Saturday, September 28, 2013

Day 1 Lakes Entrance 17/09

We set off mid morning to Lakes Entrance where we stayed with a friend for two nights. It began raining as we passed through Moe at about midday and became heavier and did not really stop until the following morning.

We took a couple of breaks along the way, firstly at Sale, once a river port with ocean access. We vaguely took a look around for the historic Sale swing bridge over the Latrobe River, but we couldn't find it. As we were a bit pressed for time and the weather was crook, we did not linger. Here is a link to a time lapse video of the bridge in action. Later when our LE friend told of the location, I realised we passed it when were amused by the sat nav device having us driving in a paddock and the image of the car doing 360 degree spins. We were driving on a newly opened road.

This is the local shire offices. Note the sticking out cafe window with people eating at a table.

Latrobe River at the Port of Sale. I am sure it would look better in the sunshine.

Our next leg stretching and back straightening was at Bairnsdale. This is a colourful roundabout with birch trees just coming into leaf.

An old pub and I guess with the lower storeys being more austere than the top storey, the top was added later.

 This is a very fine court house, still being used for the purpose. S'cuse the raindrop.

Our friend in LE is an artist and when I described the work we viewed a Bairnsdale art gallery to her, she described it as naive art. There were many similarly colourful works, but this one took my fancy.

We travelled through the town of Swan Reach to reach Lakes Entrance. The town name was familiar to me as the town was the home of prolific letter writer to The Age newspaper, Constance E Little. She later moved to Eaglehawk, a suburb of Bendigo and continued writing until nearly the time of her death in 2009. Media organisation Crikey paid tribute to here and author of The Resident Judge of Port Phillip posted about her here.

Once settled in at LE, our friend took us for a tour of the town, beginning with this remarkable house. If it hadn't been pissistantly raining, I would have left the sanctuary of the car and taken more photos.

Will the rain ever stop? It must be a nice view on a fine day. While the tourist and commercial part of Lakes Entrance is quite flat, many houses are built on the steep hills behind the flat shore area, as is our friend's abode. Most are focused towards the lakes for the view and it can seem a little peculiar to drive along the residential streets and see what are like the backs of houses.

This is the man made entrance from the wild seas of Bass Strait to the extensive salt water lakes. Tourism and commercial fishing are the town's livelihood and the entrance gives fishers easy access to the open sea.  A quick look at a map indicates that the lakes are not open to the sea anywhere else, so if this entrance was man made, how did the water come and go from the lakes in times past?  The entrance has to be constantly dredged to prevent it silting up.

The three us battled gale force winds, rain and eventually salt spray to view the open beach up close via a pedestrian and emergency vehicle causeway. We planned to join a lake cruise tomorrow. The damn weather better improve. Grey photos are not thrilling me.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The 60s iPod

Jackie reminded me of the K-Tel Record Selector. It may have worked well with K-Tel records that were wafer thin and as light as possibly could be, but if you had some heavier records in your K-Tel Record Selector, disaster followed the selection process.

Our K-Tel Record Selector sat on the H. G. Palmer stereogram. I think H. G. Palmer was a rip off hire purchase company, and the unit was re-branded, and I doubt my parents bought anything on hire purchase, so it must have been second hand. The K-Tel Record Selector had in it a mix of records, some heavier than others and it never worked as it does in this ad. The worst thing was that if you did get it to reach the end, it would tip over and dump all the records from atop the H. G. Palmer onto the floor. I can't tell you how many times Mother's lust object, Gene Pitney hit the floor, along with my Mary Poppins soundtrack.

Think of it as the iPod of the sixties, but with bugs. I don't believe there was ever a patch for it, let alone an upgrade, beta or otherwise.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Home is where the heart is, and the comforts

I can hear a hum of traffic. I can hear tram bells. I can hear a helicopter bound for the Alfred Hospital. I can hear ear splittingly loud motor bikes. I must be home. Home to my own surrounds where everything just works, without endlessly plugging in and unplugging.

Best of all, my own full pressure water wasting shower and then sleep in my own bed.

Great holiday and of course you know what happens after I return from holidays. You get a blow by blow description with photos. It could be worse. I could hold a slideshow evening and you would feel compelled to sit through the unedited photos. Instead the photos will be carefully selected from 500, and you can always click the x in the corner.

Gay Footy's Sexy Player Winner

The result was announced yesterday and the winner is Marc Murphy and it is fine with me although he wasn't who I voted for. In a moment of synchronicity, his ex girlfriend escaped after six hours of hiding in the shopping centre under siege in Nairobi.

Blogaversary 9 and how to blog

I consider I have a successful blog. I like it and the people who I know online and those who have become real life people.  The standard I have reached is that it pleases me. All over the net the question arises, how to write a successful blog. Kiddies, forget about it. Only old people blog.

While I love all my blog mates equally, I am especially fond of my 41ish year old female blog mates. Even when I was young, I liked older woman, just not in that way though. I don't know why. Are they the mother I always wanted? Dunno.

The 41ish year old women blog mates are incredibly wise in the ways of the world.  With their experience of the world and their knowledge, they could be quite bitter, but no, they are optimistic and get out there and do things, both literally and figuratively speaking.

Men may be the same, but generally they don't communicate as well as women do.

Ok, I am well on the way to a lot of waffle. Let me get it down in point form. I am not talking about blogs about specific matters, such as politics, but about personal blogs and how to have a successful one.

Rule one of blog is that you have to post. I am not saying daily, but often is best, more often than daily as I sometimes do, not so good. If you blog frequently initially and then later post occasionally, then you will be remembered if you put in some yards.

Rule two, you should enjoy reading your blog. If you don't understand that your blog is all about you, then forget it. Do you enjoy your life? Or even not enjoy it? Write about it. Some of what you write will click with people. Some of what you write won't.

Rule three, read other blogs, but read the ones that are kind of like yours. If you are not the intellectual type and you comment on someone's blog who is, the marriage of mutual reading may not happen. Yet, do push yourself a bit. People might be far smarter than you are, but they can still be very nice people.

Rule four, and this is the most important one, comment on other peoples blogs. You don't even need to have a blog to do this, yet you can become a blog person who does not have a blog. If you comment on other people's blogs, they will most likely 'check you out'. What you write may not be their taste and you may not pick them up as a reader of your blog, but I would hope they will appreciate your sincere comment on theirs. You made the comment on their blog in good faith.

Rule five is related to rule four. Do not sprinkle comments willy nilly on other people's blogs unless you genuinely like them and what they write or they are interesting to you.  I really hate people who make a couple of comments on my blog and I start reading theirs and commenting and then I am subsequently ignored.  It is bad form.

Rule six, when you comment on someone's blog and the blogger replies to everyone but you, that is not a hint but an obvious rejection. Some bloggers reply to all comments, such as I do for a first comment on a post, some don't reply at all, some reply via email, and some selectively reply, often only when a direct question is in a comment.  You may feel rejected, but look carefully at who the blogger replies to and why  before taking anything to heart.

Rule seven, you don't live with people who read your blog so feel free to wear your politics on your sleeve. At dinner last night, 07/09, our dyke friend and hairdresser friend confessed they had voted for The Abbott, Brighton Antique would have no doubt voted for him, possibly the late Dame M's Boarder did too, yet they are still our friends. Our best friend was a politician for our major conservative party.  All are very decent and caring people yet their politics are quite opposite to mine and R's. Let me just say they are a little misguided.

Rule eight, photos make your blog more interesting to read. How technically good your photos is not so important, but they should be relevant of course.

Rule nine, laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone. Use some humour when you write. If there is some genuine sadness if your life, then pour it all out in a small measure, but don't be a misery. There is always some joy to be found in life. Life is depressing enough at times. No one wants to read more depressing stuff regularly.

Rule ten, it is your blog. Write and post and see what happens. In spite of the rules above, it is your blog and have some fun. Stay being nice and the world will be nice back to you. If someone isn't, block them and get rid of them in whatever manner possible. Real life where you have to put up with crap is hard enough. Don't put up with it in the world of blog.

Rule 10a. Bloggers come and go. Don't take it to heart when bloggers who you felt a connection with disappear. They have their own lives and you only know about them insofar as what they write for public consumption. It is not a rejection of you.

Rule 10b. I wish I was really heartfelt about rule 10a. The day I stop feeling sadness when a blog mate disappears may well be the day I give it all up.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I must say, I have been a little puzzled about the demographics of where we are staying in Canberra, on the outskirts of Canberra in Queanbeyan. I have been trying to equate the place to a Melbourne equivalent and I cannot. In fact nothing about Canberra equates to Melbourne.

This evening we dined et at the Royal Hotel in Queanbeyan. It is a marvellous building and the food was cheap enough and quite ok but I liken nothing about the experience to Melbourne. Is Q (I just ain't typing it again) middle class or rough? There are very few exotic people here, but there are some Aborigines. No exotic people means a certain thing in Melbourne, but it doesn't seem to here.

The ever wise R spoke and then Dorothy understood she was no longer in Kansas. Think Sydney, R said, and it suddenly all made perfect sense. I was back at the Midnight Shift downstairs bar in Oxford Street.

I think I can speak for both Queanbeyan and Kingston, they are so Sydney. I haven't decided about Canberra yet. I don't think it is like anywhere else.

As I thought about the differences between Sydney and Melbourne, I did for the first time understand how different both cities are. While I know Melbourne almost city wide, I can't say I know much more than the tourist map area of Sydney, but that is the area I am talking about. I would suggest the Sydney social mix is much better. Melbourne is a much more divided city and you are more able to fit people into a category by where they live and the area they inhabit.

I suppose I have been thinking out loud. I will be home tomorrow night and reply to your future comments in a meaningful way, and I thank you for your comments I have not replied to. And then you will have my evening slideshow of photos to look forward to.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Aside from staying at our friend's house for two night, we have stayed in three motels and one cabin in a caravan park. The cabin was a bit more comfortable in that there was more space and more privacy, but the motels have been ok. Each has its own quirks.

We decided to have a cheap holiday this year as we already had a bit of holiday when R's sister and bro-in-law were here and we have a big Euro river cruise next year. Generally we are paying $120 per night, $125 for the cabin.

The Blue Wren Mallacoota motel had a nice view of the water and lots of bird life, a little too much with one bird in particular starting at daylight with the same repetitive and monotonous call for hours. I will identify the bird once I am home and make sure it is not on an endangered species list and have it removed if it is. As I partly overheard a fellow guest saying to the manager, if the RSPCA knocks, you know what I have done. The bird wasn't even close by. Gee, it was only five or so days ago and I can barely remember it. If I don't remember it, there must have been little wrong. I think the couch was one of those really cheap 2.5 seaters that sank very low when you sat in it. Yes, we did see blue wrens.

The cabin in the Big Four NRMA Long Point Caravan Park in Merimbula was next and I can recall that a bit better and there was not anything really wrong with that. We got what we paid for. There were some stunning cabins with fantastic views; no doubt available if you paid enough.

The Alkira Motel in Cooma was the quirkiest. We have been breakfasting in our room with cereal and toasted bread or toasted English muffins, but here, we had to go and buy plastic bowls and plastic spoons for our cereal, and drink wine from a beaker. Just call us Liz (at least one person will get that). We checked in at 2.00pm and Desk Madame said the heating had just come on and as it was cold, we were grateful. Timer on the air con? No, the full central heating with a huge wall radiator and a smaller one in the bathroom below the towel rail. It did take time to heat up, but there was also an aircon unit to speed the room heating up. The central heating went off at about 8 in the morning and never came on again for the rest of our stay. Admittedly it was warmer and the air con kept the room warm enough. There weren't many other guests staying and when I arose on the second morning, I was convinced there was no hot water after running off a couple of hundred litres of water. R went to the bathroom and the hot water quickly arrived. What a long run through. I showered quickly after R before the water in the pipes cooled.

Canberra being Australia's capital city is a more expensive place to stay. We are not sure if we have made a mistake or not by staying at the Wallaby Motel in Queanbeyan. It is ok. I did most of the looking and booking but R booked this one over the phone. He was not fully informed of the prices, my fault, and managed to screw them down to $130 a night by quoting an internet price to them that was for a double and not a twin. Well, I thought he did but when we arrived, it was a double room. R went back to the office and got a twin for $130. Two blokes together might have indicated to the foreign born manager that we should have separate beds. There are other lots of two blokes staying here, some kind of trades people and I am sure they would want separate beds, and no, there is nothing to fantasize about them. I have never stayed in a place where the cups, kettle, toaster etc were stored in a cupboard beside the bed, but hey there are bowls and spoons and the tv is a great size and very good. It is quite warm here in our nations capital, so no heating is needed tonight, but therein is another story. Some places had no shampoo and conditioner, some no shower soap, this one had no bathroom soap, but there are wall mounted shampoo and conditioner dispensers.

We are not actually in our nation's capital. The Bitch could have been a little more user friendly, I think if I was a foreign visitor with The Bitch in control, it would be awful. Ok, Barton may not be in New South Wales, and Queanbeyan may not be in the Australian Capital Territory and I do actually know better, but I didn't realise it would make such a difference when searching. The Bitch said there is no such place as Queanbeyan in Canberra. She was technically correct and I should have known better. Queanbeyan is in New South Wales, not the Australian Capital Territory, ACT. Fortunately we had maps and Google phone maps were very helpful, once again.

In summary, our accommodation has been ok; what one would expect for what we paid.

Monday, September 23, 2013

More tech fail

As if it is not bad enough to be misled by your sat nav device, what about when your car's tech stuff goes wrong?

I recall James commenting about how flat Melbourne is when he last visited. What? I avoid walking up the Collins Street and Bourke Street hills and use the tram. The thing is, Melburnians just don't have hill developed walking muscles, which is why we have struggled a bit with walking during our holiday. Almost everywhere we have been has hills, steep hills. Even when driving it has been uphill and down dale.

In Australia many roads are long and open and I expect as in America, cruise control is a marvellous thing, perhaps not so much in Europe. If you don't really know what it is, you accelerate to the speed you wish to travel at and switch on the cruise control and the car will maintain the speed. On some roads the speed limit in 110 km/h but mostly it is 100 km/h. Once in the countryside, you can set the cruise and take your foot off the accelerator and let the car maintain your speed.

The Mazda 626 we bought in about 1990 had cruise control. It worked adequately although the speed did vary quite a bit.

Our current car, a Mazda 3 has a much more elaborate cruise control and on flat roads or downhill and gentle slopes, it does a great job. The speedo under reads, so  I set it to 103, which is about 99 km/h.

But lordy, it does not deal well with a steep hill and behaves in a quite an alarming manner. I have learnt to switch it off when I see a steep hill on the horizon. The car tries to maintain speed in fourth gear, but cannot and switches down to third gear and starts to accelerate. It reaches the speed to maintain but continues to accelerate, up to above 110 km/h and then slowly drops the speed back to 103km/h. Often there is a curve at the top of hill and it is quite alarming to be accelerating as you want to be slowing a bit, or at least vaguely maintaining your speed.

I would suggest it is a defective product, and given cruise control has been around three decades plus, it is not good enough Mazda in Japan.

I have also noted that using cruise control when travelling up and down steep hills must use more petrol as the car tries to maintain speed, rather than not pushing the car the maintain speed as I have been doing. If it can't easily keep the speed up, then let the speed drop and let it maintain top gear and not force it.

I will confess though, it was a bit thrill seeking as the gearbox kicked down to third and started to accelerate when travelling uphill, but ever so wasteful of petrol.

We left The Bitch in the console today and used maps. I am much more comfortable with maps.

Today we visited Jindabyne and early tomorrow we depart the delightful town of Cooma to arrive in one hour later in our nation's capital city, Canberra.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Madame GPS

I don't really blog when I am holidays, in a meaningful way. That kind of means I don't post photos and I don't comment on blogs and I don't respond to comments. I do this because R deserves my attention and company when we are in strange surrounds.

However, I still get a bit of time to write.

Gattina calls her gps Madame GPS. I have taken to call our sat nav device, The Bitch.

After visiting Pambula Beach, The Bitch kept saying 'turn right' to get us to the next destination, Merimbula. I wanted to drive along the main street of Pambula, but R was telling me to follow The Bitch's advice. I ignored her and him.

Upon arrival at Merimbula, she told me to turn right, into the sea. R was fed up with her turn instructions and turned her off. We had to turn her back on to get to our accommodation after we stopped at shops for a bit.

When studying maps I could see there were three alternatives to our next destination. The Bitch gave us the mid one time wise, but she added about 15 minutes by backtracking when it was un-necessary. There was a much more direct route. We chose the longest route because that was the way we decided to go. I gave The Bitch a town along the way and she did ok then.

The Bitch outdid herself upon arrival at our destination. She had us driving in circles, for some reason thinking we were staying in a lane and not on a major road. We had looked at so many places to stay at our destination, it wasn't clear in my head as to where I should go. I pulled out my phone and googled to check that I had the address correct and a map showed and then I understood where we should drive to, that is the opposite direction. I felt like throwing The Bitch out the window and relish in seeing her smash on the asphalt. Even though we had no time to be anywhere, it felt stressful, mostly because R was getting stressed and then I felt under pressure.

As soon as I saw the location of our accommodation on a map, I remembered where it was. I checked later for why The Bitch had a problem and she has a misnamed street and possibly because, as happens in country towns, there are two names for a street, a local street name and and a major highway name.  Still, The Bitch failed us.

We are in a place that has crisp and cold air, so different to the wonderful seaside town of Merimbula, from where we left this morning.