Saturday, March 21, 2020

Who is that handsome man?

On the left of these combined photos is Yorkshire man Zayn Malik, once of the boyband One Direction. I don't mind his looks at all, and nor the other bloke with similar looks on the right but who do you think he is?

If you do know, please wait for say twelve hours before you stick your hand up and say, I knew Miss, so that more have to opportunity to get busy with Goofle. I can think of one regular commenter who will know.


I didn't get my act together and make a Tasmanian holiday post. Manana. I feel like I am living in a surreal world. We dared to visit Prahran today for shopping and I had a doctor's appointment. My blood pressure was through the roof and even worse by 5pm when I checked it at home. By 7pm, it was normal. This is exactly what happens with my mother's blood pressure. We dared to have a sandwich and coffee. Toilet paper is starting to reappear on shelves, but it was gone by the time we visited. We can survive for a week or so without more and we have a good stock of tissues.

Mother's friend's husband has been stockpiling. They have 400 rolls of toilet paper, and five sides of lamb in freezers. God knows what else. I hope a water pipe bursts and the toilet paper becomes sodden and unusable and the flood of water knocks out their power and so the meat will go off in their freezers. Despicable behaviour. Meanwhile, we have two half full bottles of hand sanitiser. It was time to buy a one new bottle, and we did from behind the counter at a supermarket. There were two packets of three lamb chops in each, we scooped them both up until we looked at the price and put one back. We bought some last remaining spuds, but there weren't brown onions. We eat a lot of broccoli but it was $10 a kilo. We bought a small amount.

R spoke to his former workmate today with whom he often lunches. Her son is closing down his food business in a week's time in spite of rent being halved. Casual staff have been put off.

Brighton Antique Dealer met a bloke on her cruise late last year and we have met him and he seems like a nice guy. The classy BAD seems to like rough trade and this one was once a fireman and so should have good superannuation and not be after her money. He still works, as an interstate coach driver. All social gatherings at BAD's posh retirement place have been stopped and she is fearful. Consequently she has moved it to her new beau's townhouse and if you know Melbourne suburbs, a move from one hundred metres from North Brighton Station to Mitcham is quite a step.

I just spoke to ABI Brother whose toilet was flooding and unusable. Both he and mother were 'going' in the back yard. The plumber eventually came and put some sealant on the rubber ring on the P or S trap. After the third attempt at explaining finally ABI Brother understood that we gave our key to Mother's house to the real estate agent and we needed another key cut to keep in our car glovebox for when Mother forgets to bring her house key. He sounded sober but I was ready to tear my hair out. Mother was prattling on in the background, tell Andrew this or that. I hung up quickly.

I am not sure how I can help people in this difficult time. R's volunteer job goes on but with severe restrictions. I don't do so bad at writing. I sent this this evening to a what I see is a really nice ship, owned by Viking Cruises, and perhaps I would even like to travel on it, in spite of some of my sea cruising experiences not being to my liking. The crew probably have no voice that will be heard by anyone who will do something. Maybe an email from a rich old white Australian faggot might help.

Viking Orion has been sitting in Port Phillip for days after passengers were unloaded. I feel for the crew who are probably not paid well by Australian standards. While they are safe, they are probably bored to tears. They are used to being busy and I expect in these troubled times, they would like to be at home with family, as it clear that the cruise ships won't recover business for some time. I hope at least the crew have free internet, and the ship should return to its home port and then pay staff to go home, if that is possible at this late stage. 

Andrew, who sees the VO at anchor from various angles as currents and tides change, day after day.

Friday, March 20, 2020

I know, I know

Yes, I said I wan't going to mention it again, but things change.

The Viking Orion has been sitting out in the bay since Tuesday after discharging passengers who if were from overseas, were taken straight the airport and exported to wherever  they came from. I have sympathy for the crew who are stuck in the bay for days on hold. I expect it will be the best maintained ship in the world. A very big hi to the crew of Viking Orion.

The ship cruise we took this time last year and we were near Christchurch in New Zealand when the mosque massacre happened has returned from NZ this year. It took passengers a whole day to leave the ship as checks were made. Melbourne is its home port and while it was supposed to depart tonight, it is still moored at Station Pier. An unscheduled ship was berthed at Station Pier, bound for Fremantle in Western Australia. It did leave.

Australia and New Zealand have now closed their borders to anyone else but Australian citizens. Where we holidayed in Tasmania has closed its borders to all but essential travellers. Our state government is reopening closed hospitals, which makes me think this will get worse before it gets better.

Today, Thursday was Mother Day and we met a real estate agent at my mother's house. As agents do, she had the gift of the gab, nevertheless Mother has now signed with her to sell the family home. The agent is ahead of many with virtual reality and drone footage, rather than risking contracting the virus by visiting someone's home for inspection. The company does meticulous wipe downs of anything a house inspector might touch. Interesting to me, a private auction can be held within a secure portal if two people are keen. She talked us to exhaustion. Finally Mother went outside to smoke and the agent took her leave.

Hippie Niece must leave hospital tomorrow, Friday.She loves being in hospital with everything done for her, she is fed and she has lots of social interaction. Ex Sis in Law asked if we could stay for a week at their place and look after the twins and Hippie Niece while they take a five day break from the twins. R was non committal but it didn't take me long to work things out. We have given money to Ex Sis in Law and her husband. His mother has now died and he has some money. We waived what we gave them. The latest was just $200 just before settlement of his mother's house. There has been no offer to repay that small amount of money.

I don't do children until they can coherently speak. R is 71 years old and becomes exhausted just by daily life. We have selfish lives. We like our own things around us. It is not going to happen. But I will have call Ex Sis in Law and take pressure off R.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Tasmania Day 2

T owned her flat in Ormond in Melbourne and let it out for a couple of years when she moved to Launceston. She sold it for a good profit and sold her unit in West Launceston and moved to the other side of West Launceston and she was able to own her large and spacious house outright. Her sister and the sister's son are boarders. Her sister was away with a bowling competition and T's nephew was a pleasant enough 23 year old who is away from T's place for a number of nights when he is working. We didn't see too much of him.

T's house is three and a half bedroom, the half bedroom having a fold out bed in a walkway to the back garden. T's bedroom has a full ensuite, and there is a large bathroom along with a separate toilet both upstairs and downstairs where the laundry is located next to the double garage with electric doors, one of which leads to another garage door the back garden. There is also a not used side driveway. The house has little street appeal but is fantastically spacious inside. It is a really nice home. R and I had our own bedroom, where T's sister usually sleeps and A slept in the walkway space, the half bedroom.

Everywhere in Launceston seems steep and T's place is no exception. She has great views over Launceston.

T had to work at her job as an Aussie Rules football administrator on the Saturday, looking after a young team visiting from Victoria.

We went to a supermarket and bought essentials. Sadly we did not buy any of this plentiful stock. We bought some liquour as Andrew without a drink at night can be terribly boring. 

Somehow I learnt about JJ's Bakeries three outlets and we had some fine nosh in Longford. It was terribly busy as there was a motor car display.

This streetscape is so country town Australian.

The price of $10 entry to the car display seemed excessive to me, so we just looked at the overflow of cars in the church park. I won't overload you with car photos. This is an FJ General Motors Holden.

A Riley. Nice.

This one was my favourite, perhaps just for the name, a Vanden Plus Princess. So stylish. 

R, A and myself went on to the town of Evandale. It was lovely. 

Penny Farthing races are held annually in Evandale.

Evandale was just so nice.

This pub had the most fantastic beer garden, with the hottest bar staff person I have seen for a long time.

Another view from T's street.

While Mudbar is way out of our normal price league when dining out, it was great. It is claimed land taken from the Tamar River mudflats.

Maitre D' Jacob was fantastic and rather attractive. 

Butterfly gin? I don't know about that. Jacob changed the colour of our drinks. He was a great performer.

$66 special for two courses, plus wine. Whoa. I asked if I could have two entrees for the price and after consultation with management  yes, so I had beautiful scallops in a great sauce. and then a selection of oysters prepared in different ways. I didn't like the oyster shooters in the glasses in the centre of plate but the rest were divine.

A property developer built this foot and cycle bridge across the river to a nice park and the Silo Hotel. Sister and Bone Doctor have stayed at the Silo Hotel. Back to T's place and a wee dram before before bed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Tasmania Day One

If you live overseas you may not know much about our wonderful island state of Tasmania to the south of mainland Australia. I think it is our smallest state and has a population of a little over half a million people, compared to the not much larger Victoria with five million. It is separated from the mainland by Bass Strait, named after sea explorer George Bass. The strait seas can be treacherous at times.

It's capital city is Hobart to the south of the island on the Derwent River with the other major city being Launceston inland on the north coast on the Tamar River, where our Dyke Friend, T, lives.

Its west coast has the cleanest air in the world and is quite wet. The east coast is much drier. Hobart is usually a good bit cooler than Melbourne while Launceston is pretty close to the same weather as Melbourne.

It is a bit of joke how a map of Tasmania might look a little like a women's body part. Please do not send me photos of your Map of Tasmania. Everywhere we stayed is on the map, Launceston, Stanley, Queenstown, Hobart and Devonport.

On Friday morning at 6.30 we set off to collect our Hair Dresser Friend, A. We were cross as she apologised profusely for being nearly twenty minutes late. R and me are so punctual and it is annoying that others are not. But it really didn't matter. We queued in our car in the street leading to the ferry. Eventually we drove on. There were two cruise ships in port which probably delayed our boarding. The Spirit of Tasmania left 45 minutes late and consequently after the day sailing we arrived 45 minutes late to the port in the small town of Devonport. It took an hour plus to drive to T's house in Launceston and once there we had pizza T had prepared and a cheese board. We didn't stay up late.

Departing Melbourne. I took photos of the area where we live but I could not pick it out, not even in high resolution photos, yet we can see the ferry out in Port Phillip Bay. These are just close up local Port Melbourne photos.

We passed a large container ship in the bay.

Mount Eliza I think, on the Mornington Peninsula.

Wow, you can see the brightly coloured bathing boxes at either Safety Beach or Dromana.

A pair of tourist pleasure craft shot out from Queenscliff to check out The Spirit.

Queenscliff with the white lighthouse slightly left of centre. Line up the black lighthouse with the white light house and ships could safely navigate through the narrow Port Phillip Heads.

Far right is a Norfolk Island Pine, lit at Christmas and visible from a long way away. Far left is the Point Lonsdale Light House.

Here we go. Arriving at Devonport.

The voyage was rough at time with lots of 'drunken' people swaying side to side as they walked along the passageways. We had reserved reclining seats with elevated footrests at the rear of the ferry and we were pleased to have them. We bought a sandwich each once on board with coffee. We had a gin and tonic at some point and then a quite nice hamburger to eat for a late lunch.

While it was bright as we arrived in Devonport, by the time we reached T's place in Launceston, it was nearly dark.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

I is returned

Obviously I will post about our Tasmanian holiday soon but I will just write this one post about COVID-19, that is unless anyone I know is infected, especially me.

We were idiots. We didn't hoard before we left. There wasn't a shortage of anything in Tasmanian supermarkets. Why didn't we load up the car? Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and Prahran supermarkets have very empty shelves. We have enough fresh food, but we do need toilet paper and rice. However we won't die from the lack of either.

Herd mentality really kicked in and shame on those who kicked it off.

I've seen/read/heard about child torture in Africa, the brutal rape of women in war situations around the world and men having to mutually castrate each other in the Balkans. I can distance myself. I keep reading of such horrors, keep listening to such horrors, keep seeing such horrors.

But this virus, well the world wide effect, has me spooked and for the first time in my life I tuned out today. R at times insists the radio is turned off, but I don't. Today I didn't listen to radio news. I didn't read the electric newspaper. I only watched the 6pm commercial television news.

What I need to do is focus on logic. In a country of 25 million people, 300 people have contracted the virus, mostly from overseas. It may become worse but our medical system seems quite well prepared.

What is shocking is how governments around the world, including our own, have been so slow to react. Yes, looking at you Italy. As in all areas, Trumpet in the US has been a disaster and over the next few weeks people of the US will pay the price of having such an incompetent leader. A hoax Trumpet?

I am not so concerned for myself but R has reached his three score and ten and Mother is about to turn 86. Should either of them contract the virus, it could be serious.

Outside one of our major hospitals, The Alfred, there was a long queue of people waiting to be tested. I assume they are at risk people who have returned from overseas and have a sniffle or worse. Or are some the worried well? I don't think so as the queue was mainly younger people. A little common sense in this photo.