Saturday, April 21, 2018

Jussy goes native

We are in Tassie, so posts written in advance for a couple of days. I think Tasmania has the internet, so I am not far away.

I feel quite possessive about Jussy, but he is not Australia's Jussy. He is Canada's Jussy, the Prime Minister no less. When he marched as a supporter in Toronto's Gay Pride March, he was perfectly dressed for the occasion. No doubt his sense of style comes from Old Ma Margaret (or perhaps his missus).

It seems Jussy likes to go native when he travels overseas, and makes his family do the same.

I can't wait until he comes to Australia and has to strip off to his shorts for some ochre body painting to be applied by our Indigenous.

Friday, April 20, 2018

The week that was

(two weeks now) Allow me to make it into a long week. Friday last was the funeral of our friend. We went back to his partner's now home for drinks and cake. We dropped two friends off after we left, doubling our journey time home. Saturday I worked and R did shopping. Sunday we went into town to buy presents for our 1 year old nieces.  Monday morning R did his volunteer work and I went into town for some reason. Tuesday we went to Sydney. Wednesday we came home.

Thursday was Mother Day and I went along, a big mistake. I am so in the way when it a Thursday Mother Day for R. Loud words were exchanged on the car trip home.

Friday, doctor's appointment for R. Some Prahran shopping, and then dinner with Brighton Antique Dealer, not as simple as that sounds and worth a post on its own.

Saturday, basic shopping in South Melbourne and then to the twin's 1st birthday party on the Mornington Peninsula. Brought Little Jo back home with us from the party and we had pasta for dinner. The next day, Sunday, we took her to see Wonderland at Fed Square and late afternoon delivered her to So Cross Station to meet up with her Bone Doctor Mum to catch the Geelong train home. Little Jo only our desktop pc to make some biscuits with R.

A last minute invitation had us meet up with with friends at The Dick on Sunday night for dinner, our late friend's partner and his about to depart from Australia brothers, Brighton Antique Dealer and our Hair Dresser friend.

Monday a medical appointment for R and he is not diabetic. Tuesday we caught a train and lunched in Clayton after R had a tooth extracted, fortunately a dry socket, so no blood on his pillow.

Today, Wednesday the trams will return to St Kilda Road and we will go into town but before that, it is well overdue house cleaning. The next day is R's Mother Day, and be rest assured, I won't be going.

Friday nothing much but a medical appointment for R.

Saturday we fly to Launceston with our Hair Dresser Friend to see our Dyke Friend and Dog Jack. We will stay for two nights and return on Monday. I think I have enough blog posts cooked earlier.

Next week is looking peaceful, aside from R's Mother Day on Thursday that R is saying I should go along for and one medical appointment for R on Friday and one for me the same day to seek some sound financial advice to see if I can give up work and continue to live in a manner as have been accustomed to.

Sunshine train crash

It was terrible crash, 110 years ago, in the now Melbourne suburb of Sunshine where the Ballarat train meets the Bendigo train before they arrive at Spencer Street Station. Back then Sunshine was an outlying area of Melbourne. The Bendigo train was very late arriving and the brakes failed completely, it would seem. 44 were killed and 413 injured. A song was written about the incident and has now appeared on Youtube.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Melbourne's very large puzzling inner east

This piece published yesterday in The Age annoyed me with its opening sentence. The headline reads, Blue ribbon inner east sees 100% growth through immigration. Blue ribbon means they are prime and safe conservative party seats. I went on to read the piece, which was of no consequence as it didn't tell me anything I did not already know.

Why I read the piece was that I could not understand inner east being conservative. In my mind and to my knowledge they are either Labor(sic) or Green.

I would like you local people to tell me if I am wrong thinking of Richmond, Abbotsford and Collingwood as being inner east. In the article, Kew and Hawthorn were included as inner east, but I consider them middle suburbs. Lordy though, so too included were Doncaster, Templestowe and Box Hill as being inner east! C'mon, they are outer eastern suburbs.

Perhaps a new name is needed for the Melbourne suburbs beyond what I think of as the outer eastern suburbs, or perhaps I am just old and caught in a certain mindset and there is no budging me.

I try not to take media too seriously, but how could such stupidity go to press?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Adelaide Trams

I believe this was tram terminus in Findon, Adelaide. What I really want to know is what the Prohibited Area sign on the far right about? Is it a parking ban, extreme language if it is that, or a rifle range or who knows what.

Isn't this next photo just  brilliant. The tram driver and conductor are having a break at the Morialta tram terminus within the Morialta Conservation Park to the east of the City of Adelaide. While it is to be expected that there are no houses within a park, I expect there weren't houses either before the tram entered the recreational park. Now, it is a safe bet that the area before the park is full of houses.

It was a busy tram line on weekends used by recreational visitors, but there was only one trip a day on weekdays. The line closed in 1956. People would just enjoy their tram visit to the park, picnic and stroll on to the waterfall within the park. Has River ever been to park and seen the waterfall? 

I don't think these are still in copyright now.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


For nearly two weeks we have been bustituted, that is buses attempting  to replace our trams. I have been and still am on holidays, so we have been using our public transport a good bit to get to town and Prahran. The first trip to town was a bit of fun, subsequently, walk for a distance, get on to a bus and then change to a tram has become a pain. The programmed tram advance announcements warning us to allow extra time for our journey came to fruition.

The buses shuttle between two tram temporary connecting points. This is because of the construction of an underground train station. The road restrictions have caused us massive inconvenience, but we manage. We may well be dead by the time the project is completed and we might not get any benefit. I try to think of it as planting a slow growing but wonderful tree. We are doing for the future, for the kiddies. Yes Cathy, it always on my mind. Do it for the kiddies.

The normal buses that travel past The Highrise are run by Transdev. That company was clearly not invited to service for bustitution as it has had so many of its buses put off the road because of maintenance/roadworthy/safety issues. Bad Transdev. Instead bustitution has been supplied by Ventura Buses. I caught my first Ventura bus before I was ten years old. My grandmother took us on the bus to Brighton Cemetery where she  put flowers on her parents' grave. It seems to be a good company that looks after its workers. I think I read that it began in 1924.

So, it has been school holidays and there seemed to be enough normal Ventura buses but schools went back today. How can Ventura run all these extra tram replacement services? Well, it doesn't seem to lack in staff, but it does with buses, hence all these really old buses are back in service as tram replacement. We have free vintage bus trips past The Highrise. After a little study, many seem to buses built in the late 1990s and they would have been the last buses to go into service without air conditioning. I saw one or two last week. This week in the morning peak I reckon seven were in service. Late 90s and no air con? Extraordinary given that in the 80s our then 377 bus had air con. But what is really so unreal, is that these buses, admittedly without air con, are no more noisy and rough than the current Transdev buses. In fact I would say better from a passenger perspective. Do you get this? A one year old bus is not more comfortable for passengers than a 20 year old bus.

Here are a few photos I snapped of the old buses without air con, but still quite serviceable.

Hi, do you mind if I take a photo of your really old bus dashboard? My god, was the bus driver so good looking.

"Hi, do you mind if I take a photo of your really old dashboard?" "No worries mate. I really don't know how old this bus is." "It is pretty old but you drove it really well." I suck bigtime of whatever when I have to.

Come Wednesday, trams will return to St Kilda Road and the free vintage bus tours will end. I am well over buses and promise to not complain about our trams for at least two days.

Monday, April 16, 2018

La Behome 2

Victor the night before asked us what time we were flying out and were we going to do anything touristy before we left. I didn't actually know, but I knew there was a gap between when we had to check out and our flight time. Little did I know how long the gap would go on to be.

R, let's just go to the Quay. There is museum nearby and we can have some brunch, just not at Rossini. Ok, said R. Meanwhile I was furiously wringing my hands together as they felt hot, itchy and about to peel off all skin. I was not even conscious of what I what I was doing. We set forth. Sydney's war memorial has had a big clean up and is looking grand, but will the hoardings be down by ANZAC Day on the 25th of April?

R asked once we were at the Quay, have we got time for brunch in Manly? Yes, was my reply. We'll worry about our Opal card balances later. It must be our tenth or more visit to Sydney and we have never not caught the ferry to Manly. Lookee see. The Man o'war Steps where we were last night.

This was where the opera was last night in Farm Cove.

Shall we go to our fave place in Wentworth Street. Last time we were at Manly, October last year, it rained and our Manly experience wasn't so great. But this time it was lovely and the cafe came through with flying colours. The ocean beach was rough and picturesque, as were the surfers and those who had stopped surfing and were just so blatantly displaying their bodies on the beach.

Gorgeous buildings on the Manly Corso, including the the lovely Hotel Steyne.

As we left the Manly ferry, I wanted to check the return departure times and our Opal card balances. R marched forth and was not looking back. My joints were aching for a reason I did not know and I did not understand. I was very slow walking. I assumed the return ferry ran on the half hour, but no, as we returned to the wharf at 11.45, a ferry was departing. The ferry runs on the quarter/three quarter hour from Manly. R was now getting into panic mode about getting to Sydney Airport by 1.00 for our flight home, so we caught the fast ferry back to the Quay, which cost about $9, deducted from our Opal cards. It is hard to understand the daily Senior/Pensioner cap price when so many things are exempt. Once back at the Quay, we checked our card balances again and we had enough to get the train to the airport and pay the usurious Sydney Airport Gate Fee. Yet when we touched on at the Quay train station, our balances had dropped considerably. Clearly the $9 deduction had caught up with us. We were both at the point of saying fuck it, we will just be arrested for non fare payment at the other end. Amazingly it all went smoothly. My glasses were not on as we passed through the airport train gate, but I saw something like balance $3 displayed on the screen. 

You've already heard about the disastrous trip home, but eventually we got there. Along the way my skin had turned from white to a pretty shade of pink. This was some serious allergic reaction to something. It wasn't until the following Mother Day that I worked it out, especially so as I could barely walk any distance because of aching joints, a reaction to the new medication I had started taking last Sunday. The effects of the medication took time to work, and have taken time to reduce, but I am pretty sure that was the reason for the allergic reaction. 

It is with absolute glee that I can inform you that my Opal card has a -$3.50 balance and so does R's. R will have to top up his Pensioner Opal card before he can use it again in Sydney. My interstate Seniors card is only valid for two months and so Opal will wear a $3.50 loss. Why I cannot have a permanent interstate Seniors Opal card, I do not know.

I'll leave you with some cheesy hotel signs at the Travelodge. They amused me a little and they are much better than stern warnings. 

I really liked this one. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

La Boheme 1

Wentworth Avenue in Surry Hills wasn't quite as steep as I remembered from one Sydney visit when we walked back to College Street from Chinatown. We found Commonwealth Street, a shorter and less steep and more direct to get from our hotel to Museum Station. We were a bit early to check into our hotel and so killed some time with a very nice snack at the nearby Bar Stella. The hotel check in was painless and we were happy with our room once the missing tv remote was replaced and the air con control panel fixed.

We had arranged to meet Victor for a very early dinner at Rossini, a restaurant at Circular Quay and then make our way to the venue for La Boheme. While it was a good location and the service was ok, R's and Victor's meals, chicken schnitzels, were pretty well inedible. I could see how old and stale they looked when they arrived at the table. I had mussels and it was a nice enough dish.

While I had looked at options to get to the venue. Victor said we could walk through the Botanic Gardens as long as we did so before 6:30 when the garden gates close. I saw this myself on the La Bom website. But by the time we reached the gate at 6, the gates were closing. It would be a long walk right around the gardens to get there.

But I had investigated water taxis. Victor did not know about such touristy things as being transported on Sydney Harbour by a water taxi. He lives in a nice Sydney eastern suburb that was once served very well by public transport. It is not so good now, he not even being able to get a bus directly to Circular Quay, so he needs a car. Rather odd really when his local Federal member is so pro public transport and is our Prime Minister. The water taxi service we used was set up to service people like us who were attending La Bom. It left from the Man o' War Steps on the far side of the Opera House. The Harbour was choppy and the boat was a rocking, so it was moved to face another direction where it settled down enough for us to board. It cost us each $10 for perhaps a ten minute trip to the Boy Charlton Pool, close to the venue. Oh, swimmers in the pool, somebody mentioned. As we crossed over the pool on metal walkway, sure enough, a swimmer with a stunning body passed underneath. I was a little ahead and it was pointless in drawing Victor's and R's attention to the swimmer. We walked up a hill using a short flight of steps and there we were. Easy and painless. We collected our tickets and entered and we had about an hour to kill before the performance. We quaffed a drink bought at a cart and mooched around until it was time to take our seats.

Is this tower on its third name? Whatever, it a very visible Sydney building.

The photos aren't very good but give you an idea.

We would certainly stay at the The Travelodge again.

The view from our room. Mark Foys was once a department store and I assume the Griffiths Tea building was the company head office and perhaps factory. Wonderfully repurposed buildings. The hotel we were in was once the site of Dunlop Rubber.

I don't think this pub was always called Hotel Harry.

Boy Charlton Pool, named after a famous Australian swimmer who I know little about.

The stage, representing Montmartre, Paris.

In the background....

While the performance wasn't sold out, some estimations by us thought it could seat a little short of 2000 people. So say with some empty seats, there were at least 1500 in the audience, which is not a bad crowd for a Tuesday night. Weather wise, it could not have been better.

It was a great spectacle and the story was simple to follow, especially with surtitles on four different screens. Man meets woman, fall in love and have a stormy relationship, she dies of consumption and everyone is  grief stricken. It went for two hours plus a long 40 minute intermission and towards the end I was kind of wishing she would die a bit more quickly and also that I had a remote control to turn the baritone down a bit. But really,we did enjoy it. 

Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Luna Park in the background.

It had been transposed to Paris in the 1960s. After intermission these two wrecked cars with one aflame. As Victor promised, at 8.25 there were fireworks. He knew they would happen as he can hear them from his abode.

One very amusing part was when a man in a basket suspended by balloons (and a crane) floated around around from the back of the stage and across the front, to pause where a boy on the street grabbed hold of a dangling rope below the basket and floated off over Sydney Harbour. 

The performers took their bows as we viewed from the path out.

We caught the first water taxi back to Quay rather than the Man 'o War Steps and said our farewells to Victor and back to the hotel by train. We were soon dreaming of Paris but perhaps loving Paris in the springtime rather than winter. Oh yes we, had been performance snowed upon a little during the night when a brief minor wind swirl came along.  It really was quite a spectacle.