Saturday, June 16, 2012

We'll grab this one for our own use

I expect I mention our ABC too often. You can guess I am very fond of our ABC. If you are a foreign type, ABC stands for Australian Broadcasting Corporation, earlier Commission. It is funded entirely by the government and its own enterprise. It receives nothing like the funding that the BBC in Britain receives, yet our ABC does rather well in so many areas.

Each of our state capitals has its own ABC local radio station, as do many of our regional areas. On top of that is ABC FM, a classical music station; Triple JJJ, an alternative youth music station; Radio National, for the more arty and intellectual types; Radio Australia for broadcasting on shortwave principally to Asia and the Pacific. There is even more broadcast on the digital radio service and it appears I have forgotten about tv! Four digital tv stations and one simulcast analogue station and a music station. Oh yes, our overseas television station too.

I am horrified, as I expect Jon Faine would be, but it seems ABC local radio's station ABC Melbourne's presenter, Jon Faine, is the grandfather of morning prime time ABC local radio. He competes closely with commercial radio stations of a similar ilk, doing well even against young peoples' music stations. He outrates any other ABC local radio station presenter. He is clever and learned, and I detect a certain arrogance about him, and I would not want anything less. False modesty is not a quality to be admired in high achievers.

This post has gone way off the path of being a brief background of our ABC.

De Faino on ABC Melbourne is not perfect though. He has forgotten the golden rule of media, that is to ensure the person who replaces you when you are on leave is not as good as you. He walked a tight rope with Ali Moore.

She is a smart, quick thinking and a well rounded broadcaster.  Her area of expertise is business, and just maybe, I have detected a slight pro business leaning. But if it is so hard to detect, then she must be pretty balanced. Whatever, she is a great radio broadcaster and it was a pleasurable two weeks listening to her.

Should Faine call it quits I reckon our ABC should offer Ali Moore a decent sum to drag her back from Singapore and host ABC Melbourne's Mornings.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The waters don't feel right

Apparently we have been overcharged on our water bills. Melbourne Water has suggested we will be paid back over the next five years. Sorry, I want the cash. I have expenses.

David Galbally, a QC, suggests we fill in this template letter and send it to Melbourne Water, wanting repayment in seven days.

Dear Sir,
I advise I am a customer of Melbourne Water [or whichever authority is the relevant authority].  My account number is [insert details].  I have been advised that over the last 3 years or so I have been overcharged with respect to my water bills.
Would you provide me within the next 7 days the following:
• Details of the amount or amounts overcharged in respect of each account rendered;
• When you will repay the overcharged amount and at what interest rate?
Should you not be able to repay my money within a reasonable time, I shall have no alternative but to deduct it from your future accounts together with the current overdraft interest or existing overdraft interest at the time.
I look forward to your reply as soon as possible.
Yours faithfully,
[insert name]

Read more:

I am not an unreasonable person. Seven days is a short time. My own goes like this.

"Please adjust my account by the overcharged amount on my next water bill. Should the credit exceed the amount of the bill, I am quite happy for the remaining balance to be deducted from my subsequent bill."

I think that is more than reasonable. While to me and Premier Ballieu the amount of perhaps $170 might be a hiccough as Teddy Baills suggested, to my mother, it is a significant sum.

Clearing 'The Pass' to pass

I know both Hels and Diane B love special train trips and so do I, not that I have done much else but high speed trains. The list of trips around the world one could take must be very long. Within Australia we have a few quite special trips.

But across the Tasman Sea are two very different but what would surely be very memorable trips. Both are on the South Island of New Zealand. The Coastal Pacific runs from Christchurch to Picton at the very north of the island and for a good part of its journey hugs the east coast with wonderful sea views. You can read here for a decent description of the trip by Hels.

I am not sure which I would chose as the TranzAlpine sounds fantastic too. From Christchurch in the east it climbs over the mountains to the west coast town of Greymouth. The line does require clearing of snow at times though.  Here is a high quality and well filmed video taken only a month ago. Driving blind is unimaginable to me. Whoooooosh!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Putting you through now caller

Someone on their blog recently mentioned the old name of our now privatised telecommunication company Telecom, now known as Telstra. Tel from telecommunications and stra  from Australia make up the name. Without fanfare in 1995 Telecom became known Australia wide as Telstra, but not in my world, or at least not in our filing cabinet.

They would be now thrown out but I think we used to use concertina filing boxes with file names written on tabs and I expect there may well have been a tab marked PMG,  Postmaster General's Department. No, that change happened in 1975, so pre us.

Some large service pits in the footpaths have steel plates covers still with PMG. Some have Telecom and some have Telstra. Sometimes there is a combination of plates with two different names on them but I have never seen a pit with all three names.

Naturally being of a certain age, I lament the loss of PMG back in the days when making a telephone call was a serious business.

A tramp around the park

Screw it. I just thought instead of just doing one photo on top of another, I would try to make this post look visually appealing. It has nearly had me tearing my hair out and the only thing to do now is to start a new post, paste the text in and upload the photos again with my normal placement.

But I am over it and I am not going to do it again. God knows what this will look like.

It was a gloomy damp day when R, Sister, Bone Doctor, Little Jo and myself took a walk in Fawkner Park. Little Jo half heartedly tried to kick through piles of leaves, but they were just too wet. Eventually we arrived at the rather good kiddies playground where Little Jo joined Harriet and Travis McNaughton-Smythe and Dinesh and Saneeta Singh on the play equipment. Even though all appeared to be about five years old, they still weren't seeing colour or class. None took notice of what each wore, Harriet and Travis in Burberry, Dinesh and Saneeta in their Target branded clothes and Little Jo in her op shop 2 for $1 garments. That Harriet and Travis lived in a very expensive two storey terrace house, Dinesh and Saneeta in a rented flat and Little Jo in the bush mattered nowt to them.

A few years ago, City of Melbourne drew up a master plan for the park and I made a bit of a contribution to the plan. Most of what I suggested was pretty obvious and I think all the work has now been completed. What I don't remember being on the plan is this area we came across in the middle of the park, some distance from the path we normally walk.

A sand pit.

I am not sure of the purpose of this but Little Jo decided it was a stage and gave a performance.

See the bits of round metal in the boards? If you step on them, they ring a bell that sounds rather like a tram bell.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Depression in the Highrise

Finally the air con techie person turned up today after nearly two weeks and one cancelled appointment. His diagnosis was it it is fucked needs two new circuit boards and some wiring replaced. The cost of repair will be more than a third of the cost of a new unit. Given the unit is ten years old, the answer was obvious, or was it?

We trooped off down Toorak Road in the motor to ye olde air con shop. How much??? $3,200? Not  a couple of guineas and not ye olde prices?

We are thoroughly depressed at spending such money, especially as I now have a cute young boi a retired person to support. It is not like converting your kitchen cupboards from wood grain to glossy white, like we had been considering. All it does is warm and cool us. There is nothing pretty about it but it is necessary.

For ten years the unit has warmed and cooled us. While out of the air I pluck a figure that such an appliance should last fifteen years, maybe this new one will see us out. Interestingly a tabloid current affairs show indicated that our heating from the electric air conditioning is by far the cheapest form of heating.

Reading on the train

Sometimes I think I should not bother looking at daily and save the ten seconds for something else. But then other times.... Click somewhere on the pic to make it bigger!

Blog Mate Catch Up

It was with some excitement and tinsy bit of apprehension that we were to meet two of my blog mates. We have met them before more than once and shared a chardy, but there is always the thought that you don't know them via the old ways of meeting through work, a common friend or a party and then forming a relationship.

Our western blog mate was looking after a very old friend's place of hers while he and his partner were sunning themselves overseas. The eastern blog mate saw an opportunity for a stay in Melbourne and indulge in some kultcha as a given. From galleries, arty places and dyke bands in a pub, they planned to cram a lot in.

After a little miscommunication, mostly on my part, we did meet up where my blog mates were staying. Think of river bank warehouse conversion. Think of a couple of storeys. Think of a gazillion books. Think of stuffed animals. Think of fantastic art work on walls. Think of beautiful things, of wonderful objet d'art. Think of masculine. Think of multiple lighting options, mostly subdued. Think of being able to see your two cars in different garages through glass walls. Think of a walk in wardrobe the size of half a house. Think of two self contained areas on different levels. Think of seriously valuable old trinkets. Think of the view out of every window of a brick wall. Think of 'you can only have all this shit if you can afford a cleaner'.

I am not sure it would be a place for Flat Pack Highriser to live, but it was very impressive. 

After a glass or two of wine, some good conversation and the realisation that the bus that passes our place also passes near the warehouse conversion, we were rather wishing the blog mates and us didn't have separate commitments for the evening. Hmm... perhaps it was just as well we did.

The lass from the east presented her friend a hand sewn pair of gorgeous Pearly Queen gloves. Did you see Our Kylie in the Jubilee concert in her Pearly Queen hotpants?

The far western friend gave my English born partner this fabulous badge. Both lasses are just lovely.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kirner the AC

Photo by Justin McManus of The Age.

Ex Premier Joan Kirner has received our country's highest award, Companion of the Order of Australia. While she wasn't the country's first female Premier, she was Victoria's only female Premier, unfortunately at the helm of a sinking ship as the rats deserted.

She conducted herself with dignity while in office and kept her hands out of the honey jar.

While she is now quite unwell, she still fights for the less privileged  in our society.

In  my opinion many of these awards are undeserved, often being given to people who are just doing the job they are being paid to do. In Mrs Kirner's case, for her years of unpaid good works makes the award well deserved.

Monday, June 11, 2012


This view greeted me as I rose this morning. As I stood on the balcony to take the photo, down below an emergency vehicle with sirens screaming passed by. I don't know whether it was a fire truck, ambulance or police car as I couldn't see more than a few metres. For you non metricated, 7 degrees is about 45F. Away from the heart of the city, it would be much colder, possibly zero degrees at the appropriately named fringe suburb of Coldstream.

A happy Queens Birthday holiday to all.

Bus Stop

On the face of it, it really does look like there is a tram stop at the front door of this property shown in a real estate flyer. But many is the time I have informed people standing there, usually tourists but not always, that it is not a tram stop but a bus stop, the bus stop nearest to where I live. Even if I don't tell them, after several trams fail to stop to pick them up, they start looking around and may notice the real tram stops, or that on the stop sign, it does actually say bus.

I know at least one local resident approached both MetLink and the bus company some years ago about better signage, but to no avail.

In Melbourne, tram stop signs are green, bus stop signs are orange and train stop signs are blue. Did anyone do a double take at the last one? I mean train replacement bus stops.

As for the real estate agent suggesting it is a tram stop right at the door and picturing one that is not, well, would you expect anything better?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dinner Rotation

If R cooks Asian food, we eat with chopsticks from Asian crockery. I once meekly questioned why we need to do it, especially using chopsticks when someone has invented the fork, but I know better than to say anything negative about cooked meals or even the way they are served.

We use two of the four stacked bowls to put rice in from the big bowl with the lid and then other food into the bowls with the rice. I have recently discovered we have a crockery rotation problem. When I empty the dishwasher, I put the two used and clean bowls under the unused ones, so that all bowls are used over two meals. Well, that is what I thought.

I have recently learnt that R does his crockery rotation at the beginning of the cycle and when serving, he takes the two bottom bowls to use, assuming I have placed the most recently used ones on top.

It is quite possible that the two top bowls have not been used or washed for years.

We haz not hav good communications at times.