Saturday, October 19, 2019

Stuffs to chuck out

To the charity shop.

Unopened. Are they e-waste? We no longer have a machine to play tapes.

Smiling at the memory, ever so many years ago, both the English version and the US version. More e-waste?

Newcastle Day 8,9,10 and Home

Most were a bit hungover as we had a late Sunday lunch at The Fox and Hounds, but of course the youngers who don't drink had no problem demolishing these monster desserts.No much happened that Sunday.

 A view of where we stayed with R's sister.

One neighbour has a new roof, the other doesn't.

Generally in Australia we say cemetery, but in Newcastle they say crematorium and abbreviate it to The Crem. It was my suggestion to make the visit to The Crem on the West Road to leave flowers for R's and his sister's parents and his brother who suicided. While he was in a relationship with a woman, he must have been with men too and at the height of the AIDS crisis, he thought he may have caught HIV and took his own life. I am not sure how it is known but R's mother told him when she visited Australia and when they were both 'tired and emotional' after a night out.

Of course firstly you have visit the florist, in this case the one we use to send flowers to R's sisters for their birthdays. We were back on the 39/40 bus for the return journey.

While they can be places of great sadness, I like visiting cemeteries. They are always such peaceful places, more so than anywhere else.

The Crem is very well kept.

I always have a wander at a cemetery and read some graves, and usually come across one of a child who died at a young age. It is sadly too common in the time of our modern cemeteries. 

I suppose we began packing that afternoon. R's middle sister, two nieces and great nephew visited for a little while in the evening and one of the nieces offered to take us to the airport the next morning, and she did. Before we left, R's youngest sister and her husband visited after breakfast. I felt very sad as I really didn't think we would ever see R's sisters again, his cousin who we visited and his brother in law's sister whose farm we visited. Given his cousin is nearly 80 and she smokes, I expect that will be the call will come first.

Gosh though, it was so nice to be home very very early Thursday morning after leaving Tuesday morning, such is the time change.

Friday, October 18, 2019

A Rannger

We were out with our Indian friend at a pub, The Malvern Vale, for dinner tonight. It was a nice catch up. Interestingly in the bastion of rich white middle class people, there was a table next to us of coloured people. Dark people, Asian people, red haired, I like them all, especially the men but the women can be such fun.

Home and watch the excellent Barchester Chronicles Grantchester  How hot is James Norton, a red head and so handsome. Settle down Hels. It is Shabbat as I post this.

Waddya reckon? Into red haired guys? Is he hot or not?


Daniel Bowen, a frequent spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association and former president, has been campaigning about Rule 128 in Victoria's road laws, mostly via Twitter. I have read the rule but I forget exactly what it says now. Essentially it about not entering an intersection unless you can clear the intersection, that is not be stopped by stationary vehicles in front of you.

It seems to be common sense, but there seems to be very little common sense used. There is little advantage in it to drivers as at most between traffic light cycles, maybe two or three cars might turn from cross streets into the congested street. You will not really be any further back.

Some do it deliberately but I think most are not paying sufficient attention or are just plain idiots. They block traffic in cross streets, they cause pedestrians to weave around them as the pedestrians cross the road with the green walk signal. They block trams and buses. As Jackie says, it is the same in Toronto and like here, there is little police enforcement of the law. If the cops started booking a few people, you might be surprised how effective that would be as word got around. Instead the cops are busy fining pedestrians crossing at traffic lights when the green walk isn't showing, even though it is quite safe and they don't inconvenience drivers.

I think Melbourne's pedestrians are remarkably tolerant of cars blocking their legal crossing path. At times I feel great anger and I feel like kicking the car blocking my path, but I can't run very far or fast nowadays.

I will have another post about the bustitution below as tram tracks are moved because of the Metro Tunnel Station construction nearby. Suffice to say for now, trams are not running below The Highrise, instead buses, dirty smelly things they are.

But what I am appalled about is how so called professional bus drivers are blocking the intersection below. Professional drivers really need to obey road laws and bus drivers have the advantage of being able to see over the top of cars and see that traffic is stationary, never mind picking up that slow moving stop start traffic informs you about what is happening at an intersection. There is absolutely no excuse in the case of bus drivers that I have noted down below.

Daniel did receive some publicity from another source, in this case a piece at, and the more the better.

Thursday, October 17, 2019


The first two photos are taken with the camera and I still don't have the focusing right. I expect I need to put my glasses on. The last two were with my phone, no expecting much photogenic at my ABI Brother's.

While I am long way from competing with EC for her magnificent photos of Tulip Top Gardens, do have a look if you haven't seen the post, here is my small flora contribution. I think these are flowering plums and are used to great effect when planted in rows. I know of a street of them near ABI Brother's and I will photograph them next year.

Perhaps a flowering cherry of some kind. It had both white and pink blossoms. I am just smiling as sometimes our Hairdresser Friend greets me with, Hello Blossom.

Mother urged us to go outside and look at the azalea on the blind side of ABI Brother's house. The phone camera really failed to catch the beauty. It was stunning, the rest, not so much. ABI Brother didn't know about it and nor did we. Only Creeping Jesus, Mother, poking about discovered it. It never gets watered but must be in an ideal growing spot with not too much sun.

And these near his back door aren't half bad either and facing south, they don't really receive any sunlight. Mother is trying to encourage him to do more in his garden. She is putting in an effort by potting up multicoloured red and white petunias to be ready for Christmas.

I am not sure if it will be the next post, but I still have our last days in Newcastle to cover. I only took photos on one of the days, so it will be three days in one and quite short.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Newcastle Day 7

The city area of Newcastle is quite flat, but has steep streets down to the river bank. R and myself caught the 39/40 bus to town and had a bite to eat somewhere I can't remember. Something was happening in town and instead of leaving the bus at Eldon Square, we had to get off earlier at a temporary terminus and we were a bit lost but R worked it out, remembering landmarks from his youth

We did have coffee at Cafe Nero facing St Thomas' Church. The last time we were in Newcastle we had coffee Cafe Nero and when R ordered a long black for me, the rather attractive young man behind the counter said, you are Australian. Only Australians ask for a long black. He was from Newcastle upon Hunter in Australia, not Newcastle upon Tyne in England. Really good coffee.

In Geordie speak, it being a nice sunny day and school holidays and a Saturday, the town was heavin'. That translates as very busy.

The city centre is relatively flat but short streets that lead down to the Tyne River bank are very steep. We would not want to, and R could not, walk up them.

We had a really nice time, just on our own, for the first time since we left home. Vegetables in the Grainger Market are still priced per pound and per kilo. R pointed out many things to me about the city and where he once worked.

I expect we rested a good bit in the afternoon once back at R's Sister's.

As soon as I heard we will go for pre dinner drinks at The Denton and cross the road to an Indian restaurant for dinner, I knew that it would end messily, and it did.

Jaipur is a seriously good Indian restaurant, perhaps superior to our usual in Australia. Mine Host being friendly and chatting to us helped, no doubt. Of course the Indian man had a relative in Melbourne and in a city of nearly 5 million people, did we know him at all?

R's nephew asked if we would like to come back to his home after dinner. I said no L. We like early nights, and then the matter was taken out of my hands and back to his place we went with various relatives including his own rather gorgeous 18 year old son and his lovely 12 year old daughter. R's middle sister was with with us, along with her ex bro in law, who is an accepted member of their family. He kept topping up my glass of Scotch constantly.  While I only sipped, eventually it made behave inappropriately, or not. You be the judge.

R's nephew is a successful businessperson, now owning a car panel beating shop. He makes a good income. He is happily married with the two aforesaid children.

So drinks were had by both me and him. I said to him truthfully, I've never really got the gay man lusting after straight men thing L but now I do. You are such a hot guy and so nice too. I've fallen in love with you. He brushed it off with aplomb, saying something like, I have that effect on people. I expect he does.

Worse is that once home he sent me a  message and I responded inappropriately and then he did too. I am finding out a lot about a straight English man's sexual provicalties. But he has never admitted to being unfaithful to his very attractive wife and I don't think he has been. It is all fantasy stuff. The messaging will die a natural death soon enough as we get bored with the conversation. He and his wife hope to visit Australia in 2021 and I hope they do. I will be great to see him again, and no, of course I didn't really fall in love with him and no, I wouldn't want sex with him (Andrew lies you reckon), but what fun to to talk openly with him.

Not too many photos taken on that day, but rather a lot at what turned into a party at L's place, with singing, dancing, karaoke and great conversations. I paid the price the next day and when we had the Sunday lunch at the Fox and Hounds, someone asked me if I felt ok, I said NO, I DO NOT.

St James' Park in the distance, the home of Newcastle United. 

The first time I was in England I had to ask what a grit box was for. It is grit to spread around when the ground is snowy or slippery.

Some whimsical architecture at the Civic Centre. Shades of Gaudi, me thinks.

St Thomas' Church.

I can't easily find out what this statue is.

Busy. The buskers were great.

A nice use for a grit box.

Another statue I am not sure about.

My dinner in the evening. Very nice.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Monday Mural

I don't know why but so many Melbourne murals are not signed by the artist. I was at some distance from this one, so perhaps it was. While I have issues with the written words in the mural, I like the sentiment and the mural itself.

Later edit: The words read, "To those in the struggle, the sunshines(sic) for you".

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Inconvenienced to the max

Goddamned Extincion Rebellion protestors. It took us an extra twenty minutes to get to a family birthday lunch because of heavy stop start local traffic on a Sunday morning. Outrageous. Ah, the photo does not match an Extinction Rebellion protest?

Melbourne Marathon caused massive stress, inconvenience and delays to people, far more than any Extinction Rebellion street protests over the past week. But it raises money for a charity, so the marathon is above criticism. Well, not by me. There is no reason why a marathon has to cause massive disruption and major roads should not be used as running paths.

Newcastle Day 6. A Tyne River Cruise

Gosh this took a long time to write, but here we go.

Where else would you meet up with family for a river cruise? At the Slug & Lettuce, of course. The river cruise company,, took us for a one hour cruise up and down the river at the very reasonable cost of £7. We saw all seven bridges over the River Tyne (there is a tunnel too, and I think with another tunnel being built). This link simply shows you each bridge, and no, you are not seeing Sydney Harbour Bridge.

We departed late because of stragglers. Oh no, look at all those walking sticks and walking frames coming down the ramp but we still had the full hour. The SS Minnow Coventina was absolutely full.

"Captain, what happens if I pull that lever like this?"

Clever photographers from the right vantage point can get all seven bridges in shot. Me, not so clever.

The High Level Bridge was opened by Queen Victoria in 1849 and carries road, rail and foot traffic.

'The Sage' is a performance and exhibition space on the southern riverbank, correctly called Gateshead, not Newcastle.

Aside from its official name as The Millennium Bridge, this foot and cycle bridge is known as the 'Winking Eye', because of the way it opens to give clearance for ships to sail underneath. We always forget about it and just miss the daily opening at 1pm.

This is Our Lady and St Vincent church dominating the northern river bank.

Looking up King Street towards All Saints Church.

The old flour mill is now a contemporary art exhibition space.

In behind here is known as the Tidal Basin.

I think it is St Thomas The Martyr church in the background.

Old Fish Market.

For good and cheap food along with good service, there is nothing quite like Wetherspoons, found all over the country. We've been to two in the past, this same one here in a old hotel, and another in Hexham in an old picture theatre. After a late lunch we sat in the sunshine in the rear courtyard and chatted. There are some very old bricks in this wall.

Salmon cooked by R's sister for dinner after a large lunch.

In an amazing coincidence two of R's sisters bought the same mirror for their respective lounge rooms and neither knew. 

Next holiday post, R and I went to town during the day, and then rather too much in the evening. I would have embarrassed R if he knew what I said to one of his rels, but he doesn't.