Saturday, February 16, 2019

Cladding fire at Neo 200

As you can see in these photos, Neo 200 apartments aren't too bad. You only want to see so many photos but others of the residents' amenities are easy to find.

These are just my thoughts, with some knowledge of our own building's fire system.

There is flammable cladding on the exterior of the building. After the cladding Lacrosse fire at our own Docklands and the Grenfell Tower fire in London, many Victorian buildings were checked and many had flammable cladding. They were risk rated, and Neo 200 was given a medium risk rating. We are not allowed to know which buildings as there is a risk of arson attack.

Soon after the fire I heard one resident say she did not hear any fire alarm. Fire alarms so far as I know are confined to a few floors near where the alarm was triggered. This might need to be rethought in the light of cladding fires. Every floor above a fire should get a fire alarm in the case of flammable cladding.

Australia's building fire alarm and fire suppression standards are excellent. You can read about our own building's fire system here, which I wrote after the Grenfell Tower fire.

This Friday residents were supposed to able to return to their apartments in the Neo 200 building after two weeks. Not so, said City of Melbourne. Sunday at the earliest now. Ten apartments are not inhabitable and won't be perhaps for up to a year.

But what I read today disturbed me greatly. Our newspaper The Age suggested that Neo 200's smoke alarm system was degraded and had not been properly maintained.

If true, how can this be? High rise buildings surely need to have contracted fire prevention maintenance by professional companies. I have seen our buildings checklist when the fire system maintenance company visits. How could Neo 200's smoke alarm system be degraded and poorly maintained? I feel a loss of faith and trust in Australia as a whole and how things work here.

If you live in a high rise building, go the full pressure to find out about the safety of your building.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Spam and personal

Nice bit of spam, promoting the Australian Grand Prix, held here in Melbourne. We hate it. I hope it is held when we are cruising to New Zealand. Is this how low the GP has to go to promote the race? I marked it as spam.

melamajnua Unsubscribe

My work place superior called me last week, to inform me that she did not realise she did not have the authority to allocate me 33 weeks of leave. I am now reduced to 13 weeks, which does cover our NZ cruise, but not our holiday in England. While our new union delegate is good, he is quite inexperienced. I went straight to the top to seek advice. The advice was, we are looking for a test case in the courts about the 13 week limit, think about it and let us know whatever you decide, or try to negotiate with your manager, not your immediate superior. Given my leave was publicly posted on the leave roster, I think I have a rather strong case. 

The days are just passing by and I am quite happy to be not working but I am still lacking any kind of discipline to my life. How can I have discipline when so much is up in the air? Ok, an excuse.

It cost me $100 to join the University of the Third Age. Yet I can't seem to be enroll in a course because of uncertainty, partly caused by our NZ cruise and partly by a pending visit to Sydney to see West Side Story on the Harbour. I may have rushed into the U3A. While I was waiting for R to have his hair cut today, I was opposite an entrance to the Council of Adult Education. For the second time R's hair was cut by a new inexperienced Asian guy. Four times R told him to keep taking the bulk from his hair, but at the end. R was very unsatisfied, with not even a back of the neck shave. Twice in a row I have had the chatty suspect gay bloke cut my hair.

Mother day today. I thought we might have alternated Thursdays, especially as R gets stressed by Mother. I thought one week he would take her out and one week I would take her out. No, we do it together, with one of us sitting in the back seat of the car with a wheel of Mother's walker pressing into our cheek. R likes to have me around to be grumpy with.

While waiting for R while he did some shopping yesterday, I noticed this PO RK graffiti. Pro eating of pig meat? Pork on your fork? You need a good porking? Perhaps it just an unfortunate graffiti name tag. I don't mind a bit of pork, in one way or t'other. 

It seemed like a good idea at the time, to on Friday night to slip a note into a letter box to say I would be free at twelve on Saturday to help. Come Saturday after shopping, the time arrived and I was very nervous. They were all strangers to me. Nevertheless, it was a good thing to do. I did barrow work work that nearly killed me, then went to the broom, and then hand picking out stones. Everyone was so terribly nice. A snip from a larger photo, featuring moi.

Centre Place in Melbourne must be on tourist maps for some reason. While we like our local creperie in a grungy lane, I don't understand the tourist attraction. While I waited for R to have his bad haircut, I focused my phone amid the horror of a mess onto this. Not bad at all.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

An outing

R was doing his volunteer job today collecting up oldies in a mini bus and taking them to a venue for a meal and play on the poker machines, this time to Milanos in Brighton. It is harder than it sounds. He has to catch the tram to St Kilda, pick up the mini bus, collect all the oldies from different addresses, eight of them, including their walking frames. After lunch and some social time, the process reverses and this time he had to leave the mini bus at his volunteer work place, which means a tram into the city and another tram home. He left home at 9.30 and returned at 4.30.

I am alone. What to do? I did such a nerdy thing, taking a train ride for no other reason than I could and wanted to see how the train went over the new bridge over Kororoit Creek Road in our west after seeing the bridge from the road last Sunday.

But first lunch in Centre Place in the city and then a haircut. Mamasan at the tiny cafe greeted me warmly. Where is your friend? Light rain was falling, so unusually, I sat inside. Normally I don't really want to talk too much to hairdressers when my hair is being cut. The man who cut my hair did so the last time. I suspect he is gay, a bit younger than me and is garrulous. I used to feel terror that one day this chatty bloke would cut my hair, but he is just so nice and we have great conversations about everything and anything.

Off to Flinders Street Station. Wow, these new passenger information screens are amazing, including the animated display indicating the direction of travel of trains in the City Loop. They change direction and anyone who has full knowledge of this has my admiration. It is to your benefit if you know which coloured line you need to use.

Sometimes something really interesting happens on trains, or there are some really hot guys interesting people travelling, but not really this day. My only people observation was that you can never look elegant when lifting a heavy suitcase from a train to the platform, even if at almost equal height. You will always look like a tourist, unsure of themselves and struggling.

The train was crawling along before the bridge crossing. But after the oncoming train passed by at the passing loop, suddenly the train accelerated, and while going over the bridge was not quite a Big Dipper experience, it was good zoom over by the train. For the first time travelling on the train in that area, I did not see a rabbit. I caught the ex Werribee express train back to town, faster, not as interesting, and I had enough sitting on hard Comeng train seats. I saw so many train lines, minor, major and closed branching off. Marcus Wong's websites are the go to place to find out.

The screen was not really pink. Camera error. It is just brilliant.

You can see the dotted City Loop moving image, well not moving in a photo, but that is how it is displayed.

Everyone one of these wagons (is that what we call them in Australia?) was tagged.

They probably look better with tags than without.

Here I go, over the double track Kororoit Creek Road bridge.

On the way back to town this is the Neo200 building in Spencer Street. Like the Docklands Lacrosse highrise apartment building, the cladding is flammable, and while it didn't quite go up like a Hindu widow, in the dark line of the building, you can see some boarded up areas where the fire was, travelling upward, conducted by the flammable cladding. Residents are still locked out two weeks later. Just like with other combustible cladding fires, you could see the molten metal falling to the ground. How on earth combustible cladding was ever allowed to put on the exterior of highrise buildings is beyond me. No apartment owner should have to pay for rectification. This is a result of  Federal, State and Local government undoing of 'red tape' and letting developers run rampant, just as was the terrible cladding fire at Grenfell Tower in London, which without a sprinkler system and compromised fire suppression systems , led to the deaths of tens of people. Fortunately, so far as I know, any building of any sort of height in Australia must have a sprinkler system, and as long as they are maintained, work very well at preventing the spread of fire. If it is not law yet, sprinklers really need to be installed on balconies. 

Neo200 looks like it is a rather cheaply constructed building, perhaps with some very small apartments. I have been into a couple of 'one bedroom' apartments in similar apartment blocks. There are only lounge room windows and the bedroom is a room but without a normal door, just a sliding screen, no windows. The bathrooms are good.  The lounge room is tiny, with a couch just a metre or so away from the tv screen. Property developers were allowed to include the kitchen space as living space, which led to such tiny lounge areas, but from what I know, this has or will be stopped in Victoria and the minimum lounge area cannot include the kitchen area.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tosser in Swanston Street

Nothing written today, so have a look at what Marcus was witness to in Swanston Street, Melbourne. It is our main tram thoroughfare in the city and such a disruption can cause a  snowball effect for hours later, with huge numbers of people inconvenienced and worse. I hope the driver is prosecuted and sued.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Monday Selections

You are right. Monday Selections doesn't work nearly as well as Sunday Selections, but there you go. Monday should be Mural Monday. I am a bad blogger. Spank me Master/Mistress.

What shall we do this Sunday sweetie? St Kilda Festival? Chinese New Year in town? 400,000 at the St Kilda Festival? We will give that a miss. The noise of drums and firecrackers for Chinese New Year is horrendous. Been there, done that. Saw a building catch fire from fire crackers and the fire engine push in through the crowds.

We will wash the car at the Altona car wash and then have a nice lunch in Altona Village. The car is now sparkling, inside and out. While it is still a cheap do it yourself car wash, the price of vacuuming the car has doubled. Our lunch was nice, helped by very nice hot male staff. The food was good and you get a bigger bang for your buck food wise in Altona compared to the areas we normally frequent for brunch/lunch. Cheaper shop rents, I guess.

While our sat nav was continually warning us about a level crossing, there is now an amazing double track train line over Kororoit Creek Road.

But something wasn't right as we approached Altona Village along The Esplanade. I saw a sign, Esplanade closed at Pier Street. It was actually closed earlier than Pier Street. It seems there is a trial summer closure of The Esplanade, giving over the area to pedestrians and cyclists.

We detoured and parked the car and sadly just missed the local Chinese New Year celebrations.  We had a lovely lunch in perfect weather outdoors. We strolled down to the beach and perved mostly on hot daddies, people watched.

Dahlias used to be grown in people's gardens, but no longer. You have to stake them. I could not resist these when I saw them at South Melbourne Market on Saturday.

People going to St Kilda Festival were constantly at our tram stop below this afternoon, not being able to fit onto trams showing St Kilda Junction - St Kilda Festival, route 16a. They are probably strangers to our tram system, not knowing that many other trams will get them to St Kilda Junction, and from there they have to walk, just as they will have had to from the St Kilda tram. The best educated about our tram system will catch a route 12 tram from the city that will put them right in the heart of the Festival action.

From our balcony, I have never seen Sunday traffic as bad as what it was today, no doubt increased by people heading to St Kilda Festival. 400,000 people have to get to St Kilda some way. We had a very slow Westgate Bridge/Freeway trip back from Altona, for no other reason than the sheer volume of traffic. Big (population) Australia? I don't want. I don't like. Melbourne is past being full.

This photo has been hanging around since last winter. I love the leafless trees in winter.

At a pinch four cars can fit into this car parking space, but selfish parkers make sure not even the the three comfortable car parkers can fit.

Good work with free water City of Hobson Bay. It was the Hobson Bay gay pride gathering yesterday, along a with tranny/sex change beauty contest at some point.

Riding penny farthings is not easy, but this dude made it look like it was. 

Pretend bathing boxes. See the yellow table in the right hand distance. It was a table tennis board and we watched some lads constantly picking up the ball from the ground, just as I remember table tennis in my youth.

I leave you with some soft sunset photos.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Funny? Not funny!

The mighty Darling River is now a series of billabongs, depleted of water by cotton and rice growers to the extent it no longer flows. Millions of river fish have died. The heat in the north of Australia has been so bad that thousands of bats and budgerigar birds have died, dropping dead from the sky, or falling off their perches.

Yet in tropical northern Queensland, thousands of people have had their homes and businesses ruined by flooding and never seen before intense rainfall. Cattle starve to death surrounded by flood waters. Sheep drowned. Water had been lapping at the footing of Bone Doctor's grandmother's residential care home. 

A few years ago we holidayed with R's English Sister and her ex husband in Walhalla, a town in a valley in a mountainous area. Walhalla has been burnt out before, but not for some time has it faced such a threat. Ex Sis in Law retweeted? these photos on Facebook. I know exactly what I am seeing here, that is the location. Fortunately the fire was put out by a heavy downpour of rain.

Fire Fighting Nephew was battling blazes on the edge of our largest water storage dam, The Thompson Dam, trying to prevent run off into the dam and polluting our water supply. He was called back to his own area to fight against fires at Hepburn Springs. He has been flying about in helicopters. 

None of these events are to do with climate change though are they? Our conservative Federal government sings the praises of digging up more coal to burn to damage the atmosphere, all in the name of prosperity for Australia. I think I might like to be a bit poorer. Our government seems impotent on climate change.

This Queensland Rail video is of a disaster in the Townsville area of Queensland, but pretty cool. Ok, I can see the video in my files, but I don't seem be able to upload it. Here is the link,