Saturday, September 24, 2011


Do you know what a Geordie is? It is a person who hails from Newcastle upon Tyne in England. Of Geordies, I have known a few. In fact I have spent my last 32 years with one.

The Geordie accent is quite distinctive. Broad accented Geordie is dying as many British accents become homogenised shadows of their former selves. For this we should be grateful, as we can actually understand the non broad accents. To the novice, Geordie sounds like a Scottish accent, but I can tell the difference and I am not great at accents.

I don't have an accent of course, but everyone else seems to. I can't even put on an accent. An English person may pick up that R has a couple of vowel sounds that are English, but really, he sounds very Australian. We are to meet a blog mate in a week or so. I will ask him in retrospect and if he has read this, his ear will be tuned in on the occasion.

But the funny thing to me is as soon as R talks on the phone, or latterly Skype, to his relatives back in Geordie Land, his accent is straight back to Geordie, although to them, he probably sounds quite Australian. It puzzles me as to how you can switch an accent off or on.

Perhaps I am not so objective. Do other people who know or have met R think he has an English accent?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Something light to start your weekend

When sincere people like me fall madly, deeply and passionately in love with a celebrity and want to have their babies and spend the rest of my life with them, well, that is as long as they stay as they are. Oh no, I'll not be wanting them once they are past their prime. Forever is only for so long in my book.

Ouch, did a get a recent blast about Luke Halpin!!! What did I say? Probably something like I just said above. I give you my old posts on Jamie here and here. As they do, the mighty have fallen. S'pose I might still rub bellies with him, just for old times sake.

Where have the koalas gone?

Julie puts it quite simply and stylishly here.

I will simplify it even further although less elegantly. Since white man arrived in Australia, the koala population has dropped from ten million to 43,000 because we have chopped all their trees down.

I think that is why the phrase 'no brainer' was invented.

Come on in Sol, the water's fine

Solly Lew is having a pool party for the general public. All are welcome. Maybe I will revise my opinion on philanthropy by the rich, US style. Solly has built the public a swimming pool, an infinity pool no less. While it looks like it might be attached to his home, he has built it on Crown ground, so it is clearly for the use of the public.

I wouldn't mind doing a lap or two. I'll try not to wee in it but its the cold you know.

Quite an important principal is at stake here. Crown land is public land. Not land to be annexed for use of the rich. I thought we got past that a couple of hundred years ago.

Conservationists and local residents are planning a protest. Good on them. It will be interesting to see how this one ends up. The rich taking over public land and being permitted to by the state government? Will Premier Ballieu's sister Kate (recommended reading, by Dina) be at the barricades again? Which way will the council swing? Pro new money or pro old establishment. Will anti Semitism be brought up?

I am reminded of a visit to Pipeworks. I remember nothing about Pipeworks or what it is (a market?), except for a car. We walked past the car in a car park. The car said to us, 'Move away. You are too close'. Of course intrigued, we moved closer. 'You are in a prohibited area. Do not touch the car. Move away'. It was pre mobile phone days and I expect it would now also say, 'I am calling the police'. I told my Thai friend at work about the amusing car, and he said that if it was in Thailand, the car would quickly be smashed up. Apparently that is how Thai's deal with infringements of a public space.

Of course in Australia that doesn't happen, but if the local residents, protesters and conservationists smashed up Sol's pool, who would want to see them prosecuted?

Now where is my six pound sledgehammer?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Car Tech

My car is ever so high tech. It has a cd player, which is an advance on my last car which had a cassette player.

For reasons to be explained in another post, I wanted to play a cd. I can't remember playing one before in the car. Maybe I have, but I had forgotten how the machine works. I tried inserting the cd into the slot. It would not go in. It occurred to me that maybe there was one in there already. Yes. Ah, Indian music. I had forgotten about the cd a friend made for me. I must have used this machine before then. How do I get it out. I pressed a button and half the face of the machine fell off. Yes, you are supposed to take this bit with you when you leave the car. As if anyone would want to steal this radio/cd player. Try this button and out popped the cd. I inserted the new one, and away it went.

I listened to three tracks between home and work. The next time I used the car, I wondered if the cd would pick up where it left off. Of course not. It started at the beginning again.

Wait, Denise Scott is on the radio. I want to hear her. I ejected the cd and it poked out a bit as I went to grab it, the machine sucked it back in a again. I repeated the action, as did the machine. It was too quick for me and I soon tired of this game and the first line of the first song.

Then I learnt that to eject properly, you need to press and hold the eject button. The cd comes right out and it easy to remove. If you don't remove it, after a few seconds it takes it back in for safekeeping and does not start playing.

I should have just skipped this technology. Fancy learning about cd players just as they are disappearing.

It's a Furphy

Some of you will know what a furphy is and also what a Furphy cart is. I would define a furphy as a lie in the worst case, or something misleading like a rumour. It has almost taken on the meaning of red herring.

Furphy carts were built for farmers to move water around their properties by J Furphy of Shepparton, Victoria. Previously they would have used barrels or similar. Come WWI and they found uses on the battle fields of Europe and Africa.

Furphy as a lie or rumour had its origins during WWI when soldiers gathered around the water cart and were told by the cart driver, and told each other, gossip and rumour about the war's progress, where they might be next sent, how well or not the enemy was doing. You get the idea. These stories swapped were often wrong and baseless, hence rumours developed a life as furphies.

While it is interesting history, I assumed the Furphy cart maker was also just history. So I was surprised when I looked down while standing at a tram stop in Carlisle Street, St Kilda and there was the name on the quite new grating, Furphy Foundry.

If you take a gander at the Furphy website, you will see that they make rather a lot of our street furniture. From their website, below is a photo of a Furphy water cart. While what was in relief at the end of the tank changed many times over the years, a little saying was featured for a long time in various styles.

Good, better, best - never let it rest - till your good is better - and your better, best.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


If you don't know about elm trees, you might think our local elms have burst into leaf. The London plane trees in the background have, but the elm trees have only formed their hops, or seeds. These will dry and blow away and once again the elms will be bare until the leaves arrive. The elms below the highrise are well shaded and so come into leaf quite late, but I can never remember them getting their hops this early in the season.

Qantas Sux?

My workplace once anonymously surveyed its staff to see what moral was like. Management was absolutely shocked with the result that indicated there was barely a scrap of staff goodwill towards our employer. That was a bad time a few years ago and I remember it vividly. We have all moved on.

I used to feel a little pride in our national airline Qantas. Now I despise it as a money hungry, cost cutting, overpaying management behemoth who treats its staff very badly. I fear a survey of Qantas staff morale would produce similar results to my workplace those few years ago.

I think people used to generally have positive feelings about Qantas, but I have not heard a good word for them for quite some time. Are Qantas not concerned about their media image? While I am sure they pay a lot of money to many to manage their media image, I consider it money badly spent as it clearly hasn't worked.

Can I be specific?

Hiding behind 'safety first'. Be it the farce at Sydney Airport yesterday when two people went through a wrong door and the terminal had be evacuated, planes unloaded and everyone rescreened, or when other planes considered it safe to fly when there was volcanic ash was in the air, but Qantas didn't.

A very hectoring chief executive who pays himself $7 million a year, yes seven million dollars. How can anyone be paid that sort of money?

If a company tries to charge me for using my credit card for paying, I usually pay cash if I can. Mostly you are not charged when there is a practical alternative. Of course there is no alternative when booking Qantas air tickets online and you pay the surcharge. Go to the office to book? Pay a in person surcharge.

Give Qantas some love in comments. Media monitors will be watching for it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Acland Street

The St Kilda locals are revolting. The are bemoaning the loss of their local shops for local people. I took a look with the Box Brownie at the ready.

Most of the businesses will state that they have been driven out by high rents and chain shops moving in. This is a problem of the market place. The rents will be set at what the market will bear. How in a capitalist society can it be otherwise? Public subsidy for small businesses? Where does that end? Next thing, big business will want subsidies........oh, they have them already.

What does amuse me slightly is that some of the places the locals are missing are actually chain shops.

The rot started with the loss of the fondly remembered Cafe Scheherazade, a cafe started in the 1950s by Jewish refugees that ended up being a refugee for Jewish refugees. That is a place where they could be among their own and eat the food they fondly remembered. It was especially popular with older single Jewish men where they would chat away and sort the problems of the world. It became like a second home to some of them.

Now what is it? FCUK

While it has been there for as long as I can remember, I was never sure what it was. I will suggest it was a fish wholesaler that also retailed. Demolished.

I may have bought an item or two of club wear at CMs in the past. I stopped when shirts started to taper inwards at the waist while my waist was heading in the opposite direction.

As well as a uniformed policeman being photographed and making the front page of The Sun newspaper while dancing on a table top at Greasy Joes, I could not possibly confirm that a certain blogmate with an interest in music did so as well, but she did. Demolished.

A phone shop replaced the rather useful Tandy's Electronics. While Tandy's was a chain, it is missed.

Cafe Vibe has closed? Where will the rich but with no obvious means of support men of Middle Eastern appearance hang out now?

Twins Cafe, gone. I never asked if they were twins. They did not look alike. They were very friendly guys who for many years gave me a caffeine fix. Still a cafe of sorts. It is the one where people are sitting outside.

Bakers Delight, gone. Again a chain, but fancy the street being unable to sustain a privately owned bakery!

This one has changed it name, but is still there. I can't remember the name. Something difficult to pronounce, I think.

How could the area not sustain a newsagent? Gone.

Monday, September 19, 2011


We have had a day or warm air being blown in from the north. In summer, it can be very unpleasant but in early spring, it was quite tolerable. Outside it is 23 degrees and very nice while sitting on the balcony. There is not a breath of wind, but that is about to change with a cool change from the south where instead of the wind as it was during the day being blown in from the hot centre of Australia, the wind will be coming in from Bass Strait and the Antarctic. Melbourne's climate usually alternate between the two over summer.

It felt so comfortable outside, I was reminded of when we lived in our last house in Balaclava. On such a night, the garden lights would be lit, the uplight on the silver birch bright, the water feature tinkling away and perhaps a dog or two at our feet.

We would pour ourselves a scotch and soda each and sit in the backyard and play a game or two of backgammon.

And then came the internet.

Charging Central

A new appliance has appeared at Charging Central. It was half price at the Shaver Shop and I decided I was owed a Father's Day present. Not that I have much, but it trims body hair. Without the clip on guides the result is like a very rough shave. There are three different guides to clip on, depending on the length of body hair you want to maintain. I am quite pleased with it. Btw, the radio is not plugged in but only used to make the wires look a bit tidier by hiding the bulk of them behind the radio.

So, you should go out and get yourself a body hair trimmer, and then like me, you will feel your life is complete.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Apples and pencils

Remember the neighbour who's bedroom window we can see into? One morning while getting a dose of vitamin D on our balcony, I spied an spilt ashtray on his window ledge and some vomit on the side of the building as if he had leant out the window to throw up. Then poof, he was gone.

It seems a family has moved in, with two preteen daughters who each have a bedroom. Instead of the previous idiocy of putting the lads putting their bedheads under the windows, they have sensibly placed their desks under the windows. Let me focus on one desk.

I am so cheered by her desk. She has her notebook computer with the illuminated fruit symbol sitting upon, a spiralling happy plant (cordyline?) and best, neatly laid out coloured pencils and some coloured texters. The pencils move around, so they clearly get used, but are always neat, unless they are actually being used.

Who was it who Michael Apted quoted when the first of his 7 Up series started? Show me the child and I will show you the adult. Something like that.

By the time she was two, I could already tell Little Jo would never have neatly laid out pencils. Now she is four, I feel no reason to alter my opinion. It is not good, nor bad. Just different. Both types of people can be wonderful participants in society. I may be slightly disappointed that Little Jo does not follow after Aunty Andrew who I am sure always had his pencils neatly laid out. In fact his Derwent's were kept meticulously ordered in their tin box. ABI Brother knew better than to mess my pencils up. I would have biffed him good and proper.

St Kilda's Rainman

In 2005 I put up a photo of Rainman in St Kilda's Botanic Gardens, or as they are also known, Blessington Street Gardens. This is a better photo of Rainman by De@no at Flickr. Rainman is solar powered, so the brighter the sun shines, the more the water flows. It must have been a very bright and clear day when De@no took this photos as I have never seen Rainman going at this speed.

Sadly Rainman has gone, apparently for repair, but I think it has been quite a while, in fact years since it was operational. I hope City of Port Phillip, who is responsible for Rainman and the now quite disgusting pond, is part way through speedy renovations. I hope. Rainman's pedestal sits unused in the pond. The pond level is low, with murky water and thriving slime.