Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Oh dear, I have nothing ready to publish today. This one is almost finished. What title can I give it? Got it.

Possibly racist, certainly a generalisation, but don't the best brains and the most artistic types come from countries that have a cold winter?

Personally, I don't function well in heat, dry or humid makes no difference. I hate the heat.

In the British colonies of India, Ceylon and Malaya, the well to do could escape the heat to the mountains where it was cooler. I don't know about Africa. The French colony of what is now Vietnam had the same, with accommodation for the French and the local rich people high in hills where it was cooler. Not sure about Laos and Cambodia.

But don't the world's best scientists, the best painters, the best authors, the best sculptors, the best architects etc etc all come from Western countries where there is a cold winter?

Of course I am suggesting this as a Western person who knows more about Western civilisation than I do about any other but I am quite firm in my opinion that the best brains come from countries that have a cold winter.

The hill station of Simla in India was a deliciously cool place for the English in the time of the Raj and not a gum tree to be seen. They had to go there to recalibrate their heat affected brains.

Monday, December 30, 2013

A sharp knife

This was our knife sharpener. You hold it with two fingers in the grip and your thumb underneath and smartly drag the knife over the grinding stones in the vee shape. Can you see a problem with it? Once a knife slipped and I put a small cut in my hand. I felt less and less confident about my ability to avoid slicing deeply into my hand and thought about getting something a little less dangerous.

This came with batteries but it did not work very well at all. The knife goes in under the grey parts. It took a lot of drags for the knife to get an edge. I went back to using the one above, but I had an awful feeling it would all go ever so wrong one day. I am not know to be a person with a steady hand. R encouraged me to get a replacement that actually worked.

We found this one made by Scanpan for a few more dollars than the battery one above. It is beautifully designed and works very well. If your knife is very blunt, you start with with the slot with the coarsest stone and follow up with the progressively finer stones, that is left to right. I do like it when things just work.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Once Were Warriors

As I mentioned in a christmas post I think, Chainsaw Niece and her Maori partner turned up very early for christmas dinner. They had taken his sister to the airport and had to be up at 4am to do so. They were supposed to be here at noon for christmas dinner, but were here by 10.00. What to do? R had a lot of work to do in the kitchen. I took them out in my modest motor to Station Pier to see a cruise liner in dock and have a walk and a chat. Chainsaw Niece has been putting on weight and so decided to start jogging. She hurt her leg and two weeks later, it is not better. I did ask if she was ok to walk and she assured me she was, but I think R and I convinced her that two weeks was a long time for that sort of pain and she needed to see a doctor. I also told her to ask Bone Doctor at dinner later. It is BD's area of expertise. Not sure if she did.

It was a nice walk and chat. Sister getting married to her female partner was discussed among us, fishing too with significant input from her partner. They talked about a ship cruise next year. I will call her partner M, as he is Maori and it is the initial of his biblical name.

M was really nice on christmas day. He paid due respect to Mother. He was friendly to our christmas orphan Fijian Indian friend. Yes, all went very well. M and Chainsaw Niece were to visit Geelong the next day for M's family christmas celebration. Sister picked up on this and said what about us, Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo, meeting you at the water fun park where your family celebration is being held. Tickets were printed out on our printer and all was arranged.

It went ok for a while, until Chainsaw Niece left M for a bit to have some rides. She returned and M launched into a five minute swearing tirade about being left alone. Apparently he had some mates there who called him to join in with them. It was the worst possible language in front of children and was relentless. Sister guided all the children away while Bone Doctor observed. M eventually grabbed Chainsaw Niece's arm harshly and swung her around.

Umm, that does not sound like the perfectly nice and respectable bloke who was at our place the day before.

Sister was here today to see cricket and R looked after Little Jo. When I came home from work, R gave me a brief version out of ear shot of Little Jo, and later over a barbeque, Sister gave me the full version.

Chainsaw Niece has indicated before that M has anger management issues. She said no more than that. She is on a bad track with M. It will only get worse. I doubt she really loves him. She needs to get rid of him, but they live together in Tradie Brother's house. He is going to see family in New Zealand on New Year's Day.

Sister was going to call Tradie Brother for him to have a word and lock him out, to not return after his NZ sojourn. I advised Sister otherwise. Tradie Brother, as wonderful as he at times, drinks to much and might do something extreme. I suggested Sister call ex Sis in Law.  Isn't advice better coming from your mum?

Chainsaw Niece sent a couple texts to Sister. One saying she was ok and not to worry, the second that she did not want to be with M but could not work out how to get out of it.

My niece deserves better. I so want to get busy sending texts and emails and making calls, and sorting it all out but I shall not. My wisdom about everything is in my head, and is not necessarily how things work  I have learnt over many years that there may a point to intervene, but generally things sort themselves out. Chainsaw Niece needs to have a good talk to her mother, ex Sis in Law.

I, or we are right aren't we? Chainsaw Niece is on a road to nowhere with this bloke. I can't even imagine her pleading, but I love him.

Later edit: Sister has spoken to Chainsaw Niece's  mum, Ex Sis in Law and ESiL said she would speak to Tradie Brother, her ex husband who is Chainsaw Niece's father about the matter. ESiL was already aware of issues and  did not like the bloke.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Shocking Wind

It is just nature taking its course. Nothing to do with our food consumption over christmas.

I was up to get ready for work by 5.30 this morning. It was a delightful morning, not cold but a gentle cool breeze was blowing from the south west. The outdoor temperature was 15.

By about 3pm, it was hot, with the temperature risen to 37 degrees. What a contrast to the morning when I could scarcely believe it would get so hot today.

A gusty cool change hit at 4pm. The temperature dropped 10 degrees in minutes. 

Silly Fen was at the beach and had her ears filled with sand, and god knows what other orifice. 

We are now experiencing wind like I don't remember. Weather does not usually penetrate the High Rise, but it certainly is tonight.

Twitter told me tram routes 8, 64 and 109 have been disrupted by falling branches on tram wires and I think one train line was knocked out for a time.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Tease Across the Tasman Sea

I expect it goes on between the English, Irish, Scottish and the Welsh. Probably between the French and an adjacent country. Indonesia and Malaysia do it, as does Malaysia with Singapore. In Australia, the country we love to insult is New Zealand. Most of us are rather fond of our little neighbour and I think they are quite fond of 'Western Island'. There are enough of them living, so they must like us. Btw, Victor is swanning around NZ at the moment and swanning across the seas.

I found this hardware store advertisement from New Zealand amusing. To save you having to watch it twice to really get it, the boy at the end in the green and yellow is Australian.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Seeing aorund corners

These convex mirrors were installed in our building's carpark a while ago. They work really well, effectively enabling you to see around corners as you travel up and down the ramps. There must be about twenty of them. No-one travels at 8km/h, usually about 15. I know of no accidents between cars or people being mown down. It is a nuisance if people don't use their headlights as you can't see them coming out of the corner of your eye, but the mirrors make it much easier to see cars coming. But do they make the car park safer? You would think yes, but I am not so sure.

I find I tend to drive a little bit faster in the car park because I can now easily see if there is a car coming the other way. Does that make it safer?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Christmas Day War

It was a battle royale. As the crackling cooked on a high temperature, the oven was clearly ahead of the air-conditioning. The oven was pumping out heat and fumes and the air was blue, as was the language at times. The sun was shining hotly and strongly on the eastern windows. We knocked the air con down a couple of degrees and it became a close battle. As the temp went down on the oven for the last couple of hours of cooking, the air con drew ahead. The air con takes into account the outside temperature too. By the time people arrived, the air con had won the battle and the apartment was cool and the blue air exhausted to the atmosphere.

I was concerned about cold air blowing onto people as we dined and I turned it off. No sooner had I done so, boy it is hot in here. I switched it back on and there were no complaints about cold air blowing on anyone.

Apart from R forgetting to serve the baked cauliflower in white sauce and apparently me forgetting to buy teabags, it all went well, if you can call chaos as a success.

Would you like some left over pork, ham, chicken, turkey, christmas pudding, christmas cake, pumpkin.........ok, the list is terribly long, down to coloured and sweet popcorn which I find quite disgusting.

I'd just like to give thanks to Mr Whirlpool who did five loads today, bless you. Maybe one day you will be able to load dishes and put them away.

A Merry Old Day

Christmas to me means family. I am not religious but christmas is an important cultural tradition to me. By the time this is published, I will be already up, perhaps off getting some ice to chill the drinks in the laundry trough.

This is our oldest christmas ornament, from about 1982.

We received three hand made cards this year, one from Peter in Amsterdam, accompanied by a large piece of delicious chocolate which lasted a few minutes, one from Pants in Larrikens End featuring her own artwork and this very special one from Copperwitch. Surely oh red haired one, you did not stick each jewel on individually? It is just brilliant.

Our tree this year. We bought battery operated LED lights for it this year. 100 did not go far. We bought another lot and the second lot were discounted by 30%. I don't know how they worked, but the first evening we turned them and then off when we went to bed. The next night I was last up and I forgot to turn them out, but in the morning they were off. I thought R turned them off during the night. To keep it brief, each night they would come on by themselves at about 6.30 and off by themselves at what time we don't know. It is not light related as we had a very dark day where the light was dimmer than at 6.30. The set just seemed to learn from the first setting.

When R wound the new lights onto the tree, the first lot would not work, well, they would come on and go off again. We puzzled over this for a day or two, altering flashing rates etc but they became worse. At school I vaguely remember we a class called Clear Thinking, and that was what was needed. In a moment of enlightenment, I asked myself why would battery operated lights keep going off? Asking myself the correct question immediately gave the correct answer. The batteries were flat. There were four AA batteries of an obscure brand and clearly not made to last. Now we take firm control of when the lights are on and off.

If it is not your day to celebrate, then you can still make it day to eat and drink too much. I bid you all Seasons Greetings.

(Hels, read a book a book and go out for a walk. There is always tv?)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ready, set and go for tomorrow

R keeps getting upset that our hosting is not up to high standard. Ok, some will have silver cutlery and some will have stainless steel. One person has a chipped plate. It will matter not an iota on the day. We are two people catering for 13.

A South Melbourne stroll then to town

We left the bus in St Kilda Road and walked to Chemist Warehouse in Sturt Street. It wasn't far.

Before we left, we noticed that the tram shelter across the road which had been vandalised by the youf had been repaired, except for the tinted roof glass. A couple of weeks later, finally it has been repaired.

It was quite a pleasant short walk.

This is a curious building. A roundhouse was a building to where trains were once kept but there is no connection to trains with this round, well maybe hexagonal building.

A ventilation stack for the City Link tunnels. Imagine the muck that comes out of that. A politician arguing the benefits of East West Link was heard to say, imagine Melbourne without City Link. Remember this the next time you are sitting stationary in a City Link tunnel and paying for the privilege. I would argue the contrary. Traffic is self limiting up to a point. The demand for better public transport would have been loud.

Vault finally found its right home almost out of sight at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. It is a much unloved sculpture known to many as the Yellow Peril.

Victoria, the only state where motorbikes can be parked on the footpath. These ones are neatly lined up and generally not a bother to anyone, but that is not always the case in our fair city of Melbourne. Daniel explains.

Bad design at this tram stop in Bourke Street. It is the usual case of someone designing something without looking at natural human behaviour. We along with about twenty other people left the tram and walked out onto the pedestrian crossing and cars stopped and then we backtracked to get around the barrier and cross the road. R had to wait in the Medicare office, so I ducked back to take this photo. The people with the brollies had just left a tram and did as we did earlier and had followed the same path.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Safety on our trains

Given in my life I have caught the Williamstown train about six times in my life, the odds of feeling under threat should be low, but I did feel under threat as a couple of the youf went through the train asking to see people's tickets, as if they were ticket inspectors. I wanted to dial triple 000 but I did not want to draw attention to myself. I stared out the window and they moved to another area of the train.

Given I have caught the train to Sunbury once in my life, the odds of threat must be very low and there was no threat to me, but the train was delayed by a rough trio of people loudly arguing and making threats to each other. Most unpleasant. Platform staff and the train conductor dealt with the matter.

This story at The Age is online tonight. There is a quite frightening video of someone under threat of being stabbed in the face. A fellow passenger filmed the incident. Who knows what the drama was about, but Metro Trains has no interest in finding out, according Channel 7 and The Age.

Does Metro care? No and it is a disgraceful. I quote the reporter in the video, Metro Trains is unaware of the incident and cannot take any action unless a complaint is made. Really???????

A Mince Pie Review

We have tried four different brands of mince pies this year.

Not pictured but Bakers Delight were pretty awful with very thick pastry and not much filling. I think they were about $7.

The clear winner were the mince pies from Waitrose in Britain and at about $8 they were excellent value. I expected them to be good and they certainly were.

These came from David Jones Food Hall and were almost $12. Luxury Mince Pies? Almost inedible and we were so disappointed. The pastry was too sweet, far too thick and too crumbly, although the little filling they contained wasn't too bad. They are sitting on top of the microwave and neither of us are keen to have another.

I was very surprised at Coles Supermarket own brand which contain some dark rum. They are very very nice and at $4, an absolute bargain. Whoever supplied Coles with these better do so next year.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday News

Saturday began with shopping, $200 worth. Meat costs. We had a christmas dinner at the Malvern Vale Hotel last night. It was lovely evening among friends. Our dyke friend organised a Kris Kringle gift giving, nothing over $10. I have a large box of small chocolates. I have had two, but the box is now only half full? The Brighton Antique Dealer left her building and crossed the road to North Brighton Station and caught the 6 o'clock train and we picked her up at the South Yarra Station at 6.15. When our trains run to time, they work very well.

This morning we worked hard with cleaning and prep for christmas day. R was relieved to know the figure for dinner is 13, not 14. That's a big difference! I polished the silver cutlery.

Our dining table seats 6. We have a large trestle table that we will add for the day. But what about seats? We each have a chair in our bedrooms, 8, there are two fold up chairs under my bed, 10, two chairs from the balcony, 12, computer chair 13. Made it.

Sister was on the phone to R. Roast pork? Who wants that? Well, I do actually, and I should think many others. No turkey? said Sister. Ok, we relented, instead of three chickens, there is one chicken and a turkey. Sister is bringing a ham and plum pudding. In a serious slip up, we bought plain custard, brandy custard, cream and ice cream. Sister texted, I shall get the soy custard for Mother then? I didn't even know you could get such a thing.

Sunday afternoon into town to buy R's christmas present, a stick blender. I checked the cheap table and there was a Kenwood with only one attachment for half price at $100. Across the way was a boxed Kenwood stick blender with many attachments for $100. I bought the latter of course.

Yes, ham steak and pineapple is very old fashioned, but I like it and we had it for dinner. But dinner was not so relaxed. Non Dreaded Nephew called to ask if he could call in and drop off some presents. Of course laddie.  We had just finished cleaning up after dinner. He drew his Nan, Mother to me, in the Christmas draw. He saw a timber paling planter box at a nursery we know well in Brunswick Street. $35, he exclaimed. I can make one, and so he did from left over paling fence timber and planted three marigolds. Mother will love it. He and his Jewish girlfriend have moved from the garret in North Carlton to Flemington.They will stay there until March when they go to Brazil for three months next year, following the soccer. Then, he says, they will settle down, haha. Speaking of Flemington, is Kath dead?

Then ABI Brother called. He is going the Boxing Day cricket test with a mate and then Sister bought herself and him a ticket for the next day. Can I stay at yours Boxing Night, Brother? Of course Brother. We will give you a key and remote on Christmas Day as we will be out on Boxing Night at the Brother Friends for a second Christmas dinner.

The phone has just rung. It is Mother. I can't do it. R said, give me the phone. Bless him.

Sunday Selections

Join River, Jackie and Elephant's Child in Sunday Selections. Here is my effort for the week.

What do you do when your car breaks down and you are waiting for help? You spread out your tartan picnic rug and catch some rays. The police kindly put out a couple of warning devices on the road.

I think a shotgun might be the best solution to noisy motor bikes. The police won't do anything. As was reported in this week's media, we were quite correct about the barricades around St Kilda Road Police Station and that motor bikes had been 'buzzing' the police station.

There must have been a better way to transport this. While it looks secure, it was madly swinging from side to side as the car travelled at 80 km/h along Nepean Highway. I thought it was going to burst.

It was a hot Sunday and three blokes worked in the sun until 6pm while installing some new air con. Yep chaps, if The Abbott has he way, you'll be doing this until you are seventy. I was at the surgery below two days later to have a skin cancer removed and still the air con wasn't working. The glories of ageing.

On my monitor the reflection colour is as it was a the time. Unusual.

More balcony wildlife. I am rather pleased with this shot. Now off you pop and find some aphids to eat from someone's roses, there's a good chap. And he/she flew away. Ummm, male ladybird?

Note to self, never again buy pale coloured towels. A two day soak and a hot water wash and they are improved, but not perfect.

Glorious gladdies. You like Red?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Even more Myki Madness

Snip from an email from a friend. He is internet savvy and just being stubborn I expect. I think he was away when his Myki renewal email arrived and he missed it.
I went to the City today; got off at Central; my MYKI would not work as it has “expired” on 5 December!

Well, the lady there at the ticket office made a new card for me immediately; no hassle EXCEPT  “You have an automatic top-up authority on this card sir; that will no longer be valid; you will have to renew that”!

Can I have the form then please  . .  . Oh there is no longer a form; you have to go on line and do it sir  and if I don’t have a computer to go on line????   well you will have to go to an Internet Cafe and do it!
Anyway, I want to detail R's problematic renewal of his Myki concisely.

He travelled by tram to Flinders Street Station and as you don't have to touch off on a tram, he didn't. He queued to renew his card. Staff said you can't because it wasn't touched off. He was escorted through the train barrier and out again and was now touched off. He queued again. Instead of being issued a Senior's Myki, he was given a normal one. He pushed into the newest queue and obtained the correct card.

A couple of weeks later he went online to add money to his Myki card balance and the system would not accept it. He called the Myki office and after a long wait in a queue, it was discovered they had registration details for his original card and the wrongly issued non Senior's card, but not his current and valid one. Sir, it will be fixed within two weeks. Where did that leave him? He had to use a machine on the street to top up his Myki so that he could travel. Yes, eventually the matter was sorted and he was notified by email. 

If only, if only, the brief email Myki sent about the need to renew his card said, your card must be touched off to renew your Myki, none of this would have happened and it would have been a smooth process that would take one minute and he would not be bad mouthing effing Myki to anyone who will listen. Instead he spent about 15 minutes at Flinders Street Station and a bit less than an hour on the phone with two calls including phone queue time and some time on the net.

I am in the process of emailing Myki about the matter. Perhaps I should just cut and paste this. (cannot, 1000 character limit)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Why wasn't I told?

Gattina mentioned in a comment on my blog that in the early 60s Belgium was completed hard wired for television, meaning there was no need for aerials in the sky to watch tv. I mentioned this to R, and apparently England was partly hard wired. I have one word for that I will investigate in depth and perhaps write about later, Rediffusion. How come I don't know about it? How come R never told me about it?

Maintaining your position as a big fish in a little pond

Little Britain was an exceptionally fine British BBC sketch comedy series which began in 2003. It is not a show I would rewatch, not because it wasn't brilliant, but the shock value would be lost in a second viewing. This sketch from the first episode features Daffyd, the only gay in the village, a Welsh village to be more precise. You can find a more realistic account of gay life in a Welsh village at John's blog, along with tales of his life, neighbours and his 73 animals.

The narrator is Tom Baker, of Doctor Who fame.

I rather like cock (note: edit for clarity), but if the word offends you, then don't watch the clip.

You only have to see the first 15 seconds to see how brilliant the show was. Funnily I saw the same drawing on a tram shelter at the bottom of Calantina Hill this week.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pussies Licking

This may be a photo repost. I think the barbeque came from McEwens Hardware and it was called a Wendy. Light up the Wendy will you hon. John recently lost one of his favourite roosters. Unlike with your children, you can have favourite pets. Post a barbeque in 1987, Thomas and Tuffy patiently waited for the Wendy rack to cool before getting stuck into what ever was stuck to the bars.

Tuffy is on your left. We had a mutual working relationship with him. He would stay with us if we fed him. He also had a working relationship with the black and white Thomas. We have to live together so I will tolerate you, but don't expect us to be mates. Tuffy had a tough early life and I suppose you could say we rescued him.

Thomas was the opposite. He was a quite large cat, although he does not appear to be in the photo. He was affectionate to the point of being embarrassing. He was constantly rubbing against legs, jumping up onto laps, seeking affection wherever he could. He would purr at the drop of a hat and unfortunately drool when you patted him. Ten minutes of Thomas on your lap and you would have a significantly sized wet spot.

Although we think Thomas was a bit older than Tuffy, they both died of old age within twelve months of each other. It is always hard to pick the right moment for that final trip to the vet, but I think we got the quality of life balance right. We shed a tear as Tuffy went. We blubbed likes babies as Thomas went and drank too much that evening. I'm glad we had a female vet, who was just great. Sometimes women can comfort in a way men never can.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Economic Stimuli

When retired ex Minster for pink batts Peter Garrett writes his memoirs, I expect within the tome will be an explanation about the pink batts scheme, which was free ceiling insulation for all houses without it or replacement of worn out insulation, as part of economic stimulus plan for Australia during the Global Financial Crisis.

We may well know before then as there is to be a Royal Commission into the scheme because separately four young men who were installing batts died. The RC is purely political. It is an area within the respective State Coroners' Offices jurisdiction, but the present government want some blood to be spattered over the Labor Party.

That is the scheme was put in place too hurriedly, and poorly administered and monitored, which must surely be the conclusion of RC. The minister responsible, Garrett, seems to have known it was wrong, but he could not or would not stand up to the power of Prime Minister Rudd.

Well, we shall see what the RC comes up with.

Now dear taxpayer, why did you not buy a new digital tv to replace my mother's analogue tv? It would have been a good bit cheaper for you.

Analogue television signals in Melbourne were shut down in early December. A government funded scheme was set up to help pensioners who could hot afford a new digital television to receive a digital set top box and for it to be installed and the home owner shown how to use it.  That's all I thought it was.

Although our family was divided about whether to buy Mother a new tv or to use our spare digital recorder which works like a set top box, it was decided give the digital recorder a try. Mother was reluctant. She came up with stories of pensioners having set top boxes catching fire, exploding, not working etc. She tried a few games, but she was not in a position of power because of her not receiving an electric bill for nine months and knowing we would pay most of it if it arrived. It was unreasonable of her to expect us to buy a tv too. She had R put the box away in a cupboard but Bone Doctor insisted getting it out and connecting it up. She no doubt was aiming to sit in front of the tv the day the analogue signal went off and calling one of us to tell us her tv would not work. I had previously tried the device and it worked fine with her television and Bone Doctor did the same when she connected it up.

The first day all was ok. The second day she said she heard clicking noises and it would not work. She knew the set top box scheme was administered by Social Security so she called them and someone rang her back to make an appointment to visit her to see what the problem was.

The next day she tried the set top box again and it worked and continued to work fine. Nevertheless, she did not cancel the appointment. The technician turned up and told her that the aerial was very old and needed to be replaced. If the cost was coming out of her pocket, or ours for that matter, we would have said no, the tv is working fine and there is nothing wrong with the picture.

But we weren't paying. You, dear taxpayer footed the bill for Mother now having the tallest tv aerial in town, anchored by guy wires through the roof tiles into the roof timbers, then it being wired into the house with a new plug with some kind of interference suppressor. I should think the full price would be over $1000. Why didn't you just buy her a $600 HD digital TV?

We thank you dear taxpayer.  Hang on, I'm one of you! Mother costs me one way or t'other.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Some Commercial Road snaps

Sydney's Oxford Street used to be referred to as the Gay Mile. Melbourne's Commercial Road in South Yarra and Prahran used to be called the Gay Metre. It is barely even that now, perhaps a gay centimetre but hey, every centimetre counts.

As far as I know, the only gay thing about Commercial Road now is the Beat Bookshop, formerly located in Greville Street.

Well, there is a bit of the gay still in Izett Street, off Commercial Road. 'Mummy, why is that man touching the other man's bottom?' 'He likes him in a very special way.'

Onesie? I have heard of these things. In fact I have seen people wear them in public. Is that a web address? It is unlike any I have seen.

 They are appalling and make track suit pants with tee shirts look like haute couture.

T'was the Blue Elephant, then Red Orange, now Carpe Diem. Will the day be seized? I doubt it. In the early or mid nineties I met up with friends for lunch before going to Midsumma Carnival. R would not come. I had just bought my first mobile phone. I asked R to call me while I was at lunch. He did and my phone rang. People looked on in with great interest as I took the call.

Once Freskys and lastly Mojitos, now closed. It was something else before Freskys. Ten points if you know. We've been waiting for almost a year to find out what New Taste is and when it will open. An extra ten points if you know the name of the Chilean born guy with the initials of CR who worked there in its first guise and sometimes performed a number on a table top.

NBHD Neandertahl? Well, I never. It was Priscillas, a bar, and next to it on the left was Cafe 151 where we breakfasted often, in a later incarnation Rae's Basement, then associated with Heaven Now, now a Chinese restaurant.

The Market Hotel, The Market, Checkpoint Charlies, Three Faces....this gay venue has had many names. It has been gutted and only the fa├žade kept. It is no longer gay and has been re-purposed. An acquaintance had too many 'light beers' there and thought he could fly. He jumped from the gallery to the dance floor and fortunately did not land on anyone, but not so fortunate for him, he broke his leg. A Filipino friend in the nineties, who could not speak English very well, won the karaoke competition with his perfect rendition of My Way. He was just brilliant and deserved the win. I can never forget Miss Candy's tribute to Lindy Chamberlain with her number, A Dingo's Got My Baby.  The Emerson seems to have opened. Watch it go broke and then sold on to another sucker.  Further along the street was The Exchange, another gay hotel. We may have been there once or twice. One may have even attended the venue in drag after a ball at the Carlton Crest Hotel in Queens Road. I fell off my heels and dropped my drink. R kindly helped me up with a brutal yank on my arm and then said to friends, 'time to take this drunken slag home'. The Exchange became D&M but I recently noticed the name D&M has been removed.

Small ugly shops were demolished to become this. Well, I am not sure what this is yet. Commercial Road is becoming a canyon of tall buildings. A little to the right is Porter Street, but we won't go there with reminisces.

I remember when Market Plaza was under construction. I rather wish it had not been constructed. Some buildings in the background built many decades before have stood the test of time.

I am surprised Moot closed. I supported them for years by buying sunglasses there, until they changed to only designer sunglasses made in China and in glass display cases. Maybe not a good business decision.

Oh, the Asian grocer has closed. Where will I buy the lap cheong for my fried rice? Right, the supermarket now. It was cheaper at the Asian grocer. Maybe that it why it has closed.

Bang, in Cato Street. No, not gunshots. It was the name of a gay clothing shop. I think the owner was called Dean White. He was a stunner. He moved to Sydney and left the shop under local management. It quickly failed once he left.

Lastly, as named. I may well have been pierced in places at this place when I was younger and adventurous. Counting up, four. But my ears were pierced at a chemist.

I suppose it is no surprise that The Piercing Urge does body piercing.

The next two photos exhibit a perfect business model. I have two tattoos, on my upper arms. I rather like them. No intention of having them removed. My tatts are nice. Covering your body or worse face and neck with tattoos is not nice.

The photo shop in the background is very good and has nice owners. I used to use the gay friendly chemist also in the background. Once while getting a couple of prescriptions filled, one went missing. The staff woman accused me of taking it. Why I would steal my own medication, I do not know. She eventually found it down among the jelly beans and other rubbish they push at you laid out on a bench below the counter. I was furious and immediately changed from being a customer to a non customer of Commercial Road Pharmacy. This was several years ago and it may have changed hands and that Greek heritage cow is no longer there.

Oh, while our original inhabitants in Australia practised it, it is a bit much for me. I was not sure what the display would show next. I shut down the camera and peered up the street for a tram or bus to take me home.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The hum drum of life

I was left to my own devices for about 15 minutes in Prahran while R went about an errand. I went to Coles supermarket to get something.

In a very gay and laconic gay drawl one young staff member remarked to another very obviously gay staff member,

"I need a red christmas tee shirt...........doesn't matter.........don't worry about it."

The other replied,

"Tony, your lack of a red christmas tee shirt is the least of your problems."

It amused me, but not as much as the apparent difference between male and female feet. I went to a place that used to be TSL, The Stock Liquidator. It has changed its name and is now a Bond's shop. TSL used to sell mostly Bonds clothing. Just what I need, a pack of three socks, the same black socks with a little colour at the toes I have bought there before. But wait, they are women's socks, so the label said. Well, I can't be buying women's socks.

There are some pretty obvious physical differences between men and women, but I would have thought that the feet were much the same. I didn't buy the socks as they were marked with woman foot sizes and I don't know my equivalent.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Selections - Christmas Prep

See if River, Jackie and Elephant's Child have come up with a Sunday Selection this week.

There is not much in the way of the first attempt at the christmas cake left now. In fact, it has gone. Apart from being a little black on top, it was very good.

We can't make our own mince pies in Australia and have to import them?

Well, if they were half as good as these ones from Waitrose, there wouldn't be an imbalance in trade. The sachet of Tangerine Sugar was a nice extra touch.

Mother gave us this silver plate cutlery about thirty years ago. She must had still have had some money then. It is years since it was used but we will need it for christmas day. I expected it to be more tarnished that it is. You used to be able to buy a product that you put in water and soak the silver in it but it does not seem to be obtainable now, so I will have to sit down with the Silvo and polishing clothes.

Our building's christmas tree, same as last year and the year before, and the year.......

I'm not sure if these candles in a neighbour's window are christmas related. Nice though.

The preparation of christmas cake number two. The fruit has been soaking in whiskey for a few days. More whiskey is ready to go into the cake.

The butter and sugar are creamed and the flour, spices and egg is ready to be added.

And ready for a cool oven for a long cook.