Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Wedding

I did not see it all. I arrived home to see the US Gospel choir. It was lovely and they all looked so smart and beautiful.

The US preacher? Why? In 1800s Australia, we used to have such fire and brimstone preachers, but they disappeared. I wonder why? I felt a bit squirmy in embarrassment as I listened to his rantings. People looked bored and distracted.

Mother Markle looked nice and dignified.

It was the first time I have hear The Markle speak. She sounded to have the exact same accent as the American wife in Downton Abbey. It is not unpleasant, but certainly American. Educated American? I don't know about such things. I rather liked her voice and accent.

I am out on a limb here because of lack of knowledge, but I quite liked the cellist, and the string quartet.

Camilla's hat was striking, probably striking everyone within a metre of her.

Base (insert circumlocution thingy later) animal instincts perhaps, but every time I saw Charles on the screen, my eyes dropped well down below his face. Although he is now old, I can see a certain appeal about him. Camilla always has such a self satisfied grin on her face.

Elton John looked so sad, like he had lost a mate. I don't know what to make of that.

David Beckham looked bored. In his finest horrid Cockney accent, he asked, are they not doing the Lambeth Walk? What a hoot that would have been to see.

Marie in London told us it was a three mile driveway to Windsor castle from the gate, and it was fully lined with people. Wow! For even more Windsor colour and knowledge, take a look at Jackie's post from Toronto post about Windsor. It is great.

A glass box for all

Well, former Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle for all his apparent faults and his election funding by the property developer Central Equity, was a member of the Liberal (conservative) Party, and until the bad behaviour came out, he was generally judged to be a good Lord Mayor.

We now have a new Lord Mayor, Sally Capp and I hope she acquits herself well but I fear terribly for our city. Lord Mayor Sally Capp was, until she ran for Lord Mayor, an executive director of the Property Council of Australia. What is that, you wonder? This is a statement on its website.

The Property Council champions the interests of more than 2200 member companies that represent the full spectrum of the industry, including those who invest, own, manage and develop in all sectors of property, creating landmark projects and environments where people live, work, shop and play.
Led by a powerful board and strong executive leadership team, the Property Council’s vision is a thriving industry creating prosperity, jobs and strong communities.

Almost sounds benign, does it not? At least good for society. Let me describe it my words. It is a developers' lobby group. The tear down that historic building and build a highrise glass box wherever we possibly can and make mega profits while we do so, and cover every piece of fertile land on the outskirts of our city with cheap housing. (bad sentence construction, I know)

And she is now Lord Mayor of our city. Be afraid children, very afraid.

Photo from ABC News

S'pose I better say something

I was a bit naughty. I said to R, what if Harry's and Meghan's babies are throwbacks and come out very black? It does happen at times. I have written this before, but I overheard one Indian grandmother talking to another who had the care of some quite dark babies. The other woman said, they are just so beautiful but what a pity they are so black. I think, what fun to have some dark skinned Royals, but then they won't behave any differently to other royals, I guess.

Harry seems like he would be a good and fun dad. I really don't know enough about The Markle to judge her keenness for motherhood, which is a wonder given the saturation coverage we are receiving via our media. She doesn't look so young, so they better get cracking.

Not only do the Royals cost the British taxpayer a lot of money, they cost us here in Australia when they visit. So, they really do have to perform for us to feel like we get value for money. I think the British taxpayer who picks up the tab for the cost of various royals, has a right to know what they are doing, what are their expenses and that they don't waste taxpayer money.

You could do worse than have a look around at all the fun of the fair in Windsor by having a look at Marie's post, full of colour and atmosphere. She begins very disingenuously with, "As some of you might be aware there is a rather large wedding happening this Saturday in London".

I'll get even more serious here. What will Harry wear for his wedding? He is no longer in the army, so surely not army dress uniform. Perhaps smart casual? Unlikely. Will he appear bearded? Whiskery? Clean shaven? Neat and trimmed?

And given the Markle family chaos, who will walk The Markle down the aisle. My nephew's mother in law to be walked her daughter down the aisle. It was quite lovely. I've no idea what The Markle's mother looks like. Is she presentable? Do mother and daughter even like each other? For goodness sake English monarchy, so far it has been a disaster. You need to take control. Later: I have missed the news since early afternoon. R informs that The Markle's future father in law will walk her down the aisle. I suppose that must have happened somewhere before.

Anyway Harry and Meghan, good luck for your marriage. You do have a common mother with your older brother and he seems quite stable. Happy times, and don't take too much notice of Granny Lilibet. She is old and has some very old fashioned views.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The new Bosch

The Bosch is washing the dishes. We normally put the dishwasher on in the morning but just to try it out, we put it on this time after dinner.  Have I ever said we lead exciting lives? A conversation last night led to to crack about about The Bosch during WW1. No problem said I. Thyssenkrupp maintain our lifts well enough. Same same. We move on.

Good Guys, where we bought the machine, uses Airtasker as installers. The third named bloke in emails was the actual installer. I am sure the first name one, Ben, would have been hot. Andrew texted the evening before, I will be there between 12 and 2. I replied with delivery instructions, that is it must be delivered through the garage, park in Queens Lane and call us to come down to open the garage door and escort you. Then I realised he had my phone number and I would be out at doctor's appointment at 12.45. I texted again with R's phone number to call. He arrived a bit early the next day and I was still here.

I will say, he was young and ok looking in drug addict kind of way. I was a bit concerned when I heard he had lived in Kalgoorlie. A little more so when he told us how he dissed a bloke who suggested he should admire his Olivers Hill, Frankston, views.  Nevertheless, he did know what he was doing. Your hole is not big enough, said he. I will drill, and he did, a larger hole in the cupboard side for the electric wire and hoses. Right, I am off to my doctor by tram and R, I will leave you with it.

Once home, Houston, we have problems. The shelf under the sink won't fit and the drain hose is leaking. Ok, it was only a drip or two. It was only forty minutes out of my day to replace this cheap and nasty clip with the following worm drive clamp from the big green shed hardware shop. No more leaks.

So, now to the under sink shelf. It had holes cut in it originally. It had more holes cut into it when we bought the new dishwasher in 2004. Even more holes cut into when we had the kitchen renovated a couple of years ago, and this time we were pretty well cutting holes into holes to accommodate the new dishwasher pipes. The ever reliable jigsaw was called into use, the coarse blade being replaced by the fine blade and we managed to make the under sink shelf look like a piece of flattened Swiss cheese. However, we did a good job and it all fitted together and the efforts of being up and down on the floor umpteen times for a nearly 70 year old man and a 60 year old man was worth it.

One day we will be too old for it all, but not quite yet.

PS The new dishwasher works ok but is very dark inside. White racks are better.

Never the twain should be mixed

R tells me I am talking nonsense, but heavily drummed into me as a youngun was to never drink water or fill the kettle from the hot tap. I think he may have forgotten his childhood. I actually thought the reason was that the hot water system had a copper lining and you would ingest copper from the hot water. It seems it was all about the header tank. Yes, we had one, that filled the header tank of the gravity fed electric hot water system in the roof. My mother still has such a system. Our bathroom renovations, when they eventually happen, will have mixer taps. Our kitchen has a nice mixer tap. Mixer tap or not, I will always fill the kettle with cold water from the cold water swivel.

You may find this video about the English and their separate taps amusing. I remember a couple of English houses we stayed in had pull cords for light switches as it was dangerous to have bathroom wet hands and touch an electrical switch. I also remember one such place did not have a power point in the bathroom, problematic for me with an electric shaver. Given many of you are of a certain age, do you remember or still follow, drinking water does not come from the hot tap?

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Outrage for the week #2

Crooks, cheats, liars and many more adjectives could I come up with, and in Australia if we look at our many large financial institutions, you will see much the same. Carillion in the UK had many and varied fingers in pies. If you are really interested, here is a link with the full story. Here is a snip that tells you what the company actually did, and below that is self explanatory by the headline. Nothing will ever change until board members and directors of such companies are sent to gaol. Fines mean nothing more than a business expense to them. British taxpayers will have to pay the pension contributions that the company did not.

Back home in Queensland, while I doubt he will spend any or much time in gaol, at least this scum was sentenced to imprisonment for stealing from his employees by underpaying them. This is rife in Australia and should be treated the same as an employee stealing from the employer would be.

The company, which managed huge construction projects and provided government services ranging from school meals to prison maintenance and NHS cleaning, slumped into insolvency in January. More than 2,000 people have since been made redundant.

What MPs said about the collapse of Carillion and its board.
  1. “Even as the company very publicly began to unravel, the board was concerned with increasing and protecting generous executive bonuses.”
  2. Finance director Richard Adam “was the architect of Carillion’s aggressive accounting policies and resolutely refused to make adequate contributions to the company’s pension schemes, which he considered a “waste of money”.
  3. “The mystery is not that it collapsed, but that it lasted so long.”
  4. “We have no confidence in our regulators.”
  5. “The perception of Carillion as a healthy and successful company was in no small part due to its directors’ determination to increase the dividend paid each year, come what may.”
  6. “Honouring pension obligations over decades to come was of little interest to a myopic board who thought of little beyond their next market statement.”
  7. “Carillion relied on its suppliers to provide materials, services and support across its contracts, but treated them with contempt.”
  8. “The board was either negligently ignorant of the rotten culture at Carillion or complicit in it.”
  9. Richard Adam’s sale of £776,000 shares “were the actions of a man who knew exactly where the company was heading once it was no longer propped up by his accounting tricks”.
  10. “Carillion could happen again, and soon.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

We've had shocking wind

The wind last week did serious damage to our lush and glorious garden, which consists of a permanent potted plant and an annual potted plant on the balcony. I am not knowledgeable about using the camera's macro setting. I might have taken better photos from a distance and then cropped in the salient bits. Never mind. Perhaps you can see the damage the wind made.

This plant has never been damaged by wind, yet it has been this time if you look closely. No matter really. This winter it will be severely cut back. It was a gift from our Friend in Japan some twenty plus years ago, and we gave it away when we moved here, only to ask for it back.

This is awful. Our lovely cyclamen had its fresh looking flowers standing nicely erect. Now they are all over the place, and the edges of the flowers are all 'burnt'. I am not sure that it will look as good as it did, with time. Yes, nothing worse than bad wind.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

An Outrage

One can only shake one's head in despair when reading a story like this. Drunk and drugged, two women assault two paramedics to the point where two years later one still can't work because of his physical injuries and this is the sentence handed out. The government will be most unhappy as the 'soft on crime' brigade and the opposition party come out braying. From The Age.

Amanda Warren and Caris Underwood, who in 2016 attacked the paramedics in Reservoir after a day-long binge on bourbon, champagne and cannabis, were last year jailed by a magistrate for eight months and four months respectively.
But the pair immediately appealed against their sentences, and on Tuesday County Court judge Barbara Cotterell upheld the challenges and quashed the prison terms.
Warren, a 33-year-old mother of four, and Underwood, 20, had faced mandatory prison time under 2014 laws that required automatic jail time for people who assaulted emergency workers on duty but Judge Cotterell found special circumstances applied to both women.

The ruling brought little comfort to Mr Judd, who became emotional when it became clear the judge wasn’t going to send the women to prison.
Mr Judd, who has been a paramedic for 40 years, is yet to return to work after several bouts of surgery to mend serious foot fractures he suffered when he was repeatedly kicked as he and Ms Bentley were treating a drug-affected man, and Underwood and Warren took exception to being asked to step back.
Judge Cotterell said she felt sympathy for the paramedics, but was bound to consider the appeals on their merits.
‘‘Mr Judd, I wish there was more I could do for you,’’ the judge said after her ruling.
‘‘I can see from looking at your face that you feel a great injustice has been done, but I have to deal with what I have to deal with.’’
Warren and Underwood had done a lot to turn their lives around, Judge Cotterell said, and she had to consider their efforts to address mental-health and substance issues. Earlier, she said the paramedics could draw comfort from the women’s remorse and shame for their offending.
‘‘It’s probably no comfort to you,’’ the judge told Mr Judd, ‘‘but hopefully they can become useful members of the community.’’
Judge Cotterell ordered Warren serve a three-year community corrections order comprising 150 hours of unpaid work and treatment for drug, alcohol and mental-health problems.


Poverty I tell you. We will be living in poverty. Just when we thought we were catching up with finances, this happens.

Ok, it is an innocent enough photo. It is a dish draining tray that came with our sink. Its rubber feet sit on the bench and is sloped so the water from washed dishes drains into the sink. It hasn't been used until today. So what? This is what.

The dishwasher has failed. It will fill and empty but will not wash. The green operational lamp flashes six times and Dr Appliance Google told me it has an F6 fault. The fault details are incomprehensible to me. Dr Appliance Google also told me how to run its diagnostic programme. I didn't know our dishwasher was so posh. So me on the kitchen floor at a rather odd angle had the cupboard door open and while holding down the start button, I turned the power switch on. It began diagnosing with much flashing of lights, but after half an hour of diagnosing, I turned it off. There is no screen where any electronic writing can be displayed anyway. I turned it off and not too much later, I rather regretted being in a physically unusual position on the floor to begin the diagnosis programme. I could feel the sciatica pain shooting down my leg.

R was doing his volunteer work and I was home alone with a non functioning dishwasher. What to do? I thought of giving it a good kicking. If I knew the sweet spot to hit it with a hammer, I would have done so. Instead I waited for R to return and told him we must go shopping for a new dishwasher. The one when we moved into The Highrise failed early in our time here. It would overfill and the third time it overfilled and flowed onto the kitchen floor, after having it repaired twice, we bought this new one in 2004. It failed with a faulty power supply in 2010 and we paid nearly half what we paid for it for a new power supply. It is 14 years old. It looks so grubby. We have tried to clean the dirty bits on the face with a toothbrush, but to no avail. 

So, off to the Good Guys in Brighton for a new one. I rather like Good Guys over Harvey Norman. We wanted white, not stainless steel and our choices were limited. We chose a Bosch. I thought to ask, is that your best price but I really hate doing that kind of thing. R had gone into shock over the failed dishwasher and did not even think to ask for a better price. R is at times good in such situations, but maybe having been doing his volunteer job in the morning and being given the gift of five bananas by a doting client, and some chocolates by another, had done his head in.  Then he said, what about delivery on Wednesday. Ok, I thought. He must be busy Tuesday. Later he wondered why he did not say Tuesday. That is one extra night of washing dishes by hand. Awful. We will have to argue about who will wash and who will dry. I fill the sink after a rinse of the dishes and wash. He washes them under running water. We are only compatible up to a point. 

What joy at the payment register. The price for the dishwasher was considerably less than the sticker price, over $100 less. We paid $169 extra for delivery, installation, removal and ethical disposal of the old unit. Crawling around in cupboards to connect pipes and wires is part of my history, but no longer part of my life.  

We've always had a dishwasher, since 1980. We must be on our seventh. Anyone who says you are two people, why not wash by hand, well you can just get rooted. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

What an outrage

The Federal Liberal Party conservative government is pushing for a huge cut to company tax, down to 25%. Given how few hugely profitable companies seem to pay any tax at all, this is perhaps a moot point.

The Federal Liberal conservative government has already budgeted for personal income tax cuts. Let Tim Colebatch, a long time respected economics writer at The Age newspaper, spell it out. A cleaner on $30,000 a year will get an annual tax cut of $200. (I dispute that figure of $30,000 per annum for a cleaner, unless they are casual, part time or contract. A full time wage for a cleaner would be over $40,000)

A nurse on about $80,000 per year will get a tax cut of $540 per year. I am not a nurse  but the tax cut is close to what I would get, and I shall spend the extra on martinis, Sobrannies and a little Mary Jane. Yipee.

But get this, a solicitor on $200,000 per annum, will get a tax cut of over $7,000. How can any person with any kind of conscience think this is right?

Yes, there is a little detail missing, but as always, it is all about perception.

In other Federal budget matters, pensioners can now get 1.5 times their pension in a government loan scheme where the government takes a mortgage over their house. Please don't tell Mother.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Middle Park

These photos were taken a while ago when R and myself went to Sandbar at Middle Park Beach for brunch. Housing Commission flats for the poor in a prime location with open sea views. You may have a chance at getting one if you are poor and have lived in the area for about fifty years. The old convent wall has been kept.

Nice day at Sandbar, yes, and a delicious brunch.

Station Pier, with a cruise ship but sans The Spirit of Tasmania. It's scheduling has changed rather a lot and I no longer know its sailing times.

Once a toilet block, once  a gay beat, once the site of a gay murder, once a restaurant, now a  hairdressing salon wellness and beauty salon.

I remember Hels telling me this was a former Coffee Palace. Now the Victoria Hotel has become apartments, I believe.

The Kerferd Road pier became unsafe after storm damage. Another pier in St Kilda suffered similar damage a number of years ago, and it was demolished. Parks Victoria is responsible. Don't let Parks Victoria demolish this pier and it needs to be repaired promptly.

Just buildings, a mix of the old and new. They all have sea views and unlike some places, there is no growing pesky native vegetation blocking their views.

The Convent of the Good Shepherd  (we used to call them nunneries) closed in 1973 but some of the buildings remain.