Saturday, October 01, 2016

My bags are packed and I'm ready to go

Instead of the roar of jetplane engine, it will be the roar of diesel Mercedes campervan.

My bags are not really packed but I am organised. The older you become, the more you need to take on holidays.

We hired a campervan with a friend in New Zealand in the early 1980s. The New Zealand Tourist Bureau in Melbourne was very helpful. I don't remember that there was any sort of concern about driving a large vehicle in a foreign country. Now we are proceeding with our campervan holiday in local climes with much trepidation. Where did our confidence go?

While I have little confidence now and have lost the carefree attitude of my youth, I am sure it will all be ok on the night. That is my confidence.

Here is the guide from the BBC World Service

I was looking at the swearing and rude gestures guide for BBC reporters and came across the term Iberian Slap, which had me scratching my head. It is like sticking a finger up at someone and practiced on the continent, hence the name Iberian.

The bridge is always at fault

The Montague Bridge in South Melbourne is quite low at three metres, nearly ten feet. As I type this the website How many days since the Montague Street Bridge has been hit tells me it is seven days since its last strike, as of 23/09. Its first recorded strike was in 1929, a tour bus. Its latest was a campervan. Oh, I'm's ok, our campervan is 2.8 metres. I hope that includes the aircon unit on top. The bridge has been hit 102 times since 2009.

Staff tried to cover over the name Gold Bus Ballarat when one of their buses hit the bridge, for which they were given plenty of stick.

Swindon in England not only has a gig for its very complex magic roundabout (diagram in my post), but also the most hit railway bridge in England. This video presumably is a demonstration of what can happen when a bus hits a bridge. You would not want to be up top at the front, which we were on a bus in Newcastle, England. I think you would be safe on the normal bus route, but if the bus is diverted, move downstairs. Amazingly there is an actual driver in the driving seat.

Now I hope you Americans aren't feeling smug about English and Australian poor driving, because here is your turn.

In the town of Durham in North Carolina is the 11 foot 8 (inch) bridge. In 2008 a man moved into an office at the street corner and set up a web cam to capture the hits. He also set up another camera in another business on the adjacent corner. Of course it was essential that the world sees the smashes, so he has a website and a You Tube channel.

This is a compilation video by someone else of various vehicles hitting the bridge. It does a fine job of removing roof top air conditioners from the tops of buses. I think the bridge has been hit 111 times since 2008.

To steal a phrase from Mark Twain, what paralysis of intellect makes drivers not wonder, will I fit under this bridge?

Friday, September 30, 2016

Yarra Walk 3 Pt 2

St Crispin was apparently patron saint of shoemakers and part of this building in Johnston Street, Abbotsford was occupied by a shoemaker.

The restoration of the entrance to the old home ground of the Collingwood football team wasn't quite finished when I was last here. The transformation of Victoria Park to a community space is complete and is still usable as a sporting oval.

This was once a very small house, probably two bedroom. Central hallway with the main bedroom at the front and the lounge room to the right. It is now a large house, with a huge two storey addition at the rear.

I am not sure what this piece of art is about, but I like it.

Offices of the Australian Education Union.

I am nearly at the river now. Behind the wall is the Eastern Freeway, a magnificent multi laned road where traffic banks up at each end daily.

I am back at Dights Falls. I decided to walk downstream from here as I wasn't sure how far the path would go until it stops. I was near where the Merri Creek joins the Yarra River and this time my camera was correctly set.

The preceding days had seen some reasonable rain, so the depth of the water flowing over the wall was quite high.

Flotsam or jetsam? Just rubbish really. Under here is the the fish ladder, so that fish can swim upstream.

There was a good sign explaining how the fish ladder works. Naturally it is not a ladder but just a way of the fish being able to swim to the higher level.

The river is quite is flowing faster than I have seen up close.

There was a small natural waterfall here used by the local Wurundjeri Aboriginal tribe to cross the river. To raise the river level for a flour milling, a timber wall was built but in 2012 it was replaced by this concrete wall, including the fish ladder. Although the mill closed down in the early 20th century, the wall was kept to regulate the river levels for about 16 kilometres upstream, used for canoeing, kayaking and other recreational activities. Compare this photo to the second one below where in the Autumn the river level was much lower.

Careful laddie. If you get to close the water will take you over.

The mill's water race is to the left and this was the turbine room for the mill.

Off I go downstream. The river is still very turbulent here.

You can see the river level has been higher quite recently in the following two photos.

Some revegetation works. The matting is only cardboard or similar and will break down in time.

This 20 second video shows the Yarra in flood in November 2011.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Conflagration in Pudding Lane

I meant to blog about this in a timely manner, but I forgot.

What would you do with this marvellous model of old London built by students and young people of London?

You would set fire to it to of course, to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London. Marie at After 60 - the next 10 tells you a bit more. Here is the link.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Bunnings Bus

I had to sprint across the road, but I got to the bus stop in time to catch the 220 into town. I did not know that bus air con also heats, but it was, for a day of 18 degrees. I've been on a bus when it has been 8 degrees and there was no heating. This will be a close call. The 235 bus to get to Bunnings in Port Melbourne was due at about the same time as the arrival of the 220 at the bus stop. Stupid me got off the bus at Flinders Lane instead of Bourke Street and I noted the passing of the 235 as I was working out where the bus stop in the opposite direction was.

Damn, I have just missed the bus and it is twenty minutes until the next one. My plan was for a bit of shopping and a hair cut when I returned to town. I would not mind a cup of coffee either. Funnily, both were at the bus stop but I wanted sit down coffee in a glass or china cup, not a piece of cardboard or polystyrene.  I could have had coffee and sat down and enjoyed it, but for some reason I did not.

$15 haircut? I wonder how long that will take? Would I have time before the next bus?

The 235 bus did not appear at 2:03. This is really shite. The next bus was at 2:23. Plenty of time for a quick haircut or coffee. But earlier the hairdresser had left his shop and went across the road to a public Exeloo toilet and spent quite a bit of time in there. Weird perhaps, because we all have to go, but I did not want him touching my hair, plus for a hairdresser, I did not like his hair. I just kind of paced up and down the street, for about 35 minutes.

When I left the bus in Williamstown Road, I checked using my phone for a bus back. I bought what I wanted at Bunnings and again checked the time of the bus back to town. It may have been operator error, but the bus time back to town was now very different. 19 minutes before the next bus. When it arrived, it was packed and standing room only. I could not work out where the crowd came from but this evening's 7:30 on our ABC tv, it was mentioned about a failed private educational institution down that way, and I reckon the bus was full of people leaving some private education institution.

I am not sure which bus company runs route 235 but it was a crap experience for me. I could have driven to Bunnings, came back home and then caught the tram into town and it would have been quicker.

The bus stopped at So Cross Station and I got off and caught a tram to Swanston Street, where I had a naughty snack at Hungry Jacks, had my hair cut in Campbell Place, coffee outdoors opposite the town hall and then up to Office Works at QV and bought something similar to this for our forthcoming campervan trip.

Funny that car cigarette lighters have been repurposed and no longer do they light cigarettes or firecrackers.

Yarra Walk 3 Pt 1

I took a poor distant shot of this building after the last leg of my walk. This photo is better but it is hard to get a good shot. It is either close up or distant.

It is now a cafe but once a wool scouring business, which produces filthy liquid during the process and the waste flowed straight into the river, along with the refuse from soap making and the unwanted parts of butchered carcasses along with raw sewerage. The river is much cleaner now, but far from perfect.

This house next door is now a business. I wonder if it was the home of the manager of the wool scouring business

An apartment and business complex on the Yarra where I alighted from the tram. It has the Yarra to east and north as the river makes a right angled turn.

It doesn't look too inviting, but glimpsing a water feature led me in there.

This sculpture is called 'Nuture' by Mike Nicholls.

The water flows right through the whole area down to a lower level.

Down these stairs. Note the gutter to wheel bicycles.

I liked this sculpture. It is called 'The Inspector' by Daniel Agdad. It represents the Victoria Street Rail Bridge with a track inspection machine making its way across the bridge.

From this level steps led down to the river bank. I back tracked a little as I was a couple of hundred metres short of where I finished the last leg.


Last look at the Victoria Street Bridge.

Is it a minor waterway or a drain flowing in to the river.

Could be old and adapted, but I am doubtful. The bluestone of the base was widely used in Melbourne, especially as foundations, but also paving our laneways.

It is all quite well looked after.

Our Eucalypts or gum trees have odd growth habits at times.

I have reached the Walmer Street pedestrian bridge

What? The path ends here? The open path led to a ramp up to street level. Using my phone I looked at where I could rejoin the the path, but gave up and caught the tram along Victoria Street for lunch at a cafe we frequent at times. 

I thought you would like a final photo of our sparkling blue Yarra River. The colour comes mostly from sediment that the river carries down from its catchment.

Korean, I assume dear Watson.

I like speed and trams don't do if for me. Trains are a bit better, so I caught a train back to town.  I thought this under the railway bridge was interesting. In the 70s and 80s, many Vietnamese refugees settled in Richmond. Walking along Victoria Street is almost like being in Vietnam, with the many shops to service the community. It is also a popular dining strip for those who like Asian food, although it has fallen in popularity because of the open drug dealing. This is the Dong Son Drum, a three thousand year old Vietnamese symbol of power.

Part 2 of this last leg of the walk had too many photos, so it will be part 2 and then a part 3.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Queens of communication

No, that is not me, but it could well be. There are various ways I can contact friends and family, telephone, SMS, Face Book message, email and Tweeting. The younguns don't do email but SMS and FB works for them, or even a phone call. ABI Brother is phone call only, as is Mother, although I have sent an SMS message to her landline a couple of times which was read out to her by dismembered voice. Tradie Brother is very slowly become a bit tech. He can read SMS, just not reply to them and he does FB on his phone, but not very actively.

Like family, friends are similar and there are various ways to communicate with them. Funnily we mostly communicate with Brighton Antique Dealer who is 81 years old using SMS.

I have various ways to communicate with blogmates in private, depending mostly on them and their preferred communication. Email is probably my preferred means, but SMS is ok too but that is usually if I am meeting them.

But there are two queens of communication in my life who I communicate with via all means. Take a bow Fen and Victor. Email, SMS, Twitter and Facebook, they are there, along with blog commenting too. A few others are close seconds.

Transport Tuesday

In the Gardiner area of the suburb Glen Iris great work has been done, with a train line lowered into a cutting and a new station built. There are steps and lifts at the end of the platform where I am and ramps at the far end, and I would assume some way of getting across the line there too.

With trains running in both directions every ten to fifteen minutes, the crossing caused very nasty traffic snarls in both directions in Burke Road and Malvern Road. While the removal of the crossing has improved the situation, it has partly moved the jammed up traffic to other parts of Burke Road.

The old signal box was stripped and moved and now has open bicycle parking underneath. The signaller controlled the movement of trams and trains through the crossing. In my earlier days I remember him winding a big wheel a little like a ship's steering wheel when opening or closing the gates. Cables connected to levers also operated sets of points to derail any runaway trams that might collide with a train, the pedestrian gates and traffic lights were also controlled from the box. In later days boom barriers replaced the gates, steel pedestrian gates and all were converted to electric operation.

The station is ultra modern and how to say it kindly, functional.

What the??? A bit of whimsy?

Useless and purposeless and a delightful thing to be there. Note the couple of levers as would have been used in the signal box.

About where the pedestrian line marking crosses the road was where the train tracks crossed the road. About where this garden bed is would be where the signal box was.

There is some colour.

This is another bicycle parking area. I meant to check if it was secure or not, but I forgot. That is two bike storage areas, but no bikes in them.

Up the top of the hill at right angles to Burke Road is Malvern Road.

Were the beds built to contain the access to the communication system?

It is amazing how complex the workings of a lift can be to only travel one level.

I am not keen on climbing stairs and would use a ramp if there was one. Instead I used the lift.

Strange signage on the fence on the way home. I also noticed many new signals on stands are being installed along the line. Unlike the old ones that had a ladder built into them for maintenance, these ones pivot in the centre so the top can be lowered to the ground. When I saw the first one covered in black plastic, I thought it was a kind of counterweight.

I think this is called troughing and contains cables I suppose for communication and signalling. There was a time when it was in a terrible condition with missing and broken metal and exposed cables. While we were assured it was safe, it is all about perception, and I perceive this looks much safer than it used to.