Wednesday, December 31, 2014

NYE, party like it is 1980

It is New Year's Eve, party time, except I am at work now. If you are home alone, turn up the volume, pour yourself a large glass of something with a kick and party with the Leningrad Cowboys and the Russian Red Army Choir.

Not to your taste. This one is magic.

Something a little more modern, and yes, I have posted it before. Cute guy alert.

Best wishes to you all for 2015.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The extremely homophobic Salvation Army

The Salvation Army does some terrific work in the community, but it is a very homophobic institution. Maybe like so often the workers on the ground, like with the Catholic Church, don't agree with hierarchy. I think it was blogmate Mitchell, an American in Spain, who wondered about the Salvation Army in Australia when I mentioned the organisation in the past. It is amazing what I find out about Australia from English press.

I am indebted to the straight but ever so gay friendly Lord Sedgwick for drawing my attention to the interview publicised in Europe's largest gay press, Pink News. A senior official within the Salvation Army was interviewed by Melbourne's gay and lesbian radio station, Joy. It is to his merit that at least he was prepared to be interviewed but oh, the answers. You may not want to read the whole thing, so here is a snip.

In the interview, Ryan (the interviewer) told Major Craibe that she had read the Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine, published in London. She went on to point out several parts which she found disturbing including “The problem of evil” (page 28) which cites Romans 1:18-32 and its vitriolic condemnation of homosexuality.
“For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error. . .
“They know God’s decree, that those who practise such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practise them.”
Asked whether the Salvation Army took the wording literally, i.e. that practising homosexuals should be put to death, the Major Craibe replied in the affirmative.

A snip from the radio programme transcript.

RYAN: Honestly, Andrew, tell me — as a human being, how can you qualify that?

CRAIBE: Well, I qualify by way of, that’s where my belief system is structured, you know? It’s what it comes to, that salvation story, and that we can be redeemed from that. That’s my belief.
While the Major did say when asked that if his children came out as gay, that he would continue to love them, he argued that being gay was a “choice” like consuming alcohol. 

I choose to drink alcohol. I never chose to be gay. It is simply how I am. Major Craibe is a tosser and should not be in such a position within the hierarchy of the Salvation Army .

Monday, December 29, 2014

Booze a la Espana

One Christmas gift was four bottles of left over wine from a Christmas office party. One bottle was a common Australian wine, rather ordinaire, and two are Spanish. Fortunately the common Australian wine was only one third full, but the Spanish ones were just over half full. The Spanish wines are superb. I've tried similarly priced Chilean wine, New Zealand wine, Argentinean wine, French wine and after a little googling for the price of the Spanish wines we have drunk, they are terrific value.  There is one more nearly full bottle of the wine but given how many spelling corrections I have had to make in one paragraph, I think we will save the origin and tasting of the last bottle for another time.

A visit to the Bellarine Pt 2

Sunday morning at Sister's on the Bellarine after cereal and toast saw us off to pick fruit at a blueberry farm. The berries had matured a little early and the farm does not normally open until the new year. Collectively we picked about 3/4 of a kilo, and so cheap at $15 a kilo.

Other fruits were being grown, but we were only allowed to pick the blueberries.

Only pick the dark ones, we were told, not the pale ones or the red ones. Do not eat any picked blueberries. Of course we did sample some. The immature berry is quite pretty.

It was hot and a refreshing drink was need at the blueberry farm cafe.

Trees need to grow a bit, but quite a nice setting.

We drove from the farm to Portarlington in Bone Doctor's monster and then along the coast back to Queenscliff but stopped at winery first.

It was a gorgeous place. Wineries where you buy directly from the grower/wine maker often serve food too, as does Kiltynane Winery. My cunning plan is to go back with R one day, drink lots of wine and eat lovely food and then call Sister or Bone Doctor to come and pick us up.

Swan Bay with Queenscliff in the background.

Little Jo was a bit bored with our wine tasting, so she and R can be seen behind the trees in the children's sand pit.

Sister once found a table tennis table left out for road side collection. It served them well for many years but did eventually collapse. They bought a new table and R and myself assisted Bone Doctor with the assembly. I expect you can guess whose footprints they are.

Where Sister lives is quite an expensive place to buy or to rent. There are not too many houses that still have traditional grass driveway strip. I love them. Maybe they are only found in Australia. This is a typical rural beach side house, for permanent living. We were walking down to the beach. R and myself only paddled. R had left his contacts in and I hate cold water, but Sister, BD and Little Jo had great fun in the water.

Sister and Bone Doctor had this outdoor shower installed and placed some paving with the help of a friend. Bone Doctor built the timber platform. It is private enough to shower naked as long as no one pops their head over the fence. I used it to wash the sand off Little Jo's surfing board.

Sister cooked us a lovely meal, local mussels in a nice sauce and Bone Doctor barbequed some lamb, accompanied by a salad. While R and myself arose about the same time Sunday morning, Sister and Bone Doctor were already out walking and cycling respectively. Sister her taken her dog on the walk but the dog went into the water and had wet feet, so banned from coming inside, She plaintively looked inside through the kitchen window. Yes, that is my notebook out on the table.

So it is now Monday morning and Bone Doctor had gone to work. Sister asked if we would like to walk to the local village for coffee. It is quite a walk, about 2 km. Fortunately she drove us to the beach and the walk was a bit shorter. Little Jo wasn't keen on breakfast before we left. Sister told her in no uncertain terms that there would not be breakfast in a cafe. We ordered our coffee and Little Jo wanted food. Sister relented (even she gets conned by Little Jo) and ordered a bacon sandwich. It arrived at the table and there was enough bacon etc for the four of us. We had sipped our coffee in the cafe to the left. Where Sister lives is a place for holiday makers, many of whom own houses there they use for holidays. There is little that can be bought for less than $500,000, so some quite rich people are visiting the town. The cafe we were in was mostly Malvern types. The one next door, as Bone Doctor later pointed out, was more Ivanhoe. The town is certainly a place to observe the inequality of Australian society in general. People who can live and holiday here are very fortunate members of society.

What a hoot. A lad had draped himeself in seaweed as we walked back to the car. He looked like Cousin Itt. They were having great fun. Btw, I noted Pugsley recently died.

On the horizon we noticed a big non cargo boat about to exit the rip of Port Phillip Bay. I knew, and to my surprise R also knew, there were no cruise ships in port. What could it be? Mid morning, it was quite discombobulating to see it was the Spirit of Tasmania. We then recalled there is a twice daily service during the summer period and the sailing times are different. On the far side of the ferry is Point Nepean. Once back at Sister's we packed up the car and were home by early afternoon.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Competition between Collins Street and New Bond Street

Fun60 has posted many photos in three or four posts showing her readers the Christmas decoration in London. I walked from the top of Collins Street in Melbourne to Swanston Street passing by many expensive designer shops to have a look at their decorations.

Here is a copy of a list of some of the shops to be found in Collins Street.

Perhaps the most famous Melbourne shopping street is Collins Street, home to high end jewellery (including Georg Jensen, Makers Mark, Bvlgari, Jan Logan, Rutherford and Tiffany & Co), high end fashion (Cose Ipanema, Husk, Herringbone, Hugo Boss and the legendary appointment-only boutique Le Louvre), shoes and luxury goods (such as Ralph Lauren, Hermes, Chanel, Gucci, Bally, Salvatore Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton).

It was very disappointing to say the least. Apart from a couple of Christmas trees, very little effort had been made by retailers. Maybe part of the problem is our long hours of daylight. By the time it is dark at 9pm, most families are home. Here are a couple of photos.

Things were more interesting in Swanston Street with this group of lads performing. Thank goodness our two large department stores and our arcades go to some effort. Now do yourself a service and have a look at Fun60's photos taken in New Bond Street, London. Simply wonderful. In subsequent posts on her blog, there are more London Christmas photos.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A visit to the Bellarine Pt 1

We spent a couple of lovely days last weekend on the Bellarine staying with Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo. The weather was quite pleasant. We were sitting under the grape vine covered pergola. Actually, above the grapevine is perspex, so while sitting at the table, the grapevine was expirating its moisture which turned into water droplets that collected on the perspex roof and then fell down on to the table and us.

It was Bone Doctor's work Christmas bash, so we looked after Little Jo while she and Sister attended a rather large country property with a pool, a tennis court and room for a pony. They were too late for entrée and after the main course, Sister asked if there was a bed she could lie on as she had a headache and she slept for two hours and missed pudding and desserts.

We had decided to take Little Jo for a twenty minute drive to Victoria's largest regional city, Geelong. We wanted to see the ever so expensive Christmas tree and have a bite to eat. We thought Little Jo would enjoy La Porchetta and we had a nice meal, except I forgot to ask for anchovies to be left off my pizza, which spoiled it somewhat. The staff were just so nice and the service excellent. Little Jo con #1. She managed to extract one dollar at a time for us to play one of those games where a claw comes down under your guidance to pick up a fluffy toy. The seventh dollar went in and she managed to pick up a cheap toy worth less than $7.

At this time of the year in Victoria the sun does not set until 9pm, so we were in no rush to get to the Geelong waterfront. We slowly ambled along. There are some lovely old Victorian buildings.

The almost obliterated Dimmeys sign. The closure of its discount stores is quite lamented.

Once a tram ran along this Moorabool Street. Like most large Australian towns, it had trams until the late 1950s. Somewhere nearby, maybe within this building was the tram depot.

King Edward VI Sailor's Rest. After lots of activity on the ship, I suppose sailors do need a rest.

We approach the waterfront.

We heard so many figures about the cost of the Christmas tree floating in Geelong's Corio Bay. The highest figure was $5 million. It seems the real price was $1 million and if it is used for another couple of years, it was a cheap price to pay for the numbers of people who were around to see it.

Little Jo con #2. "I've never been on a trampoline while being suspended by ropes. It's only $12." She lied as we subsequently discovered she had been on one once before. It was pretty good value though. From one of the parents plonked around the trampoline, we heard, 'Isn't that Little Jo?'. It was the parents of a child Little Jo used to attend kindergarten with. R had met the father before when he once picked up Little Jo. He could not remember but the bloke remembered R too. They were pleasant to chat to, so we learnt later, ex hippies from northern New South Wales. He had his turn on the trampoline. Quite a hot guy really. People were gathering.

Little Jo con #3. Andrew and R. I just want to look at the carousel please. Look! It is so cheap for a ride, only $4.

It is a very old carousel. Many of the horses are original and it used to be powered by this steam engine, and note the chimney, so it must be started up at times.

The Hygeia arrived, named after a paddle steamer operating on Port Phillip Bay.

A very old musical instrument.

Nearly dark.

Little Jo con #4, can I have a light sabre please?

Once properly dark, every so often the lighting went into overboard and synced to the tune of Christmas carols.

The colours were endless.

Little Jo was tired. We left, slowly.

Little Jo had to stop for a quick stage performance with her light sabre.

Bye bye Christmas tree.

We took a different path back to the car, past the main entrance to Deakin University.

Near the car was Geelong Town Hall, with an illumination display.

Birds were flying all over the building. The projectionist had cancelled his gig with the Rolling Stones at Hanging Rock to work on the lighting for the town hall, a more ongoing job. Then the Rolling Stones cancelled their gig at Hanging Rock because Mick had a sore throat. Call me cynical, but I think the advance sales were not high enough.

Not exactly on the way back to Sister's but we really wanted to see this house in Aberdeen Street. Many Australian houses are so decorated. The couple who lived there were elderly and she was giving out chocolates to children. Little Jo con #5 "Haven't you already had a chocolate my dear", the woman asked. Indeed she had and was back for a second.


Oh, formatting has gone wrong. Not sure how this will display. Little Jo was asleep by 10.30 after a quick story was read to her by R. About 11 Sister and Bone Doctor returned. Bone Doctor and myself stayed up until 12.30 chatting over a glass or three of Scotch. Ah yes, if you are wondering about how I went with the internet, Bone Doctor only has a small allowance, so I upgraded my phone data allowance from 250mb to 1gb. After the reset on the 25th, I switched back to 250mb, so I will pay pro rata for a few days. I'm allowed to do this once per month. This works well for me when away from wifi.