Saturday, August 04, 2012

This is the BBC London calling

BBC: And now a little music.

Music plays.

BBC: Many of you would recognise that as the national anthem of Botswana.

Really? I am clearly a pig ignorant Aussie. I had no idea it was the national anthem of Botswana. Alas, I have forgotten it already. Could the many of you who are familiar with it hum a few bars for me.

BBC: Meanwhile, back at the London Olympics, Australia has once again has won a silver medal in the ......

Julia says no to the knotting

As I have said in the past, I don't give two hoots for gay marriage. When I was young and saw things in black and white, I believed that a man and woman only need get married if they were to have children, for the children's sake. Time and I have moved on and I no longer think this and I doubt society generally does. However, I do believe if gays or dykes want to get married, then why shouldn't they.

While I suppose in some ways I have benefited from the long term gay rights campaign, it will perhaps be to my disadvantage in my old age.

What has puzzled me, and others, including Dina, who was quite rightly suspicious, is why Prime Minister Gillard is against gay marriage? It goes against almost everything we know about her.

Perhaps the answer is in this clip from gay and lesbian newspaper, the Star Observer. Long have Australian politicians made deals with religious groups, internet censorship being a still ongoing one, so the explanation is quite feasible.

Could it be true? Did Julia Gillard really sell her moral compass for power? Kevin Rudd allegedly spilled the beans to gay marriage advocates Kerryn Phelps, Jackie Stricker and Geoff Thomas, that Gillard made a deal with the Australian Christian Lobby and Joe De Bruyn that placed our PM on the anti-same-sex marriage bandwagon.

The full article can be found at this link.

I am a Republican, but...

 Much excitement. A parcel arrived that started its journey by Royal Mail in London.

Look, it is from St James's Palace, no less. I would have written St James' Palace. I would probably be wrong. It is the Queen's English.

It is a tea caddy made to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. It comes with tea bags of a certain blend. I bought it as a gift for a Royalist friend, and when ordering I looked at our miserable old plastic container that contains tea bags and thought, what the heck. I will get one for us too. As I have discovered in the past, the postage costs almost as much as what you are buying.

Silly me. I was thinking like we are dollar for dollar with the US, we are pound for a dollar with the UK. No, pounds cost.

Friday, August 03, 2012

The Sugar Mysteries

R and I recently had coffee at a local cafe. Not unusual. R adds a spoon of sugar to his coffee, that is one sachet of sugar that normally comes with your coffee. It looked a little different to the usual sachet, which caused us to examine the sachet. It came from a foreign place that did not use our usual spelling. It was either Montenegro, somewhere in what we used to call the Baltics, and somewhat earlier when they immigrating to Australia, bloody Balts, or Montegranaro in Italy.

Extraordinary. Australia grows its own sugar and grows enough to export sugar. Why do we import it? Does it cost more for our machines to make sachets and inject sugar into them than it does other places?

How to frighten the kiddies #76

Sometimes one is inclined to ask why? The answer is often why not, as it surely must be for this work by Czech artist David Cerny.

Why Islington? Again, why not.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

In less than a year, he was dead

My Complaint to Metro Trains

I complained, or rather requested to know why, to Metro Trains about a problem I faced at Richmond Station. This was back in May. Last week I sent them a polite reminded that they had not answered my query. Very quickly they did then reply with an apology that cited an administrative oversight.

Briefly, it was mid afternoon and I was at Richmond Station wishing to go to one of the City Loop Stations. I have used Richmond Station often enough, although not enough to say I am familiar with it. I do know which platforms some suburban trains go from. All the indicators informed me to catch the next train to Flinders Street and change there. I did so and because I left the train near the De Graves Street Subway, I walked down that ramp to check which was the correct platform. I had to walk outside the ticket barriers to find a board that told me, then go back up another platform.

I am sure the train I boarded to go around the City Loop had just come through Richmond Station. Why couldn't I find this out at Richmond? I am sure the information used to be displayed and I am sure the trains used to display City Loop via Flinders Street.

We advise that weekday City bound services departing Richmond station, which operate in the afternoon (approximately 12:50pm onwards), are scheduled to travel direct to Flinders Street station, and do not travel via the City Loop. Yes, I knew that.

As such, we can confirm that all customers wishing to travel to a City Loop station from Richmond station after approximately 12:50pm will be directed to board any service to Flinders Street station, and then change to a City Loop service.
That is what I am on about. Why can't I know what time and which platform the next City Loop via Flinders service is? I was happy to wait as I was already exhausted from so much walking, like a few kilometres.

Customers travelling from Richmond station to a City Loop station prior to 12.50pm can view the Passenger Information Display Screens at Richmond station to locate the next service which is scheduled to operate via the City Loop. Not relevant.

We fully acknowledge that you may not have been aware of the above and sincerely regret any inconvenience you may have experienced at the time.

No help whatsoever. I wanted to know why they do not display the next City Loop via Flinders Street service and I did not get a satisfactory answer. No doubt if I don't find out the information in advance, I will continue to be inconvenienced so I take Metro Trains' sincere regret with a grain of salt.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Meals Out

Just for diary purposes.

Sunday. Lunch at Southgate.

Wednesday, lunched in a cafe in Altona with R.

Dinner with Sis in Law and Oldest Niece at Yum Cha Cafe in Exhibition Street Wednesday night before they saw Annie at the Regency. Niece was driving her car and took us into town with a little lane guidance from me. Once in Flinders Street, I told her it was all up to her now as to where she parked as I know nothing of parking in the city. She turned left into Russell Street, left into Collins Street and reverse parked into a vacant street space almost in front of the Regent. Unbelievable.

Saturday night, dined with T at Lezzett in Elwood. Very good. Now has an Age GFG hat. Plenty of staff and good service and good food.

Sunday, while I was at work, R lunched with ex work friends in Maling Road.

Tuesday, breakfast at Southgate. Late lunch in Oakleigh. Evening, dined at Casino.

Zoo Shop

Little Jo is very much into play acting. She makes up small performances with various roles for people. I am not always happy in the role I am cast in. For her recent birthday, can you believe she has turned five? we bought her a small tent with a tunnel to crawl through to get inside. Yours truly may well be on a Bone Doctor filmed video and looking rather inelegant as I crawled through the tunnel. Well, the tunnel was inclined to come with me and I had to pull it down like a tight skirt. I did so with the full knowledge that once inside, I could just lift the tent off and I would be out.

To prevent any future shenanigans and stealing of limelight by Aunty Andrew, Little Jo turned the tent into a Chinese restaurant. Apparently I do not look Chinese, and so I was not welcome at the Chinese Shop. It must be a local Chinese shop for local Chinese people.

'Little Jo, you always give me boring parts in your productions and R always gets a starring role.'
'Andrew, that is because you are always sitting at the computer and you are boring.'
'Your mother said I wasn't boring when I pushed the Humpty Dumpty easter egg off the bench and said Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. I distinctly recall your mother saying, 'See Little Jo, Andrew is not so boring. He can be funny if he tries'. Please child, it could have marked the carpet when it broke. I did it at great risk.'

I was not involved in the Zoo Show. I did hear a lot of animal like noises, but I was busy at the computer.

Seriously though, R puts so much energy into entertaining and amusing Little Jo, I am happy to take a back seat. Three's a crowd and someone has to make the popcorn.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The 'Lympics

I arose a bit earlier than I had to on Saturday before work. I caught a good bit of the opening ceremony for the London Olympics. I enjoyed what I saw, which was almost from the beginning to about the entry of the Kenyan team into the stadium. Sadly I missed the lighting of the cauldron. One thing jarred on me, one Australian athlete draped in our flag. Inappropriate.

I certainly enjoyed seeing the Fijian team arrive. S'cuse. Could I have a munch on them!

The Queen being escorted to the Olympics by James Bond, aka Daniel Craig, was brilliant, and quite shocking at seven in the morning. I love and am very kind to animals, but I so wanted to give those corgis a kicking.

I felt a bit sorry for the lost and vacant looking OAP, old age pensioner. She was clearly in need of a rejuvenating nanna nap. Jumping out of chopper does rather sap one's energy. I assume she has a bus pass. She should have just cut the event a bit earlier. The younger lady is explaining the intricacies of artificial horse insemination to the English PM Day Cam.

Bone Doctor worked at Great Ormond Street Hospital for a few months and then moved on to St Mary's in Paddington. Australian doctors working in London did not turn up to work hungover, unlike the English doctors. After Mitt Romney's 'go' at England about security during the London Olympics, the hospital part of the ceremony could have been a last minute addition to 'have a go back' at the United States health system.

I came across this poster somewhere on the internet. It is wonderful and I cannot sit on it for two years until the next Empire Commonwealth Games. Note, Australia at the top.

I really liked the opening of the London's Olympics. It was ever so English and if the cost of labour was translated back to the Beijing Olympics, I reckon it was a lot cheaper. You can do glitz with money, but you can be clever and effective with much less money. 

Monday, July 30, 2012


'I think that I shall never see
A poem as beautiful as a tree'.

So goes a snippet of poetry that has stuck in my mind for decades. Elm trees are at the bottom of the photo and London plane trees at the top. Fortunately our elms have not been infected by Dutch elm disease although we do have the destructive elm leaf beetle. The long drought and short sighted authorities who switched water off to the trees really knocked the trees around, but after a couple of good years of rain, they seem to have bounced back. I love most trees, in all their shapes and sizes, with or without leaves. Elms in particular look quite majestic without leaves.

A recent Sunday morning saw our street as the route for a charity run. I refer to them as MBs, that is mad bastards, who get up early on a Sunday morning to run. It is enough that I manage to be up to take a photo of them.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Evil Innernet

I have just learnt from Face Book that R's brother in law's twin sister who lives on a farm in northern England has at the age of nearly seventy has given up smoking and is now addicted to Angry Birds.

She lived a fairly isolated life on the farm with an alcoholic husband who drinks until he virtually passes out, then repeats this twice more during twenty four hours without there being any particularly timing. It is sad to see, especially as in his few lucid hours he is an interesting person to talk to. I recall him showing me the remains of a Roman road running through their farm. (Yes I like whiskey Johnny, but not at eleven in the morning and even though you have poured me a very large glass and you are insisting, I just am not going to drink it)

His wife looks after him without criticism. She knows he is a hopeless case and he probably won't live for much longer. Fortunately she drives, so she can get about at least.

But what has made her life has been the internet and having a computer. She Skypes with family, uses FB and plays games. She changes her profile photos often and puts up other photos. It has been truly remarkable thing for her.

We are often so focused on the negatives about the internet, we fail to appreciate what a wonderful thing it really is and how it must have turned so many lives around for the better.