Saturday, March 04, 2017

The Uncles' Duty

Once a week R or myself or both of us take the train to Heidelberg. It is a place I have only been to twice before, both times to go to Heidi, although we did once fly over it in the basket of a balloon. I don't know the area and I don't very much like it. It is too far from the sea and I don't understand the people who live there.

We visit Hippie Niece, in confinement in a women's hospital. It is a public hospital and she is receiving the best of care and it costs her nothing, paid for by our government taxes. It is not luxurious and she shares a room with another mother to be, but the medical attention is excellent. Although there was one point of fault, where her maternity specialist put some sort of restriction ring inside her to further slow the birth of her large latte coloured twin girls. She did not know until later and neither did the nursing staff. Everything that can be done to delay a premature birth is being done. She is not allowed to walk more than ten metres. When the birthing process begins, she will have a cesarian. While her partner and the father of her children visits her often, they don't live together and I can never see them in a conventional long term relationship, although he does pay his fair share of costs. Effectively, she will be a single mother of twins.

She will have a surprise baby shower within the hospital on Saturday, after some arrangements were made with hospital management. We will see her after the event on Saturday, easy to do as we will already be in town and ready to catch the train. We take her luxury confectionary from places such as Haighs, Coco Black and other such places.

Why will we be in town? To meet with Victor and Ad Rad for brunch. I am looking forward to seeing Victor again and meeting Ad Rad. While R now knows Victor, once again I am inflicting a stranger on R, but my instincts have proved to be ok in the past. An if Victor reckons Ad Rad is ok, then I think all will be well.

In the evening we will dine at a hotel with an old friend, who has spent a lot of time in hospital since Christmas with a diabetes related ulcer on his leg.  He has been treated in a private hospital and there is a difference. The food is better and he has a room on his own. Otherwise, not really so different from our public hospital care Most of the cost will be paid by his private health insurance.

It is quite a pleasant train trip Heidelberg, through the inner north eastern suburbs, then past more expensive and larger housing. We step off the train, cross the road and enter the hospital. Here are a couple of  photos.

No, not a snake on the bank, but a bicycle wheel and tyre tube.

Absently mindedly I was gazing at these train signals from the train platform when I suddenly woke up. Why is there a train signal in the car park? It is an old preserved semaphore train signal, placed and maintained by a railway historical society.

The camera lies from the moving train. The richness of pinks in this cutting  is amazing.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Funny Friday

I never watched Blankety Blanks regularly, but when I did catch it, I always found it amusing. The late Graham Kennedy carried the show. I believe there was a US version of the show too. 4:19 Only two of the seven are still alive; John Paul Young, lower right and Noeline Brown, top middle. Noeline looked after Graham in his last years.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Wednesday's Wonder on Thursday

I heard another version of this story. The waves had broken windows overnight and flooded the downstairs part of the lighthouse. A second after this shot was taken by a helicopter there to rescue him, he slammed the door shut as a wave was about to hit the door opening.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Come to my dinner party

You are all invited and as we are either childless or our children have grown up, let us bypass those chats, along with the weather conversation and anything Trump related and instead talk about property prices. Property prices are always such an interesting conversation at any dinner party, leading to mouth smacking, grasping of pearls, a gulping of your favourite red, smacking of fists on heads and of course, we could have bought in that area for $40,000, 30 years ago. Luckily we did, but it wasn't just luck, we went without, worked long hours and struggled for years.

Woe is us. Too proud to ask R for money, and with a maxed out credit card of $500 and no money in the bank, we went to a goodbye catch up with a friend who was moving overseas in I guess the late 1990s. I had enough money to buy a snack at the goodbye. I was still hungry and had no money to buy food when I later had a meal break at work. I had grabbed a couple of slices of bread from the freezer. Woe was the poor hungry and starving me. I could not immediately raise money from our investment flat or our home mortgage. Yes, it's all very relative, but I literally did not have cash available until pay day and it gave me an understanding of being poor and really going without.

Port Melbourne was once a place of wharf workers, and very cheap housing. High rise and low rise housing commission (government owned) flats were built then suddenly the suburb a few kilometres from the city boomed, beginning with some high rise own your own apartments on the beach front and an estate of good quality but cheek by jowl housing.

Through R's volunteer job, he comes into contact with a number of original residents of the area.

He has been inside this Port Melbourne place, a converted shop and he described it as a dump inside, yet it has just sold for AU$1,750,000, that is US$1,350,000, UK£1,100,000, €1,270,000.

Another user of R's volunteer duties is selling her home. You will surely agree this is modest home of an old person. She is 93 and her seven sons have insisted she move into a care home. She paid a bit more than $7,000 for her cottage and it was sold last weekend. It is clean and maintained inside but obviously the abode of an old person. Who cares about the house? She readily admitted to R that it will be demolished and apartments or a large double storey house will be built on the land. She hoped to get $1,300,000 for her home. We were doubtful and we were wrong. It sold for $1,655,000. Let me paint it simply. She paid seven thousand dollars for her home and sold it for well over one and half million dollars.

There are many reasons why property in our inner areas is so expensive, but I will leave that for another post.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Quick bits

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, told  CNN it would be "disastrous" for Republicans to repeal Obamacare without a proper replacement.
"The political rhetoric of the campaign has hit the reality of governing. This is complex. You cannot take healthcare away from 18 million people. What are they going to do?" he said.
I suppose they will just die after long and painful illnesses. Perhaps Trumpet needs an Aussie phrase to respond with, like, shit happens. 

A puzzlement

This is an adapted version of an email to Grace of Perth Daily Photo. I thought I may as well turn it into a post. (Note: I know you are old, old enough to know what Kodak is, so don't ask)

I've spent over an hour working this photo out, comparing it Google Street View and nothing was making sense. It was labelled the corner as the corner of  Barrack and Murray Streets. I tried googling the various companies in the old photo, but got nothing. This morning I wondered if perhaps it was mislabeled and if that was the case, I might never know.

The two yellow streets are Wellington Street at the top, with Barrack Street running down the picture to the intersection with Hay Street.

Also, trams ran along both Barrack and Murray Street, so I should be able to see tram tracks in the foreground and there aren't any, although the photo is also labeled 1957 and the trams stopped in 1958, so perhaps that tram line had already closed.  These two photos show the buildings at the corner of Hay Street and Barrack Street, and nothing was matching to the old photo above.

I looked at the photo full size and bingo, I spotted the name Railway Hotel. I had not more time to look, so I was looking forward to getting home from work and checking what I had guessed, and I was right, it is the corner of Wellington Street and Barrack Street looking down Barrack Street and it is easy to see if you look at this attached screenshot. While one corner has been drastically altered, the other hasn't and there were never any tram tracks in Wellington Street. Isn't the distant Bell Tower nicely framed by Barrack Street.

Seems there was a bit of a scandal about the Railway Hotel.

The Railway Hotel on Barrack Street, Perth was a hotel that operated from 1847 until the late 1900s.
The facade of the building remains after being partially demolished in 1992.
Joe Scaffidi, a property developer and husband of Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi, demolished much of the façade of the historic Railway Hotel in contravention of a stopwork order. He became the first person to be prosecuted under the Heritage Act and was ordered to rebuild the façade, attempting to integrate the now compromised structure into his multi-storey development.
Developers at it again!

Monday, February 27, 2017

English politeness and a movie

I walk around the blind corner of a building as someone else does. We almost collide. We both say, sorry and hopefully, I walk to the left and they walk to my right. If not, we may say sorry again to each other as we have misjudged the passing side of travel of the other person.

Even if someone walks into to us, we warn them by saying sorry, not look out. It is all very British, I think. Do American people do that too?

English politeness on the roads is legendary. While one person may have right of way, two car drivers will sit and gesticulate,  you go first, no you go first., no you, please. Meanwhile the traffic behind them banks up. I have seen it and experienced and it was maddening. Even supposedly professional drivers, such as Blackpool tram driver,s do the same. What is the point of road rules? But then British drivers have some to whom they are not polite, buses and cyclists. I was appalled at how R's youngest sister bragged about how she would cut off buses to get to where she going.

I began this post quite some time ago and yet just yesterday it became a bit more salient. R had been given two Gold Class cinema tickets and kindly shouted me to see Lion. It was a terrific movie, even though I had already seen a tv story about the tale of an Indian orphan boy taken on by an Australian family in Hobart, who went on to find his mother back in India. English actor Dev Patel shone in the movie. I forecast him to be one of those actors who just sells movies. If he is in a movie, people will want to see it.

The recently renovated Gold Class cinemas in South Yarra's Jam Factory are superb. They are spacious, with a table between two seats for your food and drinks, pre ordered with staff who greet you and seat you in the lounge before you enter the cinema. The seats are large lounge chairs and recline with the footrest coming out with the press of an electric button. A cavernous space under one armrest stores any bits and pieces you make have with you. When you are brought your food and drinks mid movie, the staff are unobtrusive and kneel or crouch down as they put whatever on your table, so not spoiling anyone's viewing. Not a job for older people. The cost? $84 for two, which was covered by the vouchers. The outrageous $6+ booking fee was not. We have been out at night so rarely of late, thus we justified spending $67 on food and drink.

Dev Patel is rather easy on the eyes, hence a gratuitous photo inserted here.

This is really not how this post was meant to go, talking about a movie, but while R used the toilet as we were leaving I went out into Chapel Street to wait for him and regretting I had not brought tissues and was making do with the high quality paper serviette from the cinema. He came out, I moved and assuming he was next to me but no, it was a young lass walking along the footpath and I had nearly crossed straight in front of her. I said sorry, she said sorry, we moved a bit and again we were on a collision path, sorry I said, sorry she said, and yet even once again we still had not unentangled ourselves, with another set of sorrys. It was totally my fault. Funnily as we walked up Chapel Street to get the tram home, I collided elbows with someone and there were no sorrys as we were moving at fair pace in opposite directions and it was just an accident without any confusion. 

Meanwhile in our ever so polite city, two people have been stabbed in the last 24 hours. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Australia Day

Why was I at home on Australia Day? Where was R? I can't remember. I went out for a stroll with the camera.

These air force planes collectively known as The Roulettes make an appearance on Australia Day

I missed a great shot of the planes reflected in this mirrored building. I couldn't see the planes in the sky, just their reflections in the building.


Upside down.

There is a display of old vehicles in The Domain on Australia Day, including some army vehicles. We have been a couple of times, ah just last year. Part 1 and part 2. I did not notice the soldier waving to me as I snapped this photo.