Saturday, March 05, 2011

A relaxing Saturday

Bone Doctor, that is Sister's girlfriend/life partner/whatever, and Little Jo stayed last night. Bone Doctor had an important exam in the city today. Sister had swimming classes to teach, so the St Kilda Road babysitters will look after Little Jo for the day.

I have not seen Mother since christmas, so maybe I can kill two birds with one stone. We took Little Jo to see Nanny. Little Jo ate a little cereal for breakfast. She refused the toast with honey. I wrapped them up for later because she would get hungry. Sure enough, half way to see Nanny, I'm hungry.

We were in Sister's car because it has the baby seat in it. It is a manual. I have driven it a few times over the last couple of years around town. Once on the freeway, I thought it was revving a bit hard. Perhaps it has a fifth gear? The stick went across but I could not remember which way was was reverse. I bit my lip and shoved the stick forward and sure enough, it has a fifth gear. Much quieter. I suppose there was a diagram on the top of the gear stick, but it must have worn off.

ABI Brother has been suffering a water problem. His downpipe was blocked and Tradie Brother had taken a look at it after his lounge room carpet had been ruined for a second time in one year.

Tree roots and decomposed leaves was the diagnosis, but right through the whole storm water piping. A bob cat and back hoe attended and new pipes were laid and the garden ruined. So after seeing Nanny for a minutes, we went up to ABI Brother's to see the work in progress. What a mess. Little Jo managed to break a cup of ABI Brother's while on her dancing floor, the bare concrete where the carpet was lifted. She did not tell anyone but immediately came out and insisted we take her to the park, now. ABI Brother discovered the broken cup and brought it out for all to see. Little Jo looked guilty and I made her say sorry to her Uncle ABI. He had to leave to go and umpire cricket, so we left too.

Back to pick up Nanny and we took her to buy some seedlings for garden, Little Jo insisted on us buying a plant to take home to Mummy later. Then to the supermarket for Nanny's bread and a pie for Nanny's dinner from the bakery. Then onto Chemist Warehouse for Nanny's pills and potions and then to Nanny's Restaurant for lunch, aka McDonalds. Nanny likes the restaurant but Little Jo only really likes it because of the play area, although Little Jo is fond of dipping some french fries into a strawberry thickshake. Don't tell your mother.

Back to ABI Brother's place so Nanny could see the mess. It was a miracle. The pipes had been replaced and the trenches backfilled. But the inside of ABI Brother's place was a mess too. Aside from lounge room furniture piled in the dining room, the kitchen and bathrooms were filthy, not untidy mind you, just dirty. The fridge, inside and out, the fronts of the cupboards and he is obsessed with saving water. He leaves water in the sink and basin to use later. He flushes his toilet with a bucket of saved water from the washing machine. He was not there at that point and I emptied all the basins and sinks and turned the tap on for the toilet cistern. He will probably whinge to Mother about me doing that, but too bad. He has a lot on his plate at the moment, including a visit to New Zealand where his itinerary had him flying into and staying for a bit in Christchurch later this month. He will have a huge job getting his outdoor area backs to some sort of normality when he returns, but eventually I will tell him he needs to spring clean. R and I could do it in an hour and we may well do.

Actually we killed three birds with one stone as Sister does not have to go and see Mother with Little Jo now for a couple of weeks. We went back to Nanny's for jelly. Nanny always makes jelly for Little Jo. We all had some. Nanny's forty year old lemon tree threatens to die, but it still produces lemons. A Meyer, I think. The easy ones had been picked off so I strained to reach some and cut my hand on a thorn. R climbed the tree and got some more.

By then it was three o'clock and I could not imagine driving home, but I did it, exhausted as I was. Mother exhausts me, as does Little Jo. Combining them both, I was absolutely munted.

Little Jo did not sleep on the way home as R sat in the back with her and while he dropped off, she quickly whacked him a book to wake him. She had no intention of sleeping while she had a companion to amuse her.

Bone Doctor thought she might be back by four but it was five, so Little Jo and R watched a dvd. Once Bone Doctor was here, I just wished she and Little Jo would leave. My head was pounding, I felt dehydrated and just so so tired. R admires how I never get tired and never nap, but I was just absolutely munted tonight.

Last night R entertained Little Jo by making cakes, icing them and then dipping them into hundred thousands. Sorry for errors. I am very weary.

The Timeball Tower to come down

A sad news alert from Time Spanner that the Lyttleton Time Ball Tower just out of Christchurch is to be demolished. However, it may not quite as dire as first seems. Check the comments and there is a link to another story that, while not optimistic, at least gives hope for a future presence.

07/07/05 inquest continues

I like the tv show Spooks. It is gripping and while their agents sometimes die, MI5 always win by protecting the general public and the British way of life.

MI5 has been undergoing interrogation under the glare of the coroner Lady Justice Hallet at the inquest into the London bombings of 2005. MI5 and regional police are looking somewhat like the Keystone Cops.

Hallet seems to have little tolerance for the management speak.

Lady Justice Hallett unleashed her frustration at Gary Reason, the assistant commissioner of London Fire Brigade, on the final day of evidence, after five months of daily sittings and hearing from more than 300 witnesses, referring to the consistent use of "management speak" throughout the inquest.

On the term "conference demountable unit", used to describe a portable incident room, she said: "As far as I can tell, management jargon is taking over organisations and perfectly sensible, straightforward titles are being changed.

"This isn't just somebody being pedantic about the use of English, which it appears to be … when it comes to managing incidents, people don't understand what the other person is. I don't know whether a crew manager is somebody who is responsible for supplies or is used to fighting fires. I have no idea."

It is the final day of evidence but there will be more is to come about these organisations and a verdict from the coroner. From what I have read, they could not organise a piss up in a brewery, let alone provide a satisfactory response to emergencies. This does not mean the foot soldiers, it means management, management that is paid a lot of money to react in emergencies. They failed their reason for being.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Clearing Photos 12

Maybe this solicitor needs to update his signage. Bankcard is no more. I think Bankcard arrived in 1970s. My first boyfriend was fond of telling the tale of a no hoper bloke he knew in the seventies who received in the post a Bankcard for him to use with a credit limit of $500. Naturally he used the $500 and never repaid it. Just a couple of years later, R applied for a Bankcard but was deemed unworthy. He no longer banks with 'which' bank. Did New Zealand have the same Bankcard?

Curious Security

There is a chap who is in the news at the moment. He is supposed to have founded of 'The Brotherhood'.

I have met him as he is owner of a security company I have a building connection with. The funny thing is, the picture of him on tv does reconcile with my memory of him. I suppose it was five years ago at least when I met him. He had thick dark hair and I think facial hair.

R's memory of him coincides with mine. He remembered him from the time he attended the building and chucked out a neighbour's rough trade rent boy who was acting up.

I did not like him. He was exceptionally skilled at intimidation, even though we were the clients and doubtful as to whether we would continue with his services and if we did not, other places would probably follow suit. He had a lot to lose, yet appeared to be on the front foot.

In five years he has gone from having a head of thick, dark, and luxuriant hair to bald. I can only reach one conclusion.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Pressing a crease

The brand name of our iron is Shark. It was heavily discounted at a department store and although the brand name was not familiar to us, it has turned out to be an excellent iron and does not knock out the circuit all the time like our last Sunbeam model.

I only iron shirts, not work shirts though. They are so light, I chuck them in the clothes dryer and they dry in no time and don't really need ironing. I iron the shirts that I wear day to day when I am not working. I iron handkerchiefs too, which I rarely use for their intended purpose, but they just get grubby when carted around. R irons all of his clothes after they are washed and dried. There was the day when he used to iron all my clothes too.

On Saturday we are looking after Little Jo. I will host an experiment. I will set up the ironing board and iron a shirt. The question I will be looking for from Little Jo is, Auntie Andrew, what are you doing? I do know my sister and there is quite a good chance that Little Jo has never seen anyone iron clothes.

A Second Kitchen

I don't know too much about modern houses with outdoor kitchens. I have not actually seen one, but since when does lack of knowledge ever keep my fingers still?

We have seen some camper vans with external fold out facilities, such as cooking hotplates, a sink and a cutting board. Assuming the weather was ok, these would be very useful.

Many years ago an Asian born workmate told me of his outside shed, which sounded rather grander than a shed, and out there he and his wife had a couple of wok burners installed and a sink with a draining board. It saved messing and smelling up the house, he explained, and kept their kitchen clean.

Hmm, this is what happens when the kitchen becomes a showroom rather than a utility room.

Now it seems outdoor kitchens come in wonderful shapes and sizes and from closed in to quite open to the elements and so the kitchen within the house can remain spotless. This is just not quite making sense to me. Regardless where your kitchen is, it is still going to need cleaning. Fat and oil will still spatter, egg whites will still drip when you crack them, capsicum seeds will still escape the fruit.

And then there is the weather. Sorry hon, it is too hot/cold/windy to cook in our outdoor kitchen. Could I please use the indoor kitchen? Pretty please? I promise to restore it to its original condition. There won't be a drop of balsamic vinegar, nor a splash of extra virgin cold pressed oil marring any surface.

To me it sounds awfully like just having another kitchen to keep clean.

Mock though I might. Our black polished granite benchtops were shined with Windex tonight, as they often are. I just would not want to have to do the same outside as well.


I used to think lol meant lots of laughs. Now I know it means laughing out loud. It is not a great expression, because how many times do you type lol when you are not loling. I confess to on the odd occasion typing lol when I did not really lol. Sometimes it can be added as a soother to what could come across as a sarcastic remark.

But I did genuinely lol at the prank Kath's, from Blurb from the Burbs, father got up to in a school staff room. I thought it was so funny I wrote it on our notice board for R to see and appreciate and to lol at. He did lol actually, although he had seen it before. I was well miffed that he already knew of it. I thought I was showing him something original. I did take a photo of the notice board but my writing was so bad, I am too ashamed to publish it. This is similar to what Kath's father wrote:

One should always plan ahea
Assuming you have written cross ways as far as you can go.

Word and language play often amuses me.

Take for example the latest person murdered by a gunshot from a person unknown in Melbourne. A morning radio broadcaster described him as, and he was quoting from a newspaper, as a 'colourful identity'. They are a pair of very loaded words that tell you all you need to know.

What was missed from the euphemism was that he was from Sydney and involved in horse racing.

So surely he should be a 'colourful Sydney racing identity', which puts him up there with the absolute elite.

I have just read this which caused me to lol. It is from this post at Smitten by Britain.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Now that is clever and funny.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Music Quiz

Would I ever do some sort of conventional online music quiz? Not at all. This is a less obvious one.

For at least the last thirty year and going back further I have heard one particular piece of music every day, although not normally if I am out of the country but I certainly did the last time I was out of the country. Bonus points if you can tell me the name of it.

Good on Victor and Lord Sedgwick and Fen. No one has named it though. It is called Majestic Fanfare. Victor must have had an idea though as he called it a fanfare.

No matter what I am doing, when I hear the Majestic fanfare coming from the radio, my attention is drawn. The news is on. This is important. I must tune my ears in. Of course I quickly drift off and miss most of the news, but no matter.

I complained to ABC TV management when they dropped the Majestic Fanfare as their intro music to the tv news. You'll get used it, they (paraphrased) wrote back. Well, I suppose I did, but I have never really gotten used to the latest version. It is not commanding enough. It lacks gravitas.

A short history of ABC news themes follows, compiled by the source called my often defective memory.

There is a brief version used for all ABC radio news broadcasts and a longer one used for the 7.45 local radio news. The present long version and probably the shorter one (a remix?) too were performed by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

I love the broken version news theme JJJ uses, but selfish young people don't seem to have uploaded it to You Tube. Typical of the lazy young.

Well, Ms Ann O'Dyne just added this as a comment. It will help my defective memory, although I'm pushing it down towards the end of the post.

Majestic Fanfare always heralded the tv news until about 1982. I would have said the newer theme started then, but from below, perhaps not. The first You Tube vid below is how it sounded on tv but I think it possibly sounded a bit better in real life.

Back in the early eighties ABC local radio did not take hourly news as seriously as they now do and called their hourly news, News in Brief. It had a totally different music theme, colloquially known as Tarzan's Theme.

Going back further ABC radio news used to punctuate each news item with a gong in between. Now that was real gravitas, never mind that the story was probably days old.

I can't actually recall if we used to hear on the radio the extended version of Majestic Fanfare. The extended version was dropped at some point, but we were turning from Springvale Road onto the Frankston Freeway on our way to a holiday house at Rosebud West when for the first time I heard the brand new long recording of Majestic Fanfare as it heralded in a significant news bulletin. By golly I was impressed. I doubt it was for the 7.45 news. Our ABC has cut back their news bulletin times over the years.

It has been quite interesting researching for this post on You Tube. I have heard lots of old tv news and current affairs themes. I live for now and the future, but I love wallowing in nostalgia. My current will be a person in the future's wallow in nostalgia.

"Majestic Fanfare is a short piece of music written by the British composer Charles Williams in 1935. It was first recorded in 1943 by the Queens Hall Light Orchestra conducted by the composer.

In an abridged form, it came to prominence in Australia: first as the signature tune for radio broadcasts of proceedings from the Parliament of Australia; and then as the signature tune for radio and television news broadcasts by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC). It was first used for this purpose on 1 January 1952.

The Majestic Fanfare replaced a short version of Advance Australia Fair that had been in use throughout World War II. Further shortening of what was already regarded as a significant national song (it would in 1984 become Australia’s official National Anthem) was regarded as somewhat sacrilegious, while shortening the apolitical Majestic Fanfare was deemed less contentious.

The tune as used by the ABC exists in two formats: an 18-second version that was used for many years, and a 9-second abridged version that was usually used thereafter (although the 18-second version is still played on regional radio and on extended bulletins, such as the daily 7.45am Local Radio bulletins).

On television, Majestic Fanfare was updated in 1982 to celebrate the ABC's 50th anniversary. In 1985, when ABC's evening news bulletin was replaced by The National, Majestic Fanfare was replaced by Alan Hawkshaw's Best Endeavours, then also used by Britain's Channel 4 News bulletins.[1]

In 1987, when ABC TV News was relaunched, Majestic Fanfare did not return. Since then, two Australian-composed tunes have been used. The first titled ABC TV News Theme was written in 1987 by Sydney composers Tony Ansell and Peter Wall. It was used for 19 years. The current ABC TV News theme, composed by Martin Armiger and introduced on Australia Day 2005, incorporates some prominent elements of the original Majestic Fanfare"

This is what followed the Majestic Fanfare for ABC TV news. I became used to it, but it has changed.

This is what ABC TV's Majestic Fanfare sounded like. It sounds very thick and heavy.

Oddly I cannot find the extended ABC Radio news them online. But this is the full version of the composition, I think recorded by a New Zealand orchestra. If you want hear what the present long ABC news them sounds like, that is you are a foreigner, go to 38 seconds to the end. It is not quite what we hear but pretty close.

Clearing Photos 13

A while ago I made mention of Sydney underworld gals, Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh. I was going to write a post about them but I can't recall what I was going to say. Just to be for once ahead of things, an Underbelly series on tv is going to feature them. I can now delete this photos. Look out for the series. It should be quite interesting.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Fridy nights teas

Last Friday night we ate with our dyke friend at The Humble House in Church Street, Brighton. The cuisine was mixed Asian. It was a good place but we can get food just as good considerably cheaper elsewhere. Church Street really is the creme de la creme of Brighton......but even so, there are still discarded cigarette butts on the paving. Middle Brighton Station serves the area. The Church Street level crossing is so low impact, you barely notice it in the relatively narrow street. Two Indian students walked along the the street and how they stood out. What they were doing there who knows. Church Street represents a very tiny percentage of the real Australia, but it is a nice place to dip your toe into.

The week before, I suggested to R that we eat somewhere at Station Pier. Come the Friday night he was quite excited and had been telling people at work. I knew the restaurants there were a bit on the expensive side for us, but I figured they would probably be in the entertainment book with a two for one. Worst case, we can have fish and chips from D'lish.

We checked out the three restaurants, and yes they were on the expensive side. We went back to the car and none were in the book. We agreed we could not justify the cost of the food., which with drinks would probably have been $100. There was an palpable air of disappointment in the air though, and then we spotted another place.

It was some sort of old wharf building, turned into a cafe. We had a fine meal of fish with lime on a bed of sticky rice with greens. To entertain us, the ferry from Tasmania had just arrived and we watched all the unloadings and then the loadings. It was very interesting. After we left we had no idea of the name of where we had eaten. I took a couple of photos with my phone, but then a week or so later when I went there to see the Queen Elizabeth in port, I got the name. Seems it is also a live music venue. I can highly recommend Roxy. They even have the world famous Frankie Knuckles house music dj there in a few days. What could I wear?......Nah.

Victor once pondered how I managed to not get people in my photos. The place was quite busy, but obviously not when I took the snap. No people in photos must be just a talent I have. Perhaps an unfortunate talent.

Clearing Photos 10

I think it was New Years Eve in about 1983. We had been to Mandate in St Kilda. We left and went to the car to drive home. 'Where are the keys?, R asked. 'In the boot,' I replied. I can't recall how we got home and I expect I received a gobful of abuse, The next day, badly hungover, I caught what was the then 377 bus from our house in East Malvern to St Kilda with the spare car keys. The 377 bus covered most of a couple of tram routes on Sundays.The route is long ago history now, thank goodness. The tram routes were 3 and 77, hence 377.

It was a brand new bus, and to my knowledge, one of the first series, if not the first, air conditioned bus in regular service in Melbourne. The seats were horribly hard, almost without padding, but the bus was blissfully cool on a hot Melbourne New Year's day.

There were plenty of these buses still running when we moved to the Highrise. In about 1982 or 83 the government took over the Melbourne Brighton Bus Lines. Their vehicles had been very poorly maintained and many were unroadworthy. The government quickly bought new buses and nearly thirty years later, some can still be seen in service. As well as being airconditioned, they had automatic gear boxes. Oddly they only seemed to have two gears. One to start off with and one to run at higher speed in.

It is a long time since I have seen one pass the Highrise and I certainly haven't caught one of late. I can't say for sure that they have all gone from Melbourne Buslink, but they must nearly have reached the ends of their lives. The newer buses are quieter and have better padding on their seats, but their aircon just does not seem to cool as effectively as those very old buses. I remember them fondly.

Monday, February 28, 2011


One day trams may again run in Sydney, rather than a light rail that takes people to where they don't want to go, and is being extended so even more people can go for longer trips to where they don't want to go. I heard some heresy about putting trams back back along Anzac Parade into the city. Now that would be putting trams where people do want to go.

With a digger, you can have ready made trams tracks and James would not have to catch a bus to work but could ride on a tram.

The tracks are rising in Harris Street, Ultimo, so not much digging will be required.

I was just saying to R that it amuses me that contractors may quote to rebuild a road, they get to work and discover tram tracks underneath the road surface and so they have underquoted as more work will be involved in removing the rails. I suppose there are maps that authorities use that tell them where tracks maybe. One thing for sure, there would not be too many staff around now who are old enough to say, careful on your quoting here, a tram used to run down this street.

View Larger Map

Clearing Photos 11

They may have won the Clearway battle and had the times reduced, but I doubt they have won the war.

Queensland is missing. Has it floated down south?

We Australians in the cold western European country to the east of Germany know the jokes about American's world geographic knowledge. Dina, can you show this picture to your son Jack and ask him what is wrong? If he isn't sure, I'll bet you know. You should immediately apply to CNN as a geographic proof reader. You are sorely needed.

Meanwhile, I am sure the residents of Queenstown in Tasmania might like a bit of Queensland weather. Just not a cyclone.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Clearing photos 9

I remember this tram. The Returned Servicemens League kicked up a fuss about what looked like a Japanese flag on the side of the tram, and it was removed. Naturally out there gay men thought Mother Knows applied to them. Many of Melbourne's old W Class trams were painted by artists, including Michael Leunig and Mirka Mora.

What is this thing called love?

Am I at the back of an organ? What are these things?

Later: These are Lamson tubes and I took the photo at our newly renovated Myer department store. They were for transporting cash to and from the sales counter to the cashier. The cash was popped into a tube and whoosh, it was gone (kind of like what happens to my cash on payday). They operated on either compressed air or vacuum. I would guess that this was Myer's cashier's end of the system. Our local Coles supermarkets use a modern version of the same system and it is supplied by the company Lamson.

More reading here and here.