Saturday, April 23, 2011

Jayne and away

Many of you will already be a reader of Jayne's blog and I am not sure if mentioning it is the right thing to do. Perhaps she would rather I did not. I have met Jayne and surprise surprise, she was quite unscary. She nursed her father at home in his declining health and he died a couple of days ago. I am sure we all wish Jayne well.

We have been away for a couple of days for a non relaxing break at Sister's. We had a nice time of course. Sister and the Bone Doctor are good hosts. More later of course and naturally I took the camera. Meanwhile, I absolutely knackered. I am not used to having to interact with people in a nice manner for two days. ABI Brother took Mother down and they will stay until Monday. Mother was so looking forward to it, but when she rose this morning, she was doubled over with cramping stomach pain, which happens quite often. It was hard to see her in such distress, but I know a good bit of it is an exaggeration. She saw a doctor later and he was a good listener and said she could take Imodium if that was what helped her.

This week's flowers

Three weeks' flowers actually. I like the strong colours of gerberas, especially this variety that looks like it was sprinkled in gold.

Tulips. Are they in season? They are always in season somewhere.

The interesting thing about these gladdies is the the broken one. R was working at the sink when the flower fell. He said the crack was so loud it sounded like a snapping tree branch.

Friday, April 22, 2011


I was quite happy with R's easter project but $196 for four, splutter, litres of paint? This better be good.

Mr and Mrs Cook

Some of my secondary school teachers I remember very clearly and I guess some I don't. The ones I don't recall, I have forgotten about. Kinda follows hey. The stern maths teacher who threw his chalk at those of us who struggled with calculus was not necessarily a good teacher (Mr Roberts, assistant principal). The gay art teacher who the female students hungered after was not a great teacher (Mr Kirk). The failed builder who became a woodwork and mechanical drawing teacher was not a great teacher (Mr Start). At least our French teacher could speak French though (Miss Kelsall).

One who did instill some passion and interest into her students was the loopy music teacher (Mrs Williams). She was fond of clothes and although quite an age, she was often to be seen in alternative clothes of the times, such as ponchos, maxi dresses, boots, etc. She regaled us with tales of her husband who had dementia. Lawn mowing at 2am amused us greatly. She adored US music writer Stephen Foster and music of America's slave period. She was also very interested in her 16-18 year old male students. Eventually it all became so obvious that even we kids were aware of it and so she had to go.

But then there were Mr and Mrs Cook, Stanley and Maude. The word around school was that they weren't proper teachers. They were not qualified. They were imports from England to help with staff shortages. Regardless, Mr and Mrs Cook were there for my whole secondary schooling.

I'm afraid we all played up terribly on them. They were so easy to bait because there were such nice people. Yes, they were old fashioned and old school and their teaching methods may have been out of fashion but they were sincere and cared about the subjects they taught and their students.

'Andrew, I know you are interested in history by the questions you ask and I know you can write reasonably well but this last essay shows me that you just did not apply yourself and I can only give you a mark of 3/10.' She was right about that. I never did apply myself and I never did homework. School work was for school. I still believe that to perhaps a lesser extent than then.

'Is there some problem? she asked in a very motherly manner. 'No Mrs Cook.' 'Please try harder Andrew, I don't want to fail you'. I think I scraped past.

Mrs Cook had either a skin cancer or cyst removed from her cheek. She was wearing a large bandage. I caught up with her in the corridor, 'Mrs Cook, are you ok now?'. She beamed. 'Yes thank you Andrew. It is kind of you to ask'.

Mr and Mrs Cook were in the sixties I guess, while most of our teachers were in their twenties and thirties, so even the other teachers viewed them as an anachronism, yet I remember them both very fondly.

There was one other older teacher, Mrs Phillips, the librarian. She was quite stern but also had great cred because in the 1970s she drove the classic FJ Holden from the 1950s and it was a shiny well maintained one at that.

You know, the youngest, the most hip and cool teachers at the time received no more respect than the oldest. Possibly even less.

Generally though, I can't say I liked school. In fact I hated it. It was years of boredom and the day I left I was over the moon happy. Of course if I had children now, I wouldn't be telling them that. Haha, children indeed. It occurred to me the other day that when Dreaded Nephew was born, his grandmother, that is Mother, was my age.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Don't be selfish.

I think it is organ donation week. This appears to be a new website. As the old bumper sticker used to say, Don't take your organs to heaven, heaven knows we need them here.

I just don't get why anyone would want to take their organs, whether they go up or join me down below. Even more puzzling are those who against the wishes of a departed loved one and stop the organ donation.

Why not an opt out system for organ donation? Too sensible.

Speaking of, our dyke friend who had a heart transplant was interviewed on the radio this week. She acquitted herself well. If you would like to hear it and I know you via my blog, send me an email for a link to the podcast. ripppon at yahoo com

Walking is quicker

There was an argument that supporters of public transport would use by saying 'look at all those people on trains, trams and buses. How packed the roads would be if they were all in cars'.

Now I am inclined to say look at all those people on bicycles. If they were all on our packed roads, trains, trams and buses, it would be a nightmare.

We have already suffered a significant decline in our lifestyle because of the huge expansion in Melbourne's population, without a match in the infrastructure to cope with the expansion. Yet, from our governments we hear little more than words. How can it be that new housing estates are built without the appropriate facilities and public transport? It is outrageous.

Now every time we have heavy rain, raw sewerage is released into our creeks by our water authority. Why is this happening? Might it be to do with the huge expansion in the number of properties and people in the inner to middle areas. The sewerage system just can't cope.

Every time we have heavy rain, our public transport and roads cease to properly function, with many roads flooded. Take the corner of Whiteman and Clarendon Streets in South Melbourne, a busy intersection for both cars and trams. It is a relatively new intersection yet it floods as regularly as it rains.

Front and back lawns in many homes have disappeared, along with water absorbing trees and plants. Is it any surprise that there is a lot of extra water to run off?

Has anyone actually thought about this? If they have, why wasn't it planned for?

Just to finish the ranty whinge, how is this one from Sydney. Can you believe they removed a bus only lane?

''Before we used to get into the bus lane straight after the Beecroft tunnel and we would just fly home,'' Ms Wood said. ''But now, rather than having 50 per cent of your journey sitting in gridlocked traffic, its 100 per cent of your journey.''
Oh, that link appeared automatically.

Ok, publish now, but guess what? We have just had 15mm of rain, that is just over half an inch and once again the intersection of Clarendon and Whiteman Streets has closed, causing massive inconvenience to tram travellers and perhaps cars.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Graffiti comes in many shapes and sizes. Look at my photo of the water wall in Collins Street. It has been graffitied, not by paint or textas, but by autumn leaves. The graffiti scum have taken to arranging dead autumn plane tree leaves on the wall to make letters. For some reason the leaves stay there.

Jodie loves Bryce indeed, with a heart.

Lock 'em up I say.

I see Deco #2

So, I walked along Peterleigh Grove in Essendon and what a fine street it is. Many of the houses had small pieces of art deco decoration or style. The street is more a great display of brick houses constructed in the 1940s and 1950s. Some would be solid brick and some brick veneer. I tried to choose just one to show you but I couldn't. What I will show you is a nice clinker brick house with a very unusual chimney. I hope Jayne likes the chimney.

Ah what the heck. Jayne is having a hard time of it. These are very fine art deco chimneys.

Later edit: I forgot to say that I put most of the photos up here.


I treasure the my blog mates and the relationships I have formed with them. I just won't wear that they are not proper relationships. They are to me. I feel pain when they disappear. I feel pain when a prospective blog mate is not really interested in me and what I write but just seems to comment once to build a list of blog contacts. That is not how it works for me. It is a mutual connection.

All I need to know is that you are reading what I write. Skim reading is fine. Roll your eyes heavenward and think, boring, that is fine. This post not to your tastes? Fine. Just whack in the occasional comment. You will be my friend.

A while ago I wondered about how many people do actually read or at least tune into my blog occasionally. Many would be from search terms, but some would be regular readers who never comment. Can't recall when, but I added a stat counter which gives simple numbers. I don't know if those who read via an rss feed are included. I suspect not. It is my second stat counter. I lost the first.

Let me check on the number now. 42, 416. Seems a lot but somewhat meaningless.

Recently I woke one morning to find that the previous night I had written down a random line of numbers. Must have been an evening preceding a day off, nudge nudge wink wink. I wrote the numbers in a single unspaced line.

3593523.3417/3 What?
After the cold hard light of day had its effect on me, I deciphered what I wrote.

35,935 blog hits at 11.34pm on the 17th of March.

Once I worked it out, I did another couple.

36,128 10.36pm 18th March.

37,427 10.39pm 23rd March.

Let me use the calculator machine.

Between half past eleven on the night of 17th of March and twenty to eleven on the night of 23rd of March, 5 days, there were nearly 1500 hits. That is 300 a day. Extraordinary.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Adelaide Holiday

It was supposed to be a cheap holiday this year, but it was not shaping up that way with a luxury villa unit in Bali with private pool and a breakfast cook. I am thankful that it has fallen through.

Back to the original cheaper holiday in Adelaide. We shall drive, stop off at Mount Gambier for a night or so and stay five nights in Adelaide.

When I first checked accom in Glenelg last year, a nice apartment right in Glenelg was about $150. Three weeks ago the same was an average of $190. Now it is well over $200 per night.

As we will have the motor with us, we can look a bit away from Glenelg. Ha, West Beach, where we stayed the last time we were in Adelaide in 1984 I think. Inclined to a cabin in the caravan park. We have enjoyed our cabin in caravan parks stays in Mildura, Port Arlington and Cowes. We like separate bedrooms, so it costs a bit more than we could be paying, but hey, we both snore.

I suppose Adelaide has moved on a bit since we were last there. What? Lordy! River? Red? Dianne? What happened to the 27C bus that we caught to town? J***what?

Gambling is evil

Thou christ said unto thee, do not play electric gambling machines.

I disobeyed christ and ever since we have had poker machines in our state, I have played them. I would estimate I play ten times a year. I usually only play for five minutes or so as I find them pretty boring. I habitually insert five dollars and lose it or double it. If I double it, I take the money. Sometimes I have done better than doubling my money, if the wind is blowing in the right direction.

In the early days of poker machines, I kept a record of my gambling. For the first five years I was just in front using my method. Now I am well down to the tune of nearly a hundred dollars at a guess, over maybe fifteen years. It troubles me not.

I must be rather a disappointment to the poker machine gambling industry. It is not from the likes of me that the gambling industry make their money. They make their money from people who lose a lot of money. Many of these would be 'problem gamblers'.

In New South Wales which has had the evil machines for much longer in clubs, the profits made in clubs really do go back to members by the way of subsidised food and entertainment and facilities.

In Victoria, most of the pokie profits disappear into that government black hole known as 'consolidated revenue'. I have no problem with that. I am quite happy for fools to pump up the state coffers to improve our services.

I would estimate that the late Dame M, some of you long term readers will remember her, put well over $200,000 in to pokie machines. Her money. She could do as she liked. She sold two inner Melbourne properties that possibly went through the machines. She disappeared once from Friday to Monday. The ever caring casino rang her boarder to let him now she was in their care and was being well looked after with a bed for the night, a very nice bed we learned subsequently. Not too long after a very smart large screen tv was delivered to her house from the casino. Maybe she won and made a profit but given the care the casino took of her, I suspect not. Most pokie players tell you of their wins.

At her local hotel, Dame M was waited on hand and foot. There must have been a good reason for that.

Just before Dame M decided she was going to die, she took out a reverse mortgage on her own property. As far as I know, the only money of it she spent was on new air con for her living area.

I can only conclude that had poker machines been around earlier in Dame M's life, she may well have ended up broke. Given she was a smart person, I am not sure how she got the gambling bug. I can only think what good she could have done with her money instead of giving it to these gambling places. Ha, she could have given it to me to spend wisely. I could then afford top top shelf.

Clearly gambling places don't make their profit from the likes of me who stick in five dollars. They make their money from problem gamblers. Yet, apparently the gambling institutions are also against problem gamblers, the ones who they make their big money from.

Excuse me if I am a bit confused.

Ex Premier Joan Kirner was a decent fish, but boyoh, did she make a mistake with gambling machines.

While I never made the historic bus trip to the border to gamble, many I know did. Bring it back and get rid of the machines from Victoria.

Australian population, 20 million. Regular gamblers, 5 million. Two per cent problem gamblers perhaps? That is 100,000 problem gamblers.

The Wedding

Thanks Kiwi Nomad for alerting me to this great piece of advertising.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Male Appendage

There are so many words used to obliquely refer to the male appendage, male appendage being a pair of them. I am not sure of what the younguns refer to it as now. Do tell if you know. I would have an alternative to mentally calling out, show me your cock. Could there be anything else in our language that has so many colloquial names. I am sure there is a list out there, but I am not bothering to look for it. I can only think of a few words for women's private bits, although there might be a lot for boobs.

There is one that I never hear now but I grew up with as a child. My steaming hot and sexy uncle was fond of using it, the word being tossle.

Apart from the bleeding obvious that I am rather fond of tossles and their magic powers, I am just noting history.

Mystery Tram Destination, the answer

I really like this photo of the route 67 tram passing The George Hotel in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda. If you look hard you can just see the tracks of the Victorian Railways tram that travelled from St Kilda Railway Station into Grey Street and through Elwood on to Brighton Beach. Can you see the destination of the tram? It says St Kilda Beach via Dandenong Road. I don't know who to credit the photo to.

So yes, there was such a tram. I better do some research for details. Route 67 ran from the corner of Balaclava and Hawthorn Roads in Caulfield to the then route 16 St Kilda Beach terminus. It is likely that there was also a route 68 that ran from East Malvern terminus to St Kilda via Balaclava Road.

And if you are wondering what the present 67 route was, it was the 4. There was a 4E too that went from Carnegie to Elsternwick Station.

East Malvern to the City was the 4D.

Lordy, there was route 66 tram too, now Glenhuntly Depot from the City. It used to be East Malvern to Point Ormond. There was a tram line along Glenhuntly Road through Elwood to the beach at Point Ormond.

I getting overwhelmed by tram history. I'll leave it there. I'll just add that most of these routes disappeared in the early to mid 1960s. When St Kilda Junction was reconstructed, there was no longer a turn at St Kilda Junction into Fitzroy Street or the then High Street, so that may have meant the end of these beach services.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Which class is your team?

A few of us were discussing the origins of Melbourne's Australian Rules football teams. Correct me if I am wrong as I know little of football. The teams used to get their players from the suburbs of their names and a specified area in the country. None of this would be applicable today with players bought, sold and traded. Maybe the country catchment still applies.

We were wondering why Collingwood is such a passionately loved and passionately hated team. I put it down to a class thing. No suburb was quite so proudly working class as Collingwood.

The toff teams.

North Melbourne?

And the working class teams.

South Melbourne?

Did I miss any? The ones with question marks I am unsure about so offer your opinion.