Saturday, September 09, 2017

Musing about world property

Musing, as I do. R does so much more and gets much closer to acting on his musings, and that doesn't really make me happy at all.

What if we sold this place and rented a nice new place? R says we now live in a slum, no better than a public housing commission tower block. We might ask for $1.15 million and accept $1 million. I guess it is not a slum. How long would that last at $800 pw rental for something similar?

More interesting, what would AU$1 million buy for us in London? Conversion = £600,000 or €700,000. Ok, we could have a reasonable 2 bed flat in say Lancaster Gate in London. If we added a little, we could be in the cheapest 2 bed place in Paddington. We could buy a very nice 2 bed in East London, Hackney Wick, where Pants once lived.

What if we were neighbours of John Gray of Wales? London Road sounds good, 3 bed house for £230,000. It is ugly though.

Who else do I know in Europe? Gattina, right, we could buy a nice 3 bed apartment with this view in Waterloo for €645,000. Oh, sorry, that is looking down on the building, not the view. Very nice inside with 3 lavvies, lovey.

It would be nice to have some change after buying. What about becoming great mates with Jane and Lance in Budapest? Another conversion required. Wow, Forint, 214 million. OMG, we could buy the best property on the Danube or in the Buda hills and still have a lot of change.

We loved Budapest, but our Friend in Japan was there last year and while she too loved Budapest, she loved Prague even more. Hmm, we have 18 million of Czech currency. Ok, reverting to £ because I don't know the currency at all, £300,000 for a stunning apartment in the best location, on the Vltava River, of course.

Over to you Gosia. Could we buy a nice apartment in Katowice with 3 million zloty? The Rawa does not look so nice to live near, so maybe a lake with a tram going past. Where is that? And 3 bedrooms. Maybe better to buy in Warsaw with a nice view over the Vistula. Would we get something nice there for 3 million zloty?

Friday, September 08, 2017

TDK commercial

I think Sony cassette tapes may have been best, but TDK were pretty good. No to Hanimex cassette tape. Somewhere in the depths of my wardrobe I have a Hanimex cassette tape with a recording from the radio of T Rex. the band, not the dinosaur. I am not quite that old.

This was the Aussie tv ad for TDK tapes. Pretty good ad, sexist as it was.

I wasted time looking at the South African TDK ad. It was the same as the Aussie ad.

Then I came across this one and I remember it. It was classic Japanese but shown in Australia. Japanese trains do have round strap hangers on trains for non round hands.

The lass is attractive and loses herself in her recorded music, presumably on a TDK tape. Getting lost in your music on a Japanese train surrounded by salary men could be a little unwise, from what I have heard.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Do not click the link

Lol, a posh private school sent a hyperlinked email to its students that contained a wrong character in a web address and clicking the link would have sent them to them to a porn site.

Mistyping a link is an understandable mistake we may have all made at times, but they are easy to check before sending. I don't know what the site was but as an example, Red Tube is very different to Youtube Red.

But here it gets really lol, because the school then sent out an email to inform children to not click on the link. Can you remember back to your youth? It is red rag to a bull to be told not to do something like that. Remember at the Fairy Park we visited where there was sign that said 'Do not press this button', and of course everyone did and received a bit of a water spray. I am quite certain the school children immediately rushed to their inboxes to see where the link took them. I certainly would have.

Pluck a Duck

Do you look smart in your puffer jacket? I think you look like a version of Michelin Man. And my goodness, aren't puffer jackets so terribly common now, no longer the desirable garment of the ladies of Rose Bay and Toorak who lunch out frequently and often.

Some of you may have guessed where I am going with this. Our Friend from Japan is visiting Melbourne and over dinner this Tuesday evening, she confirmed the shocking news I had just learnt. She said there are videos with soundtracks, and they are horrendous to watch and hear.

Puffer jackets are made up of tubes of synthetic fabric stuffed with duck down, that is their under feathers that keep them warm, and then the tubes are sewn together to make up the jacket.

Our F f J began to describe the videos from China she had seen and the noise the ducks make as they are plucked live of their down, four times a year.  We stopped her telling us more.

I was in complete ignorance about this extraordinary animal cruelty and it is just so easy to not support such cruel industry by not buying down products.

I am sure you don't want this post embellished with photos and videos. There is such a thing named as Traceable Down Standard, which is fine, but if you are not prepared to go down that expensive road, stick to synthetic, or have screaming ducks on your conscience.

China is not doing too badly in many ways. It has improved the lives of many of its citizens. It builds wonderfully high speed train lines in the blink of an eye (but at what expense). It is going very hard on its pollution problems. But in the area of cruelty to animals, it is very much behind the eight ball and very much needs to address this issue.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017


Newfies is what the good folk from the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada are affectionately called. Many Irish emigrated to Newfoundland and an Irish accent can still be heard in Newfoundland.

Many Australians would have visited the British Columbia province in Canada, its principal city of Vancouver, and gone over to Vancouver Island to visit the capital city of BC, Victoria. Perhaps they strayed into the Alberta province to the east of BC with its capital city of Edmonton, but perhaps better known to us by its largest city Calgary, and then the province of Ontario, the capital being Toronto, which is only a day trip away from Niagara Falls .

One of Canada's ten provinces, Newfoundland, is an island, perhaps similar in status to our own island state of Tasmania and way out east and generally, not high on Aussie tourist destination lists.

I heard on the wireless about some coloured houses in St John's and so click on this link to see them in Jellybean Row, St John's(sic), St John's being the capital of the island. Isn't Jellybean Row such a great name.

Vancouver in Canada is a wonderful city. Toronto is a big and cosmopolitan city and has heaps to offer. Montreal sounds interesting in a European way, but I haven't been there. Who knows what these far eastern areas of Canada are like?

Here is a sample of the coloured houses in St John's, Newfoundland, Canada.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

What you won't hear Australian travellers saying when overseas

The headlines are taken from The Age, in a puff piece travel article. I am just rewriting their puff piece. The text is my own. It was a bit of fun and don't take it too seriously. Remember, this is what you will not hear Australians saying when they travel.

1. I wish we had coffee like this back at home.

You will never hear that. We have the best coffee, coffee machines and coffee makers in the world. In some of our large metropolitan areas in Australia it can be very difficult to find a bad cup of coffee. In other most large metropolitan around areas around the world, it can be impossible to find a decent cup of coffee. I was so disappointed that Canada with its French influence had coffee as bad as the rest of the world. Vietnam does better.

2. This is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen.

No. The Australian coastline has mile upon mile of beautiful beaches At times they can be deserted and you will have a beautiful beach all to yourself. Sounds a bit boring to me, actually. I like people around.

3. I'd love to visit that country, but it is too far away.

No, Australians pop up all over the world in large numbers. While we still complain about long flights to anywhere else than Asia or New Zealand, and the expense, we do it; we travel frequently and often for long distances.

4. Tipping is a terrific idea.

We hate it. We don't know how to do it properly and we don't see why we should do it at all. Why is it not included in the price, on the menu? At best, we do it begrudgingly.

5. Do you accept Australian dollars here?

We are under no illusions that our currency is at all desirable. It isn't and we know it. It is a lesson that US travellers could learn. No, people don't always want US dollars and if they do take them, they are probably cheating you a little with the exchange rate.

6. Everything here is so far apart.

We are used to great distances, as are citizens of the US and Canada. You can fly for five hours in a plane in Australia and not even leave the country. Europeans find our distances hard to comprehend. Strangely so do some US citizens.

7. It's so good to find some other Australians when travelling overseas.

No, we don't leave Australia to find other Australian travellers.  But I suppose if you're missing home a bit, perhaps you wouldn't mind running into one, ever so briefly.

8. No thanks, no drink for me.

Australians like to drink, often to excess. It is in our English and Scottish genes, well for those who have them. Why change that habit when overseas, especially when on holidays?

9. The rent here is insanely expensive.

Apart from central New York, Tokyo and London, we won't be shocked by rental prices. We are constantly shocked in our own country by our own rental and property prices. I am not quite sure how Australians can afford to live in Australia.

10. Are you from Australia or New Zealand?

A Kiwi can live in Australia for almost their whole adult life and can almost get away with people thinking they are Australian, but there will be one word or that one vowel sound that will give them away. Australians do know who is a New Zealander as soon as they speak. I am unsure if it works in reverse.

Bonus 11. Australia is the best country in the world.

While we may smugly and secretly think this, we don't go around shouting it about to all and sundry. It is not God's Own Country, but not such a bad place.

Monday, September 04, 2017

All Change

I recently mentioned that motorists in Japan drive on the left hand side of the road, an oddity in Asian countries, especially non British Commonwealth countries. If you followed the link, and you probably didn't, you would have learnt about the side warriors carried their swords or about when they were on their horses. Something like that. But what I found is far more plausible.

In the late 19th into early 20th century Japan, the country wanted trains. Various countries saw a money making opportunity and bid to help Japan build a train system. The British won and so put the trains on the left side. Japanese trams followed suit and then so did the roads. Post WWII, the Japanese island of Okinawa was occupied by the US, and they changed the island to right hand side driving, but the island went back to left hand driving a good time later.

In 1970 Burma changed from driving on the left, the British colonial side, to right hand side of the road. Which side of the road you drive on in many Asian countries can be a bit of theory anyway, rather than practice.

Places like Poland, Canada, Brazil, Portugal and Spain changed to the right in the early 20 century. It amuses me that Austria changed to the right between 1919 and 1938. It took nearly twenty years. That sounds like chaos.

A quote from The Guardian in 2009 when Samoa joined Australia and New Zealand with driving on the left.  Car horns and sirens sounded, church bells rang out and roads were crowded with vehicles as Samoa today became the first country in decades officially to switch from right- to left-side driving.

But today, the 3rd of September, 2017, marks the fiftieth anniversary of when Sweden changed from driving on the left hand side of the road to the right hand side. Sadly Sweden's trams did not undergo the change and were replaced by buses. 

This rather wonderful photo I believe shows the chaos in a Swedish regional town as motorists adapted to the changed side of the road driving. 

Sunday, September 03, 2017

My Store Myer

The subject line was the store's advertising slogan a few years ago. Myer is a large department store based in Melbourne and has stores in other regional cities and states, but it is very much a Victorian (state based) company, now a public company listed on the stock exchange. We like Myer or as it was known in my younger years, Myers, and we have spent many a dollar at the store and rarely regretted any money spent.

Myer is promoting a display at the moment, so I went to have a look. It is on the sixth floor, where there are a lot of apples and other technology. It had less on display than I thought it would, but it was interesting enough and I certainly connected with much of what was on display. I had little chat with a very old woman, like about 90, who was looking at the display with great interest.

The blurb.

We had one of these machines on a shelf in our kitchen in Waverley Road in the 1980s. We mostly used it to listen to AM Radio. I don't remember the Garfield Telephone but I do remember car service stations toys for kiddies. I may have even had one.

You women of a certain age, did you have an Glomesh purse or handbag? If you still have them and are using them, do no admit it. I never really liked Ken Done designs but he was very popular in Japan and with visitors to Australia from Japan. I remember Frij bags, but we never owned on.

This photo is a real tick. We had the Sunbeam electric frypan, well R did. By the time I came along, it was warped and no good for frying but great for boiling smoked cod. Yes, we had a Breville Toaster and I remember so many women having and using a curling wand.

A bit before my time but Mother's first washing machine was a Stampco and was similar to this, except it would spin, rather than having a mangle.

Long did we debate about buying a Commodore 64 computer in the 80s. I expect we didn't because we could not really see a use for it. I think we made the right decision.

In my wardrobe and in R's, you will respectively find one of these Sharp organisers. The records I kept on mine were a list. I also kept work times. It had a back up battery to save the data if the main battery went flat. Eventually the back up battery went flat and all data was lost, but not missed. Ugly cordless phones. So much nicer now. R used to occasionally use a fax machine at work. It is one piece of technology that I just skipped.

Oh yes, I had one of those waistcoats. And yes, a hyper colour tee shirt that changed colour depending on your body heat. They were always so bright at the armpits.

We didn't but a friend did have a Panasonic Genius microwave. When he first bought it, he would gather an audience to sit around watching it boil a cup of water to make coffee. I had a few Sony Walkmans, perhaps three.

I didn't have a Handycam, but a friend lent me one to record things in Thailand in late 1980s. I filmed the lady boy show at Alcazar and  decided that I missed a lot of the show because I was busy recording it. No more video recording for me. Our phones can now make much better recordings than this old clunker. Yeppers, more than one pair of Le Specs did I own.

Step Mother used to use one of these to set her hair if she wasn't wearing her Liza Minnelli wig. It was rather noisy. It also had a fingernail drying warm air outlet.

I learned to type on one of these, in my case a Hanimex portable.

My step brother had a reel to reel. I didn't but I used to buy Scotch brand cassette tapes. They were the best, but TDK tapes were pretty good too. Is the TDK tv ad on Youtube? I hope so. "TDK does amazing things for your system".

Etch A Sketch, I had one and even Little Jo had one. So trans generational. View Master, cutting edge technology in the sixties, with stereophonic views. That particular Sunbeam toaster was owned by Mother for about three decades. I asked her about it and I learnt that my paternal brain damaged Uncle bought it for her and he paid £15 some time in the sixties. It never abruptly popped up the toast, but gently and stylishly raised the toast. I think it only lasted about three decades.

A bit like Grandmother's vacuum cleaner. God, hers was noisy.

Our first family television in about 1965 was an AWA Deep Image. It was bit more modern than this model, in fact it was very stylishly modern. That was back in the days when Australia used to make things.

I did not spend that much time in our garage in Waverley Road but what time I did spend was spent in the company of a bakelite radio tuned to 3LO. It was left by a former owner. I bought new valves for it and it was fine. Yes, I made bad Meccano models like this one in my youth. I inherited my maternal grandfather's Remington electric razor. You had to flick a wheel to kickstart it. Paper bags from Myers to celebrate the crowning of our queen. Envelopes containing your Melbourne Olympics tickets in Melbourne, 1956. I never cared for Bill Haley, comets or otherwise.

A late version of a Coolgardie safe, perhaps once draped in wet hessian to keep food cool and last for longer than one day in the fierce Australian heat. No, that is not right. I remember one in a shed at home or at my grandparents. I can't remember what it was for? Bread? Anyone? I think I may have had one of these metal aeroplanes and I had a book similar to the one pictured.

I can only remember Singer treadle sewing machines. Perhaps Victor took particular notice of Victor sewing machines.

Not so interesting to me, but maybe of interest to some.

Drug addict clothing, which reminds me of shell suits, a most ghastly outfit seen mostly being worn by female American tourists in Australia in the 90s.

I think this was the first Apple computer with the guts contained in behind the screen, rather than in a separate tower.

I am not so interested in female fashion, but I I like this outfit.

Tesla cars are rather topical. Myer had one on display. I saw the front doors open electrically, the rear doors rise electrically, and the boot lid rising electrically is nothing new. Did you know that in Japan they drive on the left as we do, and the taxi rear door opens electrically for you to get into the cab and then closes itself once you are in. Well, you might remember that if you were a blog reader of mine back in 2010.

Why does Japan drive on the left when other Asian countries don't and left hand driving is pretty well only found in British Commonwealth countries and former colonies. The answer is here, with a decent little world map to show which side of the road people drive on.

When travelling six storeys, I prefer the lift over escalators.

Later at Domayne, pineapple and cockatoos. Somehow I doubt Snoskred will rush out to buy this pineapple to add to her collection.