Saturday, July 10, 2021

Train Whinge

Yesterday afternoon I visited Footscray by train for coffee as I do often enough. I like Footscray. It is full of South East Asian and black African locals and I am a minority white person. The black Africans really dominated this Friday but they are polite and respectful to an ageing white man, (No Andrew, please don't suggest they know their place).

I really like the way the Africans all seem so happy and jovial with greetings to each other in various ways. There were a lot of younger ones today, loud and they slap each others hands together as they greet their 'bros'. 

There is no doubt a crime problem in Melbourne with black African youth, but I don't see it on the streets of Footscray. 

Enough social commentary. To the trains.

Our oldest suburban trains, the Comengs (Commonwealth Engineering) are being updated (there has been a few updates) with very good progressive line display information. I won't even try to explain what it shows, but it is very useful until.....

Some time ago most trains from Frankston have been routed through the city to alternate between Williamstown and Laverton Stations. Even though Laverton is a train terminus, it does not show as such on the Public Transport Victoria website. Who would guess that you need to look at the Werribee train line! It is a little complex because some, too complex to explain, but I do know how it works.

With full confidence I boarded the 4pm train at Footscray to travel to South Yarra. That is through city stations then to Richmond and leave at South Yarra to get a 58 tram home. Both the new visual display and repeated announcements said the train would terminate at the city station of Flinders Street. Damn. Well the PTV website does say most trains go through to Frankston. Perhaps not this one. No one stirred on the train at the terminating announcement so I just sat there, but I had completely lost confidence with where the train was going. A terminating train means it stops, full stop. No questions asked. Get off. 

As no one moved clearly the train wasn't going to go backwards and there is a chance it will continue on to South Yarra. I don't have children to pick up from child care. Time is not my enemy. The worst that could happen is I would be I ended up in Upper Combuctor West and late home for a pre dinner drink.

The train sat at Flinders Street for about four minutes and then went on its way with the display changing to it being a Frankston train and stopping at South Yarra with matching announcements. 

I am fairly sure the PTV app gave me wrong information times at Footscray. I think the platform display at Footscray said it was a Frankston train, but as the train arrived as I arrived at the platform, I didn't have time to properly check.

While I know our tram system very well, I do use trains often enough to be familiar with how our trains work and I should not have been told the train was terminating at Flinders Street Station when it wasn't. 

There was another incident earlier in the week. Tram track replacement is happening in St Kilda Road so the best way for us to get to the Degraves Street to our regular barber in the city is to catch a 58 tram to South Yarra Station and then a train. That worked fine, but the train display changed from being a Laverton train to a Williamstown train. Then the train driver announced the train would terminate Flinders Street and become a Frankston train. I expect this was because of an earlier level crossing crash with a train versus a car. Of course the train won, but incidents like that cause massive and rolling disruptions. I'll wear that one. Nevertheless, as we left people with ear buds in or not listening to announcements stayed on the train with the expectation it would go on to Laverton via So Cross Station.

But my earlier complaint is valid. PTV and Metro Trains take note.

Friday, July 09, 2021

Rampant Property Developers

Since the terrible fire at the Grenfell Tower in London, I added a Guardian newspaper Grenfell Tower feed of Grenfell stories to my RSS. I read almost daily evidence and other matters presented at the investigation and it is an appalling story of neglect by so many authorities and individuals. In my opinion, criminal behaviour was responsible for so many deaths and injuries, but who will face charges? Not the rich ****ers who controlled the tower, that is the staff and councillors at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, nor those who planned and decided on the renovation works. Expect some low down person in the chain to suffer the most, perhaps the contactors who worked on the tower.

Around three years ago Sydney highrise residential towers had to be abandoned by owners and tenants as the very new buildings were deemed unsafe. Opal Tower in Homebush, Mascot Towers in Mascot and another in the suburb of Zetland. 

Here in Melbourne, we have a couple of highrise apartment towers creaking and moving so much in the wind that they cause sleepless nights and fear to the occupants. It's the wind, claims the developer. Well, not all towers blocks creak and groan in wind. What is wrong with these ones?

In Adelaide a few years ago, windows in the apartment Vue tower were exploding down onto the street.

Next is Miami, where part of highrise residential tower collapsed with much loss of life. Travel Penguin mentions the matter here

Now in the Melbourne suburb of Box Hill huge metal balcony shutters are dangling precariously from very new apartment buildings. High winds are to blame, it seems, along with residents not securing them. Yes, user error. But shutters not meant to withstand wind.

I am sure I could find more instances if I looked harder but what a shocking indictment of overseeing authorities, in Australia's case our state governments who regulate the construction industry.

Then there are all the buildings around the world, and a number of them here in Melbourne that are clad in flammable skins. Our building has small amounts of flammable cladding which should not cost much to rectify and ours are not really a fire threat as they are well separated. 

But who is going to pay? The property developers of course should pay as they breached fire and construction regulations. They in turn could take on action against poorly performing contractors. Messy and years of court cases without rectification of defects.

At the end of the day, those who oversaw the flouting, and in the case of Grenfell pushed for the flouting, will have to and should pay. And that means you, the taxpayer through whateverDisa authorities regulates your local buildings.

Uncontrolled capitalism is a disaster. That is why we have regulations, but regulations are pointless unless they are enforced by authorities that have power.  

Thursday, July 08, 2021

YouTubers Part 1

I can't remember their names now, but one of the first YouTubers I subscribed to was an Australian couple narrow boating in England. After some entertaining posts, they returned to Australia and I wasn't really interested in boating on the sea, so I stopped following. I was attracted to their posts because I knew nothing about narrow boating and they were entertaining with their presentations.

After a friend recently described himself as curiously uncurious I suppose I must be curiously curious. I like to know about things, well some things. I subscribe now to a number of YouTubers and probably spend forty minutes or so after I get up in the mornings watching YouTubers I subscribe to. Alright, alright, to whom I subscribe. 

I came across another English narrow boater Robbie Cumming quite a while ago. He was picked up by the BBC and has made a series already broadcast and is making a second one now. No you Australian, you are not allowed to see it from here unless you are a little devious.

Then I came across a gay couple who are narrow boaters, Foxes Afloat. Colin and Shaun are very interesting and amusing and have their dog Otis with them. Their last dog Dillon died.

This gay narrow boating must be catching, another gay couple Anthony and Paul are less full on than Colin above and I like their relaxed style with Narrowboat Life Unlocked. They too have a dog, Dexter. 

There is a really nice couple narrow boating too, Fran and Rich with Floating Our Boat. They too are entertaining.

Of course I am interested in public transport so I subscribe to a few of those.

English based Dylan's Travel Reports, He covers train trips in England and Europe.

I think Dylan and Superalbs Travels are friends and Superalb also covers UK and European train trips. No photo of Superalby.

Also English, Paul Lucas with Wingin' It covers train travels along with plane flights. I just ignore the plane flights.

Geoff Marshall is very well known and has around 231 thousand subscribers. He is just terrific with YouTube channel just called Geoff Marshall.

Let's get a bit local. Rory Ding Travels covers Australia and at times overseas, well before you know what. I am not interested in planes but I like Rory's train trip and accommodation reports. He is now known well enough to be recognised by public transport staff. 

For someone who I think is less than twenty years old, The Train Man is remarkably knowledgeable about Melbourne's public transport and its history and he presents so well.

To wrap up until Part 2 when I we will get wet and messy, very messy, Mike Downie in Vancouver BC covers all kinds of things including train and other public transport travel and general history. His very enthusiastic presentation style is rather American but nevertheless, he is good and dare I say he is easy on the eyes. 

This has been a bit blokey and there is at least a mother and daughter team narrow boating in England, but I don't follow them as they are not so entertaining for me. 

Wednesday, July 07, 2021


I've spent so much time reading blogs, commenting on blogs, responding to blog comments, looking at new car information, dealing with my will executor duties and answering emails, I have no time to post anything meaningful. Ah well, manjana. 


I took R for lunch a week or so ago by train to the Jolly Miller in Sunbury. Thanks for the historical Jolly Miller link MC. Sunbury is a long way away but by train it takes about 15 minutes to get Footscray Station and then only fifteen minutes to cover a huge distance to Sunbury at quite a high speed by Australian standards. That's 100 mph on a very comfortable VLocity train, apparently the most reliable train in the world. 


Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Tram Tuesday

At times a joke really grabs me and I have shamelessly stolen this one from Jenny, who stole it from someone else. I have edited it for dramatic licence and Australianised it too. No, its cleverness is its brevity. Let it stand as it is.

On to trams, a convenient way to move around the streets of my city and trams have a long and proud history, with my city arguably now having the largest tram network in the world. 

At one time Sydney had the largest tram network in the world after London but by 1961, the trams were gone. In Melbourne trams were an adjunct to trains. In Sydney, they did the job of trains, carrying huge numbers of passengers. Sydney's highly populated salubrious eastern suburbs did not have a train line at all until 1979.  

What you see below may look like chaos but they are scenes of trams moving people quickly and efficiently to wherever they were going. 

Monday, July 05, 2021

Today's Lol's

Well, I've saved one to be included in tomorrow's post. 

I was in a lane in Richmond, close to a drug dealing area. I was checking for murals. A bloke came up to me and asked if I played poker.  I replied no. He then asked me why not. I replied I have no interest in playing  poker. With that, he drifted off. Is playing poker a pseudonym for buying drugs? I was unmasked but later at the tram stop when I was masked ready to board a tram, he approached me again, but after he said something not understood by me, he turned his focus elsewhere. I may have bad habits but playing poker is not one of them.

'Sorry dearest for being boringly repetitive but CROOKS, THIEVES, LIARS and CHARLATANS, I ranted at the tv news as it reported our Crown Casino being exposed to the public as being corrupt in so many ways.  Haha, corruption at a casino. Who would have thought.

But the best was a newspaper headline, Victoria Police investigating a link between horse racing and criminal activity. What year was Planet Earth formed? Death, taxes, prostitution and horse racing! 


Monday Mural

Joining in with Sami and others for Monday Murals.

This is a bit of a different Monday Mural. In 2014 we stepped off a train from Amsterdam at Brussels Midi Station and as we had a little time to wait before catching Eurostar to London so we sat outside the station with our feet on a delightful padded carpet made up of cigarette butts. Hovering over highrise towers I spied Tin Tin and his dog Snowy. I am not a Tin Tin fan, but I was strangely excited to see the image of him and Snowy.

Sunday, July 04, 2021

A Mother Visit

I planned to do a Sunday Selections but I didn't get around to it, so shoot me.

R gave me a lecture tonight on the fact that he is 72 years old and can't do things like he used to, after I mentioned what fun it was several years ago when we went kayaking as passengers with Sister and Bone Doctor at the helms when his sister and her then husband from England were visiting. It was a hot day and it was great fun kayaking on the bay. It hit a nerve with R and he snapped back, you have to realise how old I am and I can't do these things anymore. Yes hon, I know. I was just reminiscing.  R apologised for being a grumpy old man.

It had been a stressful Mother day. As we were turning into the road where ABI Brother and Mother live, Brother called and said Mother is not well enough to go out. Can you get salad rolls for lunch. Too late I replied. She was dressed and made up and ready to go out. As always she cheered up and began to focus on other things aside from her own health. 

I can deal with and care for Mother if out, but R has professional experience, so I leave it to him. It took about an hour and a half for her to eat lunch, with an emergency trip to the toilet and she didn't quite make it. Fortunately she was wearing a pad. It didn't go too badly really. She bought a couple of new tops in a clothes shop, a bracelet for her granddaughter Jo for her fourteenth birthday and great wrapping paper for the active but non flying plane she had earlier bought for her two year old great grand son Little L. 

It wasn't too bad until the end when R was in professional mode and she pushed the wheels of her walker over the edge of a gutter and was close to falling when a few centimetres away was a ramp. I heard R yell at her. It was raining and I was already in the car having opened the boot lid and doors for them. To put Mother's walker into the boot it has to folded and to do so anything in the storage area under the seat has to be taken out. Mother had put her urine soaked pad into the walker storage part. R put it in a nearby bin and didn't say anything until we were driving home and moaned on and on about her stupidity of putting the pad in the walker and the stench of urine on his hands even after washing his hands and at my suggestion sanitising as well.

R said he will never do this Mother outing thing again, but he will. Dealing with an 87 year old Mother is not easy, but hey, what else can you do.