Saturday, May 11, 2013

Don't get too paranoid

You may not be able to read this, so I will type out what it says. It was attached to a souvenir keyring/bottle opener brought back from Singapore. Is it supposed to send a positive message to prospective visitors? You be the judge.

No smoking - fine $1000

No urinating in lifts - fine $500 (imo, this should be higher)

No feeding (birds) - fine $1000 (should have it here, especially pigeons and seagulls)

No eating or drinking in MRT (rail system) - fine $500 (definitely should be here too. I recall you weren't allowed to eat or drink on the buses in Singapore either)

No littering - fine $1000

Not flushing - fine $150

Possession of fire crackers - cane

Possession of drugs, +20g - death sentence

Vandalism - gaol and cane (what was the name of the lad from the US who vandalised cars? Michael something. Ah, Fay)

Singapore is a Multi Racial City. Various Chinese linguistic groups formed 75.2% of Singapore's residents, Malays 13.6%, Indians 8.8%, while Eurasians, Arabs and others formed 2.4%.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Not quite right

We walked to South Melbourne and then caught the tram into the city this balmy Friday. Although it was 23 degrees, the tram heating was on and we cooked. But I no complain.

We went to a shop that sells toothbrushes and whirling blade personal grooming machines, for toothbrush heads for R's electric toothbrush. Out of stock. But I no complain.

We walked along Lonsdale Street. The sheer number of people! The noise level was horrendous with buses roaring past, construction site noise and concrete mixer trucks left, right and centre.  But I no complain.

Coffee? All the tables taken. But I no complain.

We will eat elsewhere and come back. R had a small curry and I a small chicken, pesto and avocado salad. Too much salt in both and I am now thirsty and drinking iced water by the glass. But I no complain.

Instant coffee on special at Woolworths. We will grab that. R said he was positive he saw it in South Melbourne for $16, but no, in QV $17. But I no complain.

Finally a free table for coffee. R likes his coffee hot and I do not. I asked for his coffee to be hot and mine came boiling hot too. But I no complain.

Enough of town and busyness. Home on the tram. The driver had a lot to say, over the pa system, loudly.  We don't really need to know the opening times of city department stores, the details of the Mothers Day fun run, or where trams had been diverted because of problem now that they were back to running normally, and every stop number and street. Every time she spoke, we had to pause our conversation as we couldn't hear over her. But I no complain.

Nice to be home, with the place filled with afternoon light, although the light makes the carpet look shabby, which it is. This time I did complain, and a nice young man came around last night and measured up for new carpet. We are still in a state of 'price shock'. As R says, my head for prices is very firmly set in the 1980s.

This is where the carpet is the worst. Nearly eleven years of the computer desk chair wheels rolling around has taken its toll. Please don't say mats, of matching carpet or otherwise. We don't like them. This will be the seventh carpet we will have had laid during our lives, the only difference being this time, we are paying someone to move the furniture around and to rip up and remove the old carpet.

Ripponlea Pt 2

Ripponlea was built in 1868 for Sir Thomas Sargood.The house has been altered and modernised many times in its history, but it remains a beautiful and grand home and is my favourite Melbourne 'grand house'.

The Sargoods' lived at the house until 1903 when Sir Thomas died. It was bought by a consortium of developers with one of the developers being the infamous St Thomas Bent. The developers sold off various parts of the land, but before the house could be demolished and the land subdivided into housing allotments, Bent died. Why am I thinking we are talking about developers in the 21st century, rather than the 20th century? The more things change....

In 1910 the property was bought by Ben Nathan, owner of Maples, a chain of furniture retailers. I have made mention of Maples a couple of times in the past and it is worth revisiting the posts here and here.

When Nathan died in 1935, the property was inherited by his daughter Louisa who promptly went about remodelling the house, with most of the interior Victorian features removed or covered over. Louisa, Mrs Jones, was a Melbourne socialite who loved to entertain and the reinvented the interior of the house to what could be described as 1930s Hollywood. She had the old ballroom demolished and a new one built along with an adjacent swimming pool. I have heard that the ballroom has Melbourne's best sprung dance floor.

In the early 1950s the Federal Government compulsorily acquired some of the Ripponlea estate land for the construction of ABC, Australian Broadcasting Commission, television studios. If your recall last year's ABC comedy, Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight, Gordon Street refers to the street address of the studios with Gordon Street running along one side and Ripponlea on the other.  Hopefully this link will work and you can easily see where the land for the ABC studios was chopped off the estate.

In the sixties, the government wanted more of the Ripponlea land but this time Mrs Jones said no and fought a long battle against the acquisition. Settlement was eventually reached and to me it reads in Wikipedia like Mrs Jones won. Part of the agreement was that the estate was to be left to the Victoria National Trust upon her death. Mrs Jones died in 1972 and what a win her legacy was to the people of Victoria.

There is a 3d interactive photographic thingie to play with here where you can check out the interior of the house.

I understand the National Trust receives quite a good income from the property, subsidising other properties that do not do so well.

Behind me and to my right is a sporting pavillion. I went in to look at a couple posters and as I was leaving, I startled a woman who putting away croquet equipment.

The level of the pool was a bit low. The ballroom behind is often used for weddings and other occasions and is leased to a catering company.

Isn't she just beautiful.

This photo includes the tower which is undergoing renovation.

A beautiful aspect over the lawns. As well as being the first house in Australia? with its own power generators for electricity, it also has its own sophisticated watering system fed by the lake.

The main entrance. I like the side view better, or perhaps it is my photo.

The conservatory.

At basement level are the kitchen and servants' quarters. A more modern kitchen was built upstairs and this basement part of the house is preserved Victorian.

What is this entrance?

It is the fernery and it is huge and impressive.

While I have no lawn, I am happy to say, you can never have enough lawn.

Considerately, protruding roots have been painted yellow.

I'll just stand on this bridge and let the smoke and steam from the train envelop me. Ah, that's right, back to the 21st century, electricity, you say. Well I never...

Apparently new ABC tv studios are to built at Southbank, so once the ABC has gone, we would expect the land to be returned to the  people.

Somehow I think not and so expect more of what you can see in the right of this photo.

I have no idea what this building is in Ripon Grove, but it is of substance.

Coffee at The Artful Dodger on the corner of Gordon Street and Glenhuntly Road, and then home.

Thursday, May 09, 2013


It was well worth crossing the Yarra to Fitzroy for some bargains. All I really wanted was a new pair of shoes, which are at the top of the receipt.

Ripponlea Pt 1

I had planned to do something on the day, but then realised where I was planning to go was not open. I thought I might just have relaxing walk around the gardens of the historic home in Elsternwick, Ripponlea. For the home itself there is another spelling Rippon Lee, but that seems to be lost.

I caught the bus from home to the stop right outside the gate. I guess I strolled around for about one and and half hours. It would have been nice to do with someone else to talk to about what I saw.

Paths, there are paths in every direction, up hill and down dale.

 One of the three waterfalls I discovered.

A willow tree, on the left, and pampas grass flowers on the right. Both are are weed pests in
Victoria, for good reasons, but how nice they look.

Did I frame this well?

A glimpse of lawn. There is a lot of lawn. See the next post.

A remaining red canna lily, and one of the two bridges across the lake.

The boat house. There are two row boats inside the boat house, still there as they were when I last visited
Ripponlea, some twenty five years ago.

The noisy waterfall.


Is it a rotunda? Maybe. It is quite some building, with steep and narrow stairs, even though it is not so old.

The scenery from the tower rotunda was very nice.

Part 2 of the house from the outside and its history later.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Not getting the taxi thing

Taxi drivers are conducting rolling protests at Melbourne Airport. They normally queue in a holding yard and eventually get to the airport rank, where they quickly pick up their passengers and depart. Sometimes the fare might a really good one, say to Frankston ($100?). Sometimes it might be to airport hotel across the road ($5?). They wait a long time in the holding yard and naturally get very annoyed when they get a short distance fare.

To overcome their issue, Melbourne Airport introduced a policy where taxi drivers who took a short fare, could return to the airport and jump the holding yard and be in the quick queue at the airport. There was no proof that they had taken a short trip, and so naturally enough some abused the system.

Other systems have been suggested, such as short trip drivers getting some sort of proof token.

I have a different view, against the taxi driver's who have been in the holding yard for two hours and then get $5 trip. It is not fair, they protest.

Surely it is fair. Who gets the $5 fare today, will get the $100 fare tomorrow. Who got the $100 fare today will get a $5 fare tomorrow. It is all about the odds, and odds do balance out.

The taxi drivers should cheerfully accept any fare, long or short, and if they don't, then there is something seriously wrong with the taxi industry and its fare structure.

Our state government commissioned a detailed report on Melbourne's taxis by a noted professor. Apparently his report suggests something that reduces the value of a license to run a taxi, nothing to do with drivers themselves, although he did suggest they should be better paid.  Our government has been silent since the report was released.

Footpath Etiquette

Like we drive in Australia, I so wish people would keep to the left when walking on the street. We drive on the left, walk on the left and on escalators, keep to the left. Oddly in the UK, they do all of the above except they keep right on the escalator. There must be an historical reason for that but on the face of it, weird! Thanks Pants for the info, ever so many years ago.

People in Melbourne do tend to keep to the left on footpaths. Only tend, mind you. There are no rules, and there are many who don't obey the unwritten law. Well, it is not even an unwritten law, as most people know about unwritten laws.

I forgive the ignorant, but not the selfish.

What about when you are walking along a narrow footpath, on your own, on a footpath two people wide? This happens ever so often to me in Prahran.  Do you step off the footpath onto the roadway and let the two people continue to walk side by side or do you force them to single file so you can pass on the footpath? I force them to single file. R steps onto the roadway.

This also happens to me at work, when I go out to get my lunch or whatever. People are walking astride. I don't allow them to force me to dodge them. They must bunch up.

I have really noticed people alone tend to get out of the way of a couple or a group of people when walking, and the sole persons should not.

As for blocking the whole footpath when in a group and chatting outside the restaurant after a nice dinner out, no. Let people past. As my grandmother used to say about Oakleigh when she returned from shopping, the damn Greeks and Eyeties standing around in groups and jabbering away and blocking the footpath.

If I remember to do it, I have a tried and true method of getting along a busy footpath. Find a person who is moving at the pace you want to walk, make sure they are broad of beam, and walk a couple of feet behind them. They are the ship's bow, breaking through the water, and you are just sucked along behind.

Any footpath etiquette to add? Are you an assertive walker or a step out of the way walker? Do you ever take much notice?

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Dishwashing and salt

We have a pump dispenser for dishwashing liquid. For some reason when R last topped it up, the liquid from the storage bottle was really watery. Someone had topped up the storage bottle with water. How odd and why?

I was looking forward to our meal of lasagne, but it was so salty. We don't add salt to food as it is cooking and while R may add some salt to his meal, I don't. Even as a kid, I was never salt person and so now, I am very sensitive to salt. I do like my ground black pepper though. R's Sister added salt to the lasagne.

They really weren't dishwasher machine people. They had no idea how to load a dishwasher. Mind, R is not so good at it either. I am a perfect dishwasher loader. 

One of our hotplate burner's lighter ceramic surround thingie is broken. Oddly, the hotplate still lights without the ceramic bit. Who broke the ceramic surround?

I am very glad I told R's sister to not concern herself with our clothes washing but to just do their own. We bought a small clothes drying rack for their bedroom before they arrived. It proved very useful for them and apart from a small increase in water usage when they were here, the electric and hot water bill are much as they would have been had they not been here. Mind, our electric bill cracked the $500 for the three months. I put it down to really hot weather in February and March and the air con worked hard. Now we are heating, it is hard to imagine what a short time ago we were cooling.

The High Rise is a no smoking premise, so R's sister and bro in law spent a lot of time on the balcony, but there is still a burn in the carpet from their last visit. No matter, soon to be replaced.

Nevertheless, R's sister is lovely and it was wonderful to have them here. I just don't get the watering down of the dishwashing detergent. Why?

Cloud Computing?

Subtitled, Why you need to be very careful about internet cloud storage.

On the left of my blog under My Street Photos, there are two links to St Kilda Road photos. The photo hosting site was called Web Shots. All the photos I had stored there have gone, as the site has changed. Fortunately I have them on disks, but if I hadn't??? Well, it would be a tragedy. As it is, it is a damn nuisance. I expect they did send me warning emails, which I promptly forgot about. Irrelevant anyway, as I would still have to what I have to do now to fix the links up.

The other photos at My Street Photos are stored at Photobucket, which seems ok for now. I suppose Flikr and Picassa are ok, but you never know. I just do not trust storing things online, especially if you only use the free facility.

There is another reason to not trust online storage. An IT person had one of his accounts hacked and the hacker obtained his password. He used the same password for a number of sites and the hacker did some really nasty things, which I can't remember the details of, but think deleting your blog, gone. Think locking you out of your cloud email, that is gmail or yahoo or hotmail, account by changing the password. Facebook, up in smoke, gone. You can think for yourselves of the damage someone could do to your internet sites, if they have your id and password.

I just don't trust cloud computing, that is online storage. Put what is important to you on disks or memory sticks, twice, as well as your hard drive.

Myki Musings

The Twittersphere is full of complaints about Myki card readers, slow or not working at all, on trams and at railway stations. Myki is our stored value card for payment on public transport, like London's Oyster Card.

We rarely have problems, but R did today when he went into town on the tram. The third Myki card reader he tried did work. There was a woman in uniform on the tram who was checking the Myki readers. A female passenger boarded and tried her Myki at two different readers, as had R, and neither worked for her. The tram person told her to try the machine down the back which 'is working'. It did not. The woman was obviously not an experienced tram user or a regular Myki user, not that it really matters.

Well, it does in a way as a regular traveller would not have done as this woman did. The tram person then suggested she get on to the tram behind where the Myki readers would be working, and the woman complied. R was furious in sympathy for the woman, angry at the tram person and ranted long and hard to me about vile and shocking Myki. I cannot but help but agree. The woman should have been told to sit down and not worry about it.

Myki card readers seem to be falling apart at the seams and I have not seen a tram yet without the old Metcard machines.

I am normally sceptical of tales from people who have been roughed up by tram and train police but their actions in the following tale from Sister does seem like an overreaction.

Four blokes had been to the footy at the MCG. One is a personal friend of Sister and hard as it is to imagine Sister having a friend who smokes, this chap does. With a cigarette in his hand, he and his mates were hurrying for the Geelong train. He entered Flinders Street Station with the cigarette in his hand, and was promptly challenged by the station guards. He apologised and of course put his cigarette out, but that was not satisfactory to the station guards. They wanted his name and address to make a report, and presumably a fine would be issued. He argued with them that he really needed to catch the train and did not want  to be detained and tried to leave. He was put down on the ground, effectively arrested and detained and missed his train.

Sister told me he is not an aggressive type but quite artistic. He did two things wrong, having a cigarette in his hand when he entered the station and not stopping to give his details when challenged. No one could argue in his favour.

But it was hardly a terrible crime that he committed, yet he was detained, humiliated and missed his train and will no doubt get a fine in the post of a couple of hundred dollars.

Hmm, I dunno, I really don't.

When I am sitting stationary in my car in the Domain Tunnel, I wonder why I am being charged for the privilege. City Link will refund if it is the cause of the problem, but it rarely is. It is the government owned West Gate Bridge that is usually the problem, and that is quite correct. But when I am sitting stationary in the City Link tunnel, and I have paid, and City Link is not delivering what I expected when I paid, then I feel quite cross.

Is it not the same for public transport? You pay and you have certain expectations, such as having a safe journey and arriving on time. Yet too often this is not delivered as expected, but you must still pay. I am not saying it is right, but I have some sympathy for people who don't pay because they have received a bad service public transport trip.

Ah well, what can you do. How about a good Myki story? Little Jo has her own Myki card, but once Sister forgot to bring it with when they visited here, so I went online to buy one for Little Jo to keep here at the High Rise. Apart from the weirdness of doing in the first person as a five year old, it was a seamless process and the new card arrived in the post two days later.

Monday, May 06, 2013

The Cruelty just goes on and on

Another day, another instance of live cattle exported from Australian being shockingly tortured during the slaughter process. They are our animals and we have a right to protect them from such cruelty.

This is not a one off instance. It has happened time and time again and we only know about it from anti animal cruelty activists. Each time our government assures us that all is ok, that they have the processes in place to prevent such things, that each is an isolated instance.

So how come it just keeps happening, again and again and again?

The Liberal Party when it was in office did little and the Labor Party in office has put some good processes in place to prevent cruelty. Well, that is the theory. In practice it hasn't work. The video evidence makes it obvious.

As clear as the nose on your face, live animal exports must be stopped.

One of the less pleasing aspects of Anzac Day just past was hearing  how when a horse was badly injured in a battle was not immediately killed, but its vocal chords were cut, as the horse's screams upset the soldiers.

We are supposedly the superior beings, yet we don't care for the animals that give us sustenance, clothing, amusement and a lot more.

Sooner or later, gay marriage will happen in Australia. Sooner or later, live animal exports will be stopped in Australia. Both are inevitable.

You Won't Find Me...

This is one reason why I don't go to the St Kilda Festival.


And this is why you won't ever see me at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Too high for critters

Clearly the Highrise is not too high for birds. From the balcony plant massacre of 2003 by cockatoos, to the visiting cockatoo and corella  on the balcony last year, to myna birds crapping on the balcony, from a blackbird hopping into our apartment from the balcony., yes birds visit. Not too high for them.

It is not too high for flies either. I have a policy. I let them fly in and then they fly out. This words out to be
about 80% effective. The remaining 20% are dealt with by Mortein. Overnight stays on wall or ceilings are not permitted and sorry to be racist, but blow flies are not allowed at all.

Mosquitoes, we have seen none. Cockroaches, we  have seen none. Mice and rats, none.

Butterflies yes, and moths, oh, no moths this year but in the past the Highrise was full of Bogan Moths, sorry Bogong. Our indigenous people tell us they are very nutritious but also fattening, so we resisted a fry up.

I like to keep myself tidy down below, and do so with electric clippers now. But back in 2003 when I was still vaguely slim, attractive and in demand, I liked to be smooth, and so in my bathroom cupboards was depilatory wax. I had not screwed the top down tightly and the ants thought it was wonderful stuff. I picked up the jar and put in a bag, along with 30,145 ants and dropped it down the rubbish chute. The remaining ants buggered orf quickly enough, but since 2003, not an ant has been seen in the Highrise. It is odd that they were here only once, so they are not far away, but never been seen again.

We've had weavils in cereals in the past, but never here.

The Highrise is almost insulated from pest critters, but not quite. Tiny insects fill our lamp fittings, just like they do down on the ground.

It is said that cockroaches can survive a nuclear war, but I would put my money on the insects that fill your lamp shades with their dead bodies as critters who will survive Earth's annihilation. 

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Pedos Invited

I have a secret. On my hard drive I have heaps of photos of a naked child. She is my niece. Want to make me a dollar offer for them?

Are point 0.0015 of our population pedos? Never women, of course. They are trustworthy, but you always have to keep an eye on the blokes.

It is a sadness of our time and perhaps even worse if you are a religious person of the male variety.

Later Edit: The comments seem pretty reasonable.

Another later edit: I was nearly going to delete this post, something I may have only done once or twice in the life of my blog. I am glad I didn't.

A Saturday Laugh (late)

At the moment I am having to post twice a day to keep up with what I have found. There will be a time when I have found nothing of interest.

Time Spanner recently spent some time swanning around Dunedin on the south island of New Zealand. She took lots of photos of gorgeous things; historical, monuments, buildings.

I have been to Dunedin and it rained constantly and was cold. Nevertheless, it was a vibrant place with lots of university students and it felt somewhat like an educated town.

I am researching, but is it true that Dunedin is the second largest city in New Zealand? Maybe the South Island? (I have checked, it is 7th) I am not sure if I am accurate in saying that Dunedin locals speak with a Scottish accent but the town certainly has a Scottish feel to it, and connections back to Scotland. 

Those dour Scots....but the New Zealand Scots in Dunedin can be light hearted. These two photos Time Spanner posted of a bus in a depot amused me muchly. Note the wee on the destination. Rather beats Melbourne's tram destination display of 'Sorry, not in service'.

Sunday Selections

River nearly always does a Sunday Selection and Kath does at times, as do I. I see it as getting rid of photos that would take a long time to publish individually and are probably not worth a single post.

If you are a Melburnian of my age, you possibly remember Fannys in Lonsdale Street, an upmarket dining venue for the well heeled. One evening when passing by in a tram, I saw smoke pouring out from one of the windows. Fannys on fire! It is quite derelict now but at the rear on the roof is a bar, one of Melbourne's many rooftop bars.

 What is this thing called, love? It is in the Greek precinct of Lonsdale Steet and I could see flashes of light coming from it. I must check it out one dark evening when we are in town.

Is Melbourne a place for an opera singing busker? Apparently not. I thought she was good, but she did not attract a crowd. 

This kind of busker always attracts a crowd.

Queued to vote for Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the Malaysian elections at the Malaysian Consulate General.  What you say? He is no longer involved in politics? You could have fooled me.

Why is R's car so dirty? Ah, that is not his. His is the far one. Exactly the same car and colour except R's car has iridescent paintwork.

I was trying to get a photo of the police on horseback, but cars kept getting in the way. Who is that lad peeking around the corner at me.

He seems rather interested in what I am doing.

I was unaware of him as I snapped away. Maybe he is overcome with lust for my body and has been stalking me.  I am not overcome with lust for his, but he does have nice lips.

He did not hang around but crossed the road smartly. Forget the peeper. I do like a gay lad in apricot. Police horses are forgotten, but they are there somewhere.


 I had to get the binoculars out to be sure, and I was correct. A flock of pelicans was circling Albert Park Lake.