Saturday, December 07, 2019

More people killed

Yes, more people killed on London Bridge by a terrorist for the second time near the Borough Market. Here is a screenshot of a map of the area showing London Bridge, the Borough Market and London Bridge Underground Station where we were several times earlier this year, along with London Bridge regional station where we met Marie before travelling by train to Brighton.

Could have just have easily been us who were stabbed to death had we been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Too close for comfort, but these Muslim terrorists won't win. I would be back at London Bridge in a trice, hopping on a train, staring up at The Shard and wandering out to look at the river.

Surry Hills v Surrey Hills

Surry Hills in Sydney is an 'interesting' inner suburb where James O'Brien lives. Much excitement for Surry Hills on December 14th when the much delayed, over engineered and staggeringly over budget new light rail tram line will open with the first car to run at 11.00am, I expect from Circular Quay, along George Street, through Surry Hills and on to the Randwick terminus. The branch line to Kingsford is not due to open until March, but there isn't an operational reason why it can't open earlier.

Sydney's Surry Hills is worlds apart from Melbourne ever so white, conservative and middle class once outer suburb, Surrey Hills. As the city has expanded exponentially, it is not that far out now.

R often meets his former workmate friend for lunch at a garden nursery in Surrey Hills and R suggested one Sunday when we had nothing on that we should lunch there. I had dreads of the traffic to get there but it wasn't too bad.

Acorn Nursery is not cheap but the food in the cafe is great, the gift shop so interesting (I normally avoid gift shops) and the plants so delightful. We did find a Christmas gift for Little Jo in the gift shop. Here are a few photos.

The view from our lunch table.

The entrance.

Plant labelling is excellent.

The car park roses. These photos were taken with my phone and it usually does a better focus job.

We don't call them suburbs of the rich middle class bible bashers. No, they are our green and leafy Eastern Suburbs. Means the same thing.

We don't have many two storey primary schools like this in Melbourne. Most have been repurposed, but Surrey Hills Primary lives on. You can bet your children will get the best 'free' education compared to anywhere in the world at this school.

That evening R cooked Bratkartoffeln to go with something I can't remember. Thanks Maribeth. It was very nice. Maybe R put a bit too much bacon in it but I know better than to ever criticise the chef. We agreed that it was one of those dishes that isn't particularly healthy and we won't have it too often.

Friday, December 06, 2019


The quiet peacefulness of a country railway line cutting, and yes, I have used this photo before.

What is this coming? It isn't a train. It is light rail vehicle, or tram. We don't have those in the country.

Nor do we have highrise buildings in the country like the one visible through the trees to the left. It is the old inner suburban St Kilda railway line converted for tram use in the 1980s, along with the Port Melbourne train line. Both now so busy, even with these route 96 trams around 60 metres long running every few minutes in the peak and the conversion turned out to be a  poor decision.

The apartment tower closer up. It's called Park Towers in Park Street, South Melbourne and is state government owned public housing with rent adjusted to income. We have a number of these around Melbourne and they are often but not always places of social unrest and trouble. Park Street is one of the better ones I think. They are often the first home for new immigrants and refugees from areas of conflict. Some are three bedroom and quite spacious and some are well looked after.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Tree solved

Cathy was on the money, River supported her and Lee thought so too, a silky oak it is. My app Plant Snap thought it was a Bristlecone Pine, I think. I can't see that it saves the names of what is snapped. It was wrong, regardless. I was getting my she oaks and silky oaks mixed up too.

As I walked through the park, the leaves of this tree were rustling loudly and I only remember such a rustle come from a poplar, but it it is not a poplar I know.

This is likely to be the one I do know.

And a gratuitous photo of three beautiful (fingers crossed) golden elms.

I will not Go Fund You

I have had enough of this Go Fund Me nonsense. I say this with a proviso.

A Go Fund Me campaign raised something like AU$1.6 million to look after koalas and perhaps other wildlife affected and burnt in the recent terrible fires in New South Wales and perhaps Queensland too. While this is great and they will be very well looked after and cared for, it is actually the responsibility of our national or state parks organisation, or if on private land some other government organisation. Of course what would happen if a government authority was in action, is that many would be euthanised that could otherwise be saved. While I think the government should have stumped up such a piddling sum from a rich country like ours for the care of the animals, I really don't mind this Go Fund Me campaign and well done all who generously contributed.

You are badly injured badly in a car accident? No Go Fund Me for you. Our public health system and compulsory personal injury car insurance government scheme, in our state the Transport Accident Commision, and now our National Disability Insurance Scheme will pick up later if needed. While the NDIS is far from perfect, it being a new system and will take time to get right, it is there and funds my mother for some care. My ABI Brother suffered horrendous injuries when in a road accident and had the best of care in hospital and then later in rehabilitation. Tradie Brother fell off a motor bike when he was young, and the same. The best of care at no direct cost.

You have cancer and might die? No Go Fund Me for you. You will generally receive the best clinical care available in the world and a comfortable hospital room, albeit perhaps with fellow patients, as our Brother Friend did over five years before he refused further treatment and died. He was given plenty of quality years in the interim and mostly had his own room in hospital. It might be a bit harder if you live in the country, as my father did before he died in 1999, but he was given a travelling allowance to attend hospital. Our Dyke Friend who lives in Tasmania is funded once a year  travel to come to Melbourne for a check on her heart transplant. Funny that the check usually coincides with our football grand final, but there you go. Rather like gay doctors' national conferences happen in Sydney at the time of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Of course at times there are treatments for problematic cancers in the US that are new and a little experimental and people try Go Fund Me to travel to the US and pay for treatment. Don't worry, if it works, it will quickly be used here as it will save the government money. I don't recall hearing of any great success for those who visit the US for brand new drug or other treatment.

While I am not poor now, it wasn't always the case and at times because of pride, that is not asking R for a loan, I have gone hungry. But the bills were always paid, including my share of car and home insurance. Your house burns down and you don't have insurance? I feel so so sorry for you, but...........Go Fund Me? Probably not.

Aside from all the governments systems in place to look after people in our rich country, there are heaps of private organisations who are there to help too. While I am loathe to promote a fast food chain restaurant, how good is Ronald McDonald's House, where families from the country can stay while their very ill children undergo treatment at the Royal Children's Hospital. There are countless such organisations to help people in need.

You die and don't have money for a funeral? Don't worry and no Go Fund Me for you. While it will be a very modest affair, the government will pay and you will be cremated or dealt with according to your religion.

Go Fund Me for the restoration of a steam train engine, no problem with that.

Yes, sometimes the system gets it wrong and sometimes people fall through the cracks, but in Australia there really is no need for most of these Go Fund Me campaigns.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

What tree is this?

I could find out easily enough but one of you can show your knowledge of trees and the rest of you can say she/he is right. I think the tree almost centre photo might be a type of acacia but I am just grasping at straws really or do I have a little knowledge but not enough.

Blue bikes begone

Melbourne's public bicycle scheme is coming to end with the blue bikes and their stands being removed. It was an expensive partnership between the City of Melbourne and RACV, our motoring organisation. The bicycles had to be ridden between docking stations and paid for by a credit card. While they were cheap, the bicycles always looked heavy and cumbersome to me. Sister and Bone Doctor did use them a few times.

Londoners might know them as Boris Bikes, as they appeared there when he was Mayor of London.

Bicycles have to be maintained and moved around. I wonder if it is true that all public bicycles end up at the tops of hills.

The supposed failure of the scheme was put down by many to the need for for bicycle helmets, which are compulsory in our state and perhaps Australia all over but I don't think so. Helmets were left at the stands for people to use and while for some there might be an icky factor, what is the worst you can get? Nits. Easily treatable. Nits, Nits, Nits, Nits, Nits, Nits. Is your head feeling a little itchy now?

But then in conjunction came the O Bikes. Public bicycles, unlocked with a phone app and could be left anywhere of your choosing. They were left in trees, on mountain tops and very many of them in our Yarra River. They quickly became a public nuisance and in spite of me seeing efforts to make them look tidy, the bikes were eventually trashed as the Singapore based company went into liquidation. Melbourne was pleased to see the O Bikes disappear. No one really complained about the public City of Melbourne/RACV and other inner suburbs scheme.

There are still a few bikes at our local bike station.

But this one in the city has been removed. If you can't dock them, why use one? The scheme has effectively finished.

Now City of Melbourne has called for expressions of interests in an E bike scheme. Details from The Age newspaper. It is now up to private enterprise to respond. Point two is interesting. Already private electric bicycles far exceed this speed without the rider pedalling.

What are the rules?
Power output of no more than 200 watts, and must be restricted to a top speed of 25km/h.
Cannot travel at any speed above 6km/h when they are not being assisted by a rider peddling.
If a bike exceeds these limitations, it is considered a motorbike under the road rules.
Helmets must be worn.
There is no age limit on e-bikes.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

The Stolen Land

A young National (Country) Party member in Queensland has made a point about our Indigenous sports players not standing for our National Anthem at sporting events. The lad is young and probably from a privileged background. Perhaps we can forgive him his ignorance? Perhaps he needs a good slapping. I am not sure why Aborigines would stand for Australia's national anthem.

Until we white multi generational British Australians recognise that we did invade this country, with our killing guns and our sparkly trinkets, it is never going to be right. We have to feel guilt and a feeling of a need to make amends, never mind that neither you nor I were active participants.

Australia as we know it was a land of Aborigines and we came, reaped, sowed and dug, and we completely screwed up their lifestyle and Australia's fragile environment, that Aborigines managed to not affect for thousands of years.

Australia might be quite a good place to live, but recognition of the original Australians should not be forgotten and what we owe them.

So says Andrew who lives where there was probably a swamp where Aborigines fished and found birds and eels to eat and lived pretty well in their possum fur coats.

Yes, there is no turning back for Australia. It is what it now is but proper recognition is due.........and is happening but oh so slowly.

Just sayin'.


I am sure I have been guilty of the misuse of apostrophe's and I don't mind if you correct me when I do. Mostly it will be a typo but at times I have to think carefully, especially with plural possessive, such as we have the Princess' Theatre. Someone once tried to tell the theatre that the apostrophe was wrong but research turned up that it was named after two princesses.

This is sad news but still the argument about few or fewer items at the English supermarket checkouts goes on.


Little Jo at 12 and half has entered her sullen teenage years, although after asking Sister on the way to yesterday's birthday if I would have an Advent Calendar for her, she was so pleased when I gave her the paper bag containing the calendar. I used to buy them from Germany and they were beautiful but the postage was costing more than the calendar.

Sister pushes her to be communicative, Little Jo, speak more loudly for Nanny (Mother), push your hair away from your face. Speak clearly. Tell the uncles what you did Friday night. She performed in a band. I connected with her a bit in that she sang a Billy Idol song. It was like extracting teeth and I thought Sister should just lay off her and let her be in her sullen teenage years.


A benefit of using public transport is hearing snippets of conversations. I find the most interesting conversations to eavesdrop on are private school boys, because they speak so well and they talk about interesting things. Private school girls are the opposite, horrible nonsense, shrieking, and overly loud talk. I hate it when a large group of them are on my tram.

The other interesting people to overhear is older women chatting together, as was the case today. 'It needed some sweetening. Maybe some jam or strawberries'. I think they were talking about stewed rhubarb but I am not sure. Stewed rhubarb was mentioned, 'great on your breakfast cereal, but not too much'. 'My brother finds marmalade too sweet so he puts it in a pot on the stove and mixes in some bitter oranges then puts it back in jars'.


I like how older women speak to strangers on public transport. I used to hate it. 'Hey, don't you realise I have earphones in and don't want to talk?' Now I am happy to talk to anyone. Today on the route 30 tram along Latrobe Street, I noted a tourist looking couple, the man taking photos with his serious camera of what I think is the oldest house Central Business District. I moved seats and plonked opposite them and asked them if they knew about the house. I didn't realise until after I spoke to them their English was not great, but they understood a little about the history of the house as I told them. I felt sorry for them as they left the tram at the Docklands terminus and faced a cold and biting wind. I felt sorry for myself, so after taking a couple of photos, I was back on a tram with nowhere to go in mind. I left the tram at So Cross Station and et some tucker and thought I will catch the first VLocity country train leaving to somewhere. I ended up at a rather uninteresting place called Deer Park and I was back at So Cross Station within an hour. As soon as I left the train at Deer Park I realised it was not a place for me to linger and a return train was due in two minutes. I correctly predicted what would happen. I touched off my public transport card and tried to touch on again to return, but the display said, you have already touched off. Once back at So Cross Station I couldn't go through the gates as they indicated I had not touched on for the trip. I went to the gate with staff in attendance and I was let through without showing anything.


At yesterday's lunch, I was talking to Sister across R, who was also nagging me to help Mother who was on the other side of me with her meal, like arrange it so it would be easy for her to eat, while Mother was nagging in my other ear about her son, Tradie Brother's meal getting cold while he was outside smoking. Fed up with her carry on, I called TB to tell him his meal was served. I am of fairly even temperament, but truly, had R had said anything later about not helping my mother with her food, I would have punched him on the nose.


While R was volunteer driving the oldies (as he calls them when many of them are younger than him) around yesterday, he came across a woman's purse dropped on the street. He took it to the local police station and he and the boy copper (R's words) jointly counted out the 15 dollars in the purse, full of credit and other cards. R filled in a brief form and the boy copper asked him if the purse had not been collected within the required time because the person's identity could not be discovered, would he like the item, including the $15. Perhaps it is a question that has to be asked, but given the purse was full of cards with ID, it was a pointless question by the boy copper.


As bushranger Ned Kelly said before being hanged to death, Such is Life. As the once dreamingly gorgeous footballer Ben Cousins tattoo says, Such is Life.

A better photo of Ben in less drug fucked years.


More, what is the style of writing on a body called? A font? What a hot font you have, badboy Ben.


You think I am done yet? No. A few days ago from the balcony ago I counted 19 cranes within sight. They were all all angled. Tonight in the cold stillness they are all standing vertically. Off duty, they angle against the wind. No wind, no angle.


Not finished yet. Ex Sis in Law, Oldest Niece and her two daughters and son were coming to visit today. They would park here and we would all catch the tram to town and see the (boring) Myer Christmas window display, then see the decorations at Crown Casino and have lunch. It was on, and then off, then on and then off, and then on and now off. 

C'est la vie. I amused myself. 

Monday, December 02, 2019

Monday Mural

Here are couple of closer photos I took of last week's mural when there were cars in the car park. I forgot about them.

And this one along the way at St Kilda Primary School.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

What I won't do again

Today we celebrated ABI Brother's 60th birthday with a lunch at a venue. I organised it, put up a FB invitation and made the booking for 20 people. No one told me that Bone Doctor would not be coming. No one told me Ex Sis in Law's husband would not be coming. Of ABI Brother's six friends who said they would come, four definite and two maybes, one couple came. I had booked for 20 and there were thirteen, all family aside from the one couple. Our Fijian Indian friend said he would come but then bailed out the day before.

This reflects badly on me and I have sent an apologetic email to the venue. It is not the first time this has happened and I am simply not doing it again. I will book my own celebrations but not those of others. Nevertheless, it was a nice catch up with family and the couple, one who was very close to Tradie Brother when they were at secondary school and I knew him well enough too.

Sunday Selections

Joining in with Elephant's Child and possibly River for Sunday Selections. This week, random photos, mostly mine but some by others. Gosh, I don't think I will have any SS photos for next week.

Organ builders! Can I design and have built an organ to suit my purpose?

Reminds me of where I worked before retirement. So many chiefs and the number of indians kept to a minimum.

I was worried that this house was being demolished so I took a walk. It is not, just under renovation and extended.

Bromby Street has some nice art deco.

And some nice Victorian terraces.

Not really art deco. Hels? Royce Hotel, once a Rolls Royce car dealership.

To get this you have to know what Tinder is and also the broad New Zealand accent.

Poor James O'Brien and his fellow workers at our national radio and tv broadcaster, Our ABC, who have to deal with this. We go from winter time, all very orderly, to chaos as some states embrace daylight saving and some don't. (Damn English language! I had to change have to has back and forth as I changed what I wrote)

 A two door Chrysler Valiant from the 1970s, designed and built here in Australia. What a great car.

Geez, another UK photo that I have no idea about was in my To Post folder.

Published around the time of the Melbourne Cup horse race. I am not sure I like this tv show either but what choice do we have.

Oh my Mr Wolf. What big waves you have. Anyone know where they were taken?

How will the under constructions Metro Tunnel get under the Sandringham train line. "We will just raise the level of the Sandringham line", and they did.

Another great photo from Is implaccable a word? They are not happy. They are not sad. They are not thoughtful. They are as I think the word implacable means.

One for Sami, and if she would be kind enough to translate Tuga? Food?

Rainbows are but a distant memory. I would call this a stub of a rainbow.