Saturday, June 15, 2019

Corkman Hotel

I thought I wrote about it at the time, but it seems not. Two developers, Raman Shaqiri and Stefce Kutlesovski , illegally demolished the historic 1856 Corkman Hotel on the edge of the city in the inner suburb of Carlton. They left asbestos exposed to be blown around by the wind, and then illegally dumped asbestos in an outer western area at two sites. The covering over of the remaining debris was perfunctory.

The community was outraged. Our State Government thundered that the two would be severely punished, would have to rebuild the pub and would not profit from the illegal demolition. The 'contrite' developers promised to rebuild the hotel.

The developers have been fined $1.3 million but planning laws will allow them to build an up to 12 storey new apartment building by about 2021 after an ok by our State Planning Minister. 12 storeys is not going to sit well in the low rise area. To developers $1.3 million is a minor expense in making millions by building a twelve storey apartment building. If you don't think these two pieces of scum didn't know what they were doing, think again. They knew there would be consequences and were prepared to wear them to make a killing with a property development in a prime location. 

Shame on our State Government Planning Minister Richard Wyne, shame, shame, shame.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Getting Lucky (no, I didn't)

I haven't put up any Red Army Choir covering Daft Punk songs of late. Here they are in a radio studio which took a little tracking down. It is French Station NRJ, Nouvelle Radio Jeune, and usually referred to as Energy. Nyet. It is in Moscow and I suspect a branch of the Paris station. It is curious to me that a US? rapper is the DJ.

Aren't they impossibly clean cut and I reckon one of the lead singers is particularly cute. I don't think you will have any problem working out each one.

Fun and happy music, nice.

Thursday, June 13, 2019


A conversation overheard on a tram between two about 13 year old private schoolboys in Melbourne's salubrious and tree lined eastern suburbs.

"Your dad is a doctor. Have you ever seen a bad doctor?"

"I think my dad is a really good doctor. No, I haven't seen a bad doctor. I see a friend of my dad's."

"I saw a bad one once. He was totally lacking in interpersonal and communication skills."

I don't think I could stop my eyes from rolling.

Here is a photo of a couple of private school boys on a tram.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Note to self

Not too many extra tours to take during our UK tour. Dublin music and dancing sounds like fun and I expect drinks will be involved. Beatles tour in Liverpool might be interesting.

I don't want to catch anything, so I will watch others kiss the Blarney Stone.

WTF is Giant's Causeway in Northern Island. I guess we will find out. During our NZ cruise, this was highly recommended to us.

It will take only about four minutes longer using the Piccadilly Line to get to our hotel in London rather than the Heathrow Express, and much cheaper. It would take much longer in a taxi or Uber. We have no idea what credit we have on our Oyster Cards, but I expect very little. We will need to top them up before travelling. (Must check out foreign transaction fees for Uber) Buses from Greenwich North Station to our hotel are confusing but there are lots of them.

Ah, whiskey tasting in Scotland. Just the one thanks. Ok, if you insist.......

Money worked out. We will use our bank's travel card and take some notes. We are four days in Ireland and will need Euro. We haven't worked that out yet.

Phone data card worked out, Vodafone. Will buy at Heathrow. I think 40gb for £30. But it won't work in Ireland. We will worry about that at the time. Maybe hunt for free wifi or perhaps there is cheap data card to buy there.

We are taking a day trip to Brighton and will probably come back as gays. Great kudos to you if you know what that reference is about. Half an hour to London Bridge from our hotel to catch the train to Brighton. We will allow an hour and maybe have time for coffee.

R wants to see the changing of the Palace Guard. I have worked on that. Get there early.  I want to see the dropped aitches at Soho Square, and perhaps go to a sleazy Soho gay bar. Again, well done if you know the reference about dropped aitches. Perhaps easier than coming back from Brighton as gays.

Called in sick to work today and I am seeing my doctor tomorrow. In spite of a change of medication my blood pressure is through the roof. Such a shame that I should be on long service leave but am not,  and all these medical issues would be dealt with within my leave. Instead I am constantly having to use work paid sick leave to address my medical issues.

I have another medical appointment next week, another day sick leave from work.

Later edit: Also recommended to us in Northern Ireland is the Titanic Museum. We may have some free time there to see that.

Later edit: Actor Liz Smith played Nana in The Royle Family and she knew someone who went to Brighton and 'came back a gay'. From  a song sung by the Henry Higgins character in My Fair Lady, 'see  them all in Soho Square, dropping aitches everywhere', in reference to how they speak.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019


Work is horrible. I should be on leave before I retire but I was forced back to work. My and two others 40 years of service are to be celebrated by a luncheon later this month. I was going to refuse to attend. But then one of the others with forty years service really asked me to attend, and he said, we are getting watches! I haven't worn one for years as I am allergic to metal on my skin and who needs one now when I can touch my phone screen and see the time, or even have it permanently displayed.

Of course some people like watches on their wrists to check their email.

It has been a stressful few weeks back at work, annoyingly so but not like the stress where you kill yourself.

It all came to a head on Saturday night when over a bottle of Scotch we shared, R and I sorted the world and then complicated it. We argued, we nitpicked and we went to bed drunk after a bang on argument about which neither of us I think can recall. We normally have such good self control. I can't speak for R, but I slept too late, was way behind on my social www connections and my thinking was below par. I wasn't game to check my blood pressure.

I cast my mind back to 2017 when we were travelling on the train weekly to Heidelberg to see Hippie Niece who was pregnant with the twins. Once she gets through this pregnancy and they are born healthy, all will be well. Little did we know.

Speaking of parenthood, you don't often hear it from a dad's perspective. I would rather like Adam's wife to write about how she felt and dealt with a new baby. Nevertheless, I think this read about being a new dad is really good. Of particular note is what he says about breastfeeding.

So, back in 2017 when going to see Hippie Niece in hospital, we stopped off at Victoria Park Station and bought new LED lamps from Beacon Lighting for our over counter lights in the kitchen. They came with a three year warranty. Two weeks ago one began to flicker and then Sunday morning the other on went out.

We pulled the first light out with no problem but had some difficulty with the second. Brain fail number one, R said part of the fitting was bent and he would straighten it with pliers. It snapped. At the back of my brain I knew it was cast aluminium and cannot be bent. So we now need new light fittings as well as new LEDs.

Off by tram to Beacon Lighting in St Kilda. We bought new fittings, and received spare LED lamps as warranty replacement for the failed lamps.

We went on to Acland Street for lunch at Cafe 95, I think it is called. Acland Street is a place to lunch where you put your phone down on the table because the passing parade is far more interesting than what might be on your phone screen. We both walked away from the cafe without the new lamps. Brain fail number 2. We didn't get far before I remembered them and retrieved the bag.

We went to the supermarket to buy some bread mix for the bread maker as it was one of the rare occasions I had cooked our evening meal, pea and ham soup, and I have down to two days rather than three. It was really good, accompanied by the home made bread, albeit from a packet mix. Our bread making machine is old, but it does a good job. We eschewed margarine and slapped lovely soft and salty butter on the still warm bread. It is rare for me to eat too much, but I ate too much soup and bread and felt bloated afterwards.

Once home we realised the new light fittings came with standard plugs, not bare wires to connect them. Oh, we need our electrician. Brain fail number 3. We will have a little rest lying on our beds and it came to R. We just need to buy female plugs and connect them for the new male plugs to fit into. Out in the motor car this time to the big green hardware shed and bought said plugs. We connected them up (that sounds so easy. It wasn't for a 62 and 70 year old up on a ladder) and we are so pleased with the new lamps, that come with a 5 year warranty. They look so modern, unlike the old units, which were new a few years ago.

I was looking forward to a relaxing day. It wasn't. Nevertheless, achievement. R called Ex Sis in Law, as her husband's mother is dying at around the age of 88. It was in her home when she was a young newish wife that the Philip Morris cigarette dispensing machine was installed, along with the pay tv to view and to pay off the tv.

Meanwhile Mother called. Can R come Wednesday instead of Thursday? The muscle man is only in my town on Thursday and I have an appointment with him. R reluctantly said yes, reluctant because he does not want her to manipulate him more than she does.

I could have gone with him, but I have a doctor's appointment that day to have a week of stress leave from work.

I only feel like I am going slightly mad.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Tune into 4 Corners

I expect Victoria Police's Special Operations Group is really going to get it in the neck tonight by ABC TV's 4 Corners for not stopping the murderer James Gargasoulas rampage that began with stabbing his brother nearly to death and this mowing down people in the city with a motor car. SOG refused to assist to arrest him.

Yet the SOG badly injured a gay guy who feared he was being attacked in his home by intruders, a case of mistaken identity.

In another case of mistaken identity, SOG broke the jaw of an innocent Indian student as they arrested him. He received an undisclosed amount of compensation.

At best, the very expensive organisation could be said to be incompetent.

Monday Mural

Sydney has its Harbour Bridge and Opera House and both make Sydney instantly recognisable.

Melbourne doesn't have anything like those grand structures. Although limited to the free tourist City Circle route, which is now more like a saucepan with a handle, we do still have our old W Class trams.

Anyone my age and even younger will have stories to tell about our old trams. For better or worse, they are the best symbol for Melbourne we have, and no, the Arts Centre Spire won't do at all.

I came across this rather wide mural in Gallaghers Place in the city. I really like it and hope you do too.

I couldn't see the artist's name. This is a bit like Melbourne Town Hall but only a little. Maybe it is a real building I don't know about. What is the artist trying to say as greenery seems to grow over these iconic symbols? We are all doomed as nature will destroy us and what we love to save itself? We humans are terrible at being proactive at looking after our environment, and as follows, ourselves, but we are rather good at solving problems. Have faith.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

The Freshwater

Sydney's First Fleet Ferries were under threat of replacement. Dating from the mid 1980s and built in their home state of New South Wales, they have been saved and will continue in operation.

Alexander is a First Fleet ferry and they are named after the ships that arrived in Australia as the first fleet of ships from Portsmouth to Sydney Cove. But tourists and Sydney day trippers don't care too much for the First Fleet Ferries. Not their business. Nevertheless, the state government has decided to upgrade them and the annual Australia Day race between the First Fleet ferries on Sydney Harbour will continue.

While government owned, Sydney Ferries is operated by the French giant Transdev. Transdev in Melbourne is on the nose with the public and certainly with the state government. It has not acquitted itself well as a private bus operator in Melbourne.

On I think Easter Monday, Sydney Ferries carried the most passengers it ever has. The weather was fine and warm and it was a public holiday. The busiest ferry would have been the ferry to Manly, an obligatory trip for us when we visit Sydney and for many. Even local people like to make the trip to Manly by ferry.

The Freshwater class of ferries makes the trip from Circular Quay to Manly and what  a great ferry they are. As a commuter and tourist ferry, it is a large beast, capable of carrying 1200 people and often doing so. It has air conditioning in the large interior seating area and various open decks at the side and fore and aft on a couple of decks. While once the staff could be a bit rough around the edges, they seem quite professional now. Harbour ferries are part of Sydney's public transport system, so it not expensive to use. They are fast, comfortable and being double ended, efficient. Summer days, the Manly Ferry can have figures of transporting 45,000 people a day.

It will be a sad day when Transdev retires them next year (really? Transdev is paying for the new ferries?) and they are replaced with a slightly faster but smaller modern ferry operating to a more frequent schedule. Don't you love how governments when contracting out operations can blame or lay responsibility to the private company, when in this case, I am sure the NSW taxpayers will be paying for the new ferries.

Meanwhile in a Scandinavian country, ferries are being upgraded to being powered by electric motors, with batteries charged while they are moored at ferry terminals.

Why not do that with the Freshwater Class of ferry?

For whatever reason and odd as it seems, the New South Wales' motoring organisation had set up a rival smaller but faster ferry service to Manly. Very strange indeed. But local Manly people like the faster service.

I've put this photo up before, and I like the photo, showing a smaller First Fleet ferry and the larger Manly Freshwater class. Save the Manly Freshwater class ferry, please. We like 'em big and we know their times. Speed is not everything and certainly not for tourists.

This post is a bit boring, so I will chuck in a few more Sydney ferry photos. The First Fleet ferry,  Scarborough. 

First Fleet ferry,  Friendship.

I remain puzzled as to why a motoring organisation club runs a ferry service in competition with Harbour City Ferries.