Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Saturday night on the town, but not for the Highriser

I was at work when my great niece Little M arrived. She is sound asleep in her portable cot in the spare room. I did not get to see her, but I will in the morning. Three weeks ago she could take a few steps. Now she is walking. Her mother, Middle Niece and her mother, Ex Sis in Law, are at the Aussie Rules football in a corporate box no less. They may kick on to Crown Casino. R gave them a key to get as we will be asleep in bed when they return, but with an ear open for a cry out from Little M. Luckily she is a good sleeper, unlike Little Jo who we used to walk around the block a few times in her pram to get her to sleep.

Who would have ever thought I would like babies, least of all me, but I rather do. R, her nappy needs changing.

Kind of repeat post, the food we eat

When you have been blogging for a long time, invariably you will repeat something, often with updated thoughts or information. So, it was quite some time ago that I mentioned the food we now eat as opposed to what we ate as children and that our food has changed is an understatement.

As I mentioned recently, R and myself ate at the Blue Note Cafe in Richmond. We chose to share a platter of finger food. It was an adequate size for two people for lunch and we enjoyed it. Half way through the meal I remarked to R that there was not one thing on the platter that either of us would have eaten as a child.

A homous dip in the centre with probably sough dough bread. Olives, semi sun dried tomatoes, fried chorizo, fetta cheese, red peppers/capsicum/bell peppers, a mix of leaves with a vinaigrette dressing but none of them an ice berg lettuce. I think that was all. Now I am hungry.

Not only that, I had an espresso coffee and R had a skinny latte, neither of which any of our family would have drunk when we were young. It was only ever tea.

We very rarely ate out when I was young. Most Friday nights would be take away fish and chips and a very occasional lunch out in a cafe, perhaps twice a year. If we needed food when we were out, tinned ham sandwiches would have been pre made, English mustard on some but nothing but ham in those for we kids. The sandwiches would be washed down with tea from a thermos flask by adults and cordial for us.

Do I  feel as if I missed out when growing up? Not at all. Do I want to turn back clock? No, but the diets of young people does concern me rather a lot.

Each afternoon Melbourne Grammar lads flood out of school and flood into McDonalds opposite us. Some only buy a drink, full of sugar no doubt, but enough buy a hamburger or something quite solid. Do they then go home and have dinner as well? This is a high socia-economic group and even many of them eat very unwisely.  Without doubt there is going to be a massive obesity problem in the future, plus many of them get so little physical activity. Perhaps not so much as MGS but at many state schools.

It's a worry.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Mother Day

Mother had asked me to attend to her five lamp lounge room light fitting and her roses. Only two lamps were working and the roses, mostly root stock, had gone crazy. Can you do this before you go away Andrew? Oh, but when. If I go to Mother's I need two days off work. One day to do what I have to do and another to recover. It happened that this week my days off were Thursday and Friday. Ok, I am up for it.

R normally takes Mother out on Thursday. He used to arrive home very stressed, by Mother's behaviour and getting caught in heavy traffic. While Mother can be very determined and manipulating, she did realise that 'I can't be ready before before 12' was not sustainable if she wanted R to continue to take her out. R now goes at 10.00, arrives at 11.00 and out they go by 11.20 for lunch and shopping. He firmly leaves at 3.00 and does not get caught in traffic.

On this Thursday I went too. In the meantime ABI Brother had called to say his computer anti virus had expired and he was now required to pay. Ok, we will go extra early to Mother's and go to ABI Brother's first and fix his computer.

We were off at 9.30 and by 10.30 we were watching a huge gum tree opposite ABI Brother's house being cut down and chipped. ABI's computer is pathetically slow and I don't know why. It is our old computer. Only two USB ports? Only one works. Oh yes, I remember now. We bought a multiple USB to plug into the sole working USB port. My cunning plan of putting the AVG anti virus on a stick in advance to install was foiled. I uninstalled Kapersky and downloaded AVG, then left it to update. ABI Brother also asked if we could check if his mobile phone was internet abled. Given it is my old phone, I should have known but I couldn't remember. Yes it is. It was such hard work to tap an icon that said internet and it worked.

Knock, knock at Mother's door. She was almost ready to go out, dressed and made up and already to launch into her tales of woe is me. I am in pain. I can't cope. I might be dead by this time next year. I just need someone to be here with me. (ABI Brother does stay there on Friday and Saturday nights). I pre-empted her by immediately telling her about the tree at  ABI Brother's that had been cut down. I went to the toilet and left R to hear her tales of her woe. And then there was the usual public exposure of her putting her hosiery and shoes on.

We had a nice lunch at a local cafe and I returned to Mother's to prune her roses while R went from shop to shop with Mother. I beat the roses but not unscathed. Andrew total victory, but roses did inflict serious war wounds but the blood loss wasn't excessive enough to cause a faint. However, unused to such physicality, I did fell a little queer (settle). I called R to ask him to buy me a cake. Thanks, a lamington will do nicely for afternoon tea. Not such an onerous day really apart from bloodied hands.

Tomorrow R will be off in the morning for his volunteer work and I will stay at home with only my internet friends as company. In the afternoon we will visit our travel agent to collect our travel package and details and at night we will join our Dyke Friend and her ex for dinner at a Turkish restaurant. Must remember to not eat too much.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Blame the Blatter

All over the world kids kick a soccer ball around. They love doing so. They hero worship their favourite league teams and their soccer stars. How sad it is that the heads of soccer are greedy and corrupt old men.

It is odd to me that what everyone knew has been allowed to continue for so long. You may live with your head firmly planted in the sand but to me who has no interest in sport, it was very clear that soccer is an extremely corrupt sport. Yet no one did anything!

Europeans, British and Asians love soccer, and yet from the non loving of soccer United States came the order, clean up your act and if we can prove you were corrupt, you will be in big trouble. Extraordinary. What is behind this and why is the US acting? Even the Gnomes of Zurich are muttering about discrepancies.

Hehe, among the many rats I have smelt about soccer over the years, surely a soccer world cup in the overtly corrupt Qatar in 40 (100) degree heat is not like how soccer is usually played, that is European or British rain and sleet. Who paid whom what for that to happen?

I am just an amateur blogger who knows little about sport. Why haven't enthusiasts for the sport of soccer been writing and protesting about the corruption that it obvious to all?

It is the kiddies kicking a ball around that I care about and hope they can have some sort of faith in their sport and its leaders.

In Thanks

I forget how the subject arose but Sister criticised someone for not acknowledging something Little Jo did for them. I mentioned that Little Jo has never acknowledged anything I have ever sent her and nor did she write to R's Sister in England to thank her for gifts.

It seemed to have worked and I received this post card after they spent a weekend in Bendigo. I sent her information on concretion, if you remember my post about her 'fossil' find.

While I had the scanner open I copied R's certificate he received during Australia's volunteer week. He enjoys his volunteer work, last week taking on three days, but normally only one day a week and an extra day a month.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

An East Melbourne Meander

East Melbourne is rather different to East Sydney. East Sydney is cramped and yet such closeness of buildings makes for a great feel to the area. East Melbourne is calm, peaceful, expansive and expensive. R and myself took a wander.

Previously the Hilton Hotel in Wellington Parade and is now known as The Pullman. It was built on the site of Cliveden Mansions, once the largest house in Melbourne.

Circa 1910 Cliveden was bought by the Baillieu family and turned the house  into opulent apartments. Post WWII such living became unfashionable and the Mansions went into decline and in 1968 Whelan the Wrecker arrived and did what he was famous (notorious?) for doing.

Jolimont across the road from East Melbourne is an odd little area. On the far side of the road is Jolimont Station at a level below the road and one of the fly swat lighting towers of the Melbourne Cricket Ground can be seen.

 We turned the corner into Powlett Street and were immediately confronted by these Victorian beauties.

The symmetry in Art Deco is good for the soul.

Solid, sturdy and dependable, and hopefully with central heating.

The last of the bright red autumn leaves falling.

I suppose you can't go wrong with white, but why not use colours to highlight the architecture.

The Cairns Memorial Church (Presbyterian?) at the corner of Hotham Street was burnt out in 1988 with only the fa├žade remaining. What a terrific effort at turning the old church into apartments.

All in a row.

It only takes an hour with a scissors each week to maintain plus another hour to dust each leaf.

Four houses I think.

Such houses can be dark inside, so why brick up south facing windows?

I detect some non original balcony funny business has gone on here. Victorians did not sit on their verandah roofs.

Some more non original. I've not seen any of Melbourne's bluestone lanes laid as neatly as this one unless they have been relaid.

Soon the leaves will drop allowing the low northern winter sunlight to fill the front rooms.

Somebody has to live in the cheap housing. I use the word cheap advisedly. I should think well over a $1.5 million would be required to buy.

It looks lonely, like it once had a friend at its side who has gone.

Peering over the porch wall at the mess, we found the local rented apartments.

I am sure as nice and neat inside as it is outside.

This one, Queen Bess Row, certainly had me searching. R and I examined it carefully and decided it was three individual houses.The land was bought by the brother of Sir William Clarke, the builder of the aforementioned Cliveden. Although perhaps meant to one day be individual houses, openings were left between rooms with the intention of it becoming a coffee palace (that is not serving liquor) but this did not eventuate, instead becoming a training institution for nurses and then a private hospital. While it did have the name East Melbourne Coffee Palace, the name was changed to Rubra as a private hospital, a hospital with some rather quackery sounding practices to me. By the late 19th century the owner had been successfully sued for negligence and she sold up the contents of the hospital. The same year the building's owner Joseph Clarke died.

The internal archways were bricked up and it was turned into flats. Post WWII it became a boarding house for low income tenants until 1989 when it was turned into the original three houses it was eventually meant to be. Each house was sold separately. I can't find why or when it was called Queen Bess Row.

An amusing anecdote I came across was a story from a neighbour who was in the process of moving into the property next door when the Row was still a boarding house in the 1980s. A chap wandered into her kitchen and asked if she had a beer for him. Thinking it was one of the removalists, she obliged but it turned out to be one of destitute type boarders from Queen Bess Row.

The hospital that ate Richmond, also known as Melbourne's largest private hospital Epworth, owns this building and has called it something like the Epworth Cliveden. Epworth's tentacles spread far and wide over Melbourne's inner suburbs. In my world, we should all have access to great public hospitals for free, and we almost do.

I am fond of blaming modern architects for the hideous buildings they are designing. We have almost stopped pulling down buildings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but we are pulling down 1960s buildings without a tear or a protest. Nevertheless, I consider the architect of this building went out on a limb when he designed it, and then the bough broke. Along the road a little is a siding for trams to line up to clear the crowds from the MCG after an event.

This sneaky little building at 100 Wellington Parade houses the The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

We were back at the tram stop. Now which way? Back to town or to Richmond. Richmond won and we had a very nice lunch at Blue Note Cafe in Bridge Road.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Shallow? Who me?

Nothing ready to post as I am doing research for a big post, which will probably receive few comments, but that is ok. I like to learn. Luckily I have a back up reserve.

The conversation will go like this:

Bone Doctor: Andrew, who are you are supporting in the football this year?

Me: Carlton.

BD: Ok, what's his name?

Me: Bryce Gibbs.

Bone Doctor is not an admirer of the physical male and at this point will probably harrumph, snort and roll her eyes at the same time.

I really am a sad sack with my teen age girl like lust for a pretty face. Like them, I quickly get over it. He is rather handsome though, isn't he. At the age of 26, he looks better now that when he was younger. I know the feeling.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


Our big telephone company has only shut down my directly received tweets once before when there was a public transport meltdown in Melbourne. I can't remember if it was heat or wet and cold. It was only for an hour. But this morning I was shut down again because I received an excessive number of tweets direct to my phone. This time it was about Eurovision.

It was my first proper Eurovision experience and R joined me for the latter part this morning and we both enjoyed it. There is much I could write but I shan't aside from the best performer won.

Back to the tweets, my favourite was at some time around 8am, paraphrased, Lee Lin, you've done your job with the chiffon. Come back to the (night) club now.

When things go wrong, mostly

Or a connection to River's Sunday Selections. Some from Twitter, some from Facebook, some from me, some from elsewhere. I tidied up the hard drive.

Craig, did you or your antecedents have anything to do with this? Too much to ask you for a location, I expect. Does Whiteinch in the title mean anything?

Prahran is a hard word to spell if you don't know how it is spelt, don't you think? If I was a stonemason, I think I would double check the spelling. Prahran is a corruption of the indigenous words for 'land partially surrounded by water'.

There was some kind of delay to trams down below. Two tram patrol cars were parked nearby.

This lad sprinted away from the trams. Maybe something to do with delay, maybe not.

Of course it will fit.

One for you White Angel. What street in Launceston? Photo by David Nowell.

The tender read: Supply bus with roof mounted air-conditioning suitable for 40 degree plus temperatures. Mate, the cheaper 35 degrees rating is fine. They won't know the difference.

Here is an own goal by our trams, one having severely damaged a tramway patrol car.

The worst thing about this photo is that the silver ute may drive off leaving the car next to it that was forced to park at an angle get snapped by someone like me. Very much chicken and egg.