Saturday, August 22, 2015

House guests

Is it not enough to have one house guest who is not very active and content to just watch tv? Oh no, tonight R is sleeping with me in my bed. I'd better be alert to groping hands. Actually, it might be quite nice to have a spoon in bed together.

It is Non Dreaded Nephew's partner's birthday and apparently the celebrations involve a very late night with a conclusion at an inner suburban northern venue called The Railway Hotel. Hippie Niece is joining them, but with five already sleeping on the floor for the night (that may well be the late morning) there is no room at the inn, so Hippie Niece will stay with us, arriving by taxi at who knows what time. R kindly gave up his bed and I am forced to accept R's company for the night in mine. Err, so I have kind of given up my bed too. I expect I may pass Hippie Niece at 5am when I get up for work as she is back here to sleep.

Hotel Highrise will officially close for a month beginning 25/08/15 when not so ill Brother Friend departs. No visitors welcome and no bookings taken. No social invitations accepted either. We really need to be bored for a few weeks.

Oh lordy, forgot about Brighton Antique Dealer's 80th birthday party next Friday at a posh place within a ten minute walk for home. It never ends.

I composed an sms to Dreaded Nephew but I won't send it. He won't want the old gay uncle texting him with old man advice. It goes with out saying that he would look after his sister and any friend. He is a good lad. 'Look after your sister tonight and see her home safely to here. Happy Birthday and best wishes to H for Monday.' We'll send H birthday wishes via Facebook on the day.

Friday, August 21, 2015

News from ole Blighty

A couple of things have caught my eye.

Covent Garden Market is going to be filled with 100,000 balloons.

This bemuses me every time I hear about it and it happens with regularity. I assume it applies to Britain and not just England but no matter. The British government owned rail regulator has fined the British government owned Network Rail for poor performance. That is effectively the taxpayer fining itself. What is the point? It is all government money.

A shocking thing happened recently in Scotland, while we were travelling in North America. A car ran off a road with a couple inside. He was killed. She is still alive but badly injured. Later that morning someone noticed the car off the road and called police to inform them. It seems the call was not followed up and the woman lay in the car still alive for three days before another person called the police and this time the call was followed up. The woman later died in hospital but was conscious when found. What an absolutely awful way to die and what shocking incompetence or system failure by someone. I am unable to find any further news later than the day of her funeral.

And for something lighter. Duration 21 seconds

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Internet and ill Brother Friend

Internet restored at 4.00pm 19/08. Much better than the forecast 6.00pm 20/08. So now I feel really grateful to Telstra. Tell 'em the worst and they will be so happy when better happens. Telstra is waiving any excess phone data charges and our monthly internet bill. Just money. I want to know what happened? Who stuck a screwdriver into a circuit to see what would happen? The cynic in me thinks it was planned maintenance that was put up as an outage. We've been Telstra cable internet users since the late 1990s and I can never remember such a long outage.

Here is what I wrote off line last night, or is that two night ago and have pasted here. I may not have had internet, but I could still write.

Once we returned from our overseas trip, a high priority was to see our Brother Friend in a large and brand new pubic hospital in Melbourne's eastern suburbs. From what I can understand, he was given intensive chemo and radio therapy which made he feel like he wanted to die, and then some stem cell treatment. His brother was not coping well mentally with the situation and with being his carer, so he flew off to Thailand for a month. The brother with cancer was supposed to make a recovery and then be admitted to a public rehabilitation place. Instead he came good on his own.

We caught the train out to see him a few times and his progress was extraordinarily good and a credit to modern medicine and health care.

In fact, he seemed quite well enough to go home. Except his brother had left him with no keys, no money, no cards, no phone and totally at the mercy of the hospital. Undoubtedly this was deliberate. I try to take a charitable view of the brother going off overseas, but no one else is and all are very critical of him leaving his brother at the mercy of the hospital. There was a back up plan that he could go to another brother's but that brother's wife is in the midst of a cancer scare and has refused to have him, and after much prevarication, the hospital has now kicked our Brother Friend out after a bit of too and from between nurses and doctors.

R travelled by train to see our Brother friend in hospital today and was ambushed by hospital staff, who kicked our Brother Friend out in front of R. I am not blaming the hospital. Brother friend is quite well again, in spite of the terrible experience he has been through and was taking up a public hospital bed needlessly.

So what could R do? He could do no more that offer our spare room. He had to get the train and tram back home, meet me to car swap just before I went back to work after lunch, go back in the car to pick up Brother Friend, whose medication was not ready. R left home to catch the tram and then train at 10.00am and arrived back home in the car with Brother Friend at 6.00pm. And you have to remember that R had a big falling out with both brothers. But that is what R is like. He is such a caring person.

Lest you think I am such a selfish person, tomorrow in my lunch time I have to go to the chemist for a medication that was missing and another friend is visiting when I am come home for lunch, and we will need some lunch so I will have to buy something for lunch for us all, as R is off on volunteer work duties.

While our Brother Friend overseas has called , full of concern and nice, kind, and grateful words there has been no mention of him returning early from his 'mental stress break'.

So after just after a visit by Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo for an overnight stay, we now have a house guest for a week. Just as well he is quiet and unobtrusive but it is so unnecessary as he could easily be in his own home with some support, which we and neighbours and friends could have offered. No doubt our expenses will be compensated such our heating being turned way up, medication cost etc but hopefully it will be something generous of spirit and not cash. But cash would do.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Buggery internet

Internet down 2pm 17th. Restoration eta 6pm 18th. Big Telstra fail. New eta, some time on 20th. Am I cross? You can be sure!


I though I had published this, but it is my draft folder. 

What is this thing called, love?

Those of you who recognise the front as being like an FJ Holden made by General Motors, top of the class.

Mein Gott, what is this? It was stunning and I was immediately in love. I am guessing by the new numberplate it has just come from a restoration. It was gleamingly spotless. It has taken some research with only the barely readable writing captured by the camera on the rear door to go by. Suddenly it came to me, a car designer I had heard of, Pininfarina. This is the word on the rear door.  It was made by the Lancia manufacturer in Italy and called Flaminia Coupe with the body designed by Pininfarina and two colleagues.

Langham Hotel  transport. Langham was recently in the news over food poisoning cases of high tea guests.

Trivett Rolls Royce showroom in City Road, Southbank.


I would have liked to go in and take a proper photo of this history board, but I don't think I would quite be right type in their showroom.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Stage whispers

The other day on a tram a woman was talking rather loudly on her phone. She cancelled the social event that both she and her mother were part of because her mother has gallstones and the loud talker was also absolutely snowed under at the moment.

How interesting, not.

When she said to the person at the other end of the line, I am on tram, someone piped up and quite loudly said, we all are. Some smirks on faces appeared as I gazed around but the woman did not hear the remark as she was so engrossed in her conversation.

When travelling on the motor coach during our Canadian holiday I overhead from behind someone saying something about Australia and Europe, which I did not really hear, and he concluded by saying, 'but I am not really comparing the two places'.

I whispered to R, 'Except you just did'. But apparently my whisper was not quite as quiet as I thought and as R later told me, he heard you you know, and he said back 'well, I just thought it was interesting'. This I did not hear either, probably then full of self pleasure at my wit.

I really did not mean for him to hear what I said and later I really regretted that for some reason he did hear me. I can do bitchy queen with the best of them, but I don't like to hurt or embarrass people.

I learnt some good lessons when I was much younger. While people may joke about their own weight, race and whatever, it does not give you a right to do so and if you do over an extended period, it can be quite hurtful.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Canadian and New York bits

A few bits from our travels. Presto and the tram ticket are from Toronto; the Metro Card from New York. A lass approached us for a donation for the blind in Vancouver. Normally I wouldn't donate but my guard was down and I gave her couple of dollars.  

Displayed in a New York gay bar.

I managed to keep my Vancouver bought water bottle from various border control folk who melodramatically throw your water bottle containing water into a bin by making sure it was empty when passing through. Every couple of months R says, your water bottle looks disgusting; buy a new one, and so I do. Its life is limited by only days before I will be told.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the Rocky Mountaineer train in Canada. Each passenger was presented with this badge.

The shot glasses presented to us by our friendly New York bartender.

Now, this is something I did not think about before we travelled,  which side of the footpath to walk on and what an intriguing subject it has turned out to be.

I suppose a day or two after arriving in Canada, I suddenly clicked as to why people in the street kept getting in my way. I was walking on the left and those coming towards me were generally walking on the right. Ah, do as the locals do, and all was well. I kind of forgot about it for most of the tour, or subconsciously did stick to walking on the right. At the end of  the tour I noticed when R was at Butchart  Gardens in Victoria that R kept getting tangled up with other people. I  pointed out the walk on the right custom and he then realised it was the right way to walk.

It is just as well we had some practice in the quieter country of Canada, as once in New York, you would be steam rollered by the masses if you tried to walk on the left.

Here is what a little research told me when I had some spare time in our Times Square flat. North America, drive on the right, walk on the right, stand to the right on escalators. (somebody, what are escalators called in America?) Good, that is nice and consistent.

Australia, drive on the left, stand on the left on escalators and we apparently we have a weak tendency to walk to the left. I disagree with weak tendency. I think our tendency to walk to the left is reasonably strong. It is a little instinctive to anyone who drives are a car. If you meet an oncoming vehicle, you each pass to the left and similar happens when you confront an oncoming pedestrian. Recent immigrants often go the other way though. So Australia is reasonably consistent.

Now, I can't remember if it was just England but it probably goes for the whole of Britain. Drive on the left and stand to the right on escalators. As Pants once helpfully pointed out before our first trip to England, woe betide you if you stand to the left on escalators. Rather odd that it is opposite to the side of the road on which they drive, I think.

Note, I did not mention walking in Britain and here is where it became really interesting for me. British people it seems do not walk left or right. They look at each other, take movement and eye signals into account and then decide which way to pass someone. When observing this, it seems like utter confusion and chaos, but it seems to work for them and I expect if true, it becomes an unconscious action. Of course visitors to Britain are not experienced at this and never know which way to go and really mess up the British walking experience.

Well, I don't know how true that is. Brits, tell us about your walking and others, your experiences. I cannot really remember walking being a problem in England and if I can't remember, I doubt it was a problem. I expect I would have generally stuck to the left, as at home.