Saturday, April 05, 2014

Battling in the Australian bush

Bush Babe aka Amanda has written some cracking posts over the years I have been reading her blog.  I arrived home after work moaning about how my fifteen minute journey turned into a twenty five minute journey because there are too many people in Melbourne. But unless you live in the outback bush, you have no idea about the distances and travelling time of people on the land.

Anyway, at times it is all in day's work for someone in the bush. Here is BB's post that shows even just getting the kids to school can become a logistical nightmare. Here is a teaser photo from BB's post.

Friday, April 04, 2014


Every so often this pops up and for some reason it has again. Tradie Brother and Ex Sis in Law tried really hard with their foster adopted daughter. She was a bit wild but a good kid without malice.

The police say they know who did it and he is in gaol, but not for this crime.

Friday's falling tears

Lordy, what I have come up with this time, a wedding speech, no less. The question is, can you watch it and keep your eyes perfectly dry. I failed. Are you cold hearted and unemotional?

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Please and Thank You

It is not the first time I have noticed this and I expect it is a cultural difference but Asian people who serve in shops, such as our cheap and of often questionable freshness Asian green grocer, treat other Asian customers.

The more 'Asian' and older they are, the less politely they seem to treat each other. More than once I have seen an Asian check out girl, probably an overseas student working part time, serve an older Asian person and there is not exchange of words between them. No please, thank you, no nod. Nothing.

I have seen this overseas where rich Asian people may treat someone who serves them....well not treat really, more like not notice them. But in the case I am talking about here, the server and the one being served look neither rich nor especially well bred, for lack of a better word.

Am I judging what I see using Australian values?  Am I saying they don't have Australian values? Are Australian values the right ones to have and display in shops? Is it any of my business?

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Exposed again

I never thought High Street, Armadale would be a such a source for old signs, but back here we had the Cadbury Bournville Cocoa sign exposed when a building was demolished and now after another demolition nearby at number 1200, more old signs are exposed.

High Street is predominantly cafes, frock shops, galleries and antique shops. In the past it was much more of a useful local shopping centre, with grocers, fishmongers, butchers, green grocers and other shops for local residents. 

The cocoa sign has now disappeared, never to be seen again in my lifetime, and I had to be quick to get a photo of this new one as no sooner had the awful old fifties double storey building been demolished, up went the scaffolding.

This one is a double bunger, with one sign painted over another but the top one must have been poor quality paint and the old one still shows strongly through. The original was for Butter Menthols, 3d (pence) pkt, soothes the throat, with Persil (washing powder) for a brilliant wash, over the top of the Butter Menthols.

It will be a worth addition to Our Fading Past, Melbourne's history in old signs Use the google map link at OFP if you wish to see all the signs.

On the opposite side of the site are more signs but the only one I can make out is Dunlop, the rubber tyre company.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Wheel Heights

A little research on all wheels mentioned. This figure is not the diameter of the wheel, but the construction's height.

Singapore Flyer is at the  top with 165 metres.

London Eye next at 135 metres.

Melbourne Observation Wheel, 120 metres.

Riesenrad, Vienna, 65 metres, and a very impressive 117 years old.

Brighton, England, 50 metres.

Other tall wheels:

High Roller, Las Vegas, just opened, 168 metres.

Star of Nanchang, China, 160 metres.

The Big Ferris Wheel.

Our Docklands is very unloved by the general population, but some people choose to live there, so they must like it. It is occasionally referred to as Cocklands and Divorcelands, a place chaps choose to reside in when they are either hormone driven or just separated from their partner and want to have 'fun'. There are retired empty nesters there too. Perhaps in time the empty nesters realise their mistake and will swap over to St Kilda Road where we complain bitterly if we have to wait more than three minutes for a tram and then complain because the tram is full, of people!

I have stopped going to Docklands to see if it has improved. In spite of the Docklands Authority having overall control, developers were allowed to run rampant with an appalling result. It is an excellent example of how to not redevelop a large site with water as the only constraint.

Nevertheless, a couple of weeks ago when I had two days off together, I asked R if he would like to go on the big ferris wheel at Docklands, properly called the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. I knew he wanted to already and I had been very disparaging about it from when it first went up, and then after a few weeks of operation, broke down and has taken years to rebuild.

I know Melbourne's tram routes well enough, but to get to where we wanted to go required some thought. While some may say Docklands is well serviced by trams, they come in from different city streets, so you have to work out which is best.

Look, here it is, the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. The commentary informed us it was one of three in the world, the other two being the London Eye and Singapore Flyer. I am not sure that is correct. I recall some time ago more were under construction.

Maybe it was because it was a weekday, but it was not busy. We bought our tickets and we could see it slowly moving around.

We went though a corridor where our photo were taken and then to a foyer, where there was a slightly interesting display. This is our Exhibition Building.

Yes, we love our coffee in Melbourne.

Tasmania is an island state of Australia. I never knew hwere it used to be connected. If this picture is reliable, it is most interesting.

Is this our carriage arriving? A very old woman with a walking stick with presumably her daughter boarded the pod in front of us. The wheel stopped for her to get on.

Our carriage arrived and as fit young men, the wheel did not stop for us. The person who shepherded us on gave us a little chat about the experience and as he pointed out, for some reason our pod had carpet. Just as well. I have a distaste for rubber matting.

We are in flight. These apartments at Waterfront City/Harbour City will not stand the test of time. It is a disgrace that such cheapness can built. The building is covered in tin!

The staffing level was very good. What a pity our public transport does not have such staffing levels. They were all very helpful and pleasant. Well, now we get to the boring bits, what we saw. The docks and a skating rink, the latter being another attempt to attract punters.

A playground is being built. God know, everything else has been tried to attract people to the area.


The City Link exit ramp to Footscray Road with Housing Commission highrise in the background.

This is a bit better, a view across Victoria Harbour to Port Melbourne.

Victoria Harbour.

I watched another lot of containers arrive by train and they were joined to the ones in the foreground and the whole lot slowly moved away. You gotta find your entertainment where you can.

Colourful roof top car parking with the city behind.

Bolte Bridge.

In the other direction from the port goods trains is the metropolitan and country train rail yard where they enter and exit from So Cross Station.

Parking is very expensive at Docklands. Maybe if you buy something at the shops, you receive a discount. An old tram can be seen, probably the free City Circle tram.

Hellooooooooo there.

I didn't notice at the time, but there is a sailing boat in the harbour. It took about half an hour to complete a circle. It was very comfortable in the pod.

As we left the pod, we had to pass through the gift shop, of course. This wheel is made of Lego.

I had forgotten about this construction toy where you poked rods into things that held them, but it was around when I was a kid.

During our circuit on the wheel, the commentary included mentions of various attractions Melbourne has to offer. Unfortunately none of these can be seen from the wheel. I think the wheel is really marvellous, but totally in the wrong location. Docks, freeways, train lines, forests of tall building....who wants to see that?

As we almost exited the building, there was our photo and a fabulous backdrop of the wheel had been added. It was a really good photo actually and I then understood why the photographer wanted us to fling our arms in the air. The price, $35, more than the trip on the wheel cost. No thanks. We would have paid $20, maybe $25.

Once outside we decided to walk for a bit. There is an excellent mural depicting many Australian stars of tv, stage and film. This is only about 1/4 of its length.

This is the original part of Docklands. I don't mind this part, but restaurants were either dead quiet or had closed down.

Down with such ostentatious displays of obscene wealth. Bring on the revolution comrade.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Retired R

R retired from full time work a year or more ago. He took up a part time job working reduced hours five days a week. He was struggling. The work was quite physical. He reduced his work days to three days a week, but still, after some time he decided he could not do it anymore. To quote, I just can't do it anymore. My hips and knees hurt. Stop, I said, we will manage. Thanks, he said, I will.

Yes PM Abbott and Treasurer Hockey, some people are worn out by working their whole lives before they reach the age of 70.

Matters at The Highrise of late have been busy but R has been making plans to do some voluntary work after we return from our UK/Euro holiday.

Fruit Cake is going through a tough time at the moment, and along with her sage retirement advice in the  past, she has also divulged the nightmare of a the Centrelink experience. R experienced it after he retired from full time work and was un-employed. Lordy, how stressed was he by the experience.

Now R is about to reach pension age, we have hired someone to do the hard yards. She is a middle class woman in her late fifties and she is just brilliant. R was not sure about hiring her, but I insisted and said I would pay. We have found out R does not have to visit Centre Link. She does all the work. $90 per hour or around $500 a year. She assured R it was not problematic and the hourly fee would be best.

R was in bed by 10pm last night and did not wake until 9am. He slept for two hours this afternoon and then fell asleep on the couch at 8pm. I've seen it before, as you would after 34 years with someone. He is mega stressed and sleep is his help. I think he feels a lot better after seeing the pension expert woman.

Never have I ever felt like a comfortable working class person that when I learnt that for $90, R does not have go through the Centre Link process in person. Yes, there were forms to fill in and documents to scan, but so easy, as the woman did it all and attended Centre Link on his behalf.

This was written a few weeks ago. R has quickly adjusted to not working and has been busy with various things. He is much happier.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Selections

River never misses Sunday Selections. Mine is not really an SS, in my mind, but I had to think of title.

Well, the week before last was very busy. Sunday we set off for The Bellarine to stay with Little Jo, Sister and Bone Doctor for two nights. Tuesday night my great niece was born and Wednesday was a visit to town to buy a gift for the newborn and a card. Thursday we picked up Mother and took her to see the newborn. Along the way I reloaded Windows to the computer. Friday was a trip to Moorabbin DFO for some shopping. Saturday, not so much, but dinner out with friends for R's birthday. Sunday was a family lunch at the Cuckoo for Mother's birthday.  I no complain.

When Little Jo was born, we gave her a quite expensive baby blanket, and at least until last year, if she wasn't feeling well, she firstly wanted Mummy and then Blanky. We thought we would do the same for Middle Niece, except they seem to have gone up in price. I think we paid $40 for Little Jo's, but $70 for the newborn's. The choice was a between a cheap one at $22 and much more expensive ones with nothing in between. I hope she grows as attached to it as Little Jo did to hers.

For R's birthday dinner, we tried a place knew to us called CII in Grange Road Glenhuntly. We thought it was Italian but there was also Middle Eastern food on the menu. Brighton Antique Dealer speaks Italian and spoke to owner/manager. She said he replied in Italian but with a strange non Italian accent. Whatever she said, we received the most excellent service. The prices for the food were quite low, as was the wine and the food absolutely delicious. I highly recommend CII, with the only criticism was that it was a bit noisy, but there was a very large group dining. I rather like my restaurants with carpet on the floor to quell the noise.

Here are a few photos. What can one say about The Cuckoo? It is cutesy and a bit kitsch, but we had a great time for Mother's 80th and the entertainment was very good, as was the food and service.There are three or more areas to the place, all with their own buffet and entertainment. It can cater to huge numbers. As well as normal diners, there were four tourist buses outside and two mini buses, with all the passengers inside. The $50 lunch finished at 3pm, and then they do a $15 Devonshire Tea, and later, dinner.

Ok, just checked, some stats. It seats 450 people, built in 1914, so this is its 100th year anniversary, originally called Quamby and was Australia's first smorgasbord restaurant, set up by a German couple.

You don't have to like the largest cuckoo clock in the world. I thought it was ugly.

The night before after R's birthday dinner, R put the gift of some tulips in a vase. Yes, he cut the stems. I took a photo of them limp and expected to be able to take a photo of them erect the next morning and send on to the giver of the tulips and a thank you.  Alas they remained like a dead donkey's dick.

The gifts and cards. They were left overnight and sorted and in the morning.

Flowers for R's birthday from the UK were delivered. Of course not literally from the UK, but the local florist. I usually put a photo up on Face Book to show the flowers to the UK rels but I won't this time, as I think they may be disappointed.