Saturday, February 20, 2021

Not just another Thursday

Well, Thursday morning R was in great back pain. I had an xray that morning for my neck pain. I came in form the balcony and he said 'you can do this  more quickly that I can. Get dressed and go down and collect my new phone'. Aye aye Sir.

It took ten days to arrive from Hong Kong from Kogan. Honestly, if the Samsung S21 cost $100 more to buy it in a shop in Australia, it would be worth it. (per a tv ad seen today, $300 more to buy here at a discount store) It didn't come with an electricity plug phone charger. The phone charging socket is the new universal plug, that no company seems to be using. Later in the day we went to a phone shop in Chapel Street and bought a charging cord, a phone light clear phone cover for both his and my phone as my old cover was yellowing, and a screen protector film for his new phone.

While we doing this, Mother's house was settled as I checked email on my phone at about 11.15. What a relief!

When I spoke to Mother this afternoon, I raised my my voice, very rare for me! No, ABI Brother does not go on Friday to take the rubbish bin in from the nature strip. It is no longer your house, not your rubbish bin and he will be trespassing. He may even run in to the buyers. She soon returned to moaning about her medical issues, wishing she was not here, it's no sort of life. I felt very inclined to agree with her. Then she said I had a dream that I was going to jump off a highrise building (hopefully not our balcony) but at the last minute she couldn't (no matter how her children would be cheering her on).

The afternoon was spent sorting out R's new phone, and lovely it is, then me doing what I call The Sums, That is fortnightly adjusting money between R and myself and paying bills online. 

After many nights of cooking a home meal, Household Management rebelled and we went to the Dick Whittington Hotel for dinner as we are now out of five day lock down. It was a very pleasant evening just on our own.

We had alcohol at home, so no need to visit the Dick Liquour bottle shop. The Dick Cheese Platter has thankfully disappeared from the menu. I did like the helpful toilet directional sign though. 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Floral Friday

 Valottas or cliveas?

I don't know these at all, Fawkner Park with the Kia Ora apartments at the rear.

I think every year I show the beautiful magnolia in this garden. The lovely old house has had a chequered history since we have lived here, but now it has someone who really cares about the garden and she is doing a fine job.

November I think.

Maybe an ornamental pear.

We often but not always buy flowers from a vendor at South Melbourne Market and $10 is usually our limit. The flowers generally do well. We know iris won't last long, especially if the heating is on. But this week's flowers were a total fail, and we went above our usual $10 limit to $12. The bunch looked so good and I do carefully look at flowers before buying them. The petals started for fall off as they were being arranged. The first photo was taken that night and the second one the next night. I'll have a word with the vendor this Friday.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Absolutely Appalling

Facebook has removed all news content from its site in Australia because the government and media companies want FB to pay them for the news that appears on FB. What an absolute disgrace by Facebook.

ABC is our government funded but independent partly news broadcaster over radio, tv and online and even it has been censored by FB. Here is my local ABC Radio FB home page. Everything except for a link to COVID information has been censored. How dare Facebook!

End of an era

In an email to the conveyancer of Mother's house I wrote the word thrice. I meant to check if it was common and acceptable usage but I forgot and it was sent as written. I suspect thrice isn't common usage but three times looks ugly when written. 

Over the last few days the buyers of Mother's house have tried to claim $6,800 for various things. As the electricity is turned off, they couldn't check everything. If all electric appliances are working, the sale price reduction would be reduced to $3,500. The conveyancer emailed me for my thoughts, I replied. She emailed the buyers with a firm denial and cited various clauses in the sale contract as the house is as it was when they inspected it before signing the contract.  Do they think we are fools? 

Yes, the bedroom ceiling is damaged, as it was when they viewed the property. Mother took the insurance money and spent it and never had the ceiling repaired. Yes, the dishwasher hasn't worked for twenty five years. The gas heater may work, none of use can remember but Mother who is fearful of gas had it cut off when Step Father died eleven years ago.

No, the old window style air con unit below the split system air con unit in the lounge still works and is a fixture, so it won't be removed at our expense. 

The window was broken when they signed the contract and we won't be paying $300 to replace a small pane of glass. The shower head wasn't leaking when it was last used by Mother two years ago. It is as it was when the buyers inspected. All kinds of nonsense claims were put forward and I really wonder who their solicitor or conveyancer is to try to make such absurd claims via our conveyancer. 

Assuming settlement goes ahead as planned at 11.00 today, I can highly recommend Very professional and pleasant along the way.

Mother will have half a million dollars in her bank account. She is too old to deal with or spend such wealth. I guess I will have to go the bank with her to invest her money. I will claim back money we spent for house rewiring and new side fence.

It's an empty house now but so full of memories.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Beleaguering you with public transport

Conservative governments love to privatise public services. It is clearly not to save taxpayer money as privatised services so often cost more, being subsidised and profits returned to shareholders, often overseas. To be slightly charitable, at times expertise can been brought in by private companies and staid old management processes replaced with vigorous new and more streamlined systems. I've experienced being both in a public service job and a privatised service job.  There were cycles both went through. At times both had slack and poor management and at times both were too harsh on workers to the point where there was hate involved, so nothing to do with privatisation really. It's all about having the right management.

Let's have a look at the privatisation of South Australia's trams and trains. Generally the travelling public don't care who runs them, as long as the service is good. In 2018 the about to be elected conservative government said it did not have plans to privatise the trams and trains. In 2019 the ruling conservative government said it would not rule out privatising trams and trains. In 2020, the operation of its trams and trains was privatised. That all sounds so familiar. 

The company chosen to run South Australia's trams and trains is a French Australian consortium, Keolis Downer, the same company that runs Melbourne's Yarra Trams.

So, how is it going in South Australia? You can read the full article here, but here are some snips.

"A private investigator has been hired to find a whistleblower in South Australia's Transport Department, according to the Opposition, which has labelled the move a witch hunt against "conscientious public servants". 

"...the $2.14 billion 12-year contract would ultimately cost more than it did to run the network publicly."

"The reason they're hiring a private investigator isn't to investigate an illegality, it's to try and fire people," he said."

"I think when you're spending public money the public has a right to know how every dollar is spent ... it is in the public's interest."

Indeed it is in the public interest, whether it is privatisation, a public private partnership or supposed commercial in confidence, when it is public money, taxpayer money, the public has a right to know how it is being spent.

Waddya reckon'?

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Tram Tuesday

No Town Hall Tuesday today as I can't travel far during our hopefully brief five day COVID lockdown. 

While I don't know the stats for flying, otherwise fixed rail travel is the safest way to travel, far safer than car, walking and bus travel. 

But, at times fixed rail does go wrong and often enough when it goes wrong the consequences are dire.

Here are a few tram crash photos, some of which I have used before.

Two were killed in this horrendous tram crash McMahons Point in Sydney in 1924 when the tram ran away as is descended to the ferry wharf. It slid down the visible embankment and crashed into a house and seems to be resting across a pair of railway lines.

This one was in the middle of the major Melbourne intersection of Flinders and Swanston Streets in 1968 after one of the tram drivers suffered a heart attack.

I think three trams have gone into the drink after descending the hill to Athol Wharf on Sydney Harbour. In 1952 this one got away and did not stop where it should have. I think Athol Wharf is now known as Taronga Zoo Wharf. The road down to the wharf is very steep.

Modern trams have many fail safe systems and accidents like these are very rare.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Monday Mural

I am cheating a bit here as it is a commercial advertising sign in Flinders Street for the shop below, but the tram shelter roof was very useful to hide the name.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Gay World

News items from Australia's  Star Observer

An unfinished and moving love story from a military man. 

My friends call me Marc. It was the year of 1994/95. I was coming to the end of a 20 year military career and I had lived all those years in the closet, not able to come out as it was not acceptable to be gay in the military in those days

There is no doubt having a transgender is child is difficult and it is not something I know about or am educated about but it doesn't have to be negative. Of paramount importance is the mental well being of the child.

A teacher’s act of reading out a book about a transgender child to a class of third graders in Utah has set off extreme backlash from parents.

To say that I am surprised that Malta is one of, if not the most advanced countries in the world for gay rights quite astonishes me. But for all the good, still things like this happen. 

A Maltese man who forced women to sexually abuse his then seven-year-old son so that he did not “grow up gay” has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment. 

It is over twenty years since our sole visit to Sydney for the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. We viewed the parade, went to the after party, sat in the gutter outside a hotel along with many others. Managed to rise for lunch the next day, I think still substance affected. We had a fabulous time and it is only later that one reflects what an affirming thing Mardi Gras is when you among over 400,000 people who are gay or supportive of gay people.

Twenty-three years ago, I attended my first (and only) Mardi Gras, and the effect of that long weekend still resonates with me today.

Me prone to handsome men, gossip and titillation? Yeah, so what and your point is? Australian actor Hugh Sheridan who has also acted in the US had kind of come out last year as gay in a very wishy washy way, as celebrities do. 

Hugh Sheridan’s 2021 is off to a strong start with the loved up actor enjoying the heady days of a new relationship, as speculated about in various whisperings around Sydney and then confirmed in some not so subtle sizzle shots on Bondi beach

Sunday Selections

Joining in with Elephant's Child and perhaps River for Sunday Selections, today just randomness by me and a couple from the information super highway. 

How to Make Gravy is a very long way from being my favourite song, and I guess the song is what this neon sign refers to. I think it is in Tattersalls Place in the city. For all you need to know about How to Make Gravy, see Jackie in Toronto's post here, including lyrics and the original music video. 

Speaks for itself. 

To entertain and amuse sick kiddies and visitors at the Royal Children's Hospital, there is an enclosure with meerkats, yep live ones. The lookout meerkat is on guard for the unmasked, COVID 19 non believers and anti vaxxers. The tram stop at the RCH has welcoming signs for children who arrive by tram. There are more than this but I can't find my photos now. Nice.

Clearly not taken recently, but I like this photo I took on a clear and cold winter day. Stark silhouette beauty, I think.

I know something special is being cooked for dinner when R's tablet is propped up on the bench. I'll give you a hint. There is rice and smoked cod and boiled chopped eggs involved. Comment your guess or educated answer.

Hahaha. I must revisit to see how effective the sign is. A red rag to a bull, I would have thought. At least poor old Bill Posters is not being prosecuted.

Not an expensive shiny black car but and an expensive car in matt black. Not impressive.

New Year's Eve celebrations with dinner numbers limited saw Domain Road closed and temporary outdoor dining set up. If you need to know the cost of dinner there, you can't afford it.