Saturday, September 27, 2014

Brand me as a bigot, but am I wrong?

This was a long post. I visited it several times, rewriting, rephrasing, adding and subtracting, quoting Jackie Lambie, but still it was not fit to publish.

I have deleted what I wrote, including quotes, opinions, articles and history.

I will summarise what I wrote thus. I have no issues with Moslem religion. I really do not like Middle Eastern Moslems. I am sorry if you are a decent Middle Eastern Moslem who is socially tolerant and don't force your women folk to wear hijabs and or the terrifying niqab. No, I just lump you with all the awful things that are being done around the world in the name of or by Moslems. You are not a good fit into Australian society and we should have not let you in. Our governments are not taking blame for allowing you in though.

While religion has at times been divisive in Australia, in recent years there has been nothing like what is happening now.

Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Hindus, South East Asian Moslems and non believers lived in social harmony in Australia. Not so with Middle Eastern Moslems.  

So there endeth my bigoted rant. But the Moslem lad who cut up a couple of cops was born here in Australia, and grew up with the privileges of being Australian. Who can understand.? A mild form of Sharia Law is already in force in Australia. Is this what we want for our diverse and previously cohesive society?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Happy Tenth to Moi

I was a reader of Daniel Bowen's blog for a time. I realised that I had started to write very long comments on his blog. I thought I should start my own blog. Full of complete ignorance, I emailed Daniel and he pointed me to Blogspot. I did it, that is set up this blog. It was ten years ago to this day.

Initially there were few comments and most of those who did back then have moved on. I have not forgotten them though.  I wrote a post decrying why there weren't older people writing blogs, and Lord Sedgwick stepped up to the crease and suggested some people. I started to read them. They commented on my posts in return and then I consider my blog took off. I've, nay we,  met the people Lord Sedgwick suggested and like them heaps. That is Copperwitch, Annie O'Dyne and Pants, along with Lord Sedgwick. Gosh, it was stressful though. R and I met them together for a nice lunch and concluded Copperwitch is lovely and lacks artifice, Annie O'Dyne crazy and so full of life and given we have accepted the hospitality of Pants, I can't say anything negative about her, not that there is anything negative to say. She is a fun conversationalist and a good host. One of my readers is a friend who I knew pre blog times. Take a bow Wombat.

So many people have come and gone in my blog. I am quite silly because I actually become fond of people who I get to know via my my blog and when they disappear, I feel quite sad to lose the connection. I especially remember the American Daisy and someone who I used to name as LiD, but there are others too, such as Craig in Ayrshire.  But of course I do understand how people begin blogs and then give them up. There have been times I have been tempted to conclude mine. I suppose I have dropped a few people over the years too, most likely because I did not feel a connection. I can only remember a few.

I went further and we met Victor from Sydney, who was exactly as I expected, that is a very nice gay man and no doubt we will meet again.

I met Dina, who was lovely, even if the situation felt surreal.

Some of you long time readers may remember that if I wasn't working Thursday, I would catch the train to Murrumbeena where Sister then lived and R went on Thursdays to look after Little Jo as a baby and then a toddler. Jayne and her son came along to the park where we used to take Little Jo one evening and met us. Another Jayne so generously sent me a cd of music. There were so many people over the years who I could have met but did not, for whatever reason. There are people I would still like to meet. Some of the easiest people to meet, I haven't as yet. I am actually quite shy, especially when meeting for the first time.

And then a wider world opened to me with people in foreign countries. It was just too hard to meet Peter in Amsterdam given how organised out time was during our Euro cruise. We were one hour in Brussels and I kind of wish I asked Gattina to meet us at the station but she too was busy with her life.

But it is not all about me when meeting people. R is dragged into my blog life, and it is about him too when we are both meeting people. Fortunately meeting Jane and Lance in Budapest and Marie in London went down a treat with him and what a wonderful time they showed us.

It is quite odd really to publish my diary online and there are many things that you don't know about me. If I sound like I live a magical and fulfilling life, I don't. The alarm going off at 4.30am some days and at times finishing work at 3am is not fun. I work fairly long hours in a quite a stressful job.  If I sound like I have lots of money, I don't. It is all relative of course but we live fairly modest lives, with only an occasional show, dinner out maybe once a week friends and or family catch ups. Yes, we spend money on our home, but we spend a lot of lives and time here. Five or six nights a week, R cooks our evening meal.

So, ten years later, nearly 6,000 posts and nearly 1,000,000 hits, I am still here and for better or worse, my blog is part of my life. I thank you all for your wonderful blogs and for our interactions.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The last tram down Swanston Street

I was sitting at the tram stop in Swanston Street outside the State Library waiting for R. It is said cities are busy places where everyone is in such a rush. Ok, yes Melbourne is a busy place at times but everyone in a rush? Not at all. In my experience people are frustratingly slow at times. As I have mentioned before, I look for a woman with wide hips who is on a mission and I walk behind her as she clears the path in front.

But as I was observing it is quite different when a tram arrives at a stop. There are nine different tram routes along Swanston Street and with a tram every twelve minutes on each route during the day, you aren't going to wait very long for one, slightly over a minute, well in theory. However, when a tram arrives it seems like an invisible soul is calling out 'hurry, hurry, this will be the last tram ever down Swanston Street. If you don't catch this one now, you will never get another. Yes, don't worry about the big wide doors. Everybody queue at the narrow front door. Yes, ignore the line of empty trams behind this one, because you know better. You know this is the last tram down Swanston Street and if you miss this one, you life will be ruined.'

People always seem in such a rush when catching a tram and would rather pack in like sardines on the first one to arrive than get on a following tram and sit in comfort. Of course some are catching a particular tram because they are going travel on that actual routes out of the city, but most are not. We humans are strange animals at times. Photo from The Age.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Visiting a friend in hospital

We collected a friend on the way, called in at our Brother Friends' home and the well one drove us to visit our friend in hospital today.

Our ill friend had just returned from xrays and was quite visibly in distress, but just before we arrived, his nurse had given him some pain medication and within a few minutes, he was much more normal.

Back at the well Brother Friends' house after the visit, we consumed party pies, sausage rolls and mini quiche, meant to go with champagne on auction day. The best laid plans of mice and men....

I couldn't help but take a few snaps though.

The rather interesting house next door to our friend who we picked up to take to the hospital to visit.

Birch trees are just coming into leaf with the arrival of Spring.

The Australian native paperback is not an attractive tree for inner or mid areas of greater Melbourne.

Our Brother Friends' front garden.

Do you have a better orchid? My Tradie Brother built this decking. More decking was subsequently built by others at the back of their house. None of it has stood the test of time.

Arum lilies at Box Hill hospital, just past their prime. The building in the background being built is a new home for our taxation office and one we can see from The Highrise even though it is a long way away. Beyond the street is a park with a small lake.

Within a couple of weeks this part of Box Hill hospital will be shut down and I don't know what will happen to it, either renovated or demolished. All patients will be moved to a brand new building.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A bit more on our friend

Our Brother Friends were born minutes apart. Read into that what you will. One complained of backache for several weeks. Doctor visits, physiotherapy and any other treatment did not help. They are always terribly good at not telling us things and we refuse to ask things. Isn't it so pathetic that men in their fifties and sixties still play such silly games?

They have been our friends for thirty plus years but it has been somewhat fractious of late. R and one of the Brother Friends have issues. I've mentioned it in the past. I don't really understand the issues. No one seems to ever challenge me directly. The do R. I think it is that they see that R cares more. He is the one more likely to talk, to take offence and be more emo. Me? I am a hard case, apparently, and immune from attack. 

Pretty well the friendship was coming to an end. Brother Friends spend months living in Thailand in preparation to them moving there. It has been their ten year plus dream they have been working towards.

So the less emo Brother Friend with the 'back ache' has leukaemia.  Not curable, but treatable.

He another statistic as a person who had a good diet, never smoked and never drank.

Good news and bad

Nothing written for tomorrow. Well I mean now, like today, no I mean as I am writing Sunday night for Monday morning. I will just dash this off. Saturday night we caught up with our dyke friend, even though she had taken us out for dinner a few nights earlier after we looked after her dog Jack while she was away. It was her birthday celebration dinner at The Dick Hotel. The staff as always were terrific. The food was good.

I went straight from work, picked up the Brighton Antique Dealer from Balaclava Station, and R caught the tram there. A friend of our dyke friend who attended is Edinburgh born, so it was interesting to hear her views on the Scottish independence vote.

R and ex NT policeman/politician called me outside to the carpark when they arrived. Our Brother Friends weren't there. The afore mentioned had attended Brother Friends' house auction earlier in the day in far eastern suburbs. Their weatherboard house sold for nearly a million dollars, bought by you know who from you know which country. If you must know, search for auction results in the south area of Box Hill, and you can work it out. It is kind of sad for us even. Their house holds such history for us, parties, good times and not so good times with a police raid once even. Why do four males have flamboyant dresses in wardrobes, they asked. History now, and of course if the walls could talk.

I was at work, so R smsed the auction result to me, so that wasn't the reason I was hauled out to the car park for a serious conversation.

The news was devastating and our Brother Friends' long held plans for moving to Thailand to live are on hold.

I will leave you up in the air at this point, only because I need to think carefully about what I say. Although I am not normally drawn to using bad language, this really is shit.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A country journey

Last week we took a train trip to Warragul for lunch. Here, while R booked our tickets, I took a snap of the leadlight looking out at the main entrance of our principle suburban train station, Flinders Street.  Some of the lead light was damaged by protesting taxi drivers who occupied the major intersection outside the station. The glasswork seems to have been repaired. I did write something about the clocks that are visible, but I have decided to take some more photos and post separately about them

Our train departs Warragul Station after we alighted from a quite and comfortable and somewhat dozy journey. It is a Sprinter car, with the power system built into the carriage. While they aren't too bad, they are showing their age and obviously if you're sitting over the top of motors, they can be quite noisy, especially under hard acceleration. It is a classless train, that is no first class and no seat reservations.

A car and pedestrian ramp leads from the station onto the car bridge over the railway line you are quickly within the shopping and commercial area. But what is this new infrastructure? It seems like a very elaborate pedestrian ramp to the far side of the bridge where no one much goes.

Well, I am surprised.

Unlike the large coal mine and electricity generation towns further on into the Latrobe Valley, Warragul has a very prosperous feel to it, with its grand buildings built by gold mining profits and maintained by a financially comfortable farming and business community.

We walked along one of the shopping streets, eventually choosing a terrific cafe and delicatessen for our lunch. Let me check, yes it is called The Grange, and it was not expensive. After lunch we strolled up Victoria Street (note Dina, another Victoria Street) to Albert Street where this fine old church sits. I would have liked to have walked further, but R's back wasn't feeling too good and the hill was quite steep. "Where's this park? I can't see any park". Later he admitted the walking had done his back good.

An odd mix of trees in Albert Street.

Fine distant views of the rolling green and richly pastured grazing hills.

Civic Park is divine.

With some spare minutes until our train home, we sat in Mus Park next to the station. The old steam train that had sat there for so many years had gone. Later research indicates it has been taken to Noojee to become part of their historic railway display with possibly a restoration to running condition for $4 million. I can't see that money being easily found.

We had seen a bus load of old people pull into the station car park, apparently  retired railway workers who had been on an outing. There seemed to be an extra first class carriage attached, just for them. They were all quite jovial and full of jokes and good humour. The train was a few minutes late. More than once I heard, 'wouldn't have happened in our day'.

I crossed to the other side of the platform and look! That is where that bridge and walkway in the earlier photo leads to, a brand new bus interchange. And look, new train track, but rusted as it is clearly not used, yet.

To remove the electrical overhead system from the Gippsland line and replace electric trains with diesel trains was almost a criminal act. You can see what I think is called 'troughing' on the underside of the pedestrian bridge over the line where the wires use to sit. There are many reminders in place that it was once an electrified line, such as the concrete pads that held up the staunchions for the wires still being in place, and abandoned electric substations with their doors wide open.

Here comes our train to take us home. Unlike the Sprinter train with built in motors, this is a conventional train with a locomotive pulling carriages. R was using his senior citizen rail travel voucher. Travel up was free for him and by paying $4 he was upgraded to first class on the return journey. This train is known as The Gippslander, named for the region it services. It originates in Bairnsdale while most trains on the line originate closer by, in the town of Traralgon. It had a couple of economy class carriages and two first class carriages, although I think there is normally only one. If you haven't travelled first class on a train, do not imagine yourself in a sumptuous luxury with a waiter in black and white serving you drinks. First class travel is quite basic and very non Hercule Poirot. Maybe the only difference being the seats are swivelled so that the seats are always facing forward and there is plenty of leg room. It was busy and we could not book two seats together, but someone was sitting in my seat. As we weren't together and she was next to a friend, I just took her seat instead. The girl sitting next to me, with her mother and a friend across the aisle, did not want me to sit next to her and made it very plain. So she sat with her two young friends in front of me and so then R could sit with me.

Normally first class carriages are very quiet. Not so this one. The two women across the aisle spoke loudly to each other for the whole journey. Not to be outdone, two seats behind them was a bloke talking presumably to his wife, and he was louder than the two women. He did not stop for the whole journey either. Mobile phones rang, calls were taken, sms alerts sounded. Honestly, it would have been quieter in the economy carriage, I reckon.

Last time I caught the same train it was ten minutes late arriving at Flinders Street Station. This time it was twenty minutes late. It gets held up by suburban trains once it reaches the edge of the suburban system. I can't help but think if it arrived at the suburban system on time, there would be a timetabled slot for it to get a free run into the city. While the operator V Line will say the train was delayed by suburban trains, I am sure it would be much less delayed if the train arrived on time at the edge of the suburbs, and that is within V Line's control. There is no live tracking for the general public that I know of for our country trains, but I would put money on this train always being late. I would love to know if the 12.45 ex Bairnsdale is habitually late, suppose to arrive Flinders Street at 4.29.