Saturday, August 06, 2016

Saturday night not at the movies

Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo are staying the night. Sister saw her team defeated at the footyball today. R and Little Jo picked up Bone Doctor from Sandringham where she had run to from here, 18 km plus, in marathon training. They had coffee and bought some berries from a specialist berry shop, and nice they are. Some of the berries decorated Sister's birthday cake. Sis and Bone Doctor then went off to the rugby. Victor will be proud of me. So Bone Doctor, Rabbitohs is the old South Sydney that was owned by Russell Crowe? It became more complicated and frankly went above my head when I asked how do you own a rugby team.

We can't watch our ABC on Saturday night when Little Jo is around. Parental guidance recommended, at the least. So we watched the repeat of the Olympic opening ceremony. It was quite good. Maybe doing things on a tight budget is not a bad idea.

8:30 to Little Jo playing on our desktop, Must be getting close to bedtime.

9:00 C'mon Little Jo. Nearly time for bed. Clean your teeth and put your pyjamas on.

9:30 Little Jo, it is time to go to bed. We will get into trouble if you are still up when your mums get home.

10.00 Sister and Bone Doctor arrive home and the ever so clever Little Jo jumped off the computer to rush and and embrace her mothers and told them she had missed them, thereby not being criticised for staying up so late. Thus we also were not criticised for allowing Little Jo to stay up so late.

Bone Doctor is catching the 7:50 to Geelong at Spencer Street in the morning and Sister and Little Jo are driving on to spend some non quality time with Mother for Sister's birthday. Little Jo has plans of showing her Nanny the game lemonade roulette. Six cans of soft drink, shake one up, rotate and mix them and then each person opens them at random. Mother has often been hosed and wetted. What fun.

Ok, I'm for bed.

Fun Tram

I have featured this before but readers come and go, so here it is again. It is one of Melbourne's old, now retired, Z1 trams decorated by specialist decorators from Karachi in Pakistan, 2:24 I love the way it begins with the pealing bells of St Pauls merging with the music from the sub continent and then at the end as the tram departs we go back to the back to the bells of St Pauls ringing. It operated in 2010 on the free City Circle tram route and was a great success. Yes, we did take a trip. It was great fun and everybody was so happy and smiling.

I was reminded of the video when the other day I came across the ticket we were given when we travelled.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Weekend away 2/2

Setting up did not take too long. There was a another room for the children to hang out in and we set up tables and chairs in both rooms. The devices for moving tables and chairs around are amazing. Stacks of chairs can easily lifted and the tables are on a trolley and easily fold out. I set up a dvd player in the kids room and grappled with the technology of the wall projector. There were quite clear directions and dire warnings about not to attempt to rewire anything. There were four remote controls involved and switches and buttons to set, the end result being that there could be a slideshow of a younger Bone Doctor, or music clips to match what the dj machine was playing. I also half filled the urn for tea and coffee but only three people had a hot drink, so half filling the urn was too much and they could have just boiled the kettle. 

Sister arrived with the balloons and the birthday cake. Cup cakes are very fashionable at the moment.

After our efforts, we rewarded ourselves at the Queenscliff bakery, Rolling Pin. The last time we were here, the place was manic. It was more civilised mid winter, mid afternoon.

R and I took a wander in the main street of Queenscliff, Hesse Street. See the wattle bird on the bicycle. They are quite noisy and aggressive birds but a magpie was having none of that and attempted to chase the wattle bird away, to no avail. It would just duck out of the way.

A very furry cat in the street. While it enjoyed being stroked, its tail was moving ninety to the dozen. We left it attending to some personal hygiene.

Ok, the party. As I said it began at 5.30 and we arrived about 6.20. Sister promised to drop us back at our digs whenever we were ready. At the desk in the foyer of the venue were tags with a rubber band to loop around your wrist. Here was what was on mine. Can anyone guess the answer? I had to find the person that night who had the connected tv ad product name. Some were based on songs and others on movies. It was a good way to get people chatting and mixing. We both found our matches.

I knew two of Sister's friends, but that was all and I tend not to be the type to step forward. Fortunately others are not so restrained, so we met a number of people and had a lot of chats. One woman introduced me to her attractive younger blonde partner. Looks belied her having a vice like handshake of the type I have not experienced by a bloke. Once people learnt I was Sister's brother, they were more friendly again. The theme was the eighties with a number of enlarged ads from the time on the walls, football news and record albums of the time. Most people had made an effort dressing for the eighties theme, except for me. There really were some terrific outfits and I am pleased that Sister and Bone Doctor have at least two attractive young male friends. The nicest looking younger guy, perhaps 25, looked very grumpy and unsmiling. He immediately went and picked up a can of beer. Just watch, I said to R. He will have two of those and be smiling. Sure enough, he was and he had the most beautiful teeth and smile. Sister said towards the end of the night he was karaoke performing and quite a good singer. Most people were 35 to 55 and I think there were about 50 adults and 20 children. 

In a remarkable coincidence, one woman we chatted to grew up in Burwood, close to where we had a unit. The lovely next door neighbour we had there was the one who when we told that we were moving to Balaclava or Prahran, said, it will be good for you to be among your own kind! She meant no harm, perhaps thinking that outer suburbs did not suit us. I recounted this to the person we were chatting to, and she said, it wasn't JK, was it? Sure enough, she knew her well and her mother and JK were close friends. She confirmed the worst, which we had assumed when Christmas cards stopped arriving from JK two years ago. She had died. 

There was  plenty of snack food and there seemed to be plenty of drinks, but at 8.30 the red wine ran out. Hot pizzas were delivered at 6.30 and again at 7.30 and they disappeared quickly. Speeches and cake ceremony were finished by 9.00. Bone Doctor's outfit was her teenage girl guides uniform. How many of us at forty could fit into our teenage clothes?  Then the real partying started with singing, dancing and hi-jinks. We had decided we'd had enough and Sister was enjoying herself so much, it seemed a shame to ask her to take us home. I decided to call a cab to take us back and by 9.30 we were on our way. It was a really good party. Sister is terribly good at organising such things and doesn't get waylaid by fuss and fine detail. Bone Doctor just follows orders.

 A couple of observations. In the reverse of what I remember from my younger days, the older women were the ones who had a few drinks while their husbands limited themselves and had to drive. There were a number of boys there of various ages. As boys do, they brought a along a ball and they had a great time playing football outside with some girls joining in. No surprise about that, except they did not choose to play Aussie Rules with the oval ball, but soccer, with the round ball.

Next morning R and I had a light breakfast of fruit toast and coffee at the same cafe as the day before and again the sun was shining so we sat outdoors. We had already checked out of accommodation. We were to meet Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo for brunch at Queenscliff Harbour at 10.45. We were early so we took a bit of a drive around Queenscliff and somehow ended up at the party venue adjacent to the station and Pozieres was shunting carriages into position for the day's operation.

It is only a little shunting engine but I think it does make the trip to the other terminus at Drysdale. The engine was made in 1919 in Kilmarnock, Scotland and was built for service in WWI. Subsequently it was sold to an Australian mining company in Broken Hill.

Still a little early, we kept driving around. This is Vue Grand in Hesse Street.

Now in Gellibrand Street. I don't know the name of this building. Later edit: With help from Hels, it is the Queenscliff Hotel. Hels has herself posted photos of fine Queenscliff buildings.

The Ozone, built as accommodation for tourists, many of who would have arrived  by a steam ferry by the same name from Melbourne. The railway line opened in 1879 but the ferry would have been much faster.

Next door to The Ozone.

Magpies in this area must feel very safe. I have never seen such tame maggies. This is where we met for brunch. Obviously R and I weren't that hungry, so we just had more toast, this time sourdough. Unusually for me, a coffee addict, I ordered a small pot of earl grey tea, and very fine it was too.

Got it, among our non visible legs. 

After brunch we went back to the community hall to clean up, which did not take too long. Little Jo sang on the karaoke machine, then Sister had a sing and then I was outside doing something as R and Sister sang a duet. Then the man arrived to take machine away. Oh yes, presents. R and myself stuck with the eighties theme and bought Bone Doctor a Tetris lamp. The blue part is fixed but the other colours can be rearranged.

Sister bought Bone Doctor a second hand eighties games console. I had forgotten how to play them, but Little Jo gave me a crash course. I can only remember Pacman but we played some other games too. Naturally I was soundly beaten. It is identical to this one but does not need money to play. Gee, they are slow to react to what you tell them to do. Sister had also bought Bone Doctor dinner on Melbourne's restaurant tram and a night's accommodation in the city, which they did the week before her birthday.

And so ended our weekend away. We headed for home early afternoon and did little once home.

Answer to My Dad Picks the Fruit is that it was a tv ad for Cottees Cordial and I found the person who had Cottees Cordial tag, rather she found me.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Party Musings

Sorry, I wrote this a couple of nights ago without any real intention to publish. I have worked on the second party post and it is nearly finished, but not quite. I am very tired and will finish it tomorrow.

Not one of Bone Doctor's family attended her 40th birthday party. Her mother is travelling in Africa. Err, better not arrange travel when it is my daughter's 40th? No. Her father stays at home, morose and staring at walls. One sister was working. Not sure about the other. Her brother, clearly not prepared to make an effort.

I had the weekend off work, Saturday and Sunday and it has been some time since I have had both weekend days off. Instead of indulging myself, and I missed Melbourne's Open House, I made the effort for Bone Doctor, as did R, and it cost us a few bob. My family is far from the perfect loving family, but we do make an effort for each other, and I hope Bone Doctor has learnt a little from us about family. I am not looking for praise. It is just how I think and feel. There are family obligations. Had I have been working, then I would not have been able to attend.

Successful family connections rely on at times biting your tongue and remembering that whatever happens, family connections are so important, so unless it is impossible to do otherwise, don't put any family member on the outer. When you get older, it seems you don't have a lot of friends and speaking personally, lack the withall (what is the word I am looking for. I should know? It will come to me at 3.47 AM tomorrow) to make new friends, that is if you even need new friends.

The objective me agrees families can be different and not all like mine. Some are better, some are worse. But surely some basic caring for family must surely be at the forefront. I don't believe Bone Doctor's family ever really argue. From my perspective, they just don't seem to care enough to bother with each other. They have occasional contact, but that is as far as it goes.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

The Rich Uncles

Apparently that is how we are seen. Fire Fighting Newphew was broke in London as was Ex Sis in Law who went there and met up with him when he was living in Glasgow. They did some fun holidaying together but had run out of money. A metaphorical telegram arrived, please send money. I sent them $2000, half of my life savings back then. Sis in Law never mentioned the money lent again, but I did mention it to FF Nephew and he repaid the money. The lad had a good credit with me.

I forget what they wanted to see now when he and his Jewish Betrothed were in South America, but they had run out of funds. He did not ask but I gave him a gift of $300 as he had repaid the earlier borrowed money and I told him not to tell anyone. So far as I know he didn't tell anyone.

Fire Fighting Niece is still in Glasgow and in spite of her tour already being paid for, living for free in Amsterdam for a few nights, living for free in Newcastle with R's Sister, she has gone through her $8,500 spending money, with only a couple of hundred left and another week to go. She sent a message that she could now not afford to visit Ireland and did we know of somewhere cheap she could stay near Heathrow. She did not directly ask for money, but the message was clear.

R was a bit cross with FF Niece as the last time he spoke to her on Face Book communication, in his words, 'she blew me off'. What a curious phrase and I think I understand what it means. She called last night on Face Book.

R spoke to her and said that if she was desperate, we would send her some money. I flippantly said, if you are going back to London, hang around Soho and you will get guys to buy you food and drinks, and go back to the hostel where you stayed earlier. She said she does not use guys like that. Even more flippantly, I told her to fill in her last week by going to Brighton and she can hang out with gays on the beach. At that point R told me to shut up. Surprisingly and cheaply, she has booked a 14 hour duration bus trip from Glasgow to Brighton where she will hang out for a few days. That there is a bus from Glasgow to Brighton amazes me. She will save one night's accommodation by being on the bus.

Yesterday Ex Sis in Law called. As soon as I saw it was she calling, I knew what it would be about. Ex Sis in Law is very broke, as is FF Niece's father, Tradie Brother. Apparently FF Niece called FF Nephew, just back from New York and also broke, in some distress, and Nephew suggested to her to ask the Rich Uncles for a loan. Those were his words. I have used the term for us, but I don't remember doing so in front of FF Nephew, but perhaps I have. Maybe I have made a joke, don't worry, The Rich Uncles will pay. So, the call from Ex Sis in Law was about sending her daughter some money. Broke as Ex Sis in Law and her husband are, how come they drive and can afford to drive much more expensive cars than we do? One of life's oddities is that some very poor people have the latest and nicest cars, when at times I drive our 16 year old bomb to work, a place where car status his very high.

Nevertheless as R always does, he came good for my family. He contacted Oldest Niece for FF Niece's banking details, which were unhelpful for a direct deposit. FF Niece has some sort of cash card, credited via her travel agency, Student Travel Association, but no credit card. I suppose that is to her credit. Oldest Niece made a call to her friend who works at STA and with a couple of calls by R, just a couple of hours later, FF Niece has $500 to tide her over for the rest of holiday and until she receives her tax refund and will offer to repay us. If she does not offer, I will be very cross. She will, and when she does, we will say, don't worry about it.  Now I have savings of $10,000, it is not such a huge amount and R will pay half the $500. While he constantly whinges and moans about my family, he does more for them than any of our family do.

It matters not so much. At the end of the day, they will inherit our supposed wealth anyway, less the reverse mortgage, haha. They have just had a bit in advance. While Oldest Niece is only working part time, and we don't know much about how much her husband earns, and they have a toddler and a baby, I would have thought Oldest Niece might have had funds for her sister, but it seems not, or perhaps we just easier touches. Que sera.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Weekend away Pt 1/2

The weekend away was very pleasant and thank you for your good wishes.

I arrived home from work at 7pm Friday night and I had already packed. By 7.15 we were on the road. I am not sure why I torture myself when there are so many good food places around, but we stopped at a McDonalds for dinner. R enjoyed his choice, which included jalapeno peppers to give it some taste. I chose, I think, a chicken and bacon burger. How does McDonalds manage to eliminate taste from their burgers? We should have at least chosen Hungry Jacks, which does manage to insert some taste into their food. But we needed fast food, fast.

We arrived at our accommodation in Point Lonsdale about 9.20. Mine host had called us 20 minutes earlier to check on our progress. We had been offered two nights for the price of one. It is just as well because we think the accommodation was very expensive had we paid full price. Our room was compact, aged and without air con, but it did have a ceramic electric heater, which we left on high for the whole time we were there. It kept the place warm enough, just. The bathroom  was even more compact, but at least reasonably modern. The beds were comfortable enough but the view was lousy. This is the only photo I took of our room. I don't especially blame the accommodation. We had to keep in mind that I limited our choice of room by wanting twin beds but nevertheless, I was surprised to realise that there was no cooling in any room for summer months, as far as I could see. Trip Advisor reviews indicate if you booked for dinner, it is very good, as is breakfast.

It's an historic building and came close to demolition in the 80s. From memory it was built mid 19th century by the light house keeper and his descendants ran it for some time. We had our ántique' period in the 80s and 90s, and now prefer clean lines and modern........and spacious. The business is for sale, which is perhaps the freehold of the land too. I can't see that it is sustainable in its present state. Oh yes, mine hosts were delightful. As I later said to Bone Doctor, I think she would laugh if you told her she had cancer.

Rear view where guest's cars are parked.

Pool and spa with a tennis court beyond. Not much call for these at this time of the year.

A fully equipped communal kitchen.

We saw a few of these structures around Point Lonsdale.

An area mid building with a lemon tree and a couple of healthy looking cumquat trees. I am sure it would be very enjoyable if the temperature was above 13 degrees.

Looking at the front of the building from the east.

A view from the west.

Bone Doctor is in training for the Melbourne Marathon and had been out for a run. She will burn the breakfast kilojoules off very quickly.

Approaching the lighthouse.

There is a collection of this large dormitory like buildings fenced off and in poor repair. I said to R that they reminded me of my childhood school camps on the Mornington Peninsula. Sure enough, an investigation informed me that the buildings were erected to house Italian prisoners of war during WWII (the source I read said POWs but wouldn't it be more likely they were internees?) and then later reinvented as a school camp by the charitable organisation known as Toc H. Another source said the buildings were used by the Womens' Land Army and army personal.

We reached the beach and started out on the pier.

Note the concrete box on the beach. The area has several such structures, both from WWI and WWII. Point Lonsdale sits one side of the entrance to Port Phillip Bay and Point Nepean on the other side with a narrow gap in between known as The Rip, so called because of the speed at which the water flows in and out of the bay as the tide rises and falls. It is an ideal place to shoot a cannon ball at an enemy ship coming into the bay.

To the right a Norfolk Island Pine dominates the skyline. At Christmas it is decorated with coloured lights and is quite spectacular, and exciting to passengers as they pass by in cruise ships.

Not sure what this device is on the pier.

I know what these are for though, to hold fishing rods.

More war bunkers can be seen to the left of the base of the lighthouse.

At the end of the pier is a fish cleaning trough. The handle pumps up seawater which comes out of the black rubber hose. We tried it, it works and no priming was needed.

A wave breaking for no apparent reason.

This electric motor cycle type vehicle runs a drop off and pick up transport service from where we stayed to the Blues Train which departs from Queenscliff, some kilometres away. I think it is available for general hire too and is operated by someone called Bongo, which somehow seems appropriate.

We had called Sister on way to Point Lonsdale to see if she wanted to catch up for breakfast and kind of received a negative reply. Little Jo had her theatre class in Geelong at 10.30 and then a local play date with a boy from her school. The boy must like be bossed about by girls. Later Sister texted, meet us for breakfast at 8.30 at Cafe Amore. R moaned about having to get up so early but nevertheless, after having a dram or two of the good stuff, we slept well in comfortable beds and Sister, Bone Doctor, Little Jo and ourselves gathered for breakfast.

That done, we separated with an arrangement to meet Bone Doctor later at the Queenscliff venue where her 40th birthday party was to be held. We would help set up. R and I went for a decent walk and as we have seen the lighthouse before, this time we chose to take the left fork and walk out on the pier. The sea was quite rough with big waves. The breeze was brisk, but the sun was out.

On our way to set up the venue, we took a little drive around the better streets of Point Lonsdale, where retired judges, celebrities and other kindred souls live discreetly and modestly, often hidden by tea tree and other greenery. It is a town for retired folk who are tired of city life and just want to walk their dogs on the beach path and chill over newspapers in expensive cafes. My goodness, everything is so expensive in Point Lonsdale. We saw the French born TV chef Gabriel Gate in the main street three times. He was chatting to various people. He seems like a very nice bloke.

A very tame magpie.

Although there wasn't a scheduled service run by the Bellarine Railway tourist steam train, it nevertheless made an unscheduled departure from the station with clouds and smoke and steam.

After helping set up for the party we chilled for a little while back at our digs, read me using my tablet and R having a decent siesta, and after showering and dressing, Sister picked us up at just after 6pm. Neither of us wanted to be nominated driver that night. The party began at 5.30 and when we arrived around 6.20, there were kids afoot and lots of adults too.

The party and the aftermath in the next post.

Note to self, a blog post probably works better when you upload the photos first and then write. This time I did the reverse, and I can't say it worked so well.