Friday, January 01, 2016

A Friday quickie

While there are a few abbreviated words that are new to me, this really is how many Australians speak and I use a number of them myself but not the avocado word. I've never heard that.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Life at the end of 2015

Take two. I wrote a long post about what we have been doing and then I hit a key on the keyboard that deleted the post. Naturally this rewritten one is not nearly as good.

Mid December was our Indian Friend's birthday. We celebrated at a Turkish restaurant in Brighton Road, Elwood. While the staff were terrific and we had been there before twice, there was something lacking about the food. Maybe poor choices on our part. Of course I had to have Turkish coffee but I didn't like it much. It was too sweet. I was a late arrival, having come straight from work.

We lived nearby in 1980 and I remember the long gone hardware store. Cable Tram Wines and Spirits lasted much longer but is now a Coles owned Vintage Cellars liquor shop.

A few days later it was a barbeque to celebrate his birthday again at his home. Some long time acquaintances were in attendance and it was a good evening. I was a late arrival, having come straight from work.

R as per normal took Mother out the week before Christmas on the usual Thursday and she realised that R would not be taking her out on Christmas Eve. She planted in his head as a parting shot that he should take her out on the Tuesday before Christmas. Sure enough, on the Monday she rang to check if R was taking her her out the next day. R succumbed. I was at work. Mother is a master at manipulation.

R moaned that we do nothing, not even go into town to see the Christmas decorations. I finished work a bit late but nevertheless I organised us to go into town to see the lights. We dined at a Chinese restaurant and then saw the lights. It was very busy near the Town Hall and the  photo of the projections is not great. Country Mum did a much better job.

Two days before Christmas Non Dreaded Nephew's partner dropped in to leave the Kris Kringle gift. She brought some personal gifts for us; beer samplers and her mother's home produced apple cider.

Christmas Day arrived and I was working and could not go to the family Christmas dinner, lunch. R did and apparently a good time was had. This year it was hosted by ABI Brother who did a fine organisational job. Mother kept nagging that he was not up to it and hinting that we should do it. No, R is too old now and I was at work. The photo is Tradie Brother's idea of Christmas decoration.

Boxing Day arrived and finally I had a day off. We went grocery shopping and Prahran was delightfully quiet. Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo arrived late in the day and R cooked a wonderful barbeque.  We played a board game of Family Feud and that was great fun. It was an early night. Next day Sister and Bone Doctor had to be up early to breakfast at the MCG Members area and then watch the cricket Test Match. Sister had to wear a dress and Bone Doctor was in kind of a suit. Bone Doctor was challenged  by staff for entering an area without a tie and she had to tell staff she was not a boy. I really don't know how they go to the Members beyond Bone Doctor using her father's membership ticket. I was at work but R entertained Little Jo with a visit to the Myer Christmas windows and Federation Square, along with some drawing, games, a swim, a bath, art work and some time spent at MY computer by Little Jo. I have noticed she now takes a break from the computer unasked.

Christmas Sunday and I was back at work and I was a late arrival at the Brother Friend's annual Christmas bash. It used to be Christmas night but we could hardly eat much after Christmas dinner. It was changed to Boxing Day and that was better, but this year Boxing Day suited no one, so the day after it was to be. They were given notice at their Canterbury apartment and are now renting in a very posh Mont Albert North retirement complex. It is a wonderful place, especially nice to die in, but I would rather live in a one bedroom flat in the inner city. It was a nice evening and the Brother Friends' wine trifle was to die for.

Monday and Tuesday are my post Christmas day's off. There is a tale to tell about these days.

Oh yes, Happy New Year everyone.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Port Authority

Manhattan's Port Authority Building is an important train, bus and coach interchange and quickly became very familiar to us when we stayed just metres away from one of its many entrances. I don't recall it being a very inspiring or attractive building but it was certainly well used.

I had forgotten we in Melbourne have our own Port Authority Building and it is lovely building. After bits began falling off the 1960s constructed Suncorp building in a block within Collins and William Streets and Flinders Lane, the Suncorp building was demolished and a lovely view of the Port Authority Building was opened up. The interior is mostly apartments now with some businesses  at ground level. I can't decide which of these photos to use, so I've used both. Of course this view is only temporary. Something just as hideous as the demolished building will undoubtedly be built.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Little Night Movement

Coming to a street near us, trams rumbling past at 4 o'clock in the morning, Saturday and Sunday. We are told by our betters that Melbourne is becoming a 24 hour city, just like New York. Bah humbug, I say. There is no need for us to be a 24 hour city.

New Year's Eve has had an all night train and train service for a couple of years but from this year on, a one year trial will begin with having all night trains and trams every Friday and Saturday nights. A train will run every hour on all usual suburban lines in the early hours of the mornings. Trams will run every half hour on some lines. The route 67 tram to Carnegie will be passing by The Highrise in both directions every half an hour. It is strange really, because we already have an all night bus service covering most of the railway lines and many tram lines too.

These signs have appeared along St Kilda Road and I suppose elsewhere, with I guess the moon indicating that it is covered by an all night service.

Youse can all get f******

We no longer use the word 'class' in everyday conversation. If we need a substitute we may say 'socio economic group', usually referring to the lower classes. It is so interesting to me that as a working class person, many of my contemporaries think of themselves as middle class. Times have changed.

A word like youse used to be referred to as a class marker word. I don't know what the modern non offensive word might be. I very much dislike the word youse. It sounds so..........common. (Being a little self critical, it seems like I believe that you can be working class but not common. Quite possibly so. I don't mid being working class but I would hate to be thought of us common) It would seem youse is also used in Britain and North America.

I would argue that a clear plural of you is needed. You is both singular and plural but at times it does not work well to describe the plural. If a good part of the western world is using the word youse, we do need a plural of you.

An inventor of clever words is Snoskred. What word might she come up with? Perhaps the deep south of the US has it right with y'all.

Monday, December 28, 2015

A day off

Christmas, work, family, outings, celebrations and visitors have rather caught up with me. Doctor Glenfiddich has been called and he forecasts a full recovery tomorrow but for today, Highriser is unwell.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Piping hot water

Recently there was a discussion on the radio about domestic hot water systems and the age of some people's units. Popular in the 40s, 50s and 60s were electric storage hot water systems and it seems they were so well made that many are still operating today. Their replacement was usually a mains water pressure gas fired external unit, keeping a certain amount of water hot, heating as the water temperature in the unit dropped. They have a lifespan of about 10 years. Now is not unusual for instantaneous units to be installed, heating water only when the hot tap is turned on.

Mother has lived in her house for forty years and it has the original hot water system in the roof still supplying hot water. As far as I know, it has never been touched. The system, as most did, has a header tank with a cock and ball valve to keep the water at a set level. The hot water unit takes its water from the header tank as required and is gravity fed to the taps. That means the water pressure is not very high. It heats the water overnight at a lower electricity tariff and has its own meter and timer. The biggest problem with such a unit is that if you run out of hot water, there is no more until it goes through its overnight heating cycle. This often causes family disputes with blame apportioned to someone who spends a long time in a shower, or  the person who does too much washing in one day. Some units do have an over-ride where you can switch it on manually during the day, but it will heat the extra water at the more expensive general household tariff.

I forget how big the units were, that is how much hot water they held. Maybe 200 litres, although 80 gallons seems to ring a bell, which is much more than 200 litres. Maybe it was 60 gallons.

When we first moved to the farm when I was four years old, hot water in the kitchen came from boiling water on the black cast iron stove, for the bath from a chip heater and for the laundry, an immersion heater. It wasn't long before my father installed an electric hot water service of the type described above and then later connected the new slow combustion stove that heated the water in jackets around the firebox. The electric system only came on if the stove was off.

Leaving a young me at home and to my own devices was always a mistake and mischief would ensue. There were always things to investigate and thought lines to pursue. I thought I might see how super hot I could get the hot water and loaded up the stove with many more briquettes of coal than was normally burnt. Extending from the roof and shaped like a shepherd's crook was the hot water system overflow. I had never known it to operate, but operate it did. Like a dragon it spat out steam and boiling water on to the roof. The fire in the stove became hotter and hotter and boiling water continued to flow in a steady stream. What to do? I can't take burning briquettes out of the fire box but I did close down the fire damper.

Eventually it settled down and by the time my parents returned, all they knew was that the water was nice and hot and I am sure they did not notice the higher than usual consumption of briquettes for the week.

Now, it is always good to add a photo to a tale but how boring is round metal cylinder. But wait, the oldest hot water service in the world was anything but boring and so I have taken the liberty of using one of River's photos of her failed behemoth of a hot water heater. It looks to be quite a complicated unit.