Saturday, January 20, 2018

Saturday Extra

Last Monday R took Little Jo to one of her favourite places, Scienceworks Museum.

"Oh no", she proclaimed. "I have forgotten my ear studs. I left them at home".

She was allowed to have her ears pierced once she turned ten. She was worried that the holes would close after three days with no earings. R texted Sister back and forth and for some reason Sister sent one of the texts to me, which said buy her a pair and I will pay you tomorrow.

I texted R, no need, Auntie Andrew has earrings. I got them out and soaked them in Coca Cola and rinsed them. None would have been worn for at least twenty years.

I must speak to Household Management about dusting.

Take your pick, Little Jo. She chose a pair of studs with 'diamonds'. I asked if she wanted any others. She said no. Uncle R is her favourite, but she and I get along well enough.

"Auntie Andrew, are they real diamonds?"

With a drawling drag queen voice, I said, "Honey, if they were I wouldn't be giving them to you."

She laughed. 

I haven't opened that box for years. I wondered what happened to my Boy London watch and belt buckle. Fire Fighting Nephew went through the box more than ten years ago and selected a number of beads to drape around his neck. 

Up the Workers

NSW train drivers are asking through their union for a 6% pay rise over four years. I saw some figures online. A Sydney train can carry 1000 passengers, and probably do, often. A Sydney train driver earns about $110,000 per year. I am sure this would be inclusive of overtime, working on days off and before or after the end of their shift.

Constance Andrews, the Transport Minister is very cross with the outrageous claim. She is also cross with the train drivers because they at times won't work overtime, leading to services being cancelled. Perhaps they are tired after working umpteen days in a row. Perhaps they are tired after a high concentration shift. I would prefer that train drivers were not 'actively encouraged' to work overtime when they don't want to. A weary train driver with 1000 passengers on board? Not great.

That there is such a hostile and toxic relationship between Sydney Trains management and the minister, and it workers bodes no good for anyone's safety.

Whatever, the train driver's union has power and a suitable arrangement will be reached.

Now, can we talk about the pay of nurses, teachers and child care workers, to name a few who do an honest days work, and compare them to financial advisors, bankers (yes, with a b not a w), consultants, public relation spin doctors, train managers and the many other overpaid leeches in our society.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Par Avion

Posting a letter is probably close to unimaginable to young people. Deciding whether it should go by sea or air, or Air Surface Lifted must also be unimaginable. Australia hasn't used ASL for many years. Japan and the US still do.

In the ongoing battle between English and French, the words Air Mail is now dominant on our post office stickers to stick to a letter or card and no longer the larger print French, Par Avion. It is a hollow victory though. The bloke at the post office told R that it is no longer necessary to affix such a label. Everything in Australia to the rest of the world goes by air. What a pity mail seems to take so much longer to go by air. Note the Southern Cross star constellation on the sticker, which is also on the Australian flag.

During the great wardrobe clean out, that I have yet to post about, this sticker fell out of the New Zealand travel bag, an NZ air mail sticker. Isn't it way cool.

If you don't quite get it, here is a photo from Wikipedia of a New Zealand Kiwi bird.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Peter Pan

It has been very busy with us since last Sunday. That day we drove down to Bellarine Peninsula with a stop for a light lunch along the way, picked up Mother and ABI Brother from Sister's where they had stayed overnight and took them to Queenscliff to see Little Jo play a boy in a stage production of Peter Pan. It was a small part but she acquitted herself well. We very much enjoyed what you would probably call a pantomime by The Queeenscliffe Lighthouse Theatre Group.

It was of a high standard with four professional actors in the cast. Sam Cameron as Peter Pan absolutely shone. I can remember him from one Little Jo's Music Box acting class performances. There are some photos on the website above. You may recognise an actor from the tv show Doctor Blake. Captain Hook is a master of voice overs.

Sister and Bone Doctor put a lot of volunteer effort into the event, especially Sister who travelled on the Queenscliff to Sorrento ferry with Little Jo in character and Sister dressed as a pirate. R had  lunch with a couple of friends earlier in the week and must have been discussing the show with them. A photo arrived to our phones from Sister of one of the lunch attendees. Coincidently they were in the same Queenscliff pancake place and the friend guessed it was Sister and Little Jo by the Peter Pan promotional tees they were wearing.  She went up and spoke to them and they all had a jolly old time.

Little Jo went to the kids after party and we went back to Sister's for afternoon tea. Bone Doctor stayed on to help with the clean up as it was the final performance. Little Jo put a lot of effort into the show with a month or more of rehearsals and two one and a half hour performances a day for ten days. Sister and Bone Doctor were going to the adult after party later. Mother and ABI Brother left, we took the dog for a walk with Sister and eventually Bone Doctor and Little Jo returned. We gave her the Pokemon poster in appreciation of her work and she came home with us to stay for two nights. She is not a great sleeper normally, but she slept straight for twelve hours that night. She must have been exhausted. It was nearly seven before we got home, so we had pizza for dinner.

I had to work the next day and at her request, R took her to Scienceworks Museum. She loves going there. Lasagne for dinner. She wasn't so keen to do much the next day, so R just took her into town for lunch and some shopping and a visit to another favourite place of hers, Dymocks Bookshop. Sister, Bone Doctor and a friend returned from seeing tennis matches in the Australian Open for a barbeque. R is is his own worst enemy. Little Jo had made a cake for desert. I drove them to So Cross Station to catch the 8pm Waurn Ponds train home, ok, the Geelong train.

My immediate work superior is an attractive blonde female and a wearer of sensible shoes. She greeted me at work yesterday with, ah, did you have a sick day on whatever day? This is subtle pressure. She went on to say, I've been on two weeks holiday and just catching up on paperwork. You didn't present a certificate? I am just checking in case I missed it.

Well, they are under work pressure, perhaps more than I am. I actually quite like her and she is much nicer than my last superior. I politely asked if she went away for her holidays. Yes, camping with my partner in Bright. Today Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo are going camping. Guess where? Yep. Bright. I never noticed an overwhelming presence of lesbians in Bright when we were there eighteen months ago. Perhaps I missed something. It is a delightful town, but has become overwhelmed by the number of visitors.

Just to note, I never realised Mother will turn 84 in March this year. She did really well for two Christmas events and did really well to see Little Jo perform. Yes, there was plenty of help for her, but just that she made the effort was great. There is the Mother cat story to come.

A friend is terribly unwell in hospital and perhaps dying. Posts and comments may be irregular.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The changing earth of Melbourne

A train tunnel is being dug under Melbourne and some inner suburbs from the north west to the southeast, costing AU$11 billion, which hopefully includes everything, trains too.

While the site of one station is near us, it is half a kilometre away. Well, that's what we thought. Train stations need to be as long as trains and some more. It extends to very close to us. You saw my earlier photos of the massive works to reroute the tram down below The Highrise. Since then there has been massive work to move and replace pipes, drains, cables, conduits and many other services. This has led to road closures at different times. We once could access our car park from many directions. Now there is only one way in and one way out, left from Kingsway in, left into Kingsway out, meaning to go south on the main commuter road, Queens Road, we have to drive around the block through three more sets of traffic lights. This will continue to the end of February, but I fear it will  happen again, for a much longer period.

There is also city building demolition for the construction of the stations.

I don't think the demolition of Port Phillip Arcade in Flinders Street will worry too  many people. It was still there a week ago. I really hope the seahorse like sculpture can be kept and used elsewhere.

Around the corner in Swanston Street, these shops are closed and will be demolished.

These ones too but of course not Nicholas Building.

I am not sure about the Macleay College building, but it is quite ugly.

Awnings have been pulled down.

Oh, they've gone. That was quick.

Up  and on the other side of Swanston Street, City Square has been closed. As a public space, it never worked terribly well, no matter how many times it was re-invented.

Under City Square is a car park, and it is now being demolished.

A nice little touch, probably thought up by a publicity department and spin doctors. You can watch the car park demolition work through the window of a mockup of a train carriage.

Monday, January 15, 2018

New Chappies at work Pt 1

About five years ago, three new gay guys started at my work. One was a petite little cutie but also a stuck up pretentious twat. He has gone on to other areas. Another was extremely nice looking, and set up another gay workmate to fail and received a nice bit of compensation from the company. The third is still at my workplace and has become a friend, with whom we have socialised a couple of times and I am in regular contact with.

Over the past six months, four new gay guys have come to my work. Their age range is 30 to 50. The last of them is a tall, slim, dark and a little effem, perhaps a little ethereal. One transferred from another area in my employment and he has all the straight women hanging off his every word. I can see why. He pays them a lot of attention. Three of the four carry facial hair, one black, one red, one blondish red. One with Italian heritage is quite hot looking but oh, his voice is so loud and sounds like a cross cut saw in action.

They are all so different but they one thing in common aside from being gay and seemingly all nice people, they can talk, that is talk the leg off an iron pot. And they ask me about myself. The cynical me thinks they are just being nice. But I dunno, they seem so sincere, like they are genuinely interested.

Self protective old gay men like me are history. I concede, give it over to the younger out there gay men and women, and care for those who are maybe gay, but not so out there, and especially older gay men who are a little bewildered by modern gay life.

This is a little unfinished but a child has control of my desktop.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Death rituals

When Step Father died in 2009, the husband of Mother's best friend collected his ashes from the undertaker. Eventually Mother asked if he wanted to give her the ashes and he said he was quite happy to keep them for a while. He kept the ashes in his study and said he has a chat with Step Father every so often.

On Boxing Day at Ex Sis in Laws, Mother's friend had sent a gift via Tradie Brother, a special powered fertiliser in a box for something. I cried out, It's Step Father's ashes! M and N are sick of having them lying around. It was very funny at the time.

Eventually when we add Mother's ashes, we will scatter both at the lovely Rose Avenue Beach, Cowes, Phillip Island, a place where the whole family remembers for wonderful holidays.

I think this is a bit icky but I probably shouldn't think so. Tradie Brother bought two magnolias trees to plant in celebration of the birth of his twin grand daughters. As Hippie Niece rents, he decided they would be planted in his garden. At the planting ceremony, the placentas (Are there two if they are twins? Forget the question mark. I don't need to know. Ok, go on if you must) were added to the planting soil. Bit strange, I thought, and it was a few months after they twins were born. Had they been in the household freezer? Were they thawed out first? I didn't ask questions.

So far, the magnolias are doing well with such an usual fertiliser.