Saturday, September 05, 2020


I am a shocker for language and accents. I just pick them up so easily. I finished reading Mandingo today and in my head I is talkin' the speech of the deep south in the non? United States. Reading speech like really gits into me head. The book is not happy ending like. 

Now onto the humour and easy readin' All That Happen' at Number 26. Good un' light read.

Saturday Smiles

My father is dead and my step father too, so no bother on Sunday for me on Father's Day. Not that us locked down people could do anything anyway with our 5km limit for driving and not allowed to visit anyone.

Sammy J on the radio this morning wanted to hear Dad jokes. Dad jokes are so weak.

So this is one who a dad recounted over the radio and it tickled my fancy.

A Priest, a Vicar and a rabbit walked into a bar.

The barman asked the rabbit what he was doing in the company of a Priest and a Vicar?

The rabbit replied,

I think it is something to do with auto correct. 

Friday, September 04, 2020

The Outpatient

I had a hospital outpatient appointment yesterday. It was my third for the same matter and I refused further treatment and the specialist agreed.

My first visit had me armed with a map and a drawn path. In spite of that in the rabbit warren of the Alfred Hospital, I became lost but not too badly and I eventually found the place to be and was on time. 

I was so confident for my second visit I did not bother with the map and I became totally lost. The hospital volunteer could not steer me in the right direction and nor could staff, mainly because I had the name of where I had to attend wrong. I was in a panic that I would be late, but I wasn't. However the ever so hot specialist Doctor Jordan was.

Surely this time I will get it right, my third visit. I rehearsed in my head that I need to catch the central lift to the fourth floor, turn right and then right again down a long walkway, right again for a short distance and then left. 

As I entered I was temperature checked and asked 20 questions. No, I have not been overseas on holidays bitch face. Yes, my mask is fresh on this morning. I was allowed to pass go.

Next stage another person to check where I was going. Your papers, Sir. Sorry, no papers, just a confirmation text message on my phone. He did not glance at the text message but actually read it, and then slapped on my arm a bright orange visitor sticker.

Up in the lift I went and another person at a temporary desk challenged me, and just as well. You can't walk down this way I'm afraid, even if you have before. This is now a COVID ward. Go back to the ground floor, find the eastern lifts, and then go up to the fourth floor. If you get lost or confused, do ask. All of the staff were so nice and pleasant and quite used to dealing with lost idiots. I found my way easily enough eventually. 

I met up with R two thirds through Fawkner Park on my way home for some food and coffee. The weather had warmed and under my mask I was dripping sweat. It was such a relief to take it off to eat and drink.

R drank his coffee and about halfway through mine, I said, what on earth am I drinking? R had drunk my black coffee, wondering why his coffee tasted a little bitter and I had been drinking his flat white which I realised tasted very milky. 

We really know how to live!

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Matters of the internet

If you are of a certain age there is a good chance that Internet Explorer was your first web browser. While it will still work, it has now been officially abandoned by Microsoft and will become less secure in time and put your computer at risk of infections. For his personal matters R uses its replacement Microsoft Edge. For joint things we use Firefox and for my personal matters I use Chrome. This saves us having to log in and out with different identities in one browser. While in the 90s I used IE for a time, I tried Opera which I didn't like as it took over the computer and I then moved on to Netscape, which was quite good for its time. But now I really like Chrome.

Chrome is not perfect though, or maybe website designers are at fault. Do you remember back a couple of weeks ago I disputed a membership charge with the online retailer Kogan? $12 per month membership for free delivery when I might buy something there once a year did not make sense and I would not have agreed to it. Via the Kogan website I lodged a request for a charge back to my credit card and I received a pro forma response to my complaint. Three days later I logged on to the website and switched off that it was a recurring charge.

Ten days later, still no response or charge back to my credit card. Right, I will make it a disputed transaction with my bank. Naturally I used Chrome but it would not work after a certain point. I tried a second time still to no avail.

I tried with Firefox and it lodged. Normally a disputed transaction takes time, like weeks, to investigate by a bank, but within seconds I received an sms that the disputed transaction had been accepted and my credit card would be credited with the $11.99. That really tells you how dodgy the charge was and how many people must have been stung and complained.

Oh, and I have been switched to the new Blogger. I hope they have fixed the bugs.


During Lock Down Mark II and even before, I have been reading my Kindle a lot. I sit on the balcony for a time engrossed in my ebook, only occasionally looking out to note the lack of tram passengers, pedestrians and motor car traffic. The endless parade of empty trams is depressing, although it is good to see so many out exercise walking. It does get a bit cold at times so I don't stay out for too long. For some reason I don't really read Kindle books inside the apartment.

I am a serial reader beginning as a cereal packet reader at the breakfast table as soon as I could read. My maternal grandfather was pleased with my reading efforts and told me I would never be bored if I enjoyed reading, and I think he was right. While I don't do it, if I have a good book I could just sit and read and read.

My father was a great reader and as a lad would read under his bedding by torch light hours well into the night.

So what do I read? I used to read a lot of worthy books to educate myself but I enjoyed acquiring the knowledge too.

In Kindle days it is mostly novels. For a while I was hung up on spy novels set during WWII and later. For most of what I read I paid $1.99 per download.

Before that I started reading Irish writer Martha Long's at times distressing autobiographical series starting with "Ma, he sold me for a few cigarettes". Each one in the series became more expensive and I was really annoyed and I stopped at about half way through the list. It is not so much that I object to paying, but the the increasing price that annoyed me.

Over the past couple of months I have worked my way through the detective crime writer Helen H Durrant's books. I initially read some out of order, but I sorted that out by the time I arrived at the Calladine and Bayliss mysteries. I really enjoyed her books and amazingly I can download them for free from Kindle Amazon.

I have another crime writer now who I will work through, David Hooks. I've read two of his books and while initially I wasn't so keen, they hooked me in. These can also be read for free.

However, it was time for an interlude and for some reason the book Mandingo came up as a suggested book. Was it is movie or a tv show? The book is really good, but I struggle with some of language of the south. No matter the context I still haven't worked out the word  pizen? If the prices are correct, I am surprised at the price of buying a human. When was it set? Early or mid 1800s? Back then any kind of half decent mature black slave would cost upwards of $1,500. Undeveloped may have been cheaper. A fine and very fertile male specimen, maybe $5,000! That is an awful lot of money for back then. Perhaps this was near the end of slavery and prices were high. You really have to put aside your modern sensibilities to enjoy the book.

Then another free book popped up as a suggestion, local comedian and actor Denise Scott's autobiography All that happened at Number 26. I am really looking forward to reading it.

Ex MI5 or MI6 author writes great books, but I have to pay maybe $13 to read them. I am not sure why I baulk at the price when I used to pay $30 for a paperback.

I was looking at David Bowie biographies and there is one that sounds pretty good, the last one written. It too is around $13. For my October birthday I will ask R to buy it for me, along with a bottle of Scotch when the inevitable and normally unanswerable question comes, what do you want for your birthday? If I really wanted something, by my age I would have bought it already. The rest is just icing.

Yesterday I also relearnt how to record the tv to a memory stick and I watched a moving documentary about twin brothers who are doctors and work in infection control in London hospitals and one contracted COVID. 

We went to Prahran to pick up medications, bought a salad roll and coffee and sat in Prahran Square to eat and drink. Later I went out for my exercise walk and bought another cup of coffee and sat on the steps of a building to drink it unmasked. The weather is warming up and masks are becoming uncomfortable. R bought shields a couple of weeks ago but we haven't used them and a tv story told us tonight they are next to useless. Must wear a mask!

Wednesday, September 02, 2020


Lordy, I've probably shown this tree every year since I began blogging but it never ceases to entrance and excite me. For whatever reason it flowers later than those of its ilk. Shaded? Big cold synagogue walls nearby? Who knows. When I normally walk in the late afternoon it is in shade and not great to photograph. I masked up again for the day and went out to take photos in the midday sun. But then I had the power line split in the photos that I only noticed once I had downloaded the photos. Some are by camera and some by new phone camera. Which do you think is the best? I will back reference them.

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Our broken aged care system

A Royal Commission is underway into our aged care system and I expect it is on the run after so many COVID nursing home deaths. Our nursing home and aged care system is a broken model.

I blame Prime Ministers Morrison, Turnbull, Abbott, Rudd and Gillard. None did anything to fix the problem

Sydney's Newmarch House had a very high death toll as staff fled the facility, leaving residents unfed and unwashed. This was in the early days of COVID in Australia and we were on a steep learning curve but it is no excuse for our Federal Government that should have been prepared and is responsible for aged care.

St Basil's in Melbourne has also been a disaster with many more deaths. I am only using St Basil's as an example of the shocking situation of nursing home care in Australia. It could equally apply to many nursing homes.

Thanks to The Age newspaper and Channel 9 tv for information I will put into my own words.

St Basil's is essentially for the care of old Greek born Australians. They came to Australia as cheap labour, although paid appropriate wages. They did well and paid their taxes. 

The Greek Orthodox Church looks after them in their dotage at St Basil's. I would expect they pay most of their old age pension for their care. I don't really have a problem with that.

There is a police investigation underway, a coronial investigation underway, as well as a class legal suit by family underway. 

If The Age is to be believed, 90% of St Basil's last year funding of $13 million comes from the Federal Government. Of this the nursing home pays over $2 million a year as rent back to the Greek Orthodox Church. I've no idea where the Greek born Australian pensioners' money goes. 

Let me make this clear. The Greek Orthodox Church owns St Basil's nursing home and the nursing home pays the the Greek Orthodox Church $2 million a year in rent, meanwhile being propped up by our Federal Government for 90% of its funding. The local council says the rental is twice what it should be on council valuation of the property. The death toll at St Basil's has been horrendous.

Crooks, liars, thieves and charlatans and almost adding murderers. Our aged care system is very broken and be afraid as there is a good chance that we all may need it at some point.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Ya gotta laugh

These are all anecdotal but really, what a case of Yes Minister. Sir Humphrey could explain these away so easily.

These are all New South Wales and Sydney based.

New trains were bought for the long Blue Mountain commuter distance train line. What a pity they wouldn't fit through the tunnels. Well, it was only a couple of tunnels really, but just one tunnel is enough yes?

University students in Newcastle walk out from their building and see a railway station. Oh no, we truncated that train line. No trains at Newcastle Station.

A rather good new driverless train line is being progressively built in Sydney, but it is completely incompatible with the the older system. Never the two will mix.

Lesson learnt? No. A new tram system has been built in Sydney, completely incompatible with the existing tram line.

Ah but wait, the creme de la creme. New ferries have been leased from Indonesia to be used on the ferry service from Sydney along the river to Parramatta. There is a top outdoor deck but at high tide two bridges will take the heads off anyone sitting there. Trust staff to get everyone off the the top deck to below as the ferry passes under the bridges? Nah. I remember when we cruised the Danube and staff forgot to bring down the deck chairs overnight and at midnight there was an almighty crashing as deck chairs were smashed and swept off the ship by a bridge.

"But Minister, people have to take responsibility for their own safety and duck when the ferry reaches the bridges."

The ferry height might be a moot point though as apparently these Indonesian ferries have asbestos within and may well be banned by the strongly unionised ferry workers.

You'd laugh if it wasn't costing so much taxpayer money.

Monday Mural

As usual I have no idea where this mural is located. I think I know enough to say it is a Harry Potter figure in the mural, otherwise I have no idea and I don't care too much. I can't even decipher what is written.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Sunday Selections

Joining with Elephant's Child and others for Sunday Selections. I was out and about in the city and it looks like some of these at least were taken last Spring, just as we have reached the next Spring.

Princess' Theatre, Spring Street. Generally the apostrophe has been dropped but it's still on the theatre itself and is still used at times. The positioning of the apostrophe tells us it was named after two princesses and I did look it up once some years ago, and that is true.

The Comedy Theatre. Unless they have been replaced, the seats are very uncomfortable but we have some good shows there.

Very early buildings in Little Lonsdale Street, once an area for all kinds of vice related activity including the brothels of Madame Brussels who I wrote about a couple of years ago.

This looks like a fine Winter's day. It took some finding out for this post but the Salvation Army Training School is now a backpacker's hotel. Well, it was when I took the photo.

Also in Victoria Parade is the Eastern Hill Fire Station with its tower to look over the city and spot fires. It is now an overpriced Fire Museum and I visited it a few years ago. Not great value.

Looking in the other direction across Victoria Parade.

Turner Alley in the city. I love imagining about bricked up windows and doors.