Saturday, July 13, 2013


This is a bit painful to write about and so personal, I am not sure if I feel comfortable doing so. But I come from stock (Mother) who feels better after writing a letter, even if it is not sent. Just to get thoughts down, the modern equivalent being an email you save to your draft folder and never send, is quite therapeutic.

Remember when R stormed out of the restaurant a few weeks ago in annoyance at our Brother Friends and their friend? Two days later one of the Brother Friends called and R told him over the phone that he did not want to talk about it and hung up.

Brother Friends told a mutual friend that they don't want to attend a meal out or any other event we attend. There are plenty of issues I could mention that have happened over the years that I could take offence at, but I don't care so much. R does care. He cares too much and is hurt too easily.

My loyalty is to R of course, but I know he is also troubled by the matter. Once when one of the friends rang R and abused him over the phone for no reason that ever became apparent, I did not understand. I still don't. People don't seem to do such things to me. Maybe I come across as a hard case, and perhaps I am. I think with some manoeuvring, I rescued the friendship and on the surface all was well. But perhaps not.

To give you some context, we have been on overseas holidays with them. We have been out to clubs many times when we were younger. We have done some crazy things together and got up to all sorts of mischief. We have done Sunday drives, many lunches and countless dinners out. Every christmas they put on a big bash for friends including us, a dwindling number in recent years.

They are back in Australia for a short time before going back to the place they love, Thailand, working up to living there permanently.

I suppose the friendship was dying a natural death anyway, but I can't help but feel a little sad at the loss of friends of 32 years.

I would understand better if I could understand how R saw their character defects and the way they relate to people as not being something personal against him.

In some ways I feel relief but I also feel such a loss of the past and our history with them. I am so worn by their miserly ways which has become worse over the years, down to not even having a soft drink when out, only having water and never being able to say, we all pretty much had the same, just divide the bill up. Their two aunts lived together and the Brother Friends recounted the tale of one asking the other, I am cold Margaret. Do you think we could switch on another electric radiator bar? Nonsense Peg. Put some more warm clothes on. They have become their aunts.

When things were good, we could laugh and bitch and reminisce, but this hasn't happened for some time. I have rescued the friendship once before, as I did another with someone esle, but as in the latter case, it only delayed the inevitable end.  Attempting to rescue this break up will also only delay the inevitable, well, actually I have already delayed the break up once. This is the inevitable.

With some sadness, I say, c'est la vie.

Just in case you think I am so smart and all knowing because I can put a few words down on the www, don't, just don't.

Wired Up

We always had a telephone when I was young, whether it was a crank the handle phone, or a dial phone. I recall visiting Mother's friend, and he had a plastic dial phone. There was kind of finger handle behind it and you could pick it up and it was so light. I was very impressed.

Many people did not have telephones and 'are you on the phone' was a question often asked, meaning did you have a home telephone. I haven't used it for years, but I still have a Telstra push button phone. I used to do phone banking with it. What lovely big buttons it had and was very easy to use.

Now, as I type at the computer, with our cordless telephone sitting nearby, with its second handpiece in R's bedroom, with our smart phones lying about, with our old dinosaur laptop sitting in a drawer, as R is using our notebook computer, but wondering if we should have bought a tablet, our internet enabled tv is on. It is not connected to the internet. I will wait until it easy to do. I really don't see the need to yet, but no doubt in the future, our tv will be connected to the internet.

It must have been good to see the arrival of cars and electricity in the early 20th century, but boy, what a time I have lived through. TV had barely arrived when I was born and no one had one. Then came colour tv. Video recorders arrived, along with telephone answering machines that recorded on tape.

FM radio. I was one of the first in my town to get an FM car radio. There was only ABC Classic FM broadcasting. Now it is all about digital broadcasting and I have embraced it with lust, as I have podcasts.

I could go and and on about it but repeating myself, what a amazing time I have lived through and what amazing things that are happening now. The future cannnot be forecast, but you can safely say, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

That must almost conclude the last of unfinished posts that seemed like a good idea when I started them.

Friday, July 12, 2013


I can see a role for this wheel in Midsomer Murders and theremin music will not be needed as the wheel creates its own spooky sound. Just imagine a dead body going around and around in a pod until it is discovered.

A three minute amateur piece about the abandoned amusement park in the old East Berlin can be found here. It is unsafe to fix the wheel in position as wind could then blow it over.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bathing Brag

It is all about your bathing habits. John wrote of lighting a fire to get hot water to have a bath, and just a little earlier I read of M asking whether you shower morning or night or both.

As I answered M, while R showers morning and evening, I only shower in the morning, unless I am either going out in the evening or .....nudge nudge, how's your father. I can't quite remember which year that last was.

In my teen to late twenties, I used to only shower in the evening. I can't recall why I started to shower in the morning instead of the evening.

R's Sister's husband became a shower convert while he was here and vowed to shower often once back home in England, rather than have a bath.

The brag? We have tried water saving shower heads and hated them. We have probably spent an equivalent of a year's supply of hot water on water saving shower heads and flow restrictors with no satisfaction. Our luxury is steaming hot water coming out of the shower head full pelt straight from an unrestricted pipe.  We don't care how much it costs or the cost to our state's water supply. I will stamp my foot and hold my breath until I go blue and say we just shan't have miserable tepid low flow showers.

My shower is usually less than three minutes, unless I don't have to go off to work and I need some thinking time. Under the shower is a great time to think and plan. You are doing something you don't have think about, and there are no distractions.

So do tell me about your personal hygiene habits, or leave an opinion on M's post. Um, though if no water is involved, maybe I don't want to know.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Alert but not alarmed

The inter connectivity of Yahoo, Google, Amazon, You Tube, Kindle, Face Book, the Android Play Store, from where your download apps and Blogspot  might concern some people. It doesn't worry me but I am little surprised while noticing how it all works together.

If I google something very commercial, such as overseas travel destination, you can be sure I will see things on various sites about the destination, how to get there and where to stay. Should I look at cars, I will see car ads in Face Book. Face Book still hasn't worked out I am gay, so it is not so smart.

I receive notifications about books for sale from Amazon because of what clips I have looked  at on You Tube. Today I uploaded a clip to You Tube for use in a future blog post and a message came to my mobile phone that the clip had successfully uploaded. I suppose it came via G Mail, from You Tube. I guess I signed up or signed in for all these things and as I said, it doesn't worry me, but if I was young, I think I would need to be careful. Thank god X Tube is not in the mix, yet.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Just another Sunday

Those of you who have been with me through the thick and thin of it for a long long time, may recall  back to Christmas Day 2006 when Sister presented Mother and late Step Father with their Christmas present, a copy of an ultrasound of her unborn child. I forget exactly what I wrote back then, but to say Mother and Step Father finding out that their dyke daughter was pregnant was surprising to them, to say the least.

This week Little Jo turns 6 years old and we celebrated her birthday last Sunday. The plan was Sister and Little Jo arrive by train Saturday afternoon, Sister takes Little Jo to a show,  Bone Doctor arrives and they go to the football while we look after Little Jo. The next morning we go to Healseville Sanctuary for a picnic and to see the animals and will meet up with Mother, ABI Brother and Tradie Brother.

The best laid plans....

I worked Saturday and arrived home at eight to find R had taken Little Jo to the kiddies show in St Kilda while Sister hung out in the area. Bone Doctor arrived from football duties about six and she and Sister went off to the football. I arrived home to find R and Little Jo had made pizza and mine just had to be cooked in the oven. "Popcorn Auntie Andrew", the cry went out as I arrived home. I obliged. Sister's team lost and when they returned, Sister was grumpy. R and Little Jo were sound asleep by then. Sister went straight to bed while Bone Doctor I sat chatting with a large glass of Scotch each while alternating between Le Tour and Le Tennis. Every so often Sister would get out of bed, mutter something and glare menacingly at Bone Doctor for her temerity of  staying up, drinking Scotch, watching sports on tv, relaxing and just enjoying herself. You may recall Sister is about to have a hysterectomy and a fibroid the size of a football removed. She is entitled to be a bit grumpy. Btw, her trip to the NT with her 17 year old school boys to an Aboriginal camp went well. She was reunited afterwards with Little Jo at the Gold Coast, Little Jo having not missed her at all and at the GC distracted by her two playmates. I forget who gave her this costume and my knowledge of children things is minimal, but  think I heard the word Elmo being used.

The morning dawned fine and sunny, which was a pity, because the evening before we decided the weather would not be great and we went for plan B, lunch at the Leighoak Hotel in Oakleigh. We had cereal and raisin toast and gave Little Jo her light up sneakers. They were a little too big, but at the rate she is growing, they will fit her for a while. She loved them.

While we prepared to go out, Little Jo did her ABC Reading Eggs on the computer. I don't know what is but it is educational and apparently she is up to number 3. After hearing a couple of 'wrong' tones from the computer, R asked if she wanted help. "If I need help, I will ask." Sister: "That is no way to speak to R. Try again." "No thanks R I am ok." Since she could speak, Little Jo has been constantly prompted about please, thank you etc, yet still quite often she will forget.

We set off to Koornang Road, Carnegie for morning coffee and a bagel. That is one large bagel shared between five. A little down the street was a park where Little Jo had a little play to rid of some of her energy. We all met at Leighoak at noon, which I used to know as the Oakleigh Hotel. It is no longer a hotel but a club, owned by the Melbourne Football Club. To our surprise it was Christmas in July and a three course Christmas dinner was on offer for $22 and it wasn't half bad.

I wandered off outside chatting with Tradie Brother and R called. Your mother wants a cigarette and is wandering around looking for somewhere to smoke. Why aren't you here to take here to find a smoking area so she can have a cigarette. Ok, his stress levels are high and that is hardly surprising. I need to be careful.

In our car we had a birthday cake and candles. Even though we had just eaten plum pudding, we went off to the park near where Sister and Bone Doctor used to live in Murrumbeena to eat cake. R and I used to visit Sister when Little Jo was about two years old and often take her to this park. One day blogger Jayne and her son came there to meet us. The playground has been moved and updated. It was very good, with a flying fox too. I thought it would be revisiting memories, but the physical has gone. I tried to light the birthday candles, but as the bureau had forecast, the weather had turned bad and a squall had just arrived. People crowded around the cake, sheltering it while I lit the candles. In ten seconds, candles were lit and blown out......maybe by Little Jo or maybe by the wind. "R, the cake is lovely. What a fine cook you are". Me: "Like home made jam, he has put a label on it". Sister recited the ingredients in the bought cake from the label. We concluded that a cake that has 58 ingredients in it for $6 was a bargain.

Of course Mother had to have a last drama moment. I cannot possibly use an electric toilet. I will get a panic attack and either the door will open when I am sitting or I will get locked in. "Mother, we will hear your screams and help". Bye my children, bye much loved son in law (R), bye dubious daughter in law (Bone Doctor, no kiss), bye my granddaughters, (Little Jo and Chainsaw Niece). ABI (acquired brain injury) Son, take me to a Scottish Restaurant toilet on the way home.

We were freezing and our descioun to not go to Healseville was wise. I could see R was nearly at breaking point and I needed to get him home. Rain poured down as we drove home and R took straight to his bed to recover from his thirty hours with Little Jo, while I tidyed up the mess from visitors. Just as well they don't stay longer than the time it takes fish to go off. Little Jo enjoyed the new playground very much.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Walking the Inner Circle 2

This map from Wikepedia shows very clearly where the Inner Circle Railway ran. The line branched off the Upfield mainline after Royal Park Station continued eastward and then south to finish in Fitzroy's Edinburgh Gardens. News to me from the map is that it was also linked to the Epping mainline. The line closed to passengers in 1948 and to freight in 1981. While much of the route is parkland, some of it has been built on, so there is no chance of anything ever running along there again.

Slightly curious are these metal tramway poles heading down Kelly Lane. The Lygon Street tram is only a few metres away so perhaps they are electricity feeder lines for the nearby tram.

Here I have reached Lygon Street and it appears I can go no further along the old line. Power staunchions are of minimal interest anyway. Here the line crossed Lygon St.

Just a little north is a disconnected tram track curve from Lygon Street into Holden Street.

Brunswick Road changes name to Holden Street and looking east, a little track remains. Just from memory, a double tram track ran along Holden Street to connect separate tramway systems that were amalgamated under the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board.  During WWII with the electric tram now running all the way down St Georges Road and Brunswick Street, tram track rails were needed elsewhere to extend a Footscray line to a munitions factory, and with little steel available, it was turned into a single track and the old rail used where it was badly needed. Into the fifties and sixties the use of the Holden Street line declined and was mainly used to move trams around the system. It was closed in 1976 and the track removed except for short sections at each end that could be used as sidings. As you can see, only this small disconnected sections of track remain. I don't think there is anything at the St Georges Road end now.

There are a few metal tramway poles at the beginning of Holden Street but they quickly peter out.

Melbourne's inner north used to be full of small factories like this with now the work being done in Bangladesh.

Looking down Rathdowne Street from Holden Street. The parkland of the ICRL can just be seen. This end of Rathdowne St was once a cable tram terminus. While the cable tram was removed, it was not replaced by an electric tram and unseen to the right of the the photo is a very large old building which may have been something to do with the cable tram. I had limited time, so I did not investigate. I will follow this up in time.

The housing along Holden Street is of a varying standard, I say most kindly.

Flogging or a day in the stocks? Both I reckon. Line up with your rotten tomatoes.

While this pole is timber rather than the usual steel tramway poles, its cute little metal cap indicates it was a tram wire support pole.

Also to note are the tramway inhouse telephone insulators. I am almost at the corner of St Georges Road but strangely the tram did not turn left into St Georges Road. Instead it turned left into Pilkington Street. You can just see the kerbing for the short street.

I am standing in Barkly Street now, at the other end of Pilkington Street. The tram would have been coming towards me, then turned right and gone right past me before it turned left into St Georges Road.

There are various reasons put forward as to why the tram took the short diversion rather than just turn left at St Georges Road. The best one I can see is to avoid the cable tram terminus in St Georges Road. This photo by Graeme Farrar shows a tram using Pilkington Street. It seems it was rarely used at this time as someone is carefully watching the wheels in case of derailment. Behind the tram was where the Holden Street Tramway Workshops were. Some of Melbourne's iconic W class trams, were built there and cable trams were also serviced there. The workshop fell to disuse and was demolished at the end of the cable trams in the 1940s and after the new Preston Tramway Workshops were built. Note that while it is single track when the photo was taken, there is still the second overhead wire hanging from when it was dual track.

To wrap it up, a little whimsy from the window of the tram in Brunswick Street on my way home.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Walking the Inner Circle Pt 1

I like the idea of walking things. I read a book by a chap who walked the length of Hadrians Wall in the north of England, east coast to west. It was an old book, and the weather wasn't very good when he walked, but nevertheless it was an interesting read.

Kiwi Nomad in New Zealand has walked the Spanish El Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail twice. Damned hard work and she has my admiration.

Tram Walker walked every tram route in Melbourne. I miss him but he completed his project.

Fun60 is presently walking the length of the Thames in sections over time, from the Thames Barrier to the source, a distance of nearly 300 kilometres.  She has only just begun so follow her journey on a separate blog here.

It is only after I walked a section that I have decided to walk the length of the defunct Inner City Railway Line. Who knows, after I have done that, maybe I will walk the old Rosstown Railway line or the discontinued Outer Circle Railway Line. Or maybe I will be over it after just doing the Inner Circle Railway line.

How did this come about? I have been along Royal Parade a few times in my life and in the back of my mind I knew the Inner Circle Railway Line crossed it, but where? I don't recall seeing any train crossing. I looked at an old map of the ICRL and saw where it crossed. I will investigate. Parallel to ICRL is a discontinued tram route too, also worthy of investigation.

I caught the tram to town and then the 19 tram along Elizabeth Street and Royal Parade. I left the tram just before Brunswick Road and this fine little lake with fountains greeted me as I left the tram.

Ah-ha. A bridge. Let me peer over the edge.

I doubt any authority would spend money on a huge cutting just for a bike path and you can see remaining staunchions, still supporting what look like high voltage electricity lines. I have recently learnt that staunchion can be spelt stanchion. The former looks correct to me, so I will use that. I am looking west but I started to walk east along park land of what is called the Capital City Trail. The trail in part follows the route of the old railway line.

Is the owl supposed to protect something? Is a vital piece of electricity infrastructure under threat of a pigeon attack?

I can't see how the owl can do much about leaning power poles. So alongside what look like high voltage wires on the old railway staunchions are more high voltage electricity wires on wooden poles.

The railway staunchion with wires. It looks  a bit cold, grey and dreary in the photos. It was.

Apart from the staunchions, there really wasn't a lot to see. Here is where the ICRL crossed Bowen Crescent and this is obviously the remains of old the railway crossing fencing.

A little of the track remains. My timing was not good. Much of the path was being worked on and so fenced off. I walked quite a bit on the adjacent streets.

Good heavens, an old railway station, re-purposed, as they say. It was the North Carlton Station. I'll put a bit of detail about the railway line in the next post.

This mural caught my eye.