Saturday, January 11, 2020

Recommended Reading

Plenty of photos yesterday and more tomorrow, so how about some reading today. Maribeth of New Hampshire is a very nice, decent and kind person and this came as a bit of a surprise, yet it coalesced some thoughts of mine.

Here is her post about Harry and Meghan and them renouncing their royal duties.

On my comment about why Canada, Maribeth replied in an email (I am sure she won't mind the quote and it was me who first referred to Meghan as Ms Sparkle) It's easier to hide Charitable Foundations Money in Canada than it is here in the USA. They are already setting one up in Canada. She has many contacts there as well, including Prime Minister Trudeau! Also Ms. Sparkle got into some trouble with the IRS (tax department) and so they'd be watching her like a hawk.

Speaking of Canada, what do you think about Jussy's facial hair? R said of him, old man now with a grey muzzle. I replied, I don't care and I would happily suffer the stubble rash, although I would probably prefer him without.

I overheard R chatting to a woman at a table near us when we had coffee yesterday and she was saying I assume about HRH Queen Elizabeth, "and if she opened all the bedrooms she owns to the homeless in England, half the problem would be solved". She was very well spoken and groomed and unlikely to be a communist. Brief research tells me the HRH has about 500 bedrooms, not enough to  come close to solving homelessness, but still a lot of empty bedrooms. 

The British Royals is a great institution and I believe HRH and those who are in a direct line to be monarchs such as Charles and William, along with the Royal properties should be supported by the public purse, but not all those who are only there because of luck of birth and not there for succession and receive what are effectively huge social security payments like no other citizen does.

It now looks like Pat, Jackie, Jenny and WWW will be stumping up some money for the English ex royals now in some way. Suffer babes. We Aussies dodged a bullet.

Friday, January 10, 2020

More Aquarium Photos

Here are some aquarium photos I missed when composing today's post yesterday.

Leafy Sea Dragon.

Never eat the yellow snow. Sea Life has King Penguins and Gentoo Penguins. All have been bred in captivity for generations.

I love watching sea dragons.

A day of Hippie Niece and others and Sister and the youngest niece

'Sorry R, my pension didn't arrive. I don't have any money', so said Hippie Niece when she, her twins and a friend arrived for our aquarium visit. 'No', R said, 'It came early Christmas week and is now back to normal'. She should have known that.

We've put a brave face on publically dear reader, but it was a horrendous day. Hippie Niece, at the age of 28, had the twins so excited they were uncontrollable. R ushered them into the carpark and I was not there but they screamed with excitement. They were then quite good for a while as they played with the toys in Little Jo's old toybox.

Then it came time to go to the toilet and one would not. She was under the dining table just screaming. Nor would she put her shoes on.

Eventually we left home and caught a 58 tram and walked a block to Sea Life. We used our spare Mykis for Hippie Niece and her friend. Hippie Niece has already been embarrassingly fined in front of us on a tram for not paying her fare. She is entitled to a concession fare, but would she plan ahead? Of course not. $40 for her friend to Sea Life, kaching, $30 for her to Sea Life kaching, about $18 for their tram fares, kaching, lunch for all, $64. Don't worry, the gay uncles will pay. Well, I am going to put my foot down with a firm hand about that. No more.

The aquarium is really quite good now and probably worth the $30 to $40 admission. But don't go during school holidays. Over the phone I once asked our Science Museum the best time to visit to avoid crowds and she said, after 2.30 weekdays when the school groups have left.

The twins meals were missing when the food was ready, so R had to go back. So badly organised. One of the twins threw the top of a drink bottle onto the floor and Hippie Niece insisted she pick it up and put it in the rubbish bin. Another on the floor screaming session. Then another when one wouldn't put on her shoes. They were ok when looking at the shark and stingrays swimming above us, but then another screaming session.

R called it quits and we came home after about three hours. One had to be forced to toileting but it was then too late.

One picked up a fake apple from our fruit bowl as they were leaving. R took it from her. On the landing another had a lay on the floor screamings session. She then hit her heel on the bare straight edge that is exposed as The Building is having the carpet replaced. Blood was involved. Sadly I can't say the twins are good children and none in our family have ever behaved so badly before.

The contrast between the firm but nice way Oldest Niece deals with her three, not tolerating any bad behaviour and always remaining calm, is such a contrast to the loving but clearly not working the way the twins are being brought up by her sister Hippie Niece.

Once gone we rested for a bit, then off to the airport to meet Little Jo who was arriving from a scout jamboree in New Zealand an hour before her mothers'. Her flight was 6.10pm arrival, Sister's 7.05. We had to meet Little Jo, have her ticked off as been collected by a responsible adult and Sister suggested we dine McDonalds. The absurd situation of two exits from arrivals at Melbourne Airport continues, but at least here are now tv monitors to see people coming out of the entrance you can not see. I was at one exit, R at another. Little Jo came out from the exit I was monitoring. We had stood there for about an hour waiting and that was hard. Little Jo was receptive to a hug from me, and of course R gave her a big one. R always like to be early, but this time we were absurdly early for an international flight arrival. However, I know better than to go against him.

Linkt (road) tolls, probably a bit over $10, kaching. Parking $23 kaching. Dinner for Little Jo, $10. Little Jo did offer to pay. What happened the sullen uncommunicative 12 year old child we knew last year? She was bright, bubbly, talkative and just lovely. Bone Doctor said in a private moment, she has changed in the two weeks of the jamboree, and I agree.

Sister and Bone Doctor have been known to swear but not in general conversation, rather like myself and R. Little Jo was sitting reading on the scout jamboree and said how the leaders leaders swore, saying shit. Sister immediately chastised Little Jo. Then Little Jo said using sotto voice for the key word, repeated what they said that one of them said fucking.  Sister looked apoplectic! Little Jo then said the scout leaders realised she was within earshot and moved away. Mummy, I was just telling you what they said.

Sister and Bone Doctor in NZ cycled, walked distances, canoed and all those kind of things we have never done. They were allowed one meeting with Little Jo during the jamboree. The last night Little Jo stayed at an airport hotel in Auckland while Sister and Bone Doctor stayed in a hotel in Queenstown. They compared notes on what they watched on tv. David Attenborough doco on Australia, something else with I think an Australian focus. Sister then went to sleep. Little Jo stayed up watching a Michael Jackson doco, but said once she heard about touching a penis, she turned the tv off. Our Little Jo is no longer so little so henceforth be referred to as Jo. Where the eff did those twelve and a half years go?

As recompense for our efforts, Sister and Bone Doctor had bought us a one litre bottle of duty free Scotch. While we don't normally don't indulge on weekdays, we did that night.

Left home at 5.30. Home by 9.

Next day was Mother Day and she behaved quite well.

Here are some photos from the aquarium. Only the saltwater crocodile photos worked well. No flashlights allowed of course. 

Scary. The croc was the only creature on its own in a tank. No surprise I guess.

Lion fish with poisonous spines.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Recommended Reading

We are exhausted after yesterday. I will tell you about it later but it was not like fire fighter exhaustion. No time energy to compose a blog post. How about you instead take a read of this post by a very active and knowledgeable public transport activist who writes about our fires and climate change from a very Australian perspective. He is the quintessential comfortable middle class person who lives in a nice suburb in Melbourne, and he cares.

If you haven't read the statistic I mentioned in comments, either England or the UK has since 2012 reduced its coal powered electricity generation from just under half to presently two percent. I don't know what our statistics are but we are still digging it up huge amounts, burning it locally and exporting much of it to be burnt overseas.

Chilling in the post is the 2008 fire forecast in the Garnaut Report, tweeted by Ben Pennings. "Directly observable by 2020." Chickens have come home to roost.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Sow What?

Oh so many years ago was a gardening programme called Sow What on Our ABC hosted by the late Kevin Heinze. In the course of R's work at the time he the met Kevin a couple of times. Here Kevin is with fellow gardener Jane Edmanson., who we occasionally see in Prahran and still presents gardening segments on tv and radio. She is a bit older now.

Maybe he was replaced by the sibilant Alan Searle. I can't really remember. 

Then I think there was a hiatus without a gardening programme on OUR ABC. 

Enter Gardening Australia and for a very long time the retired RAF pilot Manchester born Peter Cundall hosted Gardening Australia with his weekly sign off pun, That's your bloomin' lot. Cundall was a great conservationist and challenged authority, and I think was arrested once if not more at an environmental protest. We saw him address a crowd in Hobart's St David's Park many years ago.

Wikipedia tells me that Cundall was replaced by someone who I can't remember.

But then came what as a young person I would have once called a hairy galoot, Costa Georgiadis, hailing from Sydney's Bondi Beach area.

As residents of a high rise apartment building, gardening is now of little importance to us but I am still interested. While respecting Costa's knowledge of gardening, he as a person has taken on a large dimension and he was a brave choice by Our ABC to host Gardening Australia and I think in the long run, the choice has paid off. He is interesting, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. 

Here is Costa. He is one hairy dude.

But he was not always. Here he is younger, quite an attractive enough young man. 

Hmm, that top looks a bit gay. So is Costa gay? I think so, but I need evidence but I cannot find any. However he does do drag onstage and has his own musician band.

Gardening knowledge is of little interest to us now and I preferred the half hour format at 6.30 Friday nights rather than the one hour show at 7.30. It is taking a summer break now but no doubt will return probably with some advice on how to repair fire damaged gardens .

Tuesday, January 07, 2020


After some consideration and noting that billions of money is generously pouring into fire appeals for people and bushfire recovery, I have just donated to the not for profit statutory authority Zoos Victoria which will be there for the long haul for our terribly fire injured animals and their habitats. Zoos Victoria veterinarian staff are just waiting for personal safety clearance by authorities to get into the burnt areas and treat animals who can be saved or sadly euthanise those who can't be saved.

No photos of burnt or suffering animals. I find them far too distressing.

The week that will be

Monday, massage in Prahran and coffee, on my own. Catch train to town and have more coffee, because I can, I have the time and I can afford the $3.90 cup of coffee. Air thick with bushfire smoke again.

Tomorrow Tuesday, train to Lost Dog's Home to deliver more old towels. Will look at bus options to return. I use trains and trams. Buses are a novelty for me. Make a donation to a charity that looks after fire affected animals.

Wednesday, visit Sea Life Aquarium with R, Hippie Niece, her twins and Ex Sis in Law's husband's daughter who we don't really know. Later meet Little Jo at the airport after she returns from a scout jamboree in New Zealand and wait for Sister and Bone Doctor who arrive on their flight an hour later. Nicely discounted tickets bought and printed out for the Aquarium. What happened to the tickets on your phone option?

Thursday, Mother Day and no doubt an argument on the way home as we are always both fed up, frustrated and snappy after taking Mother out.

Friday, weekly shopping.

Saturday, while we aren't going to Gellibrand to stay, we may just go for day trip, two hours driving each way. See how we feel.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Monday Mural

A rather sweet little mural in Elsternwick painted by a person unknown.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Man Cries

Is a man crying worse than a woman crying? One of the best things about modern times is that men do now have a licence to cry, which they never had in the past. But male or female I am not sure how you can voluntarily stop tears. I saw my father cry only once when he had to kill put down his favourite female dog by shooting her.

Never search Youtube for men crying. You will end up crying yourself as I discovered. I was watching a clip of young gay man in the US talking about his experiences and how he was treated at school and by the church where his parents worshiped and he burst into tears and then so did I.

In some kind of macabre mindset, I looked at other videos of grown men crying. One was at a vet's clinic where a man was having his ill dog euthanised but most of them were kind of happy tears by grooms as their brides walked down the metaphorical aisles and once again I remembered Fire Fighting Nephew's wedding when both he and his bride cried.

I am a bit emo at the moment as I constantly hear about fire victims and animal death and injury statistics, along with generosity of so many people at a time of crisis, and the day did not begin well when I opened the electric newspaper this morning to find out the once rather attractive Australian actor Tom Long had died from myeloma at the age of 50.

Sunday Selections

You've had it too easy with a brief post from me on Saturday and no post on Friday. You must suffer for your sins.

We decided to wash the car today. We've taken it to the automated wash once and when it had its nuts and bolts tightened one month after buying it, they gave it a wash, but the interior needed a good clean. I once stopped Mother getting into our car in her socks after she walked across her lawn with dried grass cuttings. Last Thursday I didn't notice the dried grass clippings and it was getting late. We always try to leave at 3.00, avoiding the worst of the traffic. Sure enough, dried grass on the passenger floor. We often take our car to the do it yourself carwash in Altona and then have brunch or lunch in Altona Village. This time though R wanted to take it to be detailed. The place in Elsternwick does a good job for $44. A bevy of young Indian men get through the car detailing at an astonishing rate in the time it takes me to drink a hot cup of included coffee. I know these lads lie about their job when talking to their parents back in India. Mum, "I'm working in IT." "That's good son. Study hard."

R fancied a pie and we needed a couple of things at the supermarket, so we went to nearby Elsternwick, but we couldn't find a cheap Asian bakery! Or any bakery really aside from Bakers Delight that doesn't have pies. R was getting more serious about a pie and it was infectious. I am not great at a broad Australian accent but I can do the elongated maaayte (mate) and also pronounce pie like poi. We'll get you a poi hon. We drove on to Ormord Road in Elwood where we knew there was a good bakery and we were satisfied. We drove home along the beachfront.

Ok, so much to say but I will stop here and just comment on photos, mostly my own.

We didn't give adult family Christmas presents this year but Sister did. Warm the substance with your hands and turn it into a reindeer which will slowly melt and then you can repeat the process. Only one horn had an ear attached. No sooner had I made it than its head slumped forward and it was quickly a pile of goo. Sister gave R half a dozen blue handkerchiefs. In 40 years I have never known R to use a handkerchief, only tissues. #innappropriategiftfromsister number 25.

Just a car kiss in Albert Park. Such a quiet spot. Why?

Tents up for Christmas evening dinner across the road. Originally tenants, they must have bought the large apartment. They have been removing the dilapidated spa on the far right of late.

Peak hour traffic lasts for about four hours. Happy hour cheap food and drinks lasts for about three hours. I am so old that I remember when an hour was hour.

Jellyfish at Port Melbourne's Station Pier. Nasty critters with stinging trailers to cause you immense pain.

A South Yarra lane I think. Poor kiddies whose parents could not afford to pay for them to see the circus.

Who is this Phase II who died? I assume the other names are those who admire him. From Wikipedia, Phase 2 was a New York based aerosol artist, b. 1955, d. 12th December 2019.

It is hard to believe how these relatively small buildings at Station Pier can handle thousands of passengers. It is all very well organised.

Trouble was, we blocked everyone but was that such a bad thing? I vant to be alone.

Anti vaxxers are not benign non believers. They do evil, as they have done in Samoa after one child died from a wrongly administered dose of vaccine. The anti vaxxers went into overdrive and the vaccination dropped to about 20% from memory. An outbreak of measles occurred this year and there were deaths. The government enforced vaccinations and Samoa now has herd immunity.

The Beech Forest train has paused for some maintenance. It ran through our Otway Ranges from Colac to Beech Forest and linked on to the train to Crowes until 1962. It ran through the town of Gellibrand where we may be staying next weekend and catching up with Fire Fighting Nephew, and the place of his most wonderful wedding. This is courtesy of  Ex Sis in Law and her husband who have just bought a caravan and offered to pay for a cabin in the caravan park for us. Fire Fighting Nephew's mother in law lives in the town, so I expect we will see her too.

There, that wasn't so bad was it. I leave you with a couple of great photos. How gorgeous is this bridge structure.

I'm not gay but my boyfriend is.