Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ginger Bread

Melbourne Town Hall has a small gallery off Swanston Street and exhibitions are regularly changed. It is free and takes only a few minutes to check out. At the moment it has ginger bread christmas sculptures. The photos are at odd angles as standing distance was limited and brats kept getting in the way. Nice effort City of Melbourne. So what does gingerbread sculptures have to do with christmas? I have no idea.

A tree with lots of dangling ginger bread men, or women. Sex was indeterminable.

Melbourne Cricket Ground of course.

The Arts Centre, complete with spire and a train circling it.

Typical Melbourne scene.

Castles, snow and frozen lakes are often to be seen in Melbourne's streets.

Think we must be somewhere else now.

This building looks familiar, but I can't place it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Heading north from London

Dour old lady is about to step off a train at King's Lynne Station to go to her country cottage for christmas celebrations. I think most of England's trains that head north leaved from Kings Cross in London, so that is probably where she boarded. One doesn't like to show off, but we caught a train from Kings Cross and headed north too. Our accommodation was a little more modest than her country cottage though.

While she does have her own train, she prefers to save the expense and travel with the low life, still first class though of course. At her age, she really does need to mind the gap. Mind, the gap is nothing compared to the steps on a Melbourne tram. I understand why trams have steps, but I really don't understand why there are huge gaps between train carriages and platforms.

I like the cheers from the common folk as she departs King's Lynne Station.

Nigella Pouts

I have never really watched Nigella Lawson cooking on tv before. I knew what she looked like and heard some things about her. One of her shows is being shown on tv at the moment and I've caught a couple of episodes. I can't believe how sexual she is when she is cooking. It is quite deliberate of course and perhaps a bit too obvious, but still quite amazing. She also seems to be a quite down to earth cook. Not too much Creme Fraiche used, unlike a Brit cook from the past. Still, no body beats Jennifer and Clarissa, but sexy they weren't. How I loved seeing Jennifer's scarlet nails plunge into a bowl full of double cream, lard and salt.

On theme, I have also seen a cooking show by Gordon Ramsay. What a lovely and pleasant bloke he is. I have heard tales of course, but none of that is in this show. He is a perfectly nice fun loving father.

Those of us old enough may also remember Ken Hom. A very young Emily Dean who can be heard on UK's Absolute Radio was in a BBC studio with Ken Hom as her father worked for the BBC. Apparently his fruity off camera language created quite an impression on the young Emily.

I am on a tv cook roll here now.

A lust object of R's is Eddie, who is a cook on I think on Better Homes and Gardens. He picnicked next to us at Jells Park once. He is quite nice looking.

Personally I adore Poh, from Poh's Kitchen. She is just fabulous and a gay icon if ever I saw one. Anyone with a mouth that can open as wide as hers, has to be a gay icon.

One from the past is springing up in my mind, Jaffery or something. An Anglo Indian? Or Indian in England? I learned about my tumerics and saffrons from her.

I suppose the show had run its course, but Simon with the studded leather wrist bands and Maggie of the verjuice fame were great.

I also rather like the fat chick who likes being a fat chick who won a tv cooking show contest. I don't even know her name. Wait, Julie something. She is a good and honest cook.

Last one, a woman, perhaps from Burke's Backyard. She had a slightly cracked voice. I saw her not so long ago on SBS. Maeve or something like that.

I am just so not going back to Graham Kerr or Bernard King or that pretentious cook from Perth. Suck it up Lord Sedgwick. I gave you a nice photo of Nigella.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I wish

Last weekend Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo went to Bone Doctor's parents for an early christmas dinner. They called in to see Mother on their way home.

Little Jo was very naughty and did something we all wish we could do at times. She turned the hose on her Nanny full pressure while Nanny was taking her dry washing in from the clothes line. Hahahahahahahaha. Little Jo was sternly reprimanded as Sister and Bone Doctor tried to stifle their laughter. She has wet Nanny before and Nanny thinks it is a joke and plays up to her. I don't think Nanny will do that again.

The Mailman Commeth

Various things ordered both locally and overseas have turned up at the Highrise over the last month or so. I made myself very happy and R approves of them all too.

First up was the advent calendar ordered from Richard Sellmer in Germany. The company has been producing them for over sixty years. I am very pleased with it. I took it down one day when Little Jo was here so that she could find and open the appropriate window and with daylight behind it, I realised the windows are translucent, so we placed it in front of a lamp. I will take it to the Bellarine on christmas eve so that Little Jo can open the last window, the 24th, and then perhaps cut it up for craft. It doesn't really show in the photo, but it has lots of glitter, which has found itself spread around the Highrise.

I decided to buy one of the lovely Bush Babe's calendars this year for ourselves. Then I thought, instead of buying Weather Bureau calendars as gifts, I will buy three more of BB's calendars. They arrived beautifully packaged with a nice note and a personal message on one addressed to us. How sweet. I am looking forward to the 1st of January when ours can go up.

And then my spur of the moment late night purchase of the Underground Diary arrived. It is a gorgeous diary, with a page a day and the pictures are copies of posters designed for London's Underground in the 1930s. Some of the pictures are truly great art. Here are a few I scanned.

The cover. For some reason it reminded me of the artist Bracks' painting, Collins Street, 5pm. I checked on the net and it looks nothing like the Bracks' painting.

Trooping the Colour. There are just so many fantastic posters.

For you cricket fans out there or you Underground facts fans.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Family - bah

Just when we thought we finished with family stuffs, Mother's garage sale, Little Jo decorating the tree and Sis in Law's wedding, along comes Maria.

Her name used to be pronounced Marry, then it went to how we would normally say Maria, but now it is Mariah. Somewhere in the distant past of my blog you can read about her when she visited us with her daughter and then husband. She is R's youngest sister and lives in the north of England. I take a charitable view of my own Sister when she disappoints us. I am fighting for R to do the same for his sister.

Another of R's sister's mentioned about, pephaps I should give Maria the privacy I give other people and call her M, that she was coming to Australia to see us. This would have been about mid year.

We rolled our eyes and doubted that the twice divorced M would visit us. R had left countless messages on her phone with no return call. He was getting very annoyed.

While we were off selling Mother's junk one Saturday morning, M left four messages on our answering machine. It was clearly Friday night drinks time in the UK and the last message was incomprehensible. However, the first confirmed she is coming and gave us a date in mid January. Oh, and she is bringing a friend. We guessed who the friend is. She was about ten years old when she waved R off from a window when he left home to come to Australia in about 1970. We caught up with her when we visited England in 2008 and she is full on, over the top, gushing and quite glamourous. This is rather the opposite to us at our age. I suppose it all be ok. They don't want us to organise anything and they may go to Sydney for a couple of days. I expect there will be a lot of sunbaking at St Kilda Beach.

Just to ensure we are onside, this nice bunch of flowers arrived for christmas and later an expensive card.


A black man, a red head, an Asian and a fair haired guy with dreadlocks walked into a bar together. That's all.

We dined at Mezza in East Brunswick, so they actually entered a restaurant rather than a bar.

'Arrgh, modern Australia', I remarked to R. 'Indeed', he replied.

Now for some odd reason, Mezza has a licensed bar, but only available to you if you dine inside. If you sit outside, like we did, it is bring your own only. I despatched R to the Quarry Hotel for a chilled bottle. In the meantime, many phones came out to take photos of the baby Fiat parked outside. The Bolter had a baby blue one and she and Step Grand Father Charlie drove it from Sydney over the high plains to our farm in Gippsland. The seats don't look very comfortable.

Whilst R was buying said chilled bottle, a gathering was happening at the restaurant next door. A man arrived, shook a couple of blokes hands and kissed a couple of other blokes on the cheeks in the Mediterranean manner.

Yes, the modern Australia. Many colours, many creeds and many cultures. Blended they make up our country. On individual paths, they do not. We observed a lot of blending while we were dining.

It was on about the seventh crowed tram I caught today that R remarked, wouldn't you like to turn the clock back to when the city wasn't crowded at 9pm on a Tuesday and you could get a seat on a tram? Possibly, I replied, but you remember the good about the old days and forget the bad.

We do enjoy being older and observing ourselves behaving like older people.

Another example. Across the road at our local cafe that serves us fine coffee for $2.70 a cup, an electric banking machine has been installed next door. It is some odd bank, Metway or something like that. While we sat and had coffee, there was a constant beeping from the electric bank as people pushed buttons and received cash. Now, if you use an electric bank that is not your bank's, there is normally a fee. $2 comes to mind. All these young people are Metway bank customers, I mentioned? No you stupid old man, it is only people like us that would worry about $2 to use a foreign electric bank. Young people don't care. And it seems it is thus.

Here is a couple of photos of the Fiat. It was stunning.

Belly dancer performing every night for the month of December. She was quite slim. I like a belly dancer with a belly. The best belly dancer I have seen was an Indian lad at the long gone Jocks in Peel Street, Collingwood.

The library has projections on it for christmas. We were underwhelmed. At the top is says Merry Christmas Melbourne and below, Christmas in the Silberhaus Home. I am sure one of you will tell me what Silberhaus means. Haus means home doesn't it? Was the Home at the end unnecessary?

Once I had a crack at Sister along the lines of, well you could actually stay home. She bided her time and somewhat later came back at an appropriate moment with, well, you could actually go out.

We do go out occasionally to somewhere unfamiliar and while we enjoy it, once home, it is reinforced why we like staying home. A bit like returning from a holiday really.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


The Sydney Broadcasting Corporation, occasionally known as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, is at it again. The more I whinge, the more they do it.

I was listening to the ABC local radio 7pm news on digital. The programme was being broadcast nationally and the delightful Libby Gore was to follow. So what was the 7pm news problem? Once again, I started to hear the names of Sydney suburbs in the bulletin. The news was NSW news, not national news.

The days of a fifteen minute news, ten of national and five of local, at 7pm have long past. The gong to separate the two went missing long before the move to Ultimo. I am not a dinosaur. I cope with change and recognise that the past often SEEMS better.

But what disrespect is dished out all to all the other parts of the country when NSW news is broadcast nationally. It is so frequent now that I am starting to recognise the Sydney news readers' voices.

This time I emailed my ABC the SBC.

Unto ye a child was born

The bigots and homophobes seem to have pulled their heads in and shut their gobs, to perhaps mix things up. The silence is deafening. Senator Wong, Australian Minister for Finance, and her partner have produced a baby, and a fine head of hair Alexandra has too. Who could deny that this will be a much loved child. Makes me a little bit proud to be Australian, in spite of me disagreeing with much of Senator Wong's rhetoric.

Later thought. Ian Molly Meldrum is an openly gay man. Where are the homophobic haters? I've heard nothing but good wishes for Molly's health from all directions after his fall from a ladder. This is good.

Photo by the marvellous William Yang.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chewing the leg

It stretched to two meals, one sandwich and a gnaw on the bone. I love a leg of lamb and although expensive, if you can do the above, it does bring the cost down. As you can see, there is not much left for a pooch. Can you guess what the skewer is for?

'Tis some funny things

She must have been seventy years old at least. She put her Myki card in the resting place on the machine, inserted twenty dollars into a slot, pressed a few things on a screen and collected a receipt and her now credit topped up public transport Myki card. She boarded a tram and was off. At 77 Mother says she can't use public transport.

I learn so much about the world by listening to the BBC world service, Deutsche Wella and Radio Netherlands. I was surprised to hear about the local Victorian town Strathewen which was nearly burnt to the ground in the 2009 bushfires and its resurgence on Radio Netherland's Earth Beat.

Sister has taught Little Jo about Jesus and nativity scenes. I think they even made a nativity scene together. There are now two things that Sister does not answer back to me about. One long ongoing one is about public funding of private schools and now, the newest, when I asked why isn't Little Jo leaning about a more entertaining fairy tale than the one about Jesus being born. At least Little Jo is officially a heathen and hasn't been baptised. Much to Sister's chagrin, her three brothers were baptised and she wasn't.

The christmas socialisation has well and truly started. I've had enough already. We've done three, must catch up before christmas, dinners. I am rather pleased to be working on christmas day. We will spend christmas eve with the immediate family on the Bellarine, christmas evening with friends in Caulfield and Boxing night with friends in Box Hill. I know it is wrong of me, because so many don't have anything happening for christmas, but for me, what a luxury it would be to be alone on christmas day and not having to bother about the lead up, the day, and the following.

In the past I have tried to help, to assist, but really it is better to leave R to himself to the cards, the decorations, the tree, the gifts. Christmas for me is a cultural thing, not a religious thing. I do stamps, printing, envelopes, labels.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

QV Gardens

I alighted from the tram, crossed the road and was almost run over by a speeding cyclist on a shared footpath/bike path. Ring, ring, went his bell. Hi Andrew, he called out. It was a neighbour. Who was in the wrong? I don't know.

Queen Victoria Gardens are part of the larger Domain area of parks close to the city. This is the hammer thrower, correctly called The Pathfinder. I used to see council workers put out the hammer in the mornings and take it in at about 3pm. They no longer bother. If it was left out, the youth would steal it. It is a rather good sculpture.

This photo is from about six weeks ago. The one that follows is the bed last week. Things have grown.

The Floral Clock, I assume the mechanism, was given to Melbourne by the Watchmakers of Switzerland in 1966. Do pass on our thanks personally Kath. On the green post to the left is a button to push to hear a rather too long recorded history of the clock and the area. Flowers there have grown in six weeks too.

Ah, the bloke on the horse is an Edward, VII perhaps. VII? Was there a seven?

This is the Walker Fountain. I remember it being built and I would have thought in the mid 1990s. The plaque tells me it was 1981. I scarcely believe that. Walker was a Lord Mayor of Melbourne in the 1970s. Now he head honcho of Grand Pricks car race org. The fountain was shut down during the drought, and then converted to recycled water. While it is a boringly conventional fountain, it is rather nice. It is now illuminated in blue at night. I don't go out at night to take photos. You can if you want.