Friday, February 20, 2015

The Guilty Mum

How myself and my siblings survived childhood remains an utter mystery to me. Dire threats were only made about going on the roads, staying away from water dams and never going into a paddock where there was a bull. Otherwise, we had pretty free reign. I think at about 12 years old we were finally allowed to cross the road on our own.

Little Jo at the age of nearly 8 can easily pick our tramstop as we approach in the tram. I remarked to her that she will be able to travel to town on her own soon. No, she replied. I won't be allowed to until I am a teenager. So that is much the same as my own parents' road rules. Otherwise, compared to the lives her mother and uncles lived as children, she is very protected from any threat or danger. I can't imagine her being allowed to roam alone in the bush or climb 25 metres up a tree. I expect if the dangers of dieldren and asbestos were known, there may have been a few more rules for we children.

Of course, the loss of one child if that is all you have would be absolutely destroyingly devastating. Had my parents lost one child, at least there were still three more. I don't mean that to sound so harsh, but it is true.

River made an interesting point yesterday about babies with wet nappies. Nappy, diaper if you like, companies would have us believe that as soon as a baby is wet, it is in great discomfort and the nappy should be changed immediately, preferably for a very expensive ultra absorbent. I'd not thought about it really, but of course a baby doesn't know they have wet their nappy. They won't be uncomfortable. River expresses it well, so take a quick read.

Making parents feel guilty makes a lot of money for retailers and suppliers of baby goodies. The Guilty Mum was an ongoing segment in ABC's brilliant tv show The Checkout.

Here is a clip.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Not much to say today. This was meant to be a much larger post but I can no longer be bothered. I can't even remember what Marcus posted that I was supposed to add here. He does find a lot of nonsense and tosh in public transport areas.

Now the Victoria Line, which has 213 million customers, can see faults in real-time remotely, and can assist engineers as well as deploy fixes from control rooms. The line’s improved signalling system allows it to send 33 to 34 trains past London’s platforms an hour, almost one a minute.

Not by my clock, that would be one just short of every two minutes. What horrible writing too.

I am obliged to Marcus Wong for this one.


Sports commentator discussing the Tour de France: 'People say the French are rude and arrogant, but that is just how they are'. He did not mean what he said, I am sure.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Who you gonna call?

In Australia for an emergency we call 000. Even if your plan has expired on your mobile phone, or you don't even have a SIM in your phone, you can still call 000.

The European emergency call number is 112. My first mobile phone in the nineties could not call 000, the Australian emergency call number, only 112, and as an incentive to upgrade the phone to enable it to call 000 I was offered a new and nicer aerial for my phone. I travelled by a couple of trains to Laburnum Station where the business was and the business gave me the new aerial and fixed the phone so it could call 000. R picked me up as he worked nearby and we went to Box Hill and had an early dinner at a Chinese restaurant called Sunny Court. The restaurant served pho before pho had a name in Australia.

The sister of Victoria's former Premier Ted Ballieu, one Kate Ballieu, now a heritage activist on the Mornington Peninsular, recounted in her The Age newspaper column of her experience when her neighbour's terrace row house in North Melbourne caught fire, and she dialled 999, the English emergency call number. Yes, if you were a young person and read a lot of books written by English people, 999 might have been at the fore of your mind.

Before I stopped watching American tv shows, there was a show about an emergency service. I can't recall the name of the show, maybe something like Dial 911. Goodness, I can almost recall the hot actor in the show. I should know his name. From that show I learnt that 911 is the number to call in the US. Sorry US peeps. I don't think 911 will work here and I don't think the British 999 will either.

000 works and so does the international 112.

What do more minor countries use? What a nightmare of a hotch potch. There are too many to list. Even  New Zealand uses a different number, 111. Generally 112 is the number to try first if you don't know. Phone systems in different countries may automatically redirect the call to the local number.

The world can't get its act together on weights and measures, digital and analogue broadcasting systems, copyright, not even date format. It's a wonder we can even send a letter to another country. What hope is there for a standard international emergency number.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Indonesian Games

Indonesia seems to be ready to murder in cold blood two Australian citizens because of their drug importation offences.

I will call it now. It won't happen. I don't understand the mechanisations that are happening, but I don't think they will be killed. An alternate view of mine is that maybe they will be killed, which will go down really well for local Indonesian voter consumption. Everything like this must be judged by constituent votes.

ABC Melbourne radio breakfast broadcaster Red Symons made an interesting point this morning. He had watched a movie about an English hangman, who hung hundreds of people in the 30s and 40s, including those convicted at the Nuremberg trials post WWII.

Those who the English hangman hung were not alerted in advance to their demise. They were quickly removed from their cell and hung, all happening within a minute and were immediately dead.

Yes, while murder by the state is bad, to take those about to be murdered by vehicle to an airport, fly them somewhere, then transport them by ferry to an island where they will be shot dead must surely be classed as a cruel and unusual punishment beyond just shooting them.

Later edit: Dealing drugs is not direct murder. Blowing up and killing Australians and locals in Bali is, yet those who did that are now free from gaol in 2015. Indonesian values must surely be called into question. 

Sponging off taxpayer

R's oldest sister is now living in a very small local council house, like tiny. She is so happy. She has a place she can call her own. She can live out the rest of her life in security. We are happy for her. If there is trouble with her present husband, she can ask him to leave as the house is in her name.

But excuse me, why didn't she get up at 4am to get to work on time like I have? Why didn't she be out working at 3am on New Year's eve like I did.Why didn't she make sacrifices to buy her own home? Well she did that, but it was lost upon her divorce and has since lived in private rental accommodation.

She has put in some very hard yards over the years. She has brought up a couple of children who seem to almost like her. She has been a carer for nieces and nephew at different times. She had her mother live with her in the last years of her mother's life. Who could begrudge her some security in her old age, remembering too that she still has to pay rent, when she has contributed so much to society and still does.

Mother visited the very expensive female gerontologist, who turned out to be very unhelpful with a parting remark, there is really nothing I can do for you. I think it relevant that the specialist was female, otherwise there was no need for me to mention that it was a she. You decide after reading.

With great incredulity and disbelief, if they aren't the same thing, at the reply, the specialist asked what sort of work she used to do. Mother said she had never done paid work. The specialist was more than surprised. She then asked what had Mother done during her life. Mother's only response was, raised a family. Mother felt that she was being very disapproved of by the specialist and was later a little upset. Actually Mother did work for a year or so after leaving school in a plant nursery.

So, my mother is lazy and been sponging off the taxpayer for years!

In the early 1960s credit squeeze, my father could see no future in building houses. No one could borrow money to have them built, so with money from Mother's father, he bought a dairy farm. Mother was taken from her nice new home with modern appliances to a run down country house, with only one tap with running fresh water at the sink (often with mosquito larvae in the water), no hot water service apart from a chip heater over the bath, a black wood burning stove.

For some years she pumped water from the well into buckets for washing and bathing for us all. The water for clothes washing was heated with an immersion heater into the washing machine tub. While her cooking was of a simple style, to feed a family of 7 or 8 day in day out is something to be recognised. Sometimes my grandparents were there too, even more cooking. Although they tried to help, they really just got in the way.

By the age of 35, while the house had become more modern, Mother was cooking, washing, cleaning, making beds and shopping for and clothing four children, her husband and our Uncle, with often another Uncle resident who later after an accident became disabled and she looked after him too.

Post divorce in her early forties she was resident housekeeper for a man on a farm with two teenage sons. I had left home by then, but she managed another family with my siblings living there too. She had free keep and all her expenses and my siblings paid for. Father paid his obligatory dues for the children, which was really the only cash Mother received.  Occasionally her parents would slip her some extra money. That all came to end when the bloke she was housekeeping for put the hard word on her and after her refusal he subsequently treated my siblings badly and refuse to pay for their expenses. Mother left, taking her three children to her parents two bedroom house. Tradie Brother at about 10 was traumatised and behaved very badly. He does not have the fond memories of his grandparents that I have.

There was nothing for my grandfather to do but buy Mother a house for her and my siblings to live in. While somewhat altered now, she is still there at the age of 81, nearly forty years later.

Yep, my mother may not have ever really been in paid employment and well may the gerontologist raise her eyebrows. My mother worked very hard for many years to bring up a family and care for an extended family. She was lucky in that her father had enough money to buy her a house.

I could go on. In summary, I reckon a male gerontologist might have been more understanding than a career female doctor who also perhaps brought up children while working.

It is a woman's right to work and raise a family, but never ever should a stay at home mum be dismissed because all she has done is raise a family. Goes for men of course too if they take on that role. Long after whatever job, high  flying or not, you have done is forgotten, your children will survive to represent you. Think about that.

This post is a bit raw and probably needs editing and certainly typos corrected, but publish and be damned.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sydney Planning

Balmoral Beach

244 to Chowder Bay from QVB York Street Middle Head Road Stop 2088114

245 bus Esplanade and Mandolong Road to York Street

Taronga Zoo Ferry

Any bus showing Circular Quay (whether the bus ever makes it to Circular Quay is another matter) 

Manly Ferry 

Any bus showing Circular Quay 


311 from William Street (walk) Stop 2000128

La Perouse

L94 X94 via Anzac Rd 35 mins, 393, 394, 399 from Liverpool Street

391 via Bunnerong Rd 40 mins from Elizabeth Street

Centennial Park

Transport by and lunch with Victor.

Bondi Junction

By train from Museum. Principally to correct my faulty orientation when leaving the leaving the station. East must become east and west must become west. My Bondi Junction compass is arse about, to put it crudely, but so firmly planted, no amount of looking at a map will correct it. I don't think we can see Grace Brothers where R once worked,  so perhaps we visit Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre, the store location of Victor's favourite telco. But if my brain compass is not corrected, we will be making a return visit to Centennial Park.


Central to Dulwich Hill, return by train T3 line (check which city stations it uses)

AMP Tower

Seems it has a different name. We went up to the top in the early 1980s. It's a work in progress.

Fairfax Lookout

Too hard this trip. Leave ourselves wanting for a return trip.

Well, that took about two and a half hours. There were many diversions along the way. Holiday planning on the net can be very time consuming. How did we do it before the net? Well, for the above we would have found out the basics at the New South Wales Government Tourist Bureau in Collins Street, right near the South Australia Government Tourist Bureau, near the Queensland one, near the New Zealand one, near the Tasmanian one. These are just the ones I can remember. We did use the Japanese Tourist Bureau to book train tickets for Japan a few years ago. I wonder if that still survives at least but it was really a private travel company I think.

Anyway, with the luxury of some time, it was good fun to plan and investigate. Using public transport can be a great way to get a feel for a city. Our Sydney Opal public transport cards are ordered and I've downloaded a couple of useful phone apps for Sydney.

Now as discussed online with Dina, and personally with Sister, I must not overplan. I fear it is too late for that but apart from the visit to Centennial Park, I at least have not allocated days. The weather can often be the deciding factor as to what to do.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Selections

Do take a look at River's Sunday Selection, and other folk's as well.

C'est magnifique. La lune vue depuis le balcon.

A violinist near the Arts Centre.

A cellist in Swanston Street.

We were sitting having brunch in Centre Place just to the right of the seated man and we could hear the gentle sounds of the cello. It was just lovely and I popped around to make a tiny donation and take her photo and it was the same lass as in Swanston Street but about ten days later.

Celebrating the Christian Harvest Festival outside Melbourne Town Hall. I have a vague childhood memory of instead of attending Sunday School, we went into the church and all these vegetables were displayed. I suppose it is to celebrate a successful harvest towards the middle to end of summer. I am not so interested.

Didn't they learn from the Hindenburg? Kaboom!

The not very old pepper grinder has failed. We are so unlucky with salt and pepper grinders. I think we will look for a replacement in Big W this time, rather than a department store or homewares store.

Stuff for Mother's next garage sale, that just ain't gonna happen. It can go into  the skip we will bring in to clear out the house when the time comes. Meanwhile it all fills an empty bedroom at her house. Among the bits is a brand new electric icecream maker given to us by someone who did not want it. We decided we did not want it and suggested Mother could give it to her best friend to give to her son's family and kids.

I was doing something on the tablet as well as the computer and I am such a silly sausage. I swiped across the computer monitor, with no effect of course, apart from a finger line of margarine and Vegemite.

Last week's flowers were a bit different. They should label the less familiar flowers in shops.

You can afford a smart car like this yet you don't pay your tolls or traffic/parking fines. Prahran car park. I thought I had taken another snap of a car in Little Lonsdale Street but it turned out to be a shaky video. Damn touch screen cameras.

Ohh.  What is this at the Melbourne Recital Centre?

Part of Summersalt Festival. I didn't get the title until I mentioned it to someone and heard it in my ears.

The Jean Paul Gaultier  exhibition has finished and a day or so later the signs were replaced. The tram is still running around advertising the event though.

Who is Terful? A conductor?

This is a queer thing.

Hmm, more than one queer thing at Hamer Hall. I've actually seen kids stop in their tracks and their jaws drop when they see this.

Southgate area at South Bank. The Ice Bar is somewhere here and has been closed due to non payment of rent.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground in the distance houses 100,000 spectators of various sports, principally Australian Rule Football and of course cricket. We refer to the lighting towers as the fly swats.

About time the Princes Bridge lamps had another coat of paint. It is a very time consuming and I expect expensive job.

I showed you the top of this building a while ago. I was curious. Later the same day these photos were taken, I investigated. I will make it a separate post.

The Nicholas Building in town is an impressive building but the return arcade are looking a little shabby. I am not sure if I was in this building or maybe the century building a couple of years ago and it still had a lift attendant operating the handle back and forth with no 'auto' option.

There is a little story I heard about this flower shop outside Melbourne Town Hall. In an effort to make the city alive and bright even into the early hours the owner committed to staying open all night and the rent paid is little more than a peppercorn amount.

Bradman's handbags and travel goods has long disappeared by the signage remains. On the ground level and basement is Strandbags, where I bought my new suitcase.

Yeah, just what the trees need for summer, a yarn bombing. Why not do it in winter when the sap is cold........actually, I need to think these things through before opening my mouth. If the sap is warm in the winter, maybe they will not lose their leaves or come into leaf too early. Don't interfere with nature, Andrew.

Most of these photos were taken on a Thursday. Thursday is Mother Day, when R takes Mother out and he kindly suggested, don't you come. Take some time for yourself. It was much appreciated. Of course when he learnt I was not working the following Thursday, he said, good, you can take your mother out. He relented and came too and we had a nice lunch with Mother, Oldest Niece, Hippie Niece and Great Niece.