Saturday, May 12, 2018

Sunarise, bring in the mornin'

Three photos taken 07:38 on the 14th of April. Was I playing with camera settings or did the sunrise change so much in one minute? I don't know. I checked the details and two had exposure times of 1/60th and one 1/50th of a second. Everything else was the same. The time on my camera is unreliable, so it may have been 06:38, which sounds more like April sunrise. T'was a rather gorgeous sunrise.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Utter Disgrace by Yarra Trams

My work this week is unusual for me in so far as I finish at around 4pm. I am a bit lost for a couple of hours until it is time to sit and watch the commercial tv news at 6pm with a glass of the highest quality chateau cardboard.

Pondering the goings on from the balcony I noticed a lot of people waiting for the route 58 tram to Toorak, a crowd even. I got busy with the live tram time app. Two 58 trams are due in 1 minute and a third 58 in 5 minutes. Did you know when times are given on apps for public transport, if they are in minutes they are live. If they are are in hours and minutes, they are scheduled and not live.

The two trams due in one minute arrived. The first was a large tram, the second a smaller one. The traffic light for the tram came up but people were still squeezing onto the tram, ignoring a much less crowded tram behind. The traffic light came up again, but someone was standing on the step preventing the the door from closing, so the tram could not go. Doors closed and all ready to go and the tram signal traffic light did not come up. It came up at the next opportunity. The tram, remembering this is a route with something like a tram every four minutes, had sat there for five minutes.

More tram app play, the next tram due at Toorak terminus is not four minutes away as it should be, it was 21 minutes away. I got in touch with my tram expert, letting him know about the situation. He said the second tram will turn back before reaching the terminus, thus providing a service back to towards the city, and the first really late tram will go to the terminus but will do something similar on way back to West Coburg. He knows his trams but none of the above happened. At 6.30pm, it was a twenty minute wait for a tram at Chapel Street and Toorak Road, when I would expect it to be about five to eight minutes. It got worse.

Just before I sat down to the ABC news at 7pm, the next route 58 due at Franklin and William Streets in the city on its way to West Coburg, was 27 minutes away. This is the tram that was running so late earlier. What terrible management of our tram system by Yarra Trams. Absolute disgrace, and yes, I write this with much self interest as I am a frequent user of our tram system and I would be furious about waiting 27 minutes in the evening peak for a tram.

I really did not think things were as bad as this with our tram system.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Snow on 'dem der hills

Seems winter has arrived in Victoria. This time last year we were cruising the Mediterranean after visiting Dubai, Lisbon, Porto and Barcelona. We felt terribly cold during our winter last year. Maybe as we are acclimatised this year, it won't be so bad. So far, so good.

Politicians from the west

A Western Australian member of our Federal Parliament has resigned. It does not matter which party he represented, enough to to say that flying back and forth to Canberaa was killing him and he was not spending enough time with his wife and two young children.

I hate airports and flying. I can't imagine having to do it on a regular basis, such as Western Australian politicians have to. Just a guess but I think it would be about a four hour flight from Perth to Canberra. Given the lead in and lead out times for flights, it is pretty well a whole day gone in travel. How many times do they have to do this each year? Never mind that some of the members have electorates are so large, they have to fly around to get to places within their electoral boundaries.

I expect they do receive some extra benefits beyond the cost of probably travel at the pointy end of the plane, and who would deny them that. Whatever you think of our Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, you have to admire for her commitment to Parliament and all that travelling, both all over the world and just back and forth from her Perth, Western Australia home, never mind looking stylish and smart at every step. The new Governor (Her Majesty's representative in the state) of Western Australia, Kim Beasley was a politician and did the hard yards of travel. No doubt many others have.

The esteemed Prime Minister during WWII, John Curtin, travelled back and forth across the Nullarbor to and from Perth frequently by train throughout his parliamentary career. This journey now takes over three days, although it may well have been quicker in days of old. Now that is commitment to your country. I found this link to Curtin and his train travel interesting.

So while we are fond of expressing our often very deserved criticism of politicians, it ain't always all beer and skittles for them all.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

A worker's shelter and a camera contest

I only just heard about this old and modest building. While it was moved to its present location in Yarra Park, I believe it is original. You may have heard of hansom cabs, which operated in a similar manner to our present motor car taxis. They were pulled by a horse with a driver in control of the horse and the customer rode inside the carriage. Maybe you have read the rather good book set in Melbourne called The Mystery of a Hansom Cab, or seen the awfully disappointing  tv show of the same name. I remember Jayne has read it. Here is a picture of a nice looking London hansom cab.

I assume the fare was an agreed price before the journey began, or maybe based on time. This is a hansom cab driver's shelter, a place where they could rest. It later days it had a telephone connection within.

Now, I am not telling you which photos were taken with what, that is my phone, or my camera. Which do you prefer and which do you think was taken with which? They were both taken on auto and not zoomed. I won't really know how they will appear until posted but they are quite different in the original. Both the camera and the phone can improve and enhance the photos.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Decentralise or bust

A snip from The Age.

“I’ve done it",  says Katherine Cape. "I don’t know why everyone else doesn’t”
Moving to Ballarat from inner-city Yarraville in 2010 has been a positive change for the 58-year-old.
Ms Cape loves living in regional Victoria, citing her short journey to her local job as one of the best things, along with easy access to the surrounding countryside and being embraced by the Ballarat community.
“Ballarat is beautiful both architecturally and scenically,” she says.
It sounds good and for many, Ms Cape included, it works out well, but the statistics show that relocating to a regional city is a far less attractive proposition than moving to one of Melbourne' far-flung outer suburbs.
In fact, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one municipality on Melbourne's urban fringe has attracted more new residents than our three major regional cities combined.

It is often suggested that de-centralisation is the solution to our two overcrowded and massively growing major cities, Sydney and Melbourne. On the face of it, it sounds good, that is expand the populations in bigger regional cities, and reduce the obscene growth in the major cities that takes over wildlife land, productive farms and causes the construction of massively tall accommodation buildings within our inner city, and an inappropriate increase in density of people in the inner and middle suburbs. The great middle class of the leafy eastern Melbourne suburbs have fought a losing battle against the destruction of what they know and love, and these are people of influence. Yeah Fen, you are included.

For Melbourne and Sydney, a greater population simply means more cars on the roads and overcrowded public transport, along with not being able to get a public barbeque in a park on a Sunday until 2pm, which has been caused simply by the numbers of people in our cities being increased without thought to how to cater for the numbers.

So now, what if we slow the population growth in our two big cities by encouraging those who are growing our population to go to large regional cities? Cash incentives? Housing incentives? Tax breaks? A condition of immigration?

I say no because I know full well what our governments will do. They will promote decentralisation, offer incentives and the population will grow in the regional cities.

But what they won't do is the same as they don't do in outer Melbourne, make plans. They will rezone land, take the profits from the developments and at some point step in and haphazardly patch up the services to these areas, usually unsatisfactorily. Governments will do exactly the same with the expansion of our regional cities as they haven't done with our big capital cities.

They will leave it all up to the developers, with only token compulsory rules about public space.

If decentralisation is to happen, it needs to be planned. A non vested interest government body needs to plan, for public transport, perhaps buses running along empty streets without housing, so that new residents don't feel a need for a car for each family member. If there is need for transport in these regional cities to the big cities, make if frequent, fast and reliable and if the need will be great enough, rail transport and get it in there before the development happens, not after. Providing car parking at local train stations seems to cost more that running lightly loaded bus services that can get people to train stations. Schools, hospitals, shops and community space need to be there first.

What I am saying is that property developers are running rampant over Australian society, and the government needs to take control.

While driving to Mother's last week, I could see the new housing development on what was a former horse racing course. I was appalled to see what was being built there, that is umpteen cramped boxes all looking the same and unbelievably crammed together.

The world is full of old white blokes in control and offering their opinions. While I am not among the those in control, I am still an old white dude with an opinion, and population growth without services in advance is out of control, and that is what will happen in regional cities.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Sunday Selections

Joining in with River, Elephant's Child and others for Sunday Selections. All very random this week.

I expect the solar panels are worth more than the vehicle they sit upon. But I have noticed some people do like these older recreational vehicles for the simplicity and reliability.

Found in my phone last week. I don't know the name of the bridge but I know where it is and what it crosses. Any ideas?

In Mother's local shopping centre.

On the way home from our Sunday drive last week, we stopped off at a plant nursery and bought a potted cyclamen for the balcony. The nursery was very nice and such a lot on offer compared to the hit or miss big green tin hardware shed plant offerings. The nursery had a few budgies in large cages, mixed in with cockatiels. There were young birds and so kept seperate.

Action shot.

This reminds you of?

If you are of a certain age, probably this.

A bit different, I suppose.

They may be nice enough inside, but they are disgusting on the outside. Talk about utilitarian.

Firefighting Nephew loves this building and as well seaside house, would like an apartment in this building, that is the tall skinny blue framed one.

The Forum is undergoing restoration in a deal that will see entrepreneur David Marriner get approval for a highrise block in behind.

A recent discussion had us wondering if Traveller's Aid still operated. It does, at Flinders Street Station and Spencer Street Station.

Well, here is a new balcony sighting which I need to mention. Magpie, mudlark, two corella species, rainbow lorikeets, sulphur crested cockatoos, butcher bird, sparrows, Indian mynas, ravens, and probably some I have forgotten have made an appearance on our balcony. To this I can now add a currawong.