Saturday, December 31, 2011

Princes Pier

A couple of weeks ago I visited the newly renovated Princes Pier. I walked from the tram terminus at Port Melbourne and I had forgotten that is quite a distance. Not too far, just further than I thought.

The historic pier was threatened with demolition and although I am pleased it has been saved, I am not sure what it is going to be. I assume there will be a cafe within the buildings. There are public toilets, not yet open to the public. It is clearly not finished, but I think it has potential. At the moment, it seems to lack purpose.

Approaching from the east on the walk/cycle way from Station Pier.

There were at least half a dozen of these information boards detailing the history of the pier.

This curious structure houses a couple of interactive screens, with more pier history.

Not exactly weather tight.

It was a railway pier. The rails were removed for the renovation and placed back when the concrete was poured. The Port Melbourne train was the first significant railway built in Australia. While the train went directly onto Station Pier, it could also divert to run onto Princes Pier.

This area towards the end has not yet opened. Beyond remain the pylons for the full length of the pier, without the decking. They were kept for historical reasons. I approve.

Looking back towards land with the many apartments blocks that have arisen in the last fifteen years. The grass is fake.

The renovated pier office, almost identical to the operational one on nearby Station Pier.

Many migrants to Australia arrived by ship to Princes Pier. I like this representation.

The adjacent Station Pier, with the Spirit of Tasmania berthed and being made ready for its overnight voygage to the Australia island state of Tasmania.

The circular metal work has spikes to prevent people clambering around to the other side. In the distance you can see the Newport Power Station chimney. Unlike our coal fired power stations, it runs on natural gas and can be quickly fired up to supplement our power supply. When operating, mostly on very cold and very hot days, flame burns at the top of the chimney. Warm water is discharged from the power station into the Yarra River mouth, known to fishers as The Warmies, and apparently it is a good place to catch fish.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Today Tonight on a bus

Makes a change from 'I was on a tram today.....'

R despatched me to Prahran for some supplies while he snoozed away having his afternoon nap. A bus came before a tram. Two stops later a lad boarded. He has a loud conversation on his phone. He sounded a bit gay to me but probably just one of those private school educated lads. He was wearing a straw hat and spectacles and had decent beard growth without having a beard.

I pricked up my ears when I heard him saying he was going to the Prahran Markets. Odd, because there is only one market. It was the usual conversation you hear from people on phones. I went out last night but I left at midnight and was home by half past twelve and in bed by one. I missed some conversation as someone else started talking loudly on their phone. It is hard to listen to two conversations and read a book at the same time. I had to start work at six and... the next word I caught was hangover and a cure. I immediately thought of vitamin B, like Berrocca. Then he said something like, ok, see you Mum, cheers. Thanks Mum. This struck me as odd too, as earlier it did not sound like a son to mother conversation.

Still, just a phone conversation you hear when travelling on public transport, or was it???

Apparently not.

Channels 7's Today Tonight happened to stray onto the Highriser television set tonight and they had a brief segment on hangover cures. Who should I see, but the same straw hatted and bespectacled guy who was on the bus talking on his phone about his hang over cure. I didn't catch the name of the product. Clearly, given the very minuscule coverage on Channel 7 and him doing ads on a bus, the advertising budget for the product must be very small.


As if the bilious green is not bad enough, now we have a violent orange tram seats. Each on their own is bad enough, but then combining the two.....

Later addition: I took this photo a few weeks ago. A few days ago I was on the tram the Queen travelled on and it had the same seating. I was puzzled. Then I realised the orange seat was in the same location. It is a seat for the elderly and infirm, near the front tram door.

An electric message arrives

Dear reader, I need help. This most absolutely hottest young guy who reads my blog wants to meet me and another blog mate for coffee or a drink. He is in an a relationship, so he does not want me for hanky panky. His loss. He is edjacated, artistic, a high achiever, a professional and young. I am not edjacated, I am not artistic, I am not a high achiever, I am not a professional and at fifty blub blub, I am not young.

Meeting men unknown to me for a hook up, I have no problem with. But this is different. Can I say I am shy? Well, maybe not. Can I get away with I am extremely self concious? Perhaps. I would primp and preen, pluck and shave, colour and highlight, change clothes umpteen times, but at the end of the day, I am still an old man. It is a futile effort. Yet, I don't think he wants to meet an unnatural version of me. He probably wants to meet the real me, the one who has all the confidence in the world on the internet, but not always in real life.

Lordy, it was hard enough meeting blog mates older or around the same age as myself. I just don't think I can do it with a young and vibrant person.

I just checked a nice photo of him from his blog that I saved. Hot dude for sure. How can I tell him that I don't want to meet him, but it is not about him, but my own insecurities?

While I will assemble some kind of reply to him and try to do it so both he and I are left with some self respect, I am just so not sure what to say. Given he has probably already read this and now hates me, perhaps it matters little.

Truth be told, I am not on holidays. R is, and at home. I like to include R in things. Work is difficult at the moment with bad working times. R's Sister is to arrive soon and we are preparing. Sister et al are going to stay for a bit. I just don't see how I could fit any more in.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Eve Emergency

I forgot to mention about the Bellarine Peninsula christmas eve emergency. Emails were sent, favours called in, contact networks activated and telephone wires and waves ran hot, and at the very last minute a hairdresser was found who could even up Little Jo's self administered haircut to one side of her head.

"She didn't do a bad job considering she used craft scissors," was the hairdressers comment.

Share the cloth

When I was a kid, a towel was towel. It hung on the bathroom rail and after bathing, you used it. People had used it before you and people would use it after you. This includes drying their hands after washing them. I suppose Mother looked after the towel changing business. I can't remember.

This persisted until I met R. Even in my teen years when living with my father and stepmother, it was as above. You just always looked for a dryish towel, not whether it was used.

I don't know exactly when or why it happened, but very early in my and R's relationship, we started having our own towels.

Over the years we have become more and more fussy about our towels. No one else is allowed to use them. (I can see you V, nodding away)

With two bathrooms now, it is pretty easy to manage. If we are travelling, my towel goes in place on the rack/rail, and R's goes in the other and we remember which is which. R being left handed and me being right handed helps. His goes left, mine right. I am not telling you about top or bottom if it is vertical stacking, as you will read things into that.

When bathing at Sister's, she always yells out as you about to get into the shower, there is a clean towel in the ....

At home I make sure a house guest has a towel in their room to use when the attend the bathroom. They get our very old towels, washed of course.

I have you absolutely fascinated and drawn in now, I am sure.

We have three sets of towels for our personal use, one brown, one red, one green. Each set comprises a towel and bath mat for me, and a towel, bath mat and hand towel for R's bathroom, his being a public one, so the hand towel is for the use of visitors. We don't use face washers, although we have some assorted face washers for the use of guests. Little Jo seems to require the use of a few of them when she visits.

In the past I used to change the towels once a week, always on Friday but here in the Highrise, they don't seem to air or dry as well, so R requested a more frequent change. I now change them every sixth day, which does require some thought as to when to change the towels, rather than every Friday. I did work out that to rotate the towels evenly, it must be brown, green then red. The alphabet is useful.

I have just had to think why we have three sets when two would be enough. We bought our towel sets at Boxing Day sales just before R's sister and husband to be visited. We bought an extra set for them to use. This was perhaps in 2008, so the towels are four years old and getting thinner. We are to have new house guests in a couple of weeks, R's sister, a different one, and her friend, and we need new towels, so Boxing Day sales it will be. Funny that Boxing Day sales have started already, three days before Boxing Day.

I'll just keep you hanging on the edge before telling you in another post about how I launder the towels. But if you would like to tell me about your towels, feel free. I don't expect any of you can top my fussiness, unless you live alone.

(obviously this was written before Boxing Day, but no new towels yet)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

That Day Summary

Christmas eve was spent at Sister's with Mother and ABI Brother arriving for an evening meal. Earlier we took a decent walk and visited Point Lonsdale Lighthouse. I'll make separate post about that. Later we took her dog for a walk and swim to the dog beach. Then dinner, exchanging of gifts, a visit to the local community christmas tree and home, a one hour and twenty minute drive, arriving home at 10.45 when I have to get up for work at 5.30.

Sister gave us a nice calendar featuring Victorian lighthouses, but I had already bought my own, Bush Babe calendar. Conflict.

We gave ABI Brother a BB calendar and Sister gave him a lighthouse one too. ABI Brother's calendar cost $22. He gave R and myself a gift voucher for $50. I feel cheap. I will make it up next christmas.

When I saw Little Jo, I said, Little Jo, I heard you were very naughty and hosed Nanny? She just grinned very widely. She taught me a card game I had never played before, and it had no winnner. Odd but fun.

Mother has a habit of picking up a banana when visiting and sticking in in her bag. 'I've protected your banana, Sister'.

Sister made a lovely christmas dinner and she had to do it all again on christmas day. Mother no longer makes the christmas pudding. It is Sister's job now and she uses Mother's recipe once she metricated it. It was the best plum pudding I have ever eaten.

My last clock was one that had digitally marked drop down flaps. It was old and each time a flap dropped, it made a noise, that is once a minute. R bought me this new one about twenty five years ago. It was a fine clock and still works well except the volume control is dirty and makes the volume so hard to adjust, the radio is nearly unusable. Well, the whole clock is dirty. In fact filthy. It is a while since I attempted to clean it, unsuccessfully.

Regardless of my obvious need for a new clock radio, I was not suspecting a new one for christmas, but that it what I got. It has a digital and FM radio. Boxing Day, I could not get the alarm to switch off and had to consult the manual. It is very complicated beast, but I am now mastering it. The alarm starts very softly and slowly increases its volume. The digital and FM radio reception is excellent. I am ever so pleased with it.

After work on christmas day, I joined R and friends at a friend's house and they kept me a christmas nosh up. Boxing evening, with friends at another friend's house, another christmas binge. No more food, please. Three christmas dinners in three days is too much.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Late Bruce

Homophobic, racist, misogynist, blunt. No not me you fool. The late Bruce Ruxton, retired president of the Returned Serviceman's League.

I only went once to Partner's Tavern I think. It must have been the original location of the Lotus Club. Wednesday night comes to mind. I think it was in Port Melbourne. It was known as a gay hotel and run by a guy, his wife and his boyfriend. Hey, it worked for them.

One evening in came Mr Ruxton for a meal, accidentally I suppose . He may have been homophobic, but it didn't stop him having a fine old time in the company of gay men.

For all his faults, I understand he helped many many returned service men. Few people are all bad.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Lucky I pre-prepared christmas posts. I am absolutely whacked with family, social stuff and work. Better post something. I was going to delete this photo but instead I will share the pleasure I felt when twice in the week I have woken in the morning, having turned the fan off overnight, and found the blades had stopped at 90 degrees to the walls. It has never happened before, then twice in a week. Stars aligning?

The proof is not in the photo as it doesn't look quite straight, but it was.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I see the lights

T'was the night before christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

I say that to myself quite a few times around christmas, very much so should R and I be home on christmas eve. It is part of something longer in a book I read. We won't be home this christmas eve but I will be saying it mentally at times.

Cities are lit up all over the world to celebrate christmas. Even in non christian countries where christmas is not celebrated, still they celebrate it. Big business is all powerful.

I have been quite aware of Budapest for some time because it is a tram city. I was aware of it earlier because of unpleasant events nearly seventy years ago. Then Victor embarked on a river boat in Budapest. And then along came the marvellous Jane and Lance who live there part time. Budapest appears to be a beautiful city and who better to show you than Hamster with his You Tube videos of public transport. Sad ass Australia, you are not even in the running in the lighting department.

I am the least religious person you could know, so whatever religion you are or aren't, I still have no hesitation in saying to you, Merry Christmas.