Saturday, July 07, 2018

Stirring with a manual gear shift

I am old enough to know how to double de clutch while changing gears when driving a truck like vehicle. But I have never owned a manual geared car. I think they are stupid and even now buses and concrete mixer trucks have fully automatic gears. There was a weird period where pre selector gears were used, which I never understood.

In England 2008 R's ex brother in law hired a car for us with automatic gears, as he knew that is what Australians drive. There was no need. R once had a manual VW Beetle and we both know how to drive manual gear change cars.

My father and uncle used to call Mother's father lazy for buying automatic cars in the 60s and 70s, well two of them. The second car he bought was a manual, but he returned to the showroom to change it to an automatic, and he used to drive an old truck with manual gears to the market. I bought the car from my grandmother after my grandfather died.

The passionate gear changers have fallen though. A few years ago Bone Doctor replaced her 4WD with another, this time an automatic. Sister was passionately anti automatic gears, but the car she bought this year is an automatic.

Now Daniel Bowen has bought an automatic. I remember commenting to him years ago that the manual gear change car he had just bought might not be so easy to sell when he wanted the next new car. Cars of the age he just traded in are almost worthless, so it was a moot point.

I think driving a manual car is rather like whisking egg whites for a meringue manually or with an electric whisk. There is a lot of stirring with your hand, along with so much wearing out of your left foot with all that clutch activity.

I can't think of any usual blog mate in the UK, surely not you Marie, or the US who would drive a manual car. Surely not Gattina? Maybe Gosia? Walt and Ken in France, I think their newest car is automatic, if not their old one.  I can only think of one person last standing who probably does drive a manual. Take a bow, Cro.

A Jump to the Left

I think I have referenced sex in every post this week. For someone who no longer does it, I do an awful lot of talking about it.

Before actor Craig McLachlan became 'victim' to the 'Me Too' campaign in Australia (read nothing into that about my opinion), he was playing Frank N Furter in the Australian production of The Rocky Horror Show.

Sister booked well in advance for herself and Bone Doctor and bought tickets for good seats quite cheaply. Now that Craig McLachlan is not in the show, Sister doesn't want to go. R was asked if he would like the ticket to see Rocky Horror and accompany Bone Doctor, and he said yes. The accomplished Todd McKenney is performing as Frank N Furter. The wonderful Shane Jacobson is the narrator.

Now R is having second thoughts. How can I convince him he will enjoy the show. Let me just check who is playing Rocky. Bingo, R likes him muchly. Check out Brendan Irving here. You'll like him, I said to R. He is kind of a blonde ranga redhead. I not fond of such muscle types, but his looks are nice enough and one could always just metaphorically lie back and think of England.

And then a jump to right, with a pelvic thrust..

Friday, July 06, 2018

To town

We waited and waited for the stationary trams to clear. I think about fifty minutes later, they did eventually move, but not up Swanston Street where we wanted to be, but via William Street, very slowly. Instead of being a fifteen minute trip, it took over half an hour. We hopped off the tram and onto a following bus at Flinders Street which quickly moved along Flinders and then Queen Street. We caught the a tram down to Bourke Street Mall. Knowledge of your public transport system is never an effort gone to waste.

This photo I think by Matt Jowett.

Oh a minor fire on the roof of a tram at the Arts Centre. I will guess that the power was cut to St Kilda Road trams, and after a long time restored in part so trams could run via the alternative route. The disruption lasted hours. How can this be for a small fire on a tram? The fire is put out by the fire brigade, the tram is towed away. The overhead wires are checked for any damage. Maximum, one hour, but it was hours of delays and diversions. No, sooner than that happened but again Swanston Street tram services were shut down because of a public demonstration.

R bought his Jag jeans that he wanted, 60% off the second pair at Myer. We had coffee and shared a sausage roll at Soul Cafe. No sign of any tram in Swanston Street yet. We walked not far to Bourke and not a sign of tram on that street. Bourke Street tram service is crap. R wanted some parsley for our evening dinner, so we went to the Woolworths Metro shop, and then continued on to Collins Street, and quickly caught a tram down to William Street and a tram home. What a disaster. Yarra Trams, I know you can't do anything about public demonstrations, but the delay in St Kilda Road for the tram fire was absurd. Like hours! Why was that so? And why did Yarra Trams phrase it in announcements as an emergency services request, and not, due to a fire one of our trams. Please, people would have understood the seriousness of a tram fire and being much more accepting of the delay, rather than an emergency service request.

It is an inherent problem with trams. If one stops, then the tram route stops. Buses can get around a broken down bus. But we Melburnians like our trams, the biggest tram system in the world, according to the ABC tv show Think Tank. It rather depends how it is measured. But double track to all destinations, it is the largest. But we had alternatives. We could have caught a Queen Street bus to a stop not too far away from home or the train to South Yarra train station and a tram home.

While we are not rich, we certainly live in a very inner area well served by public transport. We could have just walked to town, thirty minutes to Bourke Street, but we are getting a bit old to do what we used to do often enough, just walk.

The Bosenbergs

Of my maternal grandmother's twelve siblings, Ruby was the wild one and had a son out of wedlock. I think she was sent to the north west of Victoria to have her son and there she stayed. For a moment or two, I thought I had German blood, until I thought it through. Ruby went on to marry a chap with the family name of Bosenberg.

One of those genealogy sites sends me some information about family and recently sent a teaser about Fred Bosenberg, and if you want to know more, give us your first born child or whole estate. The email stated when and where he was born, when and where he died.

He was born in Bethany, South Australia. I am betting that Bethany is in the Barossa Valley and he was the son of a German immigrant (His mother also had a German name). While I don't really know about the latter, Bethany is certainly in the Barossa Valley. His parents might have been quite early German immigrants to the Barossa.

The grand daughter of  Ruby and Fred Bosenberg is of course Mother's cousin, Fred moved to to north western Victoria where Mother's cousin still live. She has been a lifelong  but long distance friend of Mother's. They used to meet at times, and have always exchanged Christmas and birthday cards, along with about every six months, long newsy letters.

I talked about this family stuff to Mother last weekend. She remembers from what she was told, that Fred Bosenberg was a cruel man, and his son was too, the father of Mother's cousin. My grandmother was never let out of the house when she was young to socialise, lest she go the way of her sister Ruby, who went on to have another child out of wedlock before she married Fred. I can't work this out now, but Mother's cousin discovered she had a Bosenberg half brother who was working in a factory in Dandenong. He has since died.

Damn shame really about the German thing. I would like to add more to my gene pool than English, Scottish, Swiss/Italian, Jewish, French and Danish genes. Confused about Swiss/Italian? There is a canton in southern Switzerland called Ticino where many Italians live, and where some of my paternal grandmother's family came from, settling in Waratah and later expanding to Launceston, in the Australian island state of Tasmania. Skeletons in closets, and all that.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Moths flying out of my wallet

It goes like this. In 1981 I kicked R out of my bed, which was actually his bed. It is still brought up during arguments. I didn't actually do that, but R will tell you I did. We have never slept together since, which suits us both fine. We meet on a 'needs basis' in one bed or the other, well we used to.

One bonus was that I inherited his queen sized goose down doona. What a fine doona it was. But let me confess, although I am scrupulously clean in many areas, I am a dirty bitch with my bedding. I change my sheets and pillowcases about every three weeks or more. I don't have spares, so they are washed and dried in the clothes dryer on the same day.

My doona cover is only washed two or three times a year. I don't use the doona for nearly six months of the year, just a doubled over sheet. As I have said in the past, I am hot in bed but a dirty housewife.

2018 minus 1981 equals my doona being 37 years old, plus it was not new, so let's say 40 years old. Sadly both the stitching and fabric have began to rot, meaning a release of goose down feathers. It is time to bite the bullet and buy a new doona and replace this kind of brown doona, infused with my sweat over many year. I did once consider having it cleaned, but it looked so bad, I would embarrassed to be seen with it.

I looked at new doonas in Big W and they were cheap enough at around $35 but they were all rated warm. I wanted a cool doona.

We were shopping in South Melbourne and I talked R into going up to the next level above the supermarket, to Spotlight. I remember Spotlight of old as just having bolts of fabric. It has reinvented itself and I loved visiting the store. There were all sorts of interesting things, including a huge range of doonas.

It took some time but I eventually found a lightweight doona, a loft doona. Is a loft the same as an attic? Will I feel like I am living in a New York City loft?

It cost a good bit more than the $35 ones in Big W,  just short of $100. But given I never paid for the last one and it lasted 40 years, should I worry? But damnation, it has sat in my wardrobe for weeks and about 10 days after I bought it, I saw on the big electronic sign above Young and Jacksons Hotel in town, 20% off everything at Spotlight. That would have made it $80.

I finally washed my doona cover and put on the new doona. It has made my bed look much neater, so nice and flat and not lumpy old feathers. As I write this, I have spent one night with it and it is brilliant. It is extra good that my bed looks so neat as tomorrow I will have tradies traipsing through my bedroom into my ensuite and who would not want not a bed to not look neat when the tradie fantasies kick in.

The zipper bag is now storing my underwear and socks as I moved them from my drawers so that I could put everything in by bathroom cupboards into my jocks and socks drawers for the tradies to have free reign. R has done the same in his bathroom and the laundry cupboard, and we need to do under the kitchen sink in the morning before the tradies arrive.

Early start tomorrow. Must be up early and looking attractive for tradies. Should I use powder or liquid makeup? Must be time for me to head to my loft and snuggle down.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Sex and Politics

A friend told me about his observations. I am just repeating and rephrasing them. Believe that if you will.

The world of gay pron abounds with white men being submissive to black men. The rougher and more abusive the black thug is, the better the white man seems to like it. There is also plenty of gay pron with white men being used and abused by Latino thugs. It is less common with Asian men, but still some gay white men like to be dominated by Asian guys.

'Tis all a queer thing. And then they are white guys whose preference is dominate the above, especially Asian races but others too.

I remember my young friend who moved to Sydney in the late nineties loved to be dominated by Asian guys. He was nice looking with a great body and could pretty well pick up whoever he liked. He was flown to Texas to meet an Asian guy (oil money) with an interest in guns and I assume they got it on together.  Not much later, he flew to Israel to 'serve' a guy serving in the army. He sent me photos of both the Texan and the Israeli, and both were hot looking. Yes, I still have the photos, filed away.

What is this about? The submissive white man who once lorded it over the blacks, the Latins and the Asians?

I reckon my friend back then was a slut and was shagging men like there was no tomorrow, rather like this woman, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. Senator Hanson-Young is not my favourite Greens member, but by golly, has she been treated badly on the floor of the parliament. How dare Senator David Leyonhjelm speak to her like that, a decent and bit too caring person about economic refugees like Senator Hanson-Young, both inside and outside of Parliament. I think she may have now said he is creepy, and he is.

Tosser and fool Senator David Leyonhjelm has now spoken about SHY outside Parliament. Did I hear she has a partner now who is a hot shot lawyer and DL is about to be sued? Good on her. But anyway so fucking what if it is true that she likes a bit of dick. Some of us do, or did. How can that possibly be the business of Parliament? C'mon Sarah. Do a Barnaby and tell all. There must me $350,000 at least  on the table to tell all. You should never have knocked back DL, creepy as he is.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Paris not Texas but a Texan connection

Walt has recently been in the wonderful city of Paris with friends and has been out and about in the city of  Paris. He and his friends took a boat cruise along the Seine, surely a thing everyone should do when they visit Paris. Here is a link to Walt's Paris posts and I have enjoyed seeing Paris through his eyes immensely. The most recent post will be at the top.

We took a lunch cruise when we visited Paris and it was absolutely wonderful, the sights, the food, the wine, and the company as we lunched with two woman travellers, both from Texas, one a born and bred Texan, and the other Scottish. I think they were just friends, and if they were more than friends, they gave nothing away. I can't remember their names now, but one of them I think was called Lorna. I always take notes when I am on holidays, where I expected to find there names, but I cannot find notes for this holiday. We had stayed a few days in Singapore, and a few in London and the Paris visit was by boat train Eurostar the day after we arrived in London. A few days later we headed north to R's home city by train.

We boarded the boat on the Seine and were seated at our table. R went off to the toilet, so it was just the three of us. The official photographer came along and I reacted badly. I do not know these women, and no, I don't want my photo taken with them. You know, it was a wonderful day but a hard start being up at 5.30, coach from Lancaster Gate to St Pancras Station, Eurostar to Paris, using euros for the first time. Instead of Eiffel Tower first then lunch cruise, things were reversed. I am in a strange city and I don't know what I am doing. I did not react well.

You guess which one was Texan born and which one Scottish? The Scottish woman had lived and worked in Australia too. That is my hand on one's shoulder and R was with the other woman in the photos taken by the waiter, and I have cropped us out of the photos, but they are ok photos of us too.

The elegantly presented food began to arrive after the aperitifs, then the wine flowed. Dessert followed with liqueurs and coffee. We had an absolute ball with these two women. The Scot remained Scottish with her sense of humour, which was great, but the Texan born broke down any stereotypical views I had of Americans. She did have a sense of irony and humour that might come from the bitchiest gay queen. It is not unreasonable to suggest that we were well and truly four sheets to the wind by the end of the cruise (dear Gosia, you will have to google four sheets to the wind). 

Then we had to climb the Eiffel Tower, full of fine food and drinks. Fortunately we had queue bypass tickets and there was a lift. I was using my first digital camera and most of my photos of Paris were taken from from the coach. I did take some ok photos from the Eiffel Tower. I will show you the best of in the next Paris post. 

So in no special order, RO, Sandra, Strayer, Dora, The Padre, all live in the US. Maybe you know these lasses? Walt and Ken in France have family in the US. Maybe one of their family members will know them. (It is awful to explain jokes, but I know someone will take this seriously. Often when travelling, someone will say to an Australian something like, ah, my brother lives in Melbourne. Perhaps you know him? In a city of nearly 5 million people, it is unlikely)

Seriously, stranger things happen in this world than I would connect with these two women via this post.

At the end of wonderful Seine cruise, one of the women suggested we keep in touch via email. I metaphorically said luv, I said pet, I said luv. It is like two gay men exchanging phone numbers to keep in touch. Swap numbers, you will never hear from him again. One gives the phone number, and the onus is on the other to call. Call me! We had nothing in common with these women, but who knows what might happen if you give things a chance. I really regret not getting theirs, or giving them our email address. While unlikely, it may have been the beginning of a long term friendship.

It is really weird, like earlier this year when I remembered the lovely Jacqueline dying exactly one year after she  she died, it is exactly ten years ago since we were in Paris. I began this post as soon as Walt started posting Paris photos but it only occured to me to do some work on it now, which meant finding the right dvd with the photos, and I realised the ten year thing. After looking at photos, I've remembered how beautiful is Paris. No city in the world that I have seen even comes close. Just don't walk on the grass in parks. It is vorboten interdit. 

Monday, July 02, 2018

Monday Mural

I came across this mural in East Melbourne on the side of a fire station. I think I may have posted a photo of it years ago, but it is a good mural, so worth revisiting. While researching I came across this blog, Melbourne Fresh Daily. I see some people who are very well known to me were readers of this blog which was ended just before Christmas last year, with a rather sad final post. I am puzzled as to why I never discovered the site. Nick is a terrific photographer, and I guess has rather expensive cameras. But his research is very good too. I need some time to go back through his blog. Perhaps I should have sick day from work. Here is a direct link to the post and it seems it is a mosaic, rather than a mural.

Sami does a Monday Mural link thingie when she posts a mural. So go to Sami's Colourful World to see more murals.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Tip and a link

The renovation of the external area of Flinders Street Station is near completion. New lighting has been installed to illuminate the building. Rather that total flood lighting, some brilliant tailored lighting has been installed and I think it was switched on last week. I noticed it one night last week and let me tell you, the station looks stunning, right from Elizabeth Street back to Swanston Street. With our short winter days, you can probably see the station lit by 5pm.

Here is a Getty Images photo of the station before it was repainted and the new lighting installed. I can't wait for a good photographer to take a photo of the new lighting.

I don't know where I came across this blog but no matter. Strange Abandoned Places is wonderful.

An abandoned Sydney tram depot featured a while ago. Today's post was the vice ridden walled city of Kowloon, HK.

Here is a little sample from the English graveyard for old no longer needed red phone boxes.

Solar panels and batteries

A couple of weeks ago we dined with our Late Friend's partner and his brother and sister in law, and our Hair Dresser Friend, and two other friends at a hotel. It was a lovely catch up, but we were all missing our friend/partner/relative. The Black Widow from Fiji showed us an app on his phone. He and our Late Friend bought a new home together in Caulfield. They quickly added lots of solar panels and never paid much for electricity and often received credits.

Some dirty old coal fired power stations have been shut down in Australia. Not a bad thing in my opinion. A smarter system will take over. But our Late Friend had been spooked by tabloid newspaper warnings of blackouts, rather like some Americans bought up big on tinned food and water when Obama was elected. The end is nigh.

Unwell as he was and from his hospital bed, he bought a $10,000 home battery. The Black Widow didn't think it was a good idea but did not stop it, and so, the day after our Late Friend's funeral, the battery was installed.

The Black Widow showed us an app on his phone. It monitors the system and was really interesting. The solar panels generate electricity and now charge the battery. Once the battery is fully charged, the system switches over to putting power into the public private grid, which gives a modest power credit for future use. We looked at the app, and it showed 0.1%. Then it changed to - 1.5%, which meant the battery was flat and his home was now drawing power from the grid. It had been a cold and overcast midwinter day and he had been home all day with the air con heating on.

The system will be brilliant in warmer weather, with aside from feeding into the grid, there will not be any drawing of power. The battery will fully charge during the day and partly discharge in the evening.

Still, I am not sure that I agree with this widespread decentralisation of the generation of electricity, especially in Australia where there is plenty of sun and wind that could be harnessed by power companies, if only the government would cut loose from its love of coal (big local and overseas business profits).