Saturday, July 14, 2018

A friend at sea

Brighton Antique Dealer is on a three month world sea cruise. She is nearly the same age as Mother, 83, but they are very different. To my surprise, I received a Whatsapp message from BAD. The thought of receiving a Whatsapp message from Mother does my head in. BAD was in Oman and could not find any boys to kiss, which is her ongoing joke, as he only goes anywhere to kiss the boys, mostly gay boys. Not long later she was in Petra. I so wanted to reply to her, well your first husband was an Arab, are you looking for a third husband, another Arab? I will wait until I see her face to face to ask her about that, as a joke of course.

Well after she left from Sydney on the Sea Princess, I have finally looked at her itinerary and the ship bridge webcam. As I type, 21.13 11/07, she is in Dubrovnik. I didn't imagine that she would visit the place yesterday that R and myself remember as being such a surprise where we had just a magical day last year, Kotor in Montenegro.

I am now stalking BAD via the bridge webcam and her itinerary. Hr next stop is Ravenna, Italy.  Ahh, Bologna. You would never guess it to speak to her or see her, but BAD is Italian born and came to Australia at a very young age. For some time she led a bohemian lifestyle. She has done well in life, but sadly to me, she is quite religious and a conservative (Liberal Party) voter. As other's overlook my faults, I can overlook theirs. How she equates her strong Catholic religion with all her gay male friends and her dyke daughter, I am not quite sure. I don't spend much time thinking about the most puzzling thing, religion.

She departed from Sydney and so far she has visited, Brisbane/Australia, Komodo Island/Indonesia, Singapore, Colombo/Sri Lanka, Muscat/Oman, Dubai/UAE, Aqaba/Jordan, Cephalonia/Greece, Corfu/Greece, Kotor/Montenegro, Dubrovnik/Croatia, Ravenna/Italy, and now as I finish this post, she is in Venice.

Her travelling companion is a lady younger than herself who is closely related to a late former Lord Mayor of Melbourne who may have owned a hotel with his name in the hotel name.

Catch a train to Pudong

Note the final sentence below. Unlike in Australia, Canada and England, you don't get slogged an usurious fare when you catch a train to the airport. It is actually cheaper if you travel by train to catch a plane. That is a great incentive to get people to use the train rather clogging up roads.

The Shanghai Maglev was opened for public use in 2004. It runs between Pudong Airport and Longyang Road subway station (east of Shanghai). Maximum service speed is 431 km/h, however this speed is normally only reached between 09:00 – 10:45 and 15:00 – 16:45; at other times it runs at a maximum speed of 300 km/h. The line is a demonstration line, and does not really run anywhere particularly useful (unless you happen to live near Longyang Road subway station). There are no intermediate stops, and the 30km route roughly parallels part of the number 2 subway line. Services run every 15 to 20 minutes between 06:45 and 21:30 and the 7 to 9 minute journey costs ¥50 (about A$10), or ¥40 (about A$8) if you have an airline ticket for that day.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Feelgood Friday

Perth Scotland or Perth Western Australia? WA has it. While not everyone sings, you can't help but think people arrived at work in very happy moods.

The north south railway line in Perth is brilliant and we travelled on it when we visited Perth a couple of years ago, and that is the railway line used in this clip. Grace? Sami? City bound from Butler or Mandurah? Yes, still in Australia but nearly five hours flying time away from us. Said to be the largest most isolated city in the world as its next biggest city is five hours flying time away, which would be Melbourne or Sydney. We loved our visit to Perth and isn't this more to love about Perth. My only criticism is that it is very 'white' for a large Australian city, but I think that is changing as the city grows.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Spam in many forms

For some reason my post of when I visited the estate of Ripponlea Part 2 has become very interesting to spammers. It was one of my better posts. I have slammed over one hundred spam posts into the bin and they won't be seen. Yesterday I just shut down comments on the post, which has stopped them.

But here is a different sort of spam. I am not sure why I bothered to reply to such an email, but I did. Here is the text of the email and my response.

Hi Andrew

I was browsing through the internet and I came across your blog

I read most of your articles and I must say, I really like your photos and content. You have a powerful blog.

That's why I wanted to reach out to you. 

As an amateur, I started a website about horse training and horse breeds.

I was wondering if you don't mind, could you add my website to your blog list on your homepage?

Maybe some of your readers might be interested in my website, too

If you'd rather not, I understand. It's your choice.

Here is my website

Hello Katelyn. 

You have read most of my thousands of blog posts, like seven and a half thousand,  and not picked up that I don't really like horses? They are flighty, unpredictable and at times nasty beasts, and wild horses in my country are a pest species.  But having said that, like for all animals, I never would like to see them harmed or mistreated.

You could of course build your blog readership in the normal manner of reading blogs and commenting on blogs. I have no intention of adding anyone who I have not built a blog relationship with unless it is a site of great interest to me or displays photos I like to see. Ipso facto, there had to be something in it for me.


It was quite stupid of me to respond, but no matter. I gave her a good telling orf. Well, I told off the bot that generated the email.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Flushings

I complained to R that I was not happy with my new toilet flushing system. Having said that, let me assure you in the most delicate manner that the full flush is excellent and a second flush is not necessary. Our toilets flush very differently to US and Japanese toilets, as previously discussed.

It will take time for me to get used to the different flush of our new toilets. I told R I wanted to take the cistern lid off but it wouldn't come off very easily. He told me, it is a brand new toilet. Stop being a control freak. You don't have to know how it works.

When we were installing the toilet roll holder, R remarked the new toilet was a bit strange in that the half flush was on the right and the full flush on the left. No no, I said, you are wrong. The half flush is on the left, as normal. It is not. It is so. It is not. It is so. We can be very mature at times.

I looked at my new toilet and R's new toilet and the half flush buttons were on opposite sides. I was hit with a moment of clarity. My issues with my new toilet were explained. I then timed them. My half flush went for four seconds, my full flush for two seconds. My half flush button was giving full flush and the half flush, a full flush.

It is quite true that the half flush should be on the left and the full flush on the right, but that is not so with these toilets. It won't worry me about the wrong flush for the buttons, I said to R, but then it niggled at me. However, given I just couldn't lift the cistern cover off, (where do you put the blue water colouring thing?) I need to search online.

Youtube to the rescue.

Because each button had a different width tube to depress the mechanism, it was not as simple as just swapping buttons. I had to undo the plastic screw after removing the buttons and turn the holder 180% and then insert the buttons on their stems. Suddenly my toilet flushing problems were gone and our toilets matched.

It is still unusual that the half flush is on the right, and the plumber should not have made the mistake that he made by placing mine on the left, but I expect his instinct for half flushing button to be on the left came to the fore, and to fix it myself as against getting the plumber back to do so was a no brainer.

Blessed are those who upload Youtube videos about how to do things.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bathroom Makeover

The bathroom and my ensuite are nearly complete. Here are a few photos.

My shower stall. I put in a new shower head that I already knew gives good water flow. being hand held, it is useful for shower cleaning, and gay men (roll your eyes if you must, but the head is easily detachable for a strong stream of water) The old triple sliding glass door will be replaced in a couple of weeks by a semi frameless outward swinging door.

New chrome taps to match in my shower stall. R has since bleached away the red from the grouting.

The two basins were exactly the same in each bathroom. It was a hard call as to whether to go to the expense of replacing the basins so that we could have a mixer tap, but we did and we are very pleased we did.

The tap is a dream to use, and no more rubber plug. Very happy.

Empty cupboards that were crammed with my bits and pieces, all cleared, stuff thrown out and less to put back in.

These flexible water hoses should be replaced every ten years. Our are much older than that. They fail and of course you have a flood. These were what really pushed us to get the two areas updated, as we had to get a plumber in anyway to replace three sets of these pipes. He installed little isolation valves in them all and they are easy to get at if the worst happens. Otherwise, the water has to be shut off in the buildings service cupboard, one on each floor, and they are normally locked. A lot of water could flow in the time it takes for someone to arrive to unlock the cupboard, especially out of hours. One of these flexible pipes did break a few years ago in the apartment above ours and my bedroom was flooded.

While the pans themselves were ok, the toilets lids and seats were deteriorating and look at that awful cheap plastic cistern, yellowed with age. R's was the same.

Nice new and bright white china systems replaced the old, with nice self closing seats and lids.

While we couldn't have the new pans as we wanted with straight sides and going straight back to the walls because the tap is in the way, this was a reasonable compromise. The old inlet pipe was replaced with a chrome pipe and a neat little tap replaced the larger old one.

New laundry and washing machine taps.

R replaced his shower head some time ago. They are trying to make it harder for consumers to remove flow restrictors, but with the aid of an electric drill, we did and my new shower head has been drilled too.

R's bath screen with a folding panel will be replaced by a less wide frameless solid sheet of glass.

New taps for R's bath.

The kitchen tap is only a couple of years old, and apart from a very poor flow rate (which I might just fix, again with a drill) is very nice to use. But it had worked lose at the base and without specialist tools, I could not fix it. The plumber fixed it, added some Locktite to the thread,  and again installed an isolation tap.

This was a real bastard to install. About 1cm behind the plaster is fibro cement, waterproofing for wet areas. It was difficult to put in R's toilet. I am not really happy with it and I think it will come loose. We will buy some butterfly bolts and that will hold it nicely.

This was much simpler. The door is hollow, but there is a piece of timber running across and inside the door where the towel rail is, so it was easy to install this new chrome towel rail in R's bathroom. The old rail was a nasty plastic job. We had bought special screws to install his dressing gown hook above where there was only the skin of the door.

Maybe in the next post I will tell you about the mystery of the toilet flushing buttons.

Monday, July 09, 2018

The imperfect consumer and Aldi

Post inspired by Snoskred.

R is very different to me in some ways. When shopping for clothes, he likes to touch and look at so many different items. He will take them off a rack and look at them, even though they may be totally inappropriate or way too expensive. I am a person on a mission. I know what I want, say a shirt, this colour, this size, this style, pocket for glasses, preferably a button down collar and then the price. Well, I already know that a bargain is to be had if I am there. I make a beeline to where the shirts are and I am rarely distracted by other clothing.

Yet put me in a hardware store, I am quite different. I like to gather information and so, ah, there is that product for doing that. That looks useful. Well, finally someone has invented a tool to do this. Ah, there is a bargain to be had. We paid how much for ours and look how cheap it is here. I can't say the information I gather in a hardware store is useless. It was useful today.

We did well this Sunday, with a pretty easy completion of a new towel rail and back of the door hook. I much prefer fitting the olden days stuff when no one bothered with concealed fixing and screws were exposed, but then it wasn't the concealed fixing that was the problem yesterday, but what we were fixing to.

Speaking of Snoskred, she has been wondering how we have been going at Aldi, after we were forced to change because of the closure of the Prahran carpark and could no long easily access Coles and Woolworths supermarkets by car.

We are very happy with Aldi in South Melbourne. We always get a parking space easily at, plus or minus, 10am on Saturday mornings. We have cut the cost of food, Wella and Vim shopping to nearly half. The shopping takes half the time.

The good is the cereals, the Weet Bix seems to be the same as Weet Bix, though incredibly cheap. Plenty of  variety of biscuits, including a delicious peanut biscuit. Crisps, all good. Yoghurt, all good. Bread, as nice as Helgas and Country Bakehouse. Sauces, cheese, oils, pretty well all good. Limited range of soft drink, which we only buy for visitors. Milk powder and UHT, all good.

There are some items that you cannot buy at Aldi, so we just pop across the road to Woolworths for those. South Melbourne Market is close by.

The only real negatives about Aldi is the limited variety of the same item, perhaps not a bad thing, and that you have to take great care with fresh meat and vegetables. They are mostly locally grown, but at times can be of doubtful standard and may be cheaper and better elsewhere. We have yet to really try its alcohol offerings, wine and scotch.

Going back to hardware stuffs, of course I peruse those centre Aldi ailes for new and unusual products that are bargains. The last time we saw Bone Doctor, it was cold and from her jacket pocket she pulled out a holey pair of gloves for her hands. Aldi had some smart gloves on sale for $12, including little pads on the thumb and forefinger sleeves to be able to click and swipe on a screen. I threw into the trolley a pair for Bone Doctor for her birthday in a couple of weeks. Well done you, said R.

In summary, not perfect, but we really like Aldi. While the profits may go overseas, much of their goods are Australian made and grown.

I needed a specific sized electric timber drill bit today and I knew the old ones of that similar size were blunt. I selected the correct drill bit at the big green shed. It cost nearly $4  and was no doubt of high quality and would stay sharp, but given how often we now drill, it doesn't matter. Then I saw a full pack of drill bits for $17. We bought them. R insisted I throw away the old drill bits, but no, I protested. Some are sharp and nearly new. He was probably right, but I did throw away many that I did identify as being blunt. No need for masonry drills here either.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Younguns dead

How many children died in the world today. Hundreds? Thousands? How did they die? By starvation or disease? So awful. Yet we are all so concerned for just a few privileged children in their country who have their lives at risk. The world is focused on these few children and not the many who died today. I doubt the parents of any child who died can discern a difference.

Well, I am like you, I hope for a positive outcome from the Thailand cave rescue that is underway. As I rise for work in the morning, I will listen to the 5.30 news and hope that I hear they are have all made it out of the cave alive and well. The death of the experienced former Thai diver really brought home to me how difficult it will be to get the children out. Fingers crossed.

A couple of old tradies

Nothing much ready to publish this Sunday. It took two well and truly grown men an hour's shopping in the big green shed hardware store for a chrome toilet roll holder, a chrome towel rail and a chrome back of the bathroom door hook.

It took the same two grown men two hours to remove and old plastic towel rail and toilet roll holder, and install the toilet roll holder. We can't do more as we need screws butterfly bolts plaster screw fixers expandable screw housings to install the towel rail and hook, and besides, the time had reached pre dinner wine o'clock.

I had planned to post photos of our bathroom renovations, but I am whacked.

I will leave you with a photo of a spoon taken where we sit to brunch amid a popular but grungy and graffitied lane. The spoons that come with the coffee are holiday souvenier teaspoons. Mine was that day from Portugal, written along the spoon stem, but the enameled picture bit was missing. I joked to R, it wasn't a normal enameled picture, but miniature blue and white tiles that have fallen off. He got it and laughed, but perhaps you had to be there and have visited Portugal. Sami may faintly smile at least. Yes, a very out of focus photo.