Saturday, November 30, 2019

Vale Clive

Australian born Clive James died in England a few days ago. He was one of what I learnt and was amused by, one of the gumleaf mafia. That is Australians who went to London and never came home. There have been quite a number. You may know of Kathy Lette, Germaine Greer and perhaps Robert Hughes, although I think Hughes did return to Australia. They are just a few who jump to my mind.

I bought his first autobiography An Unreliable Memoir for my E Reader, then realising I must have read the hard copy and donated it away.

He was a poet, and I liked some of his poetry, a literary critic, a novelist, a television critic.......the list of what he achieved is long.

I don't think we ever missed one of his tv shows. His Postcards from various countries were brilliant.  He was erudite, funny and didn't really take himself too seriously. While his tv show was good and tightly edited, they covered many areas, from political comment, pithy observations to self harming Japanese game shows. In the days before the internet, we couldn't see anything like the Japanese game shows.

He was just brilliant and if you saw The Clive James Show broadcast in Britain by ITV and here by our ABC, you won't have forgotten Margarita Pracatan. When we used to visit Prahran Market, at times their was a foursome of musicians who would perform. We would say, oh fuck botheration, here comes the Mariachi Band, and leave as soon as we could, in reference to Clive's visit to Central America. While you can find his full shows on Youtube, here are a few shorter clips.

This is an ITV tribute.

Before the days of the internet and Youtube, he showed us what was on Japanese television.

His regular performer, Margarita Pracatan along with Liza Minnelli. I don't think you can't sing as badly as Margarita does unless you can sing well.

Friday, November 29, 2019


I picked up my new pairs of glasses today. One pair is for reading and computer use, effectively bifocal. That is the second pair, half price. The other pair is multi focal, that is three focal points and they are brilliant. I looked out of the door of optometrist at the plane trees on the far side of Bourke Street. I lowered and raised the glasses. How much more clearly could I see the leaves on the tree with my new glasses. I hadn't realised how much my sight had deteriorated. 

It will take me some time to get used to the multi focals but I am quite pleased with them. They are also transitional!! That means they darken and act like sunglasses but unlike when wearing my old sunglasses, I can not look at hot men things when I am on a tram and be unobserved. Nevertheless, a quick glimpse has me seeing with great clarity.

The cost of them has sent me into penury. I need to set up a Go Fund Me Page. (more on that later)

I used to think of middle aged as being say 45. At 62 and bespectacled, I think I am now middle aged, with the worst years yet to come. 

I was doubtful about the frame but R said it really suits my big face. What? I know I have a big nose but a big face too? I don't think I do and my father used to call me pinhead.

Yes, transitioning to an older age, but I don't really care.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Division of the spoils.

I should be posting more photos as I have a serious backlog, but sometimes I just like to type.

Friends and family generally think R has money and I don't. I am happy enough with them to think that but it is not true. I paid for 3/4 of our former car and all of this new car. I've paid for holidays myself for both of us. R is very grateful to me for buying the new car, but had I had not have bought the one he wanted, I would have never heard the end of it.

Down to the dollar, we each pay our way with general expenses. Here is an example of what is written once a fortnight.

Sinking fund (utilities and body corporate fees) $340
less shopping money, $100 (my turn to pay)
less Tattslotto money, $14
less money owed (lunches out) $21
plus coffee in $1 (loyalty card gave me two for one coffee and I let him off with a dollar I think)
less Citylink tolls, $50
plus birthday card I paid for, $3.
= R owes me something like $158.

Don't worry about my arithmetic , this is an example. I am meticulous when I do the sums.

He transfers the money to my bank account via a phone app. Once he pays, he ticks the note paper and I send it to the shredder.

It has always been the same for us. He had joint money with his first partner and vowed to never repeat that and we have always had separate money. While we may offer opinions to each other about how we spend money, we can't tell each other how to spend money.

Then it is for me to pay the bills recorded using a simple ledger.

This week it looks like this.

In the starting balance column, $1037.44.
In column plus Andrew and R, $680, Balance, $1717.44.
Out column, TFS (health insurance, fortnightly), $168, Balance $1549.44.
Out column TPG (internet provider, monthly) $70, Balance $1479.44.
Out column Origin Electric (three months), $368.69, Balance $1110.75.

At times it goes into the negative but recovers.

Just saying.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Photos photos

I have a huge backlog of photos to post. This photo is of M Pavilion from last year. M Pavilion  is a copy of the Pavillion in London's Serpentine.

This is this year's effort. I prefer last year's. How poorly Naomi Milgrom spends her money is not my business.

Strong man. The ball is taken away at park closing hours as it might be stolen, and has been in the past.

More of philanthropist Milgrom's money spent. I liked it better when City of Melbourne planted annual flowers in these beds.

I tried umpteen times to get a photo of this bird, but it would not stay still. This is the best of them.

Is that Queen Vic on the horizon

I do like a nice duck.

Yep, that'd be her.

Nice waterfall.

Really, can't beat a white duck.

Ah, I can do reflection photos.

More photos of the Janet Lady Clarke Memorial.

Roses surround the Queen Vic statue.

While it doesn't look great, this is how to deal with spring bulbs after they have flowered.

Lord of Marquis perhaps, and a perhaps a family connection.

The privately funded Walker Fountain, by the late Ron Walker.

The floral clock was a gift to Melbourne from the watchmakers of Zurich, or was it Geneva?

A Spanish food van outside the National Gallery of Victoria.

It looks like we bought trams from Sarajevo in the 1990s.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Fire tree

I noticed smoke in the local park yesterday. I checked the VicFire app and three appliances were attending and the fire was quickly out.

Today I walked through the park to investigate. From afar I could see a likely spot where temporary tape had been erected around something, and sure enough, a burnt pine tree.

However, note the branches haven't been burnt but the roots. I remember from my childhood my father lighting tree stumps and they would smoulder away for days, slowly turning to charcoal. In this case I think it smouldered until the tree collapsed and the smoke was released or it then caught fire. To light a fire like that requires some knowledge I think, so it was lit by a person who had some knowledge of fires. Of course it could have been a lightning strike but as far as I know we haven't had any of late and surely the branches would have caught alight. Rather curious and also odd that no one noticed the smell of the smouldering tree and reported it.

Just to note, although I don't like pine trees in public parks, it wasn't me.

The new car

The good, the bad and the ugly of the new car.

There is so much tech in the new car. I struggle with some of it. Let me list what it has and how I find the systems.

The car has daytime running lights which you can switch on. Our preference is to set the lights to auto, lights automatically on as required but the daytime running lights don't work on the auto setting. If you switch the daytime running lights on manually, you have to switch them off when you park as an alarm sounds. Absurd.

Self darkening rear view mirror, very good. Sun visor vanity mirror lighting, very good.

Fold in exterior mirrors are operated by an armrest switch. Why not automatic? Fold in when parked, fold out when the car starts. Again, absurd.

Some oddities that I have observed on the roads have been answered. Why does that wanker have his/her windscreen wipers on at high speed? Why are the wipers intermittently sweeping so frequently when there is hardly any rain? It is all about the auto wiper setting, where a sensor tells the wipers when and how to operate.

Why is this wanker's brake lights coming on when travelling on a freeway. Surely you just speed up or slow down without needing brakes. That is all about adaptive cruise control. You would normally have the distance preset within the system and then set your speed and if the car in front of you slows, so do you. If it is an abrupt slowing, your brakes will come on, hence your brake lights will come on. With the system in action, it will bring you to a complete stop behind the car in front of you if it stops. Way cool.

Our old car had Bluetooth, so we could make and receive phone calls and I could listen to podcasts from my phone. This system now goes a step further and you plug your phone into the system and you can use your apps via the screen. While the car has sat nav, I prefer Google Maps, and I can have it on the screen. We played with it but I doubt we will use it unless travelling distances in unknown areas.

Our old car had a button to press to release the boot. This one does not have a button on the remote to release the tailgate. The car has to be opened and you press a button on the tailgate to open the boot, and minimal lift is required for it to raise. It would have been nice to have an electric tailgate, self raising and self closing.

Rear view camera is excellent, with cross traffic alerts. Beeping as you get close to something behind you when reversing is good.

Lane change alerts, where the steering wheel vibrates to alert you when crossing road lines if you haven't used your indicator is good, but works inconsistently.

Still bothered with the auto climate control air con. We don't fully understand it yet, though it should be set and forget. The passenger can have a different setting to the driver and there are outlets for the back seats.

It has an engine off feature, as did our old car when stopped. The new care starts off more smoothly. It also has a hold feature, that stops you rolling backwards on a hill and also means once you stop, you can take your feet off the pedals and the car is held at a stop.

Electric handbrake? Why doesn't it automatically come on when you park? It turns off automatically when you press the accelerator.

But truly the best thing is the orange lights in the mirrors that alert you to a car being in your blind spots on either side of the car. If a car is in your blind spot on either side, an orange light shows on the exterior mirrors.

Otherwise the car is probably underpowered, which isn't really an issue for us as inner city and freeway drivers. It is smooth and quiet, which I really like.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Monday Mural

I may have mentioned this already but I saw a mural from a tram on a Sunday. When I went back to photograph it on a weekday, it was obscured by cars in the car park so had to return a second time on a Sunday. It is a huge wall at an Australia Post delivery centre in Balaclava. In spite of the artist's name being on the work it is rather difficult to find he or she online. Wait, no it isn't. You just have to ask Guggle the right question.

The photo has been severely cropped and I am not sure how it will look once published. I may update the post if it doesn't work well. It is not a gobsmacking mural but nice enough I think, and a whole lot better than a blank wall.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Shopping Jeep

Here it is WWW, the shopping jeep. I am sure you have the same there and also probably imported from China.

Folded for wheeling empty and storage.

Unfolded for loading.

The clip that holds it folded. Our old one had a plastic clip but this one has a metal clip. As long as the clips work and don't fall off, it doesn't matter. I have actually used it for shopping when out, but not for a long time. It now only transports our weekly shopping from the car to the apartment.

Sunday Selections

Random photos from all over the place as I roam our city along with some personal. No photos but I noticed some mainly Asian people dressed very strangely when I was out and about last week. Perhaps it is do with Jehovah's Witness convention with an expected attendance of 50,000 nutters at Docklands Stadium.

Winter is but a distant memory in Fawkner Park on a sunny but no doubt crisp and cold day.

Spring is soon to end and this photo is from early spring.

A fine building in Toorak Road West.

It is a very strange sculpture at the apartment building Lucient. I think it looks quite awful when lit in purple at night. Disagree with me about the sculpture please.

She's coming down and is now half the height she was here. More on that later.

Old Flinders Street train viaduct.

And a newer Flinders Street train viaduct. While I prefer the older viaduct, correct me if I am wrong train enthusiasts, but trains seem to have to travel more slowly on the old viaduct and can travel faster on the newer viaduct.

Rechabite Hall used to be quite visible on this old building in the back streets of Prahran but a tree now obscures it. A Vietnamese man told me many years ago that male Asian masseurs work in the building who are cheap and happy to give their customers a happy ending. I cannot possibly confirm this information.

I missed the photo of the vertical raised passenger door on this exotic looking car.

While I don't believe in anything Christmas happening before December, this is a rather stylish display in Collins Street. (Confession, I did buy and eat a mince pie the day before last)

Ah yes, a little free publicity for Burberry, which I think has gone a bit downmarket, however nice its Christmas reindeer are.

I've never heard of any Saint Collins, but that is the name of the arcade is in Collins Street.

Illegal parking outside Southern Cross Spencer Street Station. I was catching a bus in the opposite direction, but returned to the stop in the photo, so it does affect me. The first car looks like an Uber and the second is a taxi. I wish I knew Twitter better and could tweet City of Melbourne parking officers. Book 'em Danno.

A visit to Footscray Market and we found a new shopping jeep which we use to bring weekly shopping up from the car to our apartment. This is the old one with a very bent axle from when it carried huge tubs of paint when we last repainted. We paid the same price for the new one as we did for the old one bought from Victoria Market, sixteen years ago. That and the old balcony chairs went out for the hard rubbish collection but disappeared before the rubbish was collected. We have bought new balcony chairs but kept the old table.

The welds on the old chairs were breaking and they were looking very rusty and shabby.

While it looks ok here, the killer hot 40 degree day did wonders for the new potted petunia, bought from a posh nursery rather than the big green hardware shed.

The dressing gown I ordered from New York arrived, posted from Germany. It has no labels aside from an L for Large. It is too small for me, who is an L. While it just keeps me decent, it leaves my pectoral muscles saggy old man chest exposed. Including delivery, it was $20. It will go into the charity bin in the basement.

I am officially old now. I went to the optometrist for the government paid eye test and I now need to wear glasses all the time if I want to see properly. Omg, the cost. I am a poor person on a fixed income. Maybe not so poor, as I bought one pair of multi focal light transitional carbonite glasses and a pair of extended reading glasses, suitable for reading and computer use at home. I'll collect them in a week or so. I am looking forward to seeing male crotches faces better in the street, and perhaps traffic lights, other cars and street signs when I am driving. On the way as we hunted out somewhere to brunch, we came across H&M at the old GPO. We haven't been there since it opened some years ago. What gorgeous clothes they have for young men, which we are not. Terrific though, a light weight linen dressing gown for more than I should have paid, but still not a too bad price. It gets so hot in the early morning here in the apartment as the sun shines in and it is unbearable to be wearing a heavy dressing gown.

I took this photo in Chapel Street, Prahran, I think. I've no idea what Electric Ladyland is. Of course you know where my mind would go, but I don't think so.