Saturday, December 28, 2013

Shocking Wind

It is just nature taking its course. Nothing to do with our food consumption over christmas.

I was up to get ready for work by 5.30 this morning. It was a delightful morning, not cold but a gentle cool breeze was blowing from the south west. The outdoor temperature was 15.

By about 3pm, it was hot, with the temperature risen to 37 degrees. What a contrast to the morning when I could scarcely believe it would get so hot today.

A gusty cool change hit at 4pm. The temperature dropped 10 degrees in minutes. 

Silly Fen was at the beach and had her ears filled with sand, and god knows what other orifice. 

We are now experiencing wind like I don't remember. Weather does not usually penetrate the High Rise, but it certainly is tonight.

Twitter told me tram routes 8, 64 and 109 have been disrupted by falling branches on tram wires and I think one train line was knocked out for a time.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Tease Across the Tasman Sea

I expect it goes on between the English, Irish, Scottish and the Welsh. Probably between the French and an adjacent country. Indonesia and Malaysia do it, as does Malaysia with Singapore. In Australia, the country we love to insult is New Zealand. Most of us are rather fond of our little neighbour and I think they are quite fond of 'Western Island'. There are enough of them living, so they must like us. Btw, Victor is swanning around NZ at the moment and swanning across the seas.

I found this hardware store advertisement from New Zealand amusing. To save you having to watch it twice to really get it, the boy at the end in the green and yellow is Australian.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Seeing aorund corners

These convex mirrors were installed in our building's carpark a while ago. They work really well, effectively enabling you to see around corners as you travel up and down the ramps. There must be about twenty of them. No-one travels at 8km/h, usually about 15. I know of no accidents between cars or people being mown down. It is a nuisance if people don't use their headlights as you can't see them coming out of the corner of your eye, but the mirrors make it much easier to see cars coming. But do they make the car park safer? You would think yes, but I am not so sure.

I find I tend to drive a little bit faster in the car park because I can now easily see if there is a car coming the other way. Does that make it safer?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Christmas Day War

It was a battle royale. As the crackling cooked on a high temperature, the oven was clearly ahead of the air-conditioning. The oven was pumping out heat and fumes and the air was blue, as was the language at times. The sun was shining hotly and strongly on the eastern windows. We knocked the air con down a couple of degrees and it became a close battle. As the temp went down on the oven for the last couple of hours of cooking, the air con drew ahead. The air con takes into account the outside temperature too. By the time people arrived, the air con had won the battle and the apartment was cool and the blue air exhausted to the atmosphere.

I was concerned about cold air blowing onto people as we dined and I turned it off. No sooner had I done so, boy it is hot in here. I switched it back on and there were no complaints about cold air blowing on anyone.

Apart from R forgetting to serve the baked cauliflower in white sauce and apparently me forgetting to buy teabags, it all went well, if you can call chaos as a success.

Would you like some left over pork, ham, chicken, turkey, christmas pudding, christmas cake, pumpkin.........ok, the list is terribly long, down to coloured and sweet popcorn which I find quite disgusting.

I'd just like to give thanks to Mr Whirlpool who did five loads today, bless you. Maybe one day you will be able to load dishes and put them away.

A Merry Old Day

Christmas to me means family. I am not religious but christmas is an important cultural tradition to me. By the time this is published, I will be already up, perhaps off getting some ice to chill the drinks in the laundry trough.

This is our oldest christmas ornament, from about 1982.

We received three hand made cards this year, one from Peter in Amsterdam, accompanied by a large piece of delicious chocolate which lasted a few minutes, one from Pants in Larrikens End featuring her own artwork and this very special one from Copperwitch. Surely oh red haired one, you did not stick each jewel on individually? It is just brilliant.

Our tree this year. We bought battery operated LED lights for it this year. 100 did not go far. We bought another lot and the second lot were discounted by 30%. I don't know how they worked, but the first evening we turned them and then off when we went to bed. The next night I was last up and I forgot to turn them out, but in the morning they were off. I thought R turned them off during the night. To keep it brief, each night they would come on by themselves at about 6.30 and off by themselves at what time we don't know. It is not light related as we had a very dark day where the light was dimmer than at 6.30. The set just seemed to learn from the first setting.

When R wound the new lights onto the tree, the first lot would not work, well, they would come on and go off again. We puzzled over this for a day or two, altering flashing rates etc but they became worse. At school I vaguely remember we a class called Clear Thinking, and that was what was needed. In a moment of enlightenment, I asked myself why would battery operated lights keep going off? Asking myself the correct question immediately gave the correct answer. The batteries were flat. There were four AA batteries of an obscure brand and clearly not made to last. Now we take firm control of when the lights are on and off.

If it is not your day to celebrate, then you can still make it day to eat and drink too much. I bid you all Seasons Greetings.

(Hels, read a book a book and go out for a walk. There is always tv?)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ready, set and go for tomorrow

R keeps getting upset that our hosting is not up to high standard. Ok, some will have silver cutlery and some will have stainless steel. One person has a chipped plate. It will matter not an iota on the day. We are two people catering for 13.

A South Melbourne stroll then to town

We left the bus in St Kilda Road and walked to Chemist Warehouse in Sturt Street. It wasn't far.

Before we left, we noticed that the tram shelter across the road which had been vandalised by the youf had been repaired, except for the tinted roof glass. A couple of weeks later, finally it has been repaired.

It was quite a pleasant short walk.

This is a curious building. A roundhouse was a building to where trains were once kept but there is no connection to trains with this round, well maybe hexagonal building.

A ventilation stack for the City Link tunnels. Imagine the muck that comes out of that. A politician arguing the benefits of East West Link was heard to say, imagine Melbourne without City Link. Remember this the next time you are sitting stationary in a City Link tunnel and paying for the privilege. I would argue the contrary. Traffic is self limiting up to a point. The demand for better public transport would have been loud.

Vault finally found its right home almost out of sight at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. It is a much unloved sculpture known to many as the Yellow Peril.

Victoria, the only state where motorbikes can be parked on the footpath. These ones are neatly lined up and generally not a bother to anyone, but that is not always the case in our fair city of Melbourne. Daniel explains.

Bad design at this tram stop in Bourke Street. It is the usual case of someone designing something without looking at natural human behaviour. We along with about twenty other people left the tram and walked out onto the pedestrian crossing and cars stopped and then we backtracked to get around the barrier and cross the road. R had to wait in the Medicare office, so I ducked back to take this photo. The people with the brollies had just left a tram and did as we did earlier and had followed the same path.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Safety on our trains

Given in my life I have caught the Williamstown train about six times in my life, the odds of feeling under threat should be low, but I did feel under threat as a couple of the youf went through the train asking to see people's tickets, as if they were ticket inspectors. I wanted to dial triple 000 but I did not want to draw attention to myself. I stared out the window and they moved to another area of the train.

Given I have caught the train to Sunbury once in my life, the odds of threat must be very low and there was no threat to me, but the train was delayed by a rough trio of people loudly arguing and making threats to each other. Most unpleasant. Platform staff and the train conductor dealt with the matter.

This story at The Age is online tonight. There is a quite frightening video of someone under threat of being stabbed in the face. A fellow passenger filmed the incident. Who knows what the drama was about, but Metro Trains has no interest in finding out, according Channel 7 and The Age.

Does Metro care? No and it is a disgraceful. I quote the reporter in the video, Metro Trains is unaware of the incident and cannot take any action unless a complaint is made. Really???????

A Mince Pie Review

We have tried four different brands of mince pies this year.

Not pictured but Bakers Delight were pretty awful with very thick pastry and not much filling. I think they were about $7.

The clear winner were the mince pies from Waitrose in Britain and at about $8 they were excellent value. I expected them to be good and they certainly were.

These came from David Jones Food Hall and were almost $12. Luxury Mince Pies? Almost inedible and we were so disappointed. The pastry was too sweet, far too thick and too crumbly, although the little filling they contained wasn't too bad. They are sitting on top of the microwave and neither of us are keen to have another.

I was very surprised at Coles Supermarket own brand which contain some dark rum. They are very very nice and at $4, an absolute bargain. Whoever supplied Coles with these better do so next year.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday News

Saturday began with shopping, $200 worth. Meat costs. We had a christmas dinner at the Malvern Vale Hotel last night. It was lovely evening among friends. Our dyke friend organised a Kris Kringle gift giving, nothing over $10. I have a large box of small chocolates. I have had two, but the box is now only half full? The Brighton Antique Dealer left her building and crossed the road to North Brighton Station and caught the 6 o'clock train and we picked her up at the South Yarra Station at 6.15. When our trains run to time, they work very well.

This morning we worked hard with cleaning and prep for christmas day. R was relieved to know the figure for dinner is 13, not 14. That's a big difference! I polished the silver cutlery.

Our dining table seats 6. We have a large trestle table that we will add for the day. But what about seats? We each have a chair in our bedrooms, 8, there are two fold up chairs under my bed, 10, two chairs from the balcony, 12, computer chair 13. Made it.

Sister was on the phone to R. Roast pork? Who wants that? Well, I do actually, and I should think many others. No turkey? said Sister. Ok, we relented, instead of three chickens, there is one chicken and a turkey. Sister is bringing a ham and plum pudding. In a serious slip up, we bought plain custard, brandy custard, cream and ice cream. Sister texted, I shall get the soy custard for Mother then? I didn't even know you could get such a thing.

Sunday afternoon into town to buy R's christmas present, a stick blender. I checked the cheap table and there was a Kenwood with only one attachment for half price at $100. Across the way was a boxed Kenwood stick blender with many attachments for $100. I bought the latter of course.

Yes, ham steak and pineapple is very old fashioned, but I like it and we had it for dinner. But dinner was not so relaxed. Non Dreaded Nephew called to ask if he could call in and drop off some presents. Of course laddie.  We had just finished cleaning up after dinner. He drew his Nan, Mother to me, in the Christmas draw. He saw a timber paling planter box at a nursery we know well in Brunswick Street. $35, he exclaimed. I can make one, and so he did from left over paling fence timber and planted three marigolds. Mother will love it. He and his Jewish girlfriend have moved from the garret in North Carlton to Flemington.They will stay there until March when they go to Brazil for three months next year, following the soccer. Then, he says, they will settle down, haha. Speaking of Flemington, is Kath dead?

Then ABI Brother called. He is going the Boxing Day cricket test with a mate and then Sister bought herself and him a ticket for the next day. Can I stay at yours Boxing Night, Brother? Of course Brother. We will give you a key and remote on Christmas Day as we will be out on Boxing Night at the Brother Friends for a second Christmas dinner.

The phone has just rung. It is Mother. I can't do it. R said, give me the phone. Bless him.

Sunday Selections

Join River, Jackie and Elephant's Child in Sunday Selections. Here is my effort for the week.

What do you do when your car breaks down and you are waiting for help? You spread out your tartan picnic rug and catch some rays. The police kindly put out a couple of warning devices on the road.

I think a shotgun might be the best solution to noisy motor bikes. The police won't do anything. As was reported in this week's media, we were quite correct about the barricades around St Kilda Road Police Station and that motor bikes had been 'buzzing' the police station.

There must have been a better way to transport this. While it looks secure, it was madly swinging from side to side as the car travelled at 80 km/h along Nepean Highway. I thought it was going to burst.

It was a hot Sunday and three blokes worked in the sun until 6pm while installing some new air con. Yep chaps, if The Abbott has he way, you'll be doing this until you are seventy. I was at the surgery below two days later to have a skin cancer removed and still the air con wasn't working. The glories of ageing.

On my monitor the reflection colour is as it was a the time. Unusual.

More balcony wildlife. I am rather pleased with this shot. Now off you pop and find some aphids to eat from someone's roses, there's a good chap. And he/she flew away. Ummm, male ladybird?

Note to self, never again buy pale coloured towels. A two day soak and a hot water wash and they are improved, but not perfect.

Glorious gladdies. You like Red?