Saturday, March 20, 2021

Childhood Memory

Our niece Jo knows the music and the lyrics to so many songs., many from modern musicals. I know the lyrics to about half a dozen songs but I know bits of others and sometimes sing them to myself. 

I know the lyrics to the Gilligan's Island tv show theme tune, The hole in the bucket song, that is dear Liza dear Henry, Those Were the Days my Friend, One Night in Bangkok, the On top of Spaghetti all covered in cheese song.

I was sitting on the balcony and started singing How much is that doggie in the window. I don't know why but I progressed to Puppet on a String. It brought back childhood memories of being with Mother's friend's daughter, Leanne I think, and she plugged a microphone into a tv combo stereo unit and sang along with the song. Karaoke before it was invented., but what a god awful song it seems some many decades ago.

Then she sang Love me Tender. I was about 9 and she maybe 11.

She wrapped up with a rousing rendition of Don't Sleep in the Subway.

We met Leanne and her brother Wayne many times because our respective mothers were friends. Her mother was one of Mother's bridesmaids. It is a bit sad that I can remember Leanne so well from just one memory. I've never seen her since.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

A San Francisco Cliff Top House

I just thought these photos were interesting. Who knows where they came from. Would you like to stay in this hotel overlooking San Francisco Bay? 

It looks a little precarious. But it must have been soundly built as it survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

But it did not survive the 1907 fire and eventually slid down into the harbour.

The replacement building was set back further, but not so grand.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Yarra Trams

Dear Yarra Trams.

You say you have a customer focus but yet you allow advertising all over your trams including windows that block your passengers view to the outside, that is people not being able to see where they may be going or where they are. What an utter disgrace your non see through window policy is.

At the height of the COVID crisis in Victoria, you said your trams were being deep cleaned every night and we have since learnt they were not by the dodgy contractors you employ, who probably underpay staff. Care about performing well at your job? Not on the pittance the tram cleaners are paid by the contractors you employ. Why can't you just directly employ tram cleaners with a supervisor. Properly employed and paid staff have a great interest in doing their job well.

I think every Myki old style travel card reader is cracking up. Why aren't they being replaced by modern and faster Myki readers? 

The old articulated trams, B Class I think, have great cooling and heating but so often it is not working. I have tweeted a couple of times about non working air conditioning on these trams, but I have stopped as I don't want to be known as a serial complainer.

Still on the older B Class and Z Class trams, they are looking much smarter and pleasant after their renovations, but they have a light tint on the windows and the pull down blinds have gone. Light tinting is hopeless and you have no escape from the sunshine coming in the window. That is not passenger focus. You have taken away from our travel experience.  

Yarra Trams spokespeople mouth all the words but do they ever travel by tram? Does anyone who makes such decisions travel by tram? I can't see any tram passenger say, get rid of these sun blinds and give the windows a light tint. I can imagine sums being done between the options of tinting windows as against maintaining blinds.

I catch trains less often, but I have caught quite a lot of Metro Trains recently and I have little complaint but this. I have no memory of what the stickers say, maybe about COVID or train cleaning but on trains stickers have been plastered on train windows right at eye level, obscuring the outside view. As with trams, does anyone who uses trains have input into where stickers are placed? 

Let's return to Yarra Trams and these photos of how trams are sometimes presented. They are dirty from carbon run off from their pantographs. They need to be cleaned pronto.

This photo by Andrew Purvis.

And this one by Matthew Jennings. 

There may be tram cleaning specifications set by our state government and I expect Yarra Trams would meet the KPI. But....

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Echuca Day 4 and home

Check out time all over Australia in any accommodation is usually 10.00am and the caravan park was not an exception. We arranged with G to check out at 10.00 and meet up not too much later at the rather good Elmore Bakery. At around 9 he came to our cabin and was somewhat agitated. He said our blinds were still closed and he thought we were still asleep. R told him we keep the blinds closed until we are showered and dressed. G asked if we were ready to leave. Given I was in the shower at the time, it is not likely.

He left the park with his caravan and we conceded  a little by leaving the park at 9.30. He had a walk around Elmore while he waited for us and we had a nice breakfast at the bakery.

This Ford beauty pulled in at the bakery. More information on the model anyone?

As often happens our car sat nav conflicted with Google Maps. I trust Google Maps more. It didn't matter really as there were constantly signs pointing to Melbourne. We reached Heathcote and I saw a sign directing us to Kyenton so I swung off the main road to Melbourne to join up with the suggested Google route. It was a lovely drive and far more interesting than the way we could have travelled, and then once at Kyenton, it was fast to get home with the Calder Freeway 110 km/h limit. 

We travelled over the Redesdale Bridge, a bridge I had never heard of and it was very interesting. I looked it up once home and here is its history as I remember. Even though in late 1800s Melbourne had the capability of building iron bridge spans, spans were ordered from England for the Hawthorn Bridge, for cars and trams to cross the Yarra River. Close to the Melbourne port the ship delivering the spans sank. New spans were ordered from England for the bridge to connect the suburbs of Richmond and Hawthorn. About a decade later the original spans were salvaged from the sea and bought by a metal foundry that on sold them at a profit to two shires with the border of the Campaspe River. With its dividing span, it is a unique bridge in Victoria, maybe Australia. Photo from Google.

It is always nice to get home after a holiday, short or long. The Echuca weather was fine, warm and sunny during the day with mid twenties temperatures and crisp, chilly nights to snuggle down in bed. It was a wonderful short holiday. 

Monday, March 15, 2021


No post for today aside from I have discovered I am one of two executors for Arthur's will. I need to do research tonight after finishing this and tomorrow speak to his solicitors, Martin, Barton and Far.., ah no, Faark..., got it, Farquhar. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Echuca Day 3

We could only get onto the early 10.30 one hour river cruise, but that was fine. At $24 each I thought the price was reasonable. We boarded and departed on time. Our steamer was called Canberra. This one is Pride of the Murray.

The meet, greet and tick off young man tripled as a deckhand and the canteen attendant. The captain steered us upstream for a short distance then quite a distance downstream. The engineer, that is the person who stokes the boiler looks after the propulsion connections was very knowledgeable and I had a long chat with her and although not so old, she knew a lot of steam engines in general, clearly having a great interest in steam. Here is the engine working away. We were travelling slowly at this point. It did reach at least twice that speed. I liked how close you get to the exposed engine. 21 secs.

The paddle wheels each side thrash in the water. The axels from the engine are covered but cross the floor and have to be stepped over. 10 secs.

This steamer on the slipway was a mobile church. You can't see it in the photo but there is a white cross atop the roof.

A second crossing over the Murray River has long been promised and is finally being built.

The wake of a paddle steamer is quite different to a normal wake.

Bushland lines the Victorian side of the river. The bank is constantly eroded and trees fall into the river. In past times they were cleared away but for environmental reasons, they are now left alone unless they are a navigation hazard. This has helped the health of the river immensely and seen fish populations grow. The New South Wales side has more buildings and farmland along the bank.

This boat would be for hire. It looked like an historical village on the NSW river bank, but it is normal housing made to look like old village shops and businesses.

Some private vessels were quite impressive.

Back where we were staying we saw a mother walking her children home from school and onto a houseboat so I guess they live on the boat. There are about four regular paddle steamers operating on the river. Not this one but the most famous and I think the largest is the Emmylou. This is the last steamer built for work on the Murray, the Alexander Arbuthnot. 

Back on dry land we had lunch at the bakery chain known as Beechworth Bakeries. While we didn't sit there, at the rear was some nice decking for diners to sit and gaze over the Campaspe River which joins the Murray not too far away.

We thought we might cross into NSW for an evening meal at the RSL Club. G wanted to have a look at it first so across the original bridge we travelled and a few minutes later we stopped and I had forgotten how large the club is. Satisfied we returned and noticed a large illuminated temporary sign on the roadside saying a permit is required to enter Victoria. Oops. There wasn't a checkpoint fortunately. In theory we could have been fined $5000 each and be made to quarantine for fourteen days. I checked later and it takes five minutes on your phone to fill in the form and approval is almost instant. Later someone told us the checkpoint is set up in the evening, so we were afraid of long queues and decided we would stay on the Victorian side for dinner.

Then it was to the very good Echuca Discovery Centre. 

Poor lighting but this diorama was excellent.

The bones of the perhaps misnamed Success.

While you may assume the state border is the middle of the river, it is not. The Murray River is in New South Wales with the riverbank on the Victorian side being the border. A fleeing criminal being pursued by police could jump into the river and the police would have to apply for an extradition warrant to capture him. Although the river is NSW, Victorians are exempt from COVID regulations so far as being on the river.

These two are of the Emmylou, the latter taken from the discovery centre.

What I really wanted to see.

Here it is operating very quietly. The engineer was tucked near the boiler having his lunch. 22 secs.

We were weary by then so back to the park for a rest and refreshing, then out to dinner at the pleasant enough Star Hotel. We sat outside at the rear and had our meal as we swatted at pesky flies and once more the corellas swooped around in massive flocks making a racket.

This spoon drain is made from local redwood, the same timber being used for long lasting railway sleepers.

Nice quoins.