Saturday, December 10, 2022


I'll pull the photos in a day or so. I am thinking these were taken circa 1986. R is with our then Anglo Indian posh speaking friend (Park Circus, Calcutta) who went on to have a mental break down for reasons not known to us and as a friend he left us in the late 1990s; he wanted be alone and moved to the country. The plant nursery in Hampton where the photo was taken is now expensive housing. 

As for me, I like that I am smiling and I look happy. I don't like my hair or moustache at all. My hair almost looks red, and I am not a rangger. I like the term a dirty blond and that was how I described my hair but it isn't that really either.

The wall tiles tell me it was after we renovated the kitchen of 384 Waverley Road, East Malvern. It is hard to believe the work we did to the property and what we also paid for to be done. We began with a toilet almost outside, a gas copper to boil clothes in, a moth eaten carpet and a very old gas cooking stove and only a small lounge room gas heater. Without extending, we made it into a very nice house, with a nice garden and when we sold it, it went for far much more than real estate agent expectations. Lol to the buyer who had to work out the taps on my garden and lawn sprinkler system. Well, I knew how the system worked.

There is something weird strapped around my wrist. It must have a watch. It wasn't my Boy London watch that came later and I still have in a box. I was about 60kg (UK 9 stone 6 lb or US 132 lbs)  back then. Now 78 after dropping from 82. 70kg would be good but I would have to give up wine to reach that, a step too far.

Blowing up the photo, there is a newspaper in front of me and a packet of Drum Mild tobacco. I don't remember smoking loose roll your own tobacco back then. I must have been feeling poverty stricken. Some things never change.

(Photo removed)

Friday, December 9, 2022

Yarra Trams fail, again

This afternoon I tentatively caught a tram replacement bus to the city thinking maybe things had improved. Again it was a bad experience. I waited forever for a bus, it was overcrowded and I had to stand all the way. A youngish woman sagged down in a faint and was pulled back to her feet by kind people and given a seat. A young man's backpack jammed in the door so the doors were partly open but that didn't stop the bus from starting off.

Google informs me that I spent 40 minutes in the City. I left home at 2.12 and arrived home at 4.30. That is 2 hours 18 minutes I believe,138 minutes. 138 less 40 is 98. So I spent 1 hour 38 minutes commuting for what would normally be a maximum return journey of 30 minutes by tram, usually less.

I assume 'Could not organise a piss up in brewery' is an old Australian term but no matter, it is a well deserved accolade for Yarra Trams that has provided a very insufficient bus replacement service for our tram system.

God help those who actually have to use the system to get somewhere on time.

On a brighter note, we, R who refuses to use public transport while the system is in disarray, and myself drove to North Point Cafe in Brighton and had a lovely brunch. We sat outside, the sun shone, the breeze was cooling, good food, the cafe was busy but not manic and the staff very nice. A memory came up that this was the place we first visited after the end of a three month Covid lock down. What year of Covid nightmare was that? I can't remember.

Friday Brightness

I just love this song. I know it has been around for quite some time. I'm sure I've heard it as muzak in supermarkets. 

James Keogh is Melbourne born and took on the stage name Vance Joy. He went on from being a proficient Australian Rules football player to sing a number one musical hit. He is quite easy on the eyes too.

The lyrics I hear, I don't really hear. I just love the tune; the music. I also really like that he sang on a Melbourne tram, an articulated air conditioned high floor with steps B Class tram if you are at all interested. Slip in your earbuds and take a listen. You never know what you might experience on a Melbourne tram, mostly good.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Endangering our children

"Too dangerous", the cry went out when this new children's playground opened at Southbank. Esteemed broadcaster Ms Virginia Trioli agreed. Not so, said the designer and the Lord Mayor. I investigated myself. 

The first thing I noticed when I stepped onto the hard bluestone paving is that it wasn't. It was a little disconcerting to step on to spongy paving when I expected a hard surface. Nothing worse than expecting something hard and it turns out to being soft.

Looky, rocks on wheels. How to break your doting grandmother's ankles with a decent shove of a rock. What fun.

It does look a bit risky and that is the point of the design. However, it meets the highest safety standards for a children's playground. The rocks are of course bolted down and only look like they are on wheels. 

Among the forest of high rise apartments of Southbank will be many young children and I expect they will very much like this playground.

Well done City of Melbourne and the designer. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Living in a Nightmare

We are feeling very trapped at the moment. A car journey to the west, where we shop and visit for brunch a couple of times a week is now a convoluted route full of jammed up traffic and takes quite a long time to get anywhere at all. This is because our street St Kilda Road is closed for about three hundred metres north of us towards the city. The street is closed for tram track realignment past the new underground Anzac Station.

This a wonderful infrastructure project, but how we have suffered for a week and half with the same still to go. Trams are being replaced by buses for perhaps three kilometres. We have to walk about 7 minutes to the bus stop.

The bus takes a convoluted route and as like the traffic can't, the bus also can't travel along St Kilda Road either. It just takes forever to get to the city. I've used the replacement bus in all directions and after last Sunday, R has refused to do so again and I will do my best to avoid it too. Bad luck City traders and businesses. You know who to blame for such poor management.

Here is an example from last Sunday morning. 

11.05, depart home to catch public transport to the city to meet family. Walk south in the opposite direction for about 7 minutes to the bus replacement stop. There is no reason why it can't be kerbside and opposite the temporary outbound bus stop. It was a very warm 29 degrees and we don't walk terribly fast now.

A bus arrives at the stop as we did but the driver closed the doors and departed. We could see the bus was packed. About five minutes later another bus turns up. It was so full it couldn't take any more passengers and did not stop. Another five or more minutes the third one stopped and the about ten of us waiting squeezed on. It was then around 11.25.There had been other people waiting, including a family of Irish tourists. They gave up and I felt sorry for them. Others had left too.

Trying to turn into Kingsway was brutal in jammed up traffic. The third set of lights in a long cycle had us past Queens Road and it wasn't so bad then. More to feel sorry for as the bus had to leave behind about a dozen people in Wells Street and maybe half a dozen in Dorcas Street. I couldn't see that there was much chance of them being able to catch a bus there for a considerable time.

By tram from our front door to Bourke Street might have taken 15 minutes by tram. We changed from the bus to a tram at the Arts Centre and arrived at Bourke Street at 11.47, that is 42 minutes travel time door to city tram stop.

We are old men. We should not be standing on swaying, lurching and braking buses. No one offered their seats to us, unlike on trams, and I don't really blame them. We've experienced a few of these bus replacements situations in the twenty years we have lived here and I have never experienced one so badly organised and managed. How could Yarra Trams possibly think that a two minute service with medium sized trams can be replaced by a five minute slow loading bus service. What world do the planners possibly live in? It is a disgrace, and of course it is on the ground staff staff who unfairly cop the flak. Overheard, you are a tram worker who voted for him. Here is Dan's work in action.

We had a cunning plan to get home, train to South Yarra, tram to one stop short of home and then walk. The non disability compliant ramp at South Yarra Station, plus now a tram in 34 degree heat and the one stop walk home nearly killed us.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

UK train fares are unbelievable

Thank you Mrs Thatcher. You did a fine old job with privatising England's regional train system, with horrendous private train fares. If she is not to blame, I don't care. She represents what has happened.

I can't vouch for authenticity of this from the  Hampshire Live website. I take it as I read it.

This man travels about 100 kilometres from Hayward Heath to London and then returns. He makes the trip a couple of times a week using his Senior Railcard. The Senior Railcard return fare is a flabbergasting £441. I don't understand that at all. I think the town is on the same line to Brighton, which is further, and we didn't pay anything like that. I am just so doubtful about this story.

He managed to lower the fare to a much more reasonable £82 return by buying nine different train tickets and changing trains a couple of times. There are websites that work these deals out for you.

A close to equivalent trip here for a senior costs about $23 return, say £13 using our equivalent to an Oyster card.

Ok, this in nonsense. A pup I have been sold. I've checked myself and the fare is well under £20 return for a senior at peak time. I won't pursue this any further but the story is at this (reptuable?) Hampton Live website,

Post discard but still UK fares are terribly expensive.

How Australia votes

I showed a map of how my state Victoria voted but let's look at Australian state voting. I can't find a map of state names and voting patterns so I need two maps and you will have to alternate between them to get a full understanding.

As usual the Labor Party is shown in red and the conservative Liberal Party in blue.

The conservative Liberal Party was close to being completely wiped out in the last Western Australia election. 

I think the Northern Territory has flirted with the conservative Liberal Party in recent years, but not at the moment. 

Queensland is Labor but I think it is now somewhat marginal. Our far north is a little like the US deep south but in the south eastern corner is the capital Brisbane and the very socially aware Gold Coast.

We were in Adelaide, South Australia when the government changed from Liberal to Labor, somewhat helped by the new Premier being a bit of a hunk. Unless the government does something diabolical, it will probably get a second term in office.

Not so long ago our island state of Tasmania elected a Liberal conservative government., perhaps because the former Labor government had become very stale. I don't really know why.

Things would have to change a lot for Labor to lose Victoria's next state election in 2026. 

Now to the big state. Within the large blue conservative Liberal Party who governs now is a tiny bit of red, the Australian Capital Territory with our Federal Government being located within in Canberra. So that is Labor, but New South Wales is conservative Liberal. While I won't say the current NSW Premier is a bible basher, he is certainly strongly religious and that is of a concern. The conservative Liberal government in NSW is very stale and with quite a number of scandals in its term of office, with the former Premier having to stand down. I expect a Labor victory at the election early next year.

Wow, that would mean Labor is in federal power for Australia and all states except Tasmania. I don't think that has ever happened.

Why is this so? I don't think one party have almost complete control is a good thing. The problem with the conservative Liberal Party is that there has been strong influence from extreme religious people, for way too long it denied climate change and opposed everything that could improve our environment. It has some very shonky high level politicians it needs to rid itself of, hi Angus. Illegally cleared any more land of late? It is a party for big business and 'family values'. It cares not two hoots for those in dire poverty, the homeless and those in difficult domestic situations. 

While I would never vote for the party, I am perhaps a typical voter for the party as a self funded retiree looking for good returns on the share market.  I imagine if the party is elected at the next election, we will have fracking all over the countryside where it is allowed. Mining and drilling licenses will be issued willy nilly on land and at sea. Wage rises for workers will be opposed. Anti union laws will grow. There will be cuts to funding our most important institutions, especially our wonderful media organisation ABC but of course not opera and ballet. Anti discrimination laws for same sex attracted people will be pulled back to pay back the religious right for its support. There will be a push to pull back abortion laws. But on the up side, it will support the rights of big business to pay time wasting executives millions of dollars for doing nothing beyond firing staff and increasing their own remuneration. Maps from Wikipedia.

The conservative Liberal Party pretty well knows it will lose the next election and has put up a sacrificial lamb leader of His Majesty's Opposition, one Peter Dutton. Some puff pieces have appeared in the media, trying to make him sound like a nicer person rather than a nasty and cruel man. He is what he is, a horrible man. 

Monday, December 5, 2022

Monday Mural

Linking with Sami for Monday Mural.

Nearby to Doctor Snip featured in yesterday's Sunday Selections is this mural that proves just how difficult it is to paint the human hand and get the proportions right. I've seen plenty worse though.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Sunday Selections

I am joining with Elephant's Child and River for Sunday Selections. Random photos, as is my wont. 

Badass cockatoo. No mischief to be found here. Best you visit our balcony to break a pot plant and massacre a plant as one of your antecedents did.

Speaking of which, take a look at this very bad cockatoo in the city. Being hit by one of these dropped pots would give you a lump on your head.

Markers of the Covid nightmare queue spacing remain on streets.

A peaceful reflected sunset with the moon arising. No fire in the sky.

Flowers are always so nice at Melbourne Town Hall except when some harvest festival plants appear in Autumn. They are horrible. Stalks of corn, sheaves of whatever. Bah.

Vue apartments, where tennis star Leighton Hewitt once lived, maybe still does. The developer had to pay $millions to rectify problems with the building, resulting in a complete re landscaping. 

I think Fire Fighting Nephew has been ordered by The General, his wife, to attend such a clinic.

Maybe there are some inadequate gingers, but I've not come across one.

Not a perfect framing of the pregnant building but I came close.

How do I get to Platform 2 at So Cross Station without using stairs? The lift of course but there are none in the direction of the arrow and by golly, I searched.

My bedroom has a small west facing window aside from the larger south facing window. For a few weeks I get direct sunshine, which is nice in this cooler weather but not welcome in midsummer. 

These balloon photos were taken a while ago. My get up time and ballooning time no longer match. 

Bumping another car

I once had a bit of an inappropriate laugh when I read in the online Fiji Live electric newspaper that someone in Fiji was killed after two ...