Saturday, June 09, 2012

One of those things

I don't normally do these but since River asked and it is quite brief...

1. You're taking a three month holiday, no expenses spared, do you cruise the oceans or fly the skies?
Definitely fly. I want to see many places.

2. If you could ask God for one world-wide miracle, what would it be?
In the manner of a beauty contestant, world peace.

3. Would you choose sky diving or deep sea diving? (why?)
Neither. Both are too dangerous. I will go snorkelling though.

4. Would you choose having your wishes granted or having the power to grant wishes?
My wishes being granted would be turn out to be very self indulgent. I rather like the idea of being a dictator, so I choose the power to grant wishes.

5. If you could pick a song to be a world anthem, what would it be?
The obvious is one of those Geldorf/Lennon type world peace/help the starving type songs. But when the worries of the world get you down, you can just go out and fly a kite. So, from Mary Poppins, Let's Go Fly a Kite.

6. Do you dream in black and white or colour?
I don't really know. Colour I suppose.

7. Three-course meals or one-pot dinners?
Three courses please.

8. Do you menu plan, shop for two weeks worth of ingredients, then serve up toast and jam for dinner?
We don't menu plan but tend to buy the same things each week and decide what to cook for meals from what we have.

9. Do you dye your hair a totally different colour from what nature intended?
As opposed to dyeing it a little bit? Regardless, no. Can't wait to see Red and Jah Teh's responses.
10. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
London in the summer there and Tasmania in our summer.

11. Do you change your home decor to suit the seasons or do you just leave things  as they are year in year out?
Year in year out, it stays the same, only changing if something new is bought but still things stay in the same place. There is right place for furniture and once it is found, no need to move it.

Sydney Trams #472

I recently happened along a heap of Sydney tram photos. There seems to be a lot more photos of Sydney's old trams around that there is of Melbourne's. Perhaps the reason is that people knew the trams would disappear from Sydney's streets, whereas Melbourne's were there to stay.

Here are a few I picked out because I reckon Victor will know something about the locations.

Later edit: Victor most kindly went out and took some photos of the same eastern suburb locations. You can see them here.

I believe this is Bayswater Road in Rushcutters Bay. What might the dominant building be? Where are the secondary tram tracks coming in from on the left of the photo?

Just captioned Paddington. The park looks kind of familiar. I think Oxford Street at perhaps Ocean Street? If it is, the building of the Sydney Einfeld Drive must changed the area rather a lot.

This one is is Edgecliff Road, I should think south of Queen Street. In your own time Victor for a then and now, no rush.

Pant's old stomping ground, Victoria Road in Drummoyne, is well out of Victor's area so I don't expect him to know anything about this scene. Victoria Road has recently acquired the status of Sydney's slowest road. Compare the tranquil scene above to the Sydney Tele's photo of what the road looks like now. Such a good idea to get rid of trams from Sydney streets and get the traffic moving without those slow old anachronisms blocking up everything. Melbourne, having retained its trams, is so much better off. Although, the scene below would be the same in Melbourne, except with a couple of trams stuck in the traffic too.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Food Out

I responded to River's comment on a post that we have had or are having two evening meals and two lunches and one brunch out this week.

I don't ask nor expect R to cook. If he does not feel like cooking, then fine. It will be takeaway or meal out or soup or baked beans from a can.

But two evening meals out and two lunches and a brunch might seem like we live a life of luxury. While where we live might be expensive, nothing else about us is. Cheap furnishings, cheap cars, cheap clothes and cheap food. Someone called me cheap once, and I gave his face a good slapping, and then mentally conceded the point. He may have meant it a little differently.

Lunch 1: Sunday. Took Mother to McDonalds. $30 for 3 :/ 2

Lunch 2: Today. I am sick of a tomato, a slice of bread and a tin of fish. Why are there no left overs this week? Lunch out today at local cafe. A sandwich, a dim sim, a few chips thrown in and coffee, $14:/2.

Dinner 1: Crown Casino Tuesday night with two friends. I can't recall the name of the place. R et half a lobster, for not too high price. I have never seen such a small lobster. I had pasta and two glasses of wine. $30 for me.

Dinner 2: Hasn't happened yet, but tomorrow night at the local pub. Estimated cost: $15. Plus wine, so maybe $30.

Sunday lunch with blogmates, who knows where and when and how much it will cost and I care little. It will be so nice to see them and be convivial and damn the cost.

A decent DAB'll do it

Oh, that is one of my more clever subject lines.

Tired of static and the whine as our computer and others start up, we finally bought a digital (DAB) radio for  the kitchen to replace the analogue unit. The new one is absolutely brilliant and the best money we have spent for some time.  Of course had we had known the air con was to break down the very next day, we may have held off and prevaricated a little longer.

Between when I first make vague mutterings about being interested in something and actually buying it, the price has usually dropped considerably, and this was no exception. I am not known for my spontaneity.

I looked at a lesser model of the same brand in a shop and came home to see what it could be had for online. Then I discovered this superior model, with an rrp of about $200, somewhat more than we thought of paying. I showed it to R who also made positive noises.

Let me look further online to see if I can get a better price. Sure enough, a shop front place in Sydney had it for $158 plus $15 postage. Let's do it, and we did.

The store responded the next day that the item had been dispatched and we expected it the following day. We were a little excited but it is only a radio after all.

However, what arrived the next day was a slip in the letter box because we weren't home to receive the radio. Our options were to either visit the warehouse is some way way out western suburb, or arrange another day for delivery. Normally packages are left at our local post office and we collect them at our convenience. What was proposed was not convenient at all, and if it wasn't for R finishing up work last Friday, it would have had to wait until the 13th when I could stay in all day to receive it.

As it was, the radio was delivered on Monday, before 10am. I complained to the company about the inflexible delivery system and they responded with the fact that they had begun a change over to a new company when the new company was taken over by another, resulting in a lot of problems.

The new radio sits in the corner of the kitchen where the signal for a normal radio is very weak. It picks up all digital stations perfectly and even weak local FM stations, all without the aerial extended. It does all sorts of other things too, which we will never use. We are ever so pleased.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Kicking up the heels

'Well darls, you have finished up at work, how shall we celebrate?'

It just so happened that our dyke friend called and invited us to hers for dinner.

The ritual conversation happened, not just between us and her, but as it happens between many people generally.

"It won't be much. I'll just throw something together", said she as she mentally planned her extensive menu.

"Please, don't go to trouble for us", said we. Yeah right, she damn well better make an effort.

"Can you pick up our hairdresser friend who is having a rough time and is insecure at work and her mother is ill?"

R felt he was entitled for once to not being the nominated driver. Well, I am not driving. He knows how bored and boring I will be if I can't have a drink or two, so he readily agreed to getting a cab.

So we caught a cab, via St Kilda West to pick the hairdresser friend, to Ormond and then back home in a reverse route. $32 to get there, $33 to get home. I told the drivers which way to go, which may not have been the best route, but it was one I felt comfortable with...... basically along the beach road to North Road and then along the same, reversed coming home.

Both drivers were excellent.

It was a great sociably chatty evening and the food was lovely, only marred by a decent rock of the dining table which sent my glass of red flying in R's direction. His shirt is still soaking in a bucket. We took a dessert and I saw the bill for it the next day. Retired almost old age pensioners such as R won't be able afford such luxuries for much longer.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


A single mother who cheats Social Security out of thousands of dollars receives about the same gaol sentence as a company director who cheats his company of hundreds of thousands of dollars, that is shareholders, rich and poor because even the poor have their super money is invested in the company. I've never felt comfortable with equality of the sentence.

Yet, a bloke who tortures a kangaroo to death and drags the animal around on a rope attached to his car receives a suspended gaol sentence; that is no imprisonment at all.

With great satisfaction because my blog gets archived by our State Library, let me tell you it was Nigel Franks of Albury and his name is forever blackened. This link may disappear in time, but you can be sure one day Nigel's grand children can get an inkling of what their grandfather was like.

If the courts won't hand down appropriate sentences or the police won't act, there will be a lot more online naming and shaming.

Mother's Bestie

Mother has a best friend but mother's best friend is not being at all helpful to Mother at the moment. Her ex husband died and she had to sort out his estate and then very inconveniently to Mother, her best friend's present husband has now had a nervous breakdown. This means Mother's best friend can no longer drive Mother around hither and thither or bother Mother with one hour long phone calls. Well, I certainly know about one hour long phone calls with Mother. I avoid them and R is the victim.

"I said luv, I said pet, I said luv. It's not that I don't care. It is all very well for your husband to somewhat selfishly have a nervous breakdown, but you are supposed to be my friend and take me out to places when my neglectful children cannot mange it. Apparently they have lives. You were supposed to be my friend and now your husband has taken on a nervous breakdown, you are not at all useful to me and I am disappointed in you as a friend".

Ok, I am exaggerating, but it is the boiled down essence of my telephone conversation with Mother.

What has happened to Mother's best friend's husband is extraordinary.  He is a self employed manufacturer. The stress of companies he supplied products to who never paid him as they went broke possibly brought on the breakdown. He is under good care and his recovery might take about three months. At the moment he is changed from a vital, clever and active person to a vacantly staring and heavily medicated zombie.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Bette Davis and Liberace met in a bar

They did indeed meet in a bar, The Sebel Townhouse in Sydney.

I recall that a stay at the Sebel Town House was often a prize for tv quiz show contestants. I understand the STH in Elizabeth Bay, just near the notorious area of Kings Cross, has been rebuilt as smart apartments. It is suggested that the old STH carpets were worth a fortune for the amount embedded cocaine they contained. From rock stars to movie celebs, everyone of note stayed there.

A guest, one Bette Davis, was trying out the product from a new fangled coffee machine, a Cafe Bar, behind the hotel reception desk and another hotel guest, Liberace, appeared at reception.

'Oh my god, the bitch from hell', he exclaimed.

Hear a lot more of the goss and social history of the Sebel Town House at this most excellent podcast from the Hindsight programme at our ABC's Radio National.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Take Two

Could we just do that again on the Thames, but this time with some sunshine and no rain? Regardless, what a spectacle it was. Miss Piggy looked particularly grumpy at times, no doubt worried about her subjects getting wet. The Sunday before it was, at least in Geordie Land, as they put it, boilin'. A beach had been created on the banks of the River Tyne and the Geordies were taking full advantage of the sand, deck chairs and hot sun.

While I am a republican, as PM Cammo said to we Australians tonight on the tv, think about what sort of  president you might end up with? He did have a point. The Queen was a revered figure in my childhood, possibly above god. It is perhaps hard for young people to understand how someone my age feels about the Queen, after what I suppose was essentially brain washing. My head tells me one thing, but my heart and upbringing tells me something else again. She was above criticism and ipso facto, so was the institution.

Assuming she will die before I do, although that does not necessarily follow, I will no longer have any truck with me being a subject of a foreign monarch. I respect our history, but that is what it is, history. While I might like to have a bit of fun with Willie and or Harry, I do not want them lording it over me, thank you very much.

Anyway, did you catch PM Cammo on tv? He was looking brown as a berry, somewhat incongruously on such a grey day. I suspect he took the triple shot for one spray tan deal. Unfortunately our reporter did not question him over what he is doing to the less fortunate in his country, or what he has given to the more fortunate.

Looking north east

I don't normally take photos in this direction from our balcony. You will have to click on the pic to see it properly. In the foreground is the roof of the church St Thomas Aquinas with midphoto the lush green playing fields of Melbourne Grammar.

The white high rise apartment block is in Anderson Street, South Yarra and overlooks the Royal Botanic Gardens. To the right of the building can be seen peeking over the tree tops is the old match manufacturer Bryant and May's clocktower and to the far left, the steeple of St Ignatius on Richmond Hill. I noted the other day that there are three churches with a couple of hundred metres in Church Street, but of course the catholic St Ignatius sits at the highest point, as is the Australian custom.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

The arrogance of English

I was reading about a cruise ship, the Queen Mary perhaps. A guest wanted to play Scrabble, so from the games room, they picked up a Scrabble set. The box said Scrabble, so wasn't that all they needed to know? Apparently not. Too my astonishment, Scrabble comes in languages other than English. The guest had picked up a set of German Scrabble, which has a lot more 'a' letters and some tiles with circumcisions  circumlutions those funny things over the top of letters.

I am not sure what shocks me more, that you can get Scrabble in other languages, or that I assumed Scrabble was only ever in English.

I might be able to construct a word or two in a French version, but I will pass on the Chinese Scrabble, thank you very much.

V Line Responds

Remember when I missed the V Line train at Melton Station because I was on the wrong platform? I received a reply to my complaint. It was not satisfactory and I have no reason to think that it won't happen to another person who is unfamiliar with the station. I'm still waiting on my complaint to Metro about Richmond Station electronic displays.

On behalf of V/Line I am sorry for the protracted delay (very protracted, but at least they did) in getting back to you.
Your feedback was forwarded to the Area Services Manager in Ballarat for investigation.
I have since been advised that some trains to Melbourne depart from platform 2 (that is not what I was told by a station staff member and in a forum) so signage may be confusing as it would be hard to list all train services by platform (What signage? That was my point What I wanted was some indication that I needed to check). This station on the day you travelled may have been understaffed as it was only opened from 6am to 2pm on Saturday 21 April and closed Sunday 22 April (It was a weekday. I stated the date in the complaint) which was why there were no announcements. However, in the interim staff have been informed to ensure every train is announced. (In the interim? Before what?)
On behalf of V/Line I apologise for the inconvenience and frustration and experienced as a consequence of this event.
Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your feedback.