Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 10 Tuesday 19th

We had decided to drive straight home from Adelaide, an eight hour trip, we had heard. Hmm, don't really want to drive in heavy peak traffic out of Adelaide and nor did we want to arrive back in Melbourne in evening peak traffic, so that meant either leaving early to miss both peak periods or late to depart and arrive after both peak periods. We chose the former and with a stop here and there the total trip time was nine and a half hours.

We were out of the park before seven and a shower or two hit us as we climbed the Adelaide hills. We stopped near Horsham for lunch and another place for an early afternoon tea. Where is the rotunda? C'mon Ann.

Ah yes, I was going to mention Stobie poles for those of you unfamiliar with them. South Australia was not blessed with many forests of termite resistant timber to make electricity poles as were commonly used elsewhere. So, one James Stobie invented a pole made of two lengths of steel bolted together but not touching and the centre gap was filled with concrete. Stobie poles are very widely used from our observations.

Here is a Stobie pole in Hahndorf.

A close up of one in Military Road, West Beach. The galvanised pipes are not a normal part of the pole.

The answer to the question about the rotunda was correctly guessed, or known, by Lad Litter.

Here is the old fire station.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 9 Monday 18th

It was an early start, well early when you had not had to be up early. By 8.15 we were waiting in the street for our coach to arrive. I suppose it arrived five minutes late. I examined the bus stop and got further understanding as to why no bus ran along Military Road. We have done bus tours before and we knew what to expect. Sure enough, we were taken to a central point for the rest of our group to get on. The central point was the new Adelaide bus/coach station, quite a smart and efficient place.

We headed off along the pretty and winding Torrens River valley and stopped for a German morning tea. The Barossa Valley has a strong German heritage and we became very aware of it as the day progressed. Nowadays we would call it a racial ghetto. Anyway, we were unimpressed by the sweet things served for morning tea at the Lyndoch Bakery, but the coffee was welcome and it was cosy place reminding me of the Cuckoo restaurant in our Dandenong Ranges.

Next stop was Richmond Grove Winery where we were shown around mainly the old part of the winery. The winery was once owned by Leo Buring, a name I can remember from years ago. The obligatory wine tasting and we chose one bottle. The rest of the group did not as most of them had weight issues because at some point in the near future they were taking flights.

The group was R and myself, two other Australian couples, a couple from LA, three possibly Malaysians who barely spoke English and a Dutch born girl from Sydney. They were all ok, but the guy from LA was behaving very 'American Tourist'. The Dutch lass, originally from The Hague was keen to be friendly with us and we responded.

On to the Whispering Wall. Quite fascinating. It is the wall of a dam and without intention, its concave outflow wall is perfectly constructed to carry sound from one end to the other.

Lunch was at another Kaesler Winery and it was very nice meal and the group started to relax with each other and get very chatty. Two more bottles were bought.

We returned via Hahndorf where we and one and a half hours to wander the streets at our own pace, and then back to the bus station in central Adelaide via that very steep hill freeway.

It was nice to have a day where I did not have to think about where we going, what we were doing and drive. The coach driver was excellent in both his driving skills and his informed commentary and his interest in each person on the tour. We had a decent chat to him on our own as he drove us back to West Beach from the city.

As guests of the caravan park, we were given a 20% discount for the tour making the price $105 each. It was good value and I would recommend Gray Line. We left the park at 8.15 and returned at 5.45.

Our last Adelaide dinner was pasta made up from bits we bought the day before.

Touring coaches are just so comfortable and look, a double windscreen, complete with its own wipers just for us. We had just set off and were travelling along Burbridge Road which becomes Donald Bradman Drive and leads directly to the city.

Don't ask me. On some vacant land next to the coach station.

Franklin Hotel in, surprise, Franklin Street.

A very simple cottage in Lyndoch..

We needed stamps for postcards.

The pretty Torrens Valley.

The Barossa Reservoir.

We stood at this end of the Barossa Reservoir wall.

And the people at the far end of the wall could hear us talk as clearly as we were standing next them, as could we hear them. I was looking around for a speaker and microphone and I am still not convinced there weren't. Truly amazing.

This would be a German Lutheran church.

In the hollow under this tree trunk lived a family for a time long enough to have two children. No evidence of a stainless steel designer kitchen remained.

Richmond Grove Winery.

A press to extract wine from the skins that remain after the main processing.

A bridge at the winery leading to.....?

These grape vines are over one hundred years old. We learnt more than we ever needed to know about grape vine pruning and even came across a machine pruning grape vines at a roadside.

Menglers Hill lookout shows the Barossa Valley below and just below the wall is a sculpture park.

Hahndorf is very pretty and historic. Here are a few of the buildings I liked.

Was the 1839 this building's street number or the year it was built.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 8 Sunday 17th

It was a grey and drear day.

I think it was about 2001 when I last heard rain on the roof. We do not hear the rain fall on the Highrise roof. But Sunday morning in Adelaide, that is what I heard. It was nice actually, although how it would impact on our day if it continued was problematic.

Ever the mapper and planner, I had worked out our route to the the National Rail Museum and the Adelaide Tram Museum perfectly. Perfect plans and real life do not always match.

By the time we got to the National Rail Museum the rain had cleared, but by golly it was cold in those train sheds. It was school holidays, still, and Thomas the Tank Engine was a feature for the weekend. They certainly breed well in Adelaide. There were hundreds of the snotty nosed there, in spite of the crook weather. There was a strolling minstrel to entertain and a band as well and a magician and other things for the kiddies. Busy enough on the dour weather day. I can only imagine what it would have been like if the weather was good.

The actual trains don't interest me much. I don't want to pull levers and stoke coal, but the history and their place and effect on society does.

The museum is in Port Adelaide, a very historic part of greater Adelaide. I could could see historical buildings, but there was no life. It reminded me a bit of Broken Hill. What a history, but what is its place in the 21st century?

We found the local shopping centre that had all the atmosphere of a morgue and found one shop open, apart from the almost empty department stores, where be bought lunch and coffee.

The perfect planner and mapper got us over a bridge and onto a freeway in the direction of the tram museum. I then lost it. There is the A13, that is what we want. No, it was the A1 we wanted. But I turned off onto the A13 and headed back towards the city. I realised my mistake and went off on a side road to get back onto the main road. We ended up in some industrial area where roads were being reconstructed. Eventually I pulled into a factory and got out into the drizzling rain and pin pointed our location on my phone. We were somewhere in Regency Park. The rain got heavier and the sky darkened. I think you could say we were officially lost. I had lost my sense of direction entirely. The phone compass facility in relation to the phone map and where we were made no sense to me. If it was me on my own, not such a problem, but R trusts me with getting us to places, and I had screwed up badly. 'You told me we just had to go to the end of the road and deviate left onto the A1'. So I did. I wished I had remembered that.

We stopped and started as we checked our location and maps, and then it was all right.

With no confidence, I said we will see a sign to the tram museum at St Kilda on the left as we travel along Port Wakefield Road. We did.

The tram museum was very good. Unlike the National Rail Museum, you could get in all the trams, poke around, and while we were still doing so, a chap came up and asked if we wanted to do the tram ride.

We hopped on board the Sydney R1 class tram and away we went. There wasn't a lot to see with lagoons to the right and a salt farm to the left, but the trip was long enough, about a kilometre to a park and then back again.

The next tram to take the trip was to be the old Adelaide tram, but one trip was enough. Had we have not got lost, we could have taken a trip on a old Melbourne tram, but they are still running back in Melbourne and not a novelty for us. We had look at some other vehicles and headed back home.

We bought some pies in Glenelg and reheated them in our oven and had them with some vegetables for dinner.

Footnote, the National Rail Museum is a federally funded organisation. The tram museum is volunteer and fund raising funded. I think this gives the tram museum an edge in the 'customer experience' area.

Pics, not too many. I know Copperwitch hates old train photos.

And a backtrack for Dina. Do not believe all Australian's use air con when they mean heating, but as our old oil and subsequent gas heaters, and hole in the wall air conditioners are being replaced by reverse cycle air conditioning units, that is they heat and cool, I feel it is time to just use air con to describe heating or cooling. I am out on a limb using the word to describe both but as you did, it can be worked out it in context. One degree sounds cold, whether you are Fahrenheit or Celsius.

The Overland, which ran between Adelaide and Melbourne.

This fearsome beast was huge.

The Barossa Wine Train. This carriage was called Merlot. Another Chardonnay and I forget the other one that made up the set. I assume it ran rail tours through the wine area of the Barossa Valley. Interesting concept, but clearly something went wrong along the way for the the train to be in the museum.

A retired diesel electric that slogged back and forth across the Nullabour Plain between Port Augusta and Perth.

The interior of this carriage looked classy. Would you believe the name on the bottle? Mardi Gras! 'Is Mardi Gras to Sir's liking?'

The St Kilda tram ride is rather different to the Melbourne version. No, we weren't tipping off the embankment into a lagoon.

The outside of our tram, a Sydney R1 class I believe. It probably retired from service in about 1960 but it looks so modern next to the just to be seen old Melbourne tram which kept right on running until about 1990. One interesting titbit, Sydney trams never used route numbers, instead a combination of written destinations, coloured symbols and at night, coloured lights.

The other tram being used for the day was an old old Adelaide tram.

Adelaide had an extensive tram system, mostly removed by the 1960s. Removing the lines in 1960.

Putting them back in the 2000s. There is a lesson in there somewhere.

I love old Deco train posters.

This was our last chance to walk the beach as tomorrow we will be up early and get back after it is dark.

Later edit: By special request, the Bluebird.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Historian Wars

What a good title, but perhaps misleading.

I have vague ideas at times that I am an amateur historian. Nonsense of course, but if I find something that interests me, I enjoy the online research and writing about it. While I don't entirely trust Wikpedia, generally I find it to be quite accurate about what I do really know about. It certainly seems to have more reliable facts than our daily newspapers. While within our cities and countryside we have vandals, so too does Wikipedia. The real danger though is people with good intentions adding what they know which may not be accurate but comes across as quite plausible.

I was put back in my box by Lisa at Timespanner when I suggested that I like local knowledge to be part of history, that is oral history. Essentially she suggested it wasn't a good idea as people get things wrong, embellish and exaggerate. Point taken, however I stand my like of oral histories and their importance to our past. If you get someone who can tell a good yarn about what they remember, it is ever so entertaining.

Then Janine wrote about I guess the essence of being an historian. Right, much time spent pouring over old stuffs in libraries and other places that store records. Some, well more and more research can be done online, but to actually sight documents or original records in whatever form is the best you can hope for. Psst, find her travel blog to the US, Canada and the England for a good read.

Yet again Lisa called someone to account and very deservedly when they write a local history and supposed facts are just not. They may have put a lot of effort into their book and researched methodically, but why not run it past a local historian, for a fee of course. You want a professional opinion, then pay.

In the early days of my blog, I was pretty careless about statements and details. I have improved muchly, but I find myself checking spellings of place names, looking at maps, etc etc, which all adds to the time it takes to write a post. I can remember not publishing at least one post because the verifying became just too hard.

Then there has been a recent dispute at Walking Melbourne over a recollection by someone against a professional architect.

But, I know, because I have been personally told, that there are errors in my Sydney tram books written and compiled by the late David Keenan. They were a work of love and a fine one indeed. I would much rather have them with the few errors than not have them at all.

Hard call really, but it has made me think about what I write and gives me some appreciation of what a proper and professional historian does.

At some point I may have imagined being an historian had I have chosen a different career path when I was young, but really, it sounds like hard work and you are ever so accountable. I like to pass responsibility onto my superiors.

Day 7 Saturday 16th

It was a cracker morning when we woke on Saturday, by far the best weather day of our holiday and luck had it that this was the day we had chosen to go to Victor Harbour.

We had business to do in the park office first, sorting out payment for our Monday tour as the office had tried to debit my credit card, the one I paid the deposit for the cabin with, and then subsequently lost (and real time, Mother rang me today to say she had received a letter that her health insurance premium had not been paid. Again a problem with the lost credit card).

I mentioned to the nice office lass that we were going to Victor Harbour. She asked if I knew which way to go. I did, which may not have been the quickest way, but the clearest to me. She suggested another route. All I heard was Brighton Road, not the way I intended going. It is well signed, she said.

It was not. I turned off onto Diagonal Road, thought I was wrong and used a cross street to get back to Brighton Road. Diagonal Road was correct. Eventually using a cross road we got onto the correct road after a realised we were going to be travelling along the west coast. No freeway appeared and we travelled on the main road to Victor Harbour. I think it was Red who indicated it was quite a dangerous road. Yes, it was steep and winding. At times it was so steep that the car was using third gear to get up hills. I was wishing I had six cylinders or at least a bigger donk.

Victor Harbour was very nice. After some refreshment, we caught the horse tram across the water on what I think is referred to as a causeway, but to my mind, it is a long connecting bridge. Slow strollers overtook us as the horse plodded across the bridge. We climbed up the steep hill to see the views, which were wonderful. We shared a meal back at the cafe and fought off the marauding seagulls who had designs on our fish and chips. A breeze was starting to pick up and it was getting a bit chilly. We walked back across the bridge to the car and took a circuitous route out of town.

Blog mates most kindly suggested places to see and go in Adelaide. I printed them out and had them with me, but we didn't have much time there for optional extras. Fen mentioned seeing Port Elliot, a couple of kilometres from Victor Harbour. I am so glad we did. It was really nice, and not overwhelmed by day trippers. We drove around and checked out Freeman's Knob! I can see within a few years that both towns will be joined by housing developments. I'm glad we saw it as it is with ugly swamp in between.

Heading home. Remember my tease that I posted while we were in Adelaide? A road that holds a world record? It is the Southern Expressway and Ben guessed it. I had been looking at maps the night before and clicked on a link to the Southern Expressway. It is the longest road of its kind in the world. It is a one direction freeway that changes direction. Weekdays it flows to bring cars into Adelaide in the morning, closes for an hour and half and then reverses direction to bring people out of Adelaide. Weekends, it does the opposite. I was amazed at the stupidity, even though its direction of flow suited us. To inaccurately quote Mark Twain as he was raised from his slumber to change trains at the break of railway gauge between Sydney and Melbourne, 'What paralysis of Parliamentary intellect....'. I understand that the SA Premier announced in 2010 that the expressway would be duplicated, but there were no signs of works. The Expressway did give us a fast trip home.

Dinner. I expected R might cook, but no, it is Saturday night, we are going out for dinner. We went to a hotel in Glenelg, the Irish Pub. I think. I had the best pepper steak I have ever eaten. I didn't take a photo of it. I should have. I imagine in summer the place would really go off. We nearly went upstairs but I turned back as soon as I heard loud music. The guard was quite happy to let us in, at our age.

That's a wrap for Saturday.

Later edit: Whoops, apparently Victor Harbor is spelt without the u in harbour. Thanks Dina.

If you came here from Red's most excellent post about Australian islands, you can go back by clicking here.

Our high speed public transport arrives at the Victor Harbour terminus.

Strollers passing us by.

Almost on the Granite Island.

I am not sure why it is called Granite Island.

Looking west from a high point on the island.

Looking back towards Victor Harbour township.

The smutty schoolboy in me likes the name Freeman's Knob at Port Elliot.

A view of Horseshoe Bay with Port Elliot houses in the distance.

I thought these flowering plants were what I know as red pokers, but when I saw some closer, they appear to be a type of succulent.

As we exited the Irish Pub in Glenelg where we dined, we wondered what the Jetty Hotel was like. It looked nice at night.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mother Day

If Mother gets a sniff of me being on holidays, and I never tell her precise details, she will ask for a day's attention. Her bestie made excuses to not take Mother to Fountain Gate shopping centre. I could not. Mother thinks that it is because she walks so slowly. I remember Mother walking very slowly when she was young. Ostensibly she wanted to buy a spencer, as with her weight loss, she is feeling the cold and she only has one and she needed another for when it was 'in the wash'. She ended up buying a bright $10 tee to wear as an undergarment.

She asked if I could come at 12. Then she rang again and said her roses needed pruning, so that would be 11. She rang again and said, forget my roses, can you do ABI Brother's hydrangea and roses. ABI Brother has big drainage issues this year, resulting in a good bit of his paving and garden being dug up and destroyed, not that the garden was much in the first place. It is not his interest but he has stumped up a good bit for repaving and landscaping.

I went to ABI Brother's place first. Mother disliked the work that had been done, but I thought it wasn't bad. Mind you, I did not have a close look.

Anyway, I live in a smart apartment with a white slim line telephone and a jacuzzi in St Kilda Road (no room for a pony). Why would I know anything about pruning? Well, I do.

I pruned ABI Brother's roses and the hydy. The hydy looks spectacular in summer. It has the perfect position, plenty of light and no hot sun but warmth from a brick wall. He has two conventional roses and a 'wild' rose. I am happy pruning a conventional rose, but not the wild style one. He also has a stunning and quite laden with flowers at this time of the year, yellow rose that has tulip shaped blooms. I would have liked a bit more time, but I did a fair job of them and just left all the cuttings for ABI Brother to pick up. I decided his daphne needed pruning too. The off cuts are scenting the Highrise very nicely.

I arrived at Mother's at 12.30 and she had cream of chicken soup for me. Sorry, she said, it should be made with milk but I am allergic to cow's milk and I made it with water. Then she said, I don't think I will have any. Well, she could have made it with milk then. She changed her mind again and had some.

I thought that her roses really need pruning and not sure when I will be here again. I better do it, so while she got ready to go out, I got stuck in. They weren't bad to do, as I had pruned them the last two years.

We took the old road to La Ville de Tracksuit Pant, aka Fountain Gate. For once Mother guided me to a sensible location, parked near where she wanted to be. Medicare, HBA, Big W, Garden Centre, Newsagent, Target, Reject and the cafe White with One where she was remembered by staff as being a previous Friday night customer with the late Step Father, her bestie and the bestie's husband. While I carted her load of shopping back to the car, the owner came out and sat and chatted with her.

Son, can you drive back along the bypass road as I need to get eucalyptus spray at the Chemist Warehouse.

I finished off the rose pruning, got the cuttings all into a green waste bin, emptied her talcumn powder clogged vacuum cleaner and took down some hanging baskets for replanting with seedlings she had bought.

I left home at 10 and got back at 6.15, a long day, but not a particularly hard one. I drift off as Mother bangs on about her medical problems and doctors, but tune in rest of the time as she reminisces and wonders about how things might have been and also offers a particularly alien viewpoint to mine on matters in the media.

The day out cheered Mother no end. Much as I moan about her, she can be quite good company, and we all have to remember how uncomplainingly our mother's wiped our arses looked after us when we were babes.

Once home I was greeted by a furious R as someone had forgotten to post Bone Doctor's birthday card. I am not sure that remembering to post things is really my responsibility, but never mind. R caught the postman as he was emptying the mail box. Of course Australia Post will deliver the card to Bone Doctor tomorrow on the Bellarine. AusPost never fail to deliver.

Andrew Highriser versus eight roses, AH 10/10, Roses, 3/10, three punctures of the hand skin. That is a win in my book.

Day 6 Friday 15th

Our intention today was to check out Glenelg and catch the tram to the city to have a look around and then back again. I hoped to be able to get the bus to Glenelg first, but some funny bugger has been messing with roads and bus routes. Ah well, we will drive and hope we can find a parking space in Glenelg for the day without too much trouble. We did and it was only a ten minute walk to Jetty Road, the main tourist street in Glenelg, and the street Adelaide's sole tram route terminates before the sea.

But before we went, we booked a tour for Monday at the office of the caravan park with a 20% discount. The buzz in the office was how cold it had been overnight, 1 degree in places. We knew. We turned the air con unit off overnight and by morning the inside of the cabin felt like 1 degree. With no ceiling space and a pitched roof, it was a hard place to heat. We subsequently left the air con on permanently, only turning it down when we were out or overnight.

Adelaide has three different types of trams. Technically their specifications are the old trams, the older new trams and the new new trams. Soon there will be four types with newer still new trams which were appearing at the docks as we were there. They are needed as the Glenelg service was busy enough mid winter. I can imagine it gets packed in summer and only a fifteen minute service is provided to and from Glenelg, with shorter runs by extra trams near the city. The old trams are no longer used and have headed off in a few directions. The used to be fun, because there were two trams linked together, like a train. Actually the Glenelg tram runs rather like a train and barely interacts with motor cars.

There was this strange person on the tram, a conductor, who sold us our tickets. This explains the lack of ticket information at the terminus. Seniors can travel for free between 9.30am and 3.00pm and rather than me pay $8.80 for a day ticket, I was advised by the conductor it would be cheaper to buy two single tickets if I intended being back on the tram by 3pm. It is quite a decent trip to town and we stayed on to go out the other side of town to see how far the new extension to the line went. While I knew where it went on a map, I was surprised how far out it went. The Entertainment Centre is its terminus. Travel on the tram from there to the southern side of the city is free and there is a $2 park and ride scheme that seems to a victim of its own success with motorists having to get there early to find a car space.

The tram waited for about ten minutes before returning to the city. We alighted at Rundle Mall as had most of Adelaide before us. Yes, school holidays. We found a toilet and somewhere to eat. It was a vibrant area and like Melbourne, its once quiet lanes are now well used. I especially wanted to see Adelaide Arcade and while not quite up there with Sydney's Queen Victoria building, it was very nice. It had its own small museum dedicated to the building's history. We left by a side door and headed towards the Adelaide Market on foot (we meant to take a tram, but we became a bit lostish. Not really lost, but we weren't sure where exactly we were. Had to get the phone out to pinpoint our location) We liked the market, perhaps better than our own Queen Victoria Market. On the southern side is Gouger Street where the small Chinatown area is. There were many nice looking eating places and many dining at the odd mid afternoon hour.

Time to head for the tram and home. The tram was on time, but so busy. My feet were killing me and I had to stand until the stop before the terminus. As we returned along Jetty Road, we were looking for an Asian restaurant to dine in that night. We didn't see any. We went back to the car and found the Glenelg Woolworths, which became our shopping centre for the rest of our stay. Of course it had a liquor outlet.

Some internet research once home turned up a highly awarded but inexpensive Thai restaurant in Glenelg called by the ever so original name Phuket. We ate there that night. It was ok. I think we get better value in Melbourne Asian restaurants, although of course it was in a prime tourist location. So that was our first full day in Adelaide and it was full enough.

Glenelg Town Hall. It doesn't lean in real life.

An Adelaide tram validator, rather low tech in appearance compared to Victoria's but they seemed to work well enough.

The old new Adelaide tram we travelled on to the Entertainment Centre.

A nice building, taken from the tram.

Anyone guess where we had lunch?

The Regent in Rundle Mall, I assume an old picture theatre.

This brat spoiled my pig photo.

I liked Oliver.

Adelaide Arcade.

This amused me. There used to be a pet shop in the arcade and police rescued the animals when a fire broke out. "A detective was bitten by a reluctant parrot and a police sergeant was kicked by a kangaroo." Some pet shop.

This fountain had seen a few locations before it was finally placed in the mall in time for the mall's official opening in 1976. In true Dolly Dunstan style, the then Premier had champagne flowing in the fountain for the opening.

The sign says Adelaide Market. I believe it was indeed.

The ubiquitous Chinatown arch. Rather a good one really.

Our transport home, a new new tram.

Why oh why can't Melbourne's public transport have a no eating and drinking rule. I did not see any rubbish on the tram floors or notice the overpowering stench of McDonalds.