Saturday, August 17, 2019

Be alert in Canberra

While not so large, Canberra is the capital city of Australia. It was designed by the great world architect Walter Burley Griffin in the early 20th century. His design included trams but tram lines in Canberra were never built, but there is now a newly built tram line in Canberra.

I've seen quite a number of tram near miss videos. I prefer videos of tram collisions, nearly always with cars where car drivers have done wrong. Generally alarmist videos of near tram collisions are very weak, with no real danger. But this video of the new Canberra tram line is not alarmist. There are some very near misses and occasions where the tram driver had to brake hard. I think the worst was the high viz bloke towards the end of the video. This should work, but I don't think it will.

Try this.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Believe it or not

As most of you would know I have little time for religion. There is some interesting history to religion and many fine worshiping buildings remain, but in this 21st century all it seems to cause is an awful lot of problems. Dare I say it is old hokus pokus stuff that has no place in what should be a century of science and enlightenment.

The State Government of Victoria is about to introduce a bill to parliament to rid the protection of the confessional in churches and make reporting of child abuse to authorities mandatory by everyone, including priests.

Melbourne's Catholic Archbishop, Peter Cominsole has said that he would rather go to gaol than breach the Catholic Church's long time confessional policy of five hail Marys and the sinner repenting.

Can you believe that in 2019, after all the child sexual abuse revelations by religions and institutions we have learnt of, the Archbishop will not report child abuse told to him in the confessional to the authorities. While I expect the Archbishop would take some kind of action, who knows?

May I just press the point? If someone confesses to Catholic Archbishop Peter Cominsole that he, or even she,  has abused a child or even raped a child, he would not report it to the authorities.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Buck Palace

Before we left our hotel Marie, messaged me. We had met when we were last in London and she took us roaming a London docks area we would not have dreamed of visiting, then the chairlift across The Thames and seeing the O2 and it was a great time with her. While we had planned to meet her the next day and travel to Brighton, she said she had to come into London today and would we like to meet for coffee or lunch. As there was not an invitation from Her Maj, we decided lunch would fit perfectly with our visit to Buckingham Palace.

We caught the bus to North Greenwich and the Jubilee Line to Green Park and walked through St James's Park Green Park. Here is a language quirk and I don't think it is a matter of being right or wrong. I would say St James Park. I might be wrong to do so, but I would write it as St James' Park. Marie pronounced it as St Jameses Park and I heard someone else do the same. Interesting to me and I am probably wrong on both counts.

The gates have to been seen to be believed. I did not catch the gold, being on the wrong side and facing the sun.

As you can see by the flag, Her Maj was at home but did not invite the colonials in for a cuppa.

Tourists were coming from all directions and gathering to see the Changing of the Queens Guard.

There were more police than you could shake a stick at and moving people along from walkways where they were inclined to linger. We found a good vantage point but we had forty minutes to wait. While hatted, it was very hot in the sun. As soon as R said we can't stay here standing in the sun for the next hour we quickly moved on. 

S'pose I should do some research. Right, Queen Victoria Memorial. There must be more statues of Queen Vic than anyone else in the world.

We found a seat in the shade after shoving a couple of old ladies off a bench and watched the passing parade and the soothing fountain.

We had decided to see what we could see from The Mall, the wide ceremonial avenue leading to the palace. 

Isn't it just stunning.

Various people involved in Changing of Guard came and went, some on foot and some on horseback. Police yelled at people who tried to cross from one side of The Mall to the other at inappropriate times.

It was really quite good standing under the shade of trees in The Mall.

I took this 20 second video. Turn up your speakers. Great fun and I wish I had recorded for a little longer.

We were to meet Marie at the Police Memorial further along The Mall at a certain time so we wandered along and greeted Marie and came across the Changing of the Horse Guard behind Whitehall.

We decided to lunch in one of the various terrific pubs in Whitehall. We are close to Big Ben, to Westminster, Charing Cross, Trafalgar Square but there are just normal pubs in Whitehall. We had a window seat. 

I only realised later that the last time we were in London we lunched next door at The Old Shades. This time it was The Silver Cross. Also the last time we lunched in Whitehall, god botherers shut down Whitehall as they demonstrated. This time it was a demonstration in support Tommy Robinson who was gaoled for breaching the peace. Briefly, he filmed Muslim men in an English town as they attended court charged with grooming underage girls for sex. While I have sympathy for the cause, let the courts decide without interference. It was as much an anti Muslim protest as much as anything.

I am not sure what this spire is.

Charing Cross Station but it is not The Tube Charing Cross Station, as we learnt.

Marie walked us on towards Covent Garden.

The dark woman had been singing opera and and a donation collection was underway.

Marie took us on to the Royal Opera House. It's a stunning building.

My shoelace had become undone. As we descended the Opera House stairs, I sat down to tie my shoelace. After doing that I looked up and a stern looking guard was just behind me. I expected to be told off for sitting on the steps, but instead as Marie told me, and he asked, he was just concerned that I was ok. Nice.View over Covent Garden.

We had to backtrack on the Piccadilly Line to Green Park to catch a Jubilee Line train to London Bridge where we bought a couple of things including our train tickets to Brighton for the following day. This is iconic building The Shard, better viewed from a distance.

The plaza between London Bridge underground and the regional trains? I didn't notice the colourful people at the time.

Back at North Greenwich and the 422 back to our hotel.

We caught the 188 bus to Greenwich and had a drink in The Mitre but did not fancy it as a place to eat. This was an impressive beast parked illegally in Greenwich.

We had dinner at the Rose and Crown, which I think is a gay pub. We were urged to participate in karaoke, but nah. Amazingly the menu was exactly the same as that at the pub in Whitehall where we lunched. Whitehall had run out of hummus for the nibble platter, but the Rose and Crown had not. I am sure the pub kicks off at some time, but it was very quiet when we were there. We caught the 188 bus back to our hotel.

An outrage. We didn't have glasses in our hotel room, only these plastic things wrapped in plastic which we chucked in the bin each day and they were replaced. Absurd.

Next post, a day train trip to Brighton with Marie and R becomes very unwell.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


I think Jackie in Toronto has detailed and well researched posts on everything we saw in Great Britain.

Gattina in Waterloo, Belgium writes well with detail about what she sees when travelling and she took the same GB tour a couple of years before we did.

Marie in London writes mean travel details too. Her latest tour was Russia and her Russian tales are brill. OMG, how great are Moscow railway stations.

I respect them for what they do, but I am not them. Minimal research by me and mostly anecdotal and I don't apologise for that.

So here we go. Our first day in old London Town.

I worked out we could catch the 422 bus from near our hotel to North Greenwich Station, the Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf then the Docklands Light Rail to Cutty Sark Greenwich. It was not the best or quickest route, but I knew how The Tube and the DLR worked. We did not know where to touch on Oyster cards on the bus, but the driver quickly pointed to where, and after that, we were confident.

At some point as you enter a DLR station there will be a touch on point but there are not gates per se. We missed the touch on point but we got away with it. It was not our intention to defraud.

Really nice hanging baskets at the Gypsy Moth Hotel. The photos look so dull though.

The entrance to something. I forget. Naval College?

A fine building. Greenwich really is a delight. We loved it.

We were in London not long after Gay Pride Week.

We wandered through Greenwich Market. We are over markets full of things we don't want.

R, it is expensive to see the Cutty Sark sailing ship. Look, we can see the Greenwich Observatory too if we pay more. We get two for one, at double the price. I could tell from other people being admitted that there were much cheaper deals to be had.

Being aboard the Cutty Sark was great. Oh my sail rigger, what a nice and large mizzen mast you have.

Good view of the City.

I can't remember if this was hologram. It looks like it. I expect he was writing to his mother.

The Gypsy Moth again.

The cabins as they would have been were so well done.

The officers' lounge. Note that when sailing ships did not have stabilisers there was somewhere where you could put your glass of rum where it would not be spilt if the ship rolled or rocked.

Aussie wool was part of the cargo for the return journey by the Cutty Sark to England.

As I said to Marie when we met the next day, who would have thought an observatory would be at the top of a hill. Well, I didn't. By accident we took the easiest path up to Greenwich Observatory and we stopped for breaks at seats in the shade. Note the outdoor diners on the far left in this photo.

The Observatory was very busy with tourists but our visit was not spoilt by the numbers of people.

Some VIP statue.

Greenwich Mean Time was very interesting to learn about and to this day it remains as what our time is based upon.

We were nearly ready to leave when I made R go back as I had not seen the time divider. To the right is east and to the left is west, and ne're the twain shall meet. R took a really bad photo of me straddling the line. 

We took the steep path back down to Greenwich. Almost at the bottom we passed a huffing and puffing older chap who I cannot imagine making it to the top. Maybe there is one, but if not there certainly needs to be some easy public transport up to the Observatory. It was a nice walk back and what to do now? 

We are hot and thirsty and a gin and tonic would go down well, so into the Gypsy Moth we went. We had bought a couple of bottles of wine at an off licence for later. We sat on high seats at a high bench and I went to get drinks. R does not like high seats at high tables. An ever so nice and helpful American woman explained to us how to order a meal, which we had no intention of doing. R spied the open court yard with shaded seats. I had left the wine behind and someone had handed it into the bar. 

It was warm, we were comfortable, our fellow drinkers were interesting. One refreshing gin and tonic turned into another. It was a lovely conclusion to the afternoon. 

I had been busy on my phone. We can just catch the 188 bus back to our hotel, so we did. The bus travelled along a route of a less wealthy area. It was a difficult walk back to our hotel. Later I noted that we should have stayed on for one stop more to make the walk easier.

We napped and then revived by a glass of wine, we set off to what I had spied, an old original dockworkers hotel surrounded by medium rise apartment buildings not too far away by foot. Again we sat outside in a really nice courtyard at The Pilot and had a really nice meal. 

We had such a nice day. Next post will be a Buck House visit and a nice lunch with Marie.

Later edit: Gypsy Moth was the name of Sir Francis Chichester's yacht whereby he was the first to yacht to circumnavigate the world's oceans to return to England.