Saturday, April 13, 2019

Twins are 2

Our twin nieces turn two tomorrow. They are less clingy now to their mother and their personalities are starting to shine through and are far more agreeable.

We had a family barbeque at Ex Sis in Law's abode today to celebrate. Most of the family was there, including the pregnant with a boy oldest niece, and her Little M and Little Em who love their twin cousins dearly. Mother was there of course and Ex Sis in Law's husband was a little flirtatious with her, which went down well.

I have fallen in love with Es Sis in Law's husband's daughter's partner.  He is twenty one, lean, with a nice bubble butt as they say in the US and sadly balding at such a young age. He is not too bad looking, but wow, what a personality. All the little nieces adore him and the adults really like him.

Unbelievably R could not unscrew the top off a soft drink. I asked Tradie Brother but realised he was in the middle of eating and his hands were greasy. For the first time I spoke directly to the above mentioned, and his strong hand immediately unscrewed the bottle top. Thanks N, I simpered.

Last year we gave our old car to Ex Sis in Law. While it was doing fine for us for occasional short trips here, it soon failed on longer very outer suburban drives. Water pump, valve sleeves etc. Ex Sis in Law's husband will get rid of it, but we needed the number plates to hand in the the car registration place and cancel its registration. Ex Sis in Law's husband called forth his apprentice to remove them, his son in law to be.

N put his ten mm socket to work as I stood by admiring his work and making inane conversation to a 21 year old.  He is just so nice and he responded kindly and told me his big diesel four wheel drive had travelled 400,000 km. Ok, maybe he is a bit of a car bragger. I am sure they are not all his travel, 400,000 in the three years since he gained his driving license.

Well, it is a bit sad. This was the first brand new car we bought, back in 2000. We visited my father in our older car before he died, and went to his funeral in our brand new car which is about to go to the wreckers yard as scrap.

R says I am stupid for getting so attached to things and I certainly do. She served us well and had better air con than our newer Mazda car.

Sydney Visit

I haven't finished posting about our NZ holiday and now I have another one to post about. No wonder family on Facebook said, you are away again? You are never home. We have to travel while we can. It gets harder as you get older.

We had a great time in Sydney in spite of a bit of a mix up. Not so returning home. We chose our flight home based on the time. The flight was 12.55pm and hotel checkout time in Australia is 10.00am. Plenty of time to get to the airport, have something to eat and coffee. We were to arrive in Melbourne at 2.30pm, early enough to beat any traffic congestion on the motorway as we neared the city in what should have been a 25 minute drive home.

Not so, said Tigerair. The incoming plane is late, so you will be late leaving, about one hour. That put us in heavy traffic congestion and we weren't home until after 4pm. A whole day taken for a flight that is actually 1 hour 7 minutes. Do you wonder why I hate flying?

It is not just Tigerair. Jetstar and Qantas have let us down with delays, Jetstar twice. Virgin, not yet, but the company is no longer a cheap airline here in Australia.

I was going to post something about our flights to England later this year, but it is best not to dis anyone until we get our refunds. Suffice to say, we have made a donation of $600 to a certain Sultan of a certain Asian country who has recently enacted some terrible laws. We will try a travel insurance claim for the $600. Of course it is going to cost us a lot more for the new flights, but we are 'privileged rich old gay white men in the luckiest country in the world'.

S'cuse I. I need a drink.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Back later in the week

Away for a couple of days up north to Sin City to see this on Sydney Harbour. If you remember, we did the same this time last year and saw La Boheme. Again it is R's late birthday present. We will catch up with Victor who will join us for the performance and hopefully meet for the first time James O'Brien.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Mother Brother Visit

Once again Mother walked all over us. To recap, ABI had to go to a near to us private hospital for a stage 1 skin melanoma removed. Mother told us she would like to stay a couple of nights here while he recovered. No Ma, we are going to Sydney but you can stay one night, so that is what happened.

By 10am ABI Brother's surgery had been done he was ready to pick up. I drove his car and picked him up at the hospital, with a stop off at a chemist and a bakery on the way. His car is a manual gear change. What a pain in the arse. After getting caught in bus for train substitution at Caulfield Station, we eventually reached the freeway. I had put my glasses on and checked his gear stick. Yes, there is a fifth gear. On the freeway at 100 km/h, ABI Brother said you have one more gear to go. Ah, sixth. That is nicer to drive.

Of course Mother always thinks these things through and catches us on our back feet. What we should have done is told ABI Brother to drive to the hospital from his place in the early morning. I would come and find his car and would would pick him up after his surgery, drive him home and then catch the train home.

There was absolutely no need for Mother to be here and stay, and she was a total pain in the arse, endlessly moaning, whinging and whining.

Take two. I would just take him home in our car and drive home myself. My mother has done our heads in.

Monday Mural

Joining Sami and others for Monday Mural.

I came across this photo I took some time ago and I thought it might be ok for as a mural post. I have no idea what it is about and whether it is a mural or something commercial. But I had forgotten where I took the photo. Last week I was walking down Chapel Street from Toorak Road to Commercial Road, and there it was, above shops on the western side of the street. It is kind of interesting.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

NZ Cruise Day 5 Wellington

Are we back in Melbourne? Westpac Bank. Toll Transport. No, we are in Wellington.

There'd be trains at the docks, lots of them, slowly and purposefully moving around the port yards.

It was a hired pay bus to the city. Some places we visited pay for the bus for ship visitors. Oh wow, a big city, well a large town. I see young people, unlike on the ship, aside from staff and the odd few youngers. Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand, situated on the southern coast of the north island. It was Wellington's Gay Pride Festival. Rumours of gay people in Wellington were unproven by me, but then as an older gay man, I no longer have the ability to attract the attention of another gay on the streets with the millisecond meeting of eyes. Gay men, like older women, become invisible to those we may desire.

This would be The Beehive, the national parliamentary building. I waved to PM Jacinda, but she was not in her office as it was the day after the massacre and she was in Christchurch offering comfort and wise words.

I Googled Spark Shop, formerly New Zealand Telecom, and sure enough, there was one in the main shopping street, Lambton Quay. I bought a 4GB data card for NZ at $34? We only used about a quarter but how good was it to have our own data to use. The sales person was very nice and helpful, but oh, how much information did she have to enter into the Spark computer system. Her steady hands slipped the card into the empty (grr) slot, and we had internet. A bit of an update on this, which I subsequently learnt since writing about my SIM falling out at home, unnoticed by me. It would not have mattered even if I did have my Australian SIM in my phone as with the Aldi data, prepaid customers cannot use their stored data for global roaming, which is why R's phone would not work either. The devil in the detail was actually clearly written on the website. Mea culpa.

After sorting out our phones and R's piggybacking on mine, we reached the arcade entrance of the Wellington Cable Car. It is a funicular, and long time readers will know I like nothing better than a good funicular, frequently and often.

Our conveyance awaits..........other people. We caught the next one.

Not many going back down yet.

The university playing grounds. Many students use the cable car to get to the university. The university has a dedicated stop.

Here is a former cable car carriage, set up for photo opportunities in the free cable car museum.

Gosh, there is some seriously high end housing up here above the city.

We can see our ship.

You know why the houses are timber now, don't you. There'd be shaky ground.

A departing cable car.

Pay for a ride and some do, it seems.

We wandered into the nearby Botanic Gardens, with its observatory. I think it was about a thirty minute walk back to town down via the gardens, but we had return cable car tickets.

As we descended, we noticed the university playing fields fountain had come alive.

This mall area was looking very dated and not especially inviting. We found somewhere for an overpriced snack but rather good coffee.

We saw a few of these electric car charging stations in NZ. I can't remember seeing any here in Melbourne.

I found a second service cover to photograph, without the cigarette butts, but the photo was out of focus.

Yep, pop in here, a shopping arcade in the 19th century European tradition.

This seemed to be a lightwell for??? An underground train station? Let me check. Nope, no obvious reason.

We headed towards what I suppose was a civic square.

Same artist who made the Canberra sphere, and the sphere at 2 Queens Road, Melbourne?

Rainbow flags flying.

But because of the Christchurch massacre, today's event was cancelled, along with a significant rugby match.


See the bird hovering on the roof? We studied it from a distance for some time. Was it an eagle waiting to swoop on a stray chip, or a small child? A cute Pekingese? Its movements were quite strange. Once closer we realised it was a fake bird on a stick, dancing around in the breeze.

I think this is bye bye to Wellington, but could be our last departure point or the next arrival point. We liked the compact capital city.