Saturday, August 11, 2018

A remarkable coincidence about the fence and the tree

In a remarkable coincidence a huge limb from the tree the woman who owns next door wants removed has fallen and damaged the fence. I hope Mother has been paying her home insurance. ABI Brother has already checked for saw cuts. I hope to meet Tradie Brother tomorrow on site to have a look.

A South Melbourne Stroll

Oops. This was supposed to be Sunday's post, so you can save it until tomorrow to read.

BAD is in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

I had to visit the big blue office supply shed in Kingsway, so I took a walk.

This is an old photo of the Boer War Memorial, often now referred to as the South African War Memorial. It has been dismantled and restored while construction of Melbourne's Metro Tunnel occupies the site.

Side view of the First Church of Christ, Scientist on the corner of St Kilda Road and Dorcas Street. Construction was completed in 1922, being much delayed by war. One notable feature is that within the three storeys, including the basement, is what is believed to be Melbourne's only working timber lined hydraulic lift dating from the building's construction. Many buildings of the period had water powered lifts, with the water at pressure pumped around the city to power them.

In memory of South Melbourne Tram Depot, which was moved from here to Montague in 1997 and high rise apartments now occupy the large site.

On the other side of street, what do we have here? A footballer.

I see, it is home to the Murdoch owned Fox Sports. I can't see a low rise building staying here for much longer.

Could a concrete seat be comfortable? I think not.

Council rubbish collection, I suppose. What a wasteful society we have become.

Looking up Wells Street towards the city.

Different spelling to yours, I think River.

I somehow don't think it is where you buy your Pandora jewellery. Perhaps it is a head office.

A soccer ball on the roof the Caltex service station? Ah, it was the time of the world cup.

The BP service station closed. We immediately thought highrise, but no. From the ashes a smart new BP service station has been built. It wasn't open when I took the photo, but is now.

Preservation of the old can become ludicrous at times.

From Google Maps, The Palmerston Hotel, once winner of the best parmigiana in Melbourne. It was our local pub and was a short staggering distance away. When R's sister and her friend visited and stayed with us, they went there one night on their own and came home with an umpteen number of phone numbers of men who were out on the make.

Satellite image. What was a carpark was turned into out beer garden. You can see the large black umbrellas.

Hey Ma, they stole our pub. Where shall we dine now when the Highrise Chef is sick of thinking of what to cook for dinner?

The hotel was opened in 1876 and the licencensee was Margaret St Lawrence from the suburb of Prahran. In the 1950s it was run by the formidable Ma Munro. I have seen her photo on the wall of the pub. It was firmly a supporter of the South Melbourne Football Club, now Sydney Swans, with the walls adorned with old photos of South Melbourne football players.  

A family investor company bought the hotel in the 1980s. The closure of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works Depot, the South Melbourne Tram Depot, BP House and the reduction in personal at Victoria Army Barracks saw a reduction in trade. The hotel had a public bar adjacent to the dining area. Over time we learnt to not sit near the lavatory door, or where there were loose floorboards, where you would be bumped as staff passed by. The public bar was always full of tradies, tradesmen. The dining area was so polyglot, if that is the word. There was a mix of local people who, like the Chef at the The Highrise, wanted a night off from duty, with local office workers from every corner of the globe socialised with their Anglo Aussie work mates. We got to know Shazza, Sharon, the older staff person there. She was a local person. In his volunteer job, R used to take her mother out to appointments. 

I really need to remember that we have lived in The Highrise for 16 years, and of course things change. 

Mother's Fence

BAD is in Quebec.

Mother's side fence was replaced about fifteen years ago. The adjoining double gates between her place and the neighbour were also replaced. Step Father and Mother still had dreams of touring Australia in their caravan stored in the back yard, with the only way to get it out of the back yard was through the double gates in the side fence then up the neighbours driveway. The dreams were unrealised. The caravan was towed away to the tip and that was the last time the gates were used.

Nearly forty years ago Mother moved into the house. The next door neighbours, Des and Joan became great friends of our family. Des and Joan separated. Des stayed on and remarried, a lovely Filipina woman, Remy. Des died. Remy lived on quite happily, working at a major, with an adult daughter and was great to my mother. Oddly a few years ago, Remy suicided. Mother was heartbroken. No one could understand why she did. She was lovely.

The house was sold by her daughter to a workmate of my ABI Brother, an avaricious woman it would seem. Mother has a nuisance tree near her back door, a large lilly pilly tree.  It is about fifty years old. Tradie Brother feels a sentimental attachment to the tree.

The neighbour wants the tree removed as it is causing problems to her house and is prepared to pay half for its removal. She also wants the 15 year old fence replaced with the usual cost sharing between properties of fence replacement. Nothing really unreasonable yet.

She tried calling Mother at home, but of course Mother is still living with great care at ABI Brother's place. She intends going home, but may not. She intends selling her home, but she is not sure when.

So, via work, she had ABI Brother's phone number and called him, except Mother answered and the woman could talk directly to Mother. The whole family were quite happy to hand the matter over to me. ABI Brother gave her my phone number and she called. That is funny. ABI said she was some sort of Pacific Islander, but she sounded Indian to me.

I consulted individually with my siblings. Tradie Brother was firm that the fence was reasonably ok and the tree was staying. Sister was ambivalent and pretty well said 'whatever, if we have to pay, then we have to pay'. ABI Brother was eager to and the woman.

The phone call began, Hi. I am your mum's neighbour. Well, I will stop right here. She has never lived in the house and has not been a neighbour to Mother of any description. Her tenants, two absolutely lovely dog loving dykes really got the charm offensive from Mother, and they responded and were so kind to Mother, even after they moved out and subsequently separated. They came with dogs, which Mother loved, and there was always an extra dog there, as they rehabilitate dogs with behavioural issues.

She went on, your mother cries poor but we really need to fix the fence. I replied, my mother is poor and it will be up to we children to pay.

 The next tenant was a bearded hipster who came with an Asian born partner and a bearded hipster mate and two dogs. Their house warming party was beyond belief, but they settled down in time and it did not take long for Mother to set them up to be caring towards their elderly female neighbour. They were so kind to her too, but the dykes still keep in touch with Mother. One sent Mother a $50 voucher for Christmas after they moved out. Another time they left a hamper of food and other stuff for her. I've only seen them, not met them. They seem very down to earth and butch dykes, quite unlike Sister and Bone Doctor. I may have said this before, but my mother is awfully good at getting sympathy and kindness from people, rather as a spider draws a fly into its trap.

Mother after her wasted three week care and comfort hospital stay where she lounged around in bed and mostly refused to participate in physiotherapy got a fright once she was discharged to ABI Brother's place. She realised she had become very weak and to her credit, has been walking a good bit and has recovered her somewhat weak strength.

So the phone call came from Mother's neighbour about the fence and the tree. I agreed to nothing and just asked her to give quotes for whatever. Then she made a terrible mistake by asking for my email address, the one that has my real name and I only use for work. I am not a person of the spoken word. I am a person of the written word. That is why you are reading this and I am not talking to you on the phone. It was a gotcha moment.

I did work out by her name that she is of Indian descent. I asked our Indian Fijian friend. Yes there are sikhs in Fiji.

Before reading our to and fros, you need to know that this person has her property on the market and under contract, meaning that there is a sale, subject to conditions. Maybe they are tree removal or the new fence.

Mother has finally confessed to R that she won't be returning to her home of nearly forty years. In spite of her trying to always work things out well, for herself, it is rather sad. I still don't know if ABI Brother is happy to have her living with him for an extended period. I can't have a private conversation with him on the phone as Mother is always there. I said to him once hoping Mother was out of earshot, is Mother in the room? And he replied, yes, I'll hand you over. Bye.

This has taken a few days to write. She has decided to sell her house using some kind of broker who advertises on commercial old people's radio. That would be 3AW. She has sent me the brochure. I haven't read it yet. (I have now and I am reasonably impressed.)

I did work out by her name that she is of Indian descent. I asked our Indian Fijian friend. Yes there are Sikhs in Fiji.

When the house next door is sold, the house will no doubt be demolished and units built. When Mother's house is sold, exactly the same will happen. Developers will make a killing when they build multiple units on the sites. Here is the conversation so far via email between me and Mother's non neighbour B.

please find your attached quote for the paling fence 
sent by **** fencing...

No quote was attached. A second email arrived with the quote attached.

I replied and realised that the fence quote was for a capped fence and two metres high rather than the standard 1.7 metres.

Thanks B. We are looking at the quote.


B sent an email with the quote for the tree removal.

Hi andrew i have got a quote for the tress and stumps remove from your property  near the fence most big ones so the fence can be done i am waiting for the gay send me the qote it s about $2020.00 and he will take all rubbish or chips as soon he sends me the paperwork i will send to youthanks

I replied and not heard from her since.

Hello B.

Regarding the tree, we have sought advice and while you are free to remove any branches and foliage on your side of the fence, we are not under any obligation to do anything else with the tree. However, we may be open to a reduction in the height of the 50 year old tree and this would be at your expense.

As for  the fencing quote, we are a little concerned about the professionalism of the company who submitted the quote when the quotation form had the most basic words, height and metre, misspelt. If we do agree to a replacement fence, we will pay for like for like, that is an uncapped fence at the current fence height, which I believe is 1.2 metres at the front for 3 metres back, rising to 1.7 metres for the rest of its length. Perhaps you would be able to get amended quotes? As you may or may not know, one of my brothers is a builder and he is going to check the soundness of the fence and we will decide from there. We certainly agree the gates need to be removed and replaced with new fencing.



However, I am sure it is not over. But honestly, what is the point of all this. She is selling her investment property, Mother is selling her home. Who cares about the fence when we know both houses are about to be knocked down. Tradie Brother told me his previous employers' practice when a multi unit development goes ahead, that the developer pays for a new fence as some compensation for the noise and inconvenience of the demolition and building. He added that this was pretty well standard practice.

I have never lived in the house as I was older on away from home then, but my siblings did and I expect the sale of the house where they grew up will be somewhat emotional for them, and of course even more so for Mother. Mother could have had a good few years since Step Father died instead of years of worry about money and her circumstances. Instead of changing her situation, she clung to the past. I get that, but it was not a wise choice to make.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Friday Funnies

Maybe not funny, just a bit amusing.

This crazy piece of art is the Stravinsky Fountain and can be found at Stravinsky Place next to the Pompidou Centre in Paris. It was unveiled in 1983 and is made up by the black metal parts designed by Jean Tinguely and the coloured works are by artist  Niki de Saint Phalle.

I could watch it for hours. Some Youtube videos of the fountain have music added in the background, but I like to hear the splash of water, the action of the machinery and the French voices in the background. Oh, is that water spurting from the female form's ...... Heck, it is.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

MoMA and the camera

It seems a lifetime ago, but three years ago we were in New York, and on a particular day, fighting heat and humidity, we walked part of the old elevated railroad line, The Highline, ate the Canadian speciality poutine for the first time (I hated it. R loved it) and then visited the New York Museum of Modern Art.  As I was writing this post, I revisited our day

Some of the artwork from MoMA has come to our National Gallery of Victoria while MoMA is undergoing some renovation, so we went and took a look. Well, it cost about $25 each. It was quite interesting. There were hoards of school children in the gallery, but that is a good thing and they were well behaved. I will just say it was busy.

My camera behaved very badly and clearly it is not up to taking pictures in low light situations. I really liked this work.

And I liked this one. Even on the tiny camera screen, both photos I took of the picture did not look very clear.

So I tried to take a photo with my phone. Just brilliant. I either give over to my phone for indoor photos or buy a new camera. I think I will choose the former.

This work impressed me. Can you US people see your state? I know where you live.

Already I have forgotten the theme for this area, but clearly it is about travel. I loved all the accommodation signs.

Do you remember these boards at airports? Just as you managed to find your flight, the flippers would go into action and everything would change. The present electronic screens are so much better. Just as we turned away from the exhibit, we were startled by the noise of the board changing. It is a live exhibit.

After we left we sat outside on a seat to bend our backs. What are these terrible Muslim women doing fishing in the moat around the national gallery? Send them back to where they came from, if only for their stupidity of fishing in the moat and thinking they would catch fish. Perhaps they have magnets on the end of their fishing lines to pick up coins that are thrown into the moat. Well, that won't work. Turned out to be a photo shoot.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Home Tech

BAD is in Corner Brook, Canada. That's on the island of Newfoundland.

Somehow this old mobile phone of mine missed going into some sort of phone recycling system. It is a tiny phone compared to my current phone. I can barely remember it, but I am sure it was terribly modern and fashionable when I bought it. As R said, it is all about the screen size now, not the size of phone that was just a phone in the days of old when a small phone was a desirable thing to have.

Wikipedia tells me that it was released in 2006. I thought it may have been a bit older than that. It was 3G and had a camera and was able to browse the www.

Oh dear, the little fold down foot on the base of  the keyboard snapped off. There is nothing wrong with keyboard otherwise and I did not feel inclined to buy a new one. I stacked all these sticky squares together until I reached the height of the remaining foot.

But after a while they started to slide a bit. I have to come with a better solution.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Cuts to Our ABC

I am not listening so much to radio now. I listen to Jon Faine on ABC Melbourne if I am home in the morning, but honestly, ABC local radio which I have listened to for 3 plus decades is not interesting me or entertaining me much as I become older. Of course I still listen when I can to ABC radio news, AM, the cut in half World Today and the cut in half PM. There is always much to see on ABC TV's various channels. I don't understand the need to pay for Foxtel, Stan or whatever.

As usual with any government, this government has reduced ABC funding, and Marcellous went to a protest meeting against the funding cuts.

I don't like cuts to our ABC. It is taxpayer funded media organisation at arm's length from the government, aside from the government appointing the board to run it. In theory, it is above pure rating numbers and exists and serves the Australian population without bias or commercial influence. It offends governments in power with is critical and unbiased reporting, so of course governments want to cut its budget.

But much to media mogul Rupert Murdoch's distaste, our ABC is doing terrifically well in multi media. I gorge on ABC podcasts, that educate, amuse and entertain me as I drive to and from work twice a day.

I came across this on Twitter, this unadjusted for inflation rather damning graphic. Thanks to James for retweeting it.

Every cut to the ABC means more commercially produced rubbish and a right wing politically influenced media, such as the fake news, Sky News. Sky News has huge funding by Murdoch and will do what it does. Don't watch it. I just saw today a huge plagiarism by the disreptual English Daily Telegraph. I am really liking The (Manchester) Guardian ( Australian edition online) and I am thinking I might throw it another few quid.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Bathroom finis

BAD is on her way from Greenland to Canada.

R's bathroom. The old screen, which had a brace across to the tiles.

The new screen, fixed, although I am not sure why it stays in place. While the difference in the photos may not look huge, it does make a big difference.  It is not really seen until the door is closed.

My old shower screen, noisy to open and close and the handle kept falling off.

Oh, the hot Middle Eastern slim lad tradesman has left the room. What will be return with?

With this. It makes a dramatic difference in my ensuite. The shower and the whole room look larger. The door opens in or out. I open it out. It has a little channel at the bottom of the glass that runs the dripping water back into the shower so that it doesn't drip on the floor when opened.

It was fairly painless. We had to dispose of the old screens, so we folded down the back seats in the car, once we worked out how to do it. Duh, there are two knobs to pull in the boot to release the seat backs at the same time as pushing the seat backs forward. How can I do that short of getting into the boot? I poked the seat back forward with a conveniently located umbrella.  Mine wasn't too heavy as it was in three pieces, plus the framing. R's was with the swinging part and gosh that was heavy. I had no idea of the weight of glass used in these old shower screens. It was four trips up and down in the lift. We took them to the waste transfer station, along with some e waste. The separate metal parts went to be recycled and I guess the old screens will go into landfill. Pity.