Saturday, March 17, 2012

I am often attracted to women of style. Style does not necessarily mean the way someone dresses. God Gough's wife has died yet to call her such is to do her a disservice. Margaret Whitlam was a person in her own right, as all women should be and are of course. While I don't know about our present Prime Minister, in my memory Australia's Prime Ministers' spouses have been been powers in their own right. Dame Pattie Menzies may have been decorative and very proper but activist Prime Ministerial spouses began with Margaret. Tammy Fraser, followed, as did Hazel Hawke, Jeanette Howard and Theresa Rein (Rudd). If they weren't publicly active, they certainly were in the area of spousal pillow talk.

I may be an old loser socialist, but Australia is poorer for the loss of Margaret and what she represented.

Emperor Hirohito and his wife were not tall. Gough and Margaret are/were.

GP Hotness

One should be patriotic and support one's own country. But then our Grand Prix racers aren't as hot as Britain's Lewis Hamilton. You can see from this old post that I am faithful to my lust objects.

What a pity he disgraced himself here in Australia two years ago.

St Pat's Day

Happy St Patrick's Day to my Irish heritage readers. Well, I have one at least.

It takes quite a lot to make someone stop and look at another person's outfit in Prahran. People who frequent the area have seen it all. But perhaps lads dressed in green are a bit different, even for Prahran. They are no doubt going to drink some green beer at some point during the day and they will probably turn green at some point too.

A sound I miss

And it is about the only thing I miss about the dial up internet. Already there will be teenagers who will have no memory of what happened when your computer's modem dialled up a modem at your internet service supplier. If they had enough modems available, you would connect. If not, engaged and try again. I think we connected to the silent cable modem in 1999 and the sound was to be heard no more in the Balaclava house. This humourous clip will remind you of the sound.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Chinese hats

I don't remember these bollards before. They suit the China Town location in Heffernan Lane off Little Bourke Street. I guess they are there to prevent the ubiquitous white delivery vans from putting two wheels up on the footpath, but then most people walk along the roadway anway. They do make for an orderly lane though and if you frequent a large city's China Town, you will know that they can quickly become very disorderly if not kept under tight control. One could suggest the nuisances might be committed.

The joys of inner city high rise living, Part 2

Remember when I was complaining about the air con coming on at night time on the roof of the commercial building next door? I don't know if was my complaint to the council that did the trick or not, but a week after making the complaint, the noise at night has thankfully stopped. The unit seems to be back to its normal daytime operation.

Bliss, quiet in the highrise again.

Oh, except for the Australian Grand Pricks happening this weekend at our nearby Albert Park. It is the set up period, the road closures and the loss of our park that annoys me. As irritating as the unearthly scream of the Formula 1 cars is, it is quite brief.

But after that, it will be quiet won't it? Easter is coming soon, a nice peaceful time. Oh, not so peaceful in the Highrise.

Dear resident/trader,
As part of the modernisation of Melbourne’s tram network, Yarra Trams will be renewing tram tracks in
St Kilda Road between Southbank Boulevard and Commercial Road from Good Friday 6 April to the early
hours of Thursday 12 April 2012.

The major works to renew the tram tracks and overhead power cables will begin at 6am on Friday 6 April
(Good Friday). The works will be done in two sections:
• Early hours of Friday 6 April to approximately 5am Tuesday 10 April
- Southbank Boulevard to Commercial Road
• 5am Tuesday 10 April to approximately 5am Thursday 12 April
- Works continue between Domain Interchange and Commercial Road
There will be significant noise and dust created during the works as large mechanical excavators break the
road surface to allow for the removal of the old rail and concrete.
While the works will continue 24 hours a day, Yarra Trams will make every effort to do the noisiest works
between 6am and 10pm each day. However, there may be a need to conduct some noisy work after dark to
ensure St Kilda Road reopens to trams on Thursday 12 April.

At least with new tracks, the trams will be quieter, one would think.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


It isn't a table cloth but my shirt. I can't remember ever wearing out a casual shirt but this one has. I was in the middle of ironing it when I noticed the wear. It is a very close up photo and no one would notice the wear, but it ain't gonna get any better. The shirt must be quite old but I like its cut and the way it sits when it is on. As it was mostly ironed, it will see one more wear.

Just a day

Me, Hello dear
R, Hiya sweets
Me, Did you get caught by the accident in Toorak Road this morning?
R, Yes, it had just happened as I went past. People were running everywhere and someone was giving the woman CPR.
Me, Oh, nasty.
R, There was no point with the CPR. Her head was wide open and brain mushed. It was just awful. I feel guilty for not stopping but people were coming from everywhere.

Me, Sister sent me an sms. Little Jo's godmother's son is going to be on In Gordon Street Tonight. Do you remember who Little Jo's godmother is?
R, Nope.
*We can only guess who in the show he was.

R, Ex Sis in Law rang. She is doing the post office course for two days next month in preparation for when they take over the country store. She wants to stay the night.
Me, fine. That will be nice. We'll go out for dinner. Just her?
R, Yes.

Me, You know how we are going to be celebrating Mother's birthday on Sunday in a couple of weeks but I am supposed to be working?
R, Yes.
Me, I asked for a week's leave and got it. But I have a sore throat when I swallow. Clearly I have caught your cold. But I dare not have a sickie after work was kind enough to give me the week off. I also checked my work finishing time on the Saturday when we are having dinner out for your birthday. It is 6.40 so if I come straight from work, I should be there by seven.
R, Not ideal, but what can you do.
*I hate going out straight from work, getting changed in the car, not having a shower or a relax, but as R said, what can I do.

R, The weekend of your Mother's birthday, Bone Doctor, your Sister and Little Jo are staying one or two nights. Have you pinned them down exactly when?
Me, No, it is a fluid situation. But you will be looking after Little Jo on Saturday at least. Sorry I will be at work, but they all do want to come to your birthday dinner.
*Friends and family used to always be so separate in our lives, but they aren't now. Our ex NT politician friend took a few people down to see Queen Mary 2 pass through the heads and he called in for coffee at Sisters. After checking with Sister and Bone Doctor, I gave him their address and phone numbers.

*Although I had taken steaks out to thaw for dinner two nights ago, the cook went on strike and we went to La Porchetta in Toorak Road. We sat on the terrace in the warm evening air, had a carafe of wine, pizza and pasta and watched the world go by. We were in the cheap seats though. Next door Da Noi was filling fast with posh Toorak Road types. Da Noi is where the old Brummels used to be. Contrary to what you may think, it is not Vietnamese, but Italian. I have heard Da Noi does not have a menu per se. You just choose from what chef has cooked for the night.

R, Look, work at the old Longford movie theatre site has started.
Me, Surely it must be low rise at the front and not too tall at the back.
R, What do your reckon about a front one with a large balcony and we could watch the Toorak Road street life?
Me, I keep telling you. I am not moving.
*This time I mean it, but then I meant it every other time too, just before we put the place on the market.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Tube

BBC Two is screening a documentary series called The Tube. The show examines various aspects of The Tube's operation, maintenance and problems all interspersed with Tube staff speaking.

Of course we in Australia can't watch it on the BBC player site, like people overseas can't watch Australian ABC tv on IView. This is very unfair to expats, to say the least. But there are ways around it, hey V.

I was having a search around to find the easiest way I could see it. There are many ways, but none as easy as click here.

But look! Here it is on You Tube, The Tube on You Tube. Very amusing. I think each episode is one hour long, and have been divided into fifteen minute pieces. It takes a bit of work to get it all in the correct order, but if you are keen, here is the first one and click on the name of person who posted it to find the rest.

The Tube 2012 S01E01 Part 1 (that's series 1, episode 1, part 1) I understand Episode 4 is about to begin showing on tv.

Later: Series 1 Episode 4, full programme.

Sister Questions

Sister is a teacher, of senior lads in a private school.

'Sister, do you send the boys home if their shoes aren't clean?' Rolling of eyes.

'Sister, do you do fingernail inspections?' More eye rolling.

'Sister, do you give the boys cuts, or that men's work?' Pained expression.

'Sister, do you discipline your left handers? Like a rap over the knuckles with a ruler?' Glaring now.

'Sister, is it right that I have to get up at four in the morning to work to pay tax to subsidise the education in an elite private school of your students with rich parents?' Silence as I hit the spot, right where her left leaning greenie credentials sit.

'Sister, do they indoctrinate the students with religion at your school?' R glared at me at this point.

Melbourne Grammar School has been a work in process since we moved here nearly ten years ago. New buildings, old buildings renovated, new playing fields, landscaping. It just has not stopped. But as you can see by the photos below, Wesley College is doing rather a lot of spending too. I am much obliged to Ann O'Dyne for pointing out to me some time ago that donations from parents to the school building fund are tax deductible, whereas school fees are not. I can imagine there is a good bit of abuse of this.

Now don't misunderstand me. I think schools like MGS and Wesley are wonderful schools and all Australian children should have the choice to be educated in such schools, but they are not and why on earth sudent's parents who can't afford to send their children to such private schools subsidise those who can afford the fees? I don't know. It is just so morally wrong.

The lovely green playing fields of Wesley College.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On

Can it be said it has gone viral if it not really internet based? In a way it is.

To my regret, although we visited Alnwick in England, we did not visit Alnwick Castle. It was an expensive admission fee and it was raining. After seeing a few sights, and cruising the local market, we sheltered in a porch where we had the delicious experience of seeing a market tarp fill with water and then caught by the wind, dump its contents over some quite obnoxious American tourists. We adjourned to the pub where I disappointed R's brother in law's sister's alcoholic husband when I refused the triple Scotch he had bought me. I had told him I don't drink whisky during the day. Night time is another matter.

Alnwick is a very nice English town. Royalty used to stop off at Alnwick Castle as they journeyed by train from London to Balmoral I suppose. Consequently, the station was rather grand too.

Within the old railway station in Alnwick is a bookshop called Barter Books. The owners discovered a poster from World War Two among their book purchases. It says, Keep Calm and Carry On. The idea was for the government to use such a poster, and the slogan generally, if things became absolutely much worse in England during the war than they actually did.

Does that ring a bell for us in Australia post 9/11? Be Alert, Not Alarmed? I hope you Aussies kept your Be Alert, Not Alarmed fridge magnet. It could be a valuable memento one day.

Swimming in sewerage

Let me boil this down to its essence just so that it is clear as mountain stream water.

Raw sewerage running into our bay when it rains heavily is because our storm water drainage system can't cope with the volume of water and so it floods the sewerage system.

The sewerage system is then overloaded, so Melbourne Water releases raw sewerage into creeks that run into the bay.

The reason our storm water can't run away quickly enough is because of what some might suggest the over development of our inner suburbs, where there is little chance of water to soak into anywhere as there are so few porous surfaces. No, we can't have grass. We can make money from that space.

I say over development because infrastructure, such as storm water drainage, has not matched development.

Melbourne Water has not been privatised. It is government owned, so it is the state government that needs to be held directly responsible.

I have written about this before, but I just wanted to make it little clearer, and I believe there may be something on tv tonight.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The cook

In the past it might have been a recipe book propped up. Then it might be walking back and forth to the desktop computer to check a recipe. Worse, it could have been a paper and ink wasting print out of a recipe. I came home from work last night to find R has become very modern. Find the recipe and sit the laptop above the sink.

Two peoples

I think Australia and perhaps even the world must be divided into two groups. There are those who are not entitled to who park in disabled parking bays and those who would not dream of it. I am sure my blog mates would not even consider parking in a disabled person's car parking space if they were not disabled and did not have the appropriate sticker or pass. Many do though. A tale is here.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

ABC Digital

To my great pleasure, when sporting events, especially cricket, take over our ABC local radio, almost normal broadcasting continues on at ABC local digital. Sometimes it becomes national when normally it would have been local local. Perhaps our ABC should adopt the terms Local Local Radio or National Local Radio. It is rather silly of our ABC to press the point about being local radio when it is clearly a national broadcast.

But listeners to local radio should take some comfort from what I heard on the radio this week. Apparently when we are listening to local radio in Melbourne on Friday evening or at the weekend, we could be listening to AFL football on analogue and Bogan or Posh rugby on the digital channel. This hasn't happened and the digital channel remains 'local' radio, sometimes local local and sometimes national local. It is a victory of sorts.

It takes me back to when I was a letter writer, campaigning to get rid of parliament broadcasts from Melbourne's 3LO. Venerated broadcaster Terry Lane, now a camera correspondent for The Age Green Guide, campaigned too. I would like to say we campaigned along side each other, but we didn't, but we did exchange a letter or two.

I think Parliament was dumped onto Radio National, now known as RN. Parliament is now broadcast on ABC News Radio, its rightful place.

The cricket? Well, I am pleased to say we digital listeners don't have to suffer it anymore.

ABC digital radio hasn't quite got it together yet. There have been some horrible muddles and my complaint about a national digital service broadcasting Sydney news, which I didn't want to be official but had to be as that was the only way I could complain, has not been answered as yet. It happened more than once, but worse, was chopping off local analogue programs on digital before they needed to switch to sport. It must all be a learning curve I suppose. Should I bother to follow up why I never received an answer to my official complaint that I did not want to be official? I don't think so. I am sure they are as aware of how it is going as any listener is.

Now if you followed all that, then you have remarkable comprehension skills.