Saturday, October 09, 2010

When life was simpler

Has the Empire Games finished yet? Contestants making rude gestures at judges and officials? Send them home. It will be the thin edge of wedge if they get away with it. Look at what has happened to other 'polite' sports such as tennis and cricket. Nip it in the bud.

A NZ broadcaster made fun of Delhi's Chief Minister's name, Shelia Dikshit. Was he mocking Australia about Shelia? Ok, maybe not, must be her other name. Even our ABC was pronouncing her name wrongly. Apparently her surname is pronounced Dixit.

Rather like our childhood neighbours whose name was Tickle. That is Tickell to you. Oh, I can slip in a second Hyacinth reference in, in as many days. Rather like pronouncing the name Bucket as Bouquet.

While the weight challenged lady has not sung yet, no bombs have gone off in Delhi. This is good.

But so much work, so much money, so much botheration countries and cities are put to for both the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.

Life used to be ever so much simpler.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Telegram: V, Hirosaki, Japan

V stop Saucepan lid handles breaking up badly stop Risk of steam scalding stop Handles unobtainable in Australia stop Buy 4 at 100 Yen Shop at department store east of station stop Catch 100 Yen bus stop Fare reimbursed stop Post asap stop A & R stop

Living the life on the 'Vard

Once again there is a push on to rename St Kilda Road to St Kilda Boulevard or just The Boulevard. For me St Kilda Road is the road from the City to St Kilda, perfectively descriptive and appropriate.

It is suggested that the name change will increase the value of properties that line St Kilda Boulevard. Our place being worth more means higher council rates. I don't want that at all.

Perhaps we could revert to its original name, Baxters Track. Yeah, that will knock our council rates down a bit.

A later alternative to Baxters Track was St Kilda Brighton and Great Arthur(sic) Seat Road. Will that address fit across a DL envelope?

Eventually everyone was happy enough to call it St Kilda Road, leading from Princes Bridge to St Kilda Junction.

But some bright spark decided that when High Street St Kilda was massively widened, splitting the suburb into two with central tram lines, treed reservations, eight odd lanes of traffic, a couple of bike lanes and parking lanes, plus footpaths, High Street should also become St Kilda Road. That is St Kilda Road, St Kilda rather than St Kilda Road, Melbourne as the old part is known. If the point of changing the name from High Street to avoid confusion with High Street Prahran, then they fixed one problem and created another.

It would not be so bad if continuing street numbers were used, but no, the numbers start again at the beginning of the newer part of St Kilda Road. So the address 360 St Kilda Road can mean two different addresses without the qualification of Melbourne or St Kilda. (I checked and both exist)

So, in summary, St Kilda Road Melbourne to St Kilda Junction, then St Kilda Road St Kilda to Carlisle Street, then Brighton Road as far Glen Huntly Road and from there on Nepean Highway.

I rather like the sound of Baxters Track. Highriser in a smart apartment with a white slim line telephone and room for a pony lives on Baxters Track.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Disturbing my Equilibrium

At South Wharf shopping centre today I bought a meat pie for lunch. It had foreign objects in it, namely two large chunks of meat. I am not sure that I like chunks of meat in my pie. It makes me wonder what the rest of what is in the pie is made of. Best pie in Melbourne: Brumbies Bakery pepper pie. Some go past quality control and are extra peppered. Yum.

Week in, week out, The Age Green Guide has a page of small ads for computers and parts and then a double page of the same. So easy to skip past. Where was it this week?

Upmarket tram shelter

Amazingly this tram shelter had kept its decoration for a few days. Even the butterflies taped and wired on have remained.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Spring is nigh

I missed the boat a bit with this one. I wrote the post last month and now Spring has well and truly sprung. While Spring can be nice, it is not always. The weather can suddenly get very hot. There can be nastily gusting northerly winds blowing rye grass pollen in from the inland grasslands, causing massive outbreaks of hayfever. The weather can turn freezing cold. Actually, I think we had all of those today, plus a good bit of rain too.

But in the northern hemisphere where snow and ice are to be found in winter, it must be huge relief to see the end of Winter as Spring arrives. We Australians can only imagine what it must be like to try and drive in ice conditions. Don't worry Ann, they are only little bumps, you can watch.

Later edit: Fen's photos give you an idea of what started off as a quite warm but windy day ended up as.

Are we such dirty beasts?

I cast my mind back forty years.

People thought nothing of dropping rubbish on the ground. Only a small minority now persist. My father thought nothing of throwing cans and bottles from the car into the roadside bush. We burnt combustible rubbish in an incinerator and the rest was dumped in the bush. Although I do recall a tale of a stranger who dumped rubbish in a neighbour's bush land and an address was obtained from the rubbish and the police informed.

We we lectured at school by someone from the local fire authority about the dangers of bushfires and how to prevent them. They could be started by dumped roadside glass. A classmate collected all the glass he could find on his way home from school that afternoon, until he could carry no more. What quiet roadside would now have such a collection of glass?

Incinerators, cars, trucks, briquette heaters and hot water services, open fireplaces and solid fuel stoves used to pump huge volumes of poisonous smoke into the air.

Melbourne in Autumn was often covered in a thick soup of smog. It happens very occasionally now and the smog is not full of lead from petrol as it used to be.

Our local Yarra River downstream is cleaner than it has been for 150 years.

Our Port Phillip Bay becomes cleaner and cleaner.

After the banning of CFCs, the hole in the ozone layer is repairing itself.

Problems with greenhouse gases and global warming have been recognised and the matter is being addressed, albeit at a snails pace.

World wide, public transport is being recognised as much more sustainable than private motor car transport and a lot of money is being pumped into PT after years of neglect.

Be it in your neighbourhood or country based, if you start polluting, you may suffer the wrath of the law but you almost certainly face the wrath of activist groups that can now form at the drop of a hat due to the internet.

In spite of a proliferation of nuclear weapons, none have been used in war since WWII.

We all feel doom and gloom about the environment at times, but in the last forty years, we have come a long way, in spite of the huge population increase. If we do as well in the next forty years as we have in the past forty years, the world should be well on the way to recovering from the assault we perpetrated on her over the past couple of centuries.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Road Mayhem

Traffic mayhem around the highrise all day today. Firstly a truck driver thought his truck could fit under a bridge that it could not and the truck tipped over. I hope the full weight of law comes down upon him. This happens too often and caused terrible problems. This is the fourth this year at the same location. Read some more here by Daniel.

Then I understand a truck tipped over at the corner of Albert Road and Kingsway. Eventually Queens Road and Kingsway inbound were closed and much of the traffic fed into St Kilda Road. Mayhem ensued. The copper trying to control the traffic lost his temper after a while and started getting very annoyed with stupid drivers.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Gimme my hour back

I woke at 6.30 Sunday morning. Daylight saving hit me straight away. I looked at my phone and it had not reset itself. Hazy as I was, I switched it off and on and the time was corrected. I went about correcting clocks. Why don't the digital tv recording machines correct themselves when the time is set to Auto? In years past the computer did not auto correct itself but it does now.

I corrected a few machines. It only took passenger R fifteen minutes to correct his car clock, eventually resorting to the instruction manual. Ahh, he said, and suddenly he knew how to do it. In the meantime I had heard some weird radio stations.

While we were having afternoon tea in Emerald, I realised that the day was later than it felt. It felt like mid afternoon but it was nearly 4.30.

Once home, it did not feel natural to have a six o'clock drink. Too early, my mind was saying. The clock said otherwise so I compromised and poured a glass of wine at 6.30.

I felt like I was rushed this morning, an experience I always try to avoid. I was rushed. I lost an hour somewhere and I won't get it back until next year.

Choof Choof

Puffing Billy was late departing Gembrook. There was a problem with a train at Emerald Lake. A phone call from a mobile phone was the clearance for PB to depart, but there had to be paperwork handed over too. I am not sure who the passengers were waving to. I seemed to be the only person there and I was busy with camera. Makes for a nice video though.

Switched ABI Brother's computer back to dial up from wireless broadband that was marginal reception. I tried to suggest that ADSL for $20 a month was ok for him, but he wanted dial up for $5 a month. It works for his needs. Given he has not been online for some time, he had 75 emails to check. So funny to hear a modem dialling in to an isp.

Train was late departing and Mother and R were fed up watching the impatient steam engine hissing steam, so they both went to lav before we left and then Puffing Billy left with only me as the witness.

We headed to Emerald for a Devonshire Tea, but were held up by PB crossing the road. Our Dev Teas in Emerald cost us $9 for three of us. Must have been a mistake. We did not argue but enjoyed our scones jam and cream and tea in the warm air under an umbrella.

I was driven crazy by motorbike noise. I was driven crazy by car noise. You know where I live and on our street I don't hear traffic noise, but in the country, the noise of passing traffic annoyed me intensely. Ban motorbikes from the Dandenongs. They are the jetskis of the hills.

Later Edit: According to a newspaper, a carriage came adrift from the engine in Emerald, hence the delay.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Just another Saturday

I was sitting on the balcony on this balmy evening and noticed a group of Colllingwood supporters get off a tram and walk across the road. I don't really care to have Collingwood supporters in our neighbourhood. They look 'out of area'. God forbid, another lot alighted from another tram. I suppose they all have cheap digs at one of the Queens Road hotels.

Our day was long. Don't say I am doing too much in my condition. I did little.

9.30 we were off to Prahran to do a little bit of shopping. Only the essentials, the home cellar was empty, thank you Dan, aka Woollies, and we needed a chop for a barbecue.

11.00 At a friends house auction in South Oakleigh. They sold, for just a bit less than they hoped.

12.00 Our misogynist friend had all these woman neighbours calling in to see how the auction went.

1.00 Our friend's female friends stayed on for a barbecue. One ran into our friend at the local shopping centre and thought he looked stressed about his house sale and wanted to give him a big comforting cuddle. Please, do women see gay misogynists as challenges?

1.15 Sister delivers Little Jo for us to look after while she enjoys the privilege of a pre 1984 MCC Ladies ticket to gain entry to the football final final. Sister takes our car and leaves hers with the baby seat.

2.30 Barbecue finished and watching the football match. I finish reading Thursday's newspaper and a few pages of the RACV mag. I never go anywhere without something to read.

3.30 I vaguely entertain Little Jo, so R can watch the football, but given the match is uneven, R comes out to play with Little Jo. She was good with me, but I am no substitute for Uncle R.

4.00 Little Jo receives a pink bag with a black boa strap from our hosts. They also gave her two puppets and some glitter paint.

4.15 Puffed with pride with Little Jo. She behaved well, was mostly polite to many strangers and did not spoil the occasion.

5.00 We depart. It was a long day. I am weary. The footy result is clear. Sister took R's car and I have to drive Sister's manual car home. What nonsense to have to move that silly stick around all the time, never mind the clutch. Haha, Sister nearly put her self through the windscreen in R's car, pressing on the brake like it was a clutch. I did not press on her car's brake without the clutch until the car stalled.

5.40 Tradie Brother rang to inform us of a death in the family.

5.50 Mother called to make sure I knew of death in family.

6.00 Sister calls and says she will be to our place soon. I inform her of death in family.

7.00 Get out pizza menu. Where is Sister? Drinking with friends? It is well past time to hand Little Jo back to her mother.

7.10 It takes Sister 15 minutes to walk to football ground, but one hour plus to walk home.

7.15 Sister arrives. Order pizzas. Please can we eat on our knees I plead. I just can not sit up at a table to eat. Sister gives Little Jo a bath.

8.00 Sister and Little Jo depart.

8.05 It is not the first time I have said it, but once they had gone, I said to R, Peace in our time.

8.30 Pour large glass of Scotch and sit down to watch The Bill.