Saturday, September 03, 2016

A real hero

People die all over the world in horrible circumstances but sometimes there is a murder that just grabs my attention. It always seems more relevant when it is close to home.

British backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung was murdered in a stabbing attack and it is alleged the terrible deed was done by Frenchman Smail Ayad at backpacker accommodation south of Townsville, Queensland. That alone is just awful. Photo from Fairfax Press.

The accused. If he is found guilty, will spend a very long time in one of our gaols. I am thinking about 30 years. It is also alleged that Ayad stabbed to death the German Shepherd dog belonging to the owners of the hostel. The dog deserves a name and Atari it is. Also stabbed was the hostel night manager Grant Scholz, but he will recover. Photo Daily Mail.

No heroics so far, although maybe Atari and Scholz were heroes too, but it is reported that British backpacker Tom Jackson intervened in an attempt to help Mia. For his trouble, he was stabbed multiple times and a week after the terrible event, his hospital life support was turned off and he died. What a hero! A true hero. While I am sure Tom's loved ones would prefer that he did not intervene and still be alive, he was very very brave and they can be ever so proud of their hero. Photo UK Express.

Mia's mother was 'approached' by many media organisations, but instead of taking the filthy lucre, she approached the honourable Independent newspaper and has been writing a blog of how she is dealing with the the murder of her daughter and her journey to Australia. I found her writing compelling reading. Google for yourself, Independent and Rosie Ayliffe to read.  

Friday, September 02, 2016

Cocky Friday

This is the last cocky video from me. The tension builds as the 3:30 video goes on. Will the cat's temper snap and destroy the cockatoo? Oh no, poor cocky. How awful. No, there is no violence, just some teasing and perhaps a threat. Cockies are really quite naughty birds at times. We once returned home here to find a balcony plant upended, stems bitten off and the ceramic pot knocked off the table and smashed. It did not take long to guess is had been cockatoos.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

The Albany

Orbanie or albanie. We use both in Australia but in this case, it is orbanie. There was a gay pub called The Albany in Sydney's Oxford Street where we may have spent some time in the 1990s.

However this Albany is in Toorak Road West, South Yarra and was once a private home then turned into hotel accommodation quite a long time ago, I think as what looks to be 1960s addition was attached to the hotel. The addition has been demolished and I have no idea what will be built on the site. Obviously the former Victorian period home will remain.....ah, well, it would be a crime if it did not.

Far left is that damn St Kilda Road high rise again.

To the right in the photo was the now demolished addition.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Where to for coffee

There are rare days when we don't have much to do and don't have anything planned. Hey, we need to get out, for a little while at least. One of our favoured things to do on such a day is have coffee and a bite to eat at Station Pier. Sometimes there are sea creatures to see in the water. There is always people to see. Gosh, once we lucked it when is was open day for the renovated Spirit of Tasmania, a ferry across Bass Strait to our island state, Tasmania.

Station Pier is quite historic, aside from being a cargo landing place, it was also the place for passenger ships to arrive and depart, as do cruise liners today, and where so many immigrants to Australia arrived.

This old crane looked to be in good shape and noted there were lights for night time illumination.

There is a beach there too. Note the lovely blue skies? Nevertheless, it was cold, around 13 degrees.

Well, not really a beach.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My most popular post

Most popular by the number of comments, that is. Thankfully my blog has a lot more than these fairly off the cuff posts. For a while it was neck and neck between Time to go Macca and when I apparently insulted actor Luke Halpin who played Sandy in the tv show Flipper. Time to go Macca is now up to 84 comments, and while I normally reply to comments, I have not in every case for that post. There has been a resurgence in comments after Tony Delroy of the radio show Nightlife announced his retirement.  

Seven years after I wrote Time to go Macca, he is still there on ABC nation wide radio every Sunday morning. My opinion from back then stands. He is simply an incompetent broadcaster and should not be employed by our ABC. Melbourne is a bit unusual as we were late comers to Macca. While the rest of Australia, I think, were receiving Macca on a Sunday morning, we had our own local Sunday morning arts programme.

Our ABC has been known to sack hungover radio newsreaders, yet still the bumbling and can't string a sentence together Macca broadcasts on. The programme content for Sunday mornings on the national braodcast radio is not broken. It is the host that should have never sat behind behind a microphone that is wrong.

My two bob's worth

As you might know, I don't care two hoots about gay marriage personally, but it it is important to many people, least of all Sister who married Bone Doctor in Canberra before former Prime Minister John Howard shut it down with special legislation. Sister and Bone Doctor were legally married for a few days.

The later former Prime Minister, The Abbott, proposed a plebiscite about gay marriage; that is asking the Australian people if they wanted legislated gay marriage. Given the approval rating for gay marriage is around 70%, why??? Polling figures from Christians, from non believers in religion and from other religions have approval figures of over 50%. It should be a simple vote in parliament. Our Prime Minister personally approves of gay marriage, so we can only conclude he is stymied by his piss weak party members who are beholden to the old school, like Howard and Abbott.

There are so many really important things to focus on for political parties in Australia, but instead our the Liberals, our conservative party in power, waste their time on debating gay marriage and want to spend upwards of $160 million on a non binding plebiscite vote by the people of Australia. If strongly Catholic countries such as Spain and Mexico, not exactly first world countries, have legalised gay marriage against opposition from 'Rome', it should not be a problem here.

So, if Australia has to wait longer for gay marriage to be legal after there is political agreement, so be it and forget about this absurd plebiscite, which I think I will find to be personally quite embarrassing.

We acquired it

No, I am not using a posh word for bought. Somehow, somewhere, someday, we acquired this device which I call a foot roller and it marvellous for treating sore feet that have walked a lot and you don't have to roll your feet on it for long. So River, I did eventually remember to ask R where it was after I had taken a long walk, well long for me. I wish I could tell you where to get one but neither of us have any memory of where it came from.

My life in aftershaves

When spring arrives, young men's thoughts turn to one thing. Older men's thoughts turn to another, spring cleaning. R has been cleaning out his wardrobe. While I offered Merle a trip to Melbourne to do some spring cleaning for us, she said yes to the trip and then confessed she wasn't terribly good at spring cleaning. Sorry Merle, trip is off the table. I will get a cute lad in to spring clean instead.

Anyway, wow, R found a full bottle of Pierre Cardin aftershave. It went in the bin. I took the fcuk (gee that was hard to type correctly) aftershave but it is bit heavy and I think I will throw it out too. Later, no, the bottle is too nice to throw away.

I confess to having slapped on a bit of my grandfather's Old Spice when I was a teen. I can't remember the smell now, but I would know it straight away if I smelt it.

I think from there my first own personal aftershave was Blue Stratos.

The next was Aramis. I can still remember the smell of it and it was nice. I was about 23 and I went to the local milk bar and the cute Italian lad behind the counter was wearing it and I was too. Are you wearing Aramis, I asked him. Yes, he replied. How do you know? I am wearing it too. Will you marry me? I will have your babies. Ok, the last two sentences are a lie.

I think the next one was Paco Rabanne, and lo and behold, R had a bottle of the that too but I find it too heavy now, as well, but the bottle looks nice in my en swite.

I did not use a lot of aftershave, but I did go through two bottles of Issey Miyake. So many people over a number of years complimented me on Issey's liquid product. I would describe it as light and tangy. Experts would no doubt have different adjectives. That was the last aftershave I bought and I now use R's discards, some of which were gifts from Mother.

The latest is David Beckham. The bottle is so cool, with a magnetic cap over the atomiser button. I am in the mood for telling untruths tonight, so I will say that David puts a drop of his sweat in every bottle (hey, I could have said worse). It is both sweet and tangy and quite light. You would probably have to snog me to smell it at all. No one has complimented me about it, but I like Mr Posh Spice's aftershave.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Birthday night wrap up

Saturday night Sister asked if she and Bone Doctor could stay and look after Little Jo while they went to see a musician at The Palais. What was his name??? Fen went to see him the previous night too. Ah yes, Ben Fowlds, something like that. Of course they could not stay here as Tradie Brother had already booked the spare room at the Highrise Hotel and we were going to a trendy city bar and so could not look after Little Jo. They found a babysitter for Little Jo and were going to stay in Bone Doctor's father's empty flat in Oakleigh, but they found a cheap deal for a St Kilda Road hotel and stayed there instead. Perhaps we should only let people stay for a fee; the room going to the highest bidder. They both made an appearance at the party after the concert, some time after we left.

The fellow guests at the party were interesting. I ask the question, how many hipsters can you fit into one room? Quite a number, it seems, bearded and non bearded. The female partners all looked very nicely dressed and a few quite interestingly dressed. Of course we were right at home among them. What? You doubt me? You are correct. We stood out like sore thumbs. Any cuties? Not that I can be choosy, but none did anything for me, in spite of liking the bearded hipster look. Bar staff were interesting though.

Tradie Brother normally rises very early but he slept until 11 o├žlock. R started making a noise as he did things, to wake him up. TB extolled the virtues of the bed and said he could not bear to get out of it, it was so comfortable. Of course I was well and truly at work by then.

Well, that's about it.

Oh yes, R took Mother home from hospital today. I will visit her tomorrow and at least prune her roses. She seems to be ok.

The weekend that was Pt 1

Must remember to wash Mother's knickers.   How come there hasn't been a brassier to wash? I tipped the supermarket bag of knickers into the washing machine. I thought there were only three pair, so I put the washing machine on its lowest water level setting. Just as well as when the cycle had completed and I took Mother's kickers out to put in the dryer and there was only one pair! She had sent home a bag of laundry for us to to but all there was one pair of knickers.

It has been a social weekend. It was the Brighton Antique Dealer's 81st birthday and nine of us joined her at The Dick hotel for dinner on Friday night.  As she always gives us such nice gifts, we bought her a bottle of Moet for her birthday.  She does love champers. I am out of touch.  I thought Moet would cost about $35. It was more.

Staff came around to take our dinner orders and we declined as we prefer to order at the counter and pay, thus avoiding the bill division pain after we have eaten. Mine Hostess visited us at the table and told us we could order at the table and then pay individually as we left. That seemed odd, but we agreed.

Subterfuge was underway as when we went to pay for the meal, it had already been paid for by BAD. Too kind and generous she is at times, but her tongue can be harsh and cruel. BAD had two friends with her, both of whom we had met before. They are not a couple but both are older gay men and the Australian one is pleasant. The other is an African American born retired teacher and he is not so easy to get along with. If it means anything to Americans, when it was suggested he did not have a strong accent, he replied, that is because I am from Philadelphia . He went on to say people from Philadelphia and Boston are different to the rest of American population, well they were until people from everywhere else in The States started moving to the two cities. Let's just say he was quite formal. It was a nice enough evening, chatting with friends.

Saturday night we were going out to a city bar to party! It was Fire Fighting Nephew's betrothed 30th birthday celebration, held at a Scandinavian themed bar called Du Nord. Tradie Brother arrived here just as we finished an early dinner and we caught the tram into town together. TB made a show on the tram of being an ocker from the country and not understanding the technology of stored value public transport card. He did have a Myki card, but when in preparation he went to a shop to check the balance, it could not be read, so he bought another. As his old one was a newer grey card, it can't have expired, so he will have to go somewhere to have the balance credited to his new card. He is not really a country lad, just a fifty year old outer suburban lad.

Tradie Brother got involved with vegan folk at a get together in the Bourke Street Mall as we walked to the venue, pointing out to the vegans how a month or so ago he killed his fattened calf and had eaten it and Blackie tasted very nice. Aside from us agreeing that Blackie did taste very nice, as we had a share, I told him we are immediately going to report him to his son once we reached the venue.

Fire Fighting Newphew was at the bar and greeted us. I immediately noted the Scandinavian influence to the bar. There was blonde wood tables and seats. But so far as I could see, that was the extent of it.

While I hoped the bar was in a laneway, so I could thus extol the wonderfulness of Melbourne's laneway bars, it was not, fronting Little Bourke Street. It was clearly a cool place, but I am not sure why. I ordered two beers and a glass of house white wine and handed over $50. I received $10 change. What? I looked up on the wall at the drinks list, and fair enough. That is the cost. A scotch and soda or Bacardi and Coke were cheaper than beer and wine and did Tradie Brother go on about the cost of the beer. He swigged some scotch from his flask when it was his turn to buy drinks at the bar, and was told he could not do that.

Ex Sis in Law was there, along with Oldest niece and her husband, and Fire Fighting Niece too, with her very glam friend who slept overnight at our place a number of years ago when she was just a kid. She was nice to us.

Listening to the birthday speeches, we  learnt that the 30 year old birthday girl is a very nice person, a good organiser and just a wonderful person. We wondered how FF Nephew managed such as catch, but he is a good lad. I speak for R too, we are amazed at his social fluidity, how he is so equally at home living in the very multi cultural Footscray, working in the country, brought up in our outer suburbs but is so at ease in big city environs.

Birthday girl's mother is an orchardist and she explained pricing levels of the sale of fruit at farmer's markets to us, be it country or trendy suburbs. It is as you would expect, what the market will bear. She confirmed what I already knew. You live in a trendy inner area of the city, you pay a lot more.

The birthday cake was a sight to behold, multi tiered.

As I had to work the next day, we left about 10.15. There is more to say about the night but that is enough for now. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Selections

Joining with River and others for Sunday Selections, this week with a single, well almost single subject.

Have you heard of Melbourne's Sidney Myer Music Bowl? Probably not. Let's take a stroll up the Kings Domain rise from St Kilda Road.

Near the Bowl is this monument, which has no details at all about it at the site. I rely on Google Maps to inform me it is a memorial to King George V.

Businessman and philanthropist Sidney Myer died in 1934 and left a substantial amount of money in a trust which has financed a number of public projects. The trust is now controlled by the Victorian Arts Centre. In 1959 the Bowl was completed and I recall it received a major renovation, perhaps in the 1990s or later. Top world artists have performed at the Bowl with the largest crowd ever for the pop group, The Seekers. Here is a cut and paste from Wikipedia:  ABBAAC/DCMetallicaWingsBlondieThe Beach BoysCrowded HouseDire StraitsNeil DiamondBob Dylan, the Czech Philharmonic OrchestraMerle HaggardPearl JamPaul McCartneyR.E.M.Dame Kiri Te KanawaDaft PunkRed Hot Chili Peppers, and most recently Bon JoviGuns N' RosesSoundgardenToolKanye WestParamoreNeil YoungLenny KravitzSwedish House Mafiablink-182, and The Black Keys.

The Bowl is fenced but the only time I have attended an event there, Carols by Candlenight on a Christmas Eve in the 1980s, it was not fenced and we just found a space to sit on the steep, grass bank. At the rear of the Bowl, the hill falls away very steeply to Alexandra Avenue and the Yarra River.

I guess equipment has to be stored somewhere.

There are a couple of sculptures within the Bowl. Hand of God by Carl Milles, sculpted in 1954, but it is not the original, which is in Sweden.

On the opposite side, more storage.

Miraggio by Pino Conte, donated to Melbourne in 1964.

Utilities underneath. I just read that one of Sidney Myer's children, also named Sidney, married one Sarah Hordern. Both families were large retailers in their respective cities and while we have the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Sydney has the Hordern Pavillion. 

I descended back towards St Kilda Road. This made me smile. The multi laned high tech Domain Tunnel runs under here, apparently not very far down. Some irrigation system work is being underway in The Domain, so I suppose it is about that.

This is the rear of Police Memorial, upon which are the names of all Victorian Police killed while in service. I probably should rephrase this, but there is still space for more names.

The front view. It is quite a low key memorial, which is nice, I think.

At the tram stop.