Blogging time was spent locked in our building's lift.
Sunday, October 24, 2021
I'm joining in with Elephant's Child and River for this week's Sunday Selections. Just some randomness. I wish I was quick enough to capture the mudlarks, small birds, seeing off cockatoos, large birds, in flight for a couple of hundred metres.
Saturday, October 23, 2021
Not quite. Retail is still only click and collect or delivery for another week or so, however we can now visit friends and family in the greater Melbourne area.
The government tried to play down Freedom Friday, but the media made sure that it was pointless. We woke this Friday morning to hear of pubs and bars having opened at midnight, people lining up outside hair and nail salons and people feeling very gay and joyous. Later there were family reunions and school kiddies back full time in classrooms.
We rose so early and were at the barbers by 10.45, a cracking effort by us. Some were queued at 7.00 R, we have to catch one of these tram car thingies to get to town. After eleven weeks, the car can have a day off.
While there was an outside queue, Barbers on Degraves Street was terrific. Three cutters were at work and there were about seven in the queue ahead of us. As after the last long lockdown, the boss was there to monitor and make sure everyone was happy. Working forwards, we stood at the back of the line, moved to desk chair then two stools, a two person bench seat and then a bench seat inside. We waited about an hour, but time well worth it. The owner had clearly worked out a deal with a local cafe and asked if we would like coffee. We said yes, and the cafe delivered it to us. Later she came along with mints in a bowl. She was quite touchy feely, which sometimes makes me feel uncomfortable but she did not. She was just so lovely and naturally nice.
It took me a little finding out but I had time to kill as I waited and it turns out the photographer who took outside photos of the queue and then was given permission to photograph inside if no customer objected was from Newswire. What it that? Ah, news.com.au and he is a Rupert Murdoch minion. Maybe we will be in the tabloid papers tomorrow.
Feeling like recently shorn sheep, we bounced up to our usual cafe in Centre Place for a plate of bacon, toast and scrambled eggs and wow, I had forgotten how good the taste of coffee is when served in a china cup.
This not being locked down thing is a little tiring so we adjourned to home for a good long rest and regained our energy for dinner out at Rosco's, just a three stop tram trip from home. As we do, we overordered and we gave no thought to starving Biafrans. Except I did. I hate wasting food. Not a lot was really wasted. Why were we once so concerned about Biafra and where is it? A copy and paste.
a secessionist state in West Africa that separated from Nigeria and existed from May 1967 to January 1970
Not a bad day really although R of course found fault with me and gave me what for about something, but I can't remember what it was. Water and a duck's back.
Friday, October 22, 2021
By the time a new coalition government is formed in Germany, there is a good chance Angela Merkel will be the longest serving Chancellor of Germany, exceeding Helmut Kohl. I instinctively disliked her initially, being of a party called Christian Democrats. Oh, religion in the party name! I am not keen on that.
Who would have thought she would go on to be one of the most powerful political leaders in the world.
The Merk is such an interesting person because she is so uninteresting. Germany does have a little history with 'interesting leaders'. For nigh on twenty years the uninteresting Merk has ruled with aside from admitting a large number of Arab refugees, without great controversy, and Germany remained prosperous. You really have to respect her for presiding over a generally stable and prosperous Germany.
Nevertheless, no politician can't have the piss taken out of them. As usual before publication I've watched this several times and each time, I am still amused, this last time by the final line. Viewing time, 2.45, Tracy Ullman playing both roles.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Our new neighbours who paid AU$1.3 million moved in Monday last. Steph would be in her thirties and introduced herself to us when we met at the lift. She is bright and bubbly and there is a baby. Her adjacent neighbours, who rent, have a toddler.
Since I began this post last week, I have met Steph in the lift. She had her I suppose 18 month old boy with her. He has the same name as R. From what I could see of the sole time we saw her partner, he looked and sounded pretty good, even when masked.
There isn't an apartment on any level that ends in four, as the building was originally marketed at Asian folk and four is unlucky number for some Asian people. Even one of the lifts does not display level four, but there is a fourth floor, and there is a level thirteen too.
Until the the top three levels of 19 to 22, the apartments above the 10th to 18th level are all the same design. There are six apartments on each level, five are three bedroom and one is two bedroom. The two rear three bedroom apartments don't have views although they did when the building was opened. The office building behind was extended upwards with a residential component and so the rear apartments lost their very nice views.
Aside from the afore mentioned new residents at the beginning of this post, on our floor there is us, a pleasant single woman about my age who bought her apartment a few years ago, a friendly European born guy with a slight limp with a female Asian partner who I think have lived here nearly as long as we have, an older Asian couple who are nice but rarely seen, and a smoking hot guy with his wife and now grown baby to be a toddler.
Ah, so you are dying to hear more about the smoking hot guy??? Maybe not. He is very very handsome, speaks beautifully, is very well groomed, fab thick dark hair, always impeccably dressed...rather like a younger version of me really. Alas I saw him topless in the lift as he was going down to the pool for a swim. I don't think I've ever been so disappointed since I learnt that Father Christmas was a fiction. What a wonderful thing that men can expose their chests and nipples and women can't. Well, a bit strange really.
There is a couple we know well in the building who we get along with well but he has dementia and she has mentioned that they may move to Queensland to live near a son, and that would mean (I have to check a couple of people) that we are the longest term residents in this building of 128 apartments.
R always thinks we should move form this place 'no better than public housing' but when I ask where, what sort of place and we need to able to afford it at a change over price, he has no answer.
I've ordered my individually measured box to carry me away.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
To look at this photo you would not think that Sydney's tram system was very fast and very efficient. Sydney had the largest tram system in the world after London. Note at the bottom of the photo a policeman in a pith (no lisp) helmet. He is directing traffic and with the huge number of people moved by trams, priority was given to keeping them moving in preference to motor cars.
The photo was taken at Taylor Square looking towards the city along Oxford Street, later to become known as the gay mile. Back then it was quite a retail shopping street and a very busy tram arterial with trams to Bondi Beach and numerous south eastern beachside suburbs. The photo was taken in 1950. By 1961 trams had disappeared from Sydney's streets.
I expect the Google Street View car was there at a quiet time. While not manic like in the old photo, Oxford Street is still very busy with many cars and buses. The Oxford Hotel visible on the right was a gay venue, then degayed and has now regayed. We had a nice meal and a good time there in May this year.
Monday, October 18, 2021
You may have noticed my new blog header photo but it is off centre. What a trial it was to make the photo right. I finally thought I had it right but as you can see, it is off centre. I'll sort it tomorrow, manana.
I was sitting in the nearby Little Sandy Desert on Sunday and I looked at my blog on my phone.
R bought some hair gel Saturday and we both successfully glued down our hair this Sunday. From the coming Friday hairdressers will be open again. We'll be queueing and then again at a car wash.
From the end of this week we can travel over Greater Melbourne. Half an hour after the announcement, Ex Sis in Law was on the phone, asking if we would like to join them for lunch somewhere on the Mornington Peninsular. Seeing Mother should be the priority, but we need some fun time. The new car will have a new experience, travelling at 100 km/h. I know R hates freeway driving so in spite of the pain it will cause me, I will drive. I may even push the car to 105.
R asked why Ex Sis in Law and her husband why were they so keen to see us? I replied, they have disobeyed lockdown rules and seen everyone else. We will be a novelty.
By the end of this month Victoria will reach 80% double vaccinated. Mother is having her first jab this week. The government forecast is 94% double vaccinated I think before Christmas. It will be impossible for anyone to function in society here if they are not double vaccinated. Nevertheless the tick to show for admittance to anywhere can quite easily be faked. I expect tech will catch up. It is a government certificate and faking one should have a high penalty, as I have heard is happening in the US where one woman with fake vaxx certificate was fined over US$20,000. So it should be.
I easily installed the double vaccinated tick to my Service Victoria phone app. I can check in to anywhere using the QR code and show anyone who is checking the tick. R's phone was harder. I did ask him if Medicare was linked to his MyGov account and he said yes, but it wasn't. Hours of frustration and very bad words by him towards our Premier and Chief Health Officer before I discovered his Medicare was not linked and that is why he couldn't get the tick to his app. Sorted eventually and he is very happy.
I limit the podcasts I listen to, to a manageable number. Robyn Annear is long time local historian and author. I have her book A City Lost and Found: Whelan the Wreckers Melbourne. She has made some podcasts, about local matters but they would be interesting to anyone. I've just finished her third podcast and all three have been brilliant. They are essentially about quirky things she has discovered in old newspapers when researching, saving them and then thoroughly investigating the stories. An elephant weighed down with a stone in the late 1800's to retrieve the body of a drowned boy from a waterhole in inner Melbourne. What a story, stretching all the way to an elephant in the beer garden of a pub in Adelaide.
After four weeks of R not being needed at his volunteer job, he is back on duty tomorrow, Monday morning. Wow, a morning to myself! What shall I do? Probably sit too long in the seat I am now sitting in. Such is life.
Sunday, October 17, 2021
This Sunday's post is accompanied by the (you have to imagine it) the sound of the bottom of a barrel being scraped. I've nearly run out of photos to use until we are set free.
One sole cyclamen flower has survived for a couple of weeks. We will keep the plant until places are open and we can buy something for summer. Green leaves are better than nothing. It did very well over our winter.
Saturday, October 16, 2021
Well, no not me. My hair is thin and I am balding, although there hasn't been progression with that for many years. My hair is best kept short with a number 4 buzz cut on top and a number 2 buzz at the sides. It was a bit hard to remember the buzz numbers as it has been a long time between haircuts.
R has great hair, a full head of wavy blondish and grey hair. His already being longer looks fine uncut for many weeks. He kindly said to me, it is just as well you can't see the back of your head and hair. Well, I can actually and the curly fluff sticks out from the back of neck and I can see when looking directly at a mirror. I've began to brush my hair back behind my ears rather than straight down. That looks marginally better and R approved.
It seems like next Thursday hairdressers may open, if not, Friday. I said to R, fuck shopping day. If we can't get our hair cut on Thursday, we will forego food shopping on Friday and get haircuts, and perhaps starve to death but with well groomed hair.
We know our state government has decided to let Covid rip among the community once we reach certain vaccination rates. The worst effect will be to the unvaccinated. They will mostly be the ones in hospital ICU with tubes shoved down their throats. I can't remember if was an Australian or Victorian forecast, but vaccination rates will rise to 96 percent. The four percent who won't and don't have a very rare medical exemption will just stay home. They won't be able to go anywhere, see anyone or do anything, and nor they should be able to endanger other people. Social and mental health experts suggest not turning anti vaxxers and government conspiracy types into pariahs but I quite happily do so.
Friday, October 15, 2021
A very ugly three hundred car space asphalt car park serving customers for two large supermarkets and numerous other businesses was turned into a four hundred space underground carpark with a plaza above. Initially Prahran Square looked a bit bare but it has been adjusted over the couple of years since it opened and plants and trees have grown. We are there at least twice a week under lockdown, for food and medical matters. We both agree it is shaping up very nicely.
Three sides have raised areas, bleachers, a steep lawn with small gum trees and where we had not been before, a hilly walkway with lots of vegetation, sculptures and a small playground. It iss really quite lovely. Below is the scene, with the last photo looking 180 degrees at the Grattan Street Gardens.
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Sydney has three
tram light rail lines. L1, L2 and L3. L1 opened in the 1990s, the latter two just last year.
The lines I believe are government owned but a private company Transdev runs the three services.
L1 tram drivers have been taking protected industrial action to the extent that Transdev has contracted buses to run the L1 service and cancelled the tram services for an extended period. The industrial action is refusing to do overtime (because there is clearly insufficient drivers), not answering phone calls from management when off duty and not answering radio calls until the tram is stopped.
But what is their beef? Although they and L2 and L3 drivers are all employed by Transdev, the L1 drivers receive less pay, less chance of promotion and worse working conditions that the L2 and L3 drivers. On the face of it, that just seems so wrong and I can't imagine how it could be justified. Same job, same company, less pay and worse working conditions. Way weird.
Meanwhile Transdev has lost its large number of contracts to run Melbourne buses after a scandal a couple of years ago because their buses were poorly maintained (gaffer tape holding things together) and many were dangerously unroadworthy.
Transdev seems to be a disgraceful public transport operator that is hopeless at the basics of vehicle maintenance, passenger safety and industrial relations. I hope you don't have Transdev stock market shares.
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Someone recently wondered in a comment about Australia's Northern Territory. I replied to the comment without too much knowledge. I am correcting my comment here. South Australia has little to do with Northern Territory but I think there may be some history. I think NT may have been under the control of SA in the past.
So at the map in this post, the orange bit at the top, you can see Northern Territory is a large part of Australia but in our last published census has only one per cent of our population and over half live in its capital city Darwin.
The north, or top of NT is tropical with monsoonal rains whereas the southern part is hot, dry and cold at night, like a desert.
I think it was 1970s when the Commonwealth, if you like the Federal Government of Australia, handed over most of its powers to the single house governing NT parliament.
Via the Northern Territory Administrator and not a State Governor, Her Majesty still rules (I had no idea. How extraordinary!). Day to day governing is performed under the Chief Minister, it being equivalent to state Premiers.
The Federal Government probably still has some powers over the Northern Territory that it does not have over the states but to all intents and purposes, it functions like a state of Australia.
Here is a photo of the NT Parliament House in its capital city of Darwin, taken by Fritz Hiersche. In my very earliest days of blogging we visited Northern Territory and one Clare Martin was Chief Minister. It was a terrific place to visit as we learnt to move slowly in unseasonable tropical heat.
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Gay bars in Melbourne had podium dancers. Naturally the dancers were hot young men. But there was one podium dancer who was not so young.
I can't even remember what the drug acid was and nor how Grandpa Acid got his name. If you went to mainstream club venues in the 1980s and 1990s you would know Grandpa Acid, the older dude dancing on a podium. He was oldish but his chutzpa was admired. When Kylie Minogue visited the gay club Three Faces, she and Grandpa Acid danced together.
It is many years since I have seen Grandpa Acid, the last time when he was selling a golf ball printer in a sound deadening wooden box at South Melbourne Market.
Grandpa Acid is alive and well and is celebrating his 75th birthday. Richard seemed like a nice bloke to me. Happy birthday to him.
Monday, October 11, 2021
I am going to have to kill this post with 58 comments, aside from the one's I have deleted. I am not doing so because of what I wrote but the comments which I believe I am liable for. I'll leave it up for a few hours yet and then pull it.
Later: As Steve suggested, I have hidden existing and turned comments off. Shame, but there you go.
I keep doing this, that is put aside mural photos and they may sit there for months and I then forget where I was when I take them. This pair of photos of a very large mural is sadly a bit spoilt by stuffs and was in one of the main east west streets in Richmond, but I can't remember which one.
This side seems land based and the bird on the left is an Australian cassowary, the world's most dangerous bird to humans and dogs. Just for the benefit of those of you thinking about a nice holiday in Australia, even our birds are dangerous. If our magpies don't swoop you and peck your eyes out the cassowary might get you.
Sunday, October 10, 2021
Saturday, October 09, 2021
A headline popped up briefly on my phone. It takes less time to ignore and delete them than find out where they come from and why, and then find out how to stop them.
The headline was Saudi Arabia buys the English Newcastle United football team. I've always thought of football teams, both here and in the UK to be community organisations. But no, they are commodities to be bought and sold. Apparently to get around rules, the Saudis set up some kind of removed trust to take ownership and get past foreign ownership rules.
"The shock news will delight the fanbase after a Newcastle United Supporters' Trust survey on Tuesday showed that 93% of its members were in favour of the takeover."
I very much doubt that it was what the people in Newcastle I know think. More like "f****** Arabs now own our footy team. What was the point of voting for Brexit?". Brexit didn't turn out to be a cure all, hey. Later: After an exchange of messages with R's nephew in Newcastle, they want the old out so much and go on to football success, not caring where the money comes from.
Hmm, I am now looking at English news. My city of Greater Melbourne has it's Green Wedges that can't be developed or built upon, except they are. London has its Green Belt, that can't be developed or built upon, except it is. What an absolute disgrace, in both places.
But it is hardly a wonder that there is pressure to develop London't Green Belt for homes. Little is left for the English in London but a modest flat once you subtract the land and housing owned by the Church of England, the Catholic Church, the Royals, Russian oligarchs, oil rich Middle Easterners and South East Asians, celebrities and the lords and ladies of realm. It is a very broken model.
I am not going back to the BBC website. It is too depressing. Especially after reading the champion of the working class, former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife he having denounced as he was elected the rich and big business avoiding paying tax, and now he and his wife have bought a property for millions of pounds using a purposely set up overseas company and thus did not have to pay something like £350,000 property purchase stamp duty.
The pub sniff test smells like a rather rotten odour. Crooks, liars, thieves and charlatans.
Friday, October 08, 2021
Thursday, October 07, 2021
Remember the photo of the beautiful magnolia I published a few weeks ago, well the magnolia is now in full leaf without flowers but continues to give with this kookaburra sitting on a branch.
We have lived here for 19 years now and had many avian visitors to our balcony. Rarely sparrows. Mostly Indian Mynas, never a seagull or Australian magpie, but mudlarks or mud jays. There was the great cockatoo massacre of one of balcony plants resulting in a broken pot and a well chewed up plant. We were out at the time.
We've had visits by sulphur crested cockatoos, corellas, galahs, butcher birds, kookaburras and currawongs. Two days ago a pair of currawongs visited. Their call is quite distinctive and more noticeable at this time of the year when the boy bird and the girl bird want to like each other in that very special way. Note one bird has a stick in its mouth for nest building or repairing.
The breeding peregrine falcons atop a city building must be very pleased with their 2020 successful breeding of three healthy birds last, with a total fail the year before. This year four eggs were laid, three eggs hatched almost together and days later the fourth hatched.
You can see them here , in black and white at night but high definition colour during the day, and there is a moderated Facebook chat site with stills and short videos, along with plenty of information.
Wednesday, October 06, 2021
Ma'me, there is a new leader in the Australian state of New South Wales. Your Governor swore him into office today.
Isn't that so quaint that I can still do that in Australia. Do tell me about him.
He is their version of our Tories, Ma'me. He is presentable, albeit rather boring. He is happily married with six children.
Six children! Ah, so he is...well has an Irish background?
Is it known if he would bother chaps like my footmen, equerries and many of my male staff? Chaps like you, you know. I mean bother them in areas of human and civil rights?
He is quite religious Ma'me. It is possible.
I like my
subjects people to be happy and gay. Will this new NSW Premier upset that?
I really don't know Ma'me.
You should know before 'advising' me. Who is the Australian High Commissioner to Britain now? I need to meet him.
One George Brandis Ma'me. Strange last name but he is sound and not a rock the boat person. I will summon him for a meeting.
Don't. I tire of the obsequious low bows by our colonial representatives. Just let him know my thoughts via the usual discreet channels.
Ma'me, I know just the right journalist to do that.
Thank you. I vaguely recall reading about some trouble with women's rights in one of our former colonies. Now where was that?
Ma'me, it is within the State of Texas in the United States and about a woman's right to decide what her body does so far as bearing children.
Like Ireland then? Will this new Premier go down that path?
Yes Ma'me, like Ireland. I don't know about the new Australian Premier. You know those in the south of our old American colony have always been difficult.
Thank you for filling me in. I find it hard to wade through so much reading at my age but I did note something very odd. In our old colony across the Atlantic around 640,000 people have died from Coronavirus. In our large South Pacific colony, sorry almost independent... I am not sure what Australia is really. Is it a dependency? Well, 1,300 have died from this wretched virus. Yet Americans protested outside the Australian Embassy in New York City against the lockdowns in two Australian states. Why would they do that?
Sorry to interrupt Ma'me. HRH Prince Andrew is on the telephone and wishes to speak to you about his legal bills.
I will not tolerate eye rolling or pursed lips by staff in my presence. Put my son's call through and you are dismissed, after you bring me my cheque book, fountain pen and a first class postage stamp.
Tuesday, October 05, 2021
I could look this up myself of course but what fun is that when I have you to
show off share your knowledge.
St Kilda Road elms are about to leaf but at the moment they are covered in seed pods, hops. In the nineteen years we have lived here, I've never noticed the rats of the skies eating the elm seeds, tossing the husks around on the ground until they get at the seed. Such are the things you notice when locked down and have time.
However, the elms in nearby Fawkner Park are bare, with just a few tiny leaves beginning to appear. They don't have any seeds at all. But it seems both trees will come into leaf at the same time.
Are there boy elm trees with the seeds and girl trees without the seeds? Different varieties?