Saturday, August 20, 2016


Sister: Little Jo, I'm going for a walk in Fawkner Park. Would you like to come?

Little Jo: No Mummy, I'll stay here (as she sat at our computer).

Later I said to Sister, you should have asked her to go Pokemon hunting. Sister agreed. Little Jo did later find one in our foyer. I am not sure how you catch the critters, but apparently, observing Little Jo, you count one, two, three and then say got it.

Mother is still in hospital, issuing orders to her minions, that is us. We follow some and don't follow others. I try ignore things about night time incontinence and the need for absorbent pads and two pair of underwear each night, but I could not ignore when I found one used pad wrapped in her dressing gown that she gave us to wash. Today's list was pens as she keeps loosing the one she has, a writing pad as her current one is running out, two packets of Marie biscuits and some Holeproof socks, mens, large. Jesus, they were on special at Coles supermarket reduced from $11 to $8. I've never in my life paid anything like that for one pair of socks. Nurse Rani is having days off, replaced by Rey, a drop dead gorgeous nurse, who at a guess by his name and looks is of Philippine heritage. Oldest Niece, Firefighting Niece and Little Em joined us at the hospital today. FF Niece thought he was gorgeous and Mother agreed, helped by him being very kind and good with demanding old ladies. Mother has nothing but praise for the nurses and the meals, but not for her treating doctor with the same name as one of our senior female politicians.

For the first time after having my tax return prepared, the return dollars have been outweighed by the cost of having the return prepared. I think I will do it myself next year. Someone told me it is very easy at the Australian Tax Office website. H&R Block is very good though, and I pay half what I used to with a private accountant.

Long Tan! What a mess. It was the site of a battle during the Vietnam war (or the American war if you are Vietnamese) and over the last decade or more, the victor Vietnam has been quite generous towards Australians who fought against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese in the Long Tan rubber plantation and want to visit Vietnam. It goes without saying that we should never have been there fighting.  All the way with LBJ indeed! 18 Australians and 500 Vietnamese were killed in the battle. I guess we won the battle but lost the war. I don't understand why the Vietnamese government cancelled the planned commemoration at the last minute when many Aussies who had fought in Vietnam were already there. Maybe it was because the commemoration had become bigger than Ben Hur. Clearly something went amiss. But if you think about it, should we have Japanese from WWII here in Darwin to commemorate the bombing of northern Australia? Clearly not enough Australians wanted to go to Vietnam to fight a stupid war at the behest of the USA, so they were conscripted. Many anti American feelings in Australia come from this war, certainly if you are my age.

Cruelty to animals continues, with a local report of a crate of live chickens falling off a truck outside a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet. Dead and injured birds were stuffed back into the crate and moved on, a cat skinned alive in the UK and again locally, a dog killed by having duct tape wrapped around its head. We humans are the quite despicable creatures of the world at times. Trivia, five horses were killed during the making of the 1925 Ben Hur movie.

Once again, Melbourne has been voted Melbourne's most livable city by one index. By another we are 16th and Sydney is 10th. While Melbourne is quite a good place to live, you try to get around on our roads and public transport. It is a misery. There are too many people in our large city of nearly 5 million people, yet our governments allows our population to grow unabated. Good for big business, but not so for the residents of our fair city. Vienna was runner up in the survey, but it is a very expensive place to live. Vancouver in third place is more affordable and also quite nice. I adored both cities, but the weather is better in Vancouver and it is more like Australia. That may or may not be a good thing, really. The survey is prepared for foreign companies to judge what a city is like before they ask executives to go there. I'll rephrase to the award being absolutely rubbish for anyone who is not a executive thinking of moving here or for a visitor.

Deer have now been noted in Wilson's Promontory. Australia has very thin soils and a delicate environment. Cloven hoof animals have no place here and should be eradicated, except for on farm land. Wild buffalo, camels, deer, horses......get rid of them.

Lordy, we export gas to Japan for their consumption and for our gas, after shipping costs, the Japanese consumer pays AU$8 per gigajoule. Adelaide folk pay AU$14. On average we pay 33% higher in Australia for our gas than what is paid for our gas exported to Japan.

Still, it could be more absurd, like Britain sending their apples to South Africa to be washed and then returned to Britain for sale at Tescos and markets.

Shocking images from a youth detention centre in the Northern Territory and now awful images from a northern Queensland youth detention facility. Just be very grateful you are not one of the workers in either place. You will have to deal with the miscreants and management and the court of public opinion. Management creates the culture of such a work place, ipso facto, the government.

I have decided to have a frank conversation with Mother. I am rehearsing it. Mother, while you are sharp of mind and by your test results you will live to be very old, you are increasingly feeble. If not now, what in the future when the time comes do you want to do? Live near Sister where there is good care? Or stay in your town?

I could go on forever. To wrap on something good, Little M was in daycare today so we only saw Little Em. At six months old, she is a laughing blue eyed and just a lovely baby. Mother, her great grandmother, had a good nurse of her today, as did R. I don't nurse babies, lest I drop them (or get bored). Her mother, Oldest Niece, is now officially huge, but she is so pretty and makes up so well, along with dressing really well, unlike her sister FF Niece who looked like a slob. FF Niece did visit Brighton in England for a few days, but then the gay pride march was about to happen and prices shot up so, she left.

We are having some welcome rain that began this morning and continued for a few hours. Dog Jack is visiting for the weekend and I am not looking forward to the smell of wet dog. We were at the home of Dog Jack's mummy when he was delivered and our Dyke Friend did not like his name, which I don't remember. R suggested the name Jack and it stuck. The woman who handed over Dog Jack was in tears. Her circumstances had changed and could no longer keep Dog Jack. "R, do you remember Dog Jack's former name?" He did. It was Tarquin. Believe me, Jack is much more like a Jack than a Tarquin.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Clever Jussy

Talk dirty to me Jussy. Explain quantum physics.

Jussy is so luscious. I think I may have said as a punishment for treating Jussy as a sex object, I must study Canadian politics to see if Jussy is actually an effectual Prime Minister. Hey, give me some time. I'll get there.

It is somewhat tedious to watch, but there is a video of our Queen thanking Jussy for reminding her how old she is.  You can find it on Youtube.

Later, it seems Jussy can talk dirty and can be quite rough.......I feel faint.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The garden next door

Something must have been wrong with the work of this number seating at the garden next door as it was partly pulled up and some replaced. Then finally, after about seven months the fencing came down.

Ye fence begone.

Skateboard protective devices installed.

But not really enough.

Sunday afternoon the landscaping suffered an attack of skateboarders. They skated on the numbers, going right around the internal part of the numbers.

Going back to the second photo, they took a run up from the front of our building, timing their run so that the green walk would be showing in Kingsway. They went up the left hand slope and shot off the end, without a care about any pedestrian. In fact one collided with a fellow skater and they fell out into stationary traffic on the road. Another almost hit the side of a van when he came off. One of the crew was recording the action, stomping all over the plants in the garden and damaging some.  I did nothing and I don't think it will really be an appealing site for skateboarders, but should I have done something? They damaged private property, so should I have called the police?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Just another Sunday, not quite

Mother had worked the day out carefully. It was my first free Sunday for many weeks. We arrive at 11.30, lunch at McDonalds at 12.00 and then we visit her friend for afternoon tea and must admire her friend's very expensive home renovations. Truth be told, Mother's friend has the best house in the worst street. The suburb where Mother's friend is awful. Her home is wonderful but in a horrible area. Down the back, her son lives in an extension that reeks of dope.Her husband's factory is further back.

Mother's friend had promised Mother a long term lend of a walking frame, the upmarket type that has a seat as well. Mother's friend bought it for her late divorced husband. Yes, even in real life, relationships are changing. Mother's friend and her husband looked after her ex husband until  his death and it was his walking frame.

When we arrived at Mother's, she was in a total mess. It is rare to see her without makeup, but she had none. She could barely walk because of her foot injury from four weeks ago, but aggravated by a twist when she was walking a few days earlier. The pain had become worse and her foot was now swollen. She was getting around the house using her washing basket trolley, which does fit between her fridge and the bench, unlike the walker that Sister gave her that Sister found on a road side collection. Mother did the usual, whatever will happen to me and I can't cope. She had already seen her doctor and had an xray but the xray was not going to be available until this Wednesday from last Friday.

At her insistence, we took her to an emergency department of a private hospital. I tried to encourage her to go to the nearest public hospital but she had heard 'bad reports' about the hospital, even though it was where Step Father died and his treatment was fine. This is really going to cost, not mother even though she has private health cover that we pay. No, her children will have have to pay, meaning me who will then have to ask for recompense from my siblings. Mother said, don't ask Tradie Son as he has no money. Don't worry, it will be added to his bill. Mother acts like a rich woman while she is confident her children will pay, but that is coming to a stop.

We stayed with her for a while as she underwent tests but it was clearly going to take a long time, plus she had packed a suitcase and three handbags hoping to stay overnight. What a lovely way to spend a Sunday. I called the hospital at 6.00 pm and was put through to her room. The hospital had given her foot a CT scan along with other tests and diagnosed a soft tissue injury and arthritis. There was not a bed available for her at the hospital in the Dandenong valley, so she was transferred last night (Sunday) by an ambulance to a south eastern private hospital/rehab centre.

I called my sister and brothers to let them know what happened, and her friend. That took some time!

Mother called Monday morning before I had a chance to call the hospital. She had not had a good night and she had been prescribed three different painkilling drugs. One is called Endo, I think, and she said she had stomach reaction. Mostly what she wanted was some nicotine patches as it was a long walk to get out of the hospital to be able to smoke. We bought some on our way there today, Monday. ABI Brother arrived with more of Mother's charlatan medicines and her clean underwear that  she had left on her phone table. Her lunch arrived and we went to the cafe to have some food ourselves and when we returned, her bed number was flashing for nurse attention on an overhead screen. Oh dear. No, she wasn't dead, but had spilt the hot water for her tea on the bed. Staff never arrived in the subsequent hour we were there.

She has now been to convinced to to take at least half an Endo tablet and to get off codeine, to which she is addicted. She seems quite happy in hospital and much more cheery. We don't have a clue as to how long she will be there, but as she lives alone, she needs her foot to heal before returning home.

Meanwhile in The Highrise, we had a terrible argument and R packed a suitcase in preparation to leave to live in a rented flat. It was all brought on by the stress of dealing with Mother. R spent 20 years working with disabled people, young and old, and now just deals with sane old people in his volunteer job, and he says there are none not even close to being worse than my mother.

Mother is so manipulative and skilled at it that you don't even realise it is happening. Now I am smarter thanks to R when he notices and has alerted me to what she up to and her motives. This 57 year old man was today in the women's underwear department of Big W buying Mother new underwear. I told her her she did not need so much underwear but apparently she wears two pairs each night with an absorbent pad in between. Way too much information. I don't want to know.

One doctor at the first hospital told Mother, Mrs C, it rare for us to see an 82 year old woman with such excellent general test result. Do you smoke? Not for a while, Mother replied. Doctor said, I can smell it on you. Mother answered, I was so stressed, I had one on the way here. Actually, she had one before she left home and one before she went in to the hospital.

Lordy, with such good general test results, Mother is going to live forever. Woe is us.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Walkie Talkie Building

The part of London that tourists will get to know best is not a forrest of skyscraper buildings, and is all the better for that. Many great cities of the world have kept their historic city areas free of high rise buildings altogether. Not so Melbourne. London has allowed some special high rise buildings though and because they are few, they really stand out and have become buildings to visually identify London at a glance, especially the 'Gherkin'. In my opinion, there are now enough such buildings in that part of London.

In the background in this photo you can see the 'Gherkin', St Mary Axe. In the foreground is the 'Walkie Talkie' building, Fenchurch Street. Most of you will agree it is a very strange shape indeed.

Marie at 62andthenext10pathways really deserves some publicity for her brilliant work as she uses London's train lines to investigate the area surrounding each station. I believe she has completed the Bakerloo line and is well on the way to completing the Central line. As she explored the area around Bank, she made mention of the Walkie Talkie building and how because of its concave shape, it magnified the sun to an intense beam that could set a carpet alight and damage cars. While I had heard of this, I suspected a bit of myth had grown up around the story too. I investigated.

Wow, it is all quite true. Pictures from the Daily Mail, 2013. A nice bright spot beaming down from the Walkie Talkie.

Stepping out into the glare.

Distorted car window rubbers.

Burnt plastic mirror surround.

Burnt bicycle seat.

Tiles broken and glue melted.

Burnt shop entrance mat.

So how hot were the intensified sun rays from the Walkie Talkie? Hot enough to fry an egg, apparently.

As a boy I learnt about the power of curved glass, sadly leading to the demise of several ants and the occasional shriek from my brother. The architect did not wonder about what would happen when the sun's rays hit the curved glass of the Walkie Talkie building?

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Friday Night Out

My attention was first drawn to Ash Williams when I heard in a podcast that he worked at an LA gay bar, with guys giving him large tips to lick out vodka shots from from his navel. I don't care for such things and you will never hear me confessing to licking up pepper schnapps from a table. Ash's navel might have been nicer than the table.

In a moment of madness in June I said to R, for my birthday in October, buy us tickets to Ash Williams show to see in August at the Butterfly Club, and he did. One of R's customers where he volunteers told R it is a a gay place. Well, I hope it is gay and happy venue. It was not obviously gay at all and nor were the patrons. I am not sure if the same person owns it set it up originally in South Melbourne, but yes, the ownership was gay.

We found a new to us Thai restaurant for an early dinner as the show was at 7pm. It was a bit of a rushed dinner and we would have liked longer to dine. FOMO in Bourke Street was good and we will return. For entre I ordered Son in Law Eggs. Delicious. I think they are fried whole and served with a tamarind sauce. One can't even guess at the name.

The Butterfly club is spread over many floors and spaces and is a total rabbit warren.While I think the original Butterfly Club in South Melbourne was both kitch and bordello, the present version is kitch as. For our pre show drink, R sat in a Victorian gentleman's chair while I sat in 50s modular chair. It is just crazy decoration, with so many ornaments, religious statues, and bits from every period in the twentieth century, along with hand painted murals, signs and so much more.

Ash was funny enough over the hour long performance. He looked good in a tight skinny blue suit. His show was called, I've Been Bad and consisted of true anecdotes about when he has been bad. As used to be said, he is quite easy on the eyes. R told me on the tram on the way home that it is my October birthday done and dusted and I may receive a card on the day.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday Selections

River and others participate in Sunday Selections. My effort this week is about food and flora.


A week after Bone Doctor's party we celebrated Sister's birthday. BD and Little Jo made a cake from scratch and R and Little Jo decorated the cake. While strawberries can be bought for $2.50 a punnet, these strawberries and blueberries came from Berries on the Rocks in Black Rock for double that price. They were just beautiful and I haven't eaten such nice berries since we were in Europe in the summer of 2014. So often it's true that you get what you pay for.

Did Tic Tocs disappear from the shelves for a few years? If they did, they are now back, with a difference. I remember as a child noticing that the clock hands never aligned correctly, say the hour hand being half way between two numbers and the minute hand on the 12. This seems to have been corrected. I was looking forward to trying them after so long, but oh, they were so so sweet. Too sweet for me.

The homeless set up camp around this tree in the City Square, the same place where the Occupy Wall Street protesters set up camp a few years ago. Neither group were allowed to stay and now flower pots have appeared around the tree, perhaps as a method to deter such camps.

What have we here? Not bad from this angle.

One of Melbourne's better floral displays, outside the Town Hall.

I don't know what his grass is called, but it looks nice with its soft flowers? Seed heads?

Fake grass has come a long way since that awful plastic stuff. This is almost believable and I have seen people bending down to touch it to check. Its height is not quite even and nor is its colouring, giving even more  of an impression of being the real thing.

The latest blooming magnolia in Melbourne is true to form and not even close to blooming when others are in full bloom or finishing. For the first year I have noticed the owner of the property has planted a white magnolia.

Sometimes we do ok with gerberas, clearly not this time, the day after they were bought. I will ask Google. Ms Google told us to drive a needle horizontally through the stem about 2.5 centimetres below the flower head and remove the needle, ok an inch for you old folk and Brits and Americans.

How it works, I do not know, but it did work on some of the flowers. Am I the last to know of this trick or am I educating you?

The benefits of trees being leafless is greater visibility for yours truly to study the appalling traffic snarls, especially in the evening peak. PM Mal, too many people in Australia without the appropriate infrastructure in place.

The far trees are elms and the near ones London plane trees. I just love the way the sun works on the bare elm branches. There is something about their colouring and reflective properties.