Saturday, April 04, 2015

Of course it will fit

Stupid motorists continue to drive their cars onto the Gold Coast line rail track. Photos from the Gold Coast Bulletin.

Here is another.

Take a closer look. Note the supplementary aerials front and rear.

Yep, an unmarked police car.

An irrational fear of mine is sitting on the top level of a double decker bus and going under a bridge too low. As these English photos show, maybe it not such an irrational fear.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Learn with me #132

I once set up the camera on a small tripod on a box sitting on our balcony table, switched the camera to night time shoot and delay and took a photo of a full moon. It came out rather well and I put the photo on my blog. If your missed it, tough.

I am not taking a photo of the moon tonight but let me paint you a word picture. The sky is clear and the moon is full, it is bright and is illuminating my city of  Melbourne. It has hovered in the eastern sky for quite a while and is still there as I type at 8.49 pm. Quite mesmerising really.

I once learnt about when Easter falls and I tried to tell R this morning, but I had forgotten the details and I looked them up again, as I do. This is not unusual for me. I have learnt about 100 times what I remember. Details go in one ear, through a void, and come out the other.

Perhaps your memory is better and you will remember this. Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring/autumn...gritted teeth, fall, equinox. So say, the first Sunday after the first full moon after the 21st of March.

R is doing stuffs on his tablet, but I will go out now for one last glimpse of a brilliant moon.

Some entertainments

Strictly Ballroom was a quintessentially Australian movie. In its transition to a stage show, it is still quintessentially Australian and ever so madly camp. What else would you expect from a show about a dance competition. The cast were unknown to me but they were terrific. It was an performance of fun and laughter for us and I recommend the show.

We only decided to see it the night before and there weren't many seats to choose from. I am slowly coming to terms with what it costs to see something big on stage, but it ain't easy for me. Nevertheless, I said damn it. If I am going to spend such a huge amount on seeing a show and an extra $30 will get us good seats, so be it. Book it R. It was a Sunday matinee performance and I felt positively youthful among my fellow theatre patrons and our seats were good. No photos of course, but I took these two before the show started.

If one outing wasn't enough in a week, today we saw The Second Best Marigold Hotel at Como Cinema. We enjoyed it. It did not have the complexity of The Best Marigold Hotel, but was very entertaining. The lead character Sonny is just brilliant in his role, and with so many accomplished British actors, how could it go wrong, and it didn't. I sniggered to myself through most of the first half, with the latter half being more serious. Naturally tears flowed. Why do I get so emotional at movies/shows, less so in real life? You may well hear mixed reviews about the movie, not as good as the first etc, but if you liked the first one, you will enjoy the second.

Seemed like a good idea at the time

I probably came across this at Ian Visits blog. This manner of moving people never caught on and I am not really sure why. The same principle is used to get trains up and down steep hills, called a cog railway or rack and pinion but in reverse as the fixed part is on the track and the moving part within the train.

The spacing of the spiral adjusts the speed of the train, so at the station the spiral would be finer than when speed was required away from the station.

It is worth reading the blurb below the clip if you want an explanation of why there are so many exotic people in the London footage. Open the clip in You Tube to do so. Astonishingly, it was so easy, even women could manage to use the train. At 1.04 you can see a bloke having a bit of a muck around.  At 1.15 on you can see the spiral in operation.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Happy Easter

Someone at work wished me Happy Holidays. I am outraged. I celebrate Easter as part of Australian and my family culture. I am not a believer in any religion, as I am sure you have worked out. Nevertheless, saying Happy Easter or Merry Christmas bothers me not the least. It is a lovely thing to hear. Happy Holidays is not so lovely to hear when I am mostly working over Easter. The well wish came from a Jewish person. Perhaps it is a case of treat others are you would like to be treated, so I will wish him Happy Holidays and not Happy Passover. I suppose some people take all this seriously, but I am afraid I do not.

I feel like writing. Let me tell you about yesterday. R suggest we go to the movies the night before. I wasn't keen and had firmed my resolve by the morning. We wanted a couple of hardware items, so I suggested we go to the big green shed in Port Melbourne and then Sputino Cafe at Station Pier for some lunch.

On the list was methylated spirits that for some reason every supermarket we go to had run out of. Some hard rubber that could be cut down to glue to the leg of the balcony table to stop it rocking. And possibly a new shower head for R's bathroom. The car was low on petrol and thinking the price would go up over Easter, best to buy some now.

We did get the hard rubber, in a metal door stop with a rubber tip. The shower head was problematic. Unbelievably we forgot the metho.

We had at nice lunch at Station Pier. On a nice day, it always a pleasant place to dine. We watched kiddies playing in the cafe cubby house, the trams come and go, and people wandering around. Looming above us was the Spirit of Tasmania, resting before reloading to make its overnight trip to Tasmania.

R, I saw Trade Link on the way here. We went there after lunch, but unless you want to pay a couple of hundred dollars for a shower head, forget it. I wasn't game to ask in the tradie area if they had metho. On to Reeces Kitchen and Bathroom. Same thing, very expensive. I realised we were close to Woolworths supermarket in South Melbourne. R, go to the supermarket and see if it has metho. He walked off while I left the Reece car park to park at Woolworths car park. Around I went, no parking. Down I went, no parking. I will call R and tell him to meet me outside in the street but in the meantime I need to have my parking ticket dealt with at a machine. Can't call R. No phone signal underground. Have I ever mentioned how I hate this sort of thing? Like driving around looking for a car space, especially if it is in a large shopping centre. I could feel my blood pressure rising and some sweating. Lordy, we could have caught the tram to Prahran and gotten everything there in local shops for local people.

Miraculously, as I validated my parking ticket, R walked out the door to the carpark, with the metho. Enough! I am out of here. I vant to be home and then I totally forgot about getting petrol. 

We had plans for Good Friday, a train trip to Stony Point for a picnic with a couple of friends. Alas, the line has been shut down for safety reasons. Thanks Metro Trains.Your maintenance is so bad that a train line has to be shut down?

Well, I suppose it all wasn't too bad. Happy Easter to you.

Is Australia clean and green?

One comes across some extraordinary things on the internet and this one is very high on my extraordinary list. What do you think of when you hear the word Belgium? Some quite stereotypical things I should imagine but I bet none of you thought of Australian ice cream. I am surprised that there is such a thing as Australian ice cream. Gattina posted this photo, among others, taken when she visited a new shopping centre in Belgium near where she lives.

I was so surprised to firstly see that Australian is a desirable thing and secondly that there is such a thing as an Australian Home Made Ice Cream shop and thirdly that ice cream is so popular on a cold and wet spring day in Belgium. I showed the photo to R and he quipped, our ice cream comes from New Zealand, doesn't it. I just checked and we have  two tubs of ice cream in the freezer, one was made by the recently mentioned Dairy Bell, 100% Australian, and the other is Made in Australia but in small print, from local and imported ingredients.

The business web site is only in French or Dutch and even with a translator, there is not much information about the product or why it is called Australian. Note the kangaroo symbol under the products tab. Let me dig further.

Ok, this website makes things clearer.  Australian Home Made is a franchise business and specialises in organic high end ice cream, coffee and chocolate. Oh, from other links there was some botheration between our indigenous people and the company for their use of aboriginal style art work.

I conclude, apart from the use of indigenous art work and the name Australian, there is no connection to Australia.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

I'll bookmark that

Or save it to Favourites, depending on which browser you use. I bookmark very little on the net now. Auto complete brings up things I have looked at in the past and google quickly finds what I want to know. But I do have a large book mark file dating back to the mid nineties when we first went on the net.

I remember our friend in Japan showing me the Amazon site, so many years ago. Like me, she is a long time internet user and also like me, she does not need to know what makes a computer work, it just should. And by golly, compared to the nineties, computers work really well. And who would have thought you could do computer things on a phone or something the size of a school room slate?

Now, I wrote that a while ago and I can't recall where I was going with  the post, but I can link it to an exhibition I recently saw at the Old Treasury Building. The exhibition is called School Days and covers the state's education system, especially the setting up of free secular education for all. It was quite interesting. Read the photo captions to find the link and see a very early iPad.

A train crash about to happen between the Denominational (religious) Train and the National (secular) Train.

Such beautiful writing.

I remember blotters but not blotting pads with such a pretty cover.

I was once a member of the Gould League and I had the same certificate, or nearly the same.

Inside a school desk. A bank passbook. How quaint. Mother still uses one.

What is this? An iPad? That's what I thought it was when I saw it. Of course it is a slate to write on with chalk. Isn't the shape so similar to a tablet computer.

Nearby to the Old Treasury Building is the Stanford Fountain. From being a prisoner he went on to become a respected stone mason.

The fabulous Windsor Hotel. The Indonesian family who own the hotel wants to restore it and build a very tall building behind it. Bah!

It appears there may be a wedding reception to happen inside. Where is the doorman? I saw him there but he is not in the photo.

Lamps at the front of the State Parliament building.

Some of the State Parliament building.

That was enough kulcha for the day. Tram back to Swanston Street. Green Pepper and Red Pepper side by side. Green Pepper has tableclothes and Red Pepper does not.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Some personal bits

Lamb is expensive at the moment in Australia, at around $34 per kilo (2.2lb). R got an absolute bargain when a large whole leg of lamb was discounted to $22. We've had roast lamb and cold lamb and salad. It has filled five sandwiches and there is still plenty there.

Our friend the Brighton Antique Dealer's church burnt down and she is quite upset. It may well have been a deliberate act as revenge against a now dead paedophile priest. Gary Furlong took this photo and it was published in The Age.


Easter eggs have been bought. Some came from Haigh's Choclates and some from Big W. Read nothing into that. Mother will  only eat a Cherry Ripe egg and Haigh's did not have much for children. R always buys a couple of spares too, which if are not given to someone...........

I am off work today as I had to attend the doctor. I have an infected ear lobe and its looks like I have a bull's testicle hanging from my ear. Some cheap antibiotics and all will soon be well, and the drop diamonds can go back in.

Where is this emergency brake?

A woman was very lucky to not be killed when she tried to board a departing train. I think the train won't move unless the doors are all shut, but perhaps the doors were near enough to be closed with only a couple of fingers jammed in between the doors. Never mind. Take a look at this snip from The Age and while is a presumable a direct quote, The Age needs to make sure such nonsense doesn't appear in print. Sergeant Tim Fletcher was quoted as saying:

"The train was still moving when she first fell between the tracks, but again due to the quick-thinking passengers who applied the emergency brake, it brought the train to a standstill which obviously saved her life," he said.

So where is this emergency brake inside Melbourne train carriages? 

Some more information added later made it clear it was the emergency intercom pressed by passengers which alerted the driver, who probably applied the emergency brakes.

Even the well resourced BBC World Service gets it wrong at times. After the Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu, a BBC reporter said locals had no water and had taken to drinking sea water. Our less well resourced ABC Radio Australia's version is that the locals know they can get fresh water that percolates through limestone near the beach. I guess the BBC reporter saw a local coming from the beach with a bucket of water and then drinking from it. While not at all trivialising the terrible destruction the cyclone wrought on Vanuatu, Pacific Island people have been experiencing cyclones for a very long time.

A Sydney Crime

Gattina in this post reminded me of an incident we witnessed in Oxford Street, Sydney at one of those Asian run $2 like shops. R had forgotten to take his earphones with him so went in to buy a cheap pair. While it was one of the most junkiest and jumbled shop of its type we have seen, the woman who ran it was lovely and very helpful and R bought the earphones, which he did not end up using anyway.

A day or two later we were about to go back into the same shop for a pair of scissors, and there was ruckus inside. The shop owner had hold of a woman's arm who promptly dropped to the floor and started screaming out that she had been assaulted. After some verbal back and forth, the woman left the shop. It transpired that she had stolen multiple items from the shop and was now trying to return them and redeem them for cash. The owner called the police and told them the story and from what we heard, the police took it quite seriously.

Although there was a cctv, we heard the owner tell another customer who witnessed what happened that the system did not record. He told it was so easy to set up using her computer behind her counter.

It was an interesting little diversion for us, but gee, what some people in small business have to put up with.

Monday, March 30, 2015


I loved them all in my youth, the music gods. The late Marc Bolan from T Rex, Mick Jagger from The Rolling Stones and David Bowie. What a trio. Two out of three of these people did not do the biz together. What?

Someone recently mentioned something about guys I am attracted to. I conveniently can't recall who. When I work out what sort of guy I am attracted to, I will let you know. There is a French expression, Je ne sais quoi. and I don't know what it means really, (I have surprised myself on the brilliant word play there)  but I am sure it applies. In the meantime, how hot is this guy in a photo from  Don't be disingenuous. You know which one I mean. Couldn't you just eat him up. I shall await the 'not really my type' replies. Less competition is all good to my ears.

In a moment of weakness I once had a look at the members of the boy band One Direction to see what the fuss and fainting teen girls was all about. You know, you've got to keep up a bit with modern things.  Ho hum, but one appealed to me, a kid of Paki parents in England. Now he is having a Greta Garbo moment and vants to be alone. Actually, not sure I really like his looks that much. Anyway, here is photo of him on a bicycle in Brussels. Yes, I really can't imagine what I saw in him the day I looked at One Direction members. I should just delete this last part as it has probably spoilt my post.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Selections

Expect River to have her Sunday Selections on line this Sunday, and possibly EC too.

A remaining Banksia bloom bottlebrush bloom, or Callistemon, in Sister's garden.

R came across this home film when he was clearing out some old things but he doesn't know what it is on it. It probably isn't The Sound of Music. It may well be a home movie, taken either here or in England, or it could be a movie that people would watch in the privacy of their own home, alone or with that very special person in their life. If it is a home movie, we would like to transfer it to digital. But how can we check? We are not going to take it to be digitised without knowing what is on it. Does Processed by Kodak tell us anything?

This  would be one of the most dangerous tram stops in Melbourne and it is right below us. The boys of Melbourne Grammar are supervised by a teacher at the stop before here but many come to this stop, buying something in McDonalds along the way. They run across the road amid traffic and it is a miracle none of been hit, that I know of.

Our cutlery drawer is not too untidy.

The same can't be said for the drawer below. These two white containers have some history. They came from Dairy Bell Ice Cream in Glenhuntly Road, Elsternwick, and of course once contained ice cream. They used to just throw them out. Perhaps that is why the long established company has closed down. We are not great ice cream eaters, but Sister bought some a day or so before Dairy Bell closed and gave it to us and we still have it.....taking up freezer space.

Paper hanging in the Degraves Street subway. Why?

ANZ bank building. As a new building, its a bit different.

A couple of balloon photos for EC.

It was a lovely morning to be 'up and about'.

Some interesting light.

A cruise ship arriving at Station Pier (probably the Italian ship we saw in Sydney Harbour). The Queen Mary 2 is almost the last cruise ship to visit Melbourne for the season. She arrives on Friday, which was two days ago when you read this. Sadly I will be at work. Later: I did see her arrive, in the pitch dark. If you recall, we did see her in Sydney Harbour and she is a big big ship.

A dreadful din rose from the street below. We thought it was a protest march. Nope, just marauding Wesley College boys. Sports related perhaps.

Another week, another floor on The Manor construction, but oh, look, what has happened to block of four flats behind?

I suppose for twenty years we have passed through North Geelong on the way to somewhere. In earlier days it was to visit our friend in the Western District and then latterly since Sister moved to Geelong and then The Bellarine. We have always stopped at the Scottish Restaurant, sometime just for a thick shake, sometimes for something more substantial. It was the perfect place to give the dogs a break, to run around and do what dogs do. During one such break, Toby went into the creek and we had a wet dog to deal with and little to dry him off with, never mind the mud. How long does a car take to get rid of wet dog smell? I am sure plenty of you know, but I forget. We still always stop there, perhaps now more because we like to get out and stretch our own ageing limbs.

I can't remember where I came across this. Unlike Samantha, Endora in Bewitched often used her powers for evil, or at least to benefit herself or disadvantage the long suffering Darrin. Yep, I think I would do the same.