Saturday, November 30, 2013

Is it an lrv? Is it a tram?

Japan is a quirky place. In the small northern town where our friend in Japan lived before she moved to large city, along with the mega company Japan Railways East's principle railway line where the bullet trains run, was a small privately owned railway. We came across a level crossing and I think it was a single track line. I did look up at the time where it went to and came from, but I forget now.

A little south of Yokahama on the Japanese coast is the town of Enoshima with what is best described as a light rail system, but it rather behaves like a tram in the centre of town and a train outside of town. I recall many years ago being chipped on my blog for describing Sydney's light rail line as being a tram line. It has taken until now for me to come across on the net the perfect answer. Who in Sydney who uses the tram refers to it as a light rail vehicle?

"I'm going into town now honey."

"Are you driving or taking the light rail vehicle darls?"

Of course they don't.

"I'm going into town now honey."

"Are you driving or getting the tram darls?"

I welcome a correction from anyone who lives along the line and catches the light rail vehicle/tram between Central and Lilyfield.

This is the photo, taken by S Keenan, that inspired this post. Pretty good photo, hey. The mass of wiring is reminiscent of Thailand or Vietnam, and not Japan. Surprising to see it in Japan. We must have stuck to the posh parts of Japan when we were there. It appears that a car has blocked the progress of the tram.

I went to You Chube to see what was there about this transport in the town of Enoshima. There was plenty. I liked this recording. To a Melburnian, cars getting out of the way of a tram is quite laughable. It is more likely cars will try to get in front of the tram to block it as they attempt to park, turn right or make a u turn.

Friday, November 29, 2013

That'll learn 'em #64

"Do you have any non religious christmas stamps please Mr Post Master?"


Revenge is sweet. I just posted a birthday card to my brother and used a cheaper christmas card stamp on the envelope, thereby defrauding Australia Post of five cents. That'll learn 'em to not have non religious stamps available. I am five cents richer.

There are non religious stamps, but our Post Office did not have any.

Which reminds me of Fruit Cake (I think) who brought up, possibly in comments, that she would not bother to pick up five cents from the ground.

Do you?

The 70s was not always good

It would be difficult to say what is right about this commercial from the late 70s. So what happened to RC Cola? Their gross ad that must have cost at least $20 to make was not successful? You will never hear me call anyone ugly. Their is beauty within us all (all you need is good makeup and lighting). However, given their age, I do consider the participants in the commercial are of a very plain appearance. Maybe the ad appeals to straight guys, but it certainly does not to me.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Nine container ships are anchored in the bay, waiting to be unloaded. What is wrong with the dock workers? Bring back the ferocious dogs on leashes, bring back the Dubai trained strike breakers, bring back the men in balaclavas and bring back the scab labour transport buses with blacked out windows, I say. That'll learn 'em.

That awful business happened during ex PM John Howard's time in office, under the guidance of one Peter Reith, a man who I would have thought would be too ashamed to continue in public office of any description.

He was commissioned to report on fracking in Victoria. There is a moratorium at the moment on the practice of injecting chemicals, sand and water at pressure into the ground to release gas.

It is no surprise that he recommended the ban be dropped. His connection to Lakes Oil is? He is a paid lobbyist for? Well, paid lobbyist for the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, which has applied for a gas exploration license. Also, a paid lobbyist for Theiss, a construction company working in the mining industry.

Reith is thoroughly discredited as someone independent who could investigate fracking in Victoria. He is simply a lobbyist for mining.

Economics editor at the Sydney Morning Herald, Ross Gittens, writes "The gas industry is working a scam on the people of NSW, in collusion with other business lobby groups and federal and state politicians. It's trying to frighten us into agreeing to remove restrictions on the exploitation of coal seam gas deposits. Failing that, the various parties want to be able to lay the blame for an inevitable jump in the price of natural gas on the greenies and farmers."

Here is a link to places around the world where fracking has been banned. It is quite a long list.

Let me tell you how it will go. Even though Victoria's state Liberals have banned fracking for now, should the Liberals be elected with any sort of decent majority at the next state election, or maybe even without a decent majority, fracking will happen in Victoria. I wouldn't trust the Labor Party to not approve it either, unless they specifically say they won't. Vote Green.
Gittins writes: “The gas industry is working a scam on the people of NSW, in collusion with other business lobby groups and federal and state politicians. It’s trying to frighten us into agreeing to remove restrictions on the exploitation of coal seam gas deposits. Failing that, the various parties want to be able to lay the blame for an inevitable jump in the price of natural gas on the greenies and farmers.” - See more at:
NSW Aboriginal Land Council
NSW Aboriginal Land Council
NSW Aboriginal Land Council

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Just Another Sunday

We took Mother out for lunch and ABI Brother came along too. We didn't have clue where we would go. Mother suggested Emerald, which was not too far to drive, so we headed off. It was market Sunday in Emerald and there was not a car parking space to be found. ABI Brother had a brainwave. What about the pub at Clematis? I am afraid now. No one knew how to get there. Sat nav sent me in circles. R told me I need to give it time to work out where we are. I was stressed. R was is the backseat telling me how to put his sat nav on the windscreen. Not my fault. I can't be expected to instantly know how to put up his sat nav. ABI Brother nagged, don't you have a Melways? Yes ABI Brother, in front of your knees in the map pocket. You look it up then. He didn't. Ms Sat Nav eventually sorted us out and Clematis was only six minutes away, at the end of Wellington Road. There is a roundabout and I was preparing to go around as Ms Sat Nav was instructing. ABI Brother yelled, there is the entrance. I simultaneously checked the rear view mirror and swung hard right into the carpark. I didn't park under the tree with the sign warning that falling pine cones might damage your car.

R dashed inside to check it out and Mother and ABI Brother looked around outside.

Yeah, I am liking this place. It is called the Paradise Valley Hotel.

The rhodies are finished. What a shame.

Truly a great garden at the hotel. I am slightly annoyed that I have never heard about this hotel. For dining Mother likes a quiet spot at the back of a room where she can hold court. I prefer to be among the great unwashed and with a view of something or people. We sat in an enclosed deck area. Mother complained it was too hot. We opened a window of the open area a and a cooling cross breeze wafted in, bringing in with it the pleasant smell of wood smoke.

I walked down the steps to the garden to take some photos and I heard a noise. A train like noise. Mein Gott, it is the world famous Puffing Billy passing through at the bottom of the garden.  There was a diesel engine at the front.

I have not seen these open cars on Puffing Billy before. There was much waving.

At the back end was Thomas steaming and smoking away while helping out the diesel engine at the front. Later, the proper Puffing Billy passed by with its big engine creating a lot of smoke.

Just a divine spot.

The hotel was quite busy for lunch, but by the time I took this photo, most people had left. R, ABI Brother and Mother can be seen still at the table. Mother did not look at the menu and said she would have a steak. A decent sized steak arrived with the usual accompaniments, and while we had long finished, she ploughed on and ate it all. Unfortunately the steak was very expensive and of course you know who has to pay.

A solitary lass sits reading at a table on the lush grass.

This is the view of hotel from near the railway line. To the right out of the photo is a shady gravelled area where a fire burned in what could be described as an oversize plough disc. A female guitarist was playing and singing some pleasant tunes. It is not a cheap place to dine, but the food was good and the service very good and the setting delightful. I highly recommend the Paradise Valley Hotel in Clematis for a long lazy lunch, especially on a fine day.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

50 years ago JFK almost upstaged a new BBC tv show

Go on, click play. Punish yourself. If I have to hear it one more time I will scream. Yes, I watched it, but not at 6.00am. David Tennant is looking old. John Hurt is looking very old and appears to have lived a good life. Billy Piper is not really that good looking, not now. I think I watched all of the Christopher Ecclestone episodes and I quite like David Tennant when he was fresh. I lost interest when Matt Smith arrived. I drifted off the special episode last night about half way through. I can believe in the Tardis and the Sonic Screwdriver, but two Queen Elizabeths I? It just got too silly.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The working woman

Nowadays it seems the only women who don't work are the wives of the middle class and the rich. I write yet another post that will win me no friends and alienate some.

The thing is kiddies, I just don't get what is behind having children and putting them in childcare for five days a week while mummy and daddy work. I have no problem if the kids are home with dad or their second mummy or other daddy, whatever.

Of course women have a right to work. Of course they can have a career, but does raising children and having them in full time care during working hours really equate to being a good parent? I see much of it in the better areas of Melbourne and ok, the children probably end up at a good private school too and turn into good adult citizens. But still I am troubled by the matter.

I will never know, but I think spending a lot of time with your child as they grow must be a wonderful thing. They will be watching you and observing you and picking up things for their future life. How can this happen when the child is in care for forty hours plus a week? They will probably pick up information from stressed, tired and overachieving parents.

It is somewhat of a chicken and egg argument, but which came first? The need for mothers to work for the family to have decent life or women working and there is now a higher family income and so housing prices go up? Or is that woman want things to be?

I am very pleased that Sister was in a position that she did not have to work for a couple of years after Little Jo was born and now with Bone Doctor having a weekday off and Sister only working part time.  Little Jo now goes to crèche for one morning and kindergarten for a whole day each week. Next year she will start primary school.  Money was tight for them but I think it was a good decision.

Looking back, R and I should be rich with our individual and adequate incomes compared to couples who have children with only one person working, but we are not. We have lived a bit too high on the hog at times and not been too responsible about money but that is because we didn't have to be. We had no responsibilities but ourselves. It is a bit tenuous, but we think we may be able to maintain our lifestyle when we are older, but there will be things that we will go without.

It is said that when many older men are asked the question about regrets in the life, they will say they wished they had spent more time with their children when they were young. I fear it is a reply that we will hear from women in the not too distant future. Why have children if you are not with them in their very formative first four years?

Being an essentially stay at home mum or dad and raising children must be one of the most wonderful things in the world and never let anyone tell you that you haven't contributed to society in the most special way to society.

(This post was originally written three years ago. I don't like to offend people but I really don't get why you have children and don't want to bring them up)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Family News in Brief

We are doing christamas dinner this year, for 12, or 14 if we ask a couple of orphans along. R will do most of the work. I will be on the sidelines offering unwanted advice. The menu is planned. As I type the christmas cake is cooking. Sister is making the pudding.

Overseas cards have been sent. Local ones done but not yet sent. A gift is ready to be sent overseas.

It has been decided to do Kris Kringle gift giving this year. So sensible. Mother won't be happy when she finds out. She likes the christmas to be a never changing event.

Sister and Chainsaw Niece are at the Queenscliff Music Festival. They are alternating looking after Little Jo in the children's area.

Bone Doctor is competing in the 610 kilometre Great Victorian Bike Ride, Mount Gambier to Geelong. Today is day 2. The weather is awful.

Non Dreaded Nephew has been re-appointed as a fire fighter for the forthcoming fire season. He may not make it on christmas day.

Middle Niece is potted and a girl is due in March. She has just qualified as a school teacher. Bad timing. No paid maternity leave.

ABI Brother is going to South Africa for next year's cricket. He is consequently broke as he has just paid for the trip.

Tradie Brother's dog, part Lab and part Staffy* has grown immensely. He was at a barbeque and the dog was being a nuisance, so he put him in the car. The dog chewed his gear knob off. His mobile phone went missing. His daughter called it. It was ringing outside, eventually found in the dog kennel bedding, also chewed and no longer usable. It was an old Nokia Tradie phone**. It was an opportunity for him to upgrade, but no. Someone gave him an even older Nokia Tradie phone.

#cross  #ptvfail Our tram was significantly delayed when coming back from town because Flinders Lane was closed and the traffic was feeding into Swanston Street. Why did no-one wonder, where will the cars go when they get to Swanston Street and find they can't proceed along Flinders Lane? This happened a few Sundays ago at Little Bourke Street. We did not move for 10 minutes. We got out and walked.

Dog Jack is visiting for the weekend. He and Household Management are taking their nanna naps.

*Black Labrador and Staffordshire Bull Terrier
**A very tough and simple phone made by Nokia

19th Century London

Pinch me. I need to be reminded this is 2013 not 1913. Some years ago I heard that trains in India were being retro fitted with human waste retention tanks, rather than the waste going straight out onto the train tracks. I am not sure what progress has been made.

I am of an age where I can remember our country trains not having toilet retention tanks. You could peer down the toilet bowl at the train tracks below and see the bluestone track bed rushing past. There were signs in the toilets requesting that you did not use the toilet while the train was at a station. This is the type of sign that was to be seen in Australian trains.

While London's Tube train service may be the envy of many countries and people, how sophisticated is England's rail system? Not too advanced, it would seem, as trains dump human waste onto the train tracks at one of London's major stations, Liverpool Street. Yes, you read that correctly. This is happening in the first world in 2013. Extraordinary! I don't want to come back in my next life as railway track worker in London. To make it worse, this happens in a covered area, so weather has little effect in breaking down the solids. Unbelievable. Short article here.

For no good reason, here is a photo of the rather nice looking Liverpool Street Station from