Saturday, January 21, 2012

This week's flowers

I bought R the new vase for christmas. Two vases have become casualties over the past year, one given to him by a workmate and he was fond of it. If you remember, he bought me a clock radio which cost considerably more than the vase. I will buy him a really nice vase for his birthday. Of course there is some self interest in R buying me a clock radio. It ensures I get to work on time to bring home the bacon while he considers retirement.

The last photo is a City of Melbourne flower box. The salvia is surrounded by parsley and yes, I have seen people pick the parsley and eat it.

These white gladdys were just glorious. They are just past their prime in the photo with the lower blooms starting to brown.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Train exiting a hotel

Memory is such an unreliable thing. This is not how I remember the train coming out of the Station Hotel in Greville Street, Prahran?

This is the hotel as it was last year. I think it is a posh/trendy place now.

I was doubtful that this is what it looked like, but by checking with Street View, all seems to add up. The house is now part of the hotel. Of course VR stands for Victorian Railways and not my father's mate Victor Richards. My father invented his mate when I asked why there was a VR on one of our teaspoons.

This photo shows the train being removed from the hotel after a private buyer bought it which is much nicer than it going for scrap. Photo from railpage.

The Station Hotel was a somewhat famous music venue, where ACDC and other groups of the day played. Maybe Ann O'Dyne could fill us in? What history is caught in photos. See the train passing? It is in an old livery and when the photo was taken there were pedestrian subways under the railway line that are no longer there.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just a Kiss

I have written before about how at times I feel uncomfortable with the modern kissing and hugging manners. Young people seem to have no problem with it at all. I just try to go with the flow and not think about it. While I am not sure that she comes from it at exactly the same angle, so too it seems does Elisabeth from Sixth in Line.

A situation has arisen with Mother over the last couple of years, probably because my stepfather died and we need to see Mother more often now. I suspect when we saw her in the past, maybe once a month or once every two months, we always kissed when we greeted each other, only on the cheeks mind. I think the late Queen Mother had something to say about being kissed on the lips by a friend and I should think the same goes for family.

I see Mother about twice as often as R does and he always greets her with a kiss, but I no longer. Why? I think it is because she doesn't initiate one or is not in the right position to receive one. I doubt it is something she has thought about, just a subconscious act. I think Elisabeth might have been on the money when she suggested it may come down to frequency of contact.

Musing away, as I do.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Sleep of Innocent

At two in the afternoon, R's sister and her friend are sound asleep in bed. I was very impressed when I awoke at 6 this morning and they were up already, out smoking on the balcony, with the bed already made. Ah, it seems they did not leave the balcony at all and the bed was not slept in. The miracles of vodka.

They must be having trouble adjusting to the time difference, well that's my excuse for them. I couldn't do anything like that at my age, which is about their age.

The lost luggage turned up yesterday, so they were happy with that. R's sister dropped her purse in the street outside the Highrise and after some panicking and searching, they went to the police station just as a lass was handing the purse in. They were so grateful, I think they scared her and she took off quite quickly without accepting any reward for her decency.

Finally tonight we are to have a meal at home. It seems to have been a long time, well two nights actually. That's enough. Btw, my jaw is a bit sore from all the laughing I have done. R's sister's friend is incredibly funny.

Dumping sewerage into our streams

When Melbourne has very heavy rain, which is not too often, Melbourne Water is forced to dump raw sewerage into our rivers and streams at different locations. The sewerage system gets overloaded with storm water run off and the consequences of Melbourne Water not dumping the sewerage into our waterways is not something you really want to think about. Let me just say the words, back up.

I'll expound with my ignorance.

Our street was originally occupied by mostly very large houses with front and rear gardens, porous places where water would be absorbed into the ground. The street itself was lined with bluestone pitchers, with water seeping down to the earth through the gaps, and not solid concrete. Now our street is mostly high rise buildings with minimal grassed areas. There is little opportunity for water to seep anywhere. It runs into solid gutters and into the stormwater system. That all happened quite a number of years ago and the system coped.

But now in the inner and even medium suburbs, single houses with gardens and lawns are being replaced by multi storey unit developments with at best tiny areas for water to seep away. There are so many of them and excess water is just going straight to gutters and into the storm water system.

Being reasonably au fait with Melbourne's inner suburbs, I have a pretty good idea how many multi storey developments have replaced single storey housing. The number is monstrous. I am not sure if it is to Melbourne Water's credit that the problem is not much worse, but an excess of storm water gets into our sewerage system, hence the dumping of sewerage when the system gets overloaded.

I really don't have any doubt that flooding of inner areas has also become much worse as most seepage opportunities have disappeared. Unproven, but I think so.

I have made it clear in the past that I have serious issues with our huge population growth. But all these new people pay taxes, pay rates, pay for services. That is a significant amount of extra money to provide infrastructure, and yet we don't have the infrastructure.

So where is the money going? Profits to overseas companies that now own our infrastructure? Are our taxes being unwisely spent or are we not paying enough or both?

I don't know, but it all seems to be terribly wrong to me.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Karachi to Melbourne

This is kind of a repost of a video I found of a Melbourne tram decorated by some truck decorators from Pakistan. It was back in 2006 when I posted it I think, so many won't have seen it. While it is not my video, when we took a ride on the tram, it had a similar chaotic feel. We were both grinning ear to ear when we left the tram. It was a real laugh.

As the video starts and the tram approaches, you can hear the bells of St Pauls ringing and the bells almost seamlessly merge into the Pakistani music. The tram travelled around the City Circle Loop service and it was retired after 2006 and hopefully is now resting in a quiet corner somewhere with its decoration intact ready to be brought out again one day. The second very short video shows the outside of the tram in all its gaudy detail a bit better.

Monday, January 16, 2012

They're here

Well, R's Sister and her friend have arrived, but their luggage did not and remained in London. They have gone into to town to buy some emergency clothes and their cases should get delivered here tomorrow. Qantas, fail. The flight was indicated as being thirty minutes late when we left home for the airport. By the time we arrived at the airport, it was fifty minutes late. After they sorted out their case problem, we were three hours in the short term car park for the outrageous price of $28. Qantas and Melbourne Airport, fail.

Has an airport designer ever met anyone at an airport? Unlikely, otherwise it impossible to imagine how they would design the exit for passengers after clearing customs etc, to have three separate exits perhaps fifty metres apart. Try as we could, we could not see all exits at once and naturally the one we were nearest to wasn't the one they came out of. Absurd.

Once home they opened their compensation packs given to them by the Lost Luggage Department. Along with toiletries, was a grey tee shirt and grey shorts. Astonishingly the flying kangaroo was adorning the tee. So if you see people in grey tees and shorts with the flying kangaroo on it, they are Qantas lost luggage victims.

We took them down to the beach for drinks and some nibbles at a cafe and then around St Kilda a bit for R's Sister to re-familiarise herself and show where they had stayed in the past to her friend.

No idea what will happen about dinner tonight. Not my department. They arrived with two bottles of scotch for us and two bottles of vodka for them, so I can guess what will happen after dinner.

The Bush Telegraph

I listen to so many wonderful podcasts from our ABC, mostly from Radio National. I hear that podcast downloads have saved Radio National.

In no order, what I download and listen to are

Life Matters
Health Report
Law Report
360, although I often don't listen to the whole programme as they can sometimes be boring...ah wanky

I also download our local gay radio station's podcasts from Orange Ribbon, a gay multicultural show and Detours, a gay travel program.

And the last, England's Absolute Radio podcasts of Frank Skinner's show with his co-hosts Alun Cochran and Emily Dean. The humour is subtle and clever.

But there is a new show I have tuned into from ABC's Radio National, The Bush Telegraph. I am not sure about the normal show and nor am I sure that it is so new, but it did a week of features of iconic Australian animals. Let me see if I can recall them. The shows were great and well worth downloading.

Tasmanian Devils
Horses, more specifically, Walers, not so Australian and I thought horses would be boring, but not at all, and the Walers are quite Australian.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Summer in Melbourne

The marvellous Rubye mentioned in a comment that it must be summer here. Indeed it is. Above is the photo to prove it. I was at work battling the elements while R entertained Sis in Law and Chainsaw Niece just after the hail had fallen. At one point during the unseasonable weather, a line of stationary trams formed below the Highrise as the tram line power had been knocked out by a fallen tree in Domain Road.

Later when R was out and about, the fire alarm had gone off at the local police station, a few buildings along. When I say police station, it is not a small building but some twenty or so storeys high. Most people had evacuated to a marshalling area in the gravel park behind the building, but the prisoners in handcuffs were lined up in St Kilda Road for public display.

Save Sydney's Monorail

Or maybe not. Acclaimed author, the late Patrick White, campaigned vociferously against its construction. I recall his main argument being the spoilage of views. It really is a hideous and useless piece of infrastructure. Tourists use it, including me. I have to calculate how to use it, because it goes in only one direction. In Melbourne, I would just catch a tram. If it was other capital cities in Australia, just get a bus.

Don't get me wrong, I quite enjoy travelling on it, except it is always crowded, although apparently not at the moment. It is damn hot inside, in spite of the air con. Every one of our visits to Sydney has seen the monorail with a different fare system, from cash, to tokens, to cash, to cards. Naturally the price just goes up and up, to levels where only tourists will pay to use it.

I do recall being quite entranced when I saw it enter the corner of a building and then out the other side.

Well, not often you will hear me suggest that we should get rid of public transport infrastructure, if it is that, but I will be happy to see the demolition of the Sydney Monorail.

But how will I get to Darling Harbour and the Chinese Garden?

This clip is sped up. I wish the monorail would travel at such a speed. It would be much more fun.