Thursday, August 06, 2020

English is a nightmare

If a radio station holds a talk back session on words and language, it is pretty well guaranteed to kick off. I listened to a podcast.

ABC broadcaster Indira Naidoo hosted a talk back show about mispronounced words, that is those where you don't really connect with what you read with the correct pronunciation. Oddly it was kind of co-hosted with a New York State librarian, who was fine and agreeable to listen to, but I would have thought with the different pronunciations between our countries, well, it was an odd choice.

I'm sure I've done this before and I am also sure there are mispronounced words I have forgotten, but here are a few of mine whereby I did not connect the written word with what I heard. is not pronounced like antelope.

Hyperbole is not hyper bowl. They were at a young age but I went on with not getting words right.

While visiting Sydney, I learnt that the hotel called Beauchamps in Oxford Street is pronounced Beechams and that is how you pronounce the name too.

Hermione which I had read in many books, Her Moyne, was a puzzling one for me until the arrival of Harry Potter books and films, none of which I have read or watched but somehow I picked up enough to know it is Her Marn E.

The Irish can do your head in. Music performer Sinead O'Connor is Shinade O'Connor. This other Irish name really got me though. I should have learnt from Sinead but Siobhan pronounced She-a-vaughn.

When we visited South Africa one of the wonderfully amusing Irish nurses we toured with and was kind to us old gay blokes was Orlaith, pronounced Orla.

It was also years before I knew Sean is said Shaun.

In Australia we have a least two places named Albany. One is pronounced as Al-banny and the other Or-banny. Over to you on that one Strayer.

So come on. Fess up. What are yours?


At about 7.30pm on the 5th of August I was switched to New Blogger. My post for 5am on 6th of August was already written and just required a little grammar and style correction. I did so, and clicked the arrow to publish. Up popped a confirmation that my post will be published on 8/6/2020. No no. I don't want my post published back in June.........or is it the American date system? That is in spite of my blog being set to UK English. 

So if there is a post about words at 5am Thursday, Australian time, you know it was the American date system. If there isn't another post at the same time, go back to the 8th of June and it will be there.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Dear Glad

Gladys Brerejiklian is Premier of Australia's arguably most important and certainly largest Australian state. Interesting like #45 in the US, she is 45th Premier of the State of New South Wales.

I recall saying to R a couple of weeks ago how I would like to wear a mask when at the Aldi supermarket but I would feel a bit embarrassed wearing a mask.

Then our State Premier ordered us to wear a mask once outside our home and we have. You can remove you mask to eat, drink or smoke when outside, if you don't have a medical exemption. That is it. No other exceptions. Compliance has been high with only my opinion, young tradies on work sites not masked up. They are at times doing hard physical labour and I am sure they struggle with masks. But what I have also observed about young tradies, they are not socially distancing at all. Note, Tradies are manual workers on building sites, or those who attend to fix your plumbing or wiring, or install something in your home.

So Gladys, take the bull by the horns and order Sydney people into masks for perhaps four weeks. We quite like being told what to do and any embarrassment will disappear.

"Maaaaaaaaaate, I am not risking my beer money with a fine".


It's been a while since I have recounted a Mother story. She insisted on a 120 day settlement period for her house, which probably will suit the property developer buyers anyway. She is so determined to have this last garage sale. We will know on the 14th of this month whether their financing of the purchase is ok and the conditional sale will go ahead. The buyers must then pay the balance of the non refundable 5% deposit.

I called Mother a couple of days ago and she couldn't hear me on the phone. She said I will call you back when ABI Brother is home and he can turn on the speaker on the phone. I can't believe he hasn't shown her the speaker button already.

Several months ago after numerous attempts by her doctor and his nursing staff to clear her right ear of wax, she went to a specialist woman who really knew what she was doing and although the cost was $80, her ear was cleared.

The wax has built up again but because of COVID she is reluctant to return to the specialist and again her doctor and his nurses can't clear her ear. She is effectively deaf in one ear and so can no longer hear on the telephone.

But wait. I know what you are thinking. Doesn't she have two ears? Yes and her other ear is fine, but that is not her telephone ear. Only her right (blocked) ear works for the telephone. For some reason it is impossible for her to hold the telephone to her left ear.

Monday, August 03, 2020

Monday Mural

This is a strange one. I don't know what it is about or where I took the photo in April. I am getting a bit low on mural photos. I don't have many up my sleeve now.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Dear Fellow Victorians

Well, I am not sure I have regular readers who reside in my state. Isn't that odd. I have in the past. Leter: Oops Hels and Cathy.

A state of emergency has been declared in our state after days of hundreds of new infections. Last week there was a hopeful figure of under 400 but then up the number went again. Very sadly each day so many people are dying in mostly privately run nursing homes. Who would have thought it was a good idea to put the elderly, infirm and bewildered into nursing homes that are set up to make money! I've seen some prices and to get into one, they cost about the price of my mother's house when it was sold. This is partly refundable but there are also daily costs as well. So they take much of the resident's government pension too. These nursing home operators, who also receive Federal Government funding have amassed huge wealth from these profitable businesses, that is poor care for the elderly. It is truly a broken model.

For Melburnians along with being masked once out of your home, we are now have a 8pm to 5am curfew. We can't travel more than five kilometres from home for essential reasons ie shopping, care purposes, exercise and medical reasons. Outdoor exercise is restricted to one hour. Fishing, golf and similar are banned.

This one really affects us, only one person from a household is allowed to go out to the shops. This will mean less traffic on the roads and less accidents, along with less numbers in shops and less people sitting in public places eating takeaway and drinking coffee (yes Andrew, you are guilty as accused).

Schools and childcare will close, with a few exceptions.

The rest of Victoria will move to the restrictions we already had in Melbourne, that is not driving without a legitimate reason and masking up.

It won't be easy but I am now over the shock. This will continue until at least the 13th of September. Announcements will be made tomorrow about restrictions to some businesses.

If you a New South Welsh person, protect yourself by masking up if you visit a busy area.

Sunday Selections

EC is having computer issues, it seems. She can't tell us because if she is having computer issues, she can't tell us. Good for her to have a break perhaps anyway. So, who knows if she will join in for Sunday Selections.

We stole this from Mother. Well, she said we take anything we wanted. The dishwasher eventually wears the measurement marks off. As a right handed person, I have a problem with the measurements as the metric measurements are on the far side, which is fine if you are left handed.

Before lock down Mark II, we took Mother to the nursery for something or 'tother. These are called something like Candy Frost and they really look like they have frosted leaves.

I think it was a full tea set once, my grandmothers. All that remain are the cake serving plates. My foolish Mother asked if we wanted them. What? Do we have anything like that now in our apartment? I should send these photos to Brighton Antique Dealer to find out if they are worth anything, but I doubt it.

A strange sculpture outside an office building. I like it.

During Lock Down Mark I, I discovered this nearby barber shop. R had his haircut first and wasn't offered beer, and he probably would have accepted the offer. I had my hair cut there later and I was offered beer. Given R paid considerably more to have his luxuriant locks cut than I did for my much sparser hair, that seems unfair. I think we will have to return there, after our last haircut in the interim in the city at our usual place.

It looks a little like someone was feeding the birds, but not so. They were just gathered at the edge of nearby Albert Park Lake.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

The mentally unwell in a time of COVID

He was youngish, bare topped mid winter and masked, although his mask had fallen down below his nose and as his hands were handcuffed behind his back and he could not correct his mask. He was sitting down on a footpath leaning against a wall with two police hovering over him.

Scum, filth on the streets. Needs to be locked up!

I doubt the police would have handcuffed him without good reason. He must have done something seriously wrong but gosh I felt sorry for him. He was wailing and pleading with the police with lots of "please Sirs".

Dealing with COVID-19 is hard for all of us, but perhaps even harder for those with mental health issues.

Judge not.

COVID Stress

I've been waiting for this, that is for R to explode into anger. It was a shocking day, our worst for new infections.

I am evil because I phoned the 'bitch from hell', aka my sister. I called to check if Jo could still go to school with new restrictions in place and to tell her to go easy on Firefighting Nephew on Facebook about 'Karen'. FF Nephew is not sexist or misogynistic but he doesn't get what the Karen thing is all about, and I am not sure I do either. But Sister was on a roll about Karen and misogyny.

The call was longer than I expected. Sister was in a chatty mood.

As I have been wisely advised by some here in the past, I will keep my mouth shut and it will pass in a couple of days.

Given we are pretty well locked down together, only apart for individual exercise and sleeping, we haven't done too badly. I want to roam. R wants to do his thing and return to his volunteer job. We must stay home. I won't whinge about wearing masks when out, as some have to wear them for eight hours a day or more at work.

Doom and gloom, but there was a lighter moment when we ran into our Hairdresser Friend at the beach a week or so ago. After weeks away she had just returned from her mother's in northern Victoria and her usually stylish hair was looking very grey. We sat masked and socially distanced and chatted.

R exclaimed, "Al, don't lean against that button". It would have been a great photo op if she had leant there harder than she did.

Friday, July 31, 2020

The Big Picture

While R hunts around the desktop screen for a link or a tab, the appropriate thing to click on, I seem to be able to take in the whole screen and quickly see what I need to find. Is it a skill I have? I don't know.

In a supermarket I can take in the overhead aisle product information and the more specific information at a glance. At an airport I can find information as to where to be quickly, including where the toilets are. While I may not be able to read the destination of an approaching tram, I can work it out by the shape of the display of the length of the scrolling words.

Then there are these puzzles that indicate it is difficult to find the odd number or letter. I can find the odd one out is a couple of seconds. Maybe the text that comes with the puzzles is hyped and they just aren't that difficult. I wonder. What is your opinion?

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Launceston Trolley Buses

Launceston in our island state of Tasmania once had trams. The city converted its tram system to trolley buses, that is electric buses connected to overhead power and they don't need to run on steel tracks. Then of course they were replaced by filthy diesel buses

This photo was recently posted on the internet. While I've seen modern trolley buses in Wellington, New Zealand along with Salzburg and Budapest, I have never ridden one. It must be a queer thing. The photo shows a turning circle for the Launceston trolley bus at its terminus. They can't reverse direction like a tram, although in places like Vienna single ended trams do use turning loops.

While trams have one pole and earth through the steel wheels and steel track, trolley buses need two, one for power and one for earthing. I particularity remember how messy the overhead wiring for trolley buses was in Salzburg.

You can see the turning loop at Basin Road on Google Maps after the trolley bus travelled down Brougham Street, that is the curved bit of street near the photo.

The turning loop was in behind this Launceston Municipal Council? power substation, built to supply electricity for trams from the nearby Duck Reach power station.

The turning loop is still there. Before our friend moved from one part of West Launceston to another we used this road to travel to her place.

But OMG, look at the view from there. While the houses have been altered over the years, they are still the same houses. Note the stunning rhododendrons.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020


Mostly written Sunday. Am I happier now this Tuesday night? Maybe a little. I am not sure if depressed or despondent is the right word. Despondent sounds right. We and people we know are feeling both, yet without exception, we can all pay the rent, so to speak. Many are in much worse situations in Australia and dire overseas.

Day after day the high COVID figures in the hundreds for my state are relentless when most Australian sates are virus free.

While there are a few rebels not obeying the law, when we Melburnians leave home we have to be masked. You must not touch your mask once it is fitted and when people are out and about it is pretty well a 100% fail on that point. Is that why masks reduce the risk to 85%? It is hard, especially for people who wear glasses. Yes, me. If I do touch my mask, I immediately sanitise my hands.

Police have been patrolling to ensure we are masked up.

As I add to this post on Monday. Sunday was our worst day ever, with over 500 new infections in our state. I despair.

Monday when ISO walking a man walked down a driveway from an office building and he was smoking. I didn't glare at him as I noticed he did not have a mask hanging below his chin, ready to pull up when he had finished his cigarette. I just noticed, but my eyes must have said something as his hand swept his face and realised he didn't have a mask. He looked shocked and bolted back to where he had come from.

A woman was interviewed on tv about the necessity to use masks. She was in full agreement and she was then asked why she wasn't wearing one, and very embarrassed she rushed back to her office to get one. She had simply forgotten.

I am struggling to stop my glasses from fogging up in spite of knowledge of how to stop that happening. This mask wearing is not easy. When we go out, we have a freezer bag ready and open for mask disposal when we return home. But I will have put possibly contaminated keys on the bench already. Touched the outside door handle, that I may touch again during the day.

We are careful and constantly sanitise and wash our hands when out of our apartment, but it is impossible to get it 100% right.

These are words I don't normally use but how about this fucking bitch Kerry Nash, aka 'Karen'. How very dare she give the workers on a probably low award rate of pay at a Bunnings hardware store in Narre Warren such a hard time. Aside from her refusal to wear a mask, staff do not deserve this treatment. I feel I should send them bunches of flowers and chocolates. Video courtesy Daily Mail. I suspect Kerry Nash has an undiagnosed mental health illness, or perhaps is just a fucking nasty self entitled bitch.

Just out of interest, I suggested in previous post that when we visited England last year, we caught some kind of Coronavirus. I am more convinced than ever now, especially as COVID19 antibodies have been found in March 2019 sewerage samples in Barcelona.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Not beyond reproach

Commercial tv game show host Andrew O'Keefe had a night out on the tiles and ended up drunk in a gutter with a cigarette in his hand. You can see the Youtube footage here.

Better, I will embed his Chapel Street adventurous night out.

But I cannot call him out on such behaviour. Here is me at the Queensland gay resort Turtle Cove in the mid 1990s reading Anna Karenina in bed when the bed rolled away from the wall and I ended up on the floor. There is only one lie in the above. Drunk, smoking and on the floor, but oh how we laughed. Thanks for reminding me R!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Musical Monday

I was sorting out the tv. The old single tuner pvr I picked up from Mother's would not allow us to watch normal tv. I disconnected it. Sounds simple? It was not but I got there and the tv was now working normally.

Saturday morning and the ABC tv programme Rage was broadcasting. I fell into a stupor in the chair as 80s hits after 90s hits were broadcast. So good, until R said, are you ever going to get in the shower.

ABC radio station Triple J has live music performances on a programme called Like a Version (good word play), whereby talented musicians cover songs.

While I am not saying this is my absolute favourite 80s/90s song in the world, Love Shack is right up there and I really liked this cover by DZ Deathrays. The guy in shorts is hot and the long haired guy is not too shabby either. If there is ever a song to get people onto a dance floor, this is one of them.

PS I've  probably posted the original by the B52s before, but hey, good stuff needs to be reheard. The best thing about the clip is they look like they are really enjoying themselves.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

ISO Walking

More photos I snapped in the streets of South Yarra with my phone when out exercise walking. It's a mix of the old and the new. The streets certainly don't have commercial activity now.

You have to be quite wealthy to own a home in this area, although rents can be reasonable.

An apartment in the tower block on the right of this photo was once the home of Una Fraser, the mother of late Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

The tram in Domain Road ceased running years ago. Time to take down the sign.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Speaking of discrimination

Various tv shows have been pulled because although they were made at a certain time, they are considered racist. I am not sure about removing them from public viewing but what could be worse than the ever so funny English tv show Love Thy Neighbour. You can find clips on Youtube where Eddie calls his black neighbour a nig nog or a darkie. But maybe it wasn't so bad as it may seem. The 'darkie' was smarter than Eddie and always came out on top. They were drinking mates, trading insults. He was certainly much nice looking than Eddie.

While this link takes you to an earlier time, it is good that the history is on recent records. My goodness, doesn't Dame Barbara Castle look like a piece of work.

A Gay Day

Just a quickie. I don't really know if I sound gay, and while I speak a little strangely with a curious accent, I don't have the classic gay voice that can cut through 100 decibel music on a dance floor. I've mentioned him before and no need to say who it is again but there is an ABC TV reporter who doesn't hide that he is gay and does have the classic gay (we used to call it faggy) voice. This is a manner of speaking whereby you can straight away know someone is gay.

His reporting is good, and was especially good during our terrible fires early this year and his voice and diction are crystal clear.

After ten years of not reading gay media, I have started doing so again online. Here are some links to stories I found interesting, the first being the inspiration for this short post.

Disturbing but a good result.

Go girlfriend. She didn't pay a 1 million dollar fine imposed by Russia.

Gay men are always so nice and kind. Nah, not always. Aside from bitchy queens, some are just nasty pieces of work.

And if that is not enough reading for you, try the post by John Gray of Wales about unkind comments when he wrote a quite positive post. It really is hard for straight people to understand what lives were like for gay men of my age and older. I was lucky that I worked in a job with much diversity and I didn't have family or cultural problems, but still, I remember the culture in my early life that made me feel bad about myself. Ok, this is a proper post, not a quickie.

Thursday, July 23, 2020


Local comedian Denise Scott's son and daughter in law live in Nashville in the US. They produce music and are doing so while locked down by their own choosing. They are fearful about being out and about among COVID careless people.

Now, to the matter of 3 year warranty that wasn't asked for on the tv headphones. We visited the store to get our credit, but no. It was explained thus. The retail price was $150 and the salesman gave you a $20 discount, and then a further $30 discount to $100 which was not a real discount because a $30 3 year warranty that was added. Had you declined the the 3 year warranty, the price of the headphones would have been $130, which is what you paid but you get a three year warranty thrown in.

 I hope that is clear. We are not unhappy but it should have been explained to us at the time.

Today is mask up day here today. It will be interesting to see how it pans out. We have been masking on and off for a few days.

I will visit Mother after three weeks of not doing so. There are things about he home sale that need to be sorted out, which is what I will tell the police if I am pulled over and asked to explain my travel. I've already told her I won't be taking her to the shops.

All so serious. How about a contented cat video? Give it time.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


I found it disturbing that Indonesian women are dying from undiscovered cervical cancer because they are not well educated about cancer and are embarrassed by the thought of male doctors examining them and having PAP smears. Humanity has to realise that as an adult none of their body parts are special or taboo.

Sister masks up when in close contact with her students but when in front of the class, unmasks. She leaves the classroom door open to make sure air is circulating and some boys have complained that they are cold. Put warm clothes on, she told them.

Mother's house has been sold. AU$100,000 less than was suggested by the real estate agent and they always overestimate the price. It was sold for a price we all thought was fair. What is Mother going to do with over half a million dollars? I've no idea and I've done enough hard work with the sale. She can seek professional advice.

Coincidentally when both us and she were out exercising, we ran into our Hairdresser Friend who is just back from six weeks with her elderly mother. The time was supposed to be half that but our friend discovered her mother's carer was not being careful about COVID and the carers grandchildren lived in a Melbourne hotspot and they had been visiting. We chatted with her for an hour but it was so cold, I was shivering and then a brief shower came through. It was so nice to talk to someone after so long. Legal? Not legal?

It never rains but pours. Later my former gay workmate messaged me and he was early on his way to an appointment in the city on a tram and asked if I wanted to come down to the tram stop below for a chat. I did, and that was nice too. No social contact for a couple of weeks and then twice in one day. Legal? Not legal?

We had bought new headphones for R's bedroom tv. There was static and popping noises. He was not happy with them. Irrationally rather than getting the company to sort out problems, three days later we went to Good Guys. They had a set that looked ok. The salesman was smoking hot, not that he influenced our decision to buy them. The quoted price of $150 dropped to $130 when we paid. We were so happy.

Once home and we looked at the receipt, it had been loaded by $30 for a three year warranty. There is always a one year warranty on goods here, and you can argue over compensation if a product fails within a reasonable period longer than one year. We never buy extended warranties, so why is it showing on the bill? I really like Good Guys, but this salesperson loaded us with an extended warranty without asking us. I suggest that the quoted price of $150 was a top retail price and the salesman thought we would be so happy at paying $20 less, we wouldn't query or check the receipt. We did, and I called on the phone and while we have to visit the store again, we will be refunded $30. Further, the headphones cost half that of the defective set and work really well.

But can we afford to throw away $200 on the better quality but defective earphones from JB Hi-Fi? No. While he wasn't keen as he becomes embarrassed in such situations, and I do too really, I was determined to return the defective headphones and receive a refund. While R asked me to do the talking, he ended up doing it himself and after half an hour of to-ing and fro-ing, the $200 was back in his bank account.

At the end of day, well done to both JB Hi-Fi and The Good Guys for good customer service, but when we return to Good Guys and the same salesman is there, I will say something to him.

Much more to say, but this is surely enough in one hit. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Town Hall Tuesday

While I can't get out and about much, I had taken photos of Fitzroy Town Hall earlier and published them in 2009. The photos make it clear the camera quality wasn't as good back then, probably three cameras ago.

Council amalgamations saw the City of Fitzroy become part of the City of Yarra in 1994. The original town hall was designed by William J. Ellis and built in 1873. Between 1887 and 1890 it was extended, a police station and court house added and the existing tower removed and replaced by the current clock tower.

As most other inner suburban town halls it is close to the street with little setback. A couple of you have suggested in the past this makes it less imposing and more accessible to the general public, and I agree, although I do like the set back of St Kilda Town Hall.

The building is now used for municipal office space and as a public library. Sorry about chopping the top and tall flagpole off.

Rear view.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Monday Mural

Fortunately I have a little store of photos to use until lock down ends although this was taken during Lock Down Mark I.

This one is on the side of Coles Supermarket in Coventry Street, South Melbourne. It is a rather classy mural and I hope you can read in between "#social distancing".

There is a web address on the mural, but that redirects my browser to presumably the artist, . If you click on Mural tab, you will see the work called Making of Adam.

I had to do some inventive cropping to rid the photo of a road works witches hat and other ugly bits. So what do you think of Brigitte's work? Thumbs up or down?

Sunday, July 19, 2020

More commerce in a residential area

Remember how I came across an old sign indicating a building in the residential are of Milswyn Street in South Yarra had once been a chemist? And of course then the Wimmera Bakery.

Here is a plaque on the front of the Wimmera Bakery building I discovered during another ISO walk. The last part which you won't be able to read says, "Architect: Norman Hitchcock, 1836 - 1899. His legacy of 100 ornate buildings from Brunswick to Toorak are wonderful examples of late nineteenth century bourgeois tastes".

St Martins Youth Theatre has been around for as long as I can remember and most of its properties are in St Martins Lane, South Yarra. While we have never attended a production, we really should as it has an excellent reputation and young performers should really be encouraged. Of course its operations have been suspended for obvious reasons. Opposite St Martins is this building, very commercial looking.

Sure enough. On the side it says Motor Engineers, Panels and then something else which I can't read in the photo. I'd better have another ISO walk along St Martins Lane to see what the last word is. I am rather amazed to discover there was so much commerce in a now very expensive residential enclave. 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Love in a difficult time

Cynthia of Life in Merlin and Phil married 58 years ago. Well done them and never a cross word between the two. They must have been terribly young. Love in the Time of Coronavirus was something already in my head but Cynthia wrote it first.

How would a novel called Love in the Time of Coronavirus be written?

For my state, maybe connecting on a dating site during Stage 1 lockdown, then when rules were relaxed meeting and having mad and passionate sex and loving each moment spent together.

Stage 2 lockdown, hungry for each other but you can't meet. You talk on the phone, text, message, send emails. Where does the novel go to from there? I really don't know.

We masked up while doing our weekly shopping today. I estimate people shopping in South Melbourne today were masked to 50 per cent.

When out later for my exercise walk, I bought coffee and some public seating was blocked off and some wasn't. I sat for a bit where it wasn't blocked off and a woman was ranting. I don't care if they fine me. We are socially distanced. What is the problem. The person who she was speaking to replied, never mind the fine, you could have a criminal record. I don't know if that is true. I moved away to the seating across the road around the electricity substation to receive my dose of radiation.

Then in an unmarked car police arrived. I thought they may have been attending to fine the rich and famous who were sitting, but no, it turned out they were buying coffee as far as I could see. From a distance a policewoman seemed to be looking at me, now standing in parkland. Time to finish my exercise walk and I will take my coffee with me rather than watching the cops.

Over 400 new COVID infections in our state yesterday. Are we scared? You betcha.

State Premiers and Prime Ministers must delegate. We were thinking our state Premier was doing a great job in our state with the virus, but it seems whoever he delegated to did not get it right and our massive numbers of new infections all go back to lax and bribed private security guards at hotel quarantine. A judicial enquiry is about to start.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Friday Funnies

Well, not all are funny. In fact none really.

I have my own funny that I read on a greeting card when buying some birthday cards. The answer at the end of the post. What is an eight letter word beginning with cl that is a source of great pleasure for women?

Available at a Tesco near you and you don't even have to ask for it.

This one is quite funny. The border between the two states are closed. You have to know that Melburnians are terrible coffee snobs and we consider no one in the world makes coffee better than our own baristers. International Roast is a quite vile instant coffee powder, yet in the 80s it was drunk by many. Posh people drank Bushells or Nescafe granulated instant coffee, much more expensive. The only thing worse than International Roast was Pablo's Caterers' Blend. So yes, a wall  of cheap instant coffee powder would be a good deterrent to Victorians temped to cross the border.

Without overthinking it, a pretty damn good explanation in my view.

I admire Fiona Patten whose party was once called the Sex Party, now called the Reason Party. Here is a snip of what came up in Google when I double checked the name. She is very socially progressive. "The Reason Party stands for forward-thinking, evidence-based and inclusive change for Australia. Fiona Patten is fighting for real change for Australians."

The second verse of the original poem My Country is the one most Australians know. You can read it here and compare it to this one below.

I wondered a couple of months ago why a rope barrier went up around a grassed area in Fawkner Park. Are the trees unsafe to walk under? It was to protect a host of golden daffodils. They don't look so impressive in the photo, but it is quite a good blooming patch.

More doom and gloom, but we can still visit hairdressers who should be masked, as should we be and while we have plenty of koalas there is a serious distribution problem, with some areas overpopulated and recent bush fire areas where many were killed, a shortage.

Here is one for author and gardener and all round good person Sandra Cox in the US. When we bought our first house in 1982 we retained some plants. Mother and I walked around the garden and she told me what many of the plants were. These, she said, are Christmas roses. Given they were blooming in the middle of winter, that seemed strange. Later someone told me they are also called winter roses, so Christmas roses is a northern hemisphere name. Later still when I started to learn botanical names I came to know them as Helleborous. Here is a nice clump in my street and Sandra has a nice clump in her garden which won't be in flower now unless climate change is a whole lot worse than we thought. 

So that is your bloomin' lot.

Greeting card answer: Cleaning. Shame on you for thinking otherwise.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Flinders Street Station

While this won't be for everyone and it is 43 minutes long, I found it very interesting, but of as a person interested in public transport, trains and my city, I would wouldn't I.

I am a little confused as it mentions India beating Australia in the cricket, but also that the Australian Open tennis was underway. The cricket test matches don't coincide with the tennis. I kind of remember that melt down evening peak near Caulfield Station. The show may well be an amalgam of different times.

I digitally recorded it from our government owned but commercial tv station SBS, but of course the recorder went into R's bedroom. I could transfer it using a USB stick, or lie on his bed and watch it, but I thought to catch it up at SBS on demand. Nope, not available. But hey, it is on Youtube.

I see it as a fairly accurate representation of what happens at our major train station and on our rail system.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Emo Oldie

I thought I was doing fine with COVID lockdown Mark 2 but it can be small things that trigger a reaction. Mark 1, I had to stop listening to media, but I am keeping up to speed this time, without being obsessive about it. I am better this week, but I wasn't so good last week.

Lordy, I thought she had died years ago, but no, Dame Very Lynn died just recently. I was getting a bottle of wine from the fridge as the tv news covered her funeral and a short part of her song The White Cliffs of Dover was played. my age ought not be crying. Deep breath, man up and get a grip, and I did with only glistening eyes. But it wasn't what I felt like doing, having a good sob.

Pre Lockdown Mk 2

Jo stayed for a couple of nights. We took her into town, cautiously of course, and she chose a book at Dymocks we bought for her for her birthday. In the afternoon we took her to Princes Pier which is now some kind of attraction and it is nice enough. While I've shown it before, I am rather pleased with my photo of the redundant pylons.

A few other random photos thrown in. I cleared out a drawer of redundant spare light bulbs. They are not recyclable and so went into landfill. We still have spare incandescent light bulbs for overhead lighting in the lounge, dining and hallway fittings that are only used once in a blue moon.

No motorist in the top of the photo. The tram track is for trams, not for cars. You can't even see a traffic light, red or green.

Melbourne Bakery is problematic as it only uses cash and I don't use cash anymore, but I have to here if R doesn't pay. We sat outside and clearly someone had it in for the Bay Street, Port Melbourne bakery. There was beauty as the sunlight refracted through the smashed glass. A month later, and it still has not been replaced. Tardy insurance company?

A clever display of the name, but you need to get the angle and distance perfect, and I didn't.

Trains once ran out onto Princes Pier, to move freight and arriving immigrants.

The money shot. I am rather pleased with this photo, even if I say so myself.

A very strange car. Needs further investigation. Later: It is a Shelby Daytona coupĂ©.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Barwon Heads Day 3

This is Laura's cottage, as used in the tv show Seachange and where Mother and Step Father stayed for Mother's 70th birthday.

Is this a seat? What is the carving? I've no idea.

Our cottage above the water.

The boathouse cafe from I think the Barwon Heads Bridge.

While the sea seemed calm enough, it certainly slapped up the sea walls and we saw at least one person get wet.

Our cottage from the bridge.

A lone kayaker.

Another photo of the The Bluff.

The pier and the bridge.

A ramp to the sea, maybe to launch a kayak.

While R took his afternoon nap, I decided to drive a few minutes up to The Bluff, and down came a shower.

It was brief.

The morning after the disastrous night before, I said to R, Hippie Niece and her twins will have to go home. Then I had a thought. Sister lives twenty minutes away. Why can't they stay there? While the twins are ok with their grandmother and her husband when on their own, the twins knew their mother wasn't far away, hence the melt down. I called Sister and asked if Hippie Niece could stay. Of course, said Sister. What I missed out saying is can Hippie Niece and the twins stay. Oh dear. Mea culpa.

When we saw Sister on the Saturday, she was taken aback about the twins staying with her too. Bone Doctor was exhausted after alternating for five hours between COVID testing and calling people with results, all negative. Bone Doctor looked haggardly tired and it was very clear that she was unhappy about the twins staying at their place, especially as one had a snotty nose. They and Hippie Niece had been COVID tested a few days earlier. 

Bone Doctor ended up sleeping at a friend's house and did not spend time with the twins. Sunday morning Hippie Niece reported Auntie Shell was wonderful with the twins, had a nice take away meal and took them out for a long walk the next morning and all went really well. A couple of days later when I was speaking on the phone to Sister, she said the twins are absolute horrors. I, me speaking, fear for them.

Sister, Bone Doctor and Jo were off to Maldon for a few days and it was very clear they did not want Hippie Niece and the twins to stay in their house. What to do? Ex Sis in Law, her husband and us found some nice motel accommodation across the bridge in Ocean Grove and we paid.

We had take away pizza on Sunday night. The twins slept well all night in proper beds and after a quick catch up Monday morning, we parted ways and we were home by about noon. 

It was a nice break, even if problematic at times. We are glad we went as we are now locked down again and cannot leave Greater Melbourne.