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.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Eff You Trip Advisor

I've perhaps written 50 reviews for about accommodation where we have stayed and places we have visited. I wrote one tonight. The site has become so complex, it is now near on impossible to simply write a review. No, I don't want accommodation where we have just stayed. I don't want to change my password. I don't want anything complicated and the last straw was when my review disappeared with a waste of half an hour.

The bona fides of Trip Advisor has been called into question in the past and without my honest reviews, it has just become a tiny bit worse.

To use some old Australian vernacular, get knotted Trip Advisor.

Not Monday Mural

I really regret my last COVID post about what race might be spreading COVID but I will let it stand as it is important historical information of what people like me were thinking at the time. This is a long read and I hope by copying it and pasting it here, it ameliorates my earlier post in some way.

Only the poorest of the poor end up in these tower blocks but many choose to stay on once they have proper jobs and are established.

This is such an important piece to read. It comes to us from Lisa Peters, one of nurses who helped with the community housing testing. Eye opening.
“Today I have time to think and recall, so I want to clear up some misconceptions of the Covid19 lockdowns in the public towers. You, my family and friends have shown so much concern and support, and this is also a great debriefing for me. This is probably jumbled to read, but whilst things are fresh in my mind I wanted to write it down.
The last few days have been a plethora of emotions and a humbling experience. After working with the community for Covid19 testing, I was unsure what we would experience at the public housing towers, where they were under total lockdown. The media had portrayed them as being full of hostility, drug and alcohol concerns, and as I saw it, a frightening place to go. They had shown residents pleading for help for food and basic supplies, protests and a lot of anger.
Over the last few days, our amazing team from Knox attended the towers in Flemington and North Melbourne. When I first arrived and found the massive police presence and strict lock down, my heart was in my mouth. I have not been exposed to public housing, violence or police incidents. The media were set up outside in the roads and I was reminded of the news stories I had seen. We were guided in to don our PPE and then our teams were the first to be gathered to start working our way through each floor.
We waited for what seemed like an eternity whilst the logistics of the police accompanying us were coordinated. We were in teams of two nurses and two police and had a trolley set up with all our needs. Its weird, as this trolley became “ours” and was part of our team and we were so protective of it. At one stage we had to leave it downstairs when we doffed and had a quick break for a drink in a different building. We entrusted the police to guard it. Well that didn’t work as when we got back a box of gloves was gone. From then on, for the next two days we placed a piece of paper with “Fiona and Lisa’s trolley, please do not touch”. I’m sure there is a psychological reason for this attachment as we became very possessive.
We were given a list of residents on each floor and started at the first apartment and continued until the last had been visited on each floor. The tests were purely voluntary, yet not one resident said no. They were incredibly thankful, respectful and grateful for us being there. We started writing our names on our gowns as we were wearing full PPE and all they could see were our eyes. The police stood back away from them and us, showing the same respect and kindness at every door we knocked at.
At every apartment, we asked are you okay? Do you have enough food, do you need any medications, is there anything we can do to help? There were some very simple requests, lactose free milk, an onion and tomato, dish-washing detergent, sanitary pads and toothpaste. We could see the bags and boxes of food delivered to them in the foyers, under tents outside, outside their doorways, inside their rooms. One man told us they had never had this much meat before, with the biggest smile on his face.
After each floor was completed, we came back down to “doff” which is to remove our PPE in a particular way to not contaminate ourselves or others. We had teams of paramedics to assist with each step. They possibly thought their job was insignificant, but it was just as important as ours. One little break in our PPE and we could become the next cause of community transmission. With that weighing on my mind, and of course the safety of our immediate family, I have never been so anxious about doffing in my decades of nursing! The police were guided as well and they too were grateful as I’m sure they were as anxious as we were.
We then cleaned and restocked our trolley, donned PPE and set off again with a new list and more amazing and beautiful residents to test. At one stage on the first day when we were donned waiting to go in, I looked up at the frightened people on the third-floor balconies watching us from behind the glass. We sent the biggest, animated kisses with both hands to them and they were delighted! We continued to blow kisses backwards and forwards and it made my heart so full knowing that they knew we really do care.
The first day we worked there was no food available at a quick lunch break as it had all been eaten. There were a lot of hungry nurses lol. There were 10 teams of us who agreed to stay on and try and get through the swabbing, and we swabbed until 9pm. We had to stop as its unfair on the residents to keep going later than that. We were disappointed to find there were a couple of floors left, but we had done each building at Flemington Road towers by then, an amazing effort by so many.
Yesterday was the North Melbourne towers. We attended 3 different towers. The first one the lift was broken. We were meant to start at 18th floor. I said I could go up the stairs for a few floors, but not many as we had to carry our trolleys with us. We were lucky to have the first floor and when we had finished there, the lift was fixed.
Again, the residents were so grateful for being tested. They were so worried for their health and that of their families. They proudly showed their negative results on the texts on their phones and wanted to be tested again as that was a week ago. Most were worried about not being able to go to work and support their families or lose their jobs. For many there were single parents because the spouse had been locked out, some had nieces, nephews, cousins etc that had been locked in. There were some laughs at not knowing the birth dates of these young relatives. These people had simple requests as well. We were so lucky to have a social worker with us yesterday as she was able to arrange what was needed then and there.
My heart was full when I left thanks to the “I love you” said to us, the constant thanks and displays of gratitude. We were invited into many homes, even offered a tea or coffee. I went into a few rooms with elderly, frail and young children. This was optional and only if we felt safe. We did, we felt like guests. I saw many, many boxes of food and supplies at the three towers we attended yesterday.
I have so many wonderful memories of the last few days, none were bad, they were all positive. So please understand that whatever the media portrays is not necessarily true. We were there with firsthand experience. The wheels are in motion to support these people, maybe it was slow to happen, but from what I saw it has now been put in place. There are translators, social workers, support systems and many resources out there.
I want to express my thanks and gratitude to the most incredible nurses from Knox that I have had the honour to work alongside. We have supported each other and together we have made an incredible difference to these peoples lives. I am so honored to be a nurse and have each of your backs, as you have mine!
Feel free to share x”

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Who is that masked man?

South Melbourne Woolworths supermarket was limiting numbers into the store and we had to wait a couple of minutes, and it felt quite busy this Sunday. We had eaten dim sims at South Melbourne Market and had coffee from Brazil Coffee shop but for the first time we masked up before entering Woolworths.

My glasses immediately fogged up, my face was hot and it was hard to breath. Someone told me to pinch in the wire at the top of the mask and that stopped my glasses fogging up. I became used to the mask. We dropped them into a bin on the way back to the car.

We won't be wearing masks all the time, but we will in busy places, but they are few and far between at the moment.

Fortunately in Australia wearing a mask or not is not a political statement. I would estimate 20 to 30% of people were masked.

Barwon Heads Day 2

To repeat, Ex Sis in Law and her husband, her oldest daughter's second daughter and her youngest daughter Hippie Niece were all sleeping in the caravan, while Hippie Niece slept on mattresses on our cottage floor.

This is nice on a memorial seat facing the beach. "Harry Grant 1926 - 2012. Loving memories. Come sit awhile. Enjoy the sea."

I took some some photos with moonlight on cresting waves. I don't think these are them and I can't find them.

The Bluff.

Now I left you with a cliff hanger. What happened at 1.30 Friday night, well Saturday morning really? R's phone rang. It was Ex Sis in Law, somewhat distressed as one the twins was melting down and uncontrollably screaming for her mother. R woke Hippie Niece and drove her the few minutes to the caravan. The twin was consoled by her mum and HN ended up staying at the caravan and sleeping on the kitchen table.

Meanwhile back at the cottage, we were wide awake. We had a couple of stiff drinks and eventually went back to sleep at 3am. What a nightmare.

The next morning ESinL's husband cooked us bacon and eggs at the caravan and we all then drove to Torquay where Fire Fighting Nephew and his wife's apartment is being built. They will move in in November. FFN's wife is due to give birth to their daughter Poppet in August. We couldn't find anywhere large enough to have ice creams for the kiddies and coffee for us, so we bought a box of ice creams from the supermarket and went back to Barwon Heads to eat them on public seating. That was nice.

At 3pm Sister, Bone Doctor and Jo arrived at the caravan to have an early celebration for Jo's 13th birthday. 

Some serious para gliding.

Two cakes for Jo, enough for everyone. Candles are verboten so it was just a rousing Happy Birthday. As I type on the following Saturday, it is Jo's 13th birthday and we called her and sang Happy Birthday to her over the phone.

We did our own thing Saturday night and bought take away fish and chips and had a lovely evening in our cottage just on our own. Social interaction exhausts me, even though I kind of like it. No early morning calls, and clearly there couldn't be repeat of the previous night, so where did Hippie Niece and the twins sleep? Oh dear, I mucked up a bit.