Saturday, October 04, 2014

Genes worth bottling

Yellow gerberas bought at el cheapo Asian run green grocer where you can buy an apple with spots all over it, which is fine, but you need to be selective as it could be rotten as well. Their flowers are not cheap though, but so convenient to buy without going to Prahran Market. These flowers are doing very well, R and I commented to each other after a week. After amazingly lasting two weeks, I took this snap. Perhaps one or two flowers had collapsed. Not bad after two weeks.

R kept changing the water, and the vase evidently, and removing the flowers whose stems had collapsed and it is unbelievable that three weeks later, three flower were still going strong. I've never known cut flowers last like that. I think the flowers may be expensive because they are very very fresh.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Happy in Melbourne with significant locations noted

I think I have published this Happy video before, set in Melbourne, This time it comes with some notes from me that may interest some. While I will continue to complain and about things in Melbourne, it is a rather nice place and I take some pride in it. I may do the same with the very popular St Kilda Happy.

00.11 Busker on Southbank Promenade. I don't recall the sculpture.
00.12 Preserved Shot Tower, Melbourne Central Shopping Centre and underground City Loop Station.
00.13 South Bank from the northern side of Yarra River. Queensbridge with to the fore Australia's second tallest building, 92 storeys Eureka, Freshwater Place in the middle and Crown Casino Hotel tower to the right.
00.14 Brief glimpse of The Shrine of Remembrance (war memorial).
00.18 All 'street art' shots are probably in the vicinity of Hosier Lane.
00.20 Federation Square.
00.32 Flagstaff Gardens?
00.35 Bourke Street Mall
00.37 Birrarung Marr with Arts Centre Spire in the background.
00.53 Southbank with Flinders Street Station Clock Tower and St Pauls Church
00.57 State Library of Victoria
01.01 Swanston Street
01.40 Probably near Sea Life, Melbourne aquarium, Flinders Street.
01.47 Bourke Street
01.50 Federation Square with the dome of Flinders Street Station behind the flags.
02.22 Princes Bridge
02.55 Southbank footbridge over Yarra River.
02.57 National Gallery of Victoria.
03.13 Luna Park, St Kilda with the Palais Theatre to the right.
03.25 Swanston Street outside St Pauls church.
03.34 Chess, State Library of Victoria.
03.38 Water wall with autumn leaves stuck to it, City Square.
03.43 Swanston Street
03.46 On an old  seventies Z1 class tram.
03.49 Tram Bar, Arts Centre.
03.56 Rotunda, St Kilda Beach.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Here we go again

Invade Iraq? Haven't we done that already? Oh, it did not work, so we have to do it again.  Right, we aren't invading, just bombing them. That's ok then. No harm in that. Yes, keep our distance, us up in the air and them down on the ground. Pass me another B-52, if you please. No straw thanks.

What did you say? They will get cross as patch and retaliate? How so?  Their brothers and sisters in Australia will blow things up here? I am alert and terribly alarmed. What will they blow up? Important things, maybe even people. Oh dear, I see.

So what is the government doing to protect us from these retaliations? What? They can't really do anything because it is impossible to protect everything and everyone from someone who is very determined. But I am afraid I might get blown up. The government must do something.

Right, they are doing what they did last time by distracting us. How do they do this? Ok, let rubbish pile up at railway stations because they have removed rubbish bins where a bomb might be planted. Yes, that would distract me. I'd immediately be on to the train people about the rubbish. And will they have 83 year old Aunty Ethel from Edithvale tested for traces of explosives at the airport? Yes, quite so, you never know what could be in tube of denture adhesive. I feel a little reassured already. What else? The usual queuing thing. Yes, this is good. It amazing what people will tolerate if they think it will make them safe. So, I assume this is at sporting events and concerts? Good, very good. That really swings their mind when they hear others say, I don't mind the inconvenience if we are made to be safe.

So this will all pass in time and we can get back our normal trusting and caring society? Oh, only for a while and then it will all begin again. Ah, you say it might even be Iraq again, or anywhere else really. Oh well, I guess I better take it seriously. I just feel so weary of life at times. Perhaps you could mix me another B-52.

Anyway, thanks for all your information. I really do feel better about the invasion, sorry, bombing. One last thing. I seem to have lost my 'Stay alert, not alarmed', fridge magnet. Will there be some more? Please no, I don't want a 'Keep calm and carry on', magnet. They were made to keep the English calm after they were invaded. The government is working on a new idea? A poster? Hmm, I am really not sure about that. What have you got so far? Something along these lines, huh.

Good Moslem

Bad Moslem.

Sorry, I am not getting it? Ohhhh, we will all be talking about the way Moslem women dress and not notice what the government is doing. Well then, how brilliant is our government! Mr Mitchell's and Mr Jones' audience will have field day with that. Makes one kind of proud.

Sorry, I know I am being a pain, but I just can't quite remember why we are bombing them? Simple, you say? They are bad and we are good. That's good enough for me, cobber.

Meet you under the clocks

The clocks used to be hand adjusted by a man with a stick to the departure time of the next train on various train lines. These are the internal clocks. On the outside is another set the same, or rather each is a double sided clock.

Here you can see them from the outside. There are a few more at an adjacent and smaller arched entrance. As I said, a man with a long stick would adjust the clocks to the next departure time for each line. Also there were drop down signs which he could also be brought down or pushed up out of sight, such as in addition to the time for the next train, a drop down sign might say, 'Express South Yarra to Caulfield' or 'Not stopping East Richmond'. This feature has been removed. I also have a vague idea a platform number was shown. I can't quite recall.

Wikipedia tells me the clocks were imported from England and first installed in the 1860s. The clocks were put into storage when the original station was demolished in 1904 and put back in 1910 when the station as we know it was completed.

The clocks were again removed in 1983 when the station was undergoing a renovation, with the intention of them being replaced by digital displays, but a public outcry saw the clocks converted to electric operation and controlled from a central point.

Arranging a meeting place at a busy railway station can be fraught, but for us it is so easy. "Meet you under the clocks", means you will be on the steps and under the clocks waiting for the person you are meeting, or vice versa. I have met a few people 'under the clocks' at times. A consequence of the clocks being a meeting place, there are always people sitting on the steps and waiting. I don't know if the railway people move them on or not, but there is no real harm in off peak times. It can look bad though, as if people are loitering, and perhaps some do.

The clocks are an anachronism in the year 2014, but you know, I reckon in fifty years time the above scene will be much the same. The people may look quite different and wear different clothes, but the clocks, the station fa├žade and the steps will be just the same. At the current rate of improvement for Melbourne's train system, the trains may well be very much the same too.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Retro Pussys

I built the shelf as a place to put food for possums in the early eighties. The paint colour matched the timber gate just in the photo. However, the cats thought it was the perfect place to sunbake. Thomas is on the left, a beautiful and affectionate male, and Tuffy, somewhat scrawny and not very affectionate male on your right.
While they didn't get along terribly well, they tolerated each other's company when there was warmth to be had, inside or out. It is always sad when you lose a pet, but the loss of Thomas was heartbreaking. He went missing and we found him under a bush, ready to die. We took him to the vet and hastened the process. I did not miss the drool that came with his affection though. From my retinue of blog mates, Marcellous is the last person to have lost a pet.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I am a moaner

The call came at an inconvenient time while we were visiting a friend in hospital. I did not answer it. It was from Australia Post. I later received an email, my preferred method of communication. I had complained to them about our missing mail, that is two bills that were not delivered to us and the first we knew about them was when were contacted about overdue bills.

I take some pride in always paying things on time and I was mega pissed orf and so I complained to Australia Post about undelivered mail. R rolled his eyes as I was telling a friend about it and then said 'I really wish you would not do such things. You are always complaining about something.'

Yet, if you don't complain, things don't get changed. I have had many things changed over the years by complaining. Mostly small things admittedly but some bigger things. I have made a difference.

People, businesses and organisations need to know when they fail.

We argued slightly about missing mail and R said, we will worry about missing mail when it happens. It could be too late then, I responded.

Only later I thought of car registration or driving licence renewals going missing. Yes Mr R, tell me about when you are caught unlicensed or driving an unregistered car!

You may remember I complained to Metro Trains a while ago about he disgusting toilets at the major city train station Flinders Street. I had a spare few minutes between trains last week and I checked them, and oh, the stench of stale urine. The appearance may have been a little better, but who would want to hang around to check when the stink would drive you out. Sometimes in Europe you pay to use toilets, sometimes not, but they are invariably clean and odour free. It can't be that hard to have toilets like that here. So, chalk that up as a fail on my part. I might have a crack at the Minister for Transport about that one.

Can I be bothered about a tram full of seats looking like this? No. The state of them will surely become apparent to the tram seat replacement person. A start had been made, but this one should be in a orange fabric to indicate is for the use of those with special needs. Don't you love that term.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Another hospital visit and a purchase

Our friend returned home but found himself in great discomfort and pain. The hospital re-admitted him and he has began intravenous chemotherapy and he is pleased to know he won't lose his hair. He has been assured he will make a full recovery and their plans to move overseas, while delayed, can still go ahead, with a check up every couple of years back in Australia. It is very good news and while he still has some bad back pain and chest pain now and can barely get out of bed, he is more cheerful now.

Tomorrow all patients will be removed from the old hospital to the new one and staff too. While the old hospital is not that bad, it is space for all the equipment that is now in use that wasn't around when the hospital was built that is a huge problem.

Our balcony chairs broke a good while ago. We bought a cheap new set of chairs and kept the old table. After the hospital visit we went to two big tin shed hardware stores in the area we were in, they are side by side, and bought a new setting. It cost a good bit more than I intended spending. The table top is a mosaic of imported slate (actually, the whole setting is imported from Vietnam, but no need to tell anyone that) and we are extremely happy with it. The bonus is, it gives us a better views than the old setting that blocked the view out a bit.

Trouble is with buying something a forty minute drive away is that it is a bugger to return if the product is not right and unfortunately one table leg is not right, so it was wobbling. Forty cents later, 10 cent pieces by four, it is not longer wobbling.

After we bought the setting, and I may not have if the call came earlier, the garage rang. We have serviced your old car. The window that has collapsed has been pushed up and locked up. You need four new tyres, there is an oil leak and an engine mount needs replacing. I authorised the new tyres but not the other things. The car is travelling about 15 kilometres a week at the moment and we may get rid of it in the near future and only have one car.

I was but once a skinny lad

Will I ever regain my 58kg (128 US pounds, UK 9 stone) weight? Probably only when I am dying of cancer and I won't be so pretty then. These are from the early 1980s.

Strike a pose. I am waiting for R to suggest we use his Senior Citizen rail pass to visit the Begonia Festival in Ballarat. I shall say no, as the train will be full of fun loving and happy old women out for adventure and I will feel sad that my mother is not one of them. Besides, the women will think that because we are gay, we will be great fun. It ain't necessarily so, although apparently when we were in Paris, we were. 'You two looked liked you would be fun when you boarded the bus', one remarked. She must have noted we looked hungover. Beautiful French wine as we lunched and cruised down the Seine and chumming up with an American and Scottish pair of lasses may well have made us good company. God how we laughed, as the sights of Paris passed by almost unnoticed. I think I saw Notre Dame and a pair of lovers canoodling on the Left Bank. It was hard work later climbing the Eiffel Tower....oh, we caught the lift. Actually, the worst was English customs later at Gare du Nord.

Blue Mountains. What was I holding in my hand? It must be my skinny medication.  I loved that shirt. I doubt I could button it now over my bosooms. I don't miss the homosexual moustache.  #Harry Highpants

Milton Street, Elwood, my hands demonstrating the length of who knows what? #Harry Highpants.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Evasive Premier Napthine

Probably something more suitable to tweet rather than blog post, but I just keep remembering our State Premier Napthine complaining to the interviewer, 'let me answer the question'. In the whole interview, I don't think he answered one question put directly to him. 

Politician media training needs to be a whole lot better, so that they least seem like they are answering the question, even if they are not. Guy Stayner 1.  Denis Napthine 0.

A visit to Nagambie

The new car was three days old and we felt it needed 'running in', so we took it for a country drive. Btw, because the letters GP are included in the number plate, we have called it The Doctor. (GP=General Practitioner) Whiteangel recently drove through the country town of Nagambie when heading north for warmer climes and I remembered the town fondly. That's where we shall go. The huge attraction of the town is the lake and it is lovely. Nice work by whoever funded and built the boardwalk.

Bit hard to see, but a lad is swinging out on a rope over the water.

Very nicely done.

Black Caviar is a famous race horse, still alive but retired.

We were looking after Dog Jack, so he came along for the ride to Nagambie. It is not a spot I would choose to sit Jack, if you consider what is above you.

One line says "World Record - 25 undefeated starts". Impressive.

I really liked this pelican sculpture.

This is a very flat area within the state of Victoria. Many towns still have their centrally located water towers.

We certainly won't be taking the new car on the road this driver has been along.

There always seems to be a few old cars around in countryside on a fine Sunday.

"Major Mitchell, explorer, passed here, on 9th Octorber, 1836."

The main street is nicely divided by a wide area of grass, facilities and gardens. We lunched at a local bakery. Jack was admired by passing folk and attacked a large dog passing by, while he was tied up. Silly Jack, you are not in a position of power when you are tied up.

Not too far out of town to the north is what is supposedly Australia's only bridge with a curve in it. Kirwans Bridge crosses the Goulburn River and is a single lane width with two passing areas. It was deemed unsafe some years ago and closed, but heavy lobbying by many people resulted in funds being eventually found to repair the bridge.

A very peaceful area next to the bridge.

We followed the signposted Winery Trail. I tried checking details with my phone but amazingly there wasn't an internet signal just a couple of kilometres from town. We found no wineries on the Winery Trail but we had earlier passed a sign pointing to this one.

Oh no, a couple of kilometres of unpaved road. New car, dust, cry.

However, the winery was very good. We sampled some wine and bought three bottles, yet to be opened. R pointed to a spittoon and suggested I spit out the sampling wine.  I don't think so, my love.

Everything was well maintained, with this shed full of historic farming equipment.

We were in at least two wine cellars in Europe and I don't remember them being especially cold, but this one was freezing.

A nice sitting out area overlooking water through the bush.

Lovely old hand made bricks at the entrance. It was a longer drive than we thought, but we made good time on the journey home. The next day Household Management insisted the car had to be washed, so it was.