Saturday, January 16, 2021

Trams (and a bus) for tourists in Melbourne

I have written about this before and I know it was helpful to at least one person. 

Ah, no international tourists at the moment, but life will return to normal. Maybe we will allow New South Wales tourists back soon.

Route 96 from Bourke Street in the city to St Kilda, the light rail. Guaranteed to have 'interesting' characters on board and a good way to get to a popular destination. Catch the 12 back to town from Park and Fitzroy Streets via a quiet and very local tram for local people. 

Catch the route 16 tram from Swanston Street to to its end. Such a variety to see along the one and half hour trip. You travel through St Kilda, the bagel belt of Balaclava and Caulfield, the lauded shopping strips of Malvern and admire the large and very expensive houses between there and Hawthorn with its large cosmopolitan population of students. From the route 16 terminus in Kew, catch a 109 tram back to the city via Richmond with its large Asian population and certainly more interesting characters along the way. If you need a 'fix', stop off in Richmond and you will readily find a dealer.

The route 58 tram along William Street takes you to the north of the city. Aside from Melbourne Zoo, there is not a lot to see, aside from a nice tram trip through Royal Park. If you go further and you can see out the tram front window, there are some ok views of the city as you return.

Route 58 to Toorak also from William Street is not bad either if you want to travel through posh areas of shops and towards the end houses and apartments. 

But here is a great and unknown bus trip for anyone, the 605 bus from Queen Street in the City or if you like, the Casino tram stop in Queensbridge Street.

You will travel along the premier boulevard of St Kilda Road after passing the Arts Centre. You then head to the eastern side of the beautiful Shrine of Remembrance with great parks in both directions and the running walking and the track The Tan where the beautiful people and celebs run and walk and circumnavigating The Royal Botanic Gardens. COVID never killed the café latte corner of Park Street and Domain Road. The 605 makes  just a swing to the left and the left again for a braked descent down the Anderson Street hill and pick up the lasses at Melbourne Girls Grammar, except thankfully they weren't at school when I travelled the route.

We turn onto Alexandra Avenue and travel along the southern bank of Yarra River, and we follow its curving path until we turn up Williams Road, along a Toorak back street to Toorak Road and then down Orrong Road. There I left the bus to catch the train from Toorak Station back home. By all means stay on the bus as it weaves its way through residential streets of Armadale, eventually travelling along Kooyong Road. I haven't done that part of the bus trip yet.

A lot of very valuable land surrounded the sporting oval Orrong Park and it was sold off to developers and guess what? They built developments and with the five or so minutes I had to wait for the train, I had a look outside the stations' western entrance. Not too bad at all.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Visiting Mum's House

The house is rapidly disappearing behind the growth of bushes. I kind of like the out of control luxuriant growth. Pre climate change, the garden would be almost dead at this time of year without being watered. Settlement for her house will be in a little over a month and there is much to be done and Mother in hospital and frail is hardly capable. The latest rumour is that she will leave the hospital on Saturday and return to ABI Brother's place who is her government paid carer. Extra professional visiting care will kick off in February.

R says she should be in a nursing home but our government tries to keep people at home with services and the time is not right yet for her to move into care. It will one day be a case of hospital to a nursing home, but not quite yet.

R and I with two trips took about 14 full sized garbage bags of her clothing, drapes, curtains, window lace, cushions and so much bedding to charity bins.

Ex Sis in Law and Oldest Niece had been there the day before and were covered in cobwebs, so we missed them. They took a few bits and pieces to their liking. We took Mother's very kind neighbours across the road to the house today and she took a couple of bits of crystal ware. 

Mother's extended family is really coming together to sort the house out before settlement on the 18th of February. She will then have around half a million dollars at her disposal and she is just too fucking frail and old to enjoy the largess. But knowing my mother, and her having gone through two substantial amounts of money, she will have a good go.

The canna lilies? along the back fence look beautiful. The neighbour said under the mound of grass could be your late Step Father's aluminium dinghy. I believe him as he was not here when Step Father had dinghy. Learnt knowledge that we have forgotten about.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

What's your energy like?

Personally, pretty lousy and thanks for asking...oh, you didn't.

But I am talking about how your electricity is generated. Australia has a mix of generation and fortunately we have never had a Chernobyl, Three Mine Island or Fukushima as we don't generate electricity by nuclear reactors. Long has our general population been against nuclear, in spite of such being pushed by vested interests. The Nuclear Disarmament Party was very active in Australia and took no prisoners of either the Labor Party or the Liberal (conservative) Party.

Our electricity is predominately generated by black coal, while my state of Victoria's electricity is mostly generated by burning dirty damp and polluting brown coal. But we do have hydro electricity in two eastern states and the island state, Tasmania. Tasmania's electricity is dominantly by hydro, but some environment was destroyed in the process to build retaining dams. 

Generally our power generating assets were sold by governments to overseas investors who are not there to provide a service but to make profits. Who knows who owns the poles and wires. Who knows who your wholesale power company is which is different to your retail power company. But the system is actually quite strictly controlled by authorities, especially the NEM and in my opinion it works reasonably well. 

The problem for these overseas investors with our coal power plants is their age and their polluting factor. Our conservative Federal government, wanting to protect investors in the dinosaur generation business, is encouraging them to invest in new 'clean and green' coal and gas power plants. They don't pollute too much, just a bit.

But our pro capitalist conservative government has been overtaken by capitalism. 

Solar panels on rooves, wind farms, solar generation are all generating so much power they are making our power system unstable. Capitalism again kicks into action, starting with Elon Musk's big battery in South Australia to store renewable power. There are plans for storage batteries in every state. 

Our dinosaur Liberal Party needs to get into step. Coal and gas power generation will soon be history. There won't be anymore wilderness areas flooded to make hydro dams. In the longer term oil powered cars will be history, so a wise investor would steer clear of oil. 

You can add to this that our home appliances and no doubt industry machines have become much more energy efficient. All those LED lamps replacing incandescent, fluoro and 250 halogen bulbs per two storey McMansion must make a difference.

My generation may have screwed up many things but we have at least left this still up in the air but very foreseeable environmental result of renewable power at a very cheap price.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Within this bowl...

On top of fridge sits a large green salad bowl. We push it under the cupboard over the fridge to stop dust settling into it and it is probably used once a week anyway and so will not get too dusty. Within the bowl is a smaller white one which also gets used once or so a week. Within the smaller bowl is another bowl that is never used for food and is a repository for bits. You know, for the things you find on the floor or wherever and you don't know what they are for. Is this important to something?

I wonder how old the matches are and will they still work if we need to light a candle?

Why is the keyboard rattling so much as I type? After a day or so of annoyance, I turned it over and damn, a rubber like foot is missing. My thoughts of buying a new keyboard evaporated. I can fix this, without personal injury or strain.

Within the crates in the spare third bedroom wardrobe I found just what I needed.

It is the white bit far right now stuck to the back of the keyboard.

But when putting the salad bowl back a few days later, some kind of memory must have kicked in and I checked the bowl for bits. Sure enough, the old pad foot must have been found on the carpet and put into the bowl as a mysterious object found on the floor.  

I am working on an even more riveting post for tomorrow. Cheers.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Do not delay trams

I think by about 2032 all Melbourne's trams have to be step free dictated by disability laws. Should I live another eleven years I doubt I will see that. It was supposed to happen earlier.

The problem that this advertisement is addressing is people standing on tram steps. The tram doors won't close until the steps are cleared. If one person dallies on the step, perhaps touching on their card at a reader, the tram driver may be annoyed. If many people do the same, the service will be significantly delayed. 

Our tram service only works efficiently because it stops, unloads, picks up and departs in a matter of seconds. Stop, unload, load, move. Repeat and rinse for its whole journey. 

So as this ad describes, it is important you move smartly inside the tram and then validate your travel card. Also important is not to stand in doorways. R and myself have perfected the art of intimidating and laying guilt on passengers who do so. Often these door blockers are local people who use trams, and not those who rarely use trams and don't know. 

We stand behind them to get off the tram, and at the last minute they move out of the way, or we accidentally a little too firmly brush past them. We also do sotto voice about people blocking doorways. We may win the battle but given how long we have been doing such, we are not winning the war.

Announcements on the tram help, as does a poster like this one.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Stomp on the brakes man

It is years since I have witnessed the aftermath of a car crash down below. They were frequent and often before the intersection was redesigned. Then in two consecutive days I saw the aftermath of two crashes. Full on day today, Monday, and maybe too effed to post anything for Tuesday.

It is rare to see St Johns Ambulance at a car crash. Perhaps just passing by. I don't know who was at fault but I would wager the white car, old enough to not have ABS (non skid braking system). It is clear though that one of the cars  was at fault without extenuating circumstances. 

While it is not an excuse to not drive to the conditions, the first wet morning for ages could be considered as extenuating, especially in an older car without ABS.

The assaulted car was still driveable but the offender was a tow truck job. Is tow truck a world wide word? I will be pleased if you don't know a word in any of my posts and let me know. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Just another Saturday

We have Niece Jo staying with us until Monday. She arrived after Sister and she visited Mother in hospital and we shared a takeaway pizza for dinner Friday night. Sister went on home to the Bellarine. We will return Jo to Sister in a rather interesting way. No, not a balloon and we won't parachute her in either. 

Today, Saturday, we visited Ex Sis in Law and her husband and the café latte coloured twins. Oldest Niece rocked up too with her three, Little M, Little Em and Little L, her boy. Tradie Brother turned up too, Ex Sis in Law's former husband. The twins mother, Hippie Niece was having a dirty weekend away with her new beau at some thermal springs. 

While it was a bit too warm for me outside, I survived and it was a very nice day with lots of chat and a barbeque lunch. The small inflatable pool was cleaned out and filled and the kiddies all had a great time. As she didn't have bathers, Little Jo did not want to go in the pool with the others, but Ex Sis in Law suggested she look in Hippie Niece's bedroom and see what she could find, and she did find something to wear in the pool and enjoyed playing with the much younger children very much.

R and I call Little L, The Smiling Buddha. He is a fat little toddler who has just started to walk and he is the happiest child you can imagine and always smiling ear to ear. Not so today. Just our luck. He slept badly last night and he normally never stirs during the night but he did. He fell back to sleep and then a smoke detector went off for no reason and he woke again. It was his nap time when he arrived, he was tired and cranky and nothing like his usual self. He would not nap. Over the course of a few hours, he went A over T, one of twins went A over T and and Little Em went A over T. An occupational hazard of being a child I suppose. Generally they bounce back, unlike we of a certain age who would be like a dropped blancmange.