Saturday, January 27, 2018

The big wardrobe clean out

This is not a proper post about the big wardrobe clean up, but part of it was shredding Mother's letters, dating back to the late 1980s. Her letters turned into 7 large garbage bags of shredded paper. It would take a long time to reread them, and I didn't but a couple grabbed my attention.

In 1988 Sister turned 21 and Mother bought her a marquesite? watch for $180 and the cake for her birthday party cost $70.

Somewhat related to Cro's recent post, an aerogram. Mother is a good speller, and I don't know why she continually spells address wrongly. Maybe there is some history to the spelling of address. Wal is my late father. Hew was staying with us while he underwent cancer treatment at a large metropolitan hospital. This written above the usual greeting salutations grabbed my attention.

I just loved Vienna, and so it seems did Sister. You've never had apple strudel until you have had it in Vienna with vanilla sauce, aka a thin custard. What happened in Romania in 1991? Was that when Ceausescu was killed? Or the orphanage scandal? Were Romanians revolting? Joan Kirner was a former Victorian State Premier.

Mother redecorated Sister's bedroom while Sister was swanning about Europe. I am amused about the falling books. 

Yes, all that history has been shredded. Mother wrote honest and personal letters to me and us and no doubt there was something in them that would have offended, hurt or embarrassed all family members. They are goned. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Australia Day and a Spider Alert

Happy Australia Day, or Sad Invasion Day as many of our indigenous folk like to call it. I'll sit astride the fence on this matter with my foot firmly planted in my left cheek.

Our favourite cafe in the grungy Centre Place in town always serves coffee with souvenier (happy bloody Australia Day when spell checker tells me my spelling of souvenier is wrong when I know it is right) holiday teaspoons. How appropriate that on the eve of Australia Day my coffee was accompanied by a teaspoon with a sculpture of what I consider an iconic Australian statue, the dog on the tuckerbox at Gundagai. Tucker means food, for you foreign types. Hoe into your tucker, you ho.

Where is your friend? Mamasan asked. I am all alone, I replied (it was Mother Day for R), and worse for you, I am only having coffee, no menu required. Perhaps she thought I was feeling sad, so she subsequently sent out her cutest waiter out to serve me.

I could have posted a Youtube clip of the Road to Gundagai but instead here is one I've used before on Australia Day, Sounds of Then by GANGgajang. But this is a different clip. BE WARNED THERE ARE SNAKES AND SPIDERS IN THIS CLIP.

Ok, you talked me into it. Let's have a bit of rollicking American Australian Country and Western. I am not normally keen on country and not so keen on western either. The Road to Gundagai by the late and wonderful Slim Dusty. Note, the track is short and ends long before the clip ends.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

New Chappies at work Pt 2

Part 1 was written a little while ago and I thought I could make it more interesting with an anecdotal update.

Shall we say I was on one side of the street and the new gay employee who attracts the adoration of straight women was on the other side of the street in town. There was excessive tram gonging at Bourke Street and I turned around to see why. Nothing to do with the tram gonging but coming up the street was a tall and well built man on a skateboard. He was quite muscular, of olive complexion and tanned too, and only wearing trainers on his feet and a pair of flatteringly fitting pink shorts. Not too tight though. He wouldn't want anyone to think he is gay. He passed right by me.

I then saw my gay workmate on the other side of street. He neck nearly snapped in two as his head swivelled with much acceleration to see the skateboarder. I've seen the same guy on the skateboard again in town, the second time in more subdued maroon shorts. He is no spring chicken, perhaps 30, but one sexy dude.

Now I haven't really ever spoken to this new gay guy at work. I so much wanted to say to him when I next saw him, darls, I saw your neck snap when you saw that hot skateboarder man in Swanston Street. Did you wet yourself?

In the past, like ten years ago plus, I  said to the hot fair straight Greek bloke at work, I've always had fantasies about you Nick but with Peter A (a younger cute straight Italian heritage lad), but I could never work out who I wanted to see on top. Nick went bright red in embarrassment and laughed. I had a workmate called Helena with who I had great fun with in the 90s. I've just remembered Our Friend in Japan met her once. Sorry about that V. I don't really think she was a proper dyke. Her girlfriend at the time was very nice though, and looked after her after she dropped a plugged in toaster into the bath. We ran into her girlfriend once at the gay bar, The Peel, and without Helena there, we really clicked with her, to the point where we never saw or heard from her again. Helena left my workplace and went on to be a receptionist in a brothel. Aren't they all? More amazingly, for one year she lived next door to Mother and Step Father and had a child and I never knew until after she had moved.  Step Father grew quite fond of her for a chat.

Back to Nick. For a bit, he and Helena were an item. Helena told me all about what she and Nick got up to, including with another female. My memories are hazy, but there was a male St Kilda Road, St Kilda tattooist mixed up in this too. I am sure she did so to excite me, that is give the details in graphic description, and it worked. Poor Nick. He knows I know a good bit about him but not really how much. My second last memory of Helena is being on a tram and her hair extensions were falling out. We pulled them out even more. A minor drug may have been involved. I spoke to her on the phone a few years later and the essence was that we were both older and such irresponsible fun times had passed. I should have realised at the time by her family name, but I did work it out that she was Jewish by her naming her son Jacob. She was of Eastern European heritage.  I also remember saying to Nick in a bad Greek Mother accent, oh Nicholas, when are you going to get married and make babies? While he was a party animal, he did marry in his late 30s and father a couple of children and is seemingly happily married. Although he did say to me when he is on holidays, he goes back to his old ways. Tinder is it Nick? You have a snort? Do a line? He pretty well confirmed that.

I am loathe to use the phrase politically correct, but that is what my workplace is now like. So I decided I would not say anything to my newish gay workmate about his head snapping at the hot skater. You've heard or experienced the invisibility of women after 40, or is that 50? As a much older gay man, I am rather invisible to him anyway.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Love all, luvvie

What a marvellous time in Melbourne. The tennis is happening. While I have little interest in tennis, the tennis authorities maintain my vague interest by tolerance of bad male tennis behaviour and some extraordinary and unsettling noises emitted by female tennis players as they whack the ball. Stop both and get some respect back into the game.

Yes, such a feel good time in Melbourne when the tennis is on. Is it self funding? Perhaps not. The government perhaps pays for the facilities. Well, when the Melbourne car racing Grand Prix is on, all the people who love and go to see tennis, stay at home with their noses held firmly in the air about car racing. The Australian Open doesn't cost us much to put on and generates huge amounts of extra money from visitors. Not so the Grand Prix which is a terrible financial drain on Victorian taxpayers. Why not take the money from the failing Grand Prix and put it into tennis and the Australian Open?

Anyway, a question for you foreign types. If you are overseas and watch the Australian Open, do you get local commentary or take an Australian feed. I hope the former. I know Marie likes tennis. Do you get a BBC commentary feed? Ken and Walt in France, do you listen to it in French or take an English language feed from where? Anyone else?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Black Gangs are coming for us

We haven't been out for dinner for ages. Minister for Immigration tells us that people like us are frightened of African youth gangs and so we don't go out for dinner. It is rather more that our chief organiser of dinners out has been in hospital since before Christmas. (Font problem, I know)

Firefighting Nephew and his now wife lived in the inner western suburb of Footscray for over one year, full of those Asian and black African people.They dined out often, locally and cheaply. Maybe they never mentioned it to me, but I don't think they were ever fearful of going out locally for dinner, among all these supposed black African gangs roaming the streets. I am not aware that they had any personal crime problems in Footscray.

I tolerate nonsense by politicians up to a point, but when Minister Peter Dutton says that people in Melbourne are fearful to go out for dinner because of African immigrant youth crime, well, what possible respect can I have for him.

There is no doubt that there is an Australian youth of African heritage problem, especially those from Sudan, but hysterical statements like we afraid to go out for dinner are not helpful.

Maybe too many from Sudan were allowed in without the adequate support in place? The worst thing about all this is that black kids are all lumped together in the public eye. See four of them together on the street? Look out, and I must say, I have the same feelings myself, and I should not. They are kids. They will get up to some malarkey like all kids do but they are not necessarily out to do bad to anyone. I really feel for those black kids who are being judged by what a few of their own do.

Writing about race, religion and immigration never wins me friends, but write about them I will at times.

Image from the Footscray City College way back in 2001. What a pussy cat. He probably has bred a large family by now and has to work hard to support them.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Our New Bank Notes

$5 is our smallest note, then $10, $20, $50, $100. Eventually the $20 and $50 will be replaced and it is rumoured that the $100 will be scrapped as it is mainly used by criminals who have to hoard cash. $100 notes are released and just disappear.  I think a few years ago I was given a $100 note as payment for something and I quickly got rid of it. I really like our new notes. Each note as it increases in value is slightly wider, a few millimetres or say 1/8th of an inch. The height does not change.

The old note followed by its replacement, both sides.

I think the old picture of Queen Liz is quite awful. The new picture looks more like her.

The features on the clear part of the note only light up at certain angles. The notes would be very hard to counterfeit.

Federal Parliament House in our Federal capital city of Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.

Some old duck.

And a nicer picture of said old duck.

Some old bloke.

A nicer picture of some old bloke.

Ok, that was appalling of me.

The old duck is Dame Mary Gilmore, a leftie rabble rouser, author, poet, media presenter and has so many other achievements. In spite of her anti establishment views, she was knighted for services to literature. 

The old bloke is Aussie poet Andrew Barton Paterson, aka Banjo Paterson. 

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan, years ago,
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just 'on spec' addressed as follows: 'Clancy of The Overflow'.

And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected,
(and I think the same was written with a thumbnail dipped in tar)
'Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
"Clancy's gone to Queensland droving, and we don't know where he are."

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Cat Lady, aka Mother

Mother amazes me at times. She manages to cultivate help and assistance all around herself while she lives a lonely life at home totally dependant on her children and those who she cultivates. The point will come at the end.

Over forty years ago Mother moved into her house, bought for her by her father. My three siblings grew up there, but I was older and did not. A few doors up from Mother's house is Princes Highway, Australia's Highway Number 1, now not so important as the town has been bypassed by a freeway. On the corner of Mother's street and the highway was a former petrol station that had become a pizza restaurant, a cafe, and a pinball parlour. Stray cats hung around the back of the pizza place, no doubt savouring the various varieties of salami.

The pizza place closed down and Step Father took on the starving cats. He looked after them well, without much veterinary care. He knew his stuff about animal care. While his mantra was 'Save the Environment. Plant a Greenie, head down in a hole', he loved animals and birds, just not perhaps the environment. Sister and Step Father had many a verbal battle over the environmental matters, yet they loved each other as a father and daughter. He was very kind and generous to my siblings.

So, when he became unwell and died, Mother took over the feeding of the cats, about eleven, but not with the same standard of care. She fed them expensive cat milk and top brand cat food, but that was all she did. She never actually cared for them. I remember saying to her, take on your favourite Ginge as a house cat and get rid of all the others. Ginge was killed on the road shortly afterwards. A neighbour complained about the cats and some were incompetently trapped by the local council. Ever so slowly the cat numbers were reducing from the highest point of eleven.

By December 2017 she was down to two cats, a mother who was tame for Mother, and the mother's  daughter who was not at all tame. The mother cat was looking poorly. R arrived at Mother's one day to take her out for lunch and shopping and he was confronted by a rough lad who asked if they were his cats? R replied, kind of. The bloke then went into a diatribe to R about neglecting his cats and not feeding them. It seemed the mother cat had either mange or scabies or something else. I really can't remember now. R was quite distressed about the accusation. Mother went to a veterinary surgery  and paid $45 for a medication to fix the problem. She was convinced the cat was improving. R thought not.

I suppose it was by the same accuser of R's cat neglect who started leaving tuna in bowls in Mother's driveway. I suppose the same person who accused R of cat neglect reported Mother to the Royal Society of Animal Protection Australia. The aggressive young woman from the RSPCA knocked on Mother's door and was let in. Mother explained, gesturing to all the cat food and cat milk and showing the receipt for cat medication and the RSPCA person became very nice. She advised Mother that the mother cat was very sick and needed to be euthanised. She set up a trap and overnight, the Mother cat was caught. She returned the next day and took away the cat, but asked Mother about the kitten. Mother ummed and ahhed, but eventually said yes, take it, but I don't want the worry of hearing a trap door shut in the middle of the night and a cat crying. Here is where the people who Mother cultivates comes into action. Before he went to work at 5:30am, the bloke across the road set the trap. The kitten was caught and not too much later, the RSPCA returned and collected her too.

Much praise to the RSPCA which acted so professionally and yet caringly.

At some times Mother has said, the cats are the only reason I get out of bed in the morning, but sans cats, she still seems to get out of bed. The cats have given Mother and her children untold stress over many years, and finally there are no more cats. Such a relief.

All nicely tied up? No. Mother was so incensed at being accused of animal cruelty she contacted the local newspaper, but then was not game to do an interview with the reporter.

But the couple across the road are people who Mother has cultivated and they seem devoted to her, as were the ever so kind and caring dykes who lived next door to Mother. Mother spins her silken web, and pulls them in.


This letter appeared in the local newspaper, written by the neighbour across the road who set the trap. The shelter? Well they do go under Mother's house.