Saturday, January 07, 2017

The heat, oh the heat

It is too hot to do this at Federation Square for us.

Way to hot for man and beast to be outside.

What to do? Why not watch a dvd. Sister lent us a dvd. It is years since we sat down and watched a dvd movie. The dvd is called Oddball and it was great little very Aussie movie, with a good bit of humour and some sad moments. Mother has seen it three times and Little Jo has seen it five times. I try not to watch trailers before seeing a movie, so it is up to you if you watch this and you think you may see the movie at some point.

Craigieburn and an absurd line naming system

Two of the world's great public transport systems, London's Tube and New York's Subway, use permanent line names or letters, such as in London, the Victoria Line, Circle Line etc, and New York, the A Line, E Line etc. It doesn't matter what extensions are made or new stations opened, the name stays the same.

Not so in stupid Melbourne where the line's name is the name of the suburban terminus. When a line is extended, the name of the line changes.

Thus the Dandenong Line became the Pakenham Line.

The St Albans Line became the Watergardens Line and now it is the Sunbury line. (I only just learnt of the latest change myself but I did know Watergardens was no longer used)

The Epping Line was extended and is now the South Morang line but will probably change again to the Mernda line.

The Broadmeadows Line became the Craigieburn Line.

This is a hopeless and needless situation. Some lines have scheduled trains not running the full length of the line, and are listed on the departure boards as say, Eltham, which is on the Hurstbridge Line. If you know to catch the Hurstbridge train to the closer Watsonia Station , you just may not know that the Eltham train will get you there too.

VLine (country) has its own problems too. The Geelong train line was extended a little on existing track and became listed as the Marshall train, now it is the Waurnn Ponds train, but not on the PTV website where it is listed as Geelong-Melbourne. Absolutely absurd. Technically it is the Warrnambool Line, as that is its ultimate destination. I would be quite happy with it being called the South West Line, and other lines receiving compass direction names, which gives you some idea of where they go.

With a little spare time when R was at his volunteer job, I thought I might take the train to Craigieburn. I am close to having travelled on all lines, so I have decided I will complete them all this year. It is so long since I have been on the Pakenham train all the way, I must do that again. I've haven't done the Frankston Line and it would be nice to continue on to the non suburban Stony Point on a different train from Frankston. That only leaves the Lilydale Line and the spur line to Cranbourne.

Craigieburn was interesting enough. I did not like the types hanging around Craigieburn Station though. They were very rough, loud and swearing. It certainly isn't the best part of Melbourne and after Glenroy, the housing standard deteriorated considerably, although some of the housing was quite new.

I was a little puzzled by the many train lines I had seen along the way. I studied some details and track maps once home and worked out what I wanted to know (thanks Marcus). It is too nerdy and detailed to go into here.

I caught train I arrived at back to town. Nothing much to see at Cragieburn. I had a carriage to myself when we departed.

Much industry along the way.

A railway electric substation. I am not sure if it is still operational. I can't see wires coming from it, but they may be underground.

As far as I know, or remember, this is the only station with a closed entrance at the end of a I am doubtful. Elsternwick is, I think and there are probably more. There could be an entrance/exit behind me, but I don't think there was as otherwise, why did I take the photo. This is a problem of writing a few weeks after you have done something. You start to forget detail.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Too close for comfort

Yesterday we visited a friend in Cabrini Hospital at about noon. We hadn't eaten, so instead of our usual brunch out, we decided to have a proper lunch out. Options were thrown into the hat and considered. Brighton Sea Baths? I was feeling a little broke, so I kind of vetoed that. A cafe in Elsternwick? Sand Bar cafe in Middle Park? The weather was warm and a seaside lunch might be nice, so we decided on Sand Bar.

We parked at 1:15 and had a very pleasant lunch, leaving a little less than an hour later. Had we have gone to Elsternwick, there could have been a little drama. At 1:40 this happened as reported in The Age. We would have been very close by.

Masked robbers wielding a handgun and machete have robbed an Elsternwick jewellery store in a frightening afternoon heist.
Three offenders with shirts on their heads stormed H and H Jewellery on Glenhuntly Road about 1.40pm.
Police said that the robbers threatened staff and stole jewellery before leaving in a waiting vehicle without registration plates, which was driven by another offender.
The vehicle drove south along Orrong Road.
It is believed the gang were later sighted on Gardenia Road in Gardenvale, where one of them  got out of a black Holden Commodore then jumped in a black Ford Territory.
Both vehicles drove off separately.
No shots were fired during the incident and no injuries have been reported.
The offenders were reported to be of African appearance.
An employee of the business, which also has stores in South Yarra and Collins Street, said they were shaken by the robbery.
"At this point in time we're still recovering, so if you could call back another time?"

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Post Christmas

ABI Brother went to cricket for the first day of  the Boxing Test. That is cricket for you who don't know. Sister, Bone Doctor and two friends attended the second day of the Test, and we looked after Little Jo. It is a constant battle to get her away from the desktop computer.

We took her to the rather grungy Centre Place to eat crepes for brunch and very nice they were. We made our way north along lanes, arcades and through department stores to Melbourne Central and I then left Little Jo and R who were going to see the movie Moana with a gift card. Did you know if there is remaining value on gift card at the movies, it can be used at the food bar. They bought popcorn to use up the balance. I went to the supermarket at QV and then came home.

Once back home, R and Little Jo went down for a swim in the pool. Play at the cricket was stopped for light rain! and Sister came back here and while I rarely have a drink before six, we had a beer each at four. Sister then wanted a glass of wine. Sister does not hold her liquor as well as her older brother and exhibited signs of being a bit squiffy. Bone Doctor and their friends stayed in town as BD had something to change in Tah Jeh and then play resumed at the cricket, so they went back.

Sister asked if they could all stay for dinner and we would have take away pizza. We agreed and wow, Bone Doctor paid for the pizza. Well she put $50 down and R did not give her any money back. The friends were pleasant company and the trio had stopped off on the way home to buy a bottle of wine. Hmmm, Little Jo and the male person of the their friends are extremely close and friendly. My goodness, everything fell into place. He must be Little Jo's biological father, the donor. It seems we had met them before and we knew he was among the crowd back then. They were also at BD's birthday party mid this year, where his wife did a terrific mime and dance to Babushka. I don't really have anyone to talk to about serious world politics, beyond Trumpet is very scary. She and I had a great conversation about Euro politics, Merkel, Germany, the Austrian election and other Euro matters. She has a great interest in Europe and is well travelled.

It was a good day, but on top of hosting Christmas Day, then attending another Christmas on Boxing Day at Ex Sis in Law's, we were very weary when they left. I don't know what we did the next day, but I am sure it wasn't much. We were also looking after Dog Jack.

Mother and ABI Brother stayed down on the Bellarine at Sister's for four days over the new year period. I spent an hour on the phone talking to Mother Tuesday night once she was home, listening to the good and the bad about her visit.

Our friend is in hospital for leg ulcer treatment. We have visited him four times, otherwise, aside from the New Year's Day public holiday on Monday where we made an effort, post about that later, we haven't done too much.

Just to wrap, Fire Fighting Nephew, Middle Niece and Twin Bearing Niece all use the honorific of Uncle when speaking to us. Little Jo never has, just using our names. If Sister is not present, Little Jo refers to her by her name and while I have heard her call Bone Doctor, Mum, it is mostly her name too. R's accent rarely gives him away as being English born with a strong accent but their are a few words he says that have never been Australianised. Smorgasboard is one of them and it sounds a bit like smokersboard. Little Jo very smartly corrected his pronunciation. Given she barely touched an electronic device before the age of six, at nine she is very smart with computers. 'Auntie Andrew, your computer wall paper is very boring.' Not taking too much notice, I said, yeah, well whatever you like.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

May your creeks not flood

After Christmas it rained heavily here but for two very brief periods. I have seen worse here. Victorian public transport collapses when it is too wet, too hot or there are caterpillars on the tracks, which is odd because it often quite wet and quite hot, and travelling caterpillars is a natural thing.

There is an underpass below a rail bridge in South Melbourne near South Melbourne Market . For a day and a half Tweeters and the media referred to it as the flooded Montague Street underpass. The media even staked out the underpass to catch stupid motorists who did not the notice the flood warning signs, the depth gauge or that it looked like deep water in front of the them. Sure enough, into the water cars went. I have no sympathy at all for such stupid people, quite different to being caught in a flash flood. I am not commenting on that the morals of the media which chooses between getting footage or warning people before they entered the flooded viaduct.

South Melbourne's Montague Street Bridge is infamous for trucks and other vehicles striking it as they try to pass under. Perhaps with Montague Street being nearby, the name went wrong.

In this case Montague Street is innocent. The flooded underpass was the York Street underpass, under the route 96 tram bridge, formerly the St Kilda train bridge.

Trust Twitter? Trust the media? Not much.


I cannot remember what year, but R's oldest sister, my favourite, second husband's sister and her partner visited Australia. We collected them from the airport, gave them dinner and took them to their digs. They visited Adelaide, and asked if they could stay with us for one night when they returned. Of course. We were hospitable hosts,

Totally by coincidence, we were to visit Darwin for a holiday at the same time they would be there. We caught up and spent some time together. I remember now, it was my first year of blogging second year and I did write about our Darwin holiday. With A&J, we were in the Darwin Casino watching a monster tv screen as the 2005 London bombings unfolded before us in the late afternoon. We did not appreciate just how serious the event was.

A&J were great fun and we went to Mindel Markets together, ate awful food stall food and saw the sun set on the beach. All very nice. Then A said, I have to do my nails tomorrow and we will be very busy, so we won't see you again. I felt hurt and it wasn't just me. R was not impressed either. Well, we don't want to see you either.

We had our own agenda in Darwin, places to visit etc, and did they not realise that we are not the imposing type. Well, I don't think we are.

Nevertheless, via FB we know them now and while we are not best friends, we keep vaguely in touch. I understand about private space and home time and women painting their nails and men needing private time! But what she said was quite hurtful.

I wrote this some time ago, but never published it. I now have a reason. Gattina was hurt when a close friend and neighbour went to live with her new husband and Gattina did not hear from her for months. Read Gattina's post here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

New York Names

When we were in New York last year........or was it the year before? Holiday years blur. Anway, two New York place names interested me, Hell's Kitchen and Tribeca. Hell's Kitchen does not sound too great and I have no idea about Tribeca. Let me look. I'll start with Tribeca because the origin of the name is not contested.

While Tribeca sounds like a foreign word, it is not. Triangle Below Canal Street is its origin (no connection to the oh so gay Canal Street in Manchester, England). It isn't actually a triangle as it has four sides, but it is triangularly shaped with Canal Street being its northern border and the World Trade Centre area on its southern border. Isn't that interesting. Well, I think so and it turned out to be so easy to find out.

Hell's Kitchen is a bit harder. The local authority and property developers like to call the area Clinton (not after those Clintons) or Midtown West. The area was settled in the mid 19th century by mostly Irish immigrants fleeing the potato famine back home. It was a poverty and crime stricken area until the 1980s when gentrification of the area began. There was a Hell's Kitchen in London but of the many theories of the origin of the name, I like this one best.

But the most common version traces it to the story of "Dutch Fred the Cop," a veteran policeman, who with his rookie partner, was watching a small riot on West 39th Street near Tenth Avenue. The rookie is supposed to have said, "This place is hell itself," to which Fred replied, "Hell's a mild climate. This is Hell's Kitchen.

The pinkish area is Hell's Kitchen, on the banks of the Hudson River. We stayed within the area, in West 40th Street just east of 8th Avenue.

In never understood New York geography until I went there.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Unwelcome music

Look, I have lasted a whole day into the new year without complaining about something. 

I was in a shop a couple of weeks ago and I can't remember what kind of shop it was but it was staffed entirely by female ethnic Asian lasses. There was western muzak playing and it was so loud, I did not hang around. 

Wednesday, the first day the shops reopened properly after Christmas we caught the tram to town and as we boarded we were assaulted by very loud music on the tram. The culprit was a disabled man with a wheeled walking frame. It was awful and if looks and glares could kill, he would have been very dead from all directions. It was so loud the public announcements could not be heard. I was furious that no one said anything to him, let alone the driver. As I walked past him to the other end of the tram I said loudly to R that we should get off and wait for the next tram. God knows what the awful music was, but then the next track from his hidden super loud boom box was Kids in America and the rest were popular 80s tracks. I found my self foot tapping and I noticed a few others doing the same. Still, it is not right.

We ate a healthy brunch at QV shopping centre, but soon enough found ourselves hungry again and went to Centre Place for coffee and cake. As soon as we ordered, a two or three piece busking band set up right next to us. Victor, it was right across the lane from where you dined last year when you stayed overnight in town. Lordy it was loud. People knew they were going to perform as some very professional photographers had set up. They attracted a crowd around us, making it even worse. There was a lot of trumpet, saxophone and drum noise but I could not possibly confirm that what they played was interesting. Well, not right next to us. Once a violinist set up in the same spot and the previous cafe owner hunted her off. Buskers in the city are supposed to have a permit to perform.

Saturday we were in Prahran having brunch at a cafe in Prahran Market. We were late because someone in The Highrise slept very late, and it wasn't me. It was time for the mariachi trio to perform, blasting us with more trumpet and saxophone, and worse, a banjo.

New Years Eve was quiet for us. I felt asleep in a chair and at 11.50 R poked me (settle) awake and we walked across the road to where we could see the city fireworks.  

We had wee nightcap and I went to bed. R today told me he stayed up and watched the Village People in You Can't Stop the Music. My god, what campness. 

Feeling a little ordinary today as much for staying up late than too much tipple, New Year's Day, we did not venture out until about 1pm for a bite to eat. We drove along the beach road and had a light lunch at West Beach Bathers Pavilion. Oh no, with a speaker pointed directly at us a guitarist was setting up, with.........what are they called....synthesiser or something like that and a amplifier . No doubt he was going to make a lot of loud music in our ear too. We ate quickly and bolted. 

I am sure you won't have to wait too long in 2017 for the next old man whinge from me.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

A very brief review of 2016

It wasn't a bad year for us. We has some computer problems, well who didn't, and they want to put driverless cars on the roads! We had a new kitchen installed, with which we are very pleased. We had two holidays, one to Perth and our Victorian/Southern New South Wales road trip. We didn't buy anything major for The Highrise, though I did buy R a Samsung 7 phone for his birthday. The next reno will be the very dated bathrooms, maybe this year. R is determined to spend our money so there is nothing left for others to inherit. Tuesday we go into town to update our wills. It is a little disconcerting as I approach 60 and R 70 to know this will be the last kitchen we will ever renovate, and ditto bathrooms.

Next years Euro holiday is planned and mostly paid for.

Generally though it hasn't been a great year. The great hope firecracker Turnbull turned out to a damp fizzer. Right wing politics around the world seems to be dominating. The writing was on the wall. Why do politicians not listen?

I remember something from the early days of the net, Lucky/Unlucky, where you had to guess the outcome of what looked like a bad situation. You could have been in the wrong place at the wrong time in the world and been blown to smithereens by a militant Moslem made bomb, but I expect you are much more likely to be killed in a terrible car crash.

Terrorism is about terrorising people. Don't fall for it and live your life.

Sunday Selections

Well, thank you for your patience with all of those incomplete posts. The decks are now clear(ish) for the start of 2017.

This is a proper post office, Melbourne's General Post Office, except it isn't. There is not a post office within and the major tenant is H&M. 

The side colonnade, an excellent place for coffee unless a brisk cold southerly wind is blowing.....or a hot northerly for that matter.

This is what is now the Melbourne Post Office. I took this photo on Wednesday the 28th December, the first day it was open after Christmas. There must have been around 100 people queued. I will keep my secret city other post, ten minutes walk away, a secret.

Tradie trunks for the tradie trunk. (I am rather pleased with myself for that one)

If you follow Fen on Twitter, you may have already seen this rainbow.

If you follow Fen on Twitter, you might have also seen flowing water in her nearby lane during a downpour a couple of days ago. These at the top of our building are called spitters and there are four of these balcony drains. By the time the water reaches the ground it has broken into droplets. They are now illegal in new buildings and here are going to be replaced by downpipes. You have no idea of what a drawn out and complex process this has been. When they spurt in heavy rain like this, they are ok, but when then just drip or slowly run and it is windy, water can be blown inwards onto balconies, and more than once I have copped a shower when on the balcony.

A time ago Elephant's Child (EC will probably have a Sunday Selections for the first day of 2017) showed a  crested pigeon. I have researched for a minute and it is the same pigeon all over Australia and a native. It is found all over the country except the far north tropics and desert areas. It makes a whirring sound when flying, but I have not heard the sound.

Inside the oddly named St Collins Lane, formerly the Australia Arcade/Australia on Collins/Australia Hotel and there was once a gay bar downstairs called the Woolshed Bar. I don't think I went there. I've also heard there was a more upmarket bar, maybe on the first floor, for more gentlemanly faggots.

Thursday saw us in Prahran for a reason I forget. Why is this truck stopped halfway around the corner? We went to check. Ah, it has hit the verandah. 

Trams and buses could not proceed.

Someone was jacking up the back of the van. I suppose it was to free the van, but I couldn't see how.

Our salad leaves at their peak. They are looking a bit shabby now.

But even at their peak, this appeared in the kitchen. It seems I was not producing enough leaves.

Remember how we horizontally pierced Mother's tulips when she was in hospital and they did not sag. It works for gerberas too. These lasted about 11 days. Reminder: a sewing needle through the stem horizontally about 25mm, 1 inch, below the flower head.

I am only an occasional reader of Nancy Chan's blog. She has left New Zealand and is now in Malaysia. When she visited Melbourne, she mentioned this musician on my blog. He plays a traditional Asian instrument and is well appreciated. He has played in Arts Centre area for decades, well a very long time.

I wish all of you a very happy and trouble free 2017.