Monday, December 31, 2018

More cheerful tomorrow

We have lost a few from our screens this year. Thanks Andrew. To add to the list although not Australian is English actor June Whitfield. She was absolutely fabulous.

The year in review

It hasn't been all bad, but this year has pretty bad for us. I have some new blogmates. We had good brief visits to Sydney and Launceston, and a great holiday in South Africa, along with my Sister's wedding.

And look what came in our Christmas card handed out by Oldest Niece on Christmas Day, due July, her third and a sibling to Little M and Little Em.


Mother decided she could no longer manage at home and without by your leave, moved in with ABI Brother. She has been slowly transferring many of her possessions to his house. What a shock she will get when he tells her he is selling the house to move into a retirement village.

Hippie Niece and her twin daughters are an ongoing issue.

Our long time friend died, who was a perfectly functioning 70 year old. He went into Cabrini Hospital with a diabetes related ulcer on his leg, and left dead, with total organ failure. Hels will not speak well of Cabrini and that was where my grandmother died, suffering because of nasty nuns until my mother spoke up for her.

Then there was my workmate's wife who we used to socialise with who died from MND at the age of 60. Her widower came across R at a tramstop recently, and R said his greeting hug was really needy. R was a bit emo about it. I have shed a tear with him at work, but then we man up.

Then one of our Brother Friends died after a long treatment for cancer. He was a quiet and unassuming person and it is hard to believe he has gone after knowing him for nearly forty years.

Our Dyke Friend's ex partner's father died, and then her own sister in Hobart died from an aggressive cancer just before Christmas.

Late Step Father's niece died from cancer in her early forties. She was the primary carer for her 80 plus year old mother. Step Father never liked this sister but loved his niece.

And then to top it all off just a week before Christmas, Copper Witch's mother dies. No, she did not pass over or pass on, she just died, because she was old.

As the saying goes, shite happens.

I have had a tear or two in my eyes when I have read some of your blog posts over the last year, but no one made me cry like this post by John Gray of Wales, who has had his own issues aplenty in the year past. While there are many who can rise above their backgrounds and the disadvantages they are born with, not all can. I hope the lad is still doing well some 22 years later.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Show us y'r tits

We bought a new low energy light bulb for our tortoise lamp. Little Jo came with us and we then went to Acland Street in St Kilda. As we stepped off the tram, I asked Little Jo if we should go left down Acland Street to a cafe or right to McDonalds. She said left, to a cafe and we had a very nice brunch at 95.

We shopped for ingredients for her to cook us all chicken souvlakis for dinner. She did well with the cooking, but it took me 40 minutes to clean up the table and kitchen after she and her Mothers left.

I preface this with saying, I don't want to see old men and women out in public with their saggy tits exposed, least of all my own. But, we did not notice quite a number of hot young men walking along Acland Street shirtless. Ok, I lie. We may have noticed them. I feel sorry for straight men who can't see young women with pert breasts walk along the street topless.

How has it come to be the male chest can be exposed, nipples and all but not women's chests, also with nipples and generally, but not always larger breasts than men.

Is it a result of some history? Is it because men see women's breasts as a sexual thing, and so they must be covered and contained. I see male chests very sexually and how lucky am I that some choose to show them.

Is it to do with feeding babies, that they become off limits for public viewing? It was a number of years ago that I first wondered about why it is a bit naughty to see women's chests, but not men's. I've never really worked it out.

And of course if a sheila exposes her tits in public, blokes go wild with cheering.

Humans are the most odd animal on Earth.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Life is a Mug's Game

Little Jo is visiting today, while her mothers' go to the cricket to see Australia lose against India at the MCG. Sister has in the past said when she has visited on a hot day, you wouldn't know it was hot outside. But she may very well say, it is too cold in here. It is not too cold. Just comfortable.

Even R now is saying how sullen and crying and difficult the twin toddlers are now. If babies pick up anxt from their mother, this is a prime example. To be fair, for some reason they did not have their morning nap on Christmas Day. Babies, babies, routine, routine. While they are clingy to their mother, fortunately they are always happy with Hippie Niece's mother and her husband's comfort, along with up to a point my Tradie Brother, their grandfather. They scream if I go near them and even R cannot win them over.

Fire Fighting Nephew's wife once told us we are her absolute favourite uncles. It was some time later that I thought about it a realised our only competition is ABI Brother. After a particularly bad child crying moment in the backyard at Oldest Niece's place on Christmas Day, as she headed inside, she said in a stage whisper to Bone Doctor and myself, and he, referring to nephew,  f***ing well wants children. This is a bit sad as the nephew is great with children and would be a great father. Maybe they will work it out. He might be a stay at home dad.

Copper Witch saw off her mother yesterday to the earth. We thought we may have been there with her for support, but we just couldn't do it. It was very hot and our thoughts were with her at 11am.

This morning blueish green scum appeared in the air con evaporation tray. I thought perhaps coolant had leaked from the unit. But after some research about that and getting nowhere, what made more sense was a blue green algae bloom, which I have done enough research about to know it is not actually algae and is dangerous to swim in or drink, for all we animals. We have no intention of bathing in or drinking the water from the evaporation tray.

I think it was in 2000 when R visited his family in England on his own. Maybe it was a year earlier. He returned with gifts and one was a couple of mugs, which I immediately liked the shape and the handle of and decided they would be mine. One broke years ago but I still have this one. It used to say dishwasher proof on the bottom of the mug, but the dishwasher has worn the words off, along with the picture, which was of Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest. The rels live in Nottingham, close to Sherwood Forest. Let me get busy with the calculator.

Say 365 days multiplied by 18 years is 6,570, less say 20 days each year when we were on holidays or it didn't go in the dishwasher makes it 6,570 less 360, which is 6,210 times in the dishwasher with very hot water and caustic detergent. I suppose that is a pretty good innings (don't mention the cricket) and the mug has lasted well.

Still, it did say dishwasher proof, but I have no way of proving it now.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Boxing Day and a Christmas Wrap

Have I ever been to the city on Boxing Day? Well, not recently it seems as I can not remember crowds like there were today. At struck me as we drank our coffee in Swanston Street, if you took every person (later edit) who wasn't born here off the street, we would be back in a more peaceful and quieter Melbourne.

(said in the rich and lamenting tones of Barry Humphries) It was a city without bollards to protect us from those who commit murders with cars, a city with trams only 15 metres long and not 35 metres. A city where there would be a couple of greasy cafes or pubs to eat at. A city without too much colour and movement. If fact a city where you could fire a cannon down the main street on a public holiday and not hit anyone. I suppose I don't want to go back to the time, but I do miss the quiet, grey and staid Melbourne of old.

In Myer we gave up trying to get a lift to the sixth floor. They just constantly filled as they arrived, so we used the escalators instead. People were supervising both the lifts and the escalators and while it was crowded, it was all quite safe. We bought next year's boxed Christmas cards, at half price. I spotted this one and thought you might like it Maribeth.

We bought a new set of towels, bath mats and hand towel, also half price. Enough. We battled our way out of Myer and through the crowds in Lonsdale Street to QV. R bought a case for his new tablet at the big blue stationary shed. Pity it couldn't earlier supply the new tablet.

I forgot to post a photo of our Christmas tree. It gets smaller and less decorated each year. Step Mother was the only person to see it.

Christmas Eve we went into the city to see the lights. You have seen the tree earlier in the daylight. Handsome bearded man, your noggin is in my way of my shot.

Better to sit outside at Transport Bar and take photos from there.

There were crowd controllers at both Federation Square and Melbourne Town Hall.

Yes Copperwitch, I did buy that Klimt vase from Peters of Kensington. But look what our Friend in Japan sent us! And the wrapping was so beautiful. I expect I will be well over Klimt by the end of the year.

New bollards outside Flinders Street Station, protecting us here at least, but there are lots of weak spots and it is impossible to to erect protection everywhere. I liked the simple use of rocks not taller than half a metre in Barcelona.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Sydney to Hobart

The years I follow the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, I usually pick an outsider yacht and this year is no exception. I will put my metaphorical money on the yacht being sailed by the land locked country, Hungary. Using the official website, I can follow them at sea.

Team Hungary is hoping that the 20% luck factor will be in their favour. The yacht is called M3. Listen out for as it crosses the finish line first, or not.

Skipper, Aron Ormandlaki.

The uber fit crew, used to sailing on placid lakes.

M3 has fast looking stern for the losers to watch.

Go M3!!!

Later edit: It seems M3 is out of the race, having headed for shore and made landfall at Ulladulla on the NSW coast. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

At the dying of the Christmas Day light

Christmas Day has come and gone now here in Australia. As you may know, I very much favour public transport, and The Guardian has put together a collection of Christmas decorated public transport vehicles.

From all around the world. Click here.

Christmas gifts

I received a new wallet from R. I am very fussy about my wallet as I like it to have certain parts to it, especially a pouch for coins. I chose it a couple of months ago and I did not look at the price. My old one was looking very shabby. I open and close it much too often. I made it so easy for him.

I bought him a new tablet. He likes to watch tv and play on his old tablet, that has become quite tired and dysfunctional. I knew what I wanted to buy, the same as my newish tablet and the price I wanted to pay. The big blue stationary supply shed had them at a good price..........but did they actually have them? No, it seems. It was usually while I was getting around for other matters, but I tried the stores in Elsternwick, South Melbourne, Richmond, Pakenham, South Yarra, along with the city store and Harvey Norman in the city. As well as not having them, in spite of scarce staff checking at different stores, the price kept going up as the couple of weeks wore on. The last place was Richmond where I could buy the display model, for full price, but it would not be available until the next day when the tech person, who has the codes to reinstate it to original, would be available. No fanks. I suppose that is capitalism, scarcity increases the price. But I am not sure that really applies in this case.

Well screw you Australian retailers! They wonder why people turn to online to buy things.

I tried to order it online at Kogan/Dick Smith, but amazingly they were out of stock. I looked again the next day, and it was now available. Well, not the same one, a better one, for a lesser price. I ordered it and it took about ten days to arrive. I think the company realised it had run out of stock for Australia (I think it came from Hong Kong), and so transferred some French models to be available to Australians. It arrived and on the outside of the box is French writing. Do I parlez vous Francais? Non! The tablet was set to French, but it was easy to change it to British English.

I wanted it charged up and set up before I gave it to R, and here is where it all went wrong, well insofar as R may have thought I was buying a tablet for him, but it was confirmed.  This takes me back to R's 50th birthday when I booked us a surprise night at the very posh Sofitel Hotel in the city. The hotel called to confirm a day or so before and R answered the phone. No surprise left. To be fair, Sofitel apologised and gave us a free bottle of good champagne sparkling wine. Gosh it was a lovely and super classy hotel back in late nineties, and probably still is.

So, I updated the operating system, the software, downloaded some apps he uses. Ahh, I can't do this thing without logging into his Google account. I did so.

As soon as I did, I heard a notification sound go off on his phone. I am so stupid!!! What he would have received would be something like this. A new device has accessed your account. If this is you, there is no need to do anything. If it is not you, please click here.

Any doubt he had about what he would receive for Christmas had gone. I suppose he was pretty confident anyway, as I think I said back in September when he was complaining about his tired tablet, 'Well, see what Santa brings you'.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Spirit

Some of you will remember this clip well as I may have posted it more than once, but it is my Christmas happy song. Not all of you will have seen it.

The lovely Kim Wilde was a little the worse for the wear as she returned to her home on the London Tube from a Christmas party with her brother. How good would it have been in the carriage with her.

One could be suspicious that she made another Tube video to deflect searches for the older one, this one.

But I just love her tipsy effort on The Tube to entertain the punters. Whoa, some redirection thing has happened. The original old one disappeared. I can see the old one here, but not on my blog.

Christmas Eve

Just a few Christmas themed photos I have taken when I have been out and about over the past few weeks. I had forgotten about Stollen until an off blog conversation with Maribeth. I remember it now, and I don't think I am that keen on it really. Aldi, South Melbourne.

The dry cleaner is up for some Christmas spirit.

Much of the city's Christmas decoration is looking old and tired, but Federation Square is quite good.

Degraves Street, Melbourne.

Collins Street, Melbourne.

Block Arcade, Melbourne.

Emporium, Melbourne.

Melbourne Town Hall.

Cartier, Collins Street, Melbourne.

 A plane tree rugged up for our hot summer in a Christmas themed knit.

I am sure the tree looks great at night when lit. Davey Street, Frankston.

Nice nose, Rudolph. Bay Street, Port Melbourne.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday.......whatever. Have a good day tomorrow.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Sunday Selections

A mix of public transport and some humour for this week's Sunday Selections. See what EC and River, who was out of the starting box very early this week with a bonus Saturday posted Sunday Selections as she took off down the field from the starting gate with her ball at high speed towards the net.

Oh dear, she is getting on now. She arrived at Kings Lynn Station, Norfolk to be at Sandringham for this year's Christmas sojourn. Mind the gap Betty.

These Royal types seem to like things that run on rails. This parasite on society The People's Prince, Harry with his missus, rode on a suspiciously uncrowded, ungraffitied and window unetched and clean tram to South Melbourne Beach, while chatting to suspiciously neat school children. PR Score, 10/10.

Herald Sun.

The Age.

Not all is good about public transport. This terrible tram crash on route 25E in Lisbon resulted in 28 people being injured. It is a wonder no one was killed, although perhaps the tram had to be further damaged to extract people. It would have been ironical if 28 people were injured in a tram crash on the famous Lisbon tourist tram route, 28. They do drive the trams very furiously there, at times less than a metre from someone's front door. 

9 is one of our commercial tv stations Channel Nine, with many other interests and Fairfax Press own The Age in Melbourne and The Sydney Morning Herald, both good broadsheet newspapers, that are now tabloid in size........and perhaps becoming more tabloid by nature. The acquisition by Channel 9 will probably speed up that process. Nine tried to report it as a merger, and were quickly howled down, but with decreasing diversity of our media, who will be around to howl things down? Probably not Fairfax Press if it is to do with Channel Nine and the Packer empire. Only our ABC.

What would a post from me be without including a bit of sleaze. The bottom picture is not a child's dummy (pacifier) but nine months later, that is what may be needed.

Even the sleazebag that I am, I did not immediately get this one. Sexist really isn't it, but it amused me.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Charmed Life of Highriser

I am worried about Mother. At her maximum, she weighed just under 80kgs. She is now 45kg, 100 lbs for those who use such measurements. Her face, brain and vital organs remain the same, but her body has shrunk. She is just so terribly frail.

Tradie Brother is not working and drinks an awful lot. He is a daytime drinker.

I tried to call Sister last night, on her landline and mobile phone. She did not answer and did not call back, although I did leave a message, see you on Christmas Day.

Step Mother's partner's wife died from dementia. He suggested to Tradie Brother that he is seeing signs of it Step Mother. She came home one evening and left her car running and the lights on in the garage. She is becoming increasingly crabby. We did not see signs of it when we were in her company at the wedding.

We went into town for me to take a couple of photos and to have dinner. I quipped before we entered the restaurant, we must not over order this time. I may have said that before, but R just exploded and stormed off and went home. I dined alone and very nice it was.

As I walked on my own down Bourke Street to catch the tram home, I saw nobody as old as me in the city. Once I reached Swanston Street I had a little time to wait for a tram home. The city was busy and pumping. Buskers galore. People laughing, joking, chatting and all sorts of languages. So many had multiple Christmas shopping bags.

The sad old man just sat at the tram stop playing with his phone until a tram arrived.

When two tribes go to war

This screenshot from Google Maps shows the area where Sister and Bone Doctor live on the Bellarine Peninsula. You may have to click on the map to see the red line. As you can see there is a huge area to the left of the red line, with a small coastal area to right.

The large area is the City of Greater Geelong local council area. The small excised coastal strip is the Borough of Queenscliffe (sic), with it two towns Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale and is where Sister lives.

Although there is a golf course on Swan Island, I believe it is Crown land and under the control of the Department of Defence. I think you have to have specific reason to be allowed on to the island. 'Dey have soldiers with guns 'dere'.

The gap of water between Point Lonsdale and Fort Nepean is known as The Rip, where there tidal water flows in and out swiftly through the Port Phillip Heads into the bay. All ships have to be piloted through the heads as it is very dangerous. Melbourne has the largest port in Australia, so commercial shipping and recreational shipping, along with the Spirit of Tasmania ferry make it a very busy place for shipping.

The Borough of Queenscliffe is on a road to nowhere, that is, you do not pass through it to get to anywhere except if you want to use the Queenscliff to Sorrento car ferry across to the other side of the bay. Queenscliff was once a prime holiday destination for the wealthy holiday makers from Melbourne, who used to arrive by steam ferries and perhaps later by train, and hence it having come about for wealthy holiday makers, it has some very beautiful old and historic buildings.

While not everyone in the Borough is wealthy, Sister Bone Doctor are what you would call comfortable though they live quite modestly, there is huge wealth in the Borough, but it is of the quiet non ostentatious kind of wealth. This makes it a very desirable place to live for some and although I wondered why Sister bought a house there, I am pleased she did now that I know the area. Their house has appreciated far beyond the average house price in Melbourne. As usual I will be prone to exaggeration, but the greatest crime in the area where Sister lives might be a visiting dog owner not picking up after their dog. No local person would dream of doing such a thing. It is pretty well compulsory to have a dog and to walk it along the beach path.

Now see the inland straight border of the Borough. The line runs along Fellows Road, which was the limit of any residential housing in the area, but not any more. As I said, to the right of Fellows Road is the Borough and to the left the City of Greater Geelong,  The area was mined for shell grit many years ago and so is classified as degraded land, yet on the degraded land nature made a useful place for birds and other wildlife.

Ah, but along come developers with huge plans for a new development on the 'degraded' land. The local community got into a stew about the matter. I expect business people probably did welcome the thought of the newcomers of the estate spending money in the town, but most local residents did not.

There were studies, there were panels, there was ministerial intervention, there were committees and of course fierce lobbying by both sides. If it had to be redeveloped, the plans ended up being quite strict, especially the environmental aspects. I am having trouble finding recent information but one proposal was approved, against regulations about connecting inland canals to the sea. I understand that the developer had to pay a 120% bond of the cost of all environmental works. Developers are well known for walking away from such things, so I hope this stood. But now while some of the project has been completed, ownership has changed and I am at a loss as to how things stand now. Hopefully Sister and Bone Doctor may be able to fill me in, although they haven't been active against the development.

Of course the good residents of the Borough are far to politie to publically react if they asked the question of someone about what part of town they lived in and the answer was in a street on the Geelong side of Fellows Road, but mentally, they will think, oh, that new housing estate.

Not in my backyard? Elitism? Snobbism? Probably all of those, but the the residents of the Borough of Queenscliffe have something very special in the area where they live and I don't blame them for wanting to protect what they have.

Of course the council rates for all the new properties will go to the City of Greater Geelong, but the Borough will be bearing quite of bit of the costs for the new residents

Friday, December 21, 2018

Movie Titles

Regardless of whether I saw the movie, and if I did, whether I liked it, there are some movie titles that really appeal to me, enough at times to see the movie just because of the name, and I think I have a new one. There are probably more, that I don't remember now.

Some from the past have been, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe, Sleepless in Seattle, Hotel New Hampshire, You've got Mail, Throw Momma from the Train. I've seen all of those except I think Sleepless in Seattle, including another excellent movie with a good title, The Postman Always Rings Twice. Same Time Next Year is another.

But there is a new kid's animated movie to be soon released and the title just really makes me want to see the movie. I will consult my cultural advisor about all things of young pop culture, Little Jo, on Christmas Day. She came to the fore recently when I asked her about Fortnight. Her mothers' had no knowledge of the game, but Little Jo knew all about it and said it is a terrible murder game, but that the dance moves that go with it are good. I already knew this, but it was interesting that she knew about it. Show us the dance moves, asked Sister, and Little Jo did.

Ah, so the movie title. It attracts me immediately. I am not watching it in case I will see the movie but here is the trailer for Ralph Breaks the Internet. The internet is pretty well unbreakable and that is one of the points of it, so it would be interesting to see how Ralph breaks it.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Highriser Photos

Photos from the phone and camera are downloaded to the desktop computer. Once there and have been used for any purpose, they are uploaded to Dropbox. When I reach the limit of Dropbox's free storage limit, I burn them on to dvd and then copy them to another dvd. With variations, I have done this for may years.

You see the photos I use on my blog, but many are personal photos, of family and friends etc.

I read that there was an original forecast for the life of a dvd of about ten years. This was very conservative and disks are lasting much longer. Nevertheless, I decided I would also upload all the photos to Google Drive. Drive has a generous enough free storage limit, and I have uploaded all digital photos from DVD from 2004 to 2008. Once I reach the free storage limit, I will pay for more space.

As I said, I burn two dvds of photos, one as a back up, and I randomly check a few folders on the burnt dvds to make sure the photos are there. I don't know if it was a bad burn at the time and I missed it, or the dvds are not holding up well, but I have lost some photos. I really think the dvds are failing.

Recently, I have only used Sony dvds, but in the past I have used Imation, Verbatim, Maxell and TDK.

Fortunately I only bought two single TDK dvds, as they are the ones that have failed. Unfortunately, I actually must have bought four, as the back up dvds are also TDK and they too have failed.  It is only the first four folders on both disks that have failed and I retrieved some photos from them, like photos of the late Dame at her 83rd birthday. She died less than six months later. We are all there in the photos, but not Dame M. Failed photos. Little Jo, face down and bum up and sound asleep on R's bed at the age one, gone. I may have such photos saved elsewhere or on FB.

So, TDK really has done amazing things to my system and they are not good.

If you want to save photos, back up, back up again and then back up once more, using a variety of methods. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Wedding part 2

Well, I can't really show you photos of the wedding here. The Minister of the church had conducted a blessing of the animals in the church, where people bring their pets to be blessed. Tradie Brother wanted so much for his dog to attend the wedding, and he did. The Minister had no problem with a dog in church.

Now, have you made false assumptions as I did? The Minister of the church is a married woman. It was the first same sex marriage in her church. She has in the past been very gay friendly towards the local community. I spoke to her briefly afterwards, telling her who I was and that I had been in same sex relationship for a number of years. How long, she asked? Ok, you know all about the battles for same sex rights, and the step back at the height of the AIDS crisis. Indeed I do know. I pointed out to her that I haven't been a great gay activist, but at times in my own way got stuck in. The church website is quite impressive.

She said that she owes a lot to the women before her who made it possible for her to be in the position she is now.

She conducted the marriage ceremony beautifully. There was a little religion in the ceremony but nothing too much to spook the non believers. Mother complained about the welcome to country beginning, a standard tribute to the Aboriginal custodians of the land before we white fellas came. Standard practice now Mother, I told her, live with it.

The MC was Sister's straight female friend, who chose her wedding dress. She was great. Another good friend of Sister's and part of the bridal party spoke and she must be Catholic and I am afraid what she said in a religious context rather went over my head.

Little Jo spoke about Sister's and Bone Doctor's first marriage in Canberra, five years to the day earlier. They were the last couple to be married in the ACT.  It was quickly outlawed by the Federal Government and their marriage annulled by the nasty John Howard. Little Jo wrongly said it was Tony Abbott, a later former Prime Minister, which did bring boos and hisses of support from those present. I didn't know at the time, but it was an unrehearsed speech.

Rings were exchanged, vows to love, respect etc were taken, without mention of obeying. (Bone Doctor knows better than to not obey Sister) You may kiss the bride. I now pronounce you as a married couple. Cheers rang out.

Then there was signing of the official documents. Who are those people up there? Ah, Little Jo's bio donor father and his wife.

As I have said, they have lots of friends who do things for them for cheap rates. A decent mention was made in the service about what Sister and Bone Doctor do for the local community. If you remember, Mother complained about them never being home when she stayed there. That is one of the reasons. A group of scouts was in attendance for part of the service, no doubt Bone Doctor's troop.

Sister thought it fit to invite our late Step Father's daughter and her husband. They are probably in their sixties, and while it was a bit hard for them as they knew few people, I think they liked that they came. He is a farmer and bigwig in peak farming organisations, so I think it it is safe to conclude that they would be on the conservative side of social matters and politics, yet the country farmers were at a same sex wedding. Bone Doctor's family did not bat an eyelid at the same sex wedding. I hope it was because they are tolerant, rather than just not caring. Bone Doctor's Uncle spoke about how sports competitive Bone Doctor is. At some point in his life he realised she could beat him in rugby. Her Father asked how many people had seen Bone Doctor in a dress, and more hands than he expected went up, including ours. We saw her in a clingy dress and with her slim but still feminine figure, she looked terrific, perhaps like a 1920s flapper. She went to a conservative posh private girls school for her secondary education. She was incensed that she could not wear trousers at school and soon had that policy of girls having to wearing dresses changed. While she was not welcome at Australian Rules Football, she realised there were no female restrictions at rugby, so that is what she played.

Sister put up a video clip on FB today. Most of the first part of Little Jo's performance was cut out. I expect that was because she scratched her crotch three times, that I noticed. It was very distracting from a fine performance. After Little Jo started, a tenor cut in (quite an attractive bloke in a nerdish kind of way) and as Little Jo stopped, then he stopped and a soprano, who is the adult daughter of Little Jo's bio father sang. Then it went to all of them singing together. It was magical. Many have recorded the song but I believe the sublime original was by The Carpenters.

After the signing of documents, where there had been complete silence aside from a little gurgle from one of the twins, suddenly music burst forth from the speakers and all 80 of us clapped, laughed and cheered as Sister and Bone Doctor danced down the aisle, with Sister singing along at the top of her voice to this track. Gosh it was a great wind up to the wedding ceremony.

Afterwards there was a terrific serving of nibbles and drinks, and boy did I need a drink. Then the main meal buffet, all good. A live guitarist performed who was really good. There was much dancing and frivolity. R took Step Mother back to the cottage and returned but it was then wind up time at 10pm, although things certainly weren't shutting down. One interesting thing happened that I did not understand until later, Sister served Bone Doctor a morsel of wedding cake on a long knife. People were calling out no, but it went ahead. I guess it is an ultimate act of trust.

We left and spent the next two hours outside back at the cottage with a bottle of Scotch while we sorted out the world and our lives. Neither is any better for our efforts, but that is what we do. Bed by midnight and I did not wake until 6.30.

Tradie Brother was taking Step Mother home the next morning and arrived at our cottage at 9. They departed and we realised Step Mother had bought up big and cheaply on Apple Cider when we stopped along the way at Dan Murphys, one dozen small bottles, and she had left them in the fridge, so we called them and they returned in about ten minutes to get them.

We left the cottage at check out time, 10, and caught up briefly with Sister and Bone Doctor, Ex Sis in Law, Hippie Niece and The Twins at the church hall where a clean up was happening. I still can't tell the twins apart. Via a lunch stop again at Routleys Bakery, with not a hot tradie in sight, we were home by 12.30 and rested for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Bikies and their lovers

The wedding post, part 2, needs some polishing. You will have to make do with this for today's post. It has sat around long enough for emergency purposes and today is the day. 

A snip from a newspaper. 

Acting Sergeant Trueman told a court hearing that police raided the clubhouse several times, including in June 2014 after they received a tip "that the Gypsy Jokers (a bikie gang) had stolen an alpaca and were having sexual intercourse with it".

What???!!! And they say gays are queer. Though I must say, Cleo is quite pretty.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Great Niece Duty

Last night, Saturday night we met up with the widower of our late friend, the Fijian Indian, to celebrate his birthday at a pub. Ten people were there to celebrate, although most did not know it was his birthday. It was a great evening, and R won $40 on the pokie machines, well $45 but he put $5 back in and then sensibly took the $40.

Sunday morning we were up early to see great nieces' perform their dance routines, starting at 10am, an hour's drive away. It was a three and a half hour show with a twenty minute intermission and it was really terrific. The costumes were amazing, most of the performers really good. It was not unlike a School Spectacular. It was so professionally presented. Little Em, at about two and a half years old had two gigs, one as a doggie in How Much is that Doggie in the Window, and in another performance where she was mermaid. She was the youngest performer and didn't do too badly.

During the finale, family made the mistake of calling out to her, and so she knew where we were in the audience and kept moving from her stage position towards us. One of the senior performers pulled her back and took her offstage and then brought her back in her arms on the far side of the stage.

The whole thing would be repeated in the afternoon and we did not have the stamina for another three and a half hours, mostly the same but with some differences, so we missed seeing the oldest four year old great niece perform. They will be in the same group next year, so if we go, we will see them both.

The performances were of quite a high standard, costumes just brilliant, the lighting, sound and staging great. We had ballet, jazz ballet, hip hop, tap, rap, and all things in between. Did I mention that we saw three and a half hours of it.

Notes: The Frankston Civic Centre is great. Dance Lab, with a hundred or two hundred students is really good.  There was a good bit of tap dancing, which I thought might have been old fashioned. Tap dancers cannot exit the stage quietly. It was disappointing to see only about six boys among the hundred plus performers. None of them had the flair that is required for an on stage career. The oldest, a teenage lad, only performed in one rap number and the finale, and he was really quite good, and there was nothing feminine about his performance and so many young lads could do the same. Boys can be effeminate ballet dancers and can just dance brilliantly to rap music, and I expect some things in between. Get your sons and grandsons onto stage, Mrs Worthington.

Casting back two or three decades, for a number of years at the same venue we saw Firefighting Nephew, Oldest Niece and Hippie Niece perform on the same stage. Now we see their children. All has changed, but nothing has changed.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Building a community

It was the inaugural Friday drinks and nibbles at our building. I stepped into the lift twenty minutes later than I should have coming back from work as Melbourne had experienced flash flooding and huge traffic and public transport delays. The social meeting was for 6 and it was now 8. A couple, an older white man and an older Asian women were in the lift and they had been to the Friday night drinks.

They had an empty plate with some food residue on it and two empty wine glasses. They told me they had a great time at Friday night drinks and nibbles and would have stayed longer, except they met a couple who like playing mahjong, and were so going off to meet up with them for a game. A clacking of the tiles, so to speak.

So, the inaugural Friday drinks and nibbles thing might turn out to be a great success in the future. I hope to to attend when I am free. 20 second lift conversations are all very well, but actually having a good chat must be better. I just have to convince R. But as the old guard of the building committee people has moved on, or has been moved on, maybe he will give it will give it a try. Goodness knows, we need more social connection.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Wedding part 1

Well, I never expected to need tissues to mop up tears and snot at a wedding. I was unprepared. Mother did not shed not a tear and made the occasional snarky sotto voice comment and nor did Step Mother. But Sister's three brothers all blubbed their way through the ceremony and so did R. Bone Doctor's family are made of sterner stuff, and very little emotion from them, and not much from Bone Doctor either. Sister laughed, performed and cried.

But you aren't going to get away so easily as that with such a brief wedding report.

Picking up Step Mother the day before to stay with us was stressful. Only at the last minute did I realise I would not be home for dinner until 7.40, and thereby plans for taking her out for dinner were shot down. Travellers Aid was great, although a bit late, but transported her to the correct place for usual pickups, that we did not know about. Why did I not ask? R cooked an evening meal which we shopped for on our way to pick her up on my long meal break from at work. I roamed the station looking for her while R parked and waited for me to call. It did eventually come together, but it was all quite stressful. If there is a next time, we will know better.

Our timeline was to set off at 11 the next day, Tuesday. We left a bit earlier. We stopped for petrol, and then for lunch at a bakery in  Geelong recommended to us by Sister and Mother. Routleys has been baking since 1947. It is a very nice modern place to eat and Step Mother decided to just have an egg and lettuce sandwich. I'm afraid R and myself had something pastry based. We arrived just before noon and so many hot tradie types came and went.

We took the scenic route through Geelong, although Step Mother had been engrossed in her book for the whole journey and not interested in what was to be seen, I quickly gave up pointing anything out when I didn't receive a response. She did stop reading when I told her to look at the scenic views of Geelong esplanade and the Christmas tree out in the water.

As is the norm, check in time for our accommodation was 2pm. I wanted to drive a bit around Queenscliff to show Step Mother the sights, but I now knew she was not that interested. R and I squabbled. I said, we can't check in until 2pm. He said, we will try, at 1.30 pm. Fine, you do it then. It turned out to not be a problem. Carisbrook Cottage is old but very comfortable. I doubt you could build such accommodation now and this place must have been built in perhaps the 1940s. There seemed to be another cottage for accommodation and the owner's house was at the front of the property. Wow, it is opposite the hall for hire where we celebrated Bone Doctor's 40th birthday and opposite the Bellarine tourist train railway station. I have written about both. You can find them by searching if you are at all interested.

So, Carisbrook Cottage was not flash, but ever so well set up. Air con, ceiling fans, space heater, kitchen with all you need, towels, linen, shower pleasure score of 10 out of 10. Milk, bread, coffee and tea and cereal of infinite varieties was supplied.  There was a tray of ice cubes in the freezer, essential for when travellers buy a bottle of unchilled wine at the last minute. There was even a washing machine. Everything was labelled with clear instructions. There was a nice outdoor seating area at a table, barbeque, pleasant garden and a clothes line where you could hang your smalls.

R went for his nanna nap while Step Mother read on. Neither felt too comfortable about being in the pre wedding photo shoot, thinking they were neither group of family or friends. Having experienced it, they were probably right. I went to the photo shoot under a big tree right next to where Mother and ABI Brother were staying. The weather was warm, the sea was so blue...........and the wind was strong. It was close friends of theirs and immediate family. Everyone was in their wedding finery, two hours early. I came across one of Sister's close straight female friends who I know. I said to her, so who chose my sister's gorgeous dress? She confessed it was her, Sister's friend. Sister is not fat, but big and solid. Bone Doctor was in a black men's suit, stretching it at the hips and in the buttocks. Her father was busy trying to put her cufflinks on that he had presented to her.

It was a warm and sunny day, but at the beach there was a cold wind blowing in from Bass Strait.

Mother's caravan park cabin was ok, with terrific sea views and the sound of the sea, but I did not like the layout. Tradie Brother slept in the back of his tradie car the night before, with his dog Cobber. An early surfer in a wetsuit walking past the secluded location woke Cobber at 6am and he barked furiously. They went back to sleep. As I said to him when I saw where he slept in his car with all his tools next to him, no danger of anyone attacking you in your car then.

I returned to the cottage. Step Mother and R were dressed and ready to go. I touched up my lippy, put on a jacket, and we are all ready to go. It was a 5pm, start. We arrived at 4.45 but we should have been there earlier to get photos of Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo roaring around town in a 20's Chevy with a blaring Klaxton.

The caravan park whether Mother stayed surrounded the local football oval. I wonder if Margaret has seen such a thing? Strong prevailing winds through the Port Phillip Heads have taught this tree which way to grow.

This was a nice and welcoming sign at the church.

Sister and Bone Doctor both have some Scottish Heritage, so a bagpipe player seemed appropriate. Almost everyone involved in the wedding who provided a service were known to Sister and or Bone Doctor, and I expect they gave them a discounted rate.

Much use of this sign was made by both adults and children.

A fine jalopy for the bridal party to roar noisily around town in.

A bit about the rest of the day in another post.