Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Balaclava Hotel

We have been going to the Balaclava Hotel since 1992 when we first moved to Balaclava. In close walking distance from our then home, we would slip there for a meal if R did not feel like cooking. The late Dame M used to like going there where she was treated like royalty, possibly because of the $100 notes she used to slip into the poker machines. When Dame M was alive, it was not unusual for her to book for a table of 20 in the smoking area. We have seen its excellent times and its not so excellent times and tonight was a serious fail.

Our Malaysian friend is here for a week in Australia. I have not mentioned it before, but in spite of him only being 34 years old, he is a very prosperous business person in his own country. His $70k Audi and the clothes on his back being worth $1k plus, as against the value of my car, $4k and the clothes on my back, $300, it is odd that he wanted to go there. He ordered up big for his meal, and the hotel obliged with his special order involving a separate prawn dish as well as a normal steak, medium rare. That was what he asked for and I would have been happy with the steak, as it was well done when it arrived at the table. Another person had the roast lamb and was not really impressed by the quality of the meat. I had corned beef and I was not impressed with the quality of the meat.

Personally, I am not keen the Balaclava Hotel anymore, but everyone else, nine people, were happy to go there. And then it all went very wrong.

Our Fijian Indian friend is a Hindu and quite religious. Hindus don't eat beef. Cows are sacred animals to Hindus. They don't eat them.  It is not the first time our friend has ordered a curry at the Balaclava Hotel, which surprises me as he can cook his own curry very well. I would never order a curry or Thai in a pub. He chose to order the curry again tonight, a little reassured that he noticed the cook was Indian too.

To get to the point, he ordered the chicken curry. His meal arrived, and he hoed in. After the second mouthful he realised it was not chicken curry but beef. He went off to the toilet to wash his mouth out, while his partner, an ex politician and policeman, called for the manager.

I'm afraid the Balaclava Hotel has not heard the end of this. It like serving pork to a Muslim or a Jew, or meat to a vegetarian and not telling them what it is.

Our Indian friend works for one those large lefty labor lawyer companies.. He intends consulting one of the partners on Monday when he returns to work.

His partner seems to spend half his life on the phone complaining about poor service and products and gets heaps of payola back. He won't let it let it go either.

I was looking forward to seeing our Malaysian friend, but the beef incident cast a pallor over the evening. Manny did not even mention his overcooked steak until I noticed it. It is not like we are in the outback desert of Australia. You wouldn't expect people to understand religious dietary rules there. In inner suburban Melbourne, you really would expect better.

Phooey to Putin

It is rather disturbing that Russian President Putin has turned back the clock to a time when homosexuality was illegal in Russia. While being gay is still legal, gays in Russia are under heavy oppression with new laws targeting them and anti gay sentiment being fostered by the highest levels in the Duma.

English actor and author Stephen Fry has spoken out about what is happening in Russia with a call to athletes, if not boycott the forthcoming Winter Games in Russia, for competitors to use symbolism as they stand on the dais after winning medals, as supporters of the Black Power movement did in 1968 at the Mexico Olympics.

Putin is a joke, but a a very dangerous one. The world is protesting against his homophobia.

Fry at a protest outside the Russian Embassy in London. Photo from BBC.

A kiss in outside the Russian Embassy in Israel, Tel Aviv of  course. Photo by Mott Kimchi.

Another kiss in outside the Russian Consulate in Antwerp, Belgium. Photo by @Bouska.

Protests combined with the Gay Pride in Glasgow, Scotland, with 7000 participants. Photo from Equality Network.

A rainbow crossing outside the Russian Embassy in Stockholm. Photo by Claes Betsholtz.

A kiss in at the Russian Consulate in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo from TVNZ.

Protesting bar tenders outside the Russian Embassy in New York, making the ultimate sacrifice by pouring out their Russian vodka. I will join their protest and boycott Russian vodka....umm, I don't drink it. I know, I will tell R to boycott Russian vodka. Photo by Dan Elias.

And they bravely protest in Moscow. Photo from Socialist Unity.

Later edit: It is certainly not all beer and skittles in Russia for gays. "Even though Russian television host Anton Krasovsky was sacked for coming out on air, he says a boycott of the Sochi Winter Olympics is not the answer and would only harm gays and lesbians throughout Russia." From Yahoo.

Friday, August 16, 2013


A person on my blog list posts rarely posts now, but she once appeared on a tv show quiz programme. I think it was called Who Wants to be a Millionaire but it could have been another. She did quite well, although I don't think she became a millionaire. The show is hosted by Eddie McGuire, aka, Eddie Everywhere. He seems to have disappeared a bit of late, but there was a time when he was everywhere.

It is a pretty awful show, with many seconds of suspense and silly chatter. You could visibly age and die between when the question is asked and a reply given.

I am rarely home at 5pm, but when I am, R usually watches an English tv quiz show called The Eggheads. A rotating regular cast of three are against three challengers. The regular cast are the Eggheads, and they are smart but not smart like our own Barry Jones. They have collective knowledge.

Anyway, it a gem of show. It is simple and entertaining. I can't imagine why anyone would want to look at a website about The Eggheads, but I bet there is one. Back in moment. Wow, a Wikipedia piece indeed. Oh lordy. This was going to just a quick post, instead I will make it a Friday You Tube post with this clip from Egg Heads. Have you ever thought about the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel's breasts? Can't say I have really.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


The trouble with spontaneity is that while I have posts scheduled to publish to Sunday, I can't write about now. Of course I can. It is my blog and I can do what I like.

R works three days a week in a caring profession and gets paid a measly amount for it. But every so often he does volunteer caring profession work, that is take Mother out. We children don't allow her to do this to us, but she gets under R's skin. He alternates from feeling sorry for her and being very annoyed with her manipulative behaviour. Today it was lunch, bank, two supermarkets, newsagent and three chemists. Mother's shoes are seriously broken and R told the chemist lass to not let Mother leave without buying shoes. Ultimately it worked, with 100 odd shoes spread around, she did decide on pair. Oh, I can't afford them. Can I put them on laybuy? R paid, meaning I will pay. Half way along the way, she needed  the chemist lass to check her blood pressure. Your heart rate is a little low. Better see your Doctor. Mother is at the doctor's about twice a week.

Mother's doorbell seems to go off in the middle of the night when it is raining or damp. Bone Doctor reckons she imagines it. Tradie Brother installed a new doorbell and she hates it. It is too loud, she complains. I could put cotten wool in my ears and not hear the old one. R unsuccessfully tried logic and how good it was that Tradie Brother put in a new door bell for her, but she would not have a bar of it.

ABI Brother is now permanently staying at Mother's place overnight after the local murder. That cannot go on. He struggles enough with day to day, let alone having to do that.

What really has Mother freaked at the moment is her best friend and her experience. She lives a bit out of Dandenong and she went outside to have a cigarette and feed the possums at her outdoor heater. She was grabbed around the neck by a bloke who appeared from nowhere and told her his car had broken down. Fast of mind, she said, let us sit down and sort this out. He did sit down and kept muttering about his broken down car. He then picked up the poker that was at the side of the outdoor heater. She managed to back inside, slammed the door shut and locked it and ran down to her son at the back of the house. I know the layout of the house. Her son's back of the house reeks of dope but he chased the bloke off.

Mother's friend did not report it to the police, as she feared repercussion as the violator knows where she lives.

So the next time you read about about the reduction of crime in Victoria, do take a cynical view.

Winter Colour

Mother used to call this plant a Japonica when we were kids. I don't know why, as she now calls it a Flowering Quince. Its botanical name is Chaenomeles and it sits beside Mother's driveway. Of course I did not know its botanical name. Thanks ABC Gardening Show.

This is quite a popular plant in Australia and goes by either Sarsaparilla Plant, Purple Coral Pea or Happy Wanderer. It's native to Australia and its botanical name is Hardenbergia. I did know that name. I am such an all rounder. While it is very pretty when in flower and it is a climber, the under area is bare and they can look quite ordinary if not maintained. I took these photos at Sister's.

This White Magnolia in Park Street, South Yarra, has not reached its peak yet, but I won't be free to photograph it in a week's time. Its correct name is Magnolia Denudata.Yep, knew that name too. While I am gardenless now, I have developed four gardens in my life and they were all good experiences. Just not for me anymore but I still retain some memory of them.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A sexist abbott

Aspiring Prime Minister Abbott described one of his candidates for a seat in the forthcoming election as having sex appeal. I couldn't see it, but that it is no surprise.

Imagine ex Prime Minister Julia Gillard describing a male election candidate as having sex appeal?

Worse still perhaps, what about ex leader of The Greens, Bob Brown, who is gay, describing a male candidate as having sex appeal? Appalled from North Balwyn* would be apoplectic.

What kind of dinosaur is Abbott? A damned dangerous one for women, in my opinion. If you are wealthy farmer, a rich business person, a mining company owner or you live in a marginal, then vote for him if you must, but he does not offer much to rest of Australia.

I don't know who I will vote for. While I am Green and inclined, I don't like their immigration policies, which I do intend reading before I vote, but I don't feel like I have a party to vote for at all. I'm afraid I am very much old style Labor, and while The Greens fulfil some of what the old Labor Party stood for but I have too many issues with them. There is no one for me to vote for. Is there a Hitler running anywhere? Perhaps I will vote for him if he speaks with passion.

* Tunbridge Wells for you Poms. With correspondents in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Scotland, Wales, London, Amsterdam, France, Belgium, Rhodesia! and maybe somewhere in the US, what is your bible bashing, conservative and very middle class suburb or town?

Riding along on my push bike honey

I admit that I do have a vested interest in improvements on our roads for cyclists, but so do you. The more people travelling on bikes, the less people who are driving and getting in my way on the roads and the less people are getting on trams and making them overcrowded.

The growth of cycling in western cities around the world has been exponential. I haven't had the old Apollo out for a number of years awhile but when I do, I stick exclusively to bike lanes completely separated from cars or illegally wobbling along the footpath. I don't mix it with traffic. I am too afraid. I certainly don't ride along our street. There is a lined bike way, right next to parked cars where cyclists are risk of opening car doors. Yet many do cycle along St Kilda Road and every time I count the numbers below the Highrise per set of traffic lights, the number goes up.

I found this Age article interesting. What can be done for cyclists who have to negotiate a significant number of steps to get across the Sydney Harbour Bridge? Easy, what is done even in a small village in northern Japan, an conveyor system for bicycles that runs next to the steps. You hold your bike on the conveyor next to the stairs.

Here is The Age piece about issues faced by cyclists.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A day of co-incidences

I try not to post twice a day, but hey, things happen. It was a day of co-incidences where R and I both had car park gate incedents. I don't like incidents. I don't like having an incident.

R: I rang your mother and said I will take her to the podiatrist on Thursday. She wasn't answering, so I left a message.

Me: I rang Mother and told her you will take her to the podiatrist on Thursday. She didn't answer, so I left a message.

R had a little time this morning between jobs and came home briefly. As he was returning to work, pressing his remote control to open the car park gate to leave our car park, the gate hit a stupid motorist who was making some kind of three point turn. As the gate hit the motorist, he accelerated into the gate and a large bolt fell from the gate motor and the gate ceased to function. Fortunately the incident occurred as the Building Manager was arriving at work and he managed to get the fleeing offender's registration number. Some fifteen minutes later with a queue of cars behind him, the gate was levered open and R went off to his next job.

But I simply shall not be done over by such drama. I had my very own incident, also involving car park gates. I just won't tolerate R having a better story than myself (it was actually).

While home's car park gate swings up and down vertically, the car park gates at work swing horizontally. I arrived back at work this afternoon after my lunch break and only one half of the car park gate opened. Fine, it is wide enough to get my small car through, with a couple of inches either side to spare. In I went as I was passing through, maybe one margin was a little small. A gust of wind blew and moved the open half of the gate a little, just enough to scrape the side of my car. The mark may wash off, maybe polished off or is indelible and not worth repairing. I could have used another entrance, but smarty pants knows his car clearances well and did not allow for the weather factor

Still, not as bad as the time when I drove my Humber Super Snipe through a narrow gate with a bolt sticking out and gouged a longitudinal hole in the side of the old midnight grey English hulk, with bone coloured leather, I might add.

I was a most excellent and confident driver when I was young. Driving skills and judgement deteriorate with age, as the many recent occurrences of old drivers crashing into houses and cafes attest.

Open House Saturday afternoon

After a long morning out seeing the house Airlie, we decided we had done our Open House adventures for the day. We had to go into town to buy some chocolates as a gift for a friend who had invited us for dinner in the evening. As we passed Melbourne Town Hall in the tram we noticed the building next to the town hall was open and I have always wanted to see it. When Open House began, there used to be huge queues but no queues were obvious to us.

The building is City of Melbourne offices and known as Council House 2. It has a six star energy rating and opened in 2006. You can see the facade and more details about CH2 at Wikipedia. The timber shutters at the front of the building move automatically, depending on the weather, sunlight and the time.

We did queue briefly. I am not sure what these were about, but they were quite mesmerising.

One poster mentions that while office pot plants normally need to be rotated every two months, in CH2 the air is of such high quality that the plants thrive for much longer before they need changing. The other mentions purge windows that open at night to let hot air out and cool fresh air in. It suggests that the savings in productivity and reduced sick leave over a conventional office building is above $2 million a year, so the building is well on the way to paying for its green credentials.

The reception desk is made from fallen storm victim trees in Fawkner Park. We went up in the lift to mid building and listened to a short lecture from one of the designers. He spoke of all sorts of features, like water running down outside windows for cooling, cold water panels in the ceilings, black and grey water recycling., lighting, heating, on and on but I could have listened to a lot more. He was being time managed by staff though.

We climbed stairs to the rooftop. I think it is an eleven storey building, which is not that high, but there were fine views. The Commonwealth Bank building dominates in this photo.

A demonstration was under way. After buying the chocolates we caught a tram straight home, which was just a crawl with many trams in front of us, all delayed by the demonstration.

Two wonderful buildings, Manchester Unity House on the left and the Century Building  on the right. The last time I was in the Century Building a couple of years ago, it still had a lift operator, which rather stymied my snooping and snapping plans.

The three yellow towers vent air and they the turbines used to generate electricity but they were deemed too expensive to  maintain over what they generated, so they were locked into a static position. A few of the building's features were changed. I recall the interior lighting had to be upgraded as staff found the interior too dark.

The 88 storey Eureka Tower on the south bank of the Yarra River.

This is an artist's concept of the rooftop garden. Believe me, it was nothing like that with very little greenery  and the only reason you would visit up there is for the views. They are however experimenting with various plants up there, so it is actually a roof top horticultural lab.

Melbourne Town Hall clock and the spire of St Pauls with the Arts Centre Spire across the river in the background. While it makes no sense to me at all, the Highrise can be seen just to the right of the church spire about two kilometres away.

I had to work the next day, Sunday, but R had his own little Open House adventure. More another day.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The value of money

I'd better write something a little lighter after this morning's effort.

Little Jo is learning the value of money. I've mentioned it before but Sister opened up Little Jo's money box  to find notes stuffed into it, notes taken from Sister's purse and Bone Doctor's wallet. That was a while ago.

When we visited Point Lonsdale Sunday Market yesterday, I noticed Little Jo had a calico bag with lots of coins in the bag. Somehow, she lost the bag which a kind adult friend had personalised for her with her initials, but not the money. Yes, we backtracked but did not find.

Little Jo is allowed to order one lunch from the local shop near her school each term. She gets very excited about lunch order day each term. 

Sister sent an sms today, "What's wrong with schools today? They teach your kids to write. Then the cheeky ones like Little Jo write unauthorised lunch orders with a hotdog, sausage roll and choc milk."

I am not sure if Little Jo was successful  with her naughty behaviour. Perhaps not, as Sister knew about it. While we were there, she made an envelope and a decorated letter on which R wrote a thank you note for the £10 Snow Aunty and Uncle in England (R's sister and bro in law) sent her for her birthday. I just hope Sister took control of the £10.

Another unfinished post

Maybe as well be hung for a sheep as lamb so here is another post that may be perceived as  racist. I can't recall what the Sydney incident was now. I will be back to being a nice person tomorrow.

Moslems. I am not loving them. Nasty business in Sydney's western suburbs, presented by a tabloid television show. I take the tabloid into account, but I didn't see inaccuracies.

How did the police allow things to get so out of control? Why are we allowing in so many violent Moslems into Australia when there is the same number of peaceful Buddhists from South East Asia are patiently waiting for asylum in queues?

Does Australia really need more people? Not in my opinion. If we do, we should take in peaceable migrants, not violent ones.

Australia's birth rate has exploded, mostly made up from the babies born to Indian immigrants. While an Anglo Australia couple might have and average  1.6 children, Indian born have closer to 3. Thankfully the government has reduced the bonus payment for new children and made it means tested.

Then there is the dark people from Africa. Too many of them in one place. Measured immigration is the key, so that immigrants fit into our society and embrace Australia and fit into our country. It will be better for them in the long run, and better for Australia.

A woman on my bus to Prahran was staring at me, wondering why I took my sunglasses off and was staring at something. I was staring at a Moslem woman  at the corner of Commercial Road and Punt Road who was wearing an eye slit garb. I have never seen that before on the south side of the Yarra, and I am sure you know what I think of people who hide their faces (setting myself up there)

First sighting of an eyeslit women south of the Yarra is an important thing to record for history.

It doesn't seem to matter whether it Stockholm, London or Melbourne, why are these radical Moslems allowed to preach their hatred. A particularly nasty specimen was taken into custody today in Sydney, 28/05, just a few days after a Moslem hacked someone to death in the name of religion on a public street in London.

These people give the Moslem religion and people from the Middle East a very bad image and make it so easy for pro white groups to argue a case. It is hard to deny when it is in your face on tv.

I know a little of the Englishman, the late Enoch Powell. I have read a bit about him and I saw him interviewed on tv. It is not the rivers of blood in English streets from Indian and West Indian immigration as he suggested. Even in the north of England, the Pakis, Indians and Anglo English gang up on their dislike of Kosovons.  When I was there, I could not believe the hatred of them, some of which might have been justified. The male Kosovon attitude to Anglo woman was appalling, seeing them as easy meat and treating them with terrible disrespect, even older women, such as R's sisters.

Is Islam the largest growing religion in the world? I am sure in the Koran somewhere it must say something like, love thy neighbour....

Please tell me the number?

I was feeling very ranty when I wrote  this. Is is intemperate to say the least. But it was a busy weekend on the Bellarine at Sister's and nothing is written for tomorrow so publish and be damned, or as Antikva's marvellous line goes, 'And she hit publish...'.

Australia takes in 20,000 refugees a year and has for some time. Is this figure inadequate? How many refugees should we take in? There are millions of refugees in the world. What is the correct figure for Australia to take in?

People bang on about a humane response to refugees, especially boat arrivals. Boat arrivals have the wherewithal to fly to Indonesia on a holiday visa and pay for a passage on a boat and seek status via a politically biased refugee intake system.

Of course we make a joke about The Abbott and his stop the boats, perhaps in the future sitting at Kirribilli House and shooting holes in the boat hulls of the refugee boats, but I will especially direct to The Greens and Sarah Hansen Young, what does Australia do about the millions of refugees in the world?

Of course we want to be compassionate, but to whom do we show compassion?

For mine, put defence boats in the seas to defend our territorial sea borders. You need a visa to come to Australia. You may have to queue in some hideous refugee camp for years, but that is how the system works. When the Indo Chinese came to Australia, most came here from refugee camps.

I don't know why refugee boats were not turned back in the first place years ago, but I think they need to be now.

Before you tell me what a heartless bastard I am , please do explain what your ideas are about and what to do with the millions of many deserving refugees in the world? I may not entirely agree with Pants but is it worth rethinking Australia?

Still, I can't get past that there are millions of refugees and many have waited a long time to get to a so called civilised country, and every boat arrival person who is accepted is one less patiently waiting person from a camp.

And then there are the climate change refugees from low lying islands who will need somewhere to live in the future. Australia as a huge creator of green house gas per person that has brought about climate change surely has some responsibility. Oh, does that include Bangladesh? 

It is all just too hard and selfishly I am blocking my ears to the plight of refugees.  I am relatively lucky to be born in Australia. I am not as lucky as some who are born in St Marys in Praed Street, Paddington.

But seriously, bugger the refugees. It is an issue that  will never solve itself, not matter what is done. What rich Western countries need to spend money on is education of the disadvantaged and health care in other countries. There is nothing a despotic ruler likes worse than an educated population who breed less.

Then just yesterday I read of how many African refugees arrive in Italy. How does Italy deal with the matter? Must check.

But I am no longer wringing my hands over boat refugees. Why would you when so many more arrive by aeroplane.

Oh, I haven't seen a really obvious
Muslim couple with a child on our street before. They are not leading a duplicitous life in a same sex marriage and heading for the synagogue with a bomb?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Random Photos

Photos I have saved for some reason or t'other. It is not my idea of Sunday Selections. They aren't even my photos but I suppose it could be Sunday Selections.

I only remember Princess Margaret as being older, with her face showing signs of having enjoyed a very good life, but when younger she was really quite beautiful. She is chatting here with Imelda Marcos of The Philippines, possibly discussing jewellery. I think Meg rather liked jewellery and I am sure Imelda did.

Are the forties and fifties not the most wonderful period for women's fashion? Lucy looks great and there is a lot to like in this photo, clothes wise and building wise, but just not Desi's shorts and legs. The photo is from the marvellous photo archive site

I don't know much about Golda Meir, former Prime Minister of Israel, but I know a decent amount about Margaret Thatcher. I expect they had much in common. "Oy vey, Margaret."

The staff who look after the public image of the Emperor of Japan and his wife were clearly absent when this photo with Australian Prime Minister Gough and Mrs Whitlam was taken.

I am not sure what 'it' is, so I can't suggest whether former Australian Prime Minister Gillard did it or didn't. Is that Stalin's arm?