really, I find it hard to take soccer seriously when they indulge in this fake injury nonsense.

Ten thousand Melburnians are expected to be at Birrarung Marr at 4.30 in the morning to watch on a big screen Australia play Germany.

Media is attempting to get me to be excited about Australia playing against Germany in Durban, but I will just listen to the result in the radio news in the morning, that is mid morning, not 6am morning.

A train whistle in your street

The Railway line running along the main street of Fauresmith, is said to be a phenomenon which is found only in two other towns worldwide, namely Tula Homa, Tennessee, USA and in Wycheproof, Victoria, Australia.

So said a South African website. Perhaps the author was referring to regular services, rather than special events. Timespanner once again has interested me with a link she sent to New Zealand's Bay of Islands town of Kawakawa, where they celebrate their railway history with the, wait for it, Puff 'n' Pull Festival.

As you can see in this photo from their website, a train line does run along the street. Oh dear, I just noticed the take away chicken food sign too.

When we were returning to Melbourne from our Broken Hill/Mildura holiday in 2007, we stopped for a bite to eat in Wycheproof. I was amazed to see a train line going down the middle of the street. Is it still used? Seems so, by grain trains. Driving around trams in the city is bad enough, but imagine a train following you closely behind. Don't worry though, speed is restricted to 25 kmh, so that would be the highest speed that the train would push your car along the street should you dare to take it on.

A diesel electric travelling along Broadway in Wycheproof. Photo from

The last steam train to travel along Broadway. Photo from

And of course the train tracks can be seen with googlies Street View.

View Larger Map

They drop faster than flies

I suppose we had stepped over the invisible line into South Yarra, a posh area, and so it is to be expected.

I was with Sister and Little Jo at the playground in Fawkner Park. Sister was busy picking at her feet in the early morning sunshine while I monitored Little Jo. We were surrounded by young blonde women with their hair tied back into ponytails and with their kiddies in expensive perambulators. Ha, these women have married well, but I know that such marriages can come at a price.

Not sure why, but my thoughts turned to Africa, where ten children die every minute. Or is that one child every ten minutes. Does it matter?

I whinge, moan and complain about many things, but not too much about myself personally. I am an extremely privileged person living in a western country where no one needs to starve to death. How can we let children Little Jo's age starve to death or allow them to die from easily preventable diseases? At times I need to remind myself of the fact that the world does allow this, and I expect most, nay, all of you do too.

Photo is of my indulged, spoilt by my standards, loved and nurtured niece at play. She is a long way from Africa.