Saturday, August 26, 2017

Little Audrey

I have posted before about Little Audrey, back here at the end of the post. Today I came across a site by accident which has a terrific account (oh dear, don't miss out the o in that word!) of the history, in fact all you would ever want to know about Little Audrey.

Actually, although nothing has been posted since last year, there appears to be much of interest at Beside the Yarra for me.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Lunch at Gembrook

The Ranges Hotel, Gembrook, opposite the Puffing Billy terminus.

It seemed a car club of owners of Mazda MX5s had turned up for lunch. We might never get a meal. There were more cars around in the side street and the car park. Our Hairdresser Friend has a Mazda MX5 with a soft top. I sent her the photo of them all lined up. 

I should have taken this on an angle as it is one very long sausage dog.

The interior is a an interesting mix of old, original and modern. I expect the hotel could seat one hundred or more for a meal in various areas. It was almost full for Sunday lunch when a few more people arrived on the Puffing Billy train to dine.

Main courses were mostly up near the $30 mark, which is a bit on the expensive side for a pub, but the food was fine and the many staff friendly and helpful. There was an Aga in one spot, and I just had to walk past it to see if it was alight. It was, and nice and warm.

After lunch I wandered across the road to the station and lucked it just as Puffing Billy was being shunted. 

The locomotive is an N Class narrow gauge, at times called 'Old Polly', 'Hissin' Jinnies' and 'Coffee Pot'. She is one of an original fleet of 17 Baldwin locomotives, with the first two built in Philadelphia, US, and the remainder built at our own Newport Workshops between 1898 and 1915. She is a rather pretty little engine. 

What is the pit for? Adjusting the train brakes? 

I think she is being 'fed and watered'.

In contrast to Haddock's very nicely made steam train video in the picturesque Cumbrian countryside of England, mine are very amateur.

Lots of steam, 9 seconds

Moving to water tank and coal store, 45 seconds

Moving the carriages out of the way before detaching the locomotive, 60 seconds

I am often asked what is my interest in trains and trams, and to a lesser extent buses. I am not a train or tram nerd. I believe in public transport and I enjoy using it. Trains and trams transformed our cities to be what they are now. The social, personal and work impact of them in the 1800s changed city life, and country life for that matter, like nothing else had, and only motor cars since have changed society more.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Is he an Aussie, is she, is he

I begin this with saying that all Australian politicians should have allegiance to Australia and only allegiance to Australia. They should not have an allegiance to any other other country and never be conflicted in governing in the best manner for Australia, without any taint of interest in another country.

As I understand it the constitution states this clearly and unequivocally and I cannot imagine how any exception could be made. It is surely down to the letter of the law and not open to interpretation. You are either an Australian citizen or a dual citizen. Only the former are allowed to run for Parliament. The constitution can only be changed by a vote by the people.

But having said that, hasn't it become so complicated. If our High Court interprets the constitution literally, many politicians will be wiped out of parliament. While I very much like South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, I was disappointed to see him cry sour grapes. Nick, it is the law. You should have known better.

I cannot see how many members will not be chucked out of Parliament because of them having dual citizenship.

R, who has lived here since the early 1970s and has a piece of paper to say he is Australian, cannot run for Federal Parliament here because he is a dual national. Had he let his British passport lapse, he would have lost his British citizenship. (For practical purposes I say British. At the moment he has a Euro passport) He renewed it a few years ago, but he tells me he won't bother again. Then his British citizenship will lapse. Interesting that such rules do not apply to State Parliaments or Territories.

Which brings me to an interesting conversation with our former politician friend the other night. His mother was born in South Africa, but of Australian parents. In support of the Boer War effort, his grandparents were sent from Australia to South Africa with a group of postal workers to support the South African postal service. Our friend's mother was born in South Africa. Does that make him a dual citizen with an allegiance to South Africa?

From what I can see, no. Before 1949, all Australians were British citizens. Post 1949, if they had an Australian father and had a permanent right to live in Australia, they became Australian citizens and any other connections to other countries were annulled as dual citizenship was not allowed back then. It was the same in South Africa in the same year, but on a different date.

So, we certainly live in interesting times and the High Court judgement will be very interesting, especially to many of our politicians.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Dodgy Digitals or Operator Error

R had worn out the skip forward button of his bedroom pvr, a digital tv recorder. The length of  time the skip forward button jumps the tv forward can be adjusted. I think it is set on about 20 seconds and makes very short work of commercial tv ads.

I began looking online. We once had to buy a new remote for the lounge room pvr and it was about $60. I found one for R's machine on eBay for $58, plus postage. Too much. I then discovered that Australian Topporo, importer of the Topfield units, went into receivership although its Korean parent company is alive and well.

I came across a couple of sites selling the appropriate remote control, the control having been superseded by a new model. One was in Ireland which wanted $27 plus postage and one in China, selling them for $20 plus postage, the total cost $29. We decided to take a chance and ordered the one from China. I then forgot I could track the delivery progress and after it not arriving for two weeks, I thought we might have lost the $29. Not much you can do when the company is in China.

I decided at the weekend that I would follow it up on Monday, but that day the unit turned up. It turned the pvr on and works fine, just as it should. But there is one problem and both R and myself cannot work it out.

We can't make the unit stop playing a recording without turning the unit off, and nor can we make it instantly record. The button to stop play and to instantly record are in a second column on the chart below with the heading shift. I think that must mean there is something like a keyboard shift key, but it is not on this list and we simply can't work it out. Google is not being helpful either. The alternative to switching it off and on again is keeping the old remote control too and use that for those two functions. I don't mind not knowing what I don't need to know, but I do mind not being able to work out something that is operationally important.

Later edit: It is always helpful to read your own posts. I just clicked on the photo of the remote to make sure it is a clear photo, and there at the top left, in blue is the 'Shift' button. Any brighter and it would have slapped me in the face. R is napping so I can't check but I bet by pushing that and then the stop button, the playing recording will stop.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch

We had a lovely Indian meal out with friends tonight, Saturday night. Golly, it is long time since we have been the last to leave a venue, but we were, at 9.20pm.

Tomorrow we are taking Mother out for lunch. It is about eight weeks since I have seen her, although we have spoken on the phone. R takes her out once a week, as usual. I thought I might selfishly make our outing work for me too. Gembrook is not too far from Mother's and it is the outer terminus of the Puffing Billy steam train. There is a pub right opposite the train station. We will lunch there. In winter there is only one Puffing Billy train to Gembrook, with the rest terminating at an earlier station. It arrives at 1pm and departs at 2.45. We may see it arrive but I hope we are on our way home by 2.45. Pity. Watching a steam train depart is such fun with clouds of smoke and steam, rather a lot of steam I should think with our very cold temperatures in the daytime of the low teens.

I looked at an electric map and aside from the direct main road, there are other slightly longer routes. Oh, Mount Burnett Observatory. Might be interesting and a good place to take some snaps. We shall see.

On the way home from dinner, I asked R if Mother had mentioned a time to arrive. I have to clean her air con filters, so I want to get there a few minutes early. R says she will have a list of jobs for us, which we won't do, but her air con filters will need cleaning. R then said, she will have called and left a message tonight, and sure enough, she had. "I am not well. I will sleep late in the morning. I have my jobs to do. Don't come before 11.30." Well Mother, I have my jobs to do too and we won't be there before 11.50. That time may sound silly, but we will leave at 11.00 and it is a 50 minute drive, traffic permitting.

Every Thursday R arrives home ranting about Mother. She said after her house rewiring, which I remind you, we, her children paid for, that the lights weren't bright enough, so R was putting in some brighter lights and she said, no, not in my bedroom. A previous electrician told me it should not be stronger than a 40 watt bulb as a larger bulb would not be safe. Stupid woman. Her house has been rewired and modern bulbs don't use 40 watts to give the equivalent light anyway. If this happened once, ok, but she told this to R twice. Rather like she will only put about three things in her washing machine, as it will 'make funny noises' if any more is put in. That could be true. When our clothes dryer fails, as it must do at some point, (we have replaced the belt to turn the drum and replaced the latch mechanism and it is nearly 20 years old), we will buy a new washing machine too and give Mother our old one.

Later edit: We had a lovely lunch. Photos and possibly a steam train video or two to come.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Musical Monday

River always puts up a Musical Monday clip of artists with different styles, clips of different genres and of different times. While I doubt anyone will think much of this clip, it represents to me a different time in my life. Francophile Grace might like it because it is French, but probably not. I loved it and I won the cd single in some kind of competition from our local gay radio station, Joy when it was released here.

Sash, with Encore Une Fois.

Later: This from Wikipedia about Sash is interesting and Sash is rather impressive.

SASH! is a German DJ/production team, fronted by Sascha Lappessen (born 10 June 1970) who works in the recording studio with Ralf Kappmeier and Thomas "Alisson" L├╝dke.[1] They have sold over 22 million albums worldwide and earned more than 65 Gold and Platinum awards.[citation needed] In the UK, their first four hit singles incorporated vocals in different languages (FrenchSpanishEnglish and Italian).[1]

Sunday, August 20, 2017

World badness

On Saturday night, 19/08, when I brought up at dinner the subject of the missing Australian boy in Barcelona, our Ex Policeman/Politician friend said he is dead, and this person is normally right about such things and so it has come to pass.

You fucking Moslem religion fanatics, why oh why would you want to kill an innocent seven year old boy, never mind anyone else.

One tries to be tolerant of differences in the world but to make the most massive understatement, I am not really so enthralled by the Moslem religion. What had this lad done to you? And you failed. People are still strolling Las Ramblas and all you have done is added to the hate towards your religion, well at least the extremes of it, but it does fall generally to Moslems. 

Bland, Dull and Boring

Yep, that is me in three words, mostly. They are also names of towns or areas and the triumvirate recently received some media publicity. Bland is the newcomer to the paired towns of Dull in Scotland and Boring in Oregon. Apparently a local Scottish woman was a on a cycling holiday and passed through Boring in 2012 and set the ball rolling to pair the two towns for their mutual benefit. Bland has just jumped on board.

The first, Bland, in Australia. Well let me see. Shire of Blan is a local government area. It's kind of a bit south of the middle of New South Wales. Nice modern shire building.

Plenty of things to do in Bland's 'capital city' of West Wyalong. But also one and a half hour away from West Wyalong, you can see Iandra Castle. One and a half hours country driving is nothing for local folk, and I think it would be worth making the effort. It looks ever so European, French, dare I say.

Dull is in Scotland, a little to north in Scotland and rather to the middle. It has a population of about 80 people. I had a look around using Streetview and frankly (you knew this was coming) Dull looks rather....dull. It has a couple of nice churches but not a pub to be seen. How very un-Scottish.

The village housing appears to be well maintained and solid, probably like the good burghers of Dull themselves. It is starting out point for an organised Highland Safari, and it's only a 45 minute drive to Blair Castle, ancestral home of former British PM, Tony Blair*.

Maybe Boring will be more interesting. It is southeast of Portland in Oregon. It does have a pub, if that is what the Not So Boring Bar and Grill is, and you can buy a Boring Beer, which if anything like other American beers, you won't. It also has, for your convenience, a Clackamas County Bank. Clackamas sounds interesting and a little bit vulgar or naughty, so I did a little more research.  It is a town to the west of Boring. You may want directions to Clackamas from Boring. I can tell you, and I am ever so proud of my own wit, you take the Road to Damascus. Check on a map if you doubt me (subsequently I find out I am not the first to suggest that route to Clackamas. I am really getting to like saying that name, Clackamas).

Speaking of which, while researching this piece, I was looking at an electric map and discovered there is a river just above Portland, Oregon. It is called the Columbia River. Just above the river is Vancouver. My head was a little confused with electrons buzzing around to make sense and I thought, ah yes, Portland is closer to Canada than I thought, and the marvellous cat rescuer/fixer/carer Strayer has a kind and generous cat supporter friend there. Cogs meshed, belts whizzed, gears turned and I realised it is a different Vancouver. Just on the other side of the Columbia River in Oregon is the US Vancouver.  Dearest Strayer, for we ignorant, you need to mention if it is not the Vancouver we all think of when we hear the name.

Better get back to looking at Boring. Dull, while dull is a very civilised place to live. How about Boring?

While Dull seems a bit huddled together, perhaps against the cold, Boring is widely spread out and looks quite pretty with lots of trees.

It does have a prosperous look to it. There are about 8,000 people in Boring and served by the incredible number of 14 churches or more! This is more a venue for a wedding than a church, but it is more interesting than the other modern and boring churches in Boring.

In the town itself, there is not too much to attract tourists, but there does seem to be many nearby forest parks.

Well, that was all a bit interesting and some fun.

*I made up the bit about Blair Castle being the ancestral home of Tony Blair.