Saturday, August 29, 2015

Shirt shopping

We hot footed it from the large city department store when I saw a shirt I liked the look of and the price tag showed $319. We returned to our much cheaper usual city department store. Why don't we use smaller shops? We do at times, if one can be found that does not have loud music blasting our ears and staff so cheerful and bouncy that they seem to have inbuilt springs.

Fortunately there was a sale in our favourite department store. Is there never not one? It took a while but eventually I bought a shirt I liked. You see, there is a lot to check.

First, nearly half the shirts can be discounted because they are tapered, or tailored as it is now described. While I think they look terrific on the right person, sadly where the shirt tapers in the middle, I go in the other direction. Do my bosoms look too big in this dear? Not a thing a man really wants.

Then there is the pocket. An older person must have a pocket for reading glasses. No shirt pocket, no good for me. I have a preference for button down collars, but I am not insistent on that one.

Of course buying a long sleeved shirt as the a summer stock of short sleeved shirts has just arrived is not wise. All that is left is what others did not want. Price is important too. Even if the price is raised before being reduced for sale back to its old price, I need to think I am getting something cheaply.

Well shirt chosen and to the desk. I complained to the service woman at the desk that once again they had decreased the size of their sizes. As she nodded sympathetically, she said that it varies greatly with brands and I must have chosen one that uses smaller sizes.

Amazing that I found something at all really.

Note: Bosoms or bosom? Rather like a substance induced conversation many years ago with friends that went on for what seemed like hours about whether a person has a groin or groins. The result was inconclusive, as conversations in such circumstances usually are.

Friday, August 28, 2015


Young wombats can be very cute, mischievous but untrainable. They are almost manageable as pets until they start to get big. They are incredibly strong too and love to butt at things with their head. Cars take their toll on them though, with often enough the car coming off very badly as they go under the car and can cause great damage if hit at speed. As tough as they are, they don't have much of a chance if hit by a car at speed.

One species at least is also suffering a terrible mange disease that if untreated, will eventually kill each wombat. The mange is spread by mites.

Wombats are marsupials and build large underground burrows for shelter and breeding. The pouch for their young faces backwards so as to not fill will soil when they are digging. They are disliked by farmers as not only do they eat grass, livestock can break legs when a burrow collapses under their weight and it can be dangerous to a farmer if a farm vehicle lands a wheel in a burrow entrance.

To dig such burrows and they have very strong and powerful claws, as you can see in this rather cute video. Length: 2.16

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Disjointed briefy

Guns don't kill people, as we are told. As I tell you, people with guns kill people. Farmers need a gun at times, maybe a .303 that kills quickly and cleanly. Perhaps a shot gun too but I am less certain about that. Probably not.

People of the US, you only need a gun to protect yourself if everyone else has a gun. Is that so hard to understand? Ban guns and you won't need a gun to protect yourself against guns. Also, you might have a good hard look at funding of your mental health care system, not that Australia is at angelic in that area.

I saw the clip of the reporter and camera man being shot, online. What was worse to me and more shocking was seeing the edited version on our ABC TV. It was worse and more shocking to not see what was happened than to actually see it. Imagination is a powerful beast.

PS My most humble apologies to Chris, the husband of John Gray of Wales, for our weather. I cannot remember a day like today for a long time where precipitation barely ceased. Combine that with trams being off the tracks because of an industrial dispute........well his timing for a visit to Melbourne could not have been worse.

PPS If you are not a reader of the blog of John Gray of Wales, then it is your loss but surely you will get a laugh from his most recent post.  Like he needs more readers!

Jumping a gap

In 1952, the driver of a London double decker bus on route 78 had to make a split second decision when a span of Tower Bridge began to lift in front of him. He accelerated his bus to clear the by then 1 metre gap and the bus then dropped 2 metres onto the other span which had not yet began to lift. No one was seriously injured and the driver was not at fault.

Pretty amazing and here is little piece of artwork by someone unknown. Cute, hey

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Why not to trust real estate agents

I am being very careful here as I don't want to end up in court but here is what I heard about the behaviour by Allens Real Estate, specifically the behaviour of agent Grant Lynch.

Maybe it is someone who we know but that does not matter. Before the Victorian and Civil Claims Tribunal was a couple who sold their house. The usual commission to a real estate agent in Melbourne is between 2% and 5% of the selling price, plus advertising costs.

The people selling the house signed the contract after they say they verbally heard the agent tell them of a bonus of an extra 2% if the house sold over a certain figure. They failed to correctly place a decimal point when they signed and as VCAT judged, they had signed the contract. What they signed for was a bonus 20%, not 2% over a certain selling figure as they thought. I seem to recall the dollar figure was somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 but perhaps adjusted to under $20,000 after they complained.

I would suggest people who are thinking of using Allens Real Estate to be very careful about what they sign. This matter that went before VCAT would be enough to put me off of using Allens Real Estate at all, no matter that the complainants lost and the real estate agency won.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A hospital visit

The new and recently opened public Box Hill Hospital is wonderful and what you would expect in a private hospital even thought it is public. Staff feedback has been very good too. Instead of equipment lined up against walls, much of it fits into dedicated alcoves along the walls. Most rooms seem to have a single bed but there are some rooms with two beds. Some rooms have a built in daybed doubling as a couch, I guess for people to stay with whoever is sick.

While our public health system, paid for from our taxes, is left wanting at times, when it works well, it really is very good and must be protected from conservative politicians who would so like to kill it.

The bureaucracy has transferred from the old hospital though, with three attempts to change an appointment and then being told there was no record of it and finally to not to bother turning up until the subsequent scheduled appointment.

A couple of times we lunched at Box Hill shopping centre after leaving or catching the train. The number of Asian people in the shopping centre is extraordinary. It was very much spot the white person. They are mainly comfortably off Chinese who have brought up property in the area left, right and centre and driven prices sky high. It is all very civilised and I expect the Chinese residents will want what attracted them to the area to be maintained. Box Hill will not be an Asian ghetto, but just a place where a lot of ethnic Asian people live. I did rather wonder what the few old white people who I saw there thought of the change to Box Hill. The old folk white Australians went about their business, just as the old folk Asian Australians went about theirs, without issues.

Rather nice views from the public areas on the higher levels of the hospital. The new tax office building dominates the skyline, as can be seen from The Highrise, but it won't for long as there will an explosion of high rise development.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Musical Monday

I think this is River's on week for Musical Monday. I will join her.

For some reason 'late at night', I wanted to hear the song The House of the Rising Sun. I had heard it over the years, of course. Haven't we all, but in these days of being able to see everything, and I want it and I want it now, there was a You Tube video clip of the performance of The House of the Rising Sun, by Eric Burdon and The Animals.

Burdon gave me the shivers when I watched the clip. I could see such cruelty in him, and yet he excited me. No, that does not say anything about me.......well, maybe it does. He was certainly nice looking but his performance skill playing to the camera way back in 1964 is truly scary.

Some women, and I suppose guys, are really attracted to bad bois. Burdon really looks and performs like one, even though he does not seemed to have be really a bad boi. 

To R's surprise after showing him the clip, I told him Burdon comes from the same northern English city as R does. Those damn Geordies.

I did a little net search. Apart from his liking of cigarettes and Scotch, there is no particular bad deed by him to be found.

Take a look.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Whistling and Singing

My father used to announce his arrival at a friend's house by whistling as he ignored the front door and walked down the side of the house to knock or call out at the back door. His whistling was usually already heard and the friends were at the back door to welcome him.

Mother recently told me that when he was stressed, he would whistle or sing. I really liked him singing but I hated him whistling early in the morning and so much wanted to tell him to shut up. But that would not do at all. I would not speak to my father like that. My favourite song of his was If I Were a Rich Man. His de da de da, la was superb.

Two days ago R was singing around the apartment. It was driving me crazy. I wanted to tell him to shut up, but I did not as while I did not work it our at time, I have subsequently. Two days later I have realised why R was singing. It was for the exact same reason my father did, stress from doing the right thing for the ill Brother Friend and everything else. R has been remarkably composed, only snapping once at me with an anti Muslim rant and pro Australia Christian history rant.

Bah, religion. If God is good, why am I sitting here, fat and comfortable while children starve to death or worse.

Can you tell my way of destressing is to write and not sing?

And then there is the heating. Ill Brother Friend is cold and so the heating has being turned up by him to an intolerable level. I worry about the bill, like we can't afford to pay it, wearing out the air con unit and at times I take refuge in my bedroom and close the door while my room cools down. Sister complains we overheat our place and switches off the air con if we are out. She should be here now!

Interestingly, Elisabeth recently wrote about the battle of thermostats when she had a visitor.

Edgewater Towers

It was the ever expanding Open House a few weeks ago in Melbourne. I had one day off, the Saturday to catch something and I went through the electric catalogue and I could not find anything that excited me and the thought of long queues, with the favourite attractions booked out well ahead, was just off putting. Then something grabbed my eye, Edgewater Towers in St Kilda.

I should think Ann O'Dyne and Hels can tell us a bit about Edgewater Towers. R had been inside a couple of years ago and he wondered why it could possibly of interest, but how interesting it was.

It dominates St Kilda's skyline and we can see a small section of it from The Highrise. Construction of Australia's first privately developed apartment block was completed in 1961. The initial developer, Bruce Small, who went on to become Mayor of the Gold Coast and oversaw the introduction of parking meters and bikini clad meter maids to feed them coins, made his fortune after buying a small bicycle shop in Malvern. The Malvern Star, as the bikes were called, became very popular, aided by selling them on credit, and at its post WWII peak, there were 115 stores with 1,000 dealers.

It was also Australia's tallest privately developed residential block until the construction of Robin Boyd's Domain Park Flats, which can be seen on the left of my blog header photo. 

Edgewater Towers was designed by architect Mordechai Benshemesh and over the years has been used in a number of television shows and the 'own your own luxury housing' has seen a number of famous people reside in various apartments.

The front of the building faces Marine Parade and the rear, where most of the carparking spaces are, leads to Spenser Street. There was a long running battle with authorities over fire safety, there being few rules when it was built. An upgrade in early 1990s was followed by addition of a sprinkler system in the mid 2000s and full fire safety measures by 2014. We began with a terrific lecture in the foyer to a crowd of about 20 visitors. R and myself missed the first part, so later caught the beginning of the lecture for the next group.

The tour was conducted by volunteer residents of the building and they were very enthusiastic and passionate about their home. I think we began in a one bedroom third floor flat facing Port Phillip Bay with nice but not remarkable views. The building has also undergone an amount of remedial work on its concrete exterior. Someone suggested towards the end of the construction, the concrete became thinner and thinner to reduce costs.

From there, we travelled up in the very slow independent lift to perhaps the 11th floor. There are two lifts but independent of each other and at different ends of the long central corridor, so it was just a matter of waiting. Here we are looking over Luna Park. If we can see Edgewater Towers from home, then we should be able to see home from here but I couldn't pick it out until later in the full sized photo.

Looking towards Acland Street and beyond the Peanut Farm sports oval is the community garden, or allotments if you like.

For some reason this survived the fire regulations and it was suggested it probably should not have.

Truly though, the building is of rather a plain appearance. The public interior and interiors of flats have been much altered but good service has been addressed to its original appearance.

After the I think 11th floor apartment, we went up on to the roof, a health and safety work, and public liability nightmare. Original roof fencing had been replaced with a closer in and sturdy fence, but we stepped over pipes, tubes and roof infrastructure. Many of those with us were not young or fit. The views were really good though. This is the St Kilda Marina.

Really interesting terrazzo, in such large pieces.

There was a fire in a flat after the sprinkler system was installed. It was quickly put out by the sprinklers.

The mail boxes are not original.

Let us do a roll call of famous people who have lived there. Because of my age, I know most of them.

Sir Hubert Opperman, famous cyclist and later a conservative politician. Mother and the sister of artist Sir Sydney Nolan, the sister and her husband once running the upmarket restaurant within the building. Max Merrit of the band Max Merrit and the Meteors. Brian Dixon, footballer and later a minister in the state conservative party government. Stanley Leighton, founder of Leighton Holdings. Josef Ganz, perhaps the original concept designer of the VW beetle. Wrestler Mario Milano. Hairdresser Ian Morrey, once world hairdresser of the year. Featured in a television show about him, Edgewater Towers was also the home of Dr Bertram Wainer, a campaigner for women's right to abortion and against the police corruption involved when back room abortion was rife.

This corner was once an upmarket restaurant run by the aforementioned sister of Sydney Nolan ... for a time. It closed long ago and was converted to an apartment. To conclude, what a great effort by the resident's of Edgewater Towers to have the building and some apartments open. Thanks to all who conducted the day of opening of, not a gorgeous building but an iconic Melbourne building. Residents of Domain Park Flats take note and open your building for the masses next year.