Saturday, August 10, 2013

Youi v RACV

Our home contents insurance recently came up for renewal. I thought it was time to check around for a better premium. We mainly have insurance for water damage from apartments above. Our furniture is not worth much but new carpet and kitchens are expensive to replace.

I tried Youi insurance who advertise extensively. After an initial quote and then a question about what we now pay, they came back with a significantly lower quote. I was tempted but R was keen on staying with the trusted RACV. The Royal Automobile Association of Victoria is a motorist organisation and lobbies for better and safer roads. While that may seem like a motherhood statement, road building is taking money from desperately needed public transport.

Every time I have looked at alternatives to the RACV, and I have looked extensively, the combination of being long term members, having no claims, their road side car service etc etc makes them unbeatable on both service and price. Even though Youi's  house insurance was considerably cheaper, once the loss of the multiple policy discount for car insurance was taken into account as against Youii's car insurance and its multiple policy discount taken into account, it was just not worth the hassle of changing. Given R's trust of the RACV, it ended up being a no brainer.

I only know of Youi because of its extensive advertising on commercial tv, which I rarely watch and if I do, it is recorded and we zap through the ads. But still, Youi ads have gotten through to me.

Maybe it is the bloke who is the advertising front person? Initially I wondered why an insurance company would use a nerdy looking guy to advertise their product, but as time has gone on, I have grown rather fond of him. In fact I think he is a very sexy dude. It is the AAMI Jason factor. Jason was a hairy porker, but just so sweet and lovable. I was going to show you a photo of Jason as he should be all over the net, but he is not. I detect a conspiracy. Ok, I did eventually find one lousy photo on a blog, no doubt ripped from the commercial.

The Youi guy has grown on me. It was an interesting choice by the advertising company but for the long term, I think he was a good choice. Surprisingly there aren't too many photos of him around either.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Friday Extra

Post separation from Father, Mother took a live in house keeping job in South Gippsland with my other three siblings. Her employer had two sons of his own. After about three years, the situation became messy and Mother's father bought Mother a house on the outskirts of Melbourne, in a small town surrounded by apple orchards. The town has since grown exponentially and for quite a number of years has been a suburban train terminus, rather than a country railway station as it was. You are more likely to see a local resident eating a MacBurger than an apple now.

A couple of weeks ago a woman was murdered in the town in her own house. It was dreadful thing. There are murders and there are murders and this was a serious case of a very innocent woman who was just at home at the wrong the time, if the press reports are to be believed.

In Mother's town lone widows are double checking their door and window locks, Mother included. Mother is actually very distressed and afraid. I can't blame her.

The victim's husband was a childhood friend of Tradie Brother, and while they are out of touch now, he came to Tradie Brother's eighteenth birthday party. A friend of Sister's knows the couple very well and has reported to Sister on how the family is coping. The victim's parents are well respected multi generational residents of the town.

It probably should not be the case, a murder is a murder is a murder, but I expect the police force is putting huge resources into the case and cultivating all sources. Apparently the local parrots are so appalled by the murder, they are willingly singing. It is just a matter of time.

Left behind are parents, a husband who probably can't understand what has happened., a very angry 15 year old son and younger twin girls in a terrible state of distress who found their mother beaten to death.

As I said to Mother, no one is kicking themselves more than the tradesman who saw who he judged to be a suspicious character and did not call the police, or the neighbour who heard screams and did nothing. You really have to walk in their shoes and be there.

Silly clip but great music

Does anyone know anything about this clip? More the song, rather than the clip. Google translate is being unhelpful with German detected, Irish detected, Maltese detected but is seem to be mostly in English.

Ok, worked it out. It is Yiddish and a remix, originally best known as an Andrews Sisters recording. But I don't think it is their recording in the above clip. I felt quite happy when listening to the various versions. N'owt like being lost in the world of You Tube.

This is the Andrews Sisters' recording. It was their first hit.

Clearly Hungarian morning television is a step above Australia's and the lead performer is hot!

A hot bloke not for you? Perhaps you prefer pretty girls with excellent diction singing acapella. The amateur D'amour Sisters are very good. 

More info is of course welcome. No doubt my ignorance needs correcting.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Open House Saturday Morning

Why did I not organise for this year's Open House? We walked up Domain Road to Airlie at the corner of Punt Road and joined the queue to see the substantial house. We were kept informed of the waiting time, 50 to 60 minutes. People who had booked joined the next group of people to go in.

 Airlie has a very nice street appearance.


As you can see, it was a police college, but it was oh such much more.


Not so patiently queuing on the return verandah looking into the dining room that most certainly would not have been a dining room. Eventually in a group eight we entered. Our guides were a senior policeman from the Glen Waverley Police Training Academy and a teenage kid. No, he wasn't. He was boyish looking detective. The older one had lived at Airlie for two weeks several years ago as he underwent a leadership training course. Leadership courses and similar are its primary use now although at times it is hired our for business gatherings.

We were told the gardens were better ten years ago when there was a full time gardener. The history of the house was seriously lacking but I expect if it is open next year, this will be somewhat remedied. You can see the traffic light in Punt Road. There used to be a saying, never drive south on Punt Road. I think it is now never go near Punt Road in a motor car.

The house next door was substantial. Cutting the stem of the ornamental grape must have been easy enough. Removing the vine itself is all too hard.

 Intelligence during the WWII. Do intelligence and war really go together? Z Special Operations sounds very spook like. Btw, don't worry about ASIO or ASIS if it still exists. You need to be very afraid of Defence Signals Directorate and I am not talking history. They are watching and monitoring you.

Airlie in stained glass above the main door. The house has been much altered over the years and the side porch above the front door looks like 1920 addition to me.

I took an instant dislike to this ceiling. The walls had been built out to the edge of the door architraves yet the walls still lined up with the ceiling. Nothing much was making sense about the place to me.

Now this I do like this skylight. The fireplaces all appeared on be non original, with some timber and some marble.

I normally like moulded ceilings, but I am not keen on this one either. It is sufficient to say that over the years house has been bastardised (sorry about the architect tech term).

While this lamp quite suits, it is not original  or from the period of its style. I can't think of the name of this type of archway. The lead light glass work is quite new and was commissioned at huge expense. Further along the hall was an old lift cage from when the house was a tuberculosis hospital post WWII. It was converted to a phone box for police who were living in to use.  No need for a public telephone now.

We then went to the very modern, spacious and well equipped kitchens where the chef was making gorgeous cup cakes to sell as fund-raisers for Open House. He did not seem that old, but he had worked there a long time and was the most knowledgeable about the house's history. He has recently cooked for royalty who dined at the house but I can't recall which ones now. One of the younger ones, maybe William when he came here and visited bush fire sites.  Airlie was built in 1872 and its land extended down to the Yarra River and to a considerable width. This is a rather classic photo from the State Library and I wish it was a bit clearer. It is of Punt Road running up the hill in South Yarra before the bridge was built and a punt was your mode of transport. The road doesn't look so steep, but believe me, it is. At the top of the hill to the right of Punt Road is the top of Airlie and the land to the right of Punt Road was Airlie property. Jayne, where is your place on the hill? Ah, she is swanning around overseas, I think.

Down to the basement pantry.

Which, as this leaflet pasted on the pantry wall attests with information about what to do in case of an air raid, was a shelter.

What is this hole that can be viewed outside the window of the pantry? It is crawl tunnel that runs under Punt Road to the German Embassy on the opposite side of the street. After a few drinks at the police college one evening, a brave policeman set off to explore the tunnel. It was collapsed at Punt Road, probably by works by a utility company.

Gates out onto Punt Road. I dare anyone to try get out onto Punt Road from the gates.

The southern fa├žade facing downhill.

Stables and carriage house.

We were told this is the oldest Peppercorn tree in Australia. It looked the part.

It was a bit hard to photograph much more with so many people around so I have used this photo from the Vic Police website shows what Airlie looks like now with what is surely a 1920/30s portico.

It is certainly very different to what is seen in this earlier photo that was given to us at the house.

A cold breeze had sprung up and we headed for home, but not without stopping at Domain Road cafe for a good cup of coffee. The weather was ok enough to sit outside. Who the eff keeps pushing their chair against the back of mine? Eventually I became grumpy enough to turn around to have a word, and there was a Boris dog, an Old English Sheep Dog. It was very shortly after Craig's Boris died and we don't see many Old English Sheep Dogs on the streets of Melbourne, so I thought it was a remarkable co-incidence.

I am afraid after being out for three hours and queueing for an hour, we had taken our fill of Open House, but there was an errand to run in the afternoon, and we had another less significant and much easier Open House experience. Later.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

A family quickie

What, I haven't written anything for tomorrow? Nothing scheduled? Oh dear. I better rattle something off.

Sister recovered from her surgery well enough. She did get a bladder infection, which was quickly picked up and antibiotics prescribed.

"Bone Doctor doesn't care about me in a doctor manner", Sister complained.

Yet last night Bone Doctor noticed Sister was rubbing her leg. Nothing was said until the morning when Bone Doctor rang Sister's hospital and within a flash Sister was back in hospital for a scan and a blood clot in her leg was detected.

Bone Doctor is never sympathetic to Mother with her old lady problems, but trust Bone Doctor very highly for her medical skills.

Just for some lightness, Bone Doctor's Mother visited them for a few days weekend past to help. Cups were scoured, meals made, beds vacuumed under, things dusted and Little Jo's room rearranged.  The family dog Fuzzy is not welcome inside at Bone Doctor's Mother's place. Fuzzy has to stay outside. But when Little Jo at home woke during the night and had been warned off going to Sister's and Bone Doctor's bed while Sister is still sore, Little Jo went to her grandmother's bed, and wherever Little Jo goes, so does Fuzzy. The three of them curled up together.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Great Uncle Andrew

Two friends arrived at 1.30. Oldest Niece and Chainsaw/Hippy Niece and a family friend arrived at 1.50.  We had a decent chat. By 2.15 we were all on the tram heading to town to see King Kong. The family friend did not have  money on her Myki, so I grabbed our spare cards. I had to be careful to not use one to go into town and the other coming our, so I kept the one I used one with my own.

By 2.40 Non Dreaded Nephew had dropped Ex Sis in Law in front of the Regent Theatre from her monster 4WD. In the back was her very cute dog who we had not seen yet. We crazily and madly waved to him in the back seat as Non Dreaded Nephew pulled the big white beast out into the heavy Collins Street Sunday traffic.

King Kong has a thin story line and I really did not like the music. I may be gay, but torch songs are not for me. However, I really felt I had my money's worth, $130, for the special effects, the brilliant lighting, the energetic dancing and of the King Kong 'puppet' himself. After all the fuss and superlatives I had heard, I was prepared to be disappointed, but I wasn't.  My only real criticism is that it was too loud, the loudest I have ever experienced in a live theatre. Ex Sis in Law mentioned it too. We are getting old, I lamented. The male performers and dancers received the loudest applause. Make of that, what you will, but it may say something about the make up of the audience.

Spoiler Alert:
King Kong dies. I did not know.

A blurry photo of the crowd exiting the theatre. 

The show was in my favourite theatre too, saved from demolition by union bans, and then later restored. Even the seats are comfortable, such a rarity.

We left the theatre and set off to Chinatown to our frequently visited, Lemon  Bistro, a Thai restaurant operated by Vietnamese, as usual. Ex Sis in Law called Non Dreaded Nephew as we were leaving to go back to the Highrise and he joined us there with his partner and Ex Sis in Law's ever so cute dog. 'What's that building?' asked Non Dreaded Nephew's partner when she was out on the balcony looking at the synagogue. So much for her Jewish credentials.

Ex Sis in Law did not have a Myki, so the second spare came in useful for her trip from town back to the Highrise.

Coffee and tea, crisps and biscuits were about all we had to offer the unexpected returnees. After much merriment, laughter and chat, everyone left.

But there was some momentous news. It was a little early for us to be told as it is early days, but Hippy Niece let the cat out of the bag. There was discussion about payment for tickets and Hippy Niece said to older Niece, it is ok. I will pay. Think of it as an extra baby bonus (Federal Government grant). That did not go unnoticed by R or myself. I left it to mention to R later.

'Oldest Niece,' I asked at the theatre, 'do you want a glass of wine before we go in?' 'No thanks Uncle. I am not drinking'. And then it all came out. R accused her. She is pregnant, only a few weeks. So, I will be a great uncle. Ohhhh, that sounds very old, but not as old as Mother becoming a great grandmother.

Funny, R and I had discussed this in the past and we always concluded she would be the first. We also concluded that while she tolerated us as a teen, she would come into her own as she got older, and so she has. She is probably most like her mother of the three. The three of them exhibit that you don't need to have a great education. Your childhood home can be untidy and chaotic. Your parents can separate and your mother find a new partner. None of that matters and I am envious of their 'brought up on love' childhoods. They all have what R and I see as disorganised lives, but they are just so gorgeously friendly and loving.

My other much younger niece, Little Jo, may well the smartest of them all, but will she be the loving person that they all are? Hmmm, I can see who might be pushing me around in a wheel chair in the park and I doubt it will be Little Jo, but you never know.

I am a little surprised at myself though. One of my first thoughts was, you aren't married lass! You are living in sin. Pondering now, she has been with her partner for what must be six years. They have bought a house together, although about two years ago, Mother mentioned that they had been having issues, but judging now, I think they are pretty sound.

Family name? The family name does continue on but only directly by Non Dreaded Nephew and one of my uncles who has two boys,  who would be getting close to 40. I don't know if they have children. I suppose three lines of the name  is enough.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Before you read

Before you read tomorrow's post, info from Facebook tells me Ex Sis in Law's gorgeous puppy dog that we first met yesterday has been put down. He was lovely, but it was either a congenital defect of a pure bred dog, or that he once went over Ex Sis in Law's shoulder and fell to floor. He propelled himself with his front legs with his rear legs dragging behind. Human control of animals could well be up for discussion, but I think they did the right thing. I have nearly convinced myself.

Falling down the chute update

I have a vague recollection that someone asked me to keep them informed about this case where implausibly a lass threw herself down a rubbish chute just a few doors from the Highrise. Here an update. It smells fishy to me.

The concierge who discovered the body of a woman who plunged to her death in a rubbish chute was subjected to a series of visits by an acquaintance of the victim’s boyfriend and told the death was suicide, an inquest has heard.

I would not believe me

I arrived home at just after 11pm. R did not have to work the next day. I had not seen him for a couple of days. He was awake in bed and watching tv. I leant on the architrave of his bedroom door to have a brief chat before I sat at the computer and he went to sleep. It didn't turn out that way as he got out of bed and we discussed campervans for out forthcoming holiday.

And then we were zapped. The following morning I said to R, I had weird dream last night. Our bedroom ceiling fans went crazy. It was not a dream, but had I not experienced it myself, I would have been pretty sceptical about what happened.

Some background first. The ceiling fans in the bedrooms are operated by remote controls with settings for fast, medium and slow and the light built into the fans can be turned on and off too with another button on the remote. However, the main light switch has to be on for fan and light to operate.

I was leaning on the architrave of  R's bedroom and the fan started spinning. He asked me why I turned it on. I hadn't. The light switch was already on so it was under the control of the remote next to his bed which he hadn't touched. He tried to turn it off, but it wouldn't stop. He pressed the light button and the light came on and then would not switch off. The fan then sped up, so I turned it all off at the light switch. Weird and while R thought there maybe the batteries have failed, I was doubtful. I switched it back on and away went the fan and the light came on and still no response from the remote, then an occasional response. It was as if it was under control by something else.

I don't know what made me go to my room and try mine, but I did and it was exactly the same. Sometimes the remote would work and sometimes not. This is getting weirder.

I went to the spare bedroom and exactly the same thing. I started thinking about magnetic fields, not that I know anything about them. Once years ago a green splodge appeared on the edge of our tv screen. We were puzzled as the tv was quite new. We worked out the speaker for the cd player sitting next to the tv was making the screen green.

As I said, R got up for a while and when we went back to the bedrooms everything was back to normal and has remained so since. Did the government put some kind of force field over us?

The only thing that partly makes sense to me is that my phone was in the left hand pocket of my shirt when I was leaning on the architrave, about 5cm, 2 inches, from the light switch. Is is possible that the phone could have done that? I could believe that, but to all three bedrooms through one light switch?

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Sunday Selections

Not much in the way of photos this week, apart from last weekend's Open House day photos which will take a bit of time to sort. Hopefully River will have a bumper Sunday Selections today.

It had been a rough week for R. 'Scotch, my dear?' 'Just a large one, thanks. ' I put the empty glass near where he was lying on the couch. Eventually he sat up to have a sip and you should have seen his disappointed face.

Orchids with leaves more interesting than the flowers.

Mad people running early on a Sunday morning, and no the sun is not rising in the west. It is reflected from a building.

I like when the trees have leaves but I also like seeing what you normally don't when they leafless (ambiguity, no elephant stamp). Taken through one of my bedroom windows.

I am just testing this animated gif to see if works on blogger. It is of course Dr Who en route.

What is in the box? All will revealed another day.