Thursday, June 04, 2020

A trip to Town

We ventured into the city yesterday for the first time since early March, I think. Were we nervous and uncomfortable? Oh yes, we certainly were. The tram was fine, with plenty of spare seats. We walked down Flinders Street to DeGraves Steeet and along there to where we have our hair cut.

There are normally people waiting and up to four hairdressers working, but there was only one today and no one else there. We had our hair cut by a masked woman who has cut our hair before. She only slipped on the mask while cutting our hair.

We went on to see Mamasan at one of our regular cafes and she was so pleased to see us. We discovered the young man there is not her husband nor son, but her brother. Now it all made sense. Gay, as we already suspected but couldn't work out their relationship. He too came out to greet us. It was really nice to feel some sense of normality, even though the usual crowd of gawping at graffiti tourists weren't passing by and many of the eating places and a few of the other businesses were still closed.

Our department store Myer reopened last week and I needed some clothes and it was stocktaking sale, but then there is always a sale on of some kind. I bought a new pair of jeans, two shirts and a jacket, all 30% off. R bought a couple of polo shirts. A very obvious gay man behind the counter when we paid? Who would have thought that at Myer. He was very friendly, as were all the staff.

Hand sanitiser was in abundance, though of course as we always do when we leave home, we had our own in pockets.

I don't know why I get picked on. On our way to Myer in a lane, a couple were approaching from the other direction. As I neared him, he cleared his throat and opened his mouth as if to spit at me. I felt like I did when I was in the city more than a year ago and called an 'effing old c' by a beggar for no reason that I knew.

But then something really nice happened as we left Myer. I didn't really notice him but for some reason R is very good at celebrity spotting. He met someone's eyes and he said hello to the man and the man said hi back. He looked familiar to me, but I couldn't place him. It was nerdy super brain Issa Schultz from the commercial tv quiz show The Chase (Australia). R said their eyes met and he just felt compelled to say hello. He looks better in real life than on tv. Issa is 36, not married and doesn't have a girlfriend. Issa with presumably a friend is on your right. Photo from Twitter.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Suddenly busy

Last Wednesday we went to see our friend in Kyneton. Freeway driving. Thursday was Mother Day. Freeway driving. Friday shopping day. Saturday, well, what a blow off. Freeway driving. Sunday return Jo to her Mums, freeway driving. I have an appointment this week on Mother Day, so no freeway driving for me this week, thank goodness. R will take Mother out.

We don't normally celebrate Tradie Brother's birthday but this year on Saturday we were all so pleased to get together. at his home. We had party pies, sausage rolls, saveloys, salads, foil wrapped potatoes cooked in the warming fire in a drum and served with grated cheese, sour cream and bread, followed by birthday cakes, one made by our nearly 13 year old niece Jo.

We did a bad. We weren't supposed to gather until two days later on the 1st of June. It was the 30th of May. No police attended our family gathering.

For the record, myself and R. Mother and ABI Brother. Sister, Bone Doctor and Jo. Fire Fighting Nephew and his very pregnant wife. Oldest Niece and her two daughters and baby son. Hippie Niece and her twin daughters. Ex Sis in Law and her husband and an older female neighbour.  It was so nice to see everyone again after such a long time.

Jo performed with her amplified electric guitar. She played on the guitar and sang Eye of the Tiger very well, along with a Billy Idol song. Little M tried a finger glove puppet show but there was not much interest.

Jo came back with us and stayed the night while her mothers went home.

Jo was not so interested in the matters of internet but very focused on tv. She and R watched a few shows, including the movie Charlie Wonka's whatever, Gruen and some other stuffs.

I showed her our giraffe and bird painting on the walls. She loved the giraffe. Not so interested in the bird but I expect her mind will retain the word Hindi (writing). She is such a sponge.

After pancakes, Sunday morning we walked to the corner of Domian and Park and my god, was it so busy. As you can see it was a sunny morning. I insisted we walk on the far side of the road to avoid the crowds. The cafe where I usually buy coffee, that will $4 plus the 6 or 7 cents that our boss told us the card machine adds had crowds waiting for coffee.

We sat on a electricity substation seat watching the throng for a while until eventually Jo said, what about 7/11 coffee? It is not so bad. I have a short black and add some hot water but rather embarrassing to be seen with a 7/11 coffee cup in such a posh area. Jo had drinking chocolate.

I went to pay the older Asian man who I think probably owns the franchise. He was suspicious for some reason and grumpy, as he watched Jo pouring her chocolate. He was quite rude to me and I've not encountered that since we bought ice cream in Edinburgh last year.

Apologies for the crudity, but I think the next time I encounter such rudeness, I will say, Man, if I suck your c***, will that put you in a better mood? I can just imagine the shock on their faces. You reckon I won't be game to do that? Embarrassing R in public is my forte.

Once home we called Sister and Bone Doctor and arranged to meet at a Red Rooster take away chicken place in Geelong and then went down to the banks of the Barwon River to eat the chicken. They then took us for a walk on the great trails and boardwalks.

It was then home. Monday the 1st was the second stage of unlocking us. With excitement we drove to South Melbourne only to find where we were hoping to eat, Degani, was closed. Even the place that we consider the best place for coffee in Melbourne, Brazil, was not serving proper food and had no seating. We decided we would buy what we had to in the supermarket and have a sandwich at home.

Tuesday, Bay Street, Port Melbourne and the bakery was open with seating. I expected it would be busy and hard to get a distanced seat, but it wasn't. I think people are still quite fearful. Nevertheless we sat at the distanced outdoor tables and enjoyed our food and coffee.

Look at the crowds of people. We saw one woman go off her tree at people spread over the footpath. While she was right, perhaps she should have walked in another area.

Walking along the Barwon River in Geelong.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020


More distressing scenes in our media from the US and sadly one event here too in Sydney.

Today I watched a 15 minute compilation video of peaceful protesters marching in the US being beaten, smacked around, kicked, slammed, thrown around and pushed over by police.

A well respected gay pron star, Austin Wolf, showed his massive bruise when he was shot by something by police when peacefully protesting.

In Washington DC police shoved a shield into the camera and face of an Australian tv news camera man who along with the female reporter, were well out of a forbidden zone.

One observant news watcher mentioned on the radio this morning certain tv footage showing looting, that people were stealing food and leaving the alcohol on the shelves.

Desperate people. Desperate times.

Now President #45 has threatened to call out the armed services against his own people, many of them sympathetic white people. Let me think. When can I remember the last time that happened? Oh yes, China, Tienanmen Square. The BBC says over 10,000 people were killed.

As happened in my own state Victoria under the leadership of the evil Premier Jeff Kennett, the police suddenly thought they have vastly more rights to 'do things their own way', and abuse the rights of citizens and the process of law.

I expect the same is happening in the US. Welcome to Trump's America.

Transport Tuesday

It just makes sense. But people have to be heading in the same direction which they so often are as they head used to head to the city centres from the suburbs to work.

We love using Melbourne's trams and have missed them terribly as we have been driving everywhere of late. This has been partly because the city has been virtually empty with our premier department store closed, our barber closed and where we sit and eat also closed. This has changed this week as we slowly emerge from lock down. Trams have been trundling past our building with perhaps four passengers on a good day. I expect this number of passengers has increased this week. It has been similar for trains and I expect buses.

There is one inherent problem with trams, and it has affected us at times. If one stops, all trams behind the stopped tram stop and there is no way around. While the Operations Centre is skillful at diverting trams when it can, it is not always possible. This photo by acquaintance Richard Youl, once a Melbourne tram driver, now a retired Gold Coast resident illustrates the problem well. There is probably hundreds of people delayed. I would guess the photo was taken in late 1980s or early 1990s. Except for these historic trams being used on the tourist City Circle route, our trams are now much more modern.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Monday Mural

Nothing too great but good to put these murals on the northern side of Richmond Station on the record. Pity about the graffiti scrawls. I don't know the artist and I can't be bothered finding out.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Sunday Supplement

I almost burst into tears when watching the riots and destruction in the US on our commercial and ABC tv news. I can really be a drama queen at times. But the way that a policeman killed that black man who may or may not have passed a counterfeit $20 note was horrendous to see.

Did I see a figure that 70% of COVID deaths in the US are black and Latino people?

At a certain site you can see the actual video of the white father and his son shooting dead a black man who was out jogging.Were they ever going to be charged with murder if not for public agitation?

While I am sure most US police do a difficult and at times life threatening job well, what is happening to black people is just too awful and it has to stop.

You comfortable middle class white people have to protest and tell your leaders that it is just not right. While my country's treatment of its first people is not something to be proud about, I care not and I will lecture you. You need to get off your asses and make America not great again, but a civilised country for everyone.

What is happening to innocent black people in the US is horrendous and it must stop.

Sunday Selections

Joining with Elephant's Child and others for Sunday Selections.

The 21 storey office building BP House (British Petroleum) was built in 1962. In 1995 it was converted to apartments with rich and famous along with politicians buying apartments at the now called Domain. Rather cool that the name BP House lives on some 25 years later.

A lovely gift for R's birthday from our Friend in Japan. The paper is 100 years old and the upside down Hindi script was unreadable to my Indian friend who can read Hindi. While it costalot, the framing of it was very well done.

Autumn photos go stale very quickly. Here are some local trees when I was out ISO walking.

Speaking of our Friend in Japan, she lived in this lovely apartment block Kia Ora when she was a youngun. Kia Ora is and informal greeting in New Zealand with Maori origins.

Looking down the length of the block.

Some of the early highrise apartment buildings in St Kilda Road have wonderful gardens. Here are a few.

A couple of very early highrise apartment buildings in St Kilda Road.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Mother Day

Thursday: While we heard that there was a problem on the freeway in the direction of Mother's, it was inbound and we would be outbound. Nevertheless R went into panic mode and insisted we left early in case of traffic congestion as people slowed to look. It didn't happen and we were early.

We bought salad rolls for us and Mother for lunch at the cheap Asian bakery and then went on to the department store Big Trouble You to buy 5 litres of fabric softener, which I don't really believe makes any difference, and jocks for R but the store had none in his size. He did buy a pair of pants which look way too close to track suit pants for my liking. Thin edge of the wedge.

Mother was quite chipper, having being diagnosed with bursitis in both hips and a strained ligament n her shoulder. Her leg has healed nicely. In spite of smoking, her vital organs are in fine health. However, she is borderline diabetic. If only she would stop eating a kilo of barley sugar and a kilo of Arnott's Marie biscuits each week, I am sure her blood sugar levels would lower.

Gay men would never be seen in a place called Priceline, a cheap chemist. However Prick a Leeni sounds like a posh Italian shop. Mother had her scripts filled there and then back to her old empty home to sort some things out. I brought the general rubbish bin to the back door and every time she asked how much she should sell something for in her final garage sale, once her back was turned, I threw it in the bin. There were a few things worth saving for sale, and some that needed washing but she had taken away the cleaning products.

Sometime after noon I heard that the earlier disruption on the freeway had turned into the police shooting dead a mentally unwell man. That wasn't going to clear quickly. I looked at our driving options and while in theory they were good, they turned out not be so good. We went south of the incident and then decided to go north of the incident. Just as we reached the freeway entrance intending to go past, police were now allowing traffic through. Yay, quick trip home. Nup. Broken down van on the freeway with speed restrictions down to 40 km/h.

I suppose the twenty five minutes additional travel time was not so bad but god how I hate the drive to see Mother and the lifting in and out of her walker from the car boot. Very sad about the mentally unwell man being shot dead by police, but they have to protect themselves when under threat.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

A Country Visit

Was it two weeks ago when we caught up with a friend for coffee after looking at his renovated Glen Iris apartment that is now for sale? He lives in the country town Kyneton with his brother. He had the house built some 17 years ago. We haven't had a lot of contact since R and G worked together at Australia Post but now we are Face Book friends and we have caught up.

I don't understand why people have so many problems when using Face Book, as they get into wars with people. Just say nice things as you would in real life. Face Book has connected me with so many people. I do understand why some people don't want to use it and their reasons are valid.

It was further away from Melbourne than we thought, over one hour's drive along the Calder Freeway towards Bendigo and about the same on a limited express train, which is an absurdly slow train trip. It was rather fun being able to travel at 110 km/h (about 70 mph rather than 100 as we are used to. Our poor under powered newish car was revving away in lower gears trying to keep up to cruise control speed as we climbed the Great Dividing Range.

We had a very nice time with him and his brother. They are both gay, except it took our friend longer to realise and he married and had a daughter when young. Yes, he would have once have been one of those married men out for a walk who you might see in a quiet area in a forested park with a child seat attached to the back seat of the car, where there are similar parked cars.

Anyway, we had a very nice time with them. He drove us into Kyneton township where we bought good coffee from a non profit cafe called Social Foundry. I think  it is a town built on gold mining. It has some lovely old houses and buildings. He then made us a toasted ham, cheese and tomato sandwich and a home made apple cake. His brother after some socialising with us was in his workshop restoring furniture.

It was a really nice day. I am surprised this phone photo I took of the post office taken into direct sunlight isn't as bad as I thought it might have been.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


I am busy with stuffs, so a brief post today. Does anyone know whose art work these may be?

One for Francophiles.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Alice and Millie

A number of tunnel boring machines are busy under Melbourne with construction of the Metro Rail Tunnels. There will be two parallel nine kilometre tunnels under the city and rising in the inner suburbs to connect to the existing on ground mainlines.

One borer set off from what will be our local station a couple of weeks ago in the direction of South Yarra and the other has just started. I like that these markers show the progress of the machines. Although they bore 24/7, they only move 10 metres per day and I am not sure they are even doing that well at the moment.

Millie is named after Millie Peacock, Victoria's first female parliamentarian.I have checked and she is not related to former born with a silver spoon in his mouth politician and Colt from Kooyong Andrew Peacock. Alice Appleford was an honoured nurse in both world wars.

I will be watching the progress of  Millie and Alice.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Monday Mural

John Murray is a well known muralist and artist and has public works in the east of Australia. Here are two of his works I came across and of course I told myself at the time I would remember where they were but I cannot. They don't appear in the database of his works, but there are similar ones. I like them. Don't you think the reflections in the emu's eyes is clever.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sunday Selections

Joining with Elephant's Child and others for Sunday Selections.

Why aren't all power plugs like this? So easy to pull out from the socket. I think this is on our electric knife. It is put away and I can't be bothered checking.

Lorikeets busy feeding on a seed ring in a South Yarra Street. They are fast, noisy and very colourful.

The window cleaning vehicle that moves around the building next door on a track. Window cleaners are suspended below. I wonder if Grace has ever thought of that as a job?

Its centrally mounted power supply. Note that even after well above average rain in the past couple of months, the roof is still muddy after the January muddy rain event.

Generally masks aren't worn in Australia. We have bought some in preparation to visit the city in the future and using public transport. I've sat on the bench seats around this electricity substation while having my take away coffee at the corner of Domain Road and Park Street and observed the melee of the rich and famous buying their ISO coffee. I walked there yesterday once I decided showers had stopped and the rain radar was clear but alas I was rained upon. I was cold and wet by the time I was home. The idiot did not even take an umbrella, just in case.

Creatures have come out to dine and have taken prime cafe window seats normally coveted by now disease ridden humans.

We've had two visits by cockatoos that I know of. I think the red cyclamen and the other red flowering plant attract their attention. The yellow tailed black cockatoos have been flying past in the last few weeks. The currawongs are busy calling to each other.

A week or so ago people here became sick after picking and eating poison mushrooms. Signs have gone up in Fawkner Park, warning people to not take the risk. Regardless, I would never pick and eat the mushrooms as I don't like them and there is a good chance that one of the hundreds of dogs walked in Fawkner Park every day have urinated on them. I did pick them in paddocks when I was young and there is only one type I know, which is quite safe. My brother and I once picked a bumper lot and Mother especially bought brown paper bags for us to sell them at the roadside. I can't remember the price we were selling them for but it must have been too cheap as the first person who stopped bought all of them, like a washing basket full of mushrooms. What we thought would be an afternoon of customer interaction did not happen. Back to making dirt roads for Matchbox cars I expect.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

More electricical

Electricical, as pronounced by Eva Gabor in Greenacres.

The external isolating switch for our air con is eighteen years old and the assaults by weather extremes has taken its toll. The old unit was cracked and crumbling on the underside. I was worried about moisture penetration and if it shorted out, we would be without heating unless we stood under our new bathroom heat lamps.

The electricians who fitted the heat lamps did not have the appropriate unit on board and it had to be ordered at the wholesalers. I wouldn't have thought an external 35 amp switch would be a rare beast, but there you go.

The boss electrician who we didn't see when the heat lamps were installed called the next day and said the switch was in and he could come and install it, but being Thursday, it was Mother Day and we weren't home. We arranged for him to attend the next day. I had to be up early, showered and dressed by 8am. Ouch. R stayed in bed. I asked R if maybe the lovely sparky Damien could arrive and I would stay in bed and he could come and give me a cuddle. Witheringly honest, R said, what makes you think the hot straight sparky would interested in an old man like you? Quite true. I was looking forward to seeing him. He is a nice bloke.

Oh my Damien, your voice has risen an octave or two when he spoke on the intercom to come up. I could see on the camera it wasn't Damien. It was woman. I suppose she was about 30 years old. She was pleasant, chatty and professionally fitted the switch in a short time and departed.

That there are female electricians should not be worth remarking upon, but I have.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Highrise improvements

Yesterday was a stressful day. For me it was going through the process. For R, it was very stressful and it showed in his poor behaviour. We had our electrician coming on Wednesday to fit heat lamps that we had not yet bought on Tuesday morning. We had researched them a bit but it was all up in the air.

We went to the large hardware chain Bunnings but it did not seem to have what we wanted and staff were short on the ground to ask. We know we can get good service at Beacon Lighting, so we went to the South Melbourne store. We needed heat lamps for both bathrooms, with a light but without an exhaust fan. They are a bit hard to get.

One unit was showing on the computer at South Melbourne but when staff went to retrieve it from the stock room, it wasn't there.

She called the St Kilda branch and it had one unit and she made staff to physically check that there was one unit. She checked the Abbotsford branch and it had one and made that staff also check. It was a good bit of driving but we had both units needed. We had some food and coffee in Balacalva when we were near the St Kilda store.

Anyway, things were much better today. Our favourite electrician did not attend but sent one of his qualified staff with an apprentice. The staff was a such handsome blond and so nice and pleasant. The age of his apprentice R guessed at nine years old. They arrived a whole five minutes late. Their workmanship they should take with pride.

We are very happy with the result and it will be so nice to have warming lamps when we get out of our showers.

Previously two switches. One turned the small LED lamp on and the other the main light and exhaust fan.

Two heat lamps and a very bright light to help the aged whose eyesight is not the best to apply their mascara.

As an extra request the separate toilet single switch was changed from a single that turned on the light and exhaust fan to have them on separate switches. We should have done all this years ago.

I couldn't have done this better myself. For both bathrooms, the first, nearest switch turns on the lights, the second the exhaust fan and the third the heat lamps.

By double clicking the light switch, you can change the LED lights from normal to clinical to warm. I can't imagine we will use that often. 

Very satisfying but goodness knows the cost. Two tradies for two hours plus. But then we aren't spending any money on holidays.