Saturday, January 18, 2014


Is choof a slang word for marijuana? In this case I don't mean the sound a train makes, but a steam tram and I don't know what sort of sound they made. Melbourne did not have steam trams, but Sydney had an extensive system and Rockhampton a smaller system. The Rockhampton system incorporated the engine into the passenger car which made it deliciously warm for the passengers, but quite unwanted in a tropical city.

Sydney's system used a separate engine and a trailer for the passengers. Steam trams weren't terribly good on hills and so for some steep Sydney hills, cable trams were used.

This rather good photo from the State Library of Victoria shows a Woollahra steam tram, most likely in either Queen Street or Ocean Street. I don't believe there are any operational steam trams in Australia, but there is possibly one in New Zealand.

The Bellarine Set

I spoke up and supported R after the last time Sister and Bone Doctor and Little Jo stayed. Little Jo wet the bed, a nearly brand new bed. We were cross. Of course not with Little Jo, but with Sister for not putting a nappy on her. Ok, Little Jo had not wet a bed for quite some time and I think had anyone insisted she went to the toilet before she went to bed, it would not have happened.

That was mid last year and Sister has not stayed here since. Maybe the timing wasn't right for her, or maybe she was annoyed and thought fine, we won't stay there. But they did stay last weekend after tennis.

They had another pass for tennis today, Thursday, and so R looked after Little Jo. Sister had booked a performance about dinosaurs at an art's venue for R and Little Jo to attend. Because of the heat, I drove them in to the Arts Centre in my lunch break. Yarra Trams failed totally in getting them home promptly.

Little Jo is fascinated with dinosaurs. Sister said, well, last week it was Pinocchio . Little Jo knows the names of many of dinosaurs, the sounds they make, the climate they lived in. I have never found dinosaurs to be very interesting.

She discovered a kids site on her own of the US tv station PBS, which as far as I know is the only station in the US to be taken seriously about current affairs. She had some fun with the site, but dinosaur movies were blocked to we foreigners. Little Jo said she will go to the US to see the dinosaur movies.

"Uncle Andrew, much of what is known about dinosaurs is hypothesis."

"What are you saying child?"

She defined hypothesis perfectly, just a quote of what she had heard, but far more succinct that I could have explained the word.

"Uncle Andrew, can you write this down please,"

This child needs putting back in her place.

"Little Jo, what does org stand for?"

Rather cheeky of me because the first time I typed it in to an address bar ever so many years ago, I typed aug. I had only heard the appendage, not seen it written.

She did not know what org stood for. Uncle Andrew won the knowledge battle against a six year old child but I doubt I will win the war.

Shan't mention the weather except for our ideal of turning the air con off at night and just using the ceiling fans in the bedrooms has gone out the window.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Homage to M. Hulot

I suppose it is a version of slapstick comedy. Once he straightened the picture and another slid from its frame, I knew where we were going. I just did not imagine how bad it would become. I was straight faced until the shelves collapsed and I then laughed. Of course M. Hulot did the fur hooked on his boot long before this was made. It looks like German tv from the nineteen eighties, and probably is.

Gattina, how are the translations? 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

J'adore black and white photos

So here is a black person and a white person in this black and white photo. The photo is taken in a Tube train on the London Underground and I foolishly did not record where I found the photo. I scrolled through quite a number of photos taken on the Underground in the 70s with despair as none excited me, but this almost last one did. It is a simple photo, but there is often so much to be gleaned from a simple photo.

I will leave it to you to see what you see in the photo and I am pleased to have not used the word encapsulated, so don't you do it either.

Btw, I have searched before but without success. There was an English (90s?), probably made for tv movie about a photographic archive and how a crime was solved. One cast member may have been Richard Griffiths, known to me previously as chef Henry in Pie in the Sky. The blonde actress was a bit like Joanna Lumley but I don't think it was her. Anyone know the name of the show?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Dirty Housewife

Today was my day off from work. One day of relief from the heat. I did not know how hot it would be when I booked a doctor's appointment. The bus to take me there was cool and the one to bring me home was also cool.

Prahran Central was cool when I walked in, but after a while, it no longer felt cool. After the doctor and then the Medicare claim visit, I had my hair cut, and then bought a couple of things at the supermarket. I thought that was enough time out in the weather.

R, who knocks off work early in such heat, had other ideas and dragged me off to the big tin shed hardware shop in Port Melbourne. I was astonished that the big tin shed did not have cooling. Never mind me, who chooses to visit, what about the staff?

We went on to Bay Street for some lunch at a well known bakery. R nudged me about a famous football person. It took some time for me get his name, but he not a football player but a football player manager who has been in the news more often than he would like to be. The bakery had two air con units pumping out freezing air, which made not an iota of difference in the bakery. It was stinking.

We came home and I tidied up two boxes as can be seen here.  There is very little left in the electric/tv/audio crate, and not too much in the plumbing/screws/glues crate either. They were bulging and now much reduced. Wires, plugs, leads, adaptors, old glue, old plumbing bits, castor wheels for something, all gone.  I cannot throw out screws though. They all went into a container. You never know when you may need a screw, big or small, no matter. I also kept wall plugs. Like screws, you never know when you will need a plug.

Last night I went to bed at midnight, but I was up at 6.30 with a determined mind. We have had visitors and I have been embarrassed about the state of our balcony windows and balcony glass. While I knew some cleaning was needed, at the end of last week we must have gotten a salt spray from the sea and the balcony glass was almost rendered opaque.

By 7 I was cleaning. By the time I finished at 9, with some breaks, it was 34C and the sweat was pouring from me. We now have crystal clear views. I so need a young boi to do such tasks.

Speaking of crystal, Grandmother and Grandfather never knew that Mother ordered crystal door knobs throughout their new house when Father built it. The crystal knobs also went on wardrobes and this is one from Grandmother's dressing table. I don't why I kept about six of them from the dressing table, but I did. I found them in the plumbing crate today and they did not get chucked out.

Comrade Adams is unwell

Comrades, at times I wonder about my communistic and socialist principles. But then I think back to when avowed communist and now radio broadcaster Phillip Adams who made mega dollars from advertising, when questioned about driving around in a Rolls Royce. His reply was 'everyone should drive a Rolls Royce'. I'll go with that. Comrade Adams is somewhat unwell at the moment. We can only hope he survives. Is he an Australian Living Treasure yet?

In about 1990 he wrote a wonderful story of the troubles with his Roller and t was published in a newspaper, but I forget which, either The Australian or The Age.

But sometimes one's principles are shaken to the core, by sheer common sense. One such moment for me was when we were at the Broken Hill Flying Doctor Service. For you foreigners, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (clink on the link. It has a very pretty home page) is a private organisation that attends to people with medical problems in the vast Australian outback. The plane flies in, treats, and or transports people to a regional or city hospital by plane.

Should you be silly enough to be walking Australia's Oodnadatta Track and you trip over the body of a backpacking tourist and break your ankle, you hopefully will have a satellite phone and be able to call for help. The Flying Doctor Service will find a nearby place to land and take you away for treatment at a hospital. I don't believe there is any charge for the transport and if your country has reciprocal medical agreements with Australia, there will be no charge for hospital treatment either.

"Miss, Miss!, my hand shot up during our guided tour of the Royal Flying Doctor Service facility in Broken Hill. "Why aren't you fully government funded?"

"Well naive young man, we get some government money but we also fund raise very hard. We will not have Canberra bureaucrats dictating to us about what sort of planes we shall have, nor what sort of medicines we will have on board or what we can do in our best endeavours for our patients."

Well, I was firmly put back in my box. I did not stop believing that it should be a government service, but so often government organisations don't have the right people appointed to run them and there is the fact of political interference by government.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


If you wanted some consistency with your public transport in nineties and noughties, Melbourne and the State of Victoria were not the places to be. About the only good thing was the ticket system that covered all city modes of transport at a fairly cheap price. One company ran trains north and south, another the trains running east west, the same with the trams and another company ran some of the V Line trains. The whole thing was absurd and the fruition of plans made by former evil Premier Jeff Kennett. Some operators just left, leaving the state government to pick up the pieces. Some lost their tenders. Lessons should have been learn from Thatcher's privatisation of public transport, but it wasn't. England must surely now have the most expensive public transport in the world. The legacy we now have is five different train types, and seven different tram types. All the different companies had their own colour schemes but finally someone has seen common sense and they are all being done out in the same livery, with the exception of the historic W class trams and the oldest trams and trains that are soon to be phased out.

This is the new train scheme, in common with the colour used for train signage.

Nice and glossy up close. I don't believe it is paint, but an applied film of contact.

I am not so keen on the bus colour, but orange is the theme colour for our buses and has been for some time.

And lastly the trams in a tasteful green. The trams have been a hotch potch of different schemes but it seems  it is call coming together now.

The vehicles still have the names of the operators on them but not screaming it out. The PTV you may see stands for Public Transport Victoria, sometimes in white, sometimes in red, sometimes displayed like this, PT>which is quite silly.

With private operators came the desire for extra profit, and so all over advertising started to be applied, especially over tram windows, but now trains too, I believe. While it can look attractive from the outside, it is very public transport user unfriendly. At times you simply can't see out of the windows to see where you are.

Below is an easily identifiable location in Melbourne. Got it? No, I didn't think so. Making visibility so poor for the sake of a few shekels is an utter disgrace on the part of Yarra Trams.

Monday, January 13, 2014

It's Just Too Damn Hot

Weather forecast for Melbourne this week, in both monies for those who need to get a bit more modern. It has been blissfully cool so far this summer. This is about to end.

Monday 35C / 86F
Tuesday 41 / 106
Wednesday 39 / 102
Thursday 41 / 106
Friday 40 / 104
Saturday 26 / 79
Sunday 24 / 75

Where can I emigrate to? No, I don't need snow, ice, gale force winds, flooding or high tides.

I'm afraid the US is losing the Fahrenheit battle, from the tumblr Land of Maps.Correct me if you will, but I think some people in the UK think in Fahrenheit. When we were last there in 2008, dual temps were given out by BBC North East.

While in some areas in Australia metrication has gone backwards from an advanced situation, tyre pressure, pounds per square inch to kilopascles and then back again, energy intake, calories to kilojoules and back again, even a person my age struggles to remember Fahrenheit. 100F was hot and 32F freezing point but I don't remember any relativity in between.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Selections

A few random photos for Sunday Selections where I am often joined by River, Elephant's Child and Jackie.

The last privately owned old house in St Kilda Road.

67 cruise ships are due to moor at Station Pier for the summer cruising season and disgorge 135,000 passengers. Diamond Princess is one of many. (Hels, note I cropped out the ugly rooftops)

Salvia in your life can't be bad. Begonia is a bonus. The trailing pale green plant is regularly trimmed by staff and I particularly like it.

Someone once asked me about how these are constructed and I did not know. I poked my hand in, pulled aside some flowers, and took a good look. There is a succession of large round plastic pots with steeply angled sides stacked on top of each other. The begonias are planted around the outside of the pots and another pot put on top.

I think when I last posted a photo of The George Hotel in St Kilda, it had peeling paint and was somewhat shabby chic. It is now quite smart.

This old and forlorn tram shelter has fallen into a bad state of repair. I don't know who actually owns or is responsible for the old shelters, but they better get a wriggle on and makes some repairs. This one is in the City of Melbourne and the second one below, City of Port Phillip. Are councils responsible for them? Is Yarra Trams responsible for them? Is Vic Track responsible for them? They are listed on the Victorian Heritage Data Base.

There has been a fire in this one and it too is owed some heavy maintenance. They date back to 1927 and they used to have barrier doors. The conductor on the last tram out of the city for the night, the 67 to Carnegie, would lock the doors to prevent the homeless sleeping in them. The doors have long been removed and guess what? They are very attractive to those without a bed to sleep in.