Saturday, September 15, 2012

Too much meat

I wrote this a while ago and it didn't get finished or published, so I will just put it up as it is. Oh yes, R has the job he wanted and starts in about nine days.

 R has been very busy since he retired. He has been applying for jobs, looking at volunteer orgs, dealing with job centre places, and with Centre Link. Every Thursday he has been taking Mother out. Tomorrow he is doing a training course for a job he is not going to take because he has a good indication that another preferred job will be offered, but will it? Just my luck that tomorrow is my day off so I will take Mother out.

It must be a couple of months since he worked. It has taken some adjustment to him being home during the day. We knew it would be, and only one spat over the matter.

Last Saturday night we went to a Turkish restaurant with our friends. It is near my workplace and I have wondered about it for years. It was good. The service was excellent in the fairly small place. The cost was ok too.

But the meat, oh the meat. Chicken, lamb and beef, it just kept arriving. Plates piled high with meat. I guess we ate about half of the meat. Some was parcelled up to take away, but there was still a lot left. I likes me meat, but not in that quantity. It was absurd.

Look, Up in the sky

A helicopter passed by the Highrise rather close. We are very used to helicopters passing by, mostly transporting emergency cases to the Alfred Hospital, but still I look up if I am outside on the balcony. Down below in the street, a toddler walking with I presume her grandfather, ignored the noise of the helicopter. Her grandfather did not point out the chopper to his grand daughter. It was all ignored as noise intrusion I suppose, or just white noise.

Old people are quite fond of making their opinions known about child rearing and what twenty first century children should be doing. They ought to be outside playing, not indoors playing electric games and using computer machines. When Mother was sick of we childrens' noise and horseplay, she would tell us to go outside and play, and we would, for hours.

I am adaptable. Times change. I am not about to lecture about what children do now in 2012, especially when I sit here at a computer machine for many hours, typing and clicking away, when I should be reading tomes of history or physically exercising. When I was young, I never stopped reading, day and night. I was excited when the cereal packet design was changed and I had something new to read. As a young adult, still I read. Now in the computer age, I miss reading books, but still I read, mostly on a screen. One day, when I have more time, I will set aside an hour a day for book reading and read before I sleep.

Because as a kid I used to get so excited about seeing a plane, or so rarely a helicopter, I feel a little sad that such things don't enthral the kiddies like they used to me.

I suppose in my childhood there weren't the number of flying machines around. I took my first flight at the age of 22. Thirty something years later, Little Jo had flown at least six times by the age of four.

Strange old world.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Curious Car Name

I suppose the car name Fluence is supposed to induce to your mind a feeling of fluidity and smoothness, or from confluence where things meet. I am afraid neither work for me at all. All I think of when I see the word Fluence, is effluence, surely not a word Renault would want associated with its marque.

It perhaps is not as bad as the name Nissan dreamt up for one of its cars, the Cedric.

This rule does not apply to me

With feelings of much schadenfreud, I suggest this method to the City of Greater Dandenong to prevent vehicles other than buses from using Langhorne Place in Dandnong. If it works in Manchester, it will work in Dandenong. As in Manchester, there will be bleating about damaged cars. One bollard victim , a whiny woman I recall bleating through her faux tears, 'I had my disabled daughter and my two other kids in the car and I just wanted to get through to disabled parking space on the other side'. There is always a 'I just...'.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

This crazy life

R has a cold. It is not quite man flu, but close. Today he took Mother to her optometrist in Lang Lang. I could write several sentences about why Mother has an optometrist in Lang Lang, but I'll save you.

He is normally quite patient with Mother, but once home today, he was exasperated. He admitted his tolerance level was low because of his cold.

Last week when at Mother's, I became exasperated with her. Quote I, 'You obsessively check your blood pressure and adjust your medication as you see fit. It is for the doctor to do. He prescribes things for you and advises you, and you won't take the medication or do as he advises. Then you complain that he is not helping you? How can he help you if you won't do what he says?'. Mother ignored me.

We feel as if we have been on a roller coaster, the only thing keeping us going is the end in sight. From being extra sociable because the Thai lads were here, from meeting up with Manny a few times while he is here, from offering to taking him the airport to depart when we have a birthday party to go to and organising costumes for, we can do both, to R's odd working circumstances, looking after Jack, which takes time, to now looking after Little Jo on Sunday.........and we fit this all in between long working hours, it has all become a bit much. I think by Sunday night, there is nothing on the horizon. Thank god for that.

Well, there is the Round the Bay bike ride that Sister and Bone Doctor are doing. I think in October we are catching the train to Geelong and they will pick us up at the station. We stay the night and look after Little Jo and they will end their bike ride the next day near the Highrise and bring one of our cars down for us to drive home.

While it must be awful to be old and lonely, I am in the mood to feel slightly looking forward to it.

Glad from up north

I so wish Victoria had a transport minister like Gladys in New South Wales. Someone with the name of Gladys would surely be a no nonsense type and get things done. The Hon. Gladys Berjiklan, MP and the Minister for Roads have a grand plan for transport in NSW. Please don't forget about that rubbishy old train that slowly chugs its way from Sydney to Melbourne and back.

I don't know if our Glad was trying to make a joke or not, but when she said that the private operation of Sydney Ferries was going swimmingly well, I almost choked on my ristretto.

Our population has long outgrown our transport systems, both road and rail. A very large amount of money needs to spent in our big cities to transport residents and visitors around.

In the past, governments would borrow money at very low interest rate to invest in building infrastructure. The cash return on the investment of borrowed money by governments may have been poor, but the return in the form of public benefit was immense. Experimentation with combined public private partnerships has generally been unsatisfactory. It is time to turn the clock back where local and state governments invest money in infrastructure. There is nothing inherently wrong with governments borrowing money to invest in infrastructure. We would have little in the way of train and tram lines if in the past money had not been borrowed to build them.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Just Dandy

R had an appointment in Dandenong. As we had the opportunity, we could shear two sheep with one stone and go on to Mother's.
While R went about his business, I killed time in the main street, well just off the main street of Dandenong. This is the Town Hall, well remembered by me as Lonsdale Street used to be part of Australia's Highway 1.

Not my photo but this animated neon sign, the oldest in Victoria, advertising Dandy Hams and Bacon, has long disappeared but how it enchanted us children as we passed by.

I have fond childhood memories of Dandenong, when my grandfather used to sometimes take us to the Dandenong Market. It was not very far from the centre of town and it was a cattle market as well I think. My grandfather would be more than surprised, should he still be alive, to learn of Payday Advances and Halal Charcoal Chicken.

The 901 Smart Bus travels through the the street where I was sitting. It travels from down Frankston way to Altona Beach I think, Melbourne Airport via a very outer route. The trip takes about four hours to complete.

This is a first class butcher, fishmonger and green grocer and it was very busy, even at ten in the morning. I wish we had a shop like this near us.

Dandenong is an area of low socio economic status now. There are a lot of brown people there now. I don't mean the brown people who serve us in supermarkets and at petrol stations, I mean the very very brown people who are rarely seen in my part of town. I suppose the local council can't control what shops look like. The Hi Viz bloke was not unattractive.

Intellectual pretensions in Dandenong? Not at all. Some heavily clothed Asian guys with long and dyed hair, one carrying a guitar, started a game of chess while I was sipping coffee.

These last photos are of offenders breaching the bus only street. This is a small selection of what I snapped in twenty minutes.  Even as a stranger to the town, I noticed the street where I planned to turn into had a sign, No Left Turn, No Entry, Buses only. The cars in the first photos do not get a green light to turn. They are faced with a white 'B' for bus light, and away they go. If the point of having a bus only street, admittedly with a lane for cars to access a car park, is to reduce the number of cars in the bus only street, then it is a success. If the point is to have no cars in the street, it is a failure. The more cars I saw using the street, the more annoyed I became at such blatant lawlessness. Instead of discreetly snapping the cars as I begun, I stood boldly and faced them with the lens. There is only one way to stop cars using a bus street and I thought I had posted about it already, but I can't find the post in a search. I will post it as Friday's You Tube vid.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Greeting Me

Cutesy in may be,  but I like being greeted by a smile as soon as I get out of bed. He normally sits up higher, above the shower.

This plant needs very little water. Once every six months I put it under the shower for a minute which also cleans the dust from its leaves. Maybe if I watered it more often, it would grow?

The Key Club

The Gertrude Street building in the previous post was certainly called The Key Club, a gay venue, and now seemingly owned by St Vincent's Hospital. It was run by Mama Sieka, who also ran a lesbian venue called Squizzys. I can only very vaguely recall her. Rumours have it that she runs a venue near the oh so gay country town mecca of Daylesford. Photo possibly by Joe Rocca.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Jack's back

Once again we are looking after Jack. The last time R was not working, but he is a bit now. R works Monday for six hours, but I will home for lunch for three hours, so he will only be on his own for a couple of hours here and there. Tuesday I don't work and Jack care will be my duty while R works. Wednesday will be the same as Monday.

Thursday R is taking Mother to the optometrist and I think he will take Jack with him. Friday, Jack's mummy will collect him Friday.

A Carlton Stroll

Nothing planned and it was a Monday. There had been a vague mention from a friend about a lunch catchup as she had an appointment at The Alfred (hospital) but we had not heard back from her, and it was a too nice day to not go out.

How about seeing the German Garden at the Exhibition buildings R? And then we will go for a walk along Gertrude Street. Plans were made, then the friend called, meet at twelve at such and such cafe near The Alfred. Do you still want to go to town R? It was only ten so we decided we would.

The gates from Rathdowne Street. I assume there was once a fence.

The back of the Royal Exhibition Buildings. No, there is nothing Pisa-ish about the building. More like camera operator error. The REB was built about 1880 as a temporary construction for one of the great 19th century exhibitions.

We were underwhelmed by the German Garden, if this is it. The beds follow the lines of the original beds with the same plantings. Last time I was here, this area was an asphalt bus parking area. The asphalt was removed and an archaeological style dig went ahead, hence the information they knew about the original beds.

The Hochgurtel Fountain built in 1880.

Modern fountains. I think I prefer the older style. During our long drought, all  fountains were switched off and some had security fencing erected around them. It was a pitiful and depressing sight. Many places, like the REB installed undergound water tanks to store water for future droughts, totally unnecessarily as when the desalination plant is operating, there will be more fresh water produced than we can possibly use. With our huge water storages at eighty percent full, it will be years before we even need the desal water.

The French Fountain at the eastern and main end of the REB.

We crossed the road from Carlton to Fitzroy. This is part of the old engine house which powered the cables that dragged our old trams around the city and inner areas.

Fortunately someone has started a Facebook group called 'Lost gay Melbourne' and the information and photos are flowing in but as yet, I have seen nothing about the gay venue The Key Club. I went there once and I guess it closed in about 1990. I am not sure, but I think it was within this building. The Key Club was run by  a woman know as Mamma Seka (unsure of the spelling).

Look at the middle balcony on the right. They have decorated the wall with Volkswagen hub caps. I am sure I  haven't seen that in Vogue Living.

Fitzroy's Gertrude Street oddly has magnolias as its street trees. I've never seen them used for street planting anywhere else. Magnolias are pretty when in bloom, but rather plain when in leaf.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

The Thai Lads

Our Brother Friends' friends from Thailand depart/have departed on Sunday. R met with them five times, myself four times. We had dinner at Crown one night, dinner at the Dick Whittington Hotel one night, met them for a barbecue at a friend's place another day and had dinner with them at our local pub tonight/Friday night. R also went with them to Puffing Billy.

They are ok guys. One is solid and all muscle and quite forward and is at home in any situation, the other, slim and petite, shy and given to reading his Buddha texts. In their own country they have little to do with each other, only coming together when our Brother Friends are in Thailand.

Their English is poor, but with simple clearly spoken words and hand gestures, communication is possible. As we discussed with another friend, how can you have a relationship with someone if you neither of you cannot speak the speak the same language? Given they have been our Brother Friends' partners for fifteen years, clearly it is possible.

One observation I will make, communicating with them does pass the time quickly. A simple remark might take a minute or more to explain before they understand. I did not always understand what they were saying, but I am used to that from heavily accented and/or poor English speakers at work. I seem to know where to appropriately insert a yes and a positive nod, and a no and a negative nod. Smiling gets you a long way too. I have managed this for many years.

The more shy of the two looked haggard and stressed when we met up with them early in their three week visit, especially at the Dick Whittington when he had to walk through a rambunctious crowd watching football on a big screen. One Brother Friend told me his partner was shaking, as anyone might when meeting ten of their friends. Bless.

But tonight for dinner at the surprisingly quiet local pub, just the six of us, he was much more relaxed and I could see the stress and tension had drained away.

They have seen some of our local areas, but little of the City. They have stayed a couple of nights at Mount Buller and a couple of nights at Phillip Island. The more outgoing is a fine cook and has enjoyed shopping for food and cooking and has now learnt about the need for separation of raw and cooked meat, and pork and beef and that tea towels are not for wiping your hands on after preparing meat unless you wash your hands first.

After the meal tonight, they came back to the Highrise for a Tim Tam and coffee/tea. They were not impressed by the views. Some people are blown away by the views, some don't notice them. No probs. They seemed to like our place well enough and I put the tv on to a football match and they chatted across our conversation about the football. I distinctly heard one say, foul, when something happened.

As we had heard so much about them before they came to Australia, nothing was really a surprise, but it was very nice to finally meet them.

The next time you hear about older gay white males who have younger Thai boyfriends, like about forty, don't rush to judgement.Commercial transactions can be a positive experience for all parties.