Saturday, August 27, 2016

Mother Tale #5783

You knew you were't get away with just one long post about Mother, didn't you.

I don't know how much detail would make a good blog post, but I am sure a list of what has happened in the last week would not be a good blog post.

Mother is in the care of a very good private hospital and is indulging in diva like behaviour, to the extent that for one day staff popped her into a freezer and ignored her for a day.

Nevertheless, the staff have been wonderful to her, as Mother admits. Her co-habitee in the hospital is 93, nearly blind and nearly deaf but Mother and she are great mates. They both think Nurse Ray is wonderful and Betty said to Mother, there is no harm in flirting with such a lovely young man. It's not like I can do anything now. Hmm, Betty has good taste. He is quite hot and clearly straight.

Mother lays it on thick with R, and gets him both distressed at her problems but also annoyed at how manipulative she is. He didn't really mean it, but he has been saying that she is evil.

She calculates and manipulates constantly, which does not work much for any of her children, but it does for me through R who says I must do certain things for her.

Tradie Brother is going to install handrails at her place, donated by Mother's friend who also donated a very good wheeled walker frame. Mother was supposed to go home today, Friday, and R had taken a day off his volunteer work to take her, but her doctor said no Mrs C, you can't go home until your handrails are installed. But when I spoke to Tradie Brother today, he said Mother's occupational therapist told him she insisted on staying in hospital for the weekend. Who to believe? I doesn't really matter though.

I spoke frankly to Mother one night on the phone and told her that she is in good care and that there are a lot of services to support her to continue to live at home. But she needs to take her medications as prescribed and she needs to listen to advice, and frankly there was a cross tone to my voice. Next day, she called Sister and was in tears about what her cruel older son said. She told Sister to call me to tell me that if we were going to visit, she might be out, visiting her home with her OT to see what can be done to improve her situation at home. She initially said, I'm not doing that. I will be too upset. Seems she changed her mind. R answered the phone call from Sister, and told Sister a few hard truths.

I could bang on at length, but at the end of day, she is my mother and I will do what I have to do. She can manage at home for now with some professional support. She has always been spoilt, by her parents, my father and his brother, other people and late Step Father. She is now an increasingly frail old lady who is quite justifiably frightened about her future.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A happy cocky

They can be terribly naughty and destructive, but I just love our cockatoos and they are so trainable. You can perhaps get an idea of the strength of the beaks from a video posted by Elephant's Child. While it is a different species, I am sure their bite is similar. Their beaks can crack a walnut. Never take your finger for granted around a cockatoo. 1:09

Thursday, August 25, 2016

So hot and stuffy

London's Tube stations are incredibly hot mid summer and so are New York's subway stations. Melbourne's and Sydney's stations are too, if the weather is hot. You hopefully don't want to wait too long in such conditions. Transport for London (TfL) is spending large amounts of money to cool some Tube stations, lines and the trains themselves by various means.

The difference when a New York or Australian train pulls up and the doors open, is wave of cool air falls over you. Generally in London you do not have that experience and it can be hotter in the train than on the platform. However, there are quite a number of new trains do have airconditioning.

But for the very tight tunnels of the deeper tube lines, little can be done at this point.

Remember the Boris Bus from my post back here? Boris is just nickname for the modern Routemaster bus, after former London Mayor Boris Johnston. I think they were built in 2012 and they were certainly on the streets of London when we were last there in 2014. Unbelievably, they were not built with airconditioning. Not only that, they don't have opening windows. There is an air cooling system, but really, can that be possibly effective? It seems not with internal bus temperatures reaching the mid to high thirties on hot days. Ridiculous and absurd.

Does London only have one or two hot days each year? No, 1976 saw 16 consecutive days with temperatures over 30 degrees. Five days saw over 35 degrees. That is close to 100 in the old money. Heat can be very unpleasant to deal with but in southern Australia, a succession of temperatures over 35 would be very unusual. Never mind, everywhere we go, like in New York is properly cooled. High temperatures are not normal for London, but they do happen and they lead to old people dying. That new buses were designed, ordered and bought without airconditioning is a disgrace.

Just thinking aloud, while air can both heat and cool in Australia because it never really drops below zero degrees here, I don't think aircon can effectively heat below zero, so the present heating would probably be needed as well. I assume Boris Buses do have some heating, at least.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Stop the press

Three lots of sirens tonight. The latter ambulance and fire truck at the synagogue, maybe someone within had a a medical problem, but now five marked police cars and even more unmarked cars at the same place.

Later edit: Seems to have not been serious enough to be reported in the media, so we may never know.

Ruin your business #101

I am not well educated about Falun Gong, but over the years enough detail emerged for me to judge it not be be a religion but a cult and quite an insidious cult. I had a couple of emails a couple of years ago from a young and gay ethnic Chinese, from Indonesia, I think. He described to me how some Chinese girls at his uni were wanting to be his friend but without romantic interest. He asked me if I thought they might be Falun Gong. Obviously the details were greater than I have written here, but I judged them to be so and expressed that back to him. I haven't heard back from him since. He found me via my blog, btw. I saw them under a bridge in Singapore and they appeared to be trying not to be noticed. I asked our guide, Falun Gong? She nodded yes.

Is it every day? Many days of the week Falun Gong occupy a seating height wall of our city square. They have people out on the street as well, handing out leaflets. They often talk about organ harvesting, a rather odd thing to focus on for a cult. But then cults don't make much sense to me.

Is this connecting to my headline? Perhaps not but let me go on.

Many of you will know we shop on Saturday mornings. We usually visit the local market to buy a bunch of flowers. We have kind of focused on one flower vendor of late. I rather like the performing South American guy who looks Asian. He is a shocking show off and ever so cute. I think R may have picked up that I liked the look of the guy. Hey, if you've got it, flaunt it. For some reason R steered me to another flower vendor. We have bought flowers from this place before, run I think by husband and wife team of mainland Chinese heritage. The colour of the poppies was divine and irresistible, even though we knew they would only last a couple of days. We bought a bunch for $8. The woman then pulled out a petition for me to sign. I immediately knew what it was, and I said so and she agreed. At least take a leaflet, she pleaded. No, I know enough about Falun Gong. I was very cross. I am not a great supporter of the corrupt China and Singapore government, but at least they try to keep this cult from doing damage and growing.

Firstly, I am surprised market management allows cult soliciting by its stall holders, petition signatures at least. Secondly, do they think what they probably would judge as a gay couple are more likely to sign? Well, stereotypes happen for a reason, so that is quite possible. Thirdly, do think a blub blub blub year old man white Australian man is so ignorant about such things as Falun Gong?

There really is one thing about the episode that really pissed me orf. I cast my mind back to Pattaya in Thailand around 1989. We visited a cafe owned by one Lynne, of Glen Iris in Melbourne. As gay men, we were delighted with her salacious tales of this 55 year old Aussie woman hiring three local muscular young men to pleasure here simultaneously. Hey, she said, I am not as bad as the German frau. You would not believe what they get up to. Pattaya has its reputation for a good reason and thousands of Russians can't be wrong. After talking to her we focused on our meal. A Marbolo man came in and tried to sell to us. Marbolo is the call the 'poor' vendors of Marlborough cigarettes make as they sell what is probably drugs on the streets of Pattaya. Lynne noticed the Marbolo man and told him to get the fuck out of her cafe.

Just last week, KFC tempted me with a bargain price for six chicken nuggets. Hey, I was hungry. Forgive me. How much harm could six tiny chicken nuggets do? As I was waiting for my order to be filled, a beggar asked me for money. Where is Lynne to tell him to stop harassing her customers? I sat down to eat my nuggets and the same guy approached me again. I was cross. The elderly couple next to me told me they never give to beggars after they saw some dirtying up their faces in Dublin before going out begging.

Beggars in the street are one thing, but I really I don't like being harassed within a private business, be it by petitioning Falun Gong people, vendors or beggars.

Only in Thailand was the harassing person told to get out.

As annoyed as I am about the Falun Gong business, I don't want them to lose their business, so I will go back and anonymise this post. I certainly will not buy flowers from them again.

To end on a lighter note, we were served personally by the owner of where we usually have our Saturday brunch. Service should be pleasant and fun and not about signing people up for cults. He has served us before and is too of Chinese heritage and never cracks a smile, with just a slight change of facial expression as the ritual proceeds, and quite a while ago he went for the same joke line, so I was already prepared. He brought us R's extra hot skinny latte and my long black. Sir, your chilled soy latte, as he gave R his coffee, and to me he said, Sir, your hot water.

When he brought our orange juice, I said, what is this? Cold water or cordial? No Sir, carrot juice. Touche. I'd rather go to hell than drink carrot juice.

As you can imagine, life is rather busy and troublesome at the moment with such a demanding woe is me hospitalised Mother, but writing this, unedited and unchecked, was good stress relief.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Old buildings in my street

I was going to send this in an email a to workmate, but I thought you might like to see some of the demolished buildings in St Kilda Road, the street where I live and I have elaborated. Most photos are from the State Library and the others have so many times been republished, their source is not identifiable. They are possibly scans from Judith Buckrich's terrific book, Melbourne's Grand Boulevard - The Story of St Kilda Road.

These are the Jewish alms houses. Hels will correct me if I am wrong but they were for poor elderly Jewish people to live. They have been replaced by the rather ugly Montifiore care place for the elderly. I like where I live. Should I put my name there on a waiting list? I don't remember the alms houses but a friend who is approaching 80 does remember them. Weren't they just delightful in appearance. They were in St Kilda Road at the corner of Union Street.

This is what replaced them, Montefiori Aged Care.

I certainly remember these houses. It is extraordinary that they were demolished and such an ugly building, the former St Kilda Road Police Station building erected.

What is now there was going to be turned into apartments with the developer wanting some extraordinary planning exemptions which I guess were generally denied, and office space within the building is now being leased out.

The BP, British Petroleum, building is now known as The Domain. It was even given its own tramstop, 17A It has been converted to residential apartments. Some politicians and other VIPs live here at the corner of St Kilda Road and Albert Road.

Now, well a few years ago when I took this photo.

There is a rather horrid building on this site now, built by developer Floyd Podgornik who committed suicide within the building. At the corner of Park Street and St Kilda Road was the Casa de Manana or as it was known at times, the Case of Bananas. It was a favourite watering hole for tram staff at the former South Melbourne tram depot and Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works staff who shared the same site as the tram depot. A little of Floyd's building can be seen in the photo below of the Hallmark.

As you can see, it was altered significantly. I remember it as the bottom photo.

On the opposite corner of Park Street and St Kilda Road was Sleights Funeral Home.

It was replaced by a high rise hotel called The Travelodge, at some point renamed to Holiday Inn. It was converted into apartments in the early 2000s.

As The Travelodge.

As the apartments, Hallmark.

The building Florida Flats on the corner of High Street was attractive enough but any garden had been concreted over making it not so attractive. It was sad to see it demolished.

What replaced it was the offices of AAMI Insurance. An acquaintance worked there at night dealing with calls from people who had banged up their cars. I believe the building is now empty and a developer wishes to to demolish the office building for apartments, no doubt a high rise.

This is a painting of Illoura and the synagogue on the far side of St Kilda Road that can be seen in my blog header photo. In a book about Whelan the Wrecker one worker was quoted at being quite distressed to be demolishing such a wonderful building. The perspective of the painting seems quite wrong.

This now sits where Illoura once decorated the street. It too is called Illoura (Plaza) but its life is limited as has been lined up for demolition too.

This was the home of the Victorian Racing Club but it was demolished and our apartment building was built here in 1999.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Selections

Joining with River and others with some random photos for Sunday Selections.

Lining Melbourne's main street, Swanston Street, are so many people who sleep on the streets. They can also be seen in Flinders Street. The homeless have become very visible in the last year or so. Why so suddenly?

Nice work by Access Covers, Australia. Beats the PMG/Telecom/Telstra covers but I do enjoy noting MMBW covers, Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works. It primarily dealt with water supply, storm water drainage and sewerage but was for some reason was the defacto planner of our greater Melbourne. Of course things were better in the olden days. Bring back the MMBW. What were the equivalents in other Australian states?

A winter sunrise. I set the camera to 'long distance dark'. Not too bad but it is very hard to capture the colours of a sunrise or sunset with a camera. Sun arise, bring on the morning, as the song goes.

It took me forever to find my way to an office for appointment. Bad signage but the views of Southbank were good. You have to blow the photo up to see across the river where you can see Ad Rad standing at his window in his underwear. Wow, he is a tall dude and while he has a gut, not too bad at all.

I saw some men working on these lights at St Pauls Cathedral. I assumed they were installing new lights and once home I googled and I saw photos of St Pauls without these lights, confirming that they are new. Yet the next time I was in town and took a closer look and they have obviously been there for a long time. Coincidentally I captured some nice building detail.

Do not blame the seagull. The seagull is innocent. It didn't do it. It wasn't the seagull wot broke the lights outside the State Library. I would guess it was demonstrators who gather there and then march down Swanston Street and one of them chucked a yonnie at the lamps. Hehe, yonnie. I haven't heard the word from my youth for yonks. Don't hear yonks much now either. Does that come from Yonkers in New York, being a distant place from NYC?

I couldn't read the banner with my naked eye, but my photos tells me it says, Don't Hold Back, an ad for Jeep motor cars. There was one quite amusing Jeep tv ad I saw a while ago. It involved a clever older woman. I seem to be mortally attracted to clever older women.

The window cleaner lad cometh, but not on our window. He just cleaned them. Wow. his shoe size looks to be extra large. He is probably a sex starved Euro, British or Irish backpacker. Oh the pain, the pain. Comment who it was who said that on tv if you can remember. No googling. 

{Photo and text about an aftershave bottle removed for a subsequent post alone}

My visit to Mother was cancelled by her yesterday as Sister and Little Jo were visiting. Then her best friend and her husband turned up too. We will go today, Sunday.