Saturday, February 04, 2017

The Conductress

They were called tram conductresses and employed by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board during WWII when men went overseas to fight another country's war and were killed in their thousands. What a smart uniform she wore. One does like a split skirt.

The conductress is lowering the pole that connects the tram to the overhead electric wires and with the driver seated and ready to go, with the rear pole presumably raised to the overhead wire by the driver. It looks awfully like a propaganda photo. Note the covering over the headlight, so that the tram would not be a illuminated target for German or Japanese strafing or bombing during the 'brownout' war years. In my memory, when the trams of years ago stopped at the terminus, driver and conductor both jumped out at more or less the same time to change the poles. The driver would not be seated and ready to go as the conductor lowered the pole. Also note the mass of telephone wires, something which is all now underground, and the side destination on the tram, which is not in my memory, although that model of tram is.

Route 27 has long passed into history, but I remember seeing route 27 trams. There is a metal plate hanging in the window to the left of driver. The H on the plate denoted that the tram was operated by Hawthorn Tram Depot, and guess what the depot is now? Yep, smart apartments, but with a small tram museum still there. 

It wasn't until the mid 1970s that women were allowed to drive trams, and R knew the first female driver, who was not of a marrying or child rearing kind, and she certainly wore very sensible shoes. To quote the first female Melbourne tram driver, I don't need a penis to drive a tram, and given the number of female tram drivers Melbourne now has, she was quite right. 

Friday, February 03, 2017

Dual Nationals

I convinced R to retain his British Euro passport and I am not sure why. Maybe I had dreams of living in England/Europe? Maybe I had dreams of R going back to England and leaving me alone. I really don't approve of dual nationalities. Wasn't the facility only introduced into Australia so that Rupert Murdoch could retain his media empire in Australia and buy a new one in the US, that is he had to be a US citizen to buy into the local media?

While R can could queue jump with his Euro passport when we travelled, it was pointless as he then had to wait for me with my untrusted Aussie passport. Thanks for that Britain, while all those other foreign types who can't speak English and whose forebears did not send you food parcels during the war, go through as if they are British. But then British immigration became suspicious of him for not using his Euro passport and cross questioned him.

Call me old fashioned or xenophobic, but I really don't agree with dual nationalities. You live in a country, you become a citizen, you pay your taxes and you take the benefits of being a citizen of that country. While the people with self interest, like me and Rupert, of course might avail ourselves of the opportunity, why should we be allowed to?

Even more puzzling, why would you want to be a dual national of war torn, corrupt and destroyed country and one of the relatively civilised western countries. Don't give me attachment to the homeland crap. It will always be about personal self interest of some kind.

Well, it seems via Trumpet in the US, dual nationals from many countries are being disadvantaged. I feel for them and their difficulties, but for goodness sakes, show a bit a of commitment to the country where you live, contribute to and take from. The alternative is called a foot in both paddocks, or a bob each way. It comes with consequences, as dual nationals are finding.

This could be published any old time, but I will make it an extra Friday post, as if the media is to be believed, Trumpet has now shown serious disrespect to Australia and our Prime Minister. Trumpet, we now have a personal reason to hate you, and mein gott, how could the US possibly have elected such a person as you and the craziness you have bought to such a high office.

Cute as

The Australian wombat is a delightful creature when it is young. Once it becomes mature, it is not necessarily so nice, very strong and perhaps aggressive and as for most creatures, there is the urge to reproduce.  Interestingly that while the wombat is a marsupial, meaning it has a pouch for its live embryo, its pouch faces backwards, probably to stop it being filled by dirt when the wombat digs its burrow. Farmers are not so keen on wombats. As well as eating the grass, wombat burrows can collapse when livestock stand on them and may break a leg, and that can't be easily treated.

In my childhood, a neighbour had a baby wombat. It was great fun. It charged around their house like a bull on steroids. I wonder what happened to it.

Somewhere in the mists of Australian tv history was Fatso the Wombat, but I don't remember.

There are three varieties of wombats in Australia. We see the common southern wombat, but one of the wombat species is on the endangered list, that is is the northern hairy nosed wombat. Charlie Downunder in Oz tells us all about it.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

My life in floor polishers

I was four years old when we moved to the dairy farm in the early 1960s as Australia was undergoing a credit squeeze. The squeeze meant people could not borrow money to build their own homes, so my builder father became under employed. With the help of Mother's father, he bought a dairy farm and it was successful enough. Give my daughter anything she wants was the only interest Grandfather charged. Can you see why Mother might be like she is? Of course, come divorce, all that was forgotten and Grandfather was repaid from the farm settlement, which ultimately went back to Mother, who made short work of the money. To be a little fair, a good bit of it was spent on bringing up brothers and sister and Step Father was a bit of a business dreamer and lost some of the money. Of course when oldest son wanted money for a deposit for his first house, sorry son, the money is tied up. I begged and borrowed more, and got my start and lived in penury for a number of years.

Shortly before that happened, Father built his in laws a rather good cream brick veneer on North Road, South Oakleigh. Who would have known that North Road would become a truck container route.

Grandma gave her daughter, Mother, her old three brush Electrolux floor polisher and bought a new two brush Hoover that was light but quite uncontrollable, as I remember it. Photo by Gugue @ Flickr.

Photo by Austin Russell @ Pinterest.

While the three brush model became too heavy for Grandma, the two brush Hoover had Grandma dancing around the kitchen as she tried to control its direction of travel. Left to its own devices it would have gone crazy like a high pressure water hose when released from your grip. The process with floor polishers was sprinkle the liquid polish on the floors and spread it with the brushes. Then clip on the felt pads to remove the polish, and then buff the floor with lambswool clip ons.

When I moved into R's Elwood flat in 1979, I came with some items, one being by then my late grandmother's floor polisher. It certainly brought up his bathroom terrazzo floor to a gleaming shine but age had not dimmed its enthusiasm for madly skating around the floor.

I don't know what happened to the polisher, but something of it remains to this day.

Now you may think I am changing the subject, but no, it will come together.

I bought some new work boots. Australian made Rossi boots (Adelaide family Rossiter) last about ten years and are amazingly good value at about $80 at the big green shed hardware shop.

My last pair had not really worn out but had developed a hole in the bend crease on top of the boot. I had also badly scarred them.  I had only ever used liquid polish on them. One thing we forgot to take with us when we visited Canada and New York was liquid shoe polish, and oh, how we were ripped off for that at a shop at the Port Authority in New York. And, it was not very good polish either.

So, I have new boots, and I decided to I will go back to the old ways of polishing them with Kiwi Nugget, and then buffing them. But where to buy a brush? Woolworths at QV had a suitable brush for taking polish off, at $10, and I bought it and then found in an el cheapo Asian shop a brush for applying the polish. I should have bitten the bullet and bought two expensive brushes at Woolworths.

I had so forgotten about the twist thing to open the shoe polish tin. I need newspaper to protect the floor when cleaning shoes, but we don't have newspapers. I found a newspaper in the recycling room, but by the time I got around to polishing my boots, the paper had gone back downstairs in the recycling.

I sat on my lav seat in my ensuite and polished my new boots and my casual shoes. The cheap put on polish brush flicked loose shoe polished laden fibres onto my floor. Messy. The expensive take off polish brush did well though, but my shoes needed a final buffing to give them a good glow.

We have a shoe cleaning box that also contains a stock of  new sponges and scourers. In the very bottom of the box I found something to buff my shoes up nicely. That would be the lambswool floor polisher clip ons from my grandmother's Hoover floor polisher and the pair of them would be over 50 years old.

Oh yes, the result with the boots, instead of having a flashy shine, now have a warm dull glow, so satisfying. R was doubtful that we had to polish our school shoes every night of school, but we did.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Matters tech and I was wrong

Mother's phone has been connected to the NBN. As an old and frail person with medical issues, she is (I can't remember the correct phrase) a Telstra priority customer. I told her it was nonsense that she would be without a phone for three days, as others had told her. I was wrong. She was, almost. Her phone was disconnected and then she had no phone.

ABI Brother got on the phone and argued strongly for his poor old frightened mother at home without a telephone. That evening at 10pm, someone turned up with a simple mobile phone for Mother to use until her landline was working. Strangely her elderly friend could not understand how it worked. Even more strangely, her young council cleaner could not show her how it worked. It took R to show her and it is such a simple phone. Maybe the aforesaid are used to smartphones, not simple ones. After three days, her landline was once again working and she asked if she could keep the mobile. The answer was no. It was taken back, no doubt to again be given to some whingeing old woman.

I thought I had connected everything in our abode to the NBN. Aside from other issues, there was no issue connecting devices including the tv. I did forget one thing, my Kindle for book reading. I reckon I spent about 3 hours on sorting it out and I really don't know why it happened. I bought a book just after we connected to the NBN, for $1.99. I rarely pay more. I kind of noticed it had not downloaded, more that I always like a book waiting for me and there wasn't one there. I returned to work after the Christmas holidays, and there the book was. Oh yes, it is hooked up to the work wifi too. That is how books get delivered to my Kindle. I buy them on the Amazon/Kindle website and when the Kindle gets an internet connection, the book downloads in a couple of seconds.

Well, of course it won't work at home. It needs the new internet connection details.

In the meantime, one day the well charged battery went flat in one day. The charge normally lasts for weeks. Odd, and I had nothing to read at work. Then it happened a second time, where the battery unexpectedly went flat very quickly. I gotta fix this.

While I could download books at work, this is not ideal. I found the wifi connection area.....I suppose I must have done this when R first gave me my Kindle, but our wifi internet was not showing and nor was any of our neighbours. Much googling to find out my model number to do a search was a waste of time. Yes, a lot of time. Eventually I found out you can restart the device by pressing on the on/off button for thirty seconds. It restarted ok and my latest book was still there, but now my work internet connection had gone too. I can also manually transfer a book to the Kindle by plugging it in to the computer after also downloading the book to my tablet and transferring but that is not how it should work.

Eventually I found the solution, a factory reset. You go to the menu and then hold down some button which gets you to another menu where you can factory reset the device. I did that and there were internet connections. Glee! I connected it to our wifi signal and all is well and the battery has gone back to normal.

What I did learn along the way was that when you archive a book, that is when you delete it, it goes off the device but is always downloadable from Amazon.

I am pretty tenacious about such things, but I was getting close to just buying a new one. R would have just chucked it in the bin if it stopped working.  Perhaps he has the right attitude.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


I don't do any tampering with my photos when I put them on my blog, although I do take them at full size, umpteen megabytes with the camera and then reduce their size to post on my blog. Very occasionally I will crop a photo, but that is it. I don't enhance. Maybe some of you think I should. Maybe when I no longer work, I will have the time to learn about enhancing photos.

At Diane's suggestion, I have played a bit with my camera exposure setting and improved some photos as I took them. I takes time and I am used to just instantly snapping and hoping the auto setting will work. Mostly it does, but at times it doesn't.

I've never understood why people don't turn their flash off when taking long distance photos in low light. I have wondered if it makes a difference to the photo, and so here we go, it does make a difference.

Flash on.

I turn the flash off and here is the result. The foreground is better shown but it is not really the sunrise I am seeing.

I turned the flash back on and this is very close to what I was seeing, as the sun was about to appear on the horizon.

Talking about weather and sky photos, I am chucking in another couple of photos that I am happy with, clouds. Looking east as the sun sets.

Looking west as the sun sets.

Monday, January 30, 2017

After the Tennis

So the host tv broadcaster says as it promotes it new tv programmes that all begin 'after the tennis', meaning after the Australian open ends.

Employers often prefer young workers; attractive, vibrant, enthusiastic, take orders without question, over older workers that while they have lived a life time of change in their workplaces, are now thought of as inflexible and having old fashioned attitudes to work. I say bah to such employers. I wish I was in a position to say that to my workplace, but it would make no difference. In spite of my superb work record, it would happily say goodbye to a dinosaur like me for someone a little more malleable and unquestioning, and cheaper I dare say.

Yet who played off the night before last in the Australian Open women's tennis final. Two women who are closer to forty than thirty. Maturity outsmarted youth well and truly.

And who is playing off last night in the men's final? A bloke closer to 40 than 30 and he is playing a 31 year old.

So much for youth being high achievers.

R is a little sad today. He arranged a nice catch up dinner last night at the Rosstown Hotel in Carnegie. One by one said they were busy, and so there was only five of us. However, it was a great night and we will certainly return to the Rosstown.

R walked into town today and as he sat down at Soul Cafe to eat his sandwich, Chinese New Year celebrations exploded around him. Yes, exploded, with lots of fireworks and marauding dragons. When he was coming home, the tram was packed with people going to the gay Pride March in St Kilda. While we have been many times, he felt sad that he was not part of the event, well as an onlooker at least. I had to work.

I had my own sad moment at work. A Vietnamese born workmate was telling me he had grown a watermelon this year. That is quite an achievement in Melbourne. His neighbour was impressed. His neighbour is and is a third generation in the area and of a market gardening family. This is in an area when my many family forebears had market gardens. I did not recognise his surname but maybe Mother will. On a note I wrote down the surnames of three of the family forebears who had market gardens and gave it to him and asked if he would ask his neighbour if he knew of the families. Sure, he replied. I don't know why people do it when there is a rubbish bin right next to the raised garden bed, but into the garden bed they throw rubbish. If it is easily reachable, I often pick it up and put it into the bin. There was my piece of paper with family names upon it in the garden bed. He had discarded it. Too hard for him to ask his neighbour? Maybe. But at least get rid of the evidence of your non intention to follow through in a undiscoverable way.

I remember sending a copy of a 1940s photo my paternal grandmother (The Bolter) took of her house in Devonport, Tasmania, to the present occupants. No  response from them.

I suppose I just need to realise that not everyone is like me. I am sounding somewhat maudlin and February will be a socially busy time with nephew's 30th birthday, great niece Little Em's first birthday and a friend from the country staying with us for a couple of nights.  Melbourne will host White Night and the St Kilda Festival, not that we will go to either.

We have to make hospital visits too as former Firefighting/Chainsaw Niece is having latte coffee coloured twin girls and she is confined in hospital for the next ten weeks in an area very alien to us and her family and friends, Heidelberg, but at least the hospital is next to the train station. It is worse for the rest than it us for us to visit her.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday Selections

Joining with River and others in Sunday Selections and this week there is a bit of a theme in that the photos were taken sequentially as I made the train trip from the city to Malvern Station and then walked to a Malvern hospital.

Homelessness has become a very noticeable on the streets of Melbourne. Under criticism for encouraging street living are are various services set up to the help them. They never have to go short of free food as plenty of places offer meals, along with vans set up at night to feed them, along with a van where they can shower etc and another where they can wash their clothes. It's a bit chicken and egg as which came first but the more support the city homeless receive, the more people hone in on the city as being the place to be. The camps along Flinders Street are very visible to the Australian Open tennis visitors and look very bad. What is to be done that is both kind and practical yet get them off the streets?

Just caught my eye. I had to down to ground level to take the photo, but as I stood up, I could easily imagine the day when I could not easily get up.

City of Yarra rubbish bin near Richmond Station, co-mingled rubbish and recycling. Charlie, what do you think of Slim's grammar?

Very appropriate that Pimm's is advertised during the tennis. I may have tried it many years ago, but I can't remember the taste. I expect it is sweet and I would not like it.

The battle to stop this development at Orrong Park near Toorak Station was fought long and hard by some very wealthy and influential local residents. It appears they lost but have won some restriction.

Walking from the Malvern Station is a very quiet little enclave where I came across a number of restaurants and this shop full of dolls and cuddly toys. I tried a few times to get a better photo, but reflections beat me.

There is nothing really remarkable this historic commercial building, so I am glad it was saved even if it meant a large apartment block built behind.

There are some very nice houses in Soudan Street.

Curious place. I think two buildings were joined in more recent times.

A pity some of this tessellated tile verandah has been broken. Most of it was intact and in good condition. I guess it will be fixed.

Was it a religious institution?

Pretty hydrangeas in front of what appears to be an un-renovated house, that is lived in and owned by an old person.

I think this church is now for the Asian born Presbyterians. Also good to see it still being used as a church. There is a modern linkage to the house next door.

You feel really old when you see buildings built, used and then demolished, as this part of The Hospital that ate Malvern is about to be. Five to six storeys will replace it. My grandmother died in this hospital and the staff were very uncaring in the 70s. Back then many nuns staffed the hospital but I know of only one there now who wears a nun's habit, almost looking as absurd as Moslem women's traditional dress. Catholic religion is still strongly displayed there and it is hospital I don't want to ever go to. If I had to choose a private hospital, I would choose the Jewish hospital Masada where I had first class treatment and care and a ham sandwich for lunch, except from one foreign born bitchy gay male night nurse. Dame M also died there at the above mentioned Cabrini, two days after being admitted. She was almost dead when we took her there to be admitted and when the admitting nurse checked her oxygen levels, and said, well, you have slipped through the system. She hadn't, it was her choice, but the desk person said, 'madam, $250 please as your admittance fee'. Dame M managed to get out a plastic card to pay. Generally in Australia our internet is never censored unless you try to access a site that is blocked because of illegal activity, say open drug dealing or pedophile sites. The first night in hospital our friend was able to access the gay chat site Silver Daddies using the hospital wifi. He is a Balding Daddy. By the next night, the site was blocked. Fortunately he has younger computer savvy friends who 'fixed' the wifi access problem to Silver Daddies and again he could then chat online to people who he knew. Censorship like that stinks. If you are not doing anything illegal, then you should not be censored. We experienced the same during our Danube River cruise a couple of years ago, and it is not right.

A massive gum tree almost hides this rather grand house in Wattletree Road.