Saturday, February 25, 2017

UK absurdity

Last minute long distance train travel in England is absurdly expensive. A last minute purchase of an economy train ticket to travel in peak times to a popular destination can cost nearly £200 (US$250, AU$320, €230) for a a bit more that a two hour trip. Buy the ticket well in advance, it might only cost £25. Numerous private companies provide England's long distance train services and the biggest player is Richard Branson's Virgin Trains, and the the pricing shows just what happens when capitalism is allowed to run rampant with a public service.

One very clever teenager who was appalled at a very high fare of £47 to travel home by train worked out a way to travel to his home for only £43. It involved catching two local trains, two local buses and flying to Berlin and back with Ryan Air. Yes, it took much longer but he enjoyed the journey.

I can't find the figures now, but see the red line on the map representing the train trip from London to Lancaster. I am not talking a small difference here. Just below Lancaster is the city of Preston. It is much cheaper to buy a ticket to Lancaster and then just get off at Preston if that is your destination. A train conductor actually tried to stop one passenger from leaving the train at Preston when he had booked through to Lancaster. I would love to see that end up in court. Conductor uses physical force to stop a passenger leaving a train early before he had completed his paid for journey?

Eurostar through the chunnel , France, Belgium and England is similar.

Australia's long distance train travel is rubbish, but at least it at a fixed at an albeit expensive price. Lordy, how is the US long distance train cost constructed?

Friday, February 24, 2017

The disgraceful Fair Work Commission

What a disgraceful decision by the Fair Work Commission. The Commission has cut the effective pay of the lowest paid workers by reducing Sunday penalty rates. You can bet the Commissioners did not sit on a Sunday to come up with this outrageous cut to the pay of people who serve us pretty well in my opinion and, are very poorly paid.

This page has a list of the commissioners; a president, two vice presidents and seventeen deputy presidents! Plus the basic commissioners and then even more hangers on to assist. I don't know if they are fat or not, but you can bet these are predominately wealthy middle class white males who made this decision that disadvantages those who are among the poorest paid workers in the country. What sort of conscience do they have? How do they sleep at night?

The President of the so called Fair Work Commission, Justice Iain Ross AO.

The spineless Labor Party said in advance they will respect the decision of the Commission. What? The workers' party, the political wing of the union movement respects the decision to cut workers pay?

The result of the constant attack on workers pay and rights by conservative forces and capital may not be felt in the short term but it will result in a very fractured society. It makes me ashamed of my country.

Changing the baby

Dear Niece,

Don't worry, twins will be a piece of cake compared to triplets and a toddler. (I thought I had posted this. Sorry if I have already)

Thursday, February 23, 2017


February and March are high birthday months for us. Our Friend in Japan has hers in February as does great niece Little Em and Nephew turned thirty this February.

He was spoilt by his partner. She bought him a record player, a sky jump from an aeroplane and organised a large party with accommodation for guests at a scout camp. She said he had not been able to properly celebrate his birthday for five years and so she was making up for it. I saw an FB photo of four wading pools placed in a square formation with plastic in between them and lots of water. I believe there was some bruising involved. We were invited and a separate cabin rather than a dorm organised for us, but it was impossible for me to get time off work and it was two hours drive to the party. Everything for Nephew was a surprise and accompanied by a mate, he had a series of clues to go where he had no idea. One clue resulted in him calling in to see Mother, his grandmother where he collected a gift from me, on top of the money we had given to buy the record player.

Remember how Sis in Law's dog attacked the balloons when Hippie Niece announced the sex of her twins? The same dog attacked the welcoming balloon arch at the scout camp.

March is Little M's third birthday, and Mother's and R's. Mother is easy to buy for. The speech will go like this. 'Rather than a present, perhaps I could just have a few dollars for my birthday'. She would be disappointed with anything less than $50. Sister won't do that, but she does give her money on other occasions.

We bought this dress for Little Em. I found I quite enjoy shopping for baby and toddler clothing. To go with Nephew's new record player, I gave him this old record album from my youth. I had written my first initial and surname on the back with a marking pen many years ago and coincidentally, we have the same first initial and being Tradie Brother's son, we have the same surname.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kill a kangaroo

I don't really have any more details than this. I think the sentence should have been for a longer time. I haven't done it yet, but Face Book these two dudes to see their ugliness. What scum.

A man who brutally bashed a kangaroo to death with a crowbar with another man near Bunbury will spend almost a year behind bars.
Craig Jamie House and Vance Geoffrey Jarvis, who represented themselves in court, both pleaded guilty in the Bunbury Magistrates Court on Tuesday to ill-treatment of an animal, according to the ABC.

Wednesday Wonders

These roughly forty photos were emailed to us by a friend. I will post three once a week. Many are quite amazing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Australia seaside tourist hotspots

If you visit these capital cities in Australia, these are must see places, in order of importance.

Melbourne has St Kilda Beach. Catch a tram to get there.

Sydney has Manly Beach and Bondi Beach. Catch a ferry to get to the first, catch a train and then a bus to the latter, if you can squeeze onto the bus. Maybe better to get a bus all the way.

Adelaide has Glenelg Beach. Catch a tram to get there.

Perth has Fremantle. Catch a train to get there. Also Cottesloe Beach, catch a bus.

Darwin has Mindil Beach. Catch a bus to get there. Hundreds do, to see the spectacular sunset. Don't be a dick like me and ask the bus driver to tell me when we arrived at Mindil Beach. The very full bus emptied at the bus stop.

Brisbane is a bit inland on the Brisbane River. I don't know where people would head to a beach there, and the waters at a beach there could have nasty stinging things. Educate me! Is Fortitude Valley the tourist hotspot in Brisbane?

The same with Hobart. It too is on the Derwent River. I suppose you would say Salamanca Place is the tourist hotspot, but there is no beach.

These are all my photos taken from my blog and do not represent the best of what you will see.

Later edit: At Brisbane's Southbank is a constructed beach and from the photos I just looked at, it seems great.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Musical Monday

Do check out what River has posted for Musical Monday. I am slightly hesitant to post this clip as I fear I will appear to be so out of touch with music because you will have all heard or seen this group perform. They hail from New Zealand and are now residents of Queensland's Gold Coast. The Koi Boys are just excellent and it is obvious that they are very much enjoying themselves. 3:45

Warning. The guy furthest from the camera is called Nuz. Do not go off googling him to see his body without smelling salts nearby.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

I know nothing

When you have been with your partner for 38 years, you would think there wasn't too much you didn't know about them.

We were watching the English tv show Vera last night. The show is set in and around Newcastle in the north of England, where R comes from. The scene was set in a pub.

R: I worked in that hotel. It was at the base of the High Level Bridge.

Me: Fascinating dearest. You've worked in so many places, it is a wonder you can remember.

R: Yes, my brother in law to be and me both worked there as we were saving to go to Butlins (a holiday camp of the most ghastly variety, but this is with hindsight) and of course that was where I met Cat Stevens. The hotel has changed........

Me: Stop! Now! What did you just say?

R: About meeting Cat Stevens?

Me: Yes, you've never told me that before?

R: Thought I had. Cat Stevens was Irish (I didn't know that) The pub was owned by an Irishman and he was a friend of Cat and he came to visit him once at the hotel and we were introduced.

Me: How come you have never told me this?

R: I thought I had. He was only semi famous then.

I used to find Cat Stevens so sexy before he became a weird religious Moslem nutter who agreed with murder of those critical of the prophet Mohammed. I am quite perplexed as to why I did not know R had met Cat Stevens.