Friday, October 09, 2015

Back soon

I am away for a few days and I know you will most horribly miss my posts, so therefore I have prepared a couple to be published in my absence. There will be a Sunday Selections, the one that did not get posted last week.

A friend is thinking of visiting Budapest and I can only most highly recommend the city to her. We just adored the city during our ever so brief sojourn on the banks of the Danube in Budapest last year. So therefore, I will republish posts detailing our two days in Hungary before we set off on our wonderful river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam.


Freezer tray

The brand of the refrigerator of my childhood was Hallstrom, the Silent Knight model. I don't remember if it was very silent or not. This is a photo from Sydney's brilliant Powerhouse Museum. It is as I remember ours.

Under the freezer compartment (what did we call the freezer part?) was a tray where you would lay out chops, steaks, sausages and any other flat meat that would fit. The meat would then freeze and of course keep much longer. In a world of there not being plastic bags or wrap, they would be uncovered. Didn't the meat dry out? Well, it was frozen, but still? My favourite fridge memory is Mother opening the fridge door and fast as lightening a very pregnant and ravenously hungry Sooty the cat grabbed sausages from a plate where they had thawed in the fridge and Sooty running off trailing the string of sausages behind her. Sooty did get fed but she was a always a hungry cat. Mother's next fridge did not have a freezer tray. Should we bring them back?

Thursday, October 08, 2015

R's Thursday

Thursday is R's day for taking Mother out. If it is my day off from work, he generously suggests I need the time on my own and don't have to accompany him.

But when I am on holidays, it is a fair call that I go too. R has his visit down pat, depart home at 10am, fill the car with petrol on the way and arrive at Mother's at 11. By 11.30 they have an early lunch, then it is Mother shopping where R firmly calls an end to shopping at 3.00 and usually gets home at 4.00 or shortly after.

This Thursday there was no getting out of for me. I had to go and after lunch R drove me back to Mother's to attend to her list of jobs. I cleaned her air con filters, which badly needed doing. I cleaned her exhaust fan covers, which badly needed doing. I cleaned the kitchen and dining room windows, which weren't so dirty. The house is falling apart but I was careful when cleaning the windows that have barely any putty left to hold them in.  I emptied the vacuum cleaner, which did not need doing. I put the bins out. I cleaned the glass in her wall pictures.

Then I noticed a cob web on the ceiling so I found a broom to clean it away. One cob web was connected to others and whole sheets of cobwebs started falling from the ceilings of ever room I entered. It was like winding fairy floss around a stick as I removed all the webs.

When I was knee deep up to my arms in greasy exhaust fan cleaning, R rang. I can't find your mother, he said, after he returned from dropping me off. Look in the newsagent, I said. She will be buying a 70th birthday card. I later learnt I was right, but she was supposed to be at the bank when R returned.

R returned with Mother from shopping by 2.30. I was amazed that they returned so early. R told me in car on the way home that Mother was really spritely today.

I showed Mother the broom choked with cobwebs and she laughed and said, I am like my mother in my old age. I don't see the dirt. (note to blogmates, if I ever get like that, please shoot me).

After a lunch sandwich at the cafe I was still a little peckish and chose a hummingbird cake. It was just ok, in spite of me not really knowing what it is. R and Mother had scones, jam and cream. Mother asked if there was sugar in the scones. R replied no, you don't put sugar in scones. I replied, typical of you Mother, you never made us scones and so you don't know. Not true she said. I used to make them every Sunday afternoon but you had moved on by then. Probably quite true.

Then I went into reminiscing mode. Remember when Grandma made scones? She would have flour from one end of the kitchen to the other. Father when he built his mother in law's house he included a slide out pastry board but Grandmother never used it. It was a bloke type invention who had no idea of flour falling off a drawer sized board and onto the floor.  Grandma was a good cook but oh, the mess in the kitchen she made. If we were lucky she would make a pie in a dish with a china steam vent planted in the middle.

I loved my grandma. I don't miss her now, but I remember her as been the kindest person ever in my life.

Currawong and Kurrajong

Was it late last year or early this year I first heard the sound of currawong at home. A couple of people commented that they have been in the area for some time, but I had not heard them, so I figure they must have moved closer to The Highrise. Even living on such a busy road, it is quiet at 4am. I would say I can't hear any sound, but I think there is a background white noise which I guess we are just used to.

I am not used to a loud and repetitive call by a currawong at 4am. Twice over the past month, the call has woken me up and other times when I have been only half asleep. It is not an unpleasant sound, not like the evil koel, but gee it is loud. You can hear some of the variety of calls a currawong makes at this site,

This was written a couple of weeks ago and not finished but since then for the first time in my knowledge we were visited by a currawong.

Kurrajong? It is a tree, a place in New South Wales and in West Australia and the name of a hotel. Former Prime Minister Ben Chifley eschewed staying at The Lodge in Canberra, instead preferring the Kurrajong Hotel, or Hotel Kurrajong as it is now known.

Last week I needed to have my tax returned  prepared and instead of using the accountant we inherited from a previous accountant, no matter how nice she is, I decided because of the rising charge to have my tax statement prepared by one of the large specialist chains and it was a wise choice with the fee being half what I paid the previous year. As a new client, it took about 40 minutes, but should I return next year, maby 20 minutes. They also have an online facility too, which I may look at next year.

Relevant to Kurrajong? Well yes. The office building I attended is called Kurrajong House and externally it is quite nice.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


I think it was Hels who mentioned an exhibition about Sir Macpherson Robertson KBE, better known as MacRob, at the Victorian Historical Society. We went along and took a look and it was very interesting. The exhibition closes on the 18th of December so there is still time for local people to visit. Entry is by gold coin donation.

The Society is housed in this old army building, the Army Medical Corps, in A'Beckett Street.

MacRob was a generous benefactor to Melbourne and we have a bridge, a school, a fountain and various other physical evidence of his generosity.  His wealth came from the manufacture of confectionery, trading as MacRobertson and his factories occupied huge areas of the inner northern suburb of Fitzroy. There was some advertising reminding me of lollies I had long forgotten such as Milk Kisses and MacRobertson's Collection. The tins in which the sweets came are widely traded on ebay. The company was sold by his heirs to Cadbury in 1967 but some of his products still exist today, such as Cherry Ripe, Freddo Frog, Old Gold chocolate and Columbines.

My special interest is the nearby fountain which has just undergone renovation. It not the biggest, not the grandest but just a really nice fountain to sit and watch. To one side is a drinking fountain that drains into sculpted bowls for dogs to quench their thirst. Rather advanced thinking for 1934. The fountain was part of the celebrations for the State of Victoria's first centenary.

MacRob always had sugar models of large projects made.

The bottom photo is a depressing reminder of the 2000s drought when the fountain was shut down and fenced off with wire.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Cool change

Time: 3.47 pm
Temp: 34.2 (93)

26.2 (79)

23.3 (73)

20.1 (68)

19.8 (66)

Note the second temperature, the inside one, rose as I turned the air con off and R started ironing.

Later edit: I did not notice the humidity reading next to the external temperature. What a remarkable rise, which you don't notice when it is cooler.

Let's talk about the weather

I don't know that Melburnians are more fixated on the weather than folk elsewhere but our weather is part of our daily conversation, often beginning with the words 'It's too...". Could be too hot, cold, wet, humid, windy and so forth. I recall remarking on someone's blog that their northern hemisphere season seemed to change very abruptly. I spoke too soon, as exactly that has happened here.

On the 11th September we had our first 20 (70) degree day with a jump of 5 degrees. Two days later we cracked 25 (80). By the 23rd, we had dropped back to 12 (54) degrees.

Yesterday was 35 (just short of 100) and today is forecast to be 35 before a cool change. What happened to spring? Of course this is nothing to do with global warming.

Our heat comes when a strong north wind blows the heat down from inland Australia, and at this time of year also rye grass pollen which drives people with hayfever crazy.

Here's a photo, taken a few weeks ago, to brighten things up. The tree closest to the lens is a London plane tree with new leaves appearing. Further is an elm which has just burst into seed, or elm hops as I call them. The hops are now nearly all brown and dry and are flying around in the wind like confetti. They even get caught in updraughts and end up on our balcony, gathering in corners. These couple of very hot days will probably see them all gone and the new elm leaves will appear, faced with searing winds and scorching hot sun. Deciduous European trees really do it tough in Australia.

I'll just end with this, we could do with a bit of rain though.

Monday, October 05, 2015


Today I wondered about:

I am just looking at reviews of the hotel we will be staying in later this month. Why when people book a 3.5 star hotel do they then expect it to be in a 5 star hotel?

Such botheration about last Friday being called as a public holiday on the eve of our football grand final, and therefore costing businesses a lot more in wages if they stay open. Regardless of the merits of the day being a public holiday or not, aren't businesses supposed to be closed on public holidays? It was businesses that fought for the right to open on public holidays and now they just moan on and on about their greedy staff receiving penalty rates if they have to work on that day.

Uber? I am an infrequent taxi user and I have never bothered with Uber. Taxi passengers complain a lot about taxis, no doubt with some justification and many praise this new Uber entrant into the transport system. But isn't Uber turning the clock back to a less regulated time? Taxis are highly regulated, and for good reason. Time will tell and is interesting that in our state Uber drivers as illegal taxis are not being prosecuted but in New South Wales they  are.

Musical Monday

Joining with River for Musical Monday.

I just heard a little of this on the radio. I suppose I must have heard it before as it sounded familiar. I quite liked it and noted the name of the singer when it was back announced. His name is Tanita Tikram. That sounded a bit of a girlie name for a bloke, but no mistaking the voice, it is a bloke, so I thought.

Go to You Tube to have a listen. A still on the clip with a female picture. Some googling is required. Oh, it is a woman. Tikram is a British performer who was born in Munster, Germany. I am hopeless. The song was released in 1988 and I've just noticed it. Wikipedia says she has a husky voice, I'll vouch for that, and her lyrics are poetic and somewhat obscure.

Tanita Tikram with Twist in my Sobriety.

Later edit: It will probably only Australians will know of the entertainer Kamahl, but as per a comment by James, Tanita is Kamahl's niece.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Heard on a tram

There must be a majority of Aborigines who live perfectly normal white Australian type lives, or traditional and semi traditional lives and they go unnoticed. However there is a very visible Aborigine, seen on the street, at times drunk and in Melbourne they can often be seen on the tram between the city and St Kilda, specifically the Gatwick boarding house. You can see how other people on the tram cringe when a loud and drunk few board a tram. It is eyes down to your phone or book, stare distantly out the window or discreetly move if they sit near you, lest you are inveigled into absurd conversation.

Often the women are louder and more belligerently vocal than the men (less drunk?) And so I found myself sitting on the seat behind such a trio, two blokes with one woman, all slovenly dressed. Earlier I had noticed a black guy with a white girl board the tram. They were now unfortunately now sitting in front of seemingly drunk aborigines. He was very handsome and I had no idea of his origins. He was not tall and did not look African but nor did he look Indian. He may even have been Aboriginal too. I did not see his face for long but he had a wide nose. The girl he was with was also attractive, both dressed in the height of stylish casual fashion.

I was torn between shrinking down into my seat or slapping my hand over my mouth to cover my smirking when the Aboriginal woman said to one of her companions as the couple rose to leave the tram at the next stop,

"Hey Charlie, you'd be right with 'er. She likes a bit o' black dick". Probably you had to be there, but I was in equal measure horrified and amused.

If you are reading this, a two night and three day visit by Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo has taken its toll and Sunday Selections may appear later or may not at all.