Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cohen and blog memories

Julie in Sydney has not posted for quite some time. I fear she is quite unwell. While if she posts again, it will come up in my rss feed, I can't remember her blog address. While I felt rejected by her, I know she was not a well woman. I can take rejection well enough, but not when when we seem to be friends and then I am rejected. Crap happens in life, nevertheless I kept reading her posts when they came through . How many years ago was it? She came back to Victoria to see Leonard Cohen in concert at Hanging Rock. She was ever so pleased to see him perform, but now he is dead.

I don't know much about Cohen, aside from Hallelujah and a track I really want to hear again, and I am not even sure it was work, Just One Fine Day.

All good.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Oz v Brits in three wheelers

Boys and their balls. What a hoot. At about six minutes, it is longer than what I usually post. But even with my low boredom threshold, I stuck with it and it was worth it.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Peninsula Springs

We were no sooner back from our road trip than off again for an overnight stay on the Mornington Peninsula, the reason being last Christmas R received a bath house voucher for Peninsula Springs. Oh my goodness. I thought we would be among the Portsea and Sorrento blonde housewives set and feeling very out of place. We booked for Monday, hoping it would be a quiet day. Everyone else seemed to do the same and expected Monday to be a quiet day. There must have been at least 150 parked cars, with usually two people per car, plus bus loads who arrived. It was very busy on a working day Monday. While guests were welcome to take photos (promotion on Face Book) it was suggested that the photos should not feature other visitors to the springs. Fair enough.

The location is an area called Fingal, unknown to me. It could be described as being between Rye and Rye back beach or St Andrews Beach. We were ever so nervous but it turned out to be really good. We spent about four hours there, including eating a snack and coffee when we arrived and  a late lunch before we left . Towel, dressing gown, locker and something I have forgotten set us back $40 each. So much for a free voucher. There were Asians, Indians, old and young, a surprising number of men, Euro tourists. The word dahling was not heard once. All quite normal people and we enjoyed it immensely. The hot water springs are on the side of a hill, and there are various pools of different temperatures, maybe 20 pools, including a cold water plunge pool. The temperature of each pool is posted. There is a highly demanded hydrotherapy pool overlooking a nice lake with what I guess are fake frog sounds but they could be real frogs. At the very peak of the hill is a pool with wonderful views, but it was too busy for us to get into. While not directed at us, there was some comment at one pool about water overflow and water displacement when people got into a pool. It was all very pleasant and if hot spring mineral bathing is your thing, this was good. Ok, yes, we did cause considerable water displacement when we entered a flow in flow out pool.

It was one perfect day weather wise. R said, I wish the weather had been like this when we were travelling. I was hoping to record a boat landing disaster but instead watched a man get his very large boat onto a trailer with a lot of difficulty. There are three ramps side by side.

Mount Eliza is not a suggestion but a place.

Rye pier.

We stayed in a studio cabin booked in advance for a very cheap price, found at Wotif. I can highly recommend Kanasta Caravan park in Rye. But, we need to explain when booking as again the same thing happened, bedding for one double bed. Twin, you know, two separate beds and we need bedding for two beds. We worked something out and slept well enough.

Magpies are a bit of pest in the park. As I was loading the car to leave, I left the cabin door open and one hopped inside.

None of the birds took any notice of the deterrents.

Not bad sentiments. There were many permanent sites in the park, mostly old caravans without air con and a few dead tree branches on their roofs.

For us, two loud younger tradie guests next door were interesting. I know all about tradies. They have to work early the next day and so peak early and go to bed early. That came to pass. They were plumbers, visiting Rye on some kind of project. One, mid thirties, was thinking of taking on his twenty year companion as an apprentice. It did not quite get to the, 'I love you mayyyte', point, but pretty close with I admire and respect you, on both sides. I concluded straight blokes talk a lot of shit. I heard all this in the comfort of our cabin. We dined at the Rye Hotel, and lo and behold, so did the two plumber blokes from the cabin next door. They must have walked to the pub, we had driven. We left them there smoking and drinking and still talking rubbish. They arrived home not long after us, had a brief chat outside and who can imagine what they then got up to then, and as I knew it would be, and they went to bed at about 9:30. I heard their Mercedes diesel work van start up early the next morning as they left, but that is all. They had done their bonding the night before and there was nothing to say next morning.

When then Prime Minister Abbott abolished the carbon tax, praise the lord, I came across a form letter on FB sent out to small businesses from the PM. The owner of a Rye cafe had made some notations on the letter and put it on FB. I promised myself that next time we were in the area, this very sensible cafe owner deserved our patronage, and so we had brunch at Freaky Tiki in Rye and it was good. I hope this is readable.

Look at the tiny kiddies seating on the left. The staff were mostly or all male and would be quite at home in a Brunswick Street cafe. Very cool place.

R had beans with egg and chorizo. Out outdoor table was an old plywood surfboard. After brunch at Freaky Tiki, we set off for home with a stop off at Arthurs Seat which I wrote about here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Trumpet blasts

As the Chinese curse goes, May you live in interesting times.

Should we have a little humour as we try to come to terms with what has happened in the United States. We have to cope somehow.

From Twitter:

England: Brexit is the stupidest, most self destructive act a country could ever undertake.

USA: Hold my beer mate.

While the election of Trumpet directly affects the citizens of the US, it also affects the world. I hope our times aren't too interesting.

Holiday Wrap

Three years before our recent campervan trip we began with an almost similar route.

This trip in the campervan we stayed one night each in San Remo, Waratah Bay, Lakes Entrance, Omeo, Merimbula, Narooma, Batemans Bay, Jervis Bay, Gundagai and Bright.

Last time in our previous car, three years ago, two nights Lakes Entrance, one night Eden, one night Merimbula, two nights Cooma, two nights Queenbeyan (Canberra to see Floriade and Parliament House). We mostly used motels. Lakes Entrance we stayed with our friend. At Merimbula we took a cabin in a caravan park.

It is far cheaper to use your own car and pay for modest accommodation, rather than hire a campervan and pay park fees. While I thought the campervan was quite economical on fuel, it was still an added cost, less than $200 and given the hills it climbed at high and low speed, quite amazingly economical really.

As a visitor to Australia, where you don't own your own car, the equation would be different and a campervan would be quite good value. It is pretty well $50 per night for a caravan park powered site.

R and I endlessly discussed a better layout design for our campervan but really, we did not come up with anything radical. Choosing a van with a bed over the cab is my recommendation and if you are staying in caravan parks, don't bother with an onboard shower/toilet. Many times we heard from caravan park check in staff , 'we've put you near the amenities block'. I feel old, but the deed was appreciated. The extra bed over the cabin can be used as daytime storage for things like suitcases.

I drove extremely cautiously and did not leave a trail of destruction behind me. I was paranoid about doing any damage to the van, given the $7,500 bond. Nevertheless, some of the roads we travelled on were quite extreme and R did get fed up with mountainous steep and winding roads, even just along the coast of NSW. I have learnt that Victoria's eastern and some of the western coastal roads are quite flat and the equivalent in NSW are not. That was not something we factored in or imagined.

To move from one end of the living area of the van to other if the other person was standing up involved phrases such as 'can you move your fat arse' or 'can you move your fat gut'. Please, we manage to get in each other's way at home in a large three bedroom apartment, never mind in a campervan.

We covered about 3,000 kilometres, 1,800 miles. The longest period of driving was about four hours but normally a good bit less. We took lots of breaks and often diversions if something appealed to us to see. There was supplementary driving on top of that, like around a town to see sights etc.

As it was our first time in caravan parks with our own accommodation, I was nervous about looking foolish because I was ignorant about something, but that never really happened and we quickly got the hang of how things work. Staff were always pleasant in the parks, at times very helpful.

All in all, it was a good experience, marred mainly by the weather, particularly the wind. I don't think we would do it again though. The stress levels can be quite high at times, but then so can they be when travelling by any mode on holidays. There is always so much to consider and plan.

Just a dodgy photo now to end, Batemens Bay lift bridge over River Clyde, taken with my phone.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016


Singular: Terminus
Plural: Termini

Singular: Lettuce
Plural: Lettuci


Terminuses is ugly, as is lettuces.

We've decided to have a crack at growing vegetables on our balcony. While we can keep a pot of annuals going for a season, and a permanent and very hardy flowering plant, it is not a kind environment to plants. It get sun midsummer until around noon, perhaps 11:00 am this month. It gets very hot in summer with the sun beaming down and heating the surfaces. There is also the cold and buffeting wind blasts after a cool change.

The lettuci were brought as is and they have thrived. We've been plucking away at the five varieties, double planted to make ten. They drink a lot of water and will need daily watering when it is hot.

The other two plants are a cherry tomato variety. They are in a self watering pot that may need filling once a week or less. They have grown and will soon need tying to the frame. I have grown full sized tomatoes before in a pot but it was so long ago, I cannot remember the results. I know I have to pinch the laterals off but I will Google before much longer about tomato in pot growing. 

Monday, November 07, 2016

My Dear US Citizen

Dear US citizen, should the worst come to worst after your election and you would like to flee your country to Australia, if you fill these criteria, you would be most welcome.

I know Canada is probably more attractive. It's Prime Minister is certainly more attractive than Australia's but Canada probably doesn't want you.

Ok, my criteria

1/ You don't thank or praise the lord for everything in public and you don't tell people that they are in your prayers. The lord does not always give. She often just takes.

2/ You don't bring your restaurant tipping practice to Australia. Our waiting staff are poorly paid, but compared to yours, paid well enough. If you start tipping, our staff will expect us to tip.

3/ You can look at a map of world and point to Australia, England and say roughly France....western Europe at least, and know the continents of the world.

4/ You already know that the world sometimes spells English words differently, as we do in Australia. Don't come here and tell us our spelling is wrong.

5/ Only police and some guards carry guns. Sporting shooters, farmers and some other professionals have access to guns. You will be laughed at if you apply to carry a gun for personal protection. Any other person who carries a gun, apart from the first two mentioned, is a criminal.

6/ You must fit into Australia and not be overtly critical. Leave that to us long time Australians. Once you have your citizenship, you can quietly join the rest of us and complain, not loudly though, not of the country that has given you refuge from the ravages of Trumpet.

7/ You must at least pay lip service to caring for the environment and express your concerns. You could actually be proactive about concerns for the environment, but that is probably a bit un-Australian. Learn the phrase 'It's a worry' with different inflexions and you will get a long way, as will the phrase , 'no worries'.

I'm determined to get to /10

8/ An old saying goes, Jack is as good as his Master. While we pretend Australia is a country of equality, it is not. However, to act superior to other people in public is really not the done thing. We are generally polite and don't push in and anyone who does so is given the evil eye, at the least. We say please and thank you, but we are not overtly gushy about it. My childhood experience of addressing people older than yourself, you called them Mr, Mrs or Miss until invited to use their given name. R tells me this is rubbish. The first thing that struck him when he arrived in Australia in 1971 was how everyone used given names. Anyway, go through with the pretence that all Australians are equal and you won't go wrong. People here don't widely use the words Sir or Madame.

9/ Ummm...... while in our hearts we know Australia is not a bad place to live in the scheme of things, most of us don't cry out about it. It is not God's own Country. It is not the country of the brave, young and free. It is not the best god dammed country on earth. It is sort of ok, but could do with a lot of improvement.

9a/ Australia is very multi cultural and unlike in the US, the different cultures mix better here. Immigrant arrival ghettos quickly break down with the next generation. That this will happen with our large Moslem/African immigration of recent years, I am not so sure about, but it probably will. It always has in the past.  My experience of immigration only goes back forty years, but knowledge a good bit further, and I cannot remember immigration being so problematic as it now is.

10/ Keep your voice down. There are enough loud Australians here without adding loud Americans.

10a/ Don't bring your shit coffee with you. We either drink instant coffee or hand/machine made coffee from an espresso machine, or both.

10b/ We don't throw shrimps on a barbie. We might barbeque a prawn but I don't think I have ever had barbequed prawns.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Sunday Selections

Joining with River and others for Sunday Selections with my usual random photos.

I had a birthday over two weeks ago and finally we got together with friends to celebrate. Two cards the same! Are people trying to tell me something?

A gift from Sister.

A gift from a friend. Take a close look. The monkeys are way cool.

Our sewing basket is full of all sorts of needles, threads and reels, and of course those needle threading things, essential for moi who may occasionally have to resew a button but then theatrically becomes hysterically incompetent and R does it for me.

The age of these pins could probably be dated by the Coles price sticker. 1980s, I should think.

A lovely piece of  work at the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce. A friend works there and she has invited us to a Saturday afternoon party in a week's time. It is her last hurrah before her frail parents return from living the dream on Queensland's Gold Coast in Australia's tallest residential apartment building. They are old and need the care of their daughter. The paradise of God's Waiting Room did not turn out to be as practical or as cheap as they thought. Our friend has already adapted her stylish two storey house to accommodate them. She is heavily in debt, but when her parents die, she will be ok, and I guess her parents will pay board.

The dog across the road doesn't spend too much time alone but when it is left at home, it has a great time playing with whatever is suspended on the end of a rope.

Rather stupidly, I always wave to this dog when I see it. It's a very nice looking dog. The dog always looks up at me with a benign interest.

R exaggerates that our building is becoming like a slum. The dog above does make a mess. I've never seen it out being walked. Pretty ghastly to look down upon and doesn't happen too often. When we look after Dog Jack, he can cope with being taken out twice a day and never make a mess inside.

A new occupant has just moved in on our level. Classy look of a roll of stolen toilet paper. Now fortunately replaced by a container of many make up brushes and various cosmetics.

Do I take the photo through glass or open the door and probably alarm the bird and miss the photo altogether? I did the former.

This thing is back. It can move around at quite a speed. Send it back to River in Adelaide, please.

Unusual evening light.

The cockatoo was sitting on a balcony railing and then flew down to join the raven. The cocky made a non contact lunge at the raven but the raven was not worried and just moved away a bit. Young birds trying it on, I think. The cocky didn't hang around and dropped down the side of the building.

House fire in Richmond. I believe the unoccupied timber house was destroyed.